Stupid Party Internal Fight

That fat slob of a New Jersey governor has the chattering classes talking about the brewing fight between “libertarians” and “conservatives” over the direction of the GOP.  Here’s a representative article on it. The author does a fair job of labeling one side the establishment and the other insurgents. Calling the GOP conservative is not just a factual error, it accepts the establishment view of the world which is inaccurate and self-serving. America’s ruling elites range from fanatically left-wing to mildly liberal. The fanatics call the mildly liberal “conservative” and “right-wing.” The mildly liberal call the other guys liberal and progressive, when they dare stand up for themselves in public.

The GOP’s role in this is as a rubber stamp for the Democrats. The Democrats are run by the fanatics. They chased off their mildly liberal members in the 1990’s. The GOP is run by the mildly liberal, but have a sizable number of non-liberals of various stripes. For as long as I’ve been alive, the myth is that the non-liberals run the GOP, but that was always nonsense. At best they contribute some color to an otherwise drab party of establishment career men. In every fight, the establishment types surrender to the fanatics to the great disappointment of the non-liberals. Now, it appears the non-liberals are starting to wake up and target the surrender wing of the GOP. As Michael Walsh noted on NRO, it is a good time to have the fight.

My own view is the status quo is only brought down through crisis and catastrophe. That’s why every epoch is book-ended by violent conflicts. The Civil War ended the colonial period, ushering in the Industrial Age.  The riots of the late sixties and stagnation of the 1970’s ended the post-war period and ushered in the free money era. Revolutions throughout the Soviet Bloc ended the communist era, just as it started it. If the GOP is going to become something other than the Stupid Party, it will be a bloody mess before it emerges. The old guard will not leave quietly. Their friends in the establishment will move heaven and earth to support their collaborators.

My bet is the old guard wins for now. Until the money runs out, nothing will change.

Complex Systems

One of the things you learn quickly when working with complex software is that one tiny change in one area of the program can result in unexpected behavior in another, unrelated, part of the software. Even when you know the software in detail, you are often surprised by the results of small changes. The reason for this is there are so many variables and related conditions, it is impossible to keep them in your head all at once. There are limits to how many chess moves the mind can anticipate. Put another way, we’re not that smart. Even high IQ types who work complex problems in physics run into this, which is why they control for as many things as possible in their proofs.

Anyway, the social planners never seem to get this or even recognize it exists. They are so confident in their power to model the new socialist man they blithely assume all sorts of things about the human condition. ObamaCare is a good example of this at work. They started with one goal in mind. They wanted to transfer the costs of giving middle-class health care to the poor from the government to private business. That means mandating coverage for employers. They quickly figured out that the unemployed and seasonal would not get coverage so they came up with the individual mandate.

It sounds good. If you have a job you employer has to pay the freight. If you don’t have a job, then you have to pay the freight. Eventually, people with eyes and time on earth in America explained that ghetto dwellers were never going to buy insurance. They also explained that most employers could not afford insurance. That means expanding Medicaid and subsidizing private insurance. One and one it went until the result was a 2,000 page bill requiring tens of thousands of regulators writing tens of thousands of pages of regs. All of which would be layered on top of the existing tens of thousands of regs. A massively complex system was going to bolted onto a massively complex system the legislators did not understand.

Since becoming law, we have been treated to a hilarious series of unexpected results. Employers are afraid to hire, not knowing the consequences. Their lawyers quickly figured out a way out of the mandate by moving from full time to part time. Hundreds of thousands have lost benefits because they are now part time. Now, cities in financial trouble will follow suit by throwing their workers onto the government system to avoid paying health care bills. Detroit is first up, trying to erase a few billion in expenses by shoveling their employees onto the dole. You can be sure every other city will look to do something similar. It is too tempting.

The result of all of this is pretty much the opposite of what the central planners expected. Instead of decreasing the cost to government, costs will go up faster. Instead of more people with insurance, you will see fewer people with insurance. Unions are ready to revolt because they suddenly find themselves no longer able to offer benefit plans. Doctors, seeing their earnings prospects decline are leaving the system and finding ways to carve out private systems for upper middle-class clients. On and on it goes, a myriad of unexpected outcomes accelerating the collapse of the health care system.

Wisdom is knowing what you don’t know. The opposite of that is being a liberal central planner.


Stupid Party Update

Looks like the Stupid Party is preparing to make Obama a hero this fall. The hilarious part of it is they will not just make Obama look like Lincoln they will end up giving the store away at the end. It is a familiar story. The Stupid Party looks around and sees that their base is wandering off in disgust. They think the way to get them back is to pick a pointless fight with the other guys over the budget. They will make a bunch of noises intense to get “their side” ready for battle. A handful of Congressmen who really want to reign in the blob will be front and center making their case. The press will play it cool for a while hoping for a shutdown. Then they will pile on the hapless Stupid Party like convicts on a new inmate. After a week of beatings, Boehner will cave and give the White House a blank check. Conservative Inc will chatter on about about the need to get more Stupid Party members in Congress and win back the White House for the SP’s.

I’ve been reading a lot of European history of late. One thing that always strikes me is how the nobles were able to set themselves up in power and maintain that power. They were clearly better educated and probably in the top tier of IQ for their respective populations. There were some blockheads springing from the royal loins, but they self-policed. If the next in line was an idiot, he often “fell ill” in his youth and never made it to adulthood. Democracies work the same way, just without the inherited positions. Even the children of pols have to stand for election. That’s the self-policing. The retarded Kennedy can be placed in a safe Congressional seat, but he is never running for president. The smart ones are groomed for bigger things.

What explains the Stupid Party?

I have not had time to think this through, but sense is the parties have changed since the 1980’s. The “new” economy born out of the Louvre Accords allowed the ruling class of America to sever itself from the middle class entirely. From the 1930’s through the 1980’s, the Democrat party was the home of cultural elites and the working and middle classes. The GOP was the home of the business and financial classes along with upper middle and some middle classes. If you owned a body shop were inclined to vote Republican, while if you worked at the body shop you voted Democrat. There was plenty of overlap, but that was the general breakdown. Then the world changed as the money changed in the 1980’s and 1990’s. The political alignment quickly followed.

Today, the Democrats are the ruling class party. They are the Cavaliers. The jealously guard the interests and prerogatives of the state and the elites. There’s a reason we have gone through three major financial crisis and no one has gone to jail. There’s a reason why Wall Street gives 2-to-1 to Democrats. On the other side, the GOP has become the home of the working and middle classes. They still have plenty of upper class businessmen who run the Chamber of Commerce, but those are folks decidedly not in the elite. That body shop owner is now solidly Republican, but so are most of his employees. Government, Gays, Guns and God is what unites the working class whites of the GOP with the middle class whites. The GOP is now the Roundheads, except they lack anyone with the skill and self-awareness of Oliver Cromwell.

The Stupid Party not only has an IQ deficit, they also have another problem. They don’t get it. They look at the fight as just one group of loyal Americans against another group of loyal Americans. They think they can have honest dealings with the other side. In reality, the other side wants them dead. We are in a cold civil war and the establishment elites are playing to win. They are not interested in compromise. The result is the Stupid Party shows up to every gun fight with their hat in hand, hoping to appeal to the other side’s patriotism, good sense and good will. It is never a fair fight.

History says, however, that the Roundheads eventually figure it out. That’s when it will get interesting.

Smart Fraction Theory

John Derbyshire has a bit in his weekly transmission bout Smart Fraction Theory. The argument, one that John describes well in his broadcast, is that a society needs to have a certain number of high IQ people in order to maintain the institutions necessary for a functioning society. The author of the paper argues that there is a threshold number of “smart people” described as possessing an IQ above 108. About 30% of the American population falls into that category. A basket case like Equatorial Guinea probably has less than 1% that fall into this category as they have an average IQ at about 60. The few truly intelligent rule over the rest in the same way the one eyed man is the king of the blind.

John raises the topic in relation to Detroit. No one says it publicly, but the general belief is that when Detroit went black it was never coming back. The crime, corruption and dysfunction were baked in the cake and would follow the predictable path. Coleman Young, the first black mayor, was so openly hostile to whites that he could fairly be described as the Robert Mugabe of American politics. Like most post-colonial African potentates, Coleman held a mixed bag of Marxist ideas and a deep seeded hatred of the white middle-class. Within a few years he drove most of the whites out of Detroit.

The conclusion many make is that since there are no majority black societies that are thriving, the cause of the problem must be IQ. Prior to the 60’s, Detroit had a majority white population who supplied the bulk of the “smart fraction” needed to carry the underclass. Once they left, the remaining black population lacked the number smart people to carry the underclass. The result is what we see in sub-Saharan Africa. The smart fraction turns the institutions into weapons to rule over the rest and extract what value lies therein.  They exploit the available resources in a great bust out until it collapses. Basically, it is the Jim Goad argument.

I think that looking strictly at IQ misses a wide swath of observable facts that play a role as well. Lebanon is not exactly brimming with geniuses. If not for outside intervention by Israel and Syria, it would be a peaceful and prosperous land, by the standards of the Arab world. It would not be a rich country, but it would not be Detroit either. West Virginia is brimming with pinheads, yet manages to avoid the pathologies we see in Detroit, Camden, Chicago and other cities. Culture can and does provide a structure within which people make choices.

Much of what plagues sub-Saharan Africa is anti-colonialism. The ruling elite that replaced the Europeans rulers were motivated by what turned out to be an insane desire to scrub away the stain of colonialism. That led to doing the opposite of what made sense in many cases. Killing the white farmers in Mozambique resulted in the exodus of all whites, along with their wealth and expertise.  Robert Mugabe eventually went down the same path and Zimbabwe is now one of the poorest nations in the world. The Europeans did some awful things in Africa as colonial masters, but they did the basics right. The wholesale rejection of colonialism based in emotion is as much the cause of the consequent collapse as dimwittedness.

Detroit went through a similar process. The same is true of many cities, particularly those in the north. Blacks had moved from the Old Confederacy to the north for factory jobs. Whites found a way to segregate without resorting to the same tactics of the South. I suspect the popularity of liberalism has a lot to do with the fact that northern whites felt guilty about shoving blacks into ghettos and keeping them out of public office. It is easier to talk like MLK than to live like MLK. Eventually, blacks demanded whites live up to the words. The bitterness of blacks who came along in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s is due in large part to the realization their white collaborators were not really that interested in sharing the wealth with them. That resentment is what drove the new black politicians like Coleman Young to pursue anti-white polices, even though it resulted in a massive exodus of whites from the city. There was enough residual value in the city to keep the patronage machine going for a few decades, so they got to feel good without paying the price.

That’s the big question raised by the Detroit bankruptcy. We’ll never have a public debate on IQ. We can have a public debate on culture. The Left’s desire to nurse black hatred of whites cannot hold up if every majority black city in the nations is falling into bankruptcy. Even a few is enough to get the attention of the public. The fact that race relations appear to be getting worse, despite the election of Obama twice, tells me the gap between public debate and on-the-ground reality is getting big. Most whites are willing to accept blacks into society as long as blacks drop the grievance games and accept the responsibilities that come with being in the mainstream.


The Perils of Debt

When Karl Denninger is on his meds, he can be quite good. This is a a good example. Detroit did not just happen. Over decades, politicians, unions heads, business leaders and state officials conspired to perpetrate a fraud on the public. When they sat down with the unions and promised these pension plans, they knew they could never hold up their end of the bargain. The union bosses knew it too. I will not be shocked to learn that high ranking employees got special deals to insulate themselves from these losses. The same people also knew the GO bonds were never going to be repaid. That’s a fraud on the bond holders and the tax payers.

Detroit highlights another problem, one that is going to bring the nation to its knees. That’s the problem of public debt. For most of human history, government was subject to the same market forces as everyone else. When they borrowed, they did so at a rate set by lenders. They were also constrained by the types of debt available. The government could finance a bridge by pledging the tolls as collateral. They could borrow without pledging collateral, but those rates were higher as bond holders factored in risk. Many states forbid this type of borrowing by state and local government. The only other way for government to get money without raising taxes was to inflate the currency and that only applied to national governments. With hard money, this was very difficult to do for obvious reasons.

Today, government have many new ways to borrow money to buy votes. Pensions are a promise to pay tomorrow for services today. This allows the politicians to buy votes, the service today, and leave someone else with the bill. General Obligation Bonds are another way to get around the problem. They borrow to buy votes through community programs and patronage jobs. To make matters worse, the government only pays interest until maturity. When a bond matures, the bond holder gets their principal. In all cases, the government issues new bonds to pay old bond holders, thus rolling over debt without ever paying it down. This disguises the problem further, which makes it grow bigger and faster. If the employees knew twenty years ago that their pensions were at risk, they would have made different decisions.

Detroit finally reached a point where it could no longer pay interest on the debt and operate basic services. Most of the states in this country are on the same path. If interest rates revert to historic norms, states like Illinois will be bankrupt. The Federal government would add another $400 billion a year in debt payments. If you believe government will reform and avoid this catastrophe you have not been paying attention. If you think interest rates will remain near zero forever, you should seek professional help. Within the next decade, the great serial bankruptcy of American government will occur. Trillions in promises will be broken. The money will have finally run out.


More From the Stupid Party

New Jersey slob, Chris Christie, has decided to go off on Ran Paul. You have to give it to the Stupid Party. They never miss an opportunity to shoot themselves in the foot or face. Rand Paul is not going to be president. He is not going to win the GOP nomination in 2016. He will bring enthusiasm to the party and attract younger voters. He will also get the attention of disaffected voters who have concluded that the GOP is not worth their time. So of course, they send out their chief buffoon to ridicule Rand Paul and the folks enthusiastic about his issues.

What kills me about these idiots is there is zero support for the surveillance state. It should be an easy play. Come out against the state spying on citizens and you get votes. Instead, they go with the self-parody of waving the bloody shirt of 9/11 around, claiming safety trumps freedom. They think it makes them sound butch, but it just makes them sound stupid and weak. Maybe if we stop importing Muslim fanatics from terrorist countries, we would not have to turn America into a prison. Of course, the Stupid Party and this fat load is four square behind open borders and mass immigration.

The Stupid Party

One of the few remaining reasons to read National Review is Kevin Williamson. He is smart, shrewd, gutsy and a good writer. The rest of the mag is full of dullards and dimwits. Rich Lowry, a mediocrity of the first order, is afraid to hire anyone talented. Instead he gives space to guys like his personal toady Ramesh Ponnuru. The rest are just kids hoping to make a living off of people who make a living off of the tax payer. Williamson, on the other hand, is a talented guy. He does, however, produce a rotten column on occasion. This one is a prime example.

Politics is about rhetoric. Since the Greeks, the clever politician is the one who knows how to appeal to the hearts of his fellow citizens. That’s not always a good thing, of course. Alcibiades appealed to the patriotism of his fellow citizens over the sober judgements of Nicias. The result was the disastrous Sicilian Expedition, which lead to the fall of Athens. Still, it has been and always will be a central element of political debates. For one party to eschew these tactics is not honorable. It is stupid. Very stupid. It is an example of why the Right in general and the GOP in particular has lost every fight with the Left since Woodrow Wilson.

If the Right in America is to ever become a a real political force instead of merely a break on the Left, they have to master the tools of politics. You do that which is necessary to win. Obama lied every day of the 2008 primary so he could portray Hillary Clinton as an old bag. He lies all the time now trying to stay relevant. That’s what they do. The Left will lie, cheat, steal, break rules, break laws in order to win. The Obama campaign used the IRS to undermine the opposition in the last election. Until the Right smartens up and starts dealing with the Left as it is, they will remain the Stupid Party, a freak show of losers.

The Drawbridge Effect

A phenomenon observed by the  the more surly types is what they call the “drawbridge effect.” That’s where a group of over class types occupy a formerly beaten down area, setting about to approve it. Once it gets going, they begin to raise the drawbridge to keep the riff-raff out. That usually mean jacking up taxes, layering on regulations and limiting real estate. Cambridge Mass is a good example. Try building a house in that city and you will be met with a massive wall of regulation. That’s why no one builds houses there. Try to convert a building to apartments and the same thing happens. That’s why the population of Cambridge Mass is lower than it was in 1950.

We may be seeing something similar in the world of college sports. This story shows how it works. In this case, the big five conferences have hoovered up all of the good properties. They have left the undesirable properties in what they call the mid-major conferences. All of the conference commissioners have indicated two things. One is they are no longer interested in adding teams. The other thing is they now want special rules for themselves. They are, after all, the elite. In America these days, there is one set of laws for the prols and another set for the over class. They will lock in place the bulk of the revenue. They will setup rules that make it impossible for the prols to compete. But, they will need the prols for home coming games and early season cannon fodder.

The sound you hear is the raising of the drawbridge.

A Birth in a Dying Nation

Britain will be no more in half a century. Birth rates are falling and the island is being invaded by Muslims. The most popular baby name in Britain has been Mohamed for over a decade now. London is overrun by feral Muslims that are now sawing off the heads of natives. But, the dying husk of the nation is hanging onto their traditions. The birth of the future king (stop laughing) was announced like old times.




Roid Rage

Baseball is getting around to penalizing players in the last round of PED troubles. The Biogenesis scandal promises to take down 20 players using records from the closed lab. Baseball seems determined to use this case to make an example of some guys. Banning players for 90 games is a big penalty and puts the player at risk of a permanent ban. Braun is a confirmed liar and now he has two strikes against him. Another pinch and he is gone for good. That’s the theory anyway. Baseball, like the rest of America is spineless these days.

The great error baseball made was agreeing to a bunch of rules and procedures that invite the lawyers into the room. They want this stuff out of the game for a some very good reasons. The press may claim fans don’t care, but the press is full of idiots. The home run blitz we saw in the last decade was getting ridiculous and would have undermined the game. Plus, someone was going to have a stroke or take a liner off the head and die. Former players would be in TV boo-hooing about how they wrecked their bodies for those evil owners.

The way to do it was not an overly complicated process negotiated with the union. The first step was to ban all of the names in the Mitchell Report for life. Following the example of gambling 100 years ago, would most likely make cases like the one we see today unnecessary. Banning the players they knew cheated and were named in the report would have sent the same message Kenesaw Mountain Landis sent to baseball when he banned the Black Sox players for life. From that point forward, you could have testing, but you would know that the commissioner reserved the right to throw you out of the game for life. That would put an end to this for all but the dumbest of players.