The Unz Review • An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 TeasersAudacious Epigone Blog
Voting Is a Proxy for Combat
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeThanksLOLTroll
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

Almost Missouri on nature raw in tooth and claw:

On reflection, this may be all that all rights are: the practical result of a balance of power. Why do we have the “right” to vote? Because voting is a proxy for combat. Rather than spill a lot of blood over every political disagreement, potential combatants realized it is easier and less destructive to count up the number of combatants on each side and award electoral victory to the likely winner of a real battle: same result, far fewer casualties, even for the winners. But this logic only pertains to those who might actually show up on the field of battle. There is a reason that membership in the state militia used to be a prerequisite for voting in America.

Rights, it appears, belong to those strong enough to enforce them. There are occasional times, such as in the former United States, where those in charge have the conviction and curiosity to permit rights to those weaker than themselves, but those times are fleeting, as the inheritors of such noble sentiments are rarely so noble themselves.

You are walking through the woods when you come upon a grizzly bear. It sees you and draws near. Whatever you’re able to do in the next few moments constitute the full the extent of your “natural rights” in this world. Everything else is a privilege.

Ryan Andrews on why conservatives keep losing:

The Left is successful at pushing its cultural agenda because, unlike the mainstream Right, its ideology is guided by a very simple principle: equality/inclusion. The libertarian sort of right-wingers have freedom as an ideal, but cultural conservatives only have a convoluted mess of post hoc rationalizations. You’ll notice that the Right’s “freedom” agenda has fared mush better over the years than its cultural agenda.

To analyze this thing on the basis of specific issues is to miss-the-forest-for-the-trees. When it comes to specific issues, the Left is just as full of convoluted rationalizations as the Right, but their rationalizations flow out of their prior commitment to their egalitarian first principles.

I’m not saying that leftist egalitarianism flows primarily out of some dutiful, disinterested adherence to principle. Most are just following their innate inclinations, but they are helped in doing so by the fact that their thought leaders have provided them a coherent moral justification for their interests. The leaders on our side have failed to give us the same.

Incidentally, this is why Trump’s America First messaging was successful. It provides a similar simple message grounded in an easily comprehensible concept of putting the interests of American citizens before the concerns of everyone else.

DanHessinMD on what Dr. Bruce Charlton identified as the problem of clever sillies:

A major failing of many high-IQ people is the tendency to argue against and over-complicate simple truths. There is a conceit that everything is open to challenge and debate when many things are not.

Consider the following statements:

Men prefer women who are prettier.
Women prefer men who earn more money.
A man contributes the sperm and a woman contributes the egg.
Not all people are equally smart or beautiful.
People are born smarter or duller, and smart kids usually turn into smart adults.
Smart parents tend to have smart kids.
People don’t want to live near crime.
If crime is not punished, there will be more crime.
Most people are comforted by religion.
Advanced societies tend to have smarter people than primitive societies.
Certain types of people are better at certain types of jobs.

All of these statements are basic truisms across time and place. Most people around the world (past and present) know these things. They are pretty close to immutable laws. They don’t call for debate and or endless footnotes. They aren’t a challenge. They are just examples of the terms of human reality. The sooner you can accept these and many other little realities, the sooner you can get to the important business of succeeding in the framework that we have.

And yet it seems many modern, high IQ people are drawn to want to argue and modify things like these. Many high IQ people get stuck unproductively or even destructively trying to fight the terms of our reality. This or that part offends them.

They do not grasp the lesson of King Canute, or do not understand that so much of what they see as a challenge is simply beyond their power to change.

Parenthetically, I know it’s a variation on Lord Tennyson. Improve on Tennyson? The audacity of an epigone. Really though, with out the rest of its context, the phrase flows better this way.

 
• Category: Arts/Letters, Culture/Society, Ideology, Science • Tags: COTW 
Hide 81 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
    []
  1. TG says:

    I have no idea what this piece is about.

    ‘Voting’ is a proxy for masochism.

    You go to the voting booth. You pull the lever, “A” or “B”.

    And the rich ignore this, and do whatever they want, and claim that it’s all our fault, because we have a ‘Democracy’ and we voted.

    • Agree: Realist
    • Replies: @Q-ship
    , @Harold
  2. Rosie says:

    I usually have, at most, a minor quibble with the COTW, but here I find myself disagreeing profoundly.

    Almost Missouri: It may well be that the extent to which human rights are respected is the practical result of a balance of power, but of course whether rights are respected is quite another question from whether they exist, a question that in turn depends on one’s belief or lack thereof in a Creator that endowed us with same.

    The Left is successful at pushing its cultural agenda because, unlike the mainstream Right, its ideology is guided by a very simple principle: equality/inclusion.

    The Left is successful at pushing its cultural agenda because Leftists have focused on “the long march through the institutions” rather than winning pointless elections. So long as subversive controlling the media, their message will win.

    They do not grasp the lesson of King Canute, or do not understand that so much of what they see as a challenge is simply beyond their power to change.

    See above. The laws of physics do not apply to human nature. I suppose one might have said that powerful nations don’t give away their territory without a fight, then we got White guilt and the rest is history.

    • Replies: @neutral
    , @Almost Missouri
  3. neutral says:
    @Rosie

    I suppose one might have said that powerful nations don’t give away their territory without a fight

    There was a fight, the Third Reich was fighting against regimes that were already lost to the jews, everything that came after that fight was predictable.

    • Agree: V. K. Ovelund
    • Replies: @Twinkie
  4. gman says:

    If anything the phrase “clever sillies”undersells the problem. The issue is that only high IQ people can convince themselves of certain things

    I recently fell victim to this. I used to think Payment for Order Flow (PFOF), whereby brokerages sell your trading data, was not necessarily a bad thing.

    VC Bill Gurley tweeted (in the aftermath of the GameStop saga): “PFOF is a practice that “smells bad” the moment you hear about it. Only through contorted mental gymnastics can one come up with “pro” arguments, but never in a clear enough way that you could pass it along yourself. UK outlawed it in 2012. Illegal in Canada.”

  5. dfordoom says: • Website

    Rights, it appears, belong to those strong enough to enforce them. There are occasional times, such as in the former United States, where those in charge have the conviction and curiosity to permit rights to those weaker than themselves, but those times are fleeting

    The feudal system was based on rights and obligations.

    The easiest way to lose your rights is to adopt democracy.

    Even when democracy works as it’s supposed to work in theory it’s still the tyranny of the majority. Americans are about to find out just what a tyranny of the majority is like. They’re not going to enjoy it.

    In practice democracy is often the tyranny of the minority. The succession of Tory governments that have transformed Britain into a police state were elected with between 36 and 42 percent of the vote.

    In a democracy if your party loses you have no rights.

    • Agree: V. K. Ovelund
    • Replies: @Twinkie
    , @A123
  6. Regarding the issue of men finding pretty women preferable, the problem today is not that some would argue that a man should sometimes find a less pretty women to be still attractive. The problem is that many wealthy aging feminists increasingly argue that this should have no corollaries. Classically it was often asserted that a woman who played the role of a devoted wife could very well overcome a deficit in looks and be an attractive option for a man. But if that wife is going to be banging the mailman while the husband is at work, then she had better be smoking hot. Feminists today expect that an obese woman should be able to demand more without offering more. That’s where things get silly.

  7. onebornfree says: • Website

    “If voting actually changed anything it would be illegal” Emma Goldman

    Regards, onebornfree

  8. @Rosie

    whether rights are respected is quite another question from whether they exist

    If a right isn’t respected, then does such a “right” actually mean anything?

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  9. Consider the following statements:

    Weather changes.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
  10. Q-ship says:
    @TG

    If voting in this rotten corrupt system is a proxy for combat, then I am a conscientious objector.

  11. Twinkie says:
    @Almost Missouri

    There are things that exist irrespective of men’s feelings or perceptions.

    And as men you first have to be aware that such things exist, before you can rouse yourself to fight for them – that which are true and beautiful.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    , @Harold
  12. Twinkie says:
    @dfordoom

    The Founding Fathers of the United States specifically designed the government of their new country to be republican in nature and not democratic, precisely because they knew the latter often degenerated into unjust mob rule.

    The left in this country has labored tirelessly to demolish this marvelous and sagacious construct and has toiled to erect a system of mass politics of theater in its stead. When and if that destruction is complete, these destroyers will come to rue the slaughter of the golden goose.

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
    , @dfordoom
  13. Twinkie says:
    @neutral

    There was a fight, the Third Reich was fighting against regimes that were already lost to the jews, everything that came after that fight was predictable.

    On the contrary, the Third Reich was the one that ushered in the Age of the Jews by making them the greatest of the historical victims and making it impossible for anyone to ever criticize, let alone persecute, them. If there were ever a contest for the most incompetent, venal, and counterproductive leadership force in history, the Nazis are in the running. Their leader died cowardly blaming the Germans as an unworthy people, despite the heroic and Herculean courage and perseverance the latter showed in war inspite of the titanic forces arrayed against them.

    The destruction of Germany was a catastrophe, pure and simple, the death of Mitteleuropa, perhaps only exceeded by the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian dual monarchy after the First World War.

    • Agree: iffen
    • Replies: @neutral
    , @nebulafox
  14. I think the problem is not high-IQ people. The problem is mediocre people who think they are smarter than they are.

    • Replies: @DanHessinMD
  15. Usura says:

    The Left is successful at pushing its cultural agenda because, unlike the mainstream Right, its ideology is guided by a very simple principle: equality/inclusion. The libertarian sort of right-wingers have freedom as an ideal, but cultural conservatives only have a convoluted mess of post hoc rationalizations. You’ll notice that the Right’s “freedom” agenda has fared mush better over the years than its cultural agenda.

    Regarding the reason the “Right” keeps losing, Darren Beattie made this point once: compare the catchphrase “Silence is violence” to “Don’t tread on me”. “Silence is violence” is morally imperialistic; it draws a hard friend/enemy distinction, demands that one pick a side, and contains the implied threat that the wrong side will be conquered. “Don’t tread on me” contains none of these implications, and therefore cannot propagate as virulently as “Silence is violence.”

    In other words, it is not the simplicity of the egalitarian premise that wins out over the freedom premise (they are comparably simplistic), it is the moral imperialism.

    But the equivocation of the Right with the agenda of freedom is precisely the tactical error which will eventually destroy the American left. Libertarianism is an extreme form of individualist liberalism; the Right is about inequality and order. Sometimes their goals align, but their ontologies are radically different. Libertarianism loses to the Left because it does not sufficiently contrast it; its emphasis on individuals is similar. Those who hate to stand by as individual freedoms threaten to completely destroy our millennia old civilizational order, that is the Right.

  16. A123 says:
    @dfordoom

    Even when democracy works as it’s supposed to work in theory it’s still the tyranny of the majority. Americans are about to find out just what a tyranny of the majority is like. They’re not going to enjoy it.

    When the U.S. Constitution was signed, voting was limited to landowners and there was no social “safety net”. Voters were among the best individuals in America.

    Now the only criteria is theoretically being 18 and citizen. The absurdity of Drop Location (a.k.a. Birthright) citizenship rewards breaking the law. U.S. Voters include the dregs of Americans.

    Limiting voting to productive members of society would fix many of the problems. However, the U.S. is in a trap of its own making. Having adopted “Unqualified” democracy, how does America undo that error and return to “Qualified” democracy?

    PEACE 😇

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  17. @Twinkie

    The left in this country has labored tirelessly to demolish this marvelous and sagacious construct and has toiled to erect a system of mass politics of theater in its stead.

    Perhaps I missed that switch to plebiscites of honest voting to determine policy. Instead, the Left has sought to keep the aristocratic rule but replace the Right-Aristos with Left-Aristos. For one example, they are ITCHING to ignore the California anti-affirmative action law. They showed no respect to the initiative there on gay marriage.

    The Right-Aristo structure has been fatally compromised. Maybe the problem isn’t democracy but the aristo structure, combined with a lack of skin in the game for the elected aristocrats?

    • Replies: @V. K. Ovelund
    , @Catdog
  18. I didn’t see if Almost Missouri’s argument credited Mencius Moldbug, or maybe Yarvin, but that’s where I first encountered it, and probably him as well.

    Voting sublimates actual conflict, and demonstrates willingness to engage in action by showing up physically in numbers. Voting by mail, with much less personal effort involved, does not do the same. In the 2020 election, Trump’s voters easily won the physical election, while the mail-in ballots (assuming they were legit) swung WI, PA, GA and a few other states.

    Since voting and voluntary government power turnover is supposed to avoid the strife of civil war, which is much more destructive than bad government, monkeying with it as was done last year removes the pressure relief valve of society. 70+ million Trump voters showed up, most at physical polls, and they feel like their votes were outdone by people too afraid to go out, or too lazy to do so, or too enfeebled to do so. If they get the sense that the opposition is weak and won’t actually show up to a real fight, we are going to have a real fight. And that will not be good for either side.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
  19. Men prefer women who are prettier

    Both sexes prefer people who are better looking. Couples in real life tend to be of broadly similar looks.

    Women prefer men who earn more money

    Both sexes prefer this. Couple in real life, at least younger couples where there is more balance in career expectations, tend to have broadly similar status jobs.

    Your statements are easy for others to dismiss because they don’t actually capture the whole of reality and therefore don’t feel right to progressives.

    Realise that feminists often hate men liking women for their looks because they’re in denial that they like men for theirs and you will have much more productive conversations with them.

    E.g

    Feminist: so many women in art are naked that’s unfair

    Me: I agree absolutely. As a man, I have to make an effort and get all sorts of fancy clothes and achievements to be painted and hung in a gallery.

    Not all people are equally smart or beautiful. People are born smarter or duller, and smart kids usually turn into smart adults.
    Smart parents tend to have smart kids.
    People don’t want to live near crime.
    If crime is not punished, there will be more crime.
    Most people are comforted by religion.
    Advanced societies tend to have smarter people than primitive societies.
    Certain types of people are better at certain types of jobs

    Solid facts all. People are just scared of what they will feel if they acknowledge them.

  20. @TomSchmidt

    Maybe the problem isn’t democracy but the aristo structure, combined with a lack of skin in the game for the elected aristocrats?

    Maybe so.

    The question is an important question. I really have no idea what the answer is. Experience seems to point both ways.

    I don’t mean to be a reactionary enthusiast, but isn’t this why the United States originally had a popular House of Representatives and, to balance it, an indirectly appointed Senate? But then Canada still has that, as far as I know: it doesn’t seem to be helping there.

    Maybe we just live in a fallen world. Maybe there is no answer.

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
  21. Couple in real life, at least younger couples where there is more balance in career expectations, tend to have broadly similar status jobs.

    If there is a single piece of advice I would give a 21-year-old bachelor, it is this: plan on supporting your future wife. Insist on bearing the burden of income yourself. Earning is not her duty: it’s yours.

    A wife who is a dutiful mother might or might not earn some income, but if she does, it’s extra. I criticize no one who is already married: they each have their own problems, not for me to judge. However, if not yet being married you plan to rely on your future wife’s income, you plan only evil.

    A young couple that buys a house whose mortgage the husband’s income alone cannot bear is almost invariably making a mistake. In that case, a smaller house would be better.

    A happy family requires a master: that’s you. Responsibility for provenance comes with the master’s rôle. Don’t shirk.

    • Agree: Talha, Daniel Williams
    • Replies: @Talha
    , @Catdog
  22. Talha says:
    @V. K. Ovelund

    I would add to this; as much is possible, do not rely on credit for day to day(monthly expenses) – in other words, do not build up a bill so high that you can’t Pat it off the very next month completely.

    Peace.

    • Agree: RSDB
    • Replies: @Talha
  23. @TomSchmidt

    I didn’t see if Almost Missouri’s argument credited Mencius Moldbug, or maybe Yarvin,

    I haven’t read Moldbug or Yarvin (if those are different people), so I couldn’t credit what I don’t know about. You could say I’ve done no more than the electoral equivalent of unwittingly re-stating calculus four centuries after Leibniz and Newton originally did, but I would say I’ve done much less. That voting is a proxy for combat was so obvious to our ancestors that it hardly needed stating. Likewise that there was no point in extending the franchise to women, or foreigners, or derelicts, or anyone else who wouldn’t show up and matter for an actual fight. It’s just another one of those ground truths that everyone knew for thousands of years but was somehow forgotten within the last hundred.

    In the 2020 election, Trump’s voters easily won the physical election, … they feel like their votes were outdone by people too afraid to go out, or too lazy to do so, or too enfeebled to do so.

    I agree and would add that the widespread evidence of unprecedentedly massive fraud raises the sense of illegitimacy to an even higher pitch.

    If they get the sense that the opposition is weak and won’t actually show up to a real fight, we are going to have a real fight.

    Agree, but that’s why they have Antifa and BLM show up to various contrived fights: to astroturf a sense that their side does show up to fight.

    And that will not be good for either side.

    Well, given that their side is more and more openly demanding genocide of our side, I’m beginning to wonder what the downside of a battle royale is for us.

    • Agree: Catdog
    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
  24. Catdog says:

    A corollary of AM’s argument is that women shouldn’t have the vote.

    If there were two political parties, the Female party and Male party, and the Female party won an election with 51% of the vote, obviously at that point the men would change the rules.

    In our present system, there is a large gender imbalance between parties, but some of the men on the Blue side are disproportionately rich and powerful, counterbalancing the Red’s advantage in manpower and small arms. But Red’s men are aging and they will soon be too old and feeble to make use of their arsenals.

  25. Catdog says:
    @V. K. Ovelund

    Having a housewife is REALLY nice.

    • Agree: V. K. Ovelund
    • Replies: @V. Hickel
  26. @Twinkie

    There are things that exist irrespective of men’s feelings or perceptions.

    True, but if we don’t know they exist, do they matter? There must be very many things that exist that we don’t know about, and we therefore don’t think of them as mattering.

    Obviously, this question is just another variation of “if a tree falls in a forest where no one hears it, does it make a sound?” Ironically, I’ve always felt that that answer is “yes”, though I’m arguing “no” here.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  27. Mr. Epigone says:

    Incidentally, this is why Trump’s America First messaging was successful. It provides a similar simple message grounded in an easily comprehensible concept of putting the interests of American citizens before the concerns of everyone else.

    I say:

    Interests and portions and swag and shares and bits and being one under God or gods and doing your small part to advance the interests of your family and your people and your tribe and your nation is reason enough to always await the dawn with strength and vigor and maybe a hangover from over-imbibing ale. Otter Creek Brewing Company Forever!

    INTERESTS!

    Tweets from 2015:

  28. Catdog says:
    @TomSchmidt

    The Right-Aristo structure has been fatally compromised. Maybe the problem isn’t democracy but the aristo structure, combined with a lack of skin in the game for the elected aristocrats?

    Until recent times, aristos were expected to earn and maintain their rank with military service.

    Maybe we could reinstate the draft, but only for those with a net worth of $10 million+ and their sons. That’s basically how it worked in some old societies.

    In a modern Assize of Arms, we might require each middle-class man to own an AR-15 and a helmet, each lawyer an a artillery piece, and each fortune 500 CEO a tank. Zuckerberg, Dorsey, Gates and Bezos would be required to provide and personally serve in a jet or warship.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    , @TomSchmidt
  29. Mr. Epigone says:

    Incidentally, this is why Trump’s America First messaging was successful. It provides a similar simple message grounded in an easily comprehensible concept of putting the interests of American citizens before the concerns of everyone else.

    I say:

    I agree with Epigone but some others have taken their support for Trump to unpleasant lengths and devotions and clomping through the Capitol and the like. They worship this baby boomer boob Trump and the man is simply not worthy. I’ll try to get Trumpy’s endorsement when I run in the GOP US Senate primary in NH but I shouldn’t have called him a boob, I guess!

    Trump must be understood as someone who momentarily captured or harnessed energy in the political atmosphere and Trump must never be idolized as some Heart of Darkness politician god who has any answers whatsoever as to what is to be done.

    I wrote this in 2017 about Trump and things larger than Trump:

    I said that back in November of 2015 when Trump came to the New Hampshire statehouse to file to run for the office of president in the New Hampshire primary. I gave my thoughts to a reporter for the Business Insider who was working on the video “Trump Nation” by Henry Blodgett.

    I said:

    “I think what Trump has tuned into — or plugged himself into — is even bigger than Trump. The system needs shaking up, and Trump is the man with the energy and dynamism to do it.”

    Watch and listen to the above quote at 6 minutes – 42 seconds:

    https://www.unz.com/article/moore-victory-shows-populist-movement-bigger-than-trump/#comment-2022779

  30. Talha says:
    @Talha

    “…pay it off…”

    As opposed to offloading it upon the Irish or something.

  31. Twinkie says:
    @Almost Missouri

    True, but if we don’t know they exist, do they matter?

    Men were unaware of bacteria for eons, but they mattered and have brought down empires. And that’s a tangible example. We can go metaphysical (where is “Intelligent Dasein” when you need him?), but that’s hardly necessary, don’t you think?

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
  32. Twinkie says:
    @Catdog

    In many early modern European states, the wealthy purchased commissions for their sons and hoped that these sons would display gallantry in battle worthy of that investment (and gain recognition and royal favors).

    As late as the early WWII, upper crust Britons negotiated for commissions in their military.

    Earlier, magnates (Bezos and co. today?) would equip and turn out whole regiments and serve as their colonels. If sufficiently important, they would be given generalships. Very feudal, eh?

  33. @V. K. Ovelund

    Ignore government. Look at corporate voting. There the votes ARE distributed to the owners based on size of ownership. You don’t get to vote on a corporation’s issues if you don’t own the stock.

    Has it prevented the agency problem? Have the owners of corporations benefitted anywhere NEAR as much as the managers of the system?

    Fallen world, indeed, but the agency problem has been known in corporate finance since at least the 30s. It’s much harder to get the population to vote to support leftism in an honest election than it is to appeal to the agents in charge of the system. I submit that New England Town Meeting has NEVER devolved to empire, as both the Roman and US republics have.

    • Replies: @A123
  34. @Catdog

    That would help a lot. If the elites also capture the downside of killed offspring, they’re less likely to exclusively push the upside-growing schemes.

  35. @Almost Missouri

    Agree, but that’s why they have Antifa and BLM show up to various contrived fights: to astroturf a sense that their side does show up to fight.

    You might want to be cautious about that. antiFA, but not BLM, appear to be quite skilled at operational activity. They’re ruthless. Check out the documentation on the assassination by Michael Reinoehl of a MAGA last year. It wasn’t simple, unfocused violence. They don’t have numbers but they do have skills.

    Your point about genocide is well taken. It’s like the elite is unaware or unafraid of the numbers that will and have shown up physically, and like they believe that the cops, federales, and the military will obey them for their paychecks’ sake. There will be a lot of dying of Americans by their government in that situation, and when the eventual victory comes, the elites are going to either get it or go apeshit, and the large numbers of mail-in voters will obey their masters, either the current elite or the revolutionaries.

    It’s a foolish gamble for the elite, since their profits depend upon them being able to print dollars backed by a government that can threaten the world with nuclear annihilation. If they lose control of that government, control only maintained by a thin veneer of force, they lose everything, and the cost is so much higher than just cutting the Deplorables in on the deal.

    • Replies: @Catdog
  36. Catdog says:
    @TomSchmidt

    Check out the documentation on the assassination by Michael Reinoehl of a MAGA last year.

    Where is this?

  37. A123 says:
    @TomSchmidt

    Look at corporate voting. There the votes ARE distributed to the owners based on size of ownership. … Has it prevented the agency problem? Have the owners of corporations benefitted anywhere NEAR as much as the managers of the system?

    There are definitely problems with the SEC rules for exchange traded companies. They have made owner votes much less useful than they should be. There is also a significant issue with indirect/passive investment (retirement plans, tracking ETF’s, etc.) that do not have a strong individual owner to drive oversight & share voting.

    Private companies offer stock owners the opportunity to substantially influence the corporations strategy, thus reducing the agency problem.

    I submit that New England Town Meeting has NEVER devolved to empire,

    The Iowa Caucuses continue to survive as a measure of commitment. The weather is often quite bad. Being able too being generate turnout during a blizzard is a true test of both dedication and organization.

    PEACE 😇

  38. Dr. Doom says:

    All power is a form of violence. Or a proxy in lieu of it.
    Blackmail, voting or protesting. Its a form of violence, real or implied.

    Violence has solved problems that reason and intelligence could not.
    It is the basis for all rights and power.

    Raw naked force may seem barbaric, but it underlies all group dynamics.
    The police are just society’s thugs. The government the biggest and most powerful gang.

    Western Civilization has made people too soft.
    They must realize that those that invade them are less subtle or refined.

    The Barbarians are merely exercising violence in a truer form.
    They understand less about subtlety and more about pure violence.

    It will end in Rivers of Blood. Yours or theirs.
    War has come, whether you want it or not.

  39. @Twinkie

    But they knew plagues existed and that they were communicable, just about as well as we do today.

    A better example would be that back then they didn’t know, say, the strong (or weak) nuclear force existed.

    And back then, it didn’t matter.

    And even now, it’s just a name we use for what we plug into subatomic equations to make the solution come out right. It’s not like anyone can actually feel the strong/weak nuclear force.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
  40. nebulafox says:
    @Almost Missouri

    >But they knew plagues existed and that they were communicable, just about as well as we do today.

    I’m not sure it really mattered where they believed it came from: in a predominantly agrarian society, manpower shortages could cause a lot more damage. Having less bodies for the fields and the barracks caused all kinds of nasty spin-off effects in the Roman Empire, whether it was the 2nd, 3rd, or 6th Century.

  41. V. Hickel says:
    @Catdog

    Until divorce leaves you with neither. Marriage is a sucker’s game these days.

    • Replies: @V. K. Ovelund
  42. You people with your “wind power caused the Texas blackouts” are either stupid or shills.

    You’ll never read the articles linked below. Because they use big words. But they explain in exquisite irrefutable detail how the blame belongs directly on ERCOT –and not in the least on wind generators that are in reality “producing significantly more than forecast,” ignorant ones.

    You’ll never be able to refute the below articles because they are too intelligent for you. You will however divert and mis-direct and red-herring up an ice storm, I’ll warrant.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/02/18/texans-grid-outage-deregulation/
    https://theintercept.com/2021/02/19/deconstructed-texas-republicans-experiment/https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/02/texas-power-grid-crumples-under-the-cold/https://twitter.com/nycsouthpaw/status/1362084830503141381
    https://www.power-grid.com/blogs/has-privatization-failed-texas-utility-customers/#gref
    https://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Colorado-City-mayor-Tim-Boyd-electricity-resigned-15956559.php

    • Troll: neutral
    • Replies: @V. K. Ovelund
  43. neutral says:
    @Twinkie

    You are blaming the victim not the villain.

    Had there been no WW2 then the jews would still have gotten to where we are now sooner or later. The US/UK/France/etc regimes were already ZOG states in the 1930s, at least some decided to make a final stand for Western civilization.

  44. Voting in the U.S. was a proxy for violence. Not sure it still is. More like crooked elections are a prelude to violence.

    • Agree: V. K. Ovelund
  45. @obwandiyag

    About the six articles you link,…

    [MORE]

    Four of the six are from hostile Leftist news/propaganda outlets, probably by writers who know less about electric power than you or I. Such outlets have zero credibility. I skipped the articles. I hope that you did, too.

    The power-grid.com article is by a business-school professor who, uncharacteristically for a professor, seems to unable to write plain, clear English. After reading the article, I am unsure whether its author is informing us or cajoling us: if informing, of what? if cajoling, toward what? But, yeah, I don’t get his point; and the article is too turgid to encourage a second reading.

    The arstechnica.com article is interesting as far as it goes, thanks.

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
  46. The headline reads:

    Voting Is a Proxy for Combat

    Yes. The preceding statement is self-evidently and trivially true. That’s the whole point of voting. I don’t quite understand why pointing this out merits some sort of special attention. So, now I have a serious question: Are there people in this discussion forum for whom this actually constitutes a revelation?

  47. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Twinkie

    The Founding Fathers of the United States specifically designed the government of their new country to be republican in nature and not democratic, precisely because they knew the latter often degenerated into unjust mob rule.

    The left in this country has labored tirelessly to demolish this marvelous and sagacious construct and has toiled to erect a system of mass politics of theater in its stead.

    I agree with most of what you say. The only point I’d make in reply is that I think the Right has been equally guilty of fetishising democracy.

  48. Harold says:
    @TG

    As opposed to combat where you go to the battlefield for leader A or B and then the rich ignore you and do whatever they want.

  49. Harold says:
    @Twinkie

    There are other things that exist only because of men’s feelings or perceptions. Such as the value of a dollar, or a bitcoin, which only exists within a community that agrees it has value and is willing to exchange it for goods and services. Likewise rights might be said to only exist in a community that agrees they will not stand for anyone transgressing those rights.

    • Replies: @V. K. Ovelund
  50. @V. K. Ovelund

    A. You lie. You didn’t read them. You just looked at the bylines.
    B. Facts are facts no matter what organ publishes them.
    C. Diversion and mis-direction. Just what I expected from you shills. You response, of course, as I knew it would, says nothing, nothing, nothing whatsoever, about my point–about ERCOT.

    Phony lying troll.

  51. @Harold

    There are other things that exist only because of men’s feelings or perceptions. Such as the value of a dollar….

    According to Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), if I understand, within the United States, a dollar has value because it has the power to satisfy a tax bill.

    • Replies: @silviosilver
  52. @Clyde Wilson

    “I think the problem is not high-IQ people. The problem is mediocre people who think they are smarter than they are.”

    The problem goes all the way to the top. Bill Gates, no mediocrity he, is absolutely convinced that carbon emissions are the worst thing humanity faces.

    A 1 or 2 degree temperature rise, when many places have natural annual swings of 100 degrees or more, would not even be noticeable if it wasn’t pointed out to us.

    We have to rid our entire economy of carbon or else he explains. And because Gates has shown how smart he is, other smarties align their thinking with his.

    It is extraordinarily out of touch to think carbon emission our number one problem. It takes a huge amount of mental spinning to get there. The total collapse of fertility among all the demographic groups with an average IQ above 95 is a far better candidate. Now there is an abyss to stare into. But here we are. And Bill Gates is too smart and too cloistered for anyone to get common sense through his thick skull.

    I want to call Bill Gates an idiot for obsessing over this, but that isn’t it. Dismissing this as stupidity is not the right diagnosis. Instead he has this hubris that something he doesn’t like is within his power to change.

    He literally wants to change the weather. And there is a good chance he will royally wreck our economy in the process, because many of the best parts of our economy, from bounteous food production to energy independence to cheap utilities to the amazing possibilities of travel to our big homes, are carbon fueled.

    We just got through a year of global lockdown plus a collapse of free speech for a mundane albeit nasty virus that ran it’s normal course anyway for most of a year. And who drove that lockdown more than anyone else? It was Bill Gates, a certified leader of our intellectual elite. So we had better take him very seriously when he tells what he wants to do next.

    This is the thing we must grapple with. So much that flies in the face of common sense is driven by very high IQ people. The New York Times organization seems to go pedal-to-metal on wokeism, driving the purge of unwoke thought, even as the basic premises of wokeism are empirically wrong. These NY Times people aren’t mediocrities – they are at the pinnacle of their field.

    This seems to get at the core of the problem. Bill Gates and the Times staff haven’t been kicked around by life like most people have and so they haven’t been taught limits. They even challenge GNON herself! They haven’t learned to doubt themselves even when self-doubt would be really appropriate. And more, they do not bear the worst consequences of their GNON challenging hubris, others do.

    Good thinking has to be brutally self critical. You have to be riddled with doubt. It would be great if Bill Gates and the NY Times staff had a little doubt. And it would be great if people around them wouldn’t be such sycophants.

    Compare Bill Gates and Donald Trump. Both smart billionaires. Trump’s egotism is clearly on display and he is relentlessly challenged (understatement). But Bill Gates is every bit as egotistical. Perhaps more so judging by how disconnected he is from you or me. And his egotism clouds his thinking terribly. But because his manner is so soothing and agreeable- especially to the smart set- the hubris that messes up his judgment is unrecognized. And so he is hardly ever challenged by the people who interact with him, even as his plans for society are much more extreme than Trump’s ever were.

    • Thanks: Mark G.
  53. @V. Hickel

    I have been thinking overnight about how to answer your reply.

    Until divorce leaves you with neither. Marriage is a sucker’s game these days.

    Unfortunately, I have no answer. I wish that I did. You have a point.

    Happily married 26 years with five children by a loyal wife (who, before we married, had a plethora of illustrious options besides marrying me), I’ve fortunately not walked in your shoes.

    Is there a change in policy, or in anything else, you would recommend to alleviate the problem? Not that I have the power to implement any such change, but I’d still like to know.

    • Replies: @Mark G.
  54. dfordoom says: • Website
    @A123

    Limiting voting to productive members of society would fix many of the problems.

    Having adopted “Unqualified” democracy, how does America undo that error and return to “Qualified” democracy?

    Democracy is an evil, and limiting the franchise just compounds the evil. It creates a disenfranchised class which has no reason whatsoever to feel any loyalty to the regime. In fact they have every reason to hate the regime. Limiting voting to productive members of society would make things worse. It would set the haves and the have-nots at each other’s throats.

    You need a system that serves all the people, not just the rich and the privileged and not just the majority. The only workable system yet devised that serves all the people is monarchy. The King is everybody’s king. He’s not just serving the interests of a part of the population.

    • Agree: V. K. Ovelund
    • Replies: @iffen
  55. iffen says:
    @dfordoom

    The King is everybody’s king. He’s not just serving the interests of a part of the population.

    Until he starts courting a certain faction or group because he needs their support to stay in power.

    The decision making process is not the problem.

    The problem is the decisions being made.

    • Replies: @Wency
    , @dfordoom
  56. Mark G. says:
    @V. K. Ovelund

    Is there a change in policy, or in anything else, you would recommend to alleviate the problem?

    Your question wasn’t directed at me but I have wondered if the problem is not with the current marriage contract. There is the same contract for everyone but instead of marriage rates dropping uniformly across all economic classes the drop has been much heavier among the poor and working classes. If the decline of marriage is because of the contract then why isn’t the decline the same percentage across all classes?

    One possibility might be increases in welfare. An upper middle class female probably won’t be tempted to go on welfare if there is an increase in benefits because she can get a job with a higher income than that or marry a high income male. Imagine, though, an 85 IQ inner city black woman. She won’t be able to get a high paying job and neither will her also 85 IQ black boyfriend. The ability of black men to get decent paying jobs in recent years has been made even worse because of the offshoring of the types of factory jobs they used to work. If welfare benefits are raised to close to or equal to what he can make the temptation will increase for her not to get married and instead go on welfare and pick a boyfriend based on looks or personality rather than whatever limited breadwinner ability he might have.

    I come from a middle class background but have probably spent a little more time around poor people than many and this is what I’ve seen. Oddly, several years back there was something called “game” used by pickup artists. This theory was elaborated in a number of books and blogs but interest in it then seemed to decline because it wasn’t working as well as advertised. When I read descriptions of game tactics I almost immediately recognized these were descriptions of what I had seen working on poor black women when used by black guys. So the pua types were encouraging mostly middle class white males to act like ghetto black guys. The underlying assumption was that what was increasingly working for one group would work for the other but that turned out not to be the case. Many upper and upper middle class females are still picking out mates in the more traditional way so “game” didn’t work to quite the same extent on them.

    • Thanks: V. K. Ovelund
  57. @DanHessinMD

    A 1 or 2 degree temperature rise, when many places have natural annual swings of 100 degrees or more, would not even be noticeable if it wasn’t pointed out to us.

    And there you are wrong.  DEAD wrong.

    Ten years ago I moved to a place a fractional degree colder than the one I’d lived in most of my life.  The difference is VAST.  The snow that fell there was almost uniformly dense, wet and very hard to clear; the typical snow that falls here is powdery, light and clears easily.  This winter has been a fractional degree warmer than normal.  There is a lot less snow than normal, though most of it has been the normal type.

    Two degrees C is a devastating change.

    • Replies: @JSebastian
    , @DanHessinMD
  58. Wency says:
    @iffen

    Until he starts courting a certain faction or group because he needs their support to stay in power.

    The lesson from history would seem to be that it’s not monarchs seeking to maximize their power that causes the biggest problems. It’s when monarchs don’t actually give a crap about ruling, or are too weak or incompetent to do so. Those are the ones that invite invasion, civil war, and rampant corruption among advisors and bureaucrats.

    But it seems we’re perhaps on agreement on this, that the search for a perfect system isn’t going to get you much of anywhere. Good leaders can emerge under a variety of systems, and rotten leaders can wreck any system.

    My view though is that violent transfers of power are almost always bad. Most of the time, you’re better off keeping a bad king than fighting a civil war to install a good one. It’s for that reason that I think it’s generally better to stick with a decadent and degenerate but still more or less functional system, than to try to overthrow the whole edifice. Only in a case of breakdown and anarchy is it worth the trouble of replacing the system.

    The governments that follow monarchies are almost invariably worse than what they replace, but the same can be said of those that followed democracy. The only case that’s almost always an unequivocal improvement is getting rid of Communists.

    • Replies: @iffen
    , @dfordoom
  59. @V. K. Ovelund

    No. That is their theory on the origin of money.

  60. nebulafox says:
    @Twinkie

    The thing that stands out to me the most was the conscious decision to piss away dozens of Polish, Baltic, and Ukrainian legions that would have been *extremely* motivated in a campaign against Muscovite Bolshevism… all for the ivory tower dreams of second rate intellectuals whose names have long since been forgotten.

    It really could have been Mitteleuropa’s century.

    >The destruction of Germany was a catastrophe, pure and simple, the death of Mitteleuropa, perhaps only exceeded by the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian dual monarchy after the First World War.

    Pyotr Durnovo: the 20th Century Russian Cassandra.

  61. iffen says:
    @Wency

    The only case that’s almost always an unequivocal improvement is getting rid of Communists.

    So you are just ignoring Red China?

    • Replies: @A123
    , @dfordoom
  62. A123 says:
    @iffen

    So you are just ignoring Red China?

    Are you trying to defend Red China’s Great Leap Forward under Mao? (1)

    Mr Dikötter, who has been studying Chinese rural history from 1958 to 1962, when the nation was facing a famine, compared the systematic torture, brutality, starvation and killing of Chinese peasants to the Second World War in its magnitude. At least 45 million people were worked, starved or beaten to death in China over these four years; the worldwide death toll of the Second World War was 55 million.

    Almost everyone, including a fair number of Chinese, concede that Mao and Red China produced a disaster of epic proportions. The only thing worse than large-scale, political Communism as a system of government is a violent Theocracy.

    PEACE 😇
    __________

    (1) From 2011 — https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/news/mao-s-great-leap-forward-killed-45-million-four-years-2081630.html

  63. dfordoom says: • Website
    @iffen

    The decision making process is not the problem.

    The decision making process is a major part of the problem if the decision making process is fundamentally flawed, oppressive and corrupt. Any decision making process based on voting is in my view fundamentally flawed, oppressive and corrupt and it makes no difference how open or how restrictive the franchise is.

    Monarchs at least have to consider the interests of the whole country to some extent. Monarchy is far from perfect, no political system is close to being perfect, but it has major advantages over democratic systems.

    If you have a fundamentally flawed, oppressive and corrupt decision making process you will get a lot more bad decisions.

    I have no illusions. Democracy is what we’re stuck with for the foreseeable future. The US will continue to try to impose democracy on the rest of the planet and the results will be disastrous.

  64. A123 says:

    I would suggest taking a step back. Two related concepts core underpinning successful societies are:

    • Shared beliefs in the population
    • The consent of the governed

    A Republic can have checks and balances that prevent the “bad king” problem. However, no system can succeed if the population is divided and a huge % of the population wants to undercut the government.

    As originally conceived, the U.S. had strong states and a relatively weak federal government constrained by the 10th Amendment. Each state was fairly cohesive even if they disagreed with each other. The citizens of Georgia were not directly at odds with the Quakers citizens of Pennsylvania.

    The 16th Amendment gave far too much money to DC, and this resulted in a shift away from a State based Republic to a system defined by Federal dominance. This accumulation of power at the center broke the ability of States to foster shared beliefs within a state. The Federal government tries to push the same beliefs on the citizens all states. What works in Connecticut and Vermont simply does not work in other places.

    At this point, I will take any system that brings MAGA Main Street values and turns back the sellout of American workers by SJW Globalist Elites. Doing that within the current Constitutional framework is my 1st choice. However, if the only way out of the current bind is for Emperor Triumphus I to abolish the DC Swamp… I am willing to consider it. We can write a new Constitution better than the current one.

    PEACE 😇

  65. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Wency

    My view though is that violent transfers of power are almost always bad. Most of the time, you’re better off keeping a bad king than fighting a civil war to install a good one. It’s for that reason that I think it’s generally better to stick with a decadent and degenerate but still more or less functional system, than to try to overthrow the whole edifice. Only in a case of breakdown and anarchy is it worth the trouble of replacing the system.

    On the whole I agree.

    I think the present system will limp along for a long time yet. It will get steadily more corrupt and more oppressive and more incompetent but overthrowing an established system is a huge risk.

    The best course of action would be to try to reform the present system. Unfortunately the chances of that happening are practically zero. It could be made less awful than it is, but the people with power and money don’t want it reformed and the people without power and money have no coherent ideas as to how reform could be achieved or what form such reform might take.

    The dissident right has failed very badly to confront this issue. Apart from the idiotic suggestion about restricting the vote, a suggestion which would concentrate even more power in the hands of the very elites who are causing the problem.

  66. dfordoom says: • Website
    @iffen

    So you are just ignoring Red China?

    Red China ceased to exist forty years ago. It’s as dead as the old Soviet Union.

    The current Chinese system is certainly not the same as the current US system (it’s a whole lot better) but it certainly isn’t communist either. Talking about Red China is just silly.

    I do agree that the Chinese were very fortunate that the Chinese Communist Party remained in power, but the Chinese Communist Party ain’t communist any more.

    • Replies: @iffen
    , @nebulafox
  67. dfordoom says: • Website

    Two related concepts core underpinning successful societies are:

    • Shared beliefs in the population
    • The consent of the governed

    Believing in “shared beliefs in the population” is one of the hallmarks of totalitarianism (or theocracy).

    “Shared beliefs in the population” is what our elites are working towards right now.

    If it’s all the same with you I’d prefer to be free to have my own beliefs. And I’m happy for you to have your own beliefs.

  68. @Mr. Rational

    The density of snow is driven far more by relative humidity than temperature as any skier or backcountry hunter can tell you.

    2 degrees of temperature is going to be nearly unnoticeable unless it can tilt the average temperatures on either side of freezing – there just isn’t any substantial difference otherwise.

    But more to the point – you could transplant an inhabitant of your region from 150 years ago (so prior to the anthropogenic forcing signals) and they would not notice any difference in average temperatures today vs their contemporaneous average. It just hasn’t been substantial enough to even detect. In fact, nearly all deviated readings are within the error of measurement (of the reference period – usually multi-decadal span) or can be attributed to local hotspots and heat islands. Even these ocean surface temperature measurements are useless – do people think the water doesn’t move – that there is no concept of “circulation” ?

    No, there is no way climate is the number one challenge of humanity. It might have been, before a reliable source of heat, lots of people froze to death. But people live where it is habitable, not usually where it is not. That’s one reason the climate has never caused our extinction. If its too cold or hot, we go somewhere else.

  69. anon[207] • Disclaimer says:

    Of course voting is a proxy for combat. So long as the rules of voting can hold, it is combat. But as you note the rules seldom hold for long and the ruling party turns voting into shadow boxing so it will be troubled with it no longer. At some point real combat returns.

    As for reality, no one in our age cares much for reality. Reality, at best, is for the other fellow. Go to any bookstore and check out the size of the fantasy and science fiction section. Or go online to peruse the websites devoted to the two genres. The prime objective of science for many people in the current age is to overthrow reality and build a reality that is pure fantasy.

    As a result we cannot tell the difference from building a fantastic reality and a realistic to you fantasy. The power of science can be transformative but not everything is possible. At least not yet. This gives rise to a fake it until you make it attitude when you cannot overthrow those aspects of reality you most despise.

    Make no mistake, reality is both offensive and a challenge. In the last hundred years much that was thought to be pure fantasy has become reality so the dream of limitless power to overthrow all of reality and make the universe into one vast collective solipsism has only grown. The universe then becomes a vast mix of the silly and the sublime completely subordinate to human will. We shall either create reality out of our delusions or break ourselves on our delusions of reality.

    • Thanks: V. K. Ovelund
  70. iffen says:
    @dfordoom

    the Chinese Communist Party ain’t communist any more

    Are you familiar with the term: “actually existing communism”?

    They say that they are and that is what has lead to their success.

    You say that they are not doing it right.

    It’s a big country with millions of people and you are just going to override their claims based on your opinion?

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  71. @Mr. Rational

    Mr. Rational, raging at the weather, which is surely the thing LEAST in one’s power to change, is completely irrational. Even if Bill Gates were Godlike and could crush the American economy and its carbon emissions it would hardly make a difference since China’s and overall Asia’s output dwarfs our own. This is total irrationality.

    The temperature has increased about 1 degree F in the last hundred years. The idea that this is our worst problem is not rational. Can you imagine nothing worse than this? Because I can give you a list. Dictatorial control of America to fight carbon emissions would cause immeasurable harm while possibly not even making a measurable temperature difference.

    You prove my point about clever sillies. I presume you are objectively more intelligent than the average bear. But there is a hubris to change things that we have little control over (the weather), when we can focus more constructively on serious problems much more within our realm of control. This is almost exactly the lesson of King Canute.

    • Agree: dfordoom
  72. dfordoom says: • Website
    @iffen

    the Chinese Communist Party ain’t communist any more

    Are you familiar with the term: “actually existing communism”?

    They say that they are and that is what has lead to their success.

    You say that they are not doing it right.

    No, that’s not at all what I’m saying. I’m saying that they’re not communists. It’s not a question of not doing it right – they’re not doing it at all.

    As for “actually existing communism” just about the only place where you could argue that there’s “actually existing communism” is North Korea. Communism is pretty much extinct as a political system, except in the fevered imaginations of ageing Cold Warriors who think it’s still the 1950s.

    What politicians and political parties say they are and what they actually are two different things.

    And I emphasise that I am not saying the current Chinese system is pure free-market capitalism. It’s neither communism nor pure free-market capitalism. And I’m not saying the current Chinese system is the same as the current neo-liberal system in the US. The Chinese have come up with a system that is neither communism nor neo-liberalism.

    • Replies: @anon
    , @songbird
  73. anon[112] • Disclaimer says:
    @dfordoom

    I’m saying that they’re not communists. It’s not a question of not doing it right – they’re not doing it at all.

    No True Communist!
    The True Communism Found In One Australian Basement!

    lol.

  74. nebulafox says:
    @dfordoom

    >Red China ceased to exist forty years ago. It’s as dead as the old Soviet Union.

    Yes and no. It’s certainly true that modern China is a lot more along the lines of what Chiang envisioned than Mao: state capitalist, authoritarian, centralized, nationalist, moderately socially conservative. But they still believe in the Marxist end-state of history. They just don’t think it is coming any time soon. Being Chinese helps: 100, 200 years isn’t that long of a time for them. The CCP also has an ambiguous relationship with the universalist tendencies of Marxism: they don’t outright reject historical materialist laws, but they also don’t think they manifest quite as uniformly as the USSR did.

    (As an old fashioned historical conservative, I tend to be sympathetic to non-universalist arguments about how different nations will have different requirements for political systems based on their current circumstances and cultures, as well as pro-Westphalian arguments. But it’s important to not get too carried away with that. Buying the CCP’s views on “Asian values” requires you to ignore Japan, South Korea, and most troublingly from the CCP perspective, Taiwan. Even Singapore, while no democracy, is much, much more liberal, despite being a Chinese dominated society.)

    Vietnam makes for an interesting comparison point: although similar on the surface, the two countries do have surprisingly divergent politics underneath. The VWP followed the “Russian” model of transitioning to capitalism rather than the Chinese model back in the 1990s (which was a mistake) but they are also avoiding the centralization drive that Xi Jinping is pushing right now, and it’s a lot easier to get things off the ground without state patronage. Vietnam is currently where China was roughly 15, 20 years ago, so it’ll be interesting to see how things go there.

    • Replies: @Wency
  75. @DanHessinMD

    I wonder if it is useful to probe the sources people read. Gates reads Vaclav Smil, a Czech author who exudes authority. The other person I know who reads Smil religiously fancies himself an open-minded leftist but is actually quite normie-left closed-minded.

  76. J1234 says:

    Rights, it appears, belong to those strong enough to enforce them. There are occasional times, such as in the former United States, where those in charge have the conviction and curiosity to permit rights to those weaker than themselves, but those times are fleeting, as the inheritors of such noble sentiments are rarely so noble themselves.

    Fascinating insight, concisely stated. The implication of this is that a free and open society is destined to fluctuate in its political and moral principals over time to either accommodate – or compensate for – weaker generations.

    The Left is successful at pushing its cultural agenda because, unlike the mainstream Right, its ideology is guided by a very simple principle: equality/inclusion. The libertarian sort of right-wingers have freedom as an ideal, but cultural conservatives only have a convoluted mess of post hoc rationalizations. You’ll notice that the Right’s “freedom” agenda has fared much better over the years than its cultural agenda.

    Many trace the roots of the left back to Marx, but my personal suspicion is that its psychological origins go back thousands of years to the earliest days of animal husbandry, when humans discovered that the best way to make large and dangerous ruminant mammals more predictable and less dangerous was to turn them into livestock. A much more efficient system from the animal keepers’ point of view.

    In this sense, the idea of equality becomes more of a social mechanism than a moral or legal precept, promoting the idea of human interchangeability – people are herd animals…or widgets that can be easily replaced with other widgets of the same type. The industrial revolution helped promote this idea of equality, and in this sense, Marx isn’t so much a reaction to the industrial revolution as a facilitator of it.

    I would imagine a herd mentality has political advantages, too…but only within its own ranks, where an accepted single-mindedness can accomplish impressive goals. Equality promotes focus where freedom promotes diversity of thought and diffusion. Outside of the left’s ranks (in the macro), however, this perspective implodes, as single-mindedness among humans isn’t realistic in the long run. But if the right consistently fails in the short run??

  77. songbird says:
    @dfordoom

    No, that’s not at all what I’m saying. I’m saying that they’re not communists. It’s not a question of not doing it right – they’re not doing it at all.

    I’m not sure this is sensible taxonomy. For one thing, it misses the essential point that one of the core facets of communism is a monopoly on political power. And if they didn’t give up their monopoly on political power, then how can it be a different system? Surely, it is just the same system, in a different life stage – one which is more mature.

    Meanwhile, democracy is a system that starts with official opposition and that superficially recognizes dissenting voices. It is a competition to form coalitions of voters – to make new voters. And to garner new campaign contributions. Ultimately, this seems to result in the extreme fetishization of universality and the elevation of large corporations. This means that democracy has its own life stages too. And, likely, we haven’t seen the worst of it, yet.

    It is easy to say that communism is bad, and democracy is good, but we may not be comparing different political systems in their totality, rather just the early life stages of different political organisms.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  78. dfordoom says: • Website
    @songbird

    Surely, it is just the same system, in a different life stage – one which is more mature.

    Ideologies (and political parties) evolve. When they evolve to a certain point they become new ideologies (and new political parties). Just as an animal species evolves into a new species.

    Present-day political parties such as the Chinese Communist Party, the British Conservative Party and the US Republican and Democratic Parties have evolved into new species of political parties bearing only a superficial resemblance to the parties from which they evolved. Ideologies such as liberalism and communism have evolved into new ideological species bearing only the faintest resemblance to the ideologies from which they evolved.

    Just a new species of animal will still share some of the DNA of the earlier species so political parties still carry some of the political DNA from the parties from which they evolved. But they are still new species.

    And just as animals go on evolving into ever newer species, so too do political parties and ideologies keep evolving into new species. Eventually they end up having almost nothing in common with the ancestral parties or ideologies.

    • Agree: V. K. Ovelund
  79. Wency says:
    @nebulafox

    But they still believe in the Marxist end-state of history.

    I think you mean to say “they claim to believe”. What evidence of any kind is there that the top leaders of the PRC believe this? Their words are no evidence of anything, because the CCP can’t disavow Communism without disavowing some of its own claims to legitimacy. It would be like the House of Habsburg disavowing monarchy but still trying to rule Austria-Hungary as a military dictatorship.

    To be a member of the CCP is no more a political statement than to say, “I am politically ambitious.” There’s no other game in town. You can still hate Communism and join it, so long as you’re willing to formally pay it lip service in the abstract when asked. Just as surely more than one US President has repeated the words “So help me God” in the Oath of Office without actually believing in God.

    Deng actually became a Communist as a young man, decades before there was such a thing as the PRC, and so I think it’s a fair guess that he was a true believer at one point, though he was surely pretty disillusioned by the time Mao died. All the leaders since him have come of age after the PRC was established, and I can’t find any reason to think they ever had serious convictions about Communism. Far more likely, they just had convictions about wanting to go into politics.

    • Replies: @V. K. Ovelund
  80. @Wency

    Best line of the week:

    It would be like the House of Habsburg disavowing monarchy but still trying to rule Austria-Hungary as a military dictatorship.

Current Commenter
says:

Leave a Reply - Your comment will appear after approval from the schoolmarm. Racial slurs, dehumanizing language, personal identifying information, spamming, the advocation of illegal activity, or excessive profanity will not be approved. Approval of a comment does not imply endorsement of its contents by the authors of this blog or by The Unz Review.


 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments have been licensed to The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Audacious Epigone Comments via RSS