Justice Versus “Social” Justice

I saw this story posted on The Twitter:

The Columbia University student targeted by a mattress-carrying protester filed a lawsuit Thursday against the school, arguing that it failed to shield him from harassment even though police and campus authorities refused to pursue rape charges against him.

In a lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court, Jean-Paul Nungesser said the school engaged in gender bias by allowing him to be subjected to a hostile and intimidating learning environment.

The hostile environment was created, the lawsuit says, by the ongoing protest of fellow student Emma Sulkowicz, also known as the “mattress girl.”

Mr. Nungesser, a German citizen, said the ensuing publicity has hurt his chances of remaining in the U.S., given that his job prospects have been hurt by the publicity surrounding the case.

The students engaged in sexual activity in August 2012, but Mr. Nungesser says the encounter was consensual, while Ms. Sulkowicz says she was raped.

A university tribunal ultimately found Mr. Nungesser not responsible, after which Ms. Sulkowicz launched her highly publicized protest.

She was invited by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, New York Democrat, to attend this year’s State of the Union address for her “Carry the Weight” campaign, which has been emulated at other campuses nationwide.

A university spokesman declined comment, according to the Associated Press.

I am unfamiliar with the story, but straight away I am rooting for the victim, the German student falsely accused of rape but this deranged young women carrying the mattress around campus. Here we have a school run by liberal fanatics and they could not find something to use against the guy so we have to assume he is the most innocent man on earth.

Putting that aside, these schools are run by adults who refuse to do their duty as adults in charge of young people. This woman with the mattress should have been expelled. She was given every chance to make her case and failed. To then make a mockery of the school with this protest should have led the adults to step in and send Ms. Sulkowicz packing.

I’m deeply intolerant of protests for exactly what we are seeing here. This young woman is not protesting; she is harassing another student. That’s the nature of protests in general. They are intended to harass the citizenry in order to compel behavior that would not happen otherwise. It’s just another form of mob rule.

Curious about the details, I googled “Jean-Paul Nungesser” and found this story at Slate, the journal of the modern lunatic.

This year, Columbia University student Emma Sulkowicz became an emblem for how colleges mistreat victims of sexual assault on campus. After Sulkowicz reported an alleged rape to the Columbia administration and the college found the accused not responsible, she began hauling her 50-pound dorm mattress across campus as a powerful symbol of an adjudication system she claims is confounding, ineffectual, and unfair. The act has grown into Sulkowicz’s undergraduate art thesis project and inspired a national movement, Carry That Weight, that advocates on behalf of campus sexual assault survivors. In the shadow of her campaign stands Paul Nungesser, the student Sulkowicz says raped her. Today, the New York Timespublished the first interview with Nungesser himself. It’s the most intimate, high-profile portrait so far of a college student who was accused of rape—one who says that the system has failed him, too.

In his time at Columbia, three female students have accused Nungesser of sexual misconduct. He’s denied each accusation, and has not been formally disciplined by the university. When one student accused Nungesser of groping her at a party, the university initially decided against him, but he successfully appealed the ruling. After another student accused him of intimate partner violence, the university dropped the case when the alleged victim stopped cooperating with the investigation. And when Sulkowicz accused Nungesser of raping her, Columbia declined to find him responsible, citing lack of evidence.

In lieu of any formal finding, Nungesser had paid a social cost. “He has gotten used to former friends crossing the street to avoid him,” Ariel Kaminer reports in the Times. “He has even gotten used to being denounced as a rapist on fliers and in a rally in the university’s quadrangle. … His name has been plastered on campus bathrooms and published in easily searchable articles. His face is visible online, too, in photos that detractors have posted as warnings to strangers.” Because Columbia failed to discipline Nungesser, Columbia bloggers, activists, and supporters have stepped in to exact their own punishment, and national media has fanned the flames.

It’s hard not to feel sympathy for Nungesser here, even as the opinions he airs on intimate partner violence—“Outside of a forced marriage or kidnapping, it just seems very hard to believe that a person would over and over again put themselves in a situation where they could expect this kind of behavior to occur”—are odious. In a perfect world, Nungesser would never feel compelled to pontificate on that particular issue in the Times. As Sulkowitz has emerged as a symbol of disenfranchised survivors, Nungesser has come to symbolize all the entitled young men who take what they want and never pay the consequences. That’s not quite fair. No matter what actually happened in Nungesser’s three cases, campus rape is a systemic problem, and he’s just one man. Forcing Nungesser to pay personal consequences for the broken system is not going to fix it. Sulkowicz’s mother, Sandra Leong, rightly (and very generously and humanely) frames Nungesser’s experience as an unfortunate byproduct of the university’s failure to appropriately adjudicate sexual assault cases. “I think by sweeping it under the rug [Columbia has] subjected him to a very painful, scarring experience,” she told the Times. “I don’t see it as Emma’s fault because she just had to do what she had to do but I do see it as the school’s fault.”

I’ve never heard the phrase “intimate partner violence” because there’s no reason to have this sterile, banal expression. It’s the sort of thing the bureaucratic mind conjures rather than using the phrase “rough sex.” The former says nothing while the latter is clear and leaves little room for interpretation.

When you read the story behind all of this, it is not hard to see what happened. Boy meets girl. Boy finally bags girl. Boy gets bored and finds new girl. Girl gets pissed and seeks revenge. That’s not a scenario social justice warriors like the Salon writer can comprehend. Theirs is a world haunted solely by black hats and white hats.

It’s why the Salon writer dismisses the witch hunt against this kid and unilaterally declares that rape is a “systematic problem on campus” even though statistics show the exact opposite. The college campus is one of the safest places on earth, especially for women. Again, more men are raped in prison than women are raped in the whole country.

Finally, note the perfect world imagined by Amanda Hess. In that world, men would not be allowed to say things that Ms. Hess finds odious. Perhaps she would simply have them killed or have their tongues ripped out, I don’t know. What I do know is fanatical lunatics like Ms. Hess are always on the business end of the murder machine, clearing the field for the new utopia.

My View on Taxes

A while back, I took fire for defending death taxes. My failure to enthusiastically decry inheritance taxes was seen as something close to a mortal sin. Maybe just a severe wounding sin. Still, it was a reminder that taxes have become freighted with emotion, particularly outside the Cult of Modern Liberalism. My sense is most liberals think very little about taxes these days. They are the people in charge and therefore take a managerial view of government revenues.

But, the people outside the Cult are another matter. As best I can tell, libertarians imagine a world of no taxes. The respectable libertarians, from what I gather, like the idea of a simple flat tax paid by all citizens. All income is taxed at 15% with no exceptions. I’m sure there are variations on this from other respectable libertarians, but the gist of it seems to be simplicity, but also a minimalist approach. Set the rate low and leave it low to force austerity on Washington.

Conservative Inc. is all over the map when it comes to taxes. The so-called Reformicons imagine all sorts of social engineering that can and should be done through the tax code. Ramesh Ponnuru has been obsessing over child tax credits for years. That’s the heart of the GOP view on taxes. Instead of spending on social programs, they create them in the tax code. They sell them the same way Democrats sell spending programs – free stuff for their voters.

At the heart of all of it is the belief that we can move closer to the promised land if we just arrange tax policy a certain way.

My Tax Philosophy

My first rule on taxes is they must be high enough to pay for government. Borrowing to finance current spending is just taxing the unborn – at best. In most cases it is damaging to the middle-class because excessive borrowing warps credit markets. That quickly leads to the sorts of logrolling shenanigans we see today where banks churn credit activity to skim a profit without providi9ng services.

Pegging tax collection to spending has a clarifying effect on public policy as the bill comes with the services. If everyone’s current tax bill suddenly jumped 50% to close the budget gap, we would be having a different debate about the size and scope of government. Everyone is always in favor of spending the other guy’s money, especially when the other guy has not been born yet.

Of course, the traveling partner with the first principle is transparency. Hidden taxes are a crime against the citizen.The reason governments hide their tax schemes is they know the public would not be happy. If we are going to have self-government, the self better have all the information. Otherwise, the citizens, as well as the rulers, are guessing at public policy.

The most obvious example of this is the business tax. These taxes are always passed onto the employees or their customers. Payroll taxes come out of wages. Corporate taxes show up in the price of the goods and services. If employees saw all of the taxes on their pay stub each week, there would be riots in the streets.

There’s another piece to this puzzle. Taxes are not voluntary. They are collected by force. That’s why the power to tax is the power to destroy. It’s also why powerful people grease politicians to avoid paying taxes. Corporate giants spend millions lobbying Washington and every other Western capital for tax breaks. You can’t have self-government if the rich guys are bribing their way out of their obligations.

Corruption is always a part of human affairs. That’s never going to change no matter how you arrange things. You can limit corruption by removing the temptations that come with the power to exempt some citizens from taxes, regulations or laws. You can’t sell favors if you have no favors to sell. A sensible tax code removes, as much as possible, the favors the pols can sell to their rich friends.

Who Gets Taxed

More than half of Americans avoid paying federal taxes. They pay sales taxes, payroll taxes, fuel taxes and so on, but they avoid incomes taxes, despite having income. This is often pointed out by Conservatives and libertarians as a defect in the current tax code. Liberals, of course, argue that any tax on the poor is unfair because the poor are, well, poor.

What’s missing from tax discussions is who gets taxed and why. The egalitarian fantasy is that every man gets a vote and therefore has an equal stake in society. No such society has ever existed or ever could exist. Human societies are hierarchical. At the top you have the people in charge. At the bottom you have the people who do as they’re told. To pretend otherwise is self-delusion.

The people at the top have the most to lose if things fall apart which is another way of saying they have the greatest investment in the complex social arrangements paid for by taxes. At the other end of the social order, the people at the bottom have the least to lose. Being a peasant for one king is no different, in general, than being a peasant for some other king. The people in a typical American ghetto don’t care who is in charge, just as long as the EBT is charged on time.

Anthropologists have long noted that it is the wealthy who bear the bulk of the costs of social complexity. This spans all cultures and all times. The mathematics of social organization are immutable. In order to have a wealthy ruling class, you need a complex social structure. That social structure will always cost more than you can tax the peasantry – vastly more. That’s why the rich pay the bulk of taxes.

Taxing the rich at higher rates and higher amounts is inevitable, but the poorest of the poor have some stake in society. Taxes are the cost of citizenship. If you are not paying taxes, you are not a citizen. This has been true in all times and all places. No one taxes slaves or beggars. You simply cannot be considered a citizen in a modern society unless you pay taxes and you can’t have non optimo jure cives in a modern society so everyone pays something.


As you can see, I’m amenable to estate taxes because they are transparent, simple and fall predominantly on the rich. The trouble here is the pols can easily auction off exceptions and loopholes. Warren Buffet has been preying on family business for decades, mainly due to the inheritance tax and the many loopholes created in the tax code.

Otherwise, I’m open to any tax scheme that is clear, simple and difficult to corrupt. Government is not free so we have to pay taxes. Taxing food, children, dead people, kittens or whatever is not a moral issue, it is a math issue for me, just as long as the tax is clear, simple, applied to everyone and most important, pays for all of government today.

Dick Face

I’ve called a lot of people “dick head” in my life. I’ve certainly called a few of them “dick face” when required. Australians have elected Dick Face to local office. There’s a whole genre of pornography on this theme that we can skip. Now, there’s a treatment for aging that, well, takes the term “dick face” in an entirely different direction.

What is the secret to a smooth, younger-looking complexion?

Foreskin, apparently. Baby foreskin to be exact.

The anti-aging industry is a billion dollar one, and both men and women will try just about anything to get a youthful appearance.

Better known as a HydraFacialMD, the treatment claims to be highly effective at improving overall skin health and remedying fine lines and wrinkles, skin texture and advanced signs of aging — among other things.

Dr. Gail Naughton, who developed the technology, told NY Magazine, “As we age, our cells divide at a slower rate, which contribute to the telltale signs of aging, like wrinkles and loss of firmness and luminosity. Growth factors captured from the donated foreskin of a baby (just one can generate over a million treatments) are at their peak ability in promoting rapid cell turnover. Applied topically, they spur adult skin cells to regenerate. This is said to have a smoothing effect on the skin.”

Certain spas and doctors offices offer the foreskin facials in NYC.

Some who’ve tried it rave about the results.

Ashley Weatherford, Associate Beauty Editor for NY Mag, tried the facial and said it gave her “Beyonce-level confidence.”

“Of course when it comes to facials, the proof is in the mirror. My skin glows in a way that I thought only Jennifer Lopez could glow,” Weatherford wrote.

“And a part of me feels like a Disney evil queen, draining youth from a newborn for a few weeks of a restored complexion. Is this the future of facials? And if so, is it wrong that I want more?”

Would you try the HydraFacialMD? Let us know in the comments below and on Facebook.

This is why satirists are a dying breed.


Immigration & The Moonbats

My office manager is a communist. She’s not a young nitwit with a head full of nonsense. She is an old women who grew up wishing her parents were communists. From what I can gather, she has signed up for every crackpot scheme to bubble forth from the Cult of Modern Liberalism since her glory days as a teenager.

Whenever we discuss politics, which is something I try to avoid, her preferred solution is for the men with guns to impose a uniform solution on all of us. The phrase “single payer” pops out of her mouth anytime health care is mentioned. She has Moonbat Tourette’s.

Today we were talking about current events and the subject of immigration came up, regarding the lower classes. We were having some moving done and the crew that showed up was mostly Hispanic, with a few blacks. The guy running the show was Eastern European. My guess is he hits one of the many open air labor markets for day labor. The moving business is a tough way to make a living so Sergei can’t worry about the niceties of the current labor laws. He needs cheap labor.

I fully admit to being a bit torn on the issue of immigration. My grandparents were immigrants. Even though I now “identify” as African American on government forms, my genome says my people come from Eurasia. They fled the Bolsheviks and set up shop in America.

I kind of dig the fact that my country welcomes those who can’t seem to get along with the folks back in the old country. I love thinking about what the rest of the world thinks when all those mutts wrapped in Old Glory march into the Olympic stadium. You just know a lot of them are thinking, “I wish that was me.”

In my mind, I see that as a big old middle finger to the rest of the world. I get that from my grandfather. He was never a rich man, but he loved the “fuck you” side of being an American. He came here, learned perfect English and made a life for himself as an American. As far as he was concerned, the folks back in the old country were losers.

That bit of sentimentality is not intended to get your patriotism up. I’m just stating my bias. I have an unreasonable bias toward immigrants, at least the ones trying to be Americans. But, that only works if citizenship has any value. If anyone can wander over the border and get all the same rights and privileges as me, the citizenship has no value. Further, my loyalty to my country evaporates.

Anyway, that’s where I come from on immigration issue. Talking with my commie office manager, I was surprised at how strongly she is opposed to immigration. Her reasoning is that it hurts blacks and poor whites. I get the sense she is new to the subject, at least this side of the topic. She’s up on all the latest Progressive trends so I doubt she has arrived at this position independently. She’s getting this from somewhere.

The other thing she said is that immigration is a tool for corporations to exploit the middle-class. She is a big Elizabeth Warren fans so I suspect all of these new opinions from my office manager are coming from the Fake Indian side of the fever swamp. Warren has voted in line with her party on immigration, but I don’t recall her saying much about it.

Warren’s faculty lounge populism mostly appeals to credentialed Progressives who resent not making more money. A rich white woman standing on the steps of her mansion, ranting about the rich strikes normal people are laughably absurd. I think Progressives understand that this brand of populism has a small audience so they are looking to expand into other areas.

The idiots in the GOP may be focused on winning Hispanic votes, but the Progressives know better. They need to get white people voting for them again and an easy way to do that is the immigration card. They can even pitch immigration restrictions as a way to help immigrants, thus avoiding the charge of xenophobia.

There’s always been a Star-Bellied Sneetch quality to American Progressives. By that I mean they get revved up on a fad and it eventually fades, to be replaced by a new fad that often contradicts the old fad. In that regard, liberals are like teenage girls. In order to distinguish themselves from the Old New New Left of the Obama years, the New New New Left is embracing immigration restriction.

The polling on the issue makes clear that a hawkish position on immigration is the safe one and that may be what’s happening here. As both parties gear up for 2016, they are figuring out that the mood of the public is running away from them so they need to catch up. Whether or not the people in charge will follow on is unknown, but we may be seeing a paradigm shift over the next 18 months on the issue of immigration.

Or, my office manager will be burned at the stake by her coven for the crime of apostasy.


Are We Out of Nazis Yet?

I saw this linked on Drudge:

A former SS sergeant described how so many Jews were brought to the Auschwitz death camp at once that he was put on a 24-hour shift guarding the ramp where they disembarked from the trains.

He told in chilling detail how cattle cars full of Jews were brought to the Auschwitz death camp, the people stripped of their belongings and then most led directly into gas chambers.

Oskar Groening is being tried on 300,000 counts of accessory to murder, related to a period between May and July 1944 when around 425,000 Jews from Hungary were brought to the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex in Nazi-occupied Poland and most immediately gassed to death.

During that period, so many trains were arriving that often two would have to wait with closed doors as the first was ‘processed,’ Groening testified at the Lueneburg state court.

‘The capacity of the gas chambers and the capacity of the crematoria were quite limited. Someone said that 5,000 people were processed in 24 hours but I didn’t verify this. I didn’t know,’ he said. ‘For the sake of order we waited until train 1 was entirely processed and finished.’

Auschwitz survivors describe their arrival as chaotic, with Nazi guards yelling orders, dogs barking and families being ripped apart.

But Groening, 93, maintained the opposite, saying ‘it was very orderly and not as strenuous’ on the ramp at Birkenau.

‘The process was the same as Auschwitz I. The only difference was that there were no trucks,’ he said during the second day of his trial. ‘They all walked – some in one direction some, in another direction… to where the crematoria and gas chambers were.’

I think there was a strong case for hanging the Nazi leadership after the war. That’s an easy one. Similarly, hanging the really nasty officers who committed atrocities was a good idea. After that I just don’t see the sense in these trials in the aftermath of the war. Hanging people who took orders strikes me as contrary to western tradition. You hang the man giving the orders, not the man following them.

Seventy years on, none of this makes any sense to me. This old guy is 93. What do they expect to come of this? He’s going to croak any day now. These trials are nothing more than guilt porn. They have nothing to with justice, they never do, and they sure don’t have anything to do with vengeance. The guy is 93.

I guess we will have to wait for the final Nazi to die in the next few years. There are only a few thousand left, if that many. The Nazis, in my view, cast way too long of a shadow. Marx is arguably history’s greatest monster. At least 100 million were murdered in that prick’s name. Hitler was a piker compared to the Reds, but Western Progressives see too much of themselves in the Nazis. Maybe when the last Nazi dies, the Cult will be free.

Uber and the Z-Man

I’m often surprised by the responses I get here and elsewhere on topics such as Uber or Apple. I don’t think my opinions on these subjects are particularly outlandish. I’m not an Apple fan-boy so I accept that my general indifference to the MacCult is off-putting to those people, but Uber? How can anyone say anything outrageous about a car service?

You live and you learn so I’ll address some of the objections.

Objection #1:

competition (Uber) against a staid industry (taxi cab cartel) is ultimately beneficial, even if there are some kinks that need to be resolved. About passing on the costs, why do these costs need to be so high? Regulation is the problem, not Uber.

Me: I’m all for competition, as long as the rules are applied equally. Put one boxer in a ring with an anvil tied to his leg and another without the anvil and you don’t have competition. These new services are clever ways of evading the rules, which puts their anvil laden competitors at a disadvantage. Maybe there’s an argument for unfettering the traditional cab companies, but let’s not pretend that Uber is out-competing anyone.

Object #2:

“Now, the reason for those rules may no longer be operative. [True] Those rules may be corrupted or have become corrupted. [True] We can’t know that Until we think about why the rules exist. [Inoperative]” We didn’t much think about it until Uber poked that bag and dollars and customer satisfaction began falling out. And it’s not Uber vs, the establishment.

Me: Regulation of taxi services goes back a long time. One reason was to crackdown on robbery. Another was to relieve pressure on public roads. In modern times, cab companies welcomed regulation for selfish reasons, but so did the public. In fact, the public demanded it. Having a clear way to distinguish legitimate services from less scrupulous operators was best done through licensing. Maybe that’s no longer necessary and I am open to that argument.

Objection #3:

I agree with you 99% of the time, but…..

“I’m fine with that just as long as all of the services pay their share of taxes and abide by the same rules. ”

very Disappointing Zman…….is that the cityboy in you coming out?

Me: I don’t get this at all. You cannot have a human society without taxes. Taxes pay for government, a necessary bit of civilization. How much government we have is debatable, but taxes are not. Tax revenues must be enough to pay for the desired amount of government. Otherwise, you get vastly worse corruption than anything you see with taxes.

Roads are a public good. We build them and maintain them with government. Ideally, each of us pays for what we use of public resources. You pay for water based on your usage and you should pay for your road based on usage. Big scary trucks pay more than bicycles. Taxis pay their share of road use through licensing fees. Figure out how to bill Uber drivers for their road use as we do taxis and everyone is on the same level.

How can you object to that?

Objection #4:

The Zman hates UBER.
I frankly don’t get this.
UBER is just a car service that you contact thru an app on your phone,
rather than thru a phone call.
To me, pretty much a distinction without a difference.
It’s just easier for the riders and more efficient for the drivers
This is no different than hating on Amazon because it destroyed the brick and mortar book store model. (Just as blogs destroyed the letters-to-editor model.)

Me: I have no opinion on Uber as a service. I’ve never had a reason to use it. I’ll also note that I never heard anyone ever state an opinion about taxi regulation until the last year. For a century people were fine with traditional cab service. Then a tax dodging hipster alternative comes along and everyone is fishing around for a reason to hate taxis.

As to the comparison to Amazon, that’s not complete nonsense. Amazon avoided paying sales taxes. That was certainly part of their appeal. They also had access to zero interest money. Oligarchs hate small business so they cheered as Amazon gutted traditional retail. Now that retail is dead, Amazon is back collecting sales taxes. There’s a lesson there.

Objection #5:

UBER lets ambitious drivers get out from under the thumb of the medallion cartel.
That sounds good to me.

Before UBER, the yellow cabs had a monopoly and provided monopoly quality
service – just like dealing a certain well known cable company.

How can the Zman not like the break-up of this monopoly?

Me: I have never once defended the current arrangements. Frankly, I don’t care. If the people of NYC want to have a North Korean style taxi department, that’s their business. I don’t like most of what Obama does in his job, but if someone created Uber for assassins, I’d be against that too. Civilized people have civilized, orderly ways of solving problems.

My observation about Uber is they are simply a sophisticated attempt to circumvent local self-governance. That I will always oppose as it is the road to fascism and tyranny. Taxi regulation in NYC may be a mess in need of reform. Tearing up the rule of law to reform taxi service sounds like bad trade to me.

Objection #5:

The idea that cities everywhere do the same thing–proof that government must be serving their citizens–has not been supportable since NYC did everything it could to keep Thomas Edison’s electric light safe from the gaslight monopoly. What governments of all shapes and sizes can be relied upon to do everywhere–except Sandy Springs, Georgia–is obey some irresistible urge to reach out and touch everything. If it moves, tax it, if it keeps moving, regulate it, and if it stops moving, subsidize it.

Uber, Lyft, Curb, Sidecar. They may all become MySpace because we cannot know the future. Who cares? Now that Uber has cracked that calcified wall of inertia things will work themselves out because markets do that, and not because of but in spite of the cab companies and regulators.

Me: That all sounds great, but my complaint is not addressed here or anywhere. If you have a leak in your roof, you will call a roofer. If the roofer, after inspecting your roof, tells you that the whole roof must be replaced, you will demand an explanation. If his reply is “the guy who put the roof on was a crook and terrible at roofing” you’re going to want some proof of that. You are going to want him to show he knows who did the roof, when he did it and so forth. In other words, he will have to demonstrate his knowledge of the subject.

On this issue, I want to someone to explain why we have these regs? When were they passed? What were they intended to address? What are the consequences of getting rid of the regs? What are potential downsides of deregulation? In other words, an affirmative argument always addresses both sides of the ledger.

I’ll also note that deregulation is a massive screw job to the guys playing by the rules. Here we have a system setup by the men with guns and you did everything you were asked. Now, all of a sudden the men with guns change the rules and make your investment worthless? That has to count for something too.

Objection #6:

Regulation is just a power grab in the name of “the general welfare.” It’s never been anything else.

Me: Not always. The lack of regulation is no walk in the park either. By now you should know I’m no utopian. I think human populations evolve their problem solving mechanisms over time and often they dead end or worse. Maybe taxi regulation has reached such a dead end. I don’t know and frankly I don’t care all that much.

My only objection to Uber is in pretending they are some sort of innovative job creator. That, I think, is nonsense. They are privateers cannibalizing an existing business that thought it had paid sufficient protection money to the men with guns to keep privateers under control. Calling Uber “disruptive” is like calling Bonnie and Clyde disruptive to banking.

As I’ve said, if NYC decides to crush Uber or stop providing protection to their clients, that’s none of my concern. My preference would be for the city to open it up to all comers and see what happens. Cell service does change a big part of the service so it is worth letting that run its course before killing or celebrating it.

Now, get off my back about Uber ya bastards!



Death to Whitey!

I’ve been saying for a very long time that “social justice” just a nice way of saying “revenge.” People used to know this. When the old ruler was over thrown, the new ruler delivered swift justice to the former ruler’s people. If the mob got angry enough, they would deliver “rough justice” to the object of their anger. In the affairs of man, justice is the winners punishing the losers.

Toni Morrison, the clownishly inept poet, at least has the honesty to state what everyone knows, with regards to racism.

The Nobel prize-winning author Toni Morrison has delivered a frank assessment of race relations in America, declaring that until racial disparities in the criminal justice system are resolved, the conversation about racism will never be over.

Morrison, who won the Pulitzer prize in 1988 for her novel Beloved, which told a story of racism and slavery in 19th-century Kentucky and Ohio, drew on a recent spate of high-profile killings of unarmed African Americans by law enforcement officials to illustrate the ongoing struggle.

“People keep saying, ‘We need to have a conversation about race’,” Morrison told the Daily Telegraph.

“This is the conversation. I want to see a cop shoot a white unarmed teenager in the back.”

She added: “And I want to see a white man convicted for raping a black woman. Then when you ask me, ‘Is it over?’, I will say yes.”

Well, she could have seen a four white men convicted of raping a black women. It was in 1959 in Florida, of all places, when four white men were sent away for life in the rape of Betty Jean Owens. After all, if she just wanted one white man convicted, having four convicted must have her waddling around in ecstasy.

As far as a cop shooting  a white kid, we have lots of examples. Gilbert Collar was shot by a black cop in Alabama and not charged. Alabama! Just last year Dillon Taylor was shot by a black cop. Dillon was not only named “Dillon” he was unarmed. No charges in that one either.

Now, maybe Toni Morrison is just a stupid person. But, she has been smart enough to play the skins game well enough to get rich as a colossally bad poet. No, I suspect she knows the truth of things. She just hates white people and would enjoy seeing more white people suffer and die. The cops could shoot a thousand white teenagers in the back tonight and Morrison will want more.

I don’t blame her, really. She’s old and no one really cares what she has to say about anything. She may as well let loose with what’s on her mind. She also must think the tide of history is on the side of non-whites. Look around and ask yourself if she is wrong. She does not have much time so just in case she is dead when American is majority NAM, she has got her two cents in on what should be done.

The Plight of the Super Genius

I came across this posted on Maggie’s Farm the other day.

The probability of entering and remaining in an intellectually elite profession such as Physician, Judge, Professor, Scientist, Corporate Executive, etc. increases with IQ to about 133.  It then falls about 1/3 by 140.  By 150 IQ the probability has fallen by 97%!  In other words, a significant percentage of people with IQs over 140 are being systematically and, most likely inappropriately, excluded from the population that addresses the biggest problems of our time or who are responsible for assuring the efficient operation of social, scientific, political and economic institutions.  This benefits neither the excluded group nor society in general. For society, it is a horrendous waste of a very valuable resource.  For the high IQ person it is a personal tragedy commonly resulting in unrealized social, educational and productive potential.

I think the facts presented in the article are open to debate, but they do correspond with my own observations. The most obvious example is Rick Rosner, who has some of the highest test scores ever recorded. He’s also a bit of a wacko. I’ve known a few 1% IQ’s who struggled to make good use of their IQ. Even those who did “mainstream” often did poorly compared to their less savvy coevals.

The two best examples of the latter are John Sununu and Chuck Schumer. Sununu tested into Mega Society and Schumer hit a perfect score on his SAT back in the 60’s when it was still a real test. Sununu had some success in politics, but his prickly personality was a problem. Schumer, of course, is known as the most unpleasant human on earth.

I suppose, in the case of Schumer and Sununu, it can be argued that their unpleasant demeanor was overcome by their high IQ’s. Chuck Schumer’s position is entirely dependent on his ability to push through sophisticated legislation allowing the financial sector to loot the economy. You have to be a smart guy to do that well so being a raging dickhead probably counts for little.

Still, at the extreme right side of the curve, we see a lot of eccentrics who prefer to be outside the conventional career paths. This is probably why we say there is a fine line between genius and insanity. These folksy observations persist for a reason and that reason is they have a kernel of truth. High IQ people tend to be weirdos.

What applies to productive environments also applies to social environments and even personal relationships.  Theoretically, after Hollingworth, a person’s social relationships should be limited to people with R16IQs within 30 points of their own.  For the 100 IQ person, this will include about 94% of the population and consequently it is not an issue.  However, for the 150 R16IQ (140 D15IQ), social relationships are limited to 120-180 R16IQ people which represents just a little over 10% of the population.  The 165 R16IQ (150D15IQ) person will be limited to people with 135+ R16IQs (130 D15IQ).  This comprises just 2% of the population.   By 182 R16IQ (160 D15IQ) the problem becomes critical with social relationships limited to those with R16IQs over 152 (142 D15IQ) which comprises just 0.25% of the population.

For the readers on the left side of the curve, not you of course, those other guys, let me explain what this means. Humans tend to associate with people like themselves. This does not just apply to IQ, by the way. This does not mean we associate with people identical to us. It means the more alike, the more we hold in common, which is the basis for relationships.

Take, for example, a typical working class Irish guy from a Boston neighborhood. He will easily socialize with people in his neighborhood and other working class guys from other Boston neighborhoods. The further you get from his natural environment, however, the less he will have in common with people from other states, countries, etc. There comes a point where socializing becomes impossible. It’s why dropping Bantu warriors into Lewiston Maine is a very stupid idea.

In IQ, a similar relationship between distance and commonality exists. If you have a 100 IQ, you will be roughly as smart as 90% of the people you will encounter on a daily basis. That means you will be able to understand most of the same things and not understand most of the same things. That last bit is vital. Ignorance is bliss, especially when shared with friends.

The further you move to the right on the curve, the smaller the population pool of people in your intelligence range. That means most of the people you meet will not know what you know and will probably never know it. Worse yet, the vast majority don’t think like you think. That’s not always appreciated.

Members of high IQ societies, especially those that require D15IQs above 145, often comment that around this IQ, qualitatively different thinking emerges.  By this they mean that the 145+ D15IQ person doesn’t just do the same things, intellectually, as a lower IQ person, just faster and more accurately, but actually engages in fundamentally different intellectual processes.  David Wechsler, D. K. Simonton, et alia, have observed the same thing.

Since intimate social relationships are predicated upon mutual understanding, this draws a kind of ‘line in the sand’ at 140-150 D15IQ that appears to separate humans into two distinct groups.  This may truncate the 30 point limit for those between 150 and 160 D15IQ people.  Even when 150+ D15IQ people learn to function in the mainstream society, they will always be considered, and will feel, in some way ‘different’.  Grady Towers explored this in depth in his article, ‘The Outsiders’.  This is of mild interest to the group within which the 150+ D15IQ person is embedded but it is moderately to profoundly important to the high IQ individual who will feel an often profound sense of isolation.

It has often been observed that 150+ D15IQ people are loners.  Also, Loius Termann found that children at this IQ level were emotionally maladjusted in about 40% of the cases.  However from the above one cannot help but wonder if this results from the children being constantly thrust into ‘no-win’ social situations and never given the opportunity to hone their social skills among their intellectual peers.

I think the loner aspect is due as much to boredom with other people as anything else. Human interaction is an exchange of value. If one side is simply too stupid to value the other side, they will get bored. The super-genius will also get bored or simply prefer to interact with a machine or book.

In some respects, a 1% IQ is like being seven feet tall. There’s some value at the fringes, but otherwise it has no value and can be a burden. There’s a low demand for seven footers and to most people it is a little weird being around a freakish giant. A 1% IQ is not in much demand and most people don’t like being around Wile E. Coyote for long, unless the genius is also blessed with a high agreeableness and extroversion.

Trolling Kevin Williamson

The other day Kevin Williamson posted this over at NRO and I took the opportunity to troll him a bit, as the cool kids would say. What I did was bait him into responding to my comment about Uber and its fan boys in the libertarian cult. In fact, I was deliberately provoking him and his fan base into thinking about something more than their normal red team/blue team myopia.

Uber is all the rage with liberals and libertarian types these days. It seems as if they can’t stop yapping about it. Managerial class types and their attendants, particularly the attendants, have an obsession with cabs. The foot soldiers of the people in charge spend a lot of time in cabs and they consider it one of their worst indignities so maybe that’s why  they obsess of Uber.

This newfangled car service is not better or cheaper. By “better” I mean that in the purely utilitarian sense. Carrying someone from one spot to another via motorized transport is not all that involved. You either get there or not, within an acceptable time window. Uber adds nothing to this. My bet is Uber is slower, on average. From what I gather, it is not cheaper.

What Uber offers is an aesthetic. Instead of climbing into a grimy cab like the other servants, Uber offers a normal car. That way, the customer can pretend they are the one with the attendants. If you are working in a NYC office, you’re either in charge or working for someone in charge. Obviously, most are just servants and that reality is manifest every single day. In the egalitarian paradise, this is tough to take.

There’s also the prospect of shooing away the riff-raff. In a prior age, the house servants were highly intolerant of the field workers, gardeners, tradesman, etc. They considered themselves better than the servants who toiled outside. There’s a fair bit of that here too. The office drone with his state college diploma looks down on the horny-handed sons of toil working the cabs. They would just as soon not see them at all. Too much of a reminder.

A big part of gentrification, after all, is removing from sight the unpleasant aspects of reality. Crime is certainly a big part of the mix, but there’s a reason why the affluent work so hard to keep the servants quarters as far from them as possible. Replacing those proletarian cabs with the nondescript sedans of Uber drivers just looks so much nicer.

That was the bait. Somewhere in the comment’s Kevin responded and confirmed all of this.

Uber drivers do not necessarily earn less money. Consider the NYC situation, in which 1 in 5 taxis (at least) is driven by an unlicensed illegal immigrant, mostly making chump change while the medallion-holding cartel members do well. Uber isn’t any less expensive when going from downtown to JFK, but even if it were more expensive, I’d use it, because it is convenient, because NYC taxi drivers are mostly horrible, and because I do not like doing business with politician-enabled cartels.

I don’t have an issue with taste or even snobbery being the reason behind liking Uber. I wear nothing but Polo dress shirts because it signals good taste. The fact that they fit well is important, but if some off-brand fit just as well, I’d probably still buy the Polo brand. This is a normal part of human relations and is another example of why libertarianism is nonsense. Economic man does not exist.

Uber’s popularity with libertarians is two-fold. One is they hate taxis cartels. This is a safe target for them because liberals are no fans of taxi cartels either (See above). This allows libertarians to indulge in all of their favorite rants, without incurring the wrath of the Cult. With the legalization of weed, libertarians need a new windmill.

They also hold it up as an example of how free markets work to improve the quality of life. They are generally right about this of course. Markets allows society to set preferences based on price thus satisfying as many people along the demand curve as possible. While this is not the natural order, it is the preferred order if you wish to have prosperity.

But, that’s not what’s going on with Uber. They are operating like privateers. The Crown has licensed people to engage in a particular type of commerce. That always attracts privateers who see to profit from the cartel, by undercutting it at the fringes. This was true when trade was conducted on foot and true in the age of sail.

This is where Uber comes in. They help privateers avoid the rules set forth by the state for cab drivers. Those rules have a cost so the Uber driver can therefore provide a better service at the same price or even lower. They can also pay Uber a cut. That sounds great if you are convinced those regulations on taxis have no utility. Uber is just finding a way around the highwaymen of the taxi service.

Fair enough, but we don’t know if those regulations are worthless. They did not spring from nothing. Laws and regulations are intended to solve a problem. You may not think the problem is worth solving. You may think it is best served privately. You may hate the solution with the intensity of a thousand sons suns. I get that so there’s no need to hassle me over it. None of it matters. Laws and regulations are not passed by chance.

Now, the reason for those rules may no longer be operative. Those rules may be corrupted or have become corrupted. We can’t know that Until we think about why the rules exist. This is where liberals and libertarians  hit the rocks. They get their panties in a wad and reach for the sledgehammer. Kevin thinks Uber will bust up the taxi cartel so that’s enough for him. What comes after does not enter his thoughts.

This is the crux of conservatism. I’m perfectly happy to replace taxi cartels with something or even nothing, as long as I know what the something or nothing means. That starts by understanding why every city of earth has sought to regulate livery service. What are these issues the cartel system is supposed to address? What is the cost of not addressing it? What are the proposed replacement? Will it address the old problems and will it create new problems?

Much of what plagues us today is due to Progressives swinging the wrecking ball on the assumption a perfect replacement will spring magically from the rubble. Libertarians have this same defect. They never stop and wonder why the thousand generation that have come before them chose something other than their preferred option. There’s a reason for it. The conservative seeks to know that answer first. Everyone else just wants to swing the wrecking ball.

Open Carry

A friend sent this to me wondering why anyone would want to open carry. He lives in New Hampshire where open carry is permitted. You need a permit to conceal carry, but any legal gun owner can open carry. Go up above the notches in the fall and it looks like a scene from a Western. Everyone is carrying.

For most Americans, Texas conjures images of gun-toting vaqueros, cowboys wielding six-shooters and epic battles over independence and secession. Gun manufacturers Colt, Mossberg and Magpul call the Lone Star State home, and a concealed carry license grants you a fast-pass into the state Capitol.

All the more surprising, then, that Texas was the first state to ban its citizens from carrying handguns, a restriction that remained on the books for 125 years. Now, 20 years after the Texas Legislature OK’d the carrying of concealed handguns with a license, some lawmakers want to make it legal to carry holstered weapons in plain sight.

The rest of the piece is weeping about how people were mean to blacks in the old days, but no one cares about that. The people interested in this issue wonder why it is anyone would want to carry in the open. I’m a Second Amendment absolutist. If you are allowed to own a gun, you have the right to carry it around with you. I’m against any and all permitting of firearms.

That said, I can’t think of a reason why I would want to open carry. I get why cops do it. It is part of their uniform and we want them to have ready access to their firearm in order to shoot those unarmed, fleeing black people. A a private citizen, I think I’d prefer it if my fellow citizens don’t know who is and who is not armed.

The more I think of it, the more it strikes me that open carry is problematic for a number of reasons. In every state the cops have a right to inspect your firearm. If you are carrying and a cop asks for your gun and permit, you are required by law to produce them. But, cops are not randomly stopping people asking for their permit.

In Virginia I was pulled over for speeding and had my pistol bag on the front seat. The cop came up to the window and I had my permit out, along with my license. That let him know I was a good guy and following the law. That’s all he needed and we went about the business of a traffic stop.

Open carry complicates this. Every cop is going to be on the lookout for a dodgy looking character carrying a pistol. Maybe that’s a good thing, as criminals are stupid. They will end up self-reporting, so to speak, by carrying their illegal gun openly. Still, I’m puzzled as to why anyone would want to open carry, other than small dick syndrome.