Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Finally, A Pretext For Bombing Syria!

This morning I heard on the radio that Obama directed some heavy duty surveillance of the Syrian parts of the Islamic State. This is presumably so that intel can be gathered and the military can catalog ISIS targets within Syria. As far as I know, bombs have not yet dropped, but I should they drop at all, it will be very hard for me to assume that they fall on the heads of ISIS alone.

Meanwhile, in my feed reader this morning, Peter thinks he's right about the Middle East:

Earlier this month I asked whether an Arab-Israeli rapprochement was on the cards. I pointed out that fundamentalist Islamic terror movements threatened many Arab governments, and as a result they appeared to be beginning to work together to counter the threat. As part of the process, there was a new pragmatic willingness to negotiate with Israel, the ancient enemy, because it, too, was threatened by Islamic fundamentalism in the form of Hamas, and would likely be just as pragmatic in mending old fences to deal with new threats.

And he notes the U.S. may just be out in the cold on this front. So the U.S. starts looking at bombing Syria. Do they keep a foothold in Kurdistan? How complete shall this rapprochement be? In other words, which defense/mercenary industry will get the defensive contracts? American or Israeli? Will those tankers full of Kurdish oil that used to just mysteriously disappear full and then show up empty off the coast of Israel be able to just do whatever it is they were doing without disappearing first?

The Sunni governments are probably mainly afraid of ISIS wandering through random deserts and invading places they deem important for the Caliphate.

Incidentally, I do wish all statements made on ISIS' behalf were preceded by, "I am the Caliph and I approve this message."

Anyway, we will see. These things are not made via a grand conspiracy, but rather the preponderance of agreements that various governments and multinationals make. Some agreements would lead to people trying to keep Iraq one country; other agreements would lead to a free Kurdistan. But it is worthwhile to note that most of these governments (well, politicians) benefit from constant low grade threats that they can ratchet up and down based on how they are doing in the polls.
And mercenaries benefit from heavily defensive contracts and like to avoid all out war.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Another Reason a King May Be Better: A Sense Of Being Personally Responsible

This is an unsatisfying blog title, but I suppose it will have to do, as it is basically correct- I think ancient leaders, especially ancient Christian leaders could be moved by an appeal because they had some sense of being personally responsible for stuff happening in their realm, whereas today's corporate actions can trend to grave evil, and yet nobody feels personally responsible, because every individual involve has carefully followed the rules.

They teach us to feel personally responsible for a very small set of things. Often it is a process- this is why, for instance, conservative Christianity is so often centered around a 'correct' liturgy. Or, you can look at this attempt to make us ignore the unlikelihood of ISIS as any sort of long term entity and initiate conservative support for fighting them. Whatever, just don't pay so much attention to my examples that you forget the point.

The point is, Obama ain't no lord. A lord has some sort of propertied interest in his realm, and as such, he starts getting worried when crap isn't working right. And our bishops aren't thinking like lords either- if they were we'd see some serious attempts at intervention in the area of family formation. Lords are thinking past election cycles, past whatever it is bishops think about- which is probably lunch- and into multi-generational stability. They aren't opening the barn door and welcoming people the realm can't sustain.

A sense of personal responsibility might lead to things, like considering the times and seasons, and making sure the planting was done so that people could have a harvest. Another time cycle longer than pay-check to pay-check.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Principle Shall Be Buried Yet Again

It seems rather impossible for men who, upon finding themselves with the resources to do a thing, to then refrain from doing it.

This is why you don't militarize the police. It would also be nice if you'd train them to protect citizens and their (citizens') property.

Eric Raymond knows a bit about defensive shooting and the New York Times has an autopsy drawing:

Everything I see here is consistent with the report from an unnamed friend of officer Wilson that Brown charged Wilson and Wilson shot him at very close range, probably while Brown was grabbing for Wilson or the pistol with his right hand.

That's what Eric Raymond thinks and I am inclined to agree with him. Where does this leave us? Stupid politics.

Conservatives will look at Ferguson and think, well we need militarized police to deal with people who protest and loot without regard to the facts.

Democrats will keep doing what they are doing- call other people racist when they aren't in charge, and turn a blind eye to every black man dead in their jurisdiction when they are.

This may be very lucrative for politicians, but the principle will be buried, and the tanks will roll more often on American streets.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Civilization Engine

Recently I read Mark Shepard's Restoration Agriculture, in which he argues for replacing our current system of annual crops with tree crops. One of the interesting things about this book is what the restorative model can do for you, even if you are arguing from some false premises, versus the complete mess people make of everything when they use a revolutionary model- regardless of the soundness of their initial premises.

Anyway, Shepard and others have looked into what kind of ecological system most of America was in before modern agriculture. They found it was mostly an oak savanna. Within this system there were chestnuts, which are high in carbohydrates, and hazelnuts which have a good protein/fat content. In addition apples, grapes, various fruits would be grown. Perhaps most importantly- the thing that sells me on it, is pasturing animals through this system. I am not sure whether or not humans can change from wheat (or corn) to using chestnut flour or whatever- but I am quite sure we could mostly forgo the foods made from flour, feed pigs the chestnuts, and then have lovely bacon. I eat a paleo or ancestral health type diet, so I can see this working. I can also see that Mark Shepard appears to be making at least a little profit via farming.

So Restoration Agriculture would be a vital part of a new civilization engine.

Part two would be reading Christopher Alexander's work and trying to implement as much as possible this unfolding process rather than top down design. In his earlier books he talked of a pattern language, and I think this is crucial. I have heard him mention he thought all this would catch on rather quickly in the 70s, but that it didn't and in many cases he saw even people earnestly trying do it wrong. I believe this is because his metaphor of language is particularly apt, and whatever rudimentary knowledge we might have of it, we are not native speakers. It will take a few generations of sustained attempts at this sort of architecture to reach a point where people are fluent.

To reach part three, you need part one and two up and running well enough so that you can provide other people with a hotel environment. This means a high level of guest care, but not the ghastly sort of things that hotels do nowadays, like florescent lights, harsh cleaning chemicals and other foolishness. Here is an example: Perfect Health Retreat. Paul Jaminet noticed that the tons of writing he's done about health isn't enough, so he started a retreat, in large part because health includes a lot more than just diet.

So, part three is being able to host people and have them experience a lifestyle that is not yet available to most people yet. From an evolutionary perspective, the key aspect of this environment is that the modern disease promoters are absent, good nutrition is present, and a decent re-connection to light cycles is established. This will make anyone better, and, assuming the guest is smart enough, will lead to them making progress on the intellectual front- obviously one of the purposes of providing a hotel environment like this is so that people can listen and absorb new information.

Another aspect of this hotel environment, which is perhaps part four, is the ease with which a guest, upon deciding he would prefer to remain, and finding he has the capacity to do so, can. This is how the the civilization inches forward. There is a certain number of people necessary to farming and running a hotel, it is transitions and rapid increases or declines in populations that are shocks. So, what we would want is a slow transformation of the space in which the first hotel environment is from hotel environment into permanent residency- and at some point a new hotel environment would be built. At all times there should be some attempt made at calculating how many people the overall system can handle.

So this becomes an unfolding process itself limited largely by how many people have the sort of livelihoods where they can move to the new system.
Eventually, city-level densities could be achieved, but needless to say, it isn't easy (or possible) to hold those levels of complexity in my mind. One of the things I have thought about, though, is how children learn and what that might look like at some stage in the process. I am a proponent of unschooling. I also think Montessori has made some very salient points about what sort of things children are going to need and at what age. She believed young teens needed agricultural type work, due largely to puberty and the massive hormonal and emotional changes that occur during this time.

So, at a certain level of population, we'd likely large number of youth participating in precisely the sort of activities that help them learn the patterns of the new system. The pattern language of the new agriculture- and any new buildings that need to be built, would be taught during the middle school/early high school years. Further specialization might occur afterward, but I suspect most would want to participate and peer pressure would likely encourage the rest. This is where the future of the civilization gets locked down- especially if the youth find family formation as a result of commanding these skills to be rather easy. If the older generations are smart, they'd make sure it was easy. The key to keeping any sort of inter-generational group alive is to make sure the next generation develops their primary relationships within it.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Heresy Of Friendship

Friendship arises out of shared goals, family, history. For most of time, folks tended to be closely related and they stayed in their local town or village their whole lives. It is only in this modern age that people are so unglued from the natural that they attach something supernatural to friendship.

I noticed this in, of all things, The Guardians of the Galaxy. It was a great bit of cheesy fun, and then there in the middle of it all is the old dorky ode to friendship. Hey, these guys are together because they've got a common enemy, terrible family histories, and a general tendency to flout the law, but lets forget about all that and have the sort of ode to friendship the scrawny nerd types think is true.

The reality is that the inordinate fondness of friendship leads to fear, and the fearful are easily manipulated. They are more likely to ignore injustices and even the loss of one friend in the face of the possibility that taking a moral stand against that injustice will lead to exclusion from the group. In many cases, you find the weak doing this to themselves in order to have some pale imitation of what they presume friendship to be.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Strangling The Formation of Aristocracy

Sovereign Man put up a little piece on Estonia's refreshing tax regime, a tiny bit of which got me thinking:

Plus there’s no estate tax– the Estonian government isn’t looking for its ‘fair share’ when you die. There’s no gift tax or wealth tax either. It’s Paul Krugman’s worst nightmare.

It just seems to me that an enlightened leader of men wants people to have estates. These estates are assets for the country at large, and successful transmission of private estates and their betterment through time allow countries to have better assets, more innovation, etc... Dynasties do fall, eventually, but this should not be an excuse to destroy them in the name of some so-called democracy- rather the conditions should be such that there is competition, so that if a particularly prestigious one falls, there shall be others to take over, preferably without bloodshed.

See, this is how we figure out who can actually rule a country. If you have multiple, ongoing, multi-generational concerns in a country, then you've got a higher chance to find someone competent. This would never do in our so-called democracy, so every attempt is made to destroy estates, for obviously these would be the first places from which a legitimate alternate authority could be found.

It should be obvious, given idiotic things like Common Core, that people like Bill Gates just don't fit the bill here. There isn't anything that smacks of multi-generational sense coming out of him.

A Papal Mimic No Doubt

A church, brought to you by people who clearly don't know what a church is:

What is that? Bubbles? There are more pictures at the link. Nothing about this design works. It is completely devoid of life. It is, essentially, an IKEA coffin.