Islam in Drag

Many of us out on the fringes have been pondering the series of weird moral panics and cultural shifts that have been coming at us for a long time now. The weird thing is the culture war seemed to be running out of steam in the Clinton years. He was a degenerate, but not much of a culture warrior. Polling showed the public had turned on the family issues like abortion and divorce. Even Bubba was talking about abortion being rare.

Then things went bonkers again. Homosexual rights quickly sprung up with groups like Act Out and then, of course, homosexual marriage was on us. That was 15 years ago, maybe? That fight raged and then the ground shifted again. The trannies were suddenly in the street demanding I’m not sure what. Today brings news that the Feds are suing a company for discriminating against trannies. It won’t be long before they are forced to make cakes for them.

It’s easy to let the freakishness of it all distract from what’s really going on. Many on the right make that error, thinking the issue is the issue. They never stop and wonder why these issues. Steve Sailer has written about the bigger picture, but I suspect he just finds it all too amusing to waste much time on it. Frankly, I fall into this trap as well. The material is just too rich to leave untended. The jokes write themselves.

In my more lucid moments I used to think it was all part of the suicidal impulse of the Left. As I’ve written before, people join movements out of self-loathing. They seek to replace their identity with that of the group. It is a form of self-obliteration. Get enough of these people together heading in the wrong direction and they are soon shopping for alien abduction insurance and Phenobarbital. In a political cult like Liberalism, they try to tear down the structures of civil society. In other words, all of these causes are a means to an end and have little to do with helping the oppressed minorities, real or imagined.

Sitting atop a mountain, cross-legged in quiet contemplation, it occurred to me that the latest rounds of moral panics about the big bad NFL are a piece with the current war on normal. We have male players acting poorly towards women and children. Further, we have alpha male owners not disciplining those players to the satisfaction of the Cult. Worse yet, the big dog at the top of the NFL has not been groveling sufficiently. Compounding it is the fact the NFL is a tough guy, manly man league. It ain’t soccer.

Outside of football, the sporting press is forever ranting about fighting in hockey. They want the beaning of hitters in baseball eliminated. They hate the physical play in basketball, a sport no one would confuse with a tough guy sport. Boxing, of course, has been pushed to the fringes.of course, you have the berserk fanaticism on the Left for chav ball. It is the one sport that boys and girls can play together.

Outside of sports, you have the mania for doping up boys so they don’t act like boys in school. As soon as a boy shows some spunk a bureaucrat is racing to the scene with a handful of Ritalin to “fix” the boy and make sure he stops acting like a boy. This story the other day on NRO is emblematic of the war of males congregating without women. The insanity of forcing “fraternities” to admit women is no impediment to the war on men.

It is the one thread you see running through all of this. I’d include the war on women nonsense that was a part of the last campaign. All of these things are a reaction to and a rejection of what has been a part of western culture’s sense of masculinity. The new religion of America is going to be a feminine religion, one where women and the traits of women are dominant over men and the traits of men. That’s why the hysterical response to the NFL. It’s attempts to attract women and appeal beyond working class males is a threat to the new religion.

Interestingly, the other great religion of our day is Islam, an over the top masculine faith. From the start it has been about the dominant males dominating the other males. Women have no place in Islam. They have a minimal role in Islamic life. If you look at old photos from Muslim countries, you see women dressed like normal women of the day. That was a time when Islam was on the wane. Once Islam revived, the women were put  back in their bags and into the back rooms.

If you look at how Islam polices itself, it is hard not to see the parallels to what is going on in America. The two religions are mirrors of one another. In Islam, heretics and enemies are not just killed, they become trophies. Throughout history, the victor has held up the severed head of the vanquished. The loser has offered his neck to the winner. The last act of an honorable man, who has been defeated, is to offer up his neck to his better.

On the other side of the coin, we see heretics and enemies humiliated and forced to grovel. They are not confronted or physically harmed, they are shamed and forced to confront themselves through the public apology. Shame has always been the way women were punished in western societies. A man would get a beating, while a woman would be publicly humiliated with the scarlet letter or a turn in the dunking chair. That’s what we see with the Cult today. The accused is forced to recant in public and grovel for mercy.

We’ve had a glimpse of the end game for Islam. In Iran, where Islam is absolute, fertility rates have collapsed. David Goldman claims there are more prostitutes in Tehren than mothers. That may be an exaggeration, but the TFR is 1.8, well below replacement. When you net out the non-Persian in the hinterland with their high fertility, the numbers are worse. Across the Islamic world, the rise of Islam brings a fall in fertility. That can only go on for so long before it all falls apart.

Similarly, the West has seen fertility rates collapse. The argument from the Cult is rising education levels result in fewer children. That does not change the fact that fewer children means fewer people. The logical end is no people. I’ve written before that we are living in a different sort of Iran. Ours is a highly feminine version where women seek to dominate men. The results appear to be similar. The difference is the West has a store of value built up over 500 years of progress. Otherwise, our mullahs wear pants suits.

The War on Black People

A good way to get yourself sent off to the reeducation camp is to point out the dysfunction in black America. The only acceptable opinion is that blacks are the victims of white racism. Full stop. No matter the topic, if it includes black people the answer is racism. Even blacks are shackled to this rule.

There’s some truth to it, but the reason for that is the insane rule itself. This story about the deranged mayor of New York City is a good example.

A senior adviser to Mayor Bill de Blasio is in a serious relationship with a convicted killer and interstate drug trafficker whose most recent run-in with the law happened late last year — when he nearly ran over a New Jersey police officer while driving her car, records show.

Rachel Noerdlinger, the chief of staff to first lady Chirlane McCray who has attended top-level NYPD meetings, has been romantically linked to Hassaun McFarlan since 2010. Court and police records show that the two have lived together for nearly two years.

McFarlan, 36, has been arrested at least five times, including for the fatal shooting of a teenager over a down jacket, records show.

Two of the arrests occurred while he was dating Noerdlinger, a former aide to the Rev. Al Sharpton. While they’ve been an item, McFarlan has also trashed police officers on his Facebook account, referring to them as “pigs” in two posts.

In one online rant, McFarlan said, “I cant come outside without the pigs f—— with me in the hood.”

Most black people, especially black women, are law abiding, peaceable people who just want to live their lives. Rachel Noerdlinger is obviously a bright and hard working women. If she were your co-worker or neighbor, you would probably like her. The trouble comes when the violent, out of control boyfriend arrives. They almost always arrive. That’s the problem and it is a problem for the majority of black people. They are forever terrorized by this subset of the black community.

Whites are good at dealing with their trouble makers. Violent and lazy whites are shunned by respectable whites. Even in the lower classes, the criminal element is segregated from the rest. Blacks don’t do this and it harms all black people. Rachel Noerdlinger will most likely get fired. She will pay the price for her criminally violent boyfriend.

This is why segregation is still common. A black family moves in and the whites are thrilled to be diverse. Then the ghetto friends of the black family show up one night and party until four in the morning. The next week all of those white people with their “coexist” bumper stickers are calling the Realtor. The rush to get out is on and the original black family finds themselves living in the old neighborhood again, just in a different location.

 

Things That Bug Me

One of the benefits to be an aging crank is you get to point out the foibles and missteps of others with impunity. In the age of mass media, those foibles are replicated and exaggerated. Some guy on TV says something clever and you hear it repeated a million times over the next week. Some phrases, like “the Chicago way” become catch phrases for the more pedestrian pundits like Michelle Malkin. She’s well intentioned and on the right side of things, but my goodness. Sarah Palin saying “crony capitalism” is another one that makes me grit my teeth.

Anyway, I thought a listical of things I hate would be a fun post.

1) Reach out and touch base: At least once a day, some young fellow calls in to let me know he is touching base with me. How I became his base is never discussed. I guess I’m supposed to be flattered. I have no idea where this came from or how it became a standard greeting, but I hate it. What bugs me about it is the dishonesty. You’re not checking on my wellbeing. You want something from me. That’s why you’re calling me.

2) The on-line symposium: I’ve been to a lot of symposiums, as in the ancient Greek sort. We did not call them that. We called them drunken arguments, often held at the pub, but sometimes around the kitchen table at three in the morning. You can’t do this on-line. Sure, I often get drunk reading the Interwebs and have even posted while drunk, but that’s not a symposium. That’s a drinking problem. What’s really irritating is these on-line things are always feminized. The participants care more about flattering one another than scoring points.

3) Pronouncing foreign words with a foreign accent: The idiot in the White House has this habit. He speaks one language, American English. He’s not exactly a word smith either. Yet, the guy will pronounce foreign words with what he thinks is a native speaker’s accent. I bet if ever had a reason to say “Slim Jim” he would try to sound like an Indian convenience store clerk. It is a ridiculous affectation that says the speaker is a punk and a nitwit.

4) Make statements into questions: This is one that millennial pansies love using. I used to love going off on them at Marginal Revolution. Smarmy, left-wing 20-something boys do this exclusively. They lack the guts to make declarative statements so they opt for the passive-aggressive approach. Lines like “you know [fill in tantrum]?” is the standard form. The precious little snowflakes want you to know they are vexed by your opinions and want you to explain yourself. It’s the result of over investment in children. The resulting sense of entitlement give them a veto over the world around them.

5) Demand a link: Many lunatics are so thoroughly marinated in the Cult of Modern Liberalism, things the rest of us take for granted are a mystery to them. Somehow, it becomes your responsibility to provide them with material on what most of us already know. I get the sense sometimes that these people have never heard of Google. Whenever I run into something unfamiliar or objectionable, I look it up. If I choose to rebut the claim, then I post the link.

6) Ignorance as argument: I wish I had a nickel for every time someone posted “I’ve never heard of ….” It would be nice if it were methodological solipsism, but it is really just navel gazing. When presented with information or opinions that don’t fit neatly into the person’s world view, they deny its existence by claiming to have never heard of it. The implication is that the argument must be false because they are unfamiliar with it or unfamiliar with your facts. By extension, their point of view or opinion must therefore be the correct one.

7) Being right by default: Every liberal I know does this. They stake out some position and demand you convince them they are wrong. Homosexual marriage is a classic. Instead of making the affirmative argument, they demand an explanation as to why they should not push forward with it. I guess I can’t blame them, given the direction of things. Still, it is an infuriating pose. If you want to change something, it is your job to make the case. It is not my job to stop you from believing stupid stuff.

Tortious Interference

Maybe it was here or maybe somewhere else, but I have wondered why people don’t sue these nuts who organize campaigns to get people fired. In the law, intentional interference with the contractual relationship of another person is a tort. Commonly, causing someone to not fulfill their contractual obligations is actionable. Going to customers or vendors of a business, under false pretenses, in order to get those customers and vendors to stop doing business with that business looks like a slam dunk to me. When the tortfeasor admits in public to the act, it should be automatic.

The recent campaign to silence conservative radio legend Rush Limbaugh is led by ten liberal activists engaged in a more than four-year long effort to destroy Limbaugh by targeting his advertisers, including a Media Matters executive vice president.A former Kent State university professor even targeted a small businessman advertising on Limbaugh’s show using her official university email account.

Information compiled by Limbaugh’s team — and first provided to The Daily Caller — demonstrates that nearly 70 percent of the tweets targeting Limbaugh’s advertisers come from the same ten Twitter users, all of whom are actively involved in the “Stop Rush” campaign, which keeps a database of all of Limbaugh’s advertisers.

Now, there’s a difference between a group of people posting their complaints and a group of people conspiring to cause harm. I suppose the argument, from a free speech perspective, is that these people are conspiring to get the public to tune out Limbaugh by convincing the public he is in error.

But, that’s not what we see here. These people are misrepresenting themselves to one party of a business relationship. Their singular purpose is to disrupt that business relationship. If Limbaugh was a donut shop and these guys were claiming Limbaugh stirs the dough with his junk, he could and certainly would sue their ass off.

While the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is presenting its current anti-Rush campaign as a genuine repudiation of out-of-context remarks Limbaugh made on his radio show (replete with a fundraising email from Sandra Fluke), the Stop Rush effort is small, organized and existed long before the most recent controversial Limbaugh comments.

The activists even use technology to “machine-tweet” anti-Rush comments in robotic fashion to ensure maximum Twitter exposure for their insular group’s efforts.

“Angelo Carusone is the self acknowledged originator and head of the StopRush protest, in his professional role as executive vice president of Media Matters for America,” Limbaugh spokesman Brian Glicklich told TheDC. “But since they prefer it look grassroots and made up of real customers, he faded into the background long ago, reemerging only this week as he senses the danger of this illicit scheme being exposed for the fiction at it’s heart.”

Conrad Walton, owner of the emergency supplies company Survivor.com, revealed in a blog post that he began receiving emails from the small group “within 20 minutes” of his local advertisement airing during Limbaugh’s show on the Los Angeles station KEIB.

“It seemed to be a very organized campaign, from people who don’t listen to the show and know nothing about our company,” Walton wrote. “I just checked and they put one of my responses on their site, with my phone number.”

“Please stop advertising on Rush Limbaugh’s program,” former Kent State University professor Nancy Padak wrote to Walton using her “kent.edu” email address. “He stands for hatred and bigotry. Do you want customers/ potential customers associating your business with these values?”

Padak told TheDC that she has been retired from the university for four years.

Again, there’s nothing wrong with a pissed of person calling a business and giving them what for. If the reason for being pissed off is the business supports a heretic, that changes nothing. Getting your friends together to pretend to be something you’re not in order to pressure a business to end their business with another business is fraud, at the minimum. That’s clearly what we have here and it should be actionable.

As an aside, I love how the Daily Caller does things like this. They put the names and background out there, inviting people to let these idiots know how they feel about it. It is a trick they borrowed from the Lefty press.

Here are the names of the Stop Rush Ten, as identified by Limbaugh’s staff:

Angelo Carusone: Executive vice president of the George Soros-funded liberal attack group Media Matters for America. “Stop Rush, I initially rolled it out in late 2009 and early 2010,” Carusone told the Village Voice in 2012. “At the time, the Beck work was doing well…I started Stop Rush in 2009, 2010, and when I went to register the domain, I saw that Rush owned StopRush.com.” Carusone also agreed with the Village Voice that Sandra Fluke represented Limbaugh’s “Waterloo.” Carusone is responsible for leading the Stop Rush efforts and then “handing off” responsibilities to less well-known activists to create the appearance of grassroots outrage, according to Limbaugh’s staff.

Matthew Mitchell: An Altamont Springs, Florida resident who tweets as @CaptMurdock.

Nancy Padak: A former Kent State University education professor who emails advertisers about Limbaugh from her official university email account.

Jason Rey: Georgia resident who tweets as @FranticQuark.

Lauren Reynolds: Los Angeles resident who uses Internet rating systems to downgrade companies for advertising on Limbaugh’s show.

Cherie Richards: Ohio resident and fellow Internet rating aficionado.

Sarah Smyea Rivers: California resident who actively tweets as @eurekasue49.

Dennis William Rohner: Florida resident.

Linda Kotsenburg Swanholm: California resident responsible for creating “target lists” of businesses linked to Limbaugh.

Carol Kernahan Wallin: California resident and anonymous Daily Kos writer who tweets as @Flushfools and @hrhprincess.

 

No Place For Reasonable Men

Way back in the olden thymes, Paul Gottfried coined the term “paleoconservatism” to distinguish the more culturally conservative from the short-term “movement” conservatism that was springing up in the 1980’s. At the time, I thought it was just hairsplitting. When Pat Buchanan revolted against Bush the Elder, it seemed to me the Paleocons may just be a bunch of bitter old guys who felt like their thing got hijacked by a bunch of newcomers. Ideological fights are usually more about hurt feelings than real differences.

As time has gone on I see that was an incorrect assessment. Hawkish liberals, the neoconservatives, who eventually took over the Republican Party and the conservative movement, were a different breed of cat. Since almost all of them were on the Left at one point and all of them were Straussians, they were naturally at odds with the Old Right. There’s simply no way to square “compassionate conservatism” with the more docile, pragmatic conservatism of the Old Right. All that talk of national greatness and spreading democracy just sounds like New Deal Progressivism to the old timers on the Right.

This short trip down memory lane is not without purpose. I was half-listening to Glenn Beck yesterday and he was talking about this business with ISIS. I say half listening because it was pretty much background noise for me. What got my attention was his comparing ISIS (I think he prefers ISIL) to Nazi Germany. Specifically, he said they pose the same threat to America as the Nazis. I thought I misheard so I paid closer attention and sure enough, he was making that claim.

It brought to mind something I have rolled around in my head for a long time now. That is the fact the schism on the Right over foreign policy has left no place for sensible men. On the one hand we have the weird isolationism of the Paleocons. They are convinced that any involvement in world affairs is a Zionist plot. On the other hand, we have the invade-the-world universalism of The Weekly Standard crowd that imagines every dirt bag with a gun as the next Hitler. My goodness. How many people have they compared to Hitler?

My own inclinations lead me to embrace distributivism and a mild isolationism. That used to be the traditional conservative starting point. There was a time when William F. Buckley, as an example, complained that the problem with capitalism was capitalists. Similarly, there was a time when Ronald Reagan concluded there was no point in risking American lives in the Middle East. The Khobar Towers disaster was enough to teach him the limits of American power. Today, no one holds these positions.

Now that Obama is bombing his fourth country, he becomes the fourth American President to order bombing of Iraq. The median age in Iraq is 21.3 according the CIA Fact Book. That means the typical Iraqi has known nothing but US bombing. By way of comparison, we defeated the Nazis and Imperial Japan in six years. Julius Caesar conquered Gaul in four years on foot. Twenty years of bombing Iraq and everything about the place is worse.

I suppose the Obama people would argue they are choosing a third path between the isolationism of the paleos and the warmongering of the neos. The reality is Obama is just fecklessly indifferent and his people are in way over their heads. The neocons are loudest and dominant in Washington so they inevitably get their way over this administration. The only thing Obama is accomplishing with his foot dragging is giving time for the two sides on the right to take some shots at one another. In the end we will be following the path defined by the editorial board of The Weekly Standard.

There’s no reason to think the result will be any different this time. I have no sympathy for ISIS or any of the players in this never ending war. The Kurds strike me as the only sympathetic actor in the region, but that’s probably because they have to play a weak hand. If they ever had the whip hand, my bet is they would apply the lash to their neighbors with the same enthusiasm we see from ISIS. It is a gang war between extended families using religion as a handy excuse to kill one another.

I recall reading Kagan’s Peloponnesian War wondering how it came to pass that the conservative and largely successful polices of Pericles gave way to the hawkish and disastrous polices of Cleon. It is not something with an obvious explanation. Similarly, the Straussian infection that has afflicted the Right along with the paranoid isolationism that is its reaction does not have an obvious explanation. We cannot go tromping around the world like this much longer so something has to give. Who knows, maybe the next President will invade Syracuse and the whole thing comes crashing down.

For now, there’s no place for reasonable men. If you are skeptical about another round of bombing, you get called n isolationist. If you doubt the isolationism of the paleos, you’re accused of being a tool of Israel. Respectable people, left with a choice of being called an anti-Semite or a Zionist stooge have kept their heads down. I can’t blame them. Maybe the fever will break and more sober voices can once again be heard in foreign policy debates. I don’t know. it’s been a long time thought so maybe that door is closed forever.

Ebola and You

I’ve developed an interest in Africa of late. A few books got me going and I find the place endlessly fascinating. The English have always had an obsession with Africa and I’m starting to appreciate why. It is a riddle that defies our best efforts to unriddle. The Ebola outbreak has therefore caught my attention. An epidemic like this tests a lot of theories popular in population genetics. You get the hardcore HBD’ers jumping in, but also the more nuanced types looking for a way to stay between the lines of acceptable opinion.

The Cult outlets are largely oblivious to this growing underground. Instead, they stick with the old time religion and produce articles like this one in the New York Times. There’s nothing terribly wrong with it, but the headline makes people like me chuckle. The near total lack of self-awareness from these folks is amazing. I often wonder if they bother having mirrors in their homes. What would be the point?

More than 5,800 people in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone have contracted Ebola since March, according to the World Health Organization, making this the biggest outbreak on record. More than 2,800 people have died.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday that in a worst-case scenario, cases could reach 1.4 million in four months. The centers’ model is based on data from August and includes cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone, but not Guinea (where counts have been unreliable).

Estimates are in line with those made by other groups like the World Health Organization, though the C.D.C. has projected further into the future and offered ranges that account for underreporting of cases.

There are roughly 209 million people in the countries affected by this outbreak. Nigeria has a murder rate of 20 per 100,000. The other countries on the list have slightly lower rates, but those are guesses. Even assuming a much lower rate, about 20,000 people are murdered in these countries annually. That does not count warfare, which is a regular feature in places like Sierra Leone.

The point here is to put the numbers in perspective. The best case scenario makes the epidemic something close to a massive spike in violence. The worse case puts it on par with a bloody civil war. The difference is the inevitable refugee problem brings with it people carrying the disease to new areas. The people in those areas will most likely respond with force to keep them out. The neighboring countries probably lack the ability to do it peacefully so it will get very ugly.

Another difference is the domino effect. Millions of Africans are moving north in hopes of making their way into Europe. The nations of the Maghreb are being paid to block their path, but how long that lasts is anyone’s guess. It’s one thing to block people carrying their belongings. It is another to block people carrying a deadly virus. It’s not the zombie apocalypse that causes the mayhem; it is the fear of the zombie apocalypse.

Interestingly, no one bothers to ask why Ebola is an African problem. The reason for that is the answers don’t fit into the narrative. Everywhere on earth, except Africa, humans are an invasive species. There are a lot of things different about Africans beyond skin color. They evolved alongside their environment and all the critters in it. Everyone else evolved outside their environment, for the most part. But, we are not allowed to think of these things so it is best not to ask.

What are the chances of the disease reaching the West? Unless we take up bat hunting, there’s little to no chance.

Ebola was discovered in 1976, and it was once thought to originate in gorillas, because human outbreaks began after people ate gorilla meat. But scientists have since ruled out that theory, partly because apes that become infected are even more likely to die than humans.

Scientists now believe that bats are the natural reservoir for the virus, and that apes and humans catch it from eating food that bats have drooled or defecated on, or by coming in contact with surfaces covered in infected bat droppings and then touching their eyes or mouths.

The current outbreak seems to have started in a village near Guéckédou, Guinea, where bat hunting is common, according to Doctors Without Borders.

There’s an expression old Africa hands used to use. It is “AWA” or Africa Wins Again. The Europeans tried everything they could to turn their colonies into outposts of civilization, but they all failed. No matter what you do, the Africa can’t stop being Africa. You’re not allowed to think that so we think other things.

Free Riders

One of the topics in human evolution that I’ve always found interesting is the free rider problem. Economics has tried to tart it up with their nonsense, but it is a central problem of all human society. Well, it’s a problem as long as there is scarcity. Having people that consume more than they produce is not much of a problem when you have excess. Having people that subtract from the wealth of the society is not even a problem if you lots of extra, like Western societies. America has over two million people in jail at a cost of about $50K a year. If we were struggling to feed everyone, the criminals would not be in jail. They would be dead or exiled.

People who claim to know about these things say religion probably evolved to deal with loafers. On the one hand you have the gods looking poorly upon those who don’t pull their wait. That thought works as an incentive to contribute. On the other hand, it gives cover to the group when they have to punish a loafer. It’s easier to punish a relative when you believe the gods demand it of you. Similarly, it also rewards charity to those who can’t contribute. Religion solves a problem, but it also rewards the sort of behavior that makes the problem less of a problem in the long run.

When you see stories like this one I saved for some reason, it’s easy to see how the death of the gods undermines the whole effort. The Rousseau-ist cults have tried to fill the role once fill by Christianity with a mountain of rules and regulations. But, that leads to stuff like this. A mountain of laws and a massive regulatory bureaucracy is just not the same as an angry and vengeful god. Regardless, the West has enough wealth to tolerate a large welfare class without undermining the the general belief in working hard and pulling your weight. The tax payers may bitch about these loafers, but they are ashamed to join them. That suggests a bit of hard wiring, rather than just culture.

Futurists like to talk about how robots will be doing all our work in the near future, but that’s not quite right. The technology is nowhere near as close as they would like to pretend. That does not mean that some jobs cannot be done by robots. This company thinks they can liberate the nation’s burger makers. Automating fast food jobs is probably going to happen within the next ten years. Assembling a Happy Meal requires no decision making at this point. The human merely supplies mechanical work and that can be done by machines. Humans are cheaper at the moment, but that’s probably about to change for lots of these jobs.

The driverless car, which sounds pointless to most people will probably put taxi and limo drivers out of work. Bus drivers could probably be replaced. It’s not happening tomorrow, but a decade from now it is not unreasonable. Again, the great robot takeover is not happening anytime soon, but within the lifetime of people reading this, it will happen, at least for low-skill work. Anything that does not require mobility and thought is ripe for takeover by the new robot workers. The question is how quickly the cost of the robots can fall below the cost of humans.

What never gets mentioned by modern economists or public policy types is the fact we already have scads of people in useless jobs. Having experience with the federal government, I know about a third of the people employed do nothing. They show up, perform tasks as instructed, but it is all busy work. Another third do real work, but we should probably stop them. The army of people coming up with new warning labels for shampoo bottles are a net negative to society. The rest probably do useful work, but I’m probably being generous. The same math is true in state and local government.

It’s not just the public sector. The private sector has millions of pointless workers. Lawyers are an easy example. Health care is packed to the gills with people who are there because the law requires it. The business does not need them, other than to meet the demands of the state. Education is another obvious example of make work. Tyler Cowen gets paid to write a blog for goodness sakes. It is easy to overlook the value of these jobs, but the truth is we got along fine for a long time without them. The growth of these sectors coincides with the end of manufacturing and that’s not a coincidence. We found something for idle people to do.

The question then is what happens when most people are idle? What happens to the free rider problem when robots are able to do all of our work and serve all of our needs? We’re already close to having a robot army to guard us. If robots can produce our food, shelter, transportation and entertainments, what do we do with our time? How does our morality about work and leisure adapt?

I don’t know the answer, but one option is Marx was right. Eventually, capitalism destroys itself. We will advance to the point where we eliminate our reason to exist. The robots will not become aware and stamp us out like in sci-fi movies. We will become aware of what we have done and stamp ourselves out. Those falling fertility rates may turn out to be good times a generation from now.

I Was Hoping He’d Get The Chair

Dinesh D’Souza is popular with the Right these days, but that says more about the Right than D’Souza. I’m sure there will be plenty of columns tomorrow from the usual suspects about the unfairness of prosecuting D’Souza.

Conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza was sentenced on Tuesday to spend eight months in a community confinement center during five years of probation after pleading guilty to a campaign finance law violation.

The defendant, a frequent critic of President Barack Obama, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard Berman in Manhattan. He was also given a $30,000 fine and ordered to do one day of community service a week during his probation.

D’Souza, 53, admitted in May to illegally reimbursing two ‘straw donors’ who donated $10,000 each to the unsuccessful 2012 U.S. Senate campaign in New York of Wendy Long, a Republican he had known since attending Dartmouth College in the early 1980s.

“It was a crazy idea, it was a bad idea,” D’Souza told Berman before being sentenced. “I regret breaking the law.”

Prosecutors had sought a 10-to 16-month prison sentence, rejecting defense arguments that D’Souza was “ashamed and contrite” about his crime and deserved probation with community service.

In fairness, it is grossly unjust what’s going on here. Liberal Democrats are rampaging though the law with impunity. This guy gets sent to the can for what was a minor offense. If he was just some schmuck, however, no one on the Right would care. He’s buddies with the poobahs of Conservative Inc so they will be making a big deal of it. My be is they stage a cry in for the guy or start crying “racism!”

The trouble I have is this. D’Souza has always been a backstabbing fink and an opportunist. When conservatism was more nationalist, he was a Reagan firebrand. When the neocons took over, he was right there with them. Now that the Right is all worked up over Obama, he’s going to be the most unhinged Obama hater and for only $49.95 you can get his book and latest DVD. In the end, it is always about moving product for him.

The real sin is that D’Souza stabbed in the back one of the great conservative polemicists of his generation. Back in the 1990’s, he took money to do a hit piece on Sam Francis for the neocons that ultimately got the man fired. Francis was his own worst enemy, but you don’t take a contract to whack a member of your own family. For that, D’Douza can never be forgiven. Consequently, I was hoping the judge would give him the chair.

About That Ratchet

I wrote about the next turn of the ratchet the other day. Looks like both parties are getting in on the act.

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus wants a committee of journalists to decide which reporters are “legitimate” so the Legislature can limit Capitol access to sufficiently apolitical reporters.

Straus made his suggestion to Ross Ramsey, executive editor of the Texas Tribune, during a public interview at TribFest, the Tribune’s lucrative annual conference in Austin.

The timing of Straus’ remarks is noteworthy.

Since the last legislative session, three right-leaning publications have come to figure more prominently in Texas politics, and none has been particularly favorable to the Republican speaker.

Michael Quinn Sullivan’s Empower Texans website continues to hire reporters and analysts. Breitbart launched a Texas-specific publication in February and publishes articles by Sullivan.

These trial balloons eventually become unofficial policy, then they become firm policy. The law “catches up” and before long you need a license to be a reporter.

Tattoo You

Steve Sailer has a funny post up about tattoos. I’m old enough to remember when tattoos had meaning. It used to be that a man got ink if he was a criminal, a soldier, a sailer or a carny. Criminals used ink to signal their membership in gangs and to advertise their violence capital. Even the baddest of bad men prefer to avoid violent conflict. Displaying the fact you will kill if provoked lets most know to avoid you. Even today criminal gangs have sophisticated tattoos to signal membership, past crimes, violence capital and position in the club. Hipster ink has nothing in common with tradition.

Warriors have been inking up for as long as anyone knows. It used to be that soldiers got their unit insignia and maybe some ink to remember battles or places they experienced. Barbarians in antiquity used tattoos as a form of ornamentation. Vikings, I think, even died their teeth. Sailers have long used ink to document their travels. A turtle standing on its back legs (shellback) for crossing the equator and being initiated into King Neptune’s Court. Again, this is a ritualized form of tattooing that has nothing to do with self-expression. It’s about membership.

I think the modern tattoo fad comes down from carny-folk who used tattoos as form of self-segregation. People who wished to live outside proper society would get all sorts of weird ink. When I was a kid, tattoos were associated with the circus. Even today, I will needle a young person with visible ink by asking them if they were ever in the circus. They are unaware of this connection, of course, and never get my meaning. Piercings are another tradition passed down from carny-folk to the modern hipster. When I was young, men with earrings were assumed to be homosexuals.

My sense is the modern tattoo trend is in reaction to the homogenizing effects of globalization and mass media. Regional and local weirdness is thrown into the blender of mass global culture. The resulting gray slurry leaves few ways for an individual to set themselves apart. Young people, who are wired to “peacock” for mates use tattoos and piercing to draw attention. In a world where everyone lives the same, thinks the same and believes the same, superficial decoration is all that’s left. Strangely, you never see people talking to one another about their tattoos.

Another possibility is the modern tattoo is a form of self-mutilation. Greeks and Romans associated tattoos with barbarians. Greeks would tattoo their slaves, for example, as a way to distinguish them from Greeks. The Latin word  for tattoos is “stigma” and had the same meaning it does today. The Romans would tattoo criminals as a form of punishment. Soldiers who failed in their duties, but not so much to warrant death, would be tattooed and sent off to the frontier. Perhaps self-loathing is at the root of a lot of this today.