Jelly Bean Economics

Imagine you find yourself in one of those underground malls, where they design it such that you never have to go above ground. Now, instead of just the mall, your living and working space is also underground. It is an underground community that is like a small town, except everyone is stuck there, unable to leave the mole utopia. You know, however, that there is a world outside and that people live above ground. It’s a not prison, just a system that is complete, so you have no reason to leave the mole utopia.

In your world, everything works like it does in the world of today. People have jobs, socialize, conduct commerce, and have families, all the stuff we associate with normal human society. The one difference between the mole utopia and this world is their economy is based on jelly beans, the little candies given to kids at Easter. Each color has a different value and people treat them in the same way you would treat coins or bills. When you get paid, it is in jelly beans. When you buy stuff, it is in jelly beans.

No one knows where the beans come from or who is responsible for making sure the supply of beans is correct. There’s some vague notion of a jelly bean consortium and people who spend their days keeping track of all beans in circulation. There are people, who police the bakers to make sure they are not making fake jelly beans. Otherwise, the beans are just the thing that is there, taken for granted by everyone. The jelly beans used in commerce are as much a part of reality as the air people breathe.

Now, there are people in charge and they do control the supply of beans. At first, when they set the system up, they figured the goal was to keep the supply of beans constant, as beans are fragile and people will tend to eat them. The best bean counters in mole utopia were recruited to keep track of the flow of beans in order to determine the overall supply and rate of bean decay. They would order up new beans to be introduced into the supply to keep the supply of beans steady, so there could never be a shortage.

At first they would just have people hand out beans under the guise of charity, but before long the people doing that started cheating. They would keep the beans or only give them to friends and family. The next scheme was to have the government of mole utopia disperse the new beans, by hiring people and buying stuff. This worked pretty well until government started cheating and ordered up beans whenever it needed to buy votes or reward friends of the government. This caused people to lose faith in the jelly beans.

Finally, the bean counters landed on a scheme where they would lend the new beans to banks at extremely low interest. The bean banks, flush with new beans, would then lend beans to people at very low rates. This got the beans into the economy, without anyone stealing them or using the supply to corrupt the system. The one flaw is the bankers got rich from the scheme, but bankers are always rich, so no one really noticed much of a change. It also made the bankers dependent on the bean counters.

The bankers could lend to anyone, including the government. Since rates were so low, the government could borrow vastly more than under the prior arrangements. That meant they could spend vastly more than in the past. The bankers were never worried about the government repaying, because ultimately they controlled the supply of beans, so they could always order more beans. That meant it was the safest type of loan, because the government would always make its payments and make them in full.

The only constraint on the government spending was how fast they could increase spending. Too fast an increase and too many beans would enter the economy of mole utopia, lowering the value of each bean. This could distort markets in unpredictable ways, by increasing demand unexpectedly in some areas, but not in others. This would also raise prices and force lending rates to increase. Therefore, inflation became the only check on spending. As long as inflation remained low, spending was unlimited.

This description of mole utopia may sound simple and ridiculous, but it is how the modern American economy is run by the Federal Reserve. Modern Monetary Theory is the economic argument that government spending is only constrained by inflation, as long as the government has control of the money supply. Here is a short video lecture on the topic from Professor Stephanie Kelton of Stony Brook University. Here is a much shorter version in the form of a post that appeared on Zero Hedge last week.

The basic argument of the MMT people is that as long as there are resources not being utilized by the private sector, the state has a duty to step in and put those resources to use through government spending. That’s a moral argument, not an economic argument or a factual observation. The economic argument is that spending and debt is meaningless, as long as the state is not crowding out the private sector and the spending is not driving up retail inflation. Otherwise, the government can spend as much as necessary.

To many people, this sounds like a version of the old joke about the stranger who comes to a small town looking for a room. He plops down a few hundred dollars and the inn keeper tells him to wait while his room is prepared. In the meantime, the innkeeper rushes out to pay his vendors, who then rush out to pay their vendors. Eventually, that new money reaches the town’s prostitutes, who use the inn for their clients, renting rooms on credit. They rush in with the new money and pay the innkeeper what they owe.

In that old gag, the stranger changes his mind about a room, takes his money back and leaves town, but everyone that was owed money is now paid. That’s the joke. The lesson, of course, is that as long as everyone is getting paid, especially the prostitutes, the system keeps spinning and everyone is happy. That’s the moral theory of MMT in a nutshell. As long as productive resources are being utilized and everyone is getting paid, the system keeps spinning. Just as important, the society remains stable.

The critics will instinctively shoot back that this sort of economics is inherently unstable and the apparent stability is short lived. In the long run, the accumulation of debt becomes untenable and the system collapses. The response to that is no one, especially government, lives in the long run. More important, MMT answers the question as to how government should respond to automation. As robots eliminate jobs, more people become idle. How does the state address the problem of fewer jobs for a growing population?

There’s another way to look at this. The custodial state runs on the same premise as a prison. The first job of the warden is to maintain control of the prison. He does that by making sure the prisoners are always kept busy in ways that work toward his goal of maintaining control of the prison. One mechanism for doing that is controlling the supply of goods and services in circulation in the prison. Prisons have an economy based on items from the commissary and that commissary is controlled by the warden.

What MMT seeks to do is make the sovereign state, by which is meant the issuer of currency, the commissary of the American economy. By controlling the supply of goods and services, via currency manipulation, spending and debt, the state can keep an increasingly useless population busy. It can always reward activities that enhance control of the system and punish activity that creates disorder. Inevitably, the communications companies, banks and technology firms become the prison guards of the system.

The Western Disease

By now, even militant anti-Hollywood people are aware of the zombie apocalypse, where humanity is put at risk by a plague of zombies. It’s not always zombies. It could be a vampire problem. The general idea is always the same though. For some reason, people turn into murderous crazies, attacking normal people. Another variation is the newly dead rise and begin attacking the living, thus increasing the number of zombies while decreasing the stock of the living. This is the most popular version of the concept.

The cause of this problem is either a virus that just turned up for no reason, a virus made by man or some alien bug that arrived here for unknown reasons. The germ of this idea, so to speak, is the novel I Am Legend. In it the hero is the last normal person on earth, plagued by what appears to be vampires. He eventually figures out that they have been infected with a disease that causes the vampire like symptoms. The book ends with him having been captured by a hybrid group of vampires that are the future of man.

The odd thing about Hollywood adaptations of this idea is they never focus on the logic behind a disease that would cause a species to murder itself. A virus that kills the host can only work if the host, in the process of dying, infects new hosts. A pathogen that killed instantly would die off quickly, so it would most likely never evolve in the first place. The first iteration would kill the host, before it could spread or kill the population so quickly that no one could get to another population group in time to infect them.

Species do go extinct, so it is not inconceivable that some new environment element could evolve to take out humanity or a large part of it. The Black Death did a number on Europe, so we know such a plague is possible. Thousand cankers disease is a blight that attacks certain walnut trees. The disease results from the combined activity of the walnut twig beetle and a fungus. It could very well wipe out the walnut tree. Similarly, the common banana, known as the cavendish, is at risk from Panama disease.

This idea of a disease that causes people to turn on one another, combined with the habit of nature to clean the slate from time to time, is a useful way to think about the western disease of multiculturalism. Rather than think of it as a set of nutty ideas or a conspiracy by one population to prey on another, it is best thought of as a pathogen that is causing Europeans to attack themselves. Instead of rage zombies, we have people obsessed with the emotional well-being of aliens, at the expense of their kin.

This live stream with Ed Dutton, John Derbyshire and Richard Spencer from last week gets into it a little bit. Around the 50-minute mark, they talk about how the Finns, in particular, but Europe as a whole, have suddenly and inexplicably become pathological in their altruism. The whole video is worth watching, as Ed Dutton is a very interesting guy with a head full of dangerous ideas. As is often the case, when smart people from this side of the divide get together, they end up puzzling over the disease of multiculturalism.

That’s the thing though, no one ever thinks of it like a disease. Instead, the rock solid belief is that it is simply the result of misreading history or drawing the wrong lessons from the industrial wars of the 20th century. The quest for half a century has been to find the right combination of noises that will drop the scales from the eyes of the ruling elites so they will reject multiculturalism. Despite thousands of smart people working tirelessly to find the right combination of sounds, the disease has spread to all corners of the West.

An important thing Dutton points out is that the Finns used to be a very inward looking population group. In fact, northern people in general were very hostile to outsiders, for practical reasons related to ecology. When you live in challenging environments, cooperation is essential. This inevitably rewards traits that bind people close to their social group and traits that make people hostile to outsiders, who could come in and take some of the precious resources of the group. It’s ecological tribalism.

In the last half century, even the notoriously inward looking Finns have been plagued by the need to invite the world, particularly the most hostile parts, into their community. As Dutton mentions, it even seems to be causing the Finns to lose their shyness, something for which they have been known since forever. What possible reasons could a happy people like the Finns suddenly decided to destroy themselves by inviting in hostile foreigners from the other side of the globe? What’s causing this madness?

That is an important part of stress, with regards to multiculturalism. It is new and just sort of arrived in the middle of the last century. We think of bad ideas as a disease of the mind, but what if it is actually a disease? What if like Toxoplasma gondii, a new germ is infecting Europeans, causing them to lose their natural fear of that which is a threat to their existence? Instead of turning local populations directly against themselves, as is the case with the rage zombie idea, they are losing their ability to defend themselves.

It sounds incredible, but there is growing evidence that the bacteria responsible for gum disease may be the cause of Alzheimer’s disease. It has long been known that there is a correlation between periodontal disease and pancreatic cancer. It was assumed it was a common genetic cause, but it could be a common virus or bacteria. Greg Cochran has speculated that something similar could be the cause of homosexuality. His “gay germ” theory is speculation, but not unreasonable, given the data.

Now, such a result would mean the “cure” for multiculturalism is we either treat these people like the rage zombies in TV shows or begin to think of them as lost and unable to assimilate into a newly rationalized West. That is, they will be eaten by the rage zombies they invite into our communities. The rest of us, like the survivors in those TV shows, will have to find our own place to hold up and rebuild. Those in the West immune to the disease of multiculturalism will become the founding stock of the new Western people.

Old And Busted

Way back in the before times, at the dawn of the interwebs, I had some dealings with a small niche publisher. He had a few small newspapers he sold that focused on narrow subjects. Before the internet, there were a lot of these publications. Some were in the magazine format, while others were like a small newspaper. The model was to charge a relatively high subscription fee to a small audience. They could not sell ads, so the only way they could survive was on high subscription rates to loyal fans.

One day, this publisher starts telling me about his plans to abandon the old model and move to the internet. That way he could cut his production and postage costs, which were the biggest part of his operation. I asked him how he was going to handle the revenue side, as this was before firewalls and on-line payment processing, He said he was going to make up the difference with clicks. After some back and forth, I told him banks don’t take clicks, so he better come up with a way to make money, rather than clicks.

The guy thought I was just ignorant about the way the future would work, so he dismissed my skepticism. He was not alone. In the 1990’s, everyone was given a disk and then a CD that allowed them to get on-line and feel like there were on the cutting edge of technology. They were in the new economy, with clicks and traffic, not the old economy with money and expenses. It was a good lesson in human nature. Take people out of their natural environment and you suddenly see their raw cognitive ability.

That story comes to mind whenever there are layoffs in media and the media people start analyzing what went wrong. This story at Wired is better than most, but the fact that it needs to be written at this late date says a lot about the people in the media. By now, everyone should know that the newspaper model was never about the news. It was about the distribution system. The newspaper brought ads and marketing material to the people at a cost and efficiency no one could match. That was always their business.

The news part was the marketing expense. People would buy the paper because of gossip or the sports pages. The news was only interesting when something interesting was happening. Otherwise, the so-called hard news side was a sinkhole. When the internet robbed these operations of their distribution hegemony, the logic of their business went with it. When the internet robbed them of gossip and sports, they were left with hard news, which has a tiny market, but huge expense.

This was obvious by the middle of the Bush years. Yet people in the news business have never noticed. Today, in a world where most everyone knows most news is fake, just made up by desperate losers looking for attention, the point should be impossible to ignore, but here we are anyway. After Vice, Huffington Post and Buzzfeed cut staff in what will be a long journey into insolvency, the media was full of hand wringing about the state of journalism. It suggests the people in the media are not terribly bright.

That still leaves open the question as to why no one can find a model for news that is sustainable, without rigging the market or relying on the charity of billionaires. The on-line advertising model was always a bit of sham and that is becoming increasingly clear as Google and Facebook monopolize the space. Even there, the viewership of the ads is declining, as people employ counter measures. The result is more people are exposed to ads, but fewer people are watching them. At some point, that becomes a problem.

What may be true of the news business is that without monopoly or oligopoly power, it cannot exist beyond some scale. That is, a form of Brook’s Law comes into play. The more journalists that are added to a news enterprise, beyond some optimal number, the faster the enterprise descends into insolvency. A single journalist can create enough content for a theoretical maximum of consumers. Two journalists, however, can produce something less than the sum of those theoretical maximums.

This would explain why local papers somehow manage to bugger on, despite what is happening to city broadsheets and even tabloids. It’s not that the local paper fills a niche, which is certainly true. It’s that it never grows beyond a certain size and that size is well below the failure point. The people working in it don’t see themselves as a secular clerisy and instead take a practical view of their job. As a result, the cultural dynamic inside the organization is like you see inside any small local business.

Another point worth mentioning is that it has always been assumed a new economy would evolve to take advantage of the new efficiency brought on by technology, particularly the free flow of information on-line. What’s going on with mass media suggests maybe there is another option. Technology eliminates large chunks of economic activity, not through automation, but by making it impossible maintain barriers to entry. That is, when the price of something fully reflects all available information, the price drops to zero.

The Five Olds

My guess is John Derbyshire and Ethnark from FTN are the only two people to catch the meaning of the show title this week. It came to me while reading some of the comments to my post earlier in the week on the wealth tax. It reminded me that dissident politics is a much more radical venture than previous opposition movements in that it requires an entirely new moral framework. It’s not just about getting some things in the law changed or better behavior from the people in power. It is a cultural revolution.

At least it aspires to be one. Failure is always an option, particularly when it comes to social movements. The people in charge could start sweeping up bad thinkers and sending us off to camps. For now though, it is about discrediting a lot of old ideas about how we relate to one another, society and our government. That’s not an easy thing as all of us have grown up marinated in the morality of the Left, along with the moral scolding of the so-called Right. Civic nationalism and Progressive morality are all we know.

What I decided to do is focus this week on various old ideas, customs, habits and so forth that no longer fit the present age, It’s not a one hour show detailing a new moral philosophy, but a show picking apart the old habits of mind. I’m most certainly going to be writing about some of these topics in the future, as I think topics like tax policy offer a great way to question (and disrupt!) the old modes of thought. Sadly, I was not able to work in the phrase “invisibilize the unmentionables” this week. Maybe next week.

This week I have the usual variety of items in the now standard format. Spreaker has the full show. I am up on Google Play now, so the Android commies can take me along when out disrespecting the country. I am on iTunes, which means the Apple Nazis can listen to me on their Hitler phones. The anarchists can catch me on iHeart Radio. YouTube also has the full podcast. Of course, there is a download link below. I have been de-platformed by Spotify, because they feared I was poisoning the minds of their Millennial customers.

This Week’s Show

Contents

  • 00:00: Opening
  • 02:00: Our Awakening
  • 07:00: Old Conditioning
  • 17:00: Old Ideas
  • 27:00: Old Morality
  • 37:00: Old Politics
  • 47:00: Old Philosophy
  • 57:00: Closing

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Better Human Capital

Are people better today than in the past? The answer to that question, more often than not, says things about the person answering than anything else. The cosmopolitan globalists and their attendants will argue people are better today, overall. The cynical critics of the current arrangements will go the other way, pointing out that people are dumber. In other words, the answer usually has to do with your view of the neoliberal order, rather than any factual considerations. The winners are happy while the losers are unhappy.

There are practical ways to think of the question. Steve Pinker looked at interpersonal violence over the ages, using it as a proxy for human progress. His assumption is that coming to a violent end is bad. Therefore, if fewer people are coming a violent end, it means there are fewer violent people in society. His analysis shows that violence within western societies has been in steady decline. He also points out the decline in the celebration of violence in society. The conclusion is we are getting better.

The trouble with that sort of analysis is it starts with a subjective definition of better, when nature may have other ideas. The point of life for all creatures, including humans, is to reproduce. As the saying goes, life is built for speed. Get to sexual maturity as quickly as possible, reproduce and after that it is all gravy. It’s why humans evolved some brutal responses to diseases that strike the young. Malaria is the obvious example. The risk of an ugly death in adulthood is worth the risk in order to reach sexual maturity.

Therefore, fertility rates are a pretty good proxy for measuring the health of a species, which is why biologists use them all the time. If a type of finch stops laying eggs, biologists will assume something bad is happening to the species. Whites, the engine of human material progress, have seen their fertility rates collapse. The fertility rate for Africans is rocket high. A biologist would look at those realities and conclude that the former is in trouble, while the latter is flourishing. Better may not be better after all.

Another way of looking at the question is from the perspective of the emerging data from ancient DNA. Until recent, what we knew about the intelligence of people in the past was speculative. Aristotle was obviously a brilliant person, but how smart were the guys growing olives? Were they smarter than the people working at one of Amazons distribution centers? The SAT scores for Athenian farmers have been lost, so we have no way to compare their scores to those of their analogs in our society.

The assumption has been the modern people must smarter, as we live in technologically advanced societies. The data coming in from genetics says the opposite is most likely true and there is a very good chance the data from ancient DNA will confirm it. As Cochran says, we have known for a while that people are getting dumber, but no one has been able to point to hard evidence of it. Now there is hard evidence for a relatively recent decline in European IQ. We’ll soon know where moderns stand on the IQ scale.

Of course, this all leads to the question of what defines “better” when it comes to human capital. Those Africans breeding like bunnies are a bit smarter than previous Africans due to better nutrition and medicine. They are still a full standard deviation dumber than Europeans and Asians. From the perspective of biology, their fertility rates suggest they are more fit than their childless counterparts to the north. Maybe nature is telling us something about what really matters in the game of natural selection.

On the other hand, maybe the selection pressures in the post-scarcity world are different in ways not yet understood. If the correlation between education and low-fertility is what we’re told, it would have showed up a long time ago. It used to be smart people got rich and they had a bunch of kids. Now, rich people claim to be smart and they avoid having children at all. Perhaps in a highly automated, post-scarcity world, general intelligence is not much of an asset at either end of the social structure.

Interestingly, if this is even somewhat true, it supports the observation that cognitive abilities did not evolve equally around the globe. This would explain the differences in measured intelligence. In a place with lots of naturally available food, but lots of predators, being smart is not as big an edge as being quick. In a world of high-scarcity, low time preference and the ability to plan ahead are important. The post-scarcity, technological society is a grand experiment demonstrating this in real time.

That brings us back to the initial question. Is the human capital of today better than the human capital of the past? The answer is probably yes and no. The populations with low fertility could be obsolete, to be replaced with low-IQ Africans. Alternatively, they could be in the midst of a change to better equip them for the post-scarcity world. On the other hand, maybe the formerly high IQ populations unleashed environmental changes that will keep lowering intelligence unto this high tech society collapses.

Maybe what’s really going on is a weird race to the finish line. On the one hand, human intelligence is declining as automation takes over more and more tasks. On the other hand, the robots are getting smarter and will one day function as our caretakers. The race is to see if the robots get to that point before we run out of smart people able to create the artificial intelligence and super-intelligent robots. If we get too dumb too fast, the future may be primitives living in the wreckage of formerly high tech societies.

The America Problem

Way back when the West was pressuring the apartheid government to commit suicide on behalf of its people, they did a remarkable thing. They sequestered their nuclear program, making sure the information and material would not fall into the hands of whatever came after apartheid. It was remarkable, because no other state has voluntarily abandoned its program for the good of the world. Governments just don’t do that, but the South Africans did and a huge potential problem down the line was averted.

The reason this is worth thinking about is there are other unstable states, with lots of military technology. Pakistan is an obvious example. There is a better than even chance they have sold nuclear technology to other Muslim governments. They have most certainly been working with North Korea. Israel has nuclear weapons and they have advanced delivery systems. These are two countries that could fall into chaos or have their government overthrown. It’s not likely at the moment, but it is possible.

A bigger concern is America. There’s no getting around the fact that America is in bad shape in many important ways. The wizards in the Federal Reserve have been able to use creative ways to maintain the debt bubble, but everything comes to an end eventually. The demographic changes going on in the country are creating very serious fissures regionally, ethnically and economically. Just look at how aggressive and radical the political talk is these days. America looks very brittle right now.

If you are doing long term planning for the EU or a European government, you have to be looking at America and thinking about the Crisis of the Third Century. It’s not a perfect analogy, but it is a pretty good one. Like the Roman Empire, the American Empire is militaristic, the dominant military power and politically fragile. Like the Romans, America appears to be critically short of intellectual firepower in its ruling elite. Who knows, maybe Washington has a lead pipe problem, but it does have an IQ problem.

You have to think China, Japan, Europe, even the Russians are looking at America and wondering how it keeps teetering on without some serious reform effort. Further, you have to think the failure of the Trump administration to get anything done is another data point suggesting the American political class is malfunctioning. A healthy political elite would have made sure to co-opt Trump, given him some easy victories and made sure he turns his talents and political support toward defending the system.

Instead, the result of the Trump years is likely to be further confirmation that the system is hopelessly broken. Maybe the Democrats have some great reformer in their ranks who will rise in the primaries this year. It seems unlikely, but the funny thing about greatness is no one ever sees it before it becomes obvious. Still, what the political class has favored, guys like Bush, Clinton and Obama, suggests they have managed to create a system that selects against, at an early stage, anyone with the any amount of talent.

Now, America is probably not going to fall into a period of military anarchy as happened to the Romans in the third century. America is a sea-based empire, while the Romans were a land-based empire. Chaos, if it comes, will first be in the possessions. Perhaps that’s why the Trump administration is so eager to get out of Afghanistan and Syria. It could be that the defense establishment has finally realized they are being bled dry by these commitments. In order to preserve the empire, they must shrink it.

On the other hand, in an age when controlling the financial system is worth more than controlling territory, the chaos will show up first in the economy. We’re two months away from “hard Brexit” with no signs of a soft resolution. The EU had to compromise with the populist Italian government on their budget. The Yellow Vest riots, which everyone is told to ignore, are becoming a serious issue in France. All of these problems in Europe are being driven by the impossible realities of their economics system.

Whatever your favorite collapse scenario, all of them assume that the American political class will not be able to keep the plates spinning. At some point, the divisions in American society, be they cultural, racial or economic, become so large that the core of the empire becomes ungovernable. If you are on the outside looking in right now, America certainly looks like a continent wide version of 1970’s New York City. The difference being, New York City was not armed with nuclear weapons and a massive military.

How the rest of the world could “manage” the entropy of empire is hard to know. China could simply work to reduce its exposure to the empire and wait for it to withdraw from the Pacific Rim. South American governments seem to be using the current chaos to export their troublesome populations. They are using the techniques of Progressive urban gentrification to clean up their underclass. A weakening and chaotic America could very well be a good thing for them, at least from a demographic perspective.

European elites are suffering from the same disease as their American counterparts, so it is unlikely they are thinking too far ahead. On the other hand, the demographic situation in Europe is salvageable, so they have more time. France is not condemned to becoming a majority-minority society. No European country is assured that fate. America is guaranteed, short of something completely unexpected, to become a multi-racial, multi-ethnic country, with a large white minority. That’s a mathematical guarantee.

If it turns out that the model of the American empire cannot function with a majority-minority core and the core becomes ungovernable, then the world is going to have a very serious problem. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Europe fell into the dark ages for roughly a millennium. On order to avoid that fate, the world, particularly Europe, will need to start planning and preparing for life after America. That means figuring out a way to manage the inevitable decline of the American empire.

Rugged Individual Sociopaths

Imagine in a discussion about the sex abuse that goes on in Hollywood, someone said, regarding the victims of the abuse, “I guess I’m meant to cry tears of sympathy for all of these people who were molested. Somehow I just can’t muster a single tear. You made your choices. Nobody put a gun to your head.” That would no doubt elicit gasps and a good deal of the familiar point and sputter. If nothing else, people are expected to show a little empathy for the victims of predators, especially when it is kids or young adults.

Empathy is essential to a high-trust society. It allows people to cooperate, rather than spend their time defending themselves from others in society. Empathy allows people to engage with others, trusting that the other side is acting in good faith and not trying to cheat the other party. It makes it possible to engage in things like charity and social improvement. When you can put yourself in the mind of a person outside your kin-group, share their feelings about things, cooperative society is possible.

It’s why liars and cheaters can never be tolerated. Their actions put the trust of society into question, which means their lack of empathy costs everyone. In some respects, the lack of empathy is worse than the crime itself. A man who kills another man in a dispute, but feels remorse, can be rehabilitated. A man who steals from another man and is unable to understand why it is wrong or celebrates his act, can never be rehabilitated and can never be a part of society. He can never be trusted, because he lacks empathy.

This basic insight into the nature of society has been a central element of the Western Right since de Maistre. It was always the radical that imagined human society as based entirely on self-interest. Humans would either cooperate because it worked to their advantage or not cooperate because it was to their advantage. Humans were infinity selfish and altruism was just a consequence of society and culture. Therefore, set the conditions of society just right and people will cooperate with one another.

The Right has always rejected that, until recently. The quote at the start of this post is a variation of this tweet from Matt Walsh. He is, according to his handlers, “a writer, speaker, author, and one of the religious Right’s most influential young voices.” In addition to that, they claim “He is known for boldly tackling the tough subjects and speaking out on faith and culture in a way that connects with his generation and beyond.” In reality, he is reproducing official dogma for the Official Right, what remains of it.

What that tweet reveals is that Official Conservatism™ thinks it is perfectly fine for sophisticated parties to prey on unsophisticated parties. In his case, it suggests the religious Right would be OK with the strong preying on the weak, as in the example at the start of the post. After all, pederasty is by definition a crime because one party, the adult, is sophisticated, while the other party, the young person, is not. Therefore, it is assumed they cannot bargain in the sexual marketplace on fair and equal terms.

Now, there is nothing in the writing of Matt Walsh to suggest he is in favor of pederasty, but there is no reason to think he would oppose it. After all, if he is so utterly lacking in empathy that he cannot muster even a bit of sympathy for people saddled with egregious school debt, his fitness for society is in question. His brand of flamboyant sociopathy is what we would expect from a serial predator or maybe a banker. You have to wonder what is wrong with someone who is so proudly callous toward his fellow citizens.

This is exactly why Official Conservatism™ is headed for the dustbin of history. It no longer offers a philosophical alternative to radicalism. Instead, it embraces the same callous and materialist view of society as the radicals. It starts from the premise that we are just random strangers flung together by serendipity, ruthlessly trying to advance our self-interest. The only difference between the radical and the so-called conservative is the former still thinks this can be remedied, while the latter embraces it.

A civil society is one in which the individuals naturally balance their interests against the interests of the whole. Popular government assumes this to be true. The people will debate and persuade one another about the proper balance. A democratic society composed of sociopaths quickly descends into gang warfare, where ever-shifting alliances of individuals makes war upon one another in a zero-sum game, ruthlessly exploiting the available resources. That’s a prison yard, not a high-trust society.

That’s why people with a soul should look at the student debt problem with sympathy and horror. It’s not just that these kids are saddled with debt. It’s that they and their parents are being preyed upon by sophisticated parties, with the aid and protection of the state. It is a form of economic piracy, in which the crown is quietly supporting the pirates, at the expense of the people’s commerce. Conservatives have always rejected this. Christians have always rejected this. Today, the “religious right” embraces it.

This inability to comprehend the basic building blocks of Western society is also why they cannot understand how open borders are a disaster. For someone like Matt Walsh, people are interchangeable, not only with one another, but with other economic units. In the materialist world view, social capital matters only in that it can be exploited for economic gain. In the zero-trust, Hobbesian world of the modern conservative, the greater the diversity, the greater the openness, which makes exploitation easier.

Authentic conservatism has always understood that Western society is built on trust and trust comes naturally to the familiar. Our greatest natural empathy is toward our family and then our kin group. From there is extends, but weakens, to those who look and sound like our kin. It breaks down entirely when it reaches those who are alien in appearance, speech, and custom. Therefore, high-trust societies can only exist in societies with a shared heritage and a shared biology. Diversity and trust are mutually exclusive.

Normal Is Not Forever

If you watch a movie from the 1970’s or maybe look at old family photos from the period, you’ll notice that people dressed funny. The men wore tacky looking polyester suits in odd colors, like lime green and powder blue. Women were also in polyester. They liked high-waisted pants with a bell-like shape to the trouser leg. Both men and women would wear denim or suede jackets on purpose. From the perspective of our age, the fashion of the 1970’s is quite hideous, but the people in that age thought they looked great.

Fashion is a form of public morality. We don’t think of it that way, but public morality is just a set of rules and customs that everyone assumes to be true. Some parts of public morality are informed by religion. In America, rules governing when and where it is acceptable to drink alcohol have their roots in Christian ethics of the 19th century. In the case of other rules, no one knows the source of authority. Like fashion trends, they just seem to be the set of rules everyone accepts at the moment.

If someone turns up in your office, dressed in a denim leisure suit, you’re going to assume they are crazy or maybe going to a costume party after work. It’s not that wearing a denim leisure suit is against the law or causing anyone harm. It’s that is so far outside of present sensibilities, about how people are supposed to dress, that you would assume there is some motivation other than taste. If it was just a bizarre sense of fashion, or lack of fashion in this case, the wearer would exile himself by doing it.

Fashion changes quickly and for no obvious reason. Why did people suddenly decide that velour jogging suits looked great and then suddenly decide they looked silly? Most likely, some famous person was talked into wearing a velour track suit on television and all of a sudden everyone had to have one. Maybe some clothing maker just took a shot and all of a sudden it was a trendy thing. A big part of the fashion business is simply trying to figure out how to create a new trend, so people will rush out and buy new clothes.

Just as fashion can change on a dime, other parts of public morality can change quickly for no obvious reason. It used to be that homosexuality was known, but best kept out of public view. It was perfectly acceptable to mock homosexuals. Today, of course, lack of reverence for homosexuals is on the list of unforgivable sins. Mark Steyn was purged by National Review, because he repeated an old Dean Martin joke about homosexuals. His crime was not being properly offended by a decades old gag.

In this area of public morality, it is popular to assign nefarious motives to the people pushing these changes in public morality. Some of it is true, for sure. Just as famous people wear strange costumes in an effort to signal their trendiness, people pushing trendy social fads are hoping to signal their virtue to good whites. Some of it though, is just the weird way in which trends change. Hollywood has been littered with homosexuals since the start, but it was OK to mock them, then all of a sudden it wasn’t.

Of course, even though something like wearing a denim leisure suit was fashionable in the 1970’s, you can still get mocked for it after the fact. John Derbyshire thought he looked great when he was taking on Bruce Lee, but there’s no doubt his kids still tease him for the hair and clothes. A stock part of family life is the parents showing their kids old pictures and the kids making sport of their parents for their weird costumes. The hideousness of the 1970’s is a nightmare from which the people of that era will never awake.

Would the people in the 1970’s have been more discriminating if they knew their future selves would so ashamed of those outfits? Most likely. If you know that in twenty years, heretics will be made to dress like you dress now, and be treated as pariahs, will you change things up? Most people would certainly like to avoid that sort of humiliation. They would absolutely want to avoid being associated with people being ostracized from future society. That knowledge would certainly change present behavior.

The same applies to other areas of public morality. The Left now goes through the social media time lines of newly famous people looking for blasphemy. Every once in a while an athlete has to issue an apology for something he said in high school or college. The whole “me too” movement was about traveling back in time to find things that were in violation of present morality. Thirty years ago, the casting couch was a fixture of Hollywood. Today it is a crime against humanity, at least it was until it stopped trending on Twitter.

Today, the fickleness of public morality regarding a wide range of issues has created a culture of fear. It’s not just that people are afraid of saying something blasphemous by today standards. They fear holding an opinion that will be blasphemous by tomorrow’s standards. The assumption is that the current trends with regards to human nature, human organization and politics will keep going in the same direction forever. Today it is immoral to laugh at a man in a dress. Tomorrow it will be immoral to not be a man in a dress.

As we saw with the fashions of the 1970’s, public morality can head down a cul-de-sac and then reverse course. Into the mid-60’s, fashion trends were fairly consistent, then all of a sudden they went off course. By the late 1970’s, people were dressing like clowns and goofballs. Then all of a sudden, the trend reversed and people quickly abandoned those goofy styles and got back to dressing like sane people. The fever broke and public morality regarding sartorial sensibilities returned to normal.

Something like that can happen with other areas of public morality. The residue of the cultural revolution is still with us, but the bellowing and shouting we see today could very well be a rear guard action to hold off the inevitable retreat. Antifa enforcers patrolling social media could very well be the velour track suit of this period. The people sporting those ideas today, will be mocked mercilessly in the future. Amy Harmon will be the William Jennings Bryan of this age, a symbol of primitive obscurantism.

It is impossible to know, of course, which is why our old picture albums are full of men in hats and women wearing weird outfits. Public morality, like fashion, does change and in unpredictable directions, because we are not good at seeing the future. With regards to public morality, covering things like science, reality is the ultimate check on these spasms of fashionable lunacy. The same is true of human organization. Multiculturalism is the decorative cod piece of this age. It has no utility and will eventually fall out of style.

Eat The Rich

Elizabeth Warren is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, so she is out making the rounds, boasting of what she would do as president. She’s planning to run as the weepy champion of the middle-class, so you can expect her to say the “middle class is getting hammered” six million times over the next year. She can’t be a culture warrior, now that her fake Indian cover is blown, so she is going for the bourgeois populism that used to be a thing on the Left, before they discovered anti-whiteness.

Warren’s first salvo is a wealth tax, which will be some sort of levy on those with assets over $50 million. This will be in addition to the regular income tax and she says it will raise $2.75 trillion over 10 years. That’s like saying the plan will allow Big Foot to finally get the unicorn he always wanted. Politicians love making ten year projections, despite the fact no one believes them. It’s just a way for the actors, our rich people hire to run for office, to sound like they are something other than actors. It’s part of the role.

Portly polemicist Kevin Williams was ready to lead the charge against this new communist assault on the rich people who pay him to sing their praises. That post is a madhouse of nonsense, but it is also like reading National Review from 1985. That old crowd is still lighting candles, hoping the Left will get back to talking like socialists, so they can get back to pretending to be conservatives. Comparing what Warren is proposing to the Soviet collectivization programs is dumb even by the standards of Kevin Williamson.

It’s also completely backwards. Historically, the radical position on taxes is all about restructuring society and making it more egalitarian. The Right took the position that the state was primarily in service to the rich, so the rich should pay for it. Sure, the rich tax the poor, that’s why they are rich, but they pay for the state, because it serves their ends. The Warren plan is hardly radical. Every state in America has property taxes. Some have inventory taxes on business and asset taxes on individuals. Asset taxes are common.

Of course, Warren’s game here is to pitch herself as the champion of middle-class white women. Kamala Harris will get the black vote. The question is whether she is black enough to get enough of it. Warren is betting she can scoop up the Sanders vote and the box wine auntie vote, in order to counter the black vote. That’s why she is pitching this idea, which she knows will never happen. It’s a form of virtue signaling in order to shape the narrative of the 2019 election season, heading into the primaries next January.

Still, it is an idea that should be discussed. America has many problems and is probably headed for a very bad end, but if reform is possible, it starts with reigning in the out of control plutocrats. Everyone talks about the racial and ethnic hostility, but one big problem is the degree of inequality. You can make all the libertarian arguments you like to explain why this is not a bad thing, but history says otherwise. Throw in the outright hostility of the rich toward their duties to the nation and it is a dangerous brew.

A debate about an asset tax also does something else that is needed. It raises the issue of why taxing income is acceptable, but taxing other things is taboo. Why do we treat investment earnings as sacred, while the working man’s paycheck is fair game? Take this further, why are we using an industrial age tax philosophy in the technological age? The world is a very different place economically, compared to a century ago when income taxes were invented. It’s time to think about modernizing taxes.

Another thing worth debating is how tax policy changes the behavior of office holders in a neoliberal democracy. Every shabby economics expert in Conservative Inc. can lecture on tax policy and market incentives, but no one thinks about how tax policy changes the behavior of public officials. Income taxes encourage government to attract earners, not builders. Countries become flop houses for stateless economic pirates. That’s what countries are in the global age. They are a pirate’s cove for global capital.

Asset taxes could motivate politicians to attract investment that creates wealth in the nation. After all, if the money available to the politicians is pegged to the asset value of the nation, nationalism makes a lot of sense. That’s why the flunkies and coat holders for the globalist class will be howling in agony at any attempt to debate this idea. Income taxes serve the interest of the post-nation future. Global capital is just a renter, always looking for the cheapest rate, with no stake in the port where they find shelter.

Make no mistake, Elizabeth Warren is as dumb as a goldfish. She’s proposing this because the script writers hired for her told her it will get applause from the demographic she is courting. On this side of the great divide, it offers a chance to talk about bigger issues in practical terms that disgruntled whites can follow. It also offers another chance to be the thoughtful, intellectually serious alternative to the sad clown show that in conservatism. The politics of the future, will need a tax policy to match it.

Weirdos

After a week of outrages, more than a week actually, I thought it would be good to do something a little lighter this week. I have been getting requests for Xirl Science, so this week we have that and some other weird stuff I found. Sometimes, you need to take a break from the serious stuff. Otherwise, you become one of those rage heads, who is constantly lecturing people all the time about how the world is going to hell. This week is a show featuring weirdos, goofballs and people I like to mock.

The thing that often gets lost on this side of the great divide is that we have one thing working in our favor. We’re right. More important, the people on the other side are not just mistaken. Most of them are crazy. That coalition of fringes, as Sailer likes to put it, is actually a freak show where morality is inverted. They have power, but reality is undefeated. Their battle against reality can only end one way. It’s okay for our side to take some pleasure in watching that freak show..

This week I have the usual variety of items in the now standard format. Spreaker has the full show. I am up on Google Play now, so the Android commies can take me along when out disrespecting the country. I am on iTunes, which means the Apple Nazis can listen to me on their Hitler phones. The anarchists can catch me on iHeart Radio. YouTube also has the full podcast. Of course, there is a download link below. I have been de-platformed by Spotify, because they feared I was poisoning the minds of their Millennial customers.

This Week’s Show

Contents

  • 00:00: Opening
  • 02:00: Paying It Black (Link) (Link)
  • 12:00: Xirl Science (Link) (Link) (Link)
  • 22:00: Pumping (Link)
  • 32:00: Libertarians (Link)
  • 42:00: Talk Like A Weirdo (Link)
  • 47:00: The Religion Of Disbelief (Link)
  • 52:00: The Noise of Lagos (Link)
  • 57:00: Closing (Link)

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