Friday, September 19, 2014

Mutation Accumulation Hits the Wealthy Hardest

Bruce Charlton has been talking a lot about mutation accumulation, the best introduction of which is probably The Demise of Mouse Utopia.

So this has been percolating around in my brain since it is the sort of thing that changes your view of things quite drastically.

Meanwhile I have this basic idea that Christendom was lobotomized in the 1800s. The revolutionary period meant the destruction of the nobility and the removal of the societal forces that encouraged people to select for intelligence. A different class rose up and took whatever 'traditional' positions that were left- the bureaucrats.

Mutation accumulation adds to the dim picture due to the unequal distribution of live saving technologies.

The children of the wealthy were the first to see a decrease in child mortality. Additionally the wealthy were the first who were able to use plastic surgery, orthodontics, etc...
So the elite classes in the post-revolutionary milieu have accrued far more mutations than the poorer classes. Problems tend to be more obvious in among the poor, but the obviousness in turn tends to discourage people from mating with him or her.

Basic attractiveness and apparent health still count as a decent signal among the poor, while the elites can fake it. Considering the general popularity of C-sections in this country, one could easily imagine three generations of women, each having C-sections, resulting in a great-granddaughter physically unable to give birth normally. One of a myriad of simple examples that would get humans very near the end state found in the mouse utopia experiment.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

An Explanation (Capitalism) Cannot Be Tainted By That Which It Explains (Slavery)

I was a little annoyed by Capitalism Destroys Slavery because it seems like intentionally losing an argument. The correct answer, in my mind, is that capitalism explains slavery, as well as it's subsequent eradication.

Slaves were capital goods. They required a lot of input to keep them alive, so they were costly capital goods. The innovation that occurred during the industrial revolution led to it being economically unsound to use slave labor. Now, the technological innovations of the industrial revolution did not reach everywhere at once, and in the particular case of the U.S., the North used it's advance technological capacity to make war on the South, and used the evils of slavery to excuse themselves.

How do we know slavery is evil? Well, basically people reflected on capitalism and derived a moral argument from an economic one. The economics are value free in the sense that it is an endeavor to explain how humans allocate resources in a world with finite resources in it. The idea of self-ownership is a relatively new one, and is still actively fought often by precisely the sort of idiots who would think slavery is a capitalist institution.

What happens is that people who are successful, often through capitalist means then find themselves in a position to secure unfair advantage via government. Thus slavery, or at least the body of law that perpetuated it past it's prime, was a collectivist institution. When slavery was got rid of, industrialists happily used the same influence to treat their workers worse than they should. The workers, the poor, and the downtrodden, don't have good leadership skills, so whenever there's some sort of revolt in their name, there are usually a bunch of bloodthirsty academics actually running things- except maybe Venezuela. Chavez seemed like a working class guy, and if the U.S. weren't so wedded to big oil interests, we may have been able to work with him. I mean, the guy did't understand reality, but he wasn't like Che.

The distinction isn't made though, so capitalism is plainly thought of by most, even those who agree with Don Boudreax, as part of a subset of 'isms' which can have institutions, rather than an explanation. Additionally, the desire to paint capitalism as modern is dangerous and reinforces the idea that it is an 'ism' that just sort of showed up around the same time that socialism did. The idea certainly did show up rather recently, but it explains the past too. People had fewer forms of capital goods back then, but when they were allowed to they would go through the same process of saving to buy capital goods and then put those capital goods into production. Indeed, people had rather more good sense back then and tended to give capital goods to young couples so that they could provide for themselves rather than run them into debt for a worthless college degree.

Why Most Economy of Scale Arguments Are Bogus In This Country

If you remember, somewhere, deep in your past, you were probably exposed to some deary economics lecture or another, and if you hadn't quite yet fallen asleep, you may have seen a slide put up in a dimly lit room that held the following:


This is the idea that for profit maximization, marginal revenue should equal marginal cost. This effects your economy of scale.

Now consider costs. There are the sort of costs that are directly related to creating more product. These sorts of costs are usually normal business costs and tend to pressure businesses to stay a certain size and/or limit themselves to a certain production run.

Then there are government related costs. Most of these costs can be distributed across a wide number of transactions. If you have the time, money, and/or lawyers, you can also extract some government related benefits. Now, obviously, time, money, and lawyers are costs too. But suffice it to say a Mom&Pop store or farm doesn't have the same resources with which to woo Washington D.C., like Walmart or Monsanto.

Leftists get confused, take to the streets, and demand Walmart, Monsanto, Wall Street, etc- be regulated. The corporate types just laugh at this because the large majority of their business comes down to managing government related costs. They use government related costs to keep competition from any new innovators, and any old Mom&Pops, from being competitive against them.

It occurs to me millenials might not know what Mom&Pops were. A long time ago, married couples would decide open up a store together and spend most of their time A) together, and B) in or near their shop. Many of these old shops had a second story where the shop owners actually lived. I think living over your shop actually became illegal, at least in some places.

Anyway, Mom&Pops have serious trouble existing in modern times because of government related costs.

When MR=M(normal, non government related costs) Mom&Pops can exist.

When MR+M(Normal costs + government related costs, which are constantly on the rise) Mom&Pops disappear and large corporations take over.

Now, there are going to be some businesses in which it is a good idea to be big naturally, but most of my fellow libertarian-ish types act like freaking autistic people on this point. Don't go from explaining the principle of economies of scale to lauding the bigness of companies that we see in existence now. Government causes businesses to be bigger than they otherwise would be, and/or cause smaller businesses to die. Smaller businesses have fewer transactions, and therefore cannot spread government related costs across enough transactions to stay in business.

And in the real world, a lot of people won't employ profit maximization. Profit maximization may be really important for a corporation, but people have other interests. A family man might buy a food truck, sell a certain amount of lunches each day, and then go home when he sees he's made enough money for the day, because he might actually like playing with his kids or something.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Attempts at Rehab for Society

I like how he freely admits his generation screwed up this world. It is also interesting that so many different people looking for solutions appear to be converging on the same things. I've seen this guy before, but I don't remember him mentioning permaculture.

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Potential Solution Misidentified as a Problem

I found Stage Managed Ecumenism interesting, because this is a guy who knows something is seriously wrong with evangelical/charismatic Christianity, but he appears to be coming at it from a sola scriptora and anti-clerical point of view, so he misses someone's attempt at a solution to the great big slobbering mess:
“Spiritual Formation" has been taking evangelicals by storm for some years now. Richard Foster and his seminal book Celebration of Discipline has been an attempt to fashion a Catholic Contemplative prayer experience for Protestants. The often used term Spiritual Formation is simply a code word for Contemplative Prayer, and Contemplative Prayer is a revived form of early Catholic meditation going back to the early third and fourth centuries of Catholic Monastics called the Desert Fathers, who borrowed a form of meditation from interaction with Eastern mystics in Egypt. The source of Contemplative Prayer is Catholicism. But ironically there are probably more evangelicals pursuing this prayer method than Catholics.

This is actually has its source in heychastic prayer, which is demonstrably different from non-Christain forms of Eastern meditation. Basically, before the modern age of nonsense, the Church was a hospital, and the monastery was where you put your particularly dangerous people. Now, you could let them out again, and be bishops and stuff, if they survived and got along into old age. Heychastic prayer is therapy, and could actually help, but they aren't going in that direction.

I know this because it is a similar line of research that I took, at the time being mainly among Charismatic Catholics and counting myself as one, I began to search for answers because my friends had no answers. They only have modernity, and relative prosperity to shield themselves from consequences.

I think it was around five years ago I found out my little group was going to do modified Jesuit meditations. You basically take a biblical passage and imagine yourself there at the time and everything. Well, I am doing this for the first or second time and I have a really clear strong thought, which was something like:

Imagining a thing to be true is one step away from believing it to be true.

Mysteriously, this sort of thing is never recognized by these pro-prophecy super-Charismaticky people as a word of God. No, a word of God is usually some maudlin thing emoted by some woman which has no apparent bearing on anything excepting that God really loves us and wants us to be super happy, unless of course you are doing the sort of naughty things that might make a woman cross.

No, my dear friends, all I had to rely on was this statement that I receive while I was honestly trying to A:) Pray to God and B:) do what my friends were doing was that this message was imminently logical. Secondarily, since we had a post-meditation discussion I could easily see people were adversely affected- if one can be adversely affect by obviously imagining error into bibilical passages. The most weak-minded and intellectually ill-equipped were arguably the most harmed. I have since seen that this relationship between imagination and error has been mention previously in the Church.

I think I have, once or twice, snorted and said that doctrine doesn't matter, but it is a sarcastic statement. Doctrine does matter, but, as Vox Day says, most people are idiots. You go looking for real answers and try to bring back one or two you to your friends you will hear from them that it doesn't matter. Well, it probably doesn't for the vast majority of mid to low IQ people.

Sola Scriptora leads to all sorts of nonsense, because not everyone can understand the translated page, much less the context of what it was like in the ancient Middle East.
It should be something like Sola Deus (there was a lack of Latin teaching in my youth). We claim to worship this being, which surpasses being because it is both one being and three divine persons, one of whom is both God and man, which-as far as we know are two different classes of being. This is why I have begun to believe we should teach our God is perfection (noun) and not merely perfect (adjective). One may have a perfect chicken, and he may be better than all the other chickens, but he's still just a chicken. Similarly, either your god really is the Alpha and Omega, really is perfection, or he is just another god.

Rather than contributing to the general disorder, heychastic prayer would help bring about order, but they won't do it. It is uncomfortable to modern minds. At best they will mostly avoid, at worst they will grab something that is actually new age/pagan and use it instead. The evangelical/charismatic crowd are highly socialble and seek emotional validation. The first tiny step into the great dark void will send them reeling back into seeking any sort of sensory input they can find- and most of them still have televisions.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Autonomous Enclaves

My Google Alert on Kurdistan led me to Michael Stephens' Blurred Lines, IS, and the Rise of Autonomous Enclaves:

The future appears to be a collection of statelets, autonomously run by quasi-governments that maintain full security control, and tightly enforce the movement of populations within the regions in which they govern. Assuming the Islamic State survives in some form or another, the appearance of the region is a mosaic of shifting boundaries, low level conflicts over territory and statelets struggling to form independent sovereign entities that can stand alone, in opposition to regional powers surrounding them.

Stephens describes how the Kurds of Iraq and Syria are now the de facto rulers of the borders between them. He has apparently gone to visit Rojava. Google maps wants to place Rojava rather deeply into Syria, so it looks like the Kurds have carved out a lot of territory. Or more precisely, it pretty much was their territory and now they are in a position to rule rather than be ruled.

It seems to me this is a very strong position, versus the Islamic State, which has an international flavor and a penchant for targets with little strategic value but high psychological value. I have always been skeptical about where they get their funding, and now that I've seen a few articles suggesting they are selling oil on the black market, I am wondering if there are truly black market refineries out there, or are certain governments simply closing their eyes to oil shipments because they want IS around to sell their citizens on more war.

Meanwhile, the multinationals will back the guys who will protect their assets. Not exactly the principled way to get free, but we take what we can get.

This is reminding me I need an autonomous enclave. But it also makes me think things are proceeding more or less the way I thought they would.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Measles Makes A Guest Appearance

Earlier, I asked what if the vaccine doesn't work? I did so because pro-vaccine assholes over at Kottke had written something called Anti-vaxx? How about pro-disease? It turns out there is research out there clearly showing outbreaks happen within vaccinated populations:

Here's a link to a google scholar search on one of the researchers she cites. Many studies, not just one.

We can put away the idea that people who don't vaccinate are causing the problem. People who get the vaccine can get the disease anyway, and later on in her talk, Dr. Tetyana Obukhanych points out a more troubling issue- intergenerational effects of vaccine reliance. Mothers provide infants with immunity through breast milk, unless they've taken the vaccines in childhood and have a false sense of security about the protection the vaccine provides.

This reminds me of Steve Johnson, in Ghost Map presenting the anarchist's case against public health initiatives- because the first big public health initiative- the attempt to clean up London- lead to a terrible outbreak of cholera, and everything the government did made it worse. Of course, somewhere in his book Johnson goes back on the picture he paints and suggests that we surely do want public health policies...

The government is pretty dependable in its tendency to back the wrong horse, which is likely most obvious now in the green technology sector. The great golden age of science was funded by many people with private fortunes who would be taken with this or that idea. With funding increasingly centralized- and various agenda specific entrance tests in certain fields (try making a living as a climatologist if you aren't afraid of carbon dioxide) - the number of people with original ideas who get funding are likely at an all time low.