Thiel, Buckley, and Piereson

In the video attached, there are three people who I think you should be paying attention to: Peter Thiel, discussed in my earlier post, Frank Buckley, the Canadian law professor who has become an American citizen, and who explains why Canada is doing so much better than the United States, and William Piereson, of the Manhattan Institute. He is the first American I have heard who is talking about regime wars, that is, purely political wars about the nature and character of the state itself. This kind of struggle is what I see happening in the United States, although it is still peaceful and has not yet degenerated into violence. Piereson is speaking of a division of the States into two nations, and he asks – though he cannot yet answer –  whether it will result in regime change. Thiel sees the basis of the difficulty in the lack of economic growth in things other than computers, which he calls “stuff”. Buckley says the spectre of class struggle has been hovering over American politics, for which Trump was in part an answer. Buckley asserts that social class has been the core of the electoral struggle in 2016. Piereson sees Trump as attempting to restore the United States to a traditional nation state, with defended borders. What is it that drives the opposition crazy when he tries to do this, he asks?

Kristol comes across as a snob. Thiel says the shocking thing is how bad the personnel of the US government are and how unaware they are of how bad they are. In response to Kristol’s disdain for Trump, Piereson says that every one of Obama, Hillary and Saunders were guilty of demagoguery; it is just an epithet for appealing to voters with arguments you do not like.

Both Buckley and Thiel insist that economic liberty must be restored in the United States from its current ranking of 17th in the world.

Finally, and I think this is the clincher, Thiel says that there is no less reason to be afraid of communism now than there was in the Soviet era. The threat of communism is greater, not less, now that the Soviet Union has collapsed. Just look at world politics.

Peter Thiel

I could try to be as clever but I think that anything I want to say about the state of the world has been said better by Peter Thiel in this interview in March of 2017.

And speaking of a world where stagnation is expected, end even desired, Thiel argues that Obama’s regime was fundamentally into transferring wealth into the very rich, while seeming to care about the poor. This guy is deeper and smarter than I am, and I am okay with that. Listen to his critique of Obama from the point of view of the original Marxists. He describes Obama’s philosophy as “pessimistic epicurianism”: that is a whole new level of insight and insult. He fears the return of the Malthusian calculus: because of stalling technological progress, population may grow to the limits of starvation, a starvation fed by corn syrup. He insults Obama by saying he does not even live up to the scientific optimism of Karl Marx.

Everyone lies about porn, and everything else too

Study shows:

The popular feminist narrative would have you believe that porn is largely consumed by men, and that depictions of violent — or at least rough — sex would be a primarily male-dominated interest.

This is untrue, states researcher Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, who says that porn featuring violence against women is significantly more popular among women compared to men.

His findings might explain the popularity of the BDSM-heavy “Fifty Shades of Grey” series of novels among female readers.

Speaking to Vox in an interview about how Google data proves that most Americans lie about their sexual preferences, the researcher and author of “Everybody Lies” asserts that more women enjoy the genre compared to male porn watchers — despite common sense and politically correct claims to the contrary.

Going to the Vox article from which this was drawn, we find it gets weirder.

Among other things, Stephens-Davidowitz’s data suggests that there are more gay men in the closet than we think; that many men prefer overweight women to skinny women but are afraid to act on it; that married women are disproportionately worried their husband is gay; that a lot of straight women watch lesbian porn; and that porn featuring violence against women is more popular among women than men.

Everybody Lies, by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, is available from Amazon. Seth Stephens-Davidowitz is a Harvard-trained economist, former Google data scientist, and New York Times writer. The last item should not deter your reading of the book. Big data is answering some questions that no one has an interest in telling the truth about.

Now, if only this kind of material could come to the attention of the Supreme Court, we might start to get some sensible rulings on pornography.

The Deep State Borg

The nature of the “Free Press” in the West has always been somewhat suspect. Ever since the 1920s and 1930s when the New York Times’ Walter Duranty peddled his lies about life in the Soviet Union, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize, there has been something of a herd mentality, or hive mind, in editorial offices.

It’s still there. After the recent Trump/Putin meeting at the G20, (which apparently lasted well over two hours), the War Party (the Democrats) and their media toadies were falling over themselves to denigrate Trump with their usual insults. Shouldn’t attempts by the leaders of the two greatest powers to reduce tensions between them be welcomed? The Democrats have for months been fixated by the Clinton lie machine which had invented the “Russia collusion” hoax to explain away their devasting loss in the 2016 election. “BS” as the CNN reporter was caught saying by Project Veritas. “Nothing burger” said van Jones.

The Media/Deep State Borg complex is desperately trying to generate hysteria about Russia in the mind of the American public in order to justify their constant war on Western Culture and the nation state in the US and around the world.

Is Russia a threat to the West? Russia was never a threat to the West, communism was.

In the 1980s, when President Reagan took the forces of world communism head-on, communism was expanding around the world. It controlled Russia, China, Vietnam, Eastern Europe and was pushing into south Asia in Afghanistan. “We will bury you!” were Khrushchev’s famous words. And they meant it—after all, the communists had buried millions of Russians in the Arctic wastes of Siberia.

The Western liberal media peddled the line that only dialogue and diplomacy could reduce tensions between the world’s superpowers. Military build-up and speeches about the evil empire would only annoy the Soviets. Reagan was a “warmonger”, a “buffoon” who would tip the world over the edge.

In the real world, the Third Stone from the Sun, unlike the world of the Washington Post, NYT and the TV networks, Reagan met with the new Soviet leader Gorbachev at the Reykjavik summit in 1986 (Reagan at Reyjavik–Forty-Eight Hours that ended the Cold War), and laid the ground work for the START negotiations, intermediate nuclear force reductions in Europe and, eventually, the end of the Cold War, the retreat of communism from Eastern Europe which, ultimately, led to the fall of communism in the Soviet Union.

Not bad for a “buffoon”.

The Deep State Borg in Washington seems to have learned nothing in the last quarter century. Russia is trying to rebuild itself as a modern nation after suffering 70 years of brutal dictatorship and a devastating war. It is trying to be a democratic nation and largely succeeding. Problems, yes. Mistakes, yes. But what other nation has had to go through the process of recovering from 70 years of socialism with nothing to guide them on the way? No political “theorists” in the West ever envisaged such a thing. Indeed, the political left in the West largely supported Soviet communism and was always ready to excuse its terrors.

Even to the point of real collusion….

In 1983, Senator Edward Kennedy, sent his “trusted confidant”, J Tunney, to Moscow to set up a secret channel to communicate with the then-Soviet Leader, Andropov, himself a former head of the KGB. Tunney was instructed by Kennedy to tell the Soviet leadership that he was willing to help them “deal with Reagan” who was running for re-election in 1984. He also propsed that Andropov visit the US to appear on TV to push for a nuclear “freeze”, which then was all the rage.

All of this, and more, is laid out in a fascinating report from KGB Chairman, Chebrikov, to Andropov. Read it here. This was all made public in the early 1990s after the fall of communism in Russia. Naturally, the Western liberal media ignored it. After all, it might embarrass the immortal Kennedy dynasty. The report concluded:

Kennedy is very impressed with the activities of Y.V. Andropov and other Soviet leaders, who expressed their commitment to heal international affairs, and improve mutual understandings between peoples.
The senator underscored that he eagerly awaits a reply to his appeal, the answer to which may be delivered through Tunney.

Kennedy no doubt sent Tunney to Moscow to enable Kennedy’s “plausible denaibility” as this activity would clearly be a problem if it all became public knowledge.

The upshot of this little political snippet from the past is that senior Democrats have colluded with communist tyrants to undermine the legimate US President. Now with the Soviet Union and communism gone, and Russia re-integrating itself with the modern world, the Washington Deep State Borg is frantically trying to conjure a communist zombie from the depths, in order to undermine the current president. Obama was a 5 of 9, a fully compliant, assimilated tool of the anti-American left. He sang the praises of the current ideology undermining our freedoms—Islam.

Trump is the fly in their ointment. For once, there is an American president, a true successor to Reagan, who is a champion for Western Civilization.

The Deep State Borg will fail.

He will not be assimilated.

Rebel Yell

The facts of life

 

A friend once said about Islam: “I don’t know what it is theologically, or religiously, but at the operational level it is hysteria about the facts of life.” He said this after being in Nigeria for a couple of years, and watching and comparing the behaviour of Muslims, Christians and pagans in a multi-religious society.

The Abrahamic idea of God is of an absolute, and with the Muslims, God is conceived in the most remote, all-powerful version. The Christian version postulates the same degree of power, but it is a vision of the Deity infused with love for His creatures, and a will to abide by His own laws. No such compunctions constrain the power of a willful Allah, who recognizes no laws to bind his immaculate will.

But this is not a sermon on the difference between Christianity, Islam and Judaism.

It is a brief meditation on the difference between all three of them and pagan thought and behaviour. We have the Jews to thank for the idea that the world is fundamentally divided into clean and unclean things. Sexual practices are especially unclean. In the words of the 39 Articles of Religion, number nine:

“And although there is no condemnation for them that believe and are baptized yet the Apostle doth confess, that concupiscence and lust of itself hath the nature of sin.”

Concupiscence refers to longing for what God has commanded us not to yearn for.

In case you are in any doubt the  word refers to the desire for any form of sex between people not lawfully married, and until a few years ago it referred especially to homosexual activities.

Pagans, by contrast, have never been told about sin, particularly the sins of the flesh. How can there even be sins of the flesh? For a pagan a sin of the flesh is an impossibility. Why would the body’s making mucus or bile be a matter of sin? The body has its needs and there’s an end to it. If you need sex, you get it. Man, boy, woman, girl: it is a matter of taste, occasion and society, but not of sin.

When the Japanese westernized in the latter part of the 19th century, they thought that they needed to adopt all of the Western penal codes. So they had to invent – I am serious –  a term for “homosexuality” because they had until then no separate term for the practice. It was just all undifferentiated sex to them, before their contact with legal systems founded in Abrahamic faith.

So when I read in the paper about a gay orgy in the Vatican being interrupted by police, I cannot help feeling that religions founded on a distrust of the body get themselves into huge and unnecessary trouble.

Blame it on St Augustine. I am with Pelagius. 

That is, while I accept the need for prevenient grace,  I do not think we are fundamentally engaged in sin for lusting and being subject to sexual desire, any more than when our bodies produce blood, mucus, sperm or bile.  Lust should be thought of as appropriate or inappropriate, as the case may be, but not as something that separates us from God more than, say, picking our noses or excreting.  Augustine never got over his original Manichaeism. But I am off-topic.

Gay orgies at the Vatican are nothing new. Nor is revulsion at the hypocrisy of a formally celibate priesthood behaving badly. A married priesthood would solve a number of problems. But more important would be a change of doctrine as regards the status of lust as the road to sin.

Now I can go to David Warren and find out why I am wrong. I shall be checking the Catholic blogs today for comments on the situation.

2016 Forbes 400 and source of wealth

The following statistics are from the above chart.

Forbes 400 aggregate net worth: $2,398 billion

Finance & Investments as source of net worth: $291 billion or 20.5% of the total.

This is inconsistent with Chrystia Freelanld’s assertion that “… the majority of the super-rich have made their money out of finance not manufacturing.” In fact, if you remove Warren Buffett from the list then finance & investments as a source of net worth drops to 18.4% from 20.5%.

It is widely accepted that one is more likely to become wealthy from finance & investments in US than in other countries, so this statistic is likely to be even less in other countries. As economies move from manufacturing to a service based economy, it is not surprising that manufacturing contributes less to the overall net worth.

Amazon is a good example. It doesn’t manufacture anything but has a lock on cloud-based hosting and online retail which places Bezos in third-place on the Forbes 400 list. The top-5 in that list exemplify the overall list. Technology is the source of wealth for three of the top five, with finance and manufacturing rounding out the list.

Also see, “Has our economy become too ‘financialized’?” which was written in 2016. In particular the assertion that “In the United States, finance, insurance and real estate (known as FIRE) now account for 20 percent of gross domestic product, compared with only 10 percent in 1947.” Technology and Natural Monopoly might be a better explanation for the rise of Gini coefficient.

It is also instructive to note this fact: When stated in terms of lifetime dollar wealth creation, the entire gain in the U.S. stock market since 1926 is attributable to the best-performing four percent of listed stocks.

Another explanation for the increase in wealth concentration might be the rise of passive investing in which disproportionate amount of money is invested in companies without regard to merit.

The rise of passive asset management threatens to fundamentally undermine the entire system of capitalism and market mechanisms that facilitate an increase in the general welfare, according to analysts at research and brokerage firm Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC.

In a note titled “The Silent Road to Serfdom: Why Passive Investing is Worse Than Marxism,” a team led by Head of Global Quantitative and European Equity Strategy Inigo Fraser-Jenkins, says that politicians and regulators need to be cognizant of the social case for active management in the investment industry.

“A supposedly capitalist economy where the only investment is passive is worse than either a centrally planned economy or an economy with active market led capital management,” they write.

Chrystia Freeland on the Plutocrats, Angus Deaton on the American white poor

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Our Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, was once a senior economics writer at Thomson Reuters and The Financial Times. She is the author of Plutocrats (2012).

I urge you to read it. Chrystia wrote this book without rancor or malice, which only makes the results more devastating. The 1%, and the one tenth of 1% , have become fantastically richer since the late 1970s. Though they have worked hard for their money, the majority of the super-rich have made their money out of finance not manufacturing.

Freeland concludes her book with a warning about cognitive capture: the process whereby the super rich come to believe their interests really are the most important in society, and the capture of legislatures composed largely of members of the 1% means that the interests of the truly very rich will be attended to by those who only have a few millions, and want to join.

Speaking of the Venetian Republic, that famous example of a highly successful commercial empire, she traces its decline from measures it took to close off access to its wealthiest classes by young entrepreneurs. The closure was a change of the rules on joint ventures, whereby the rich financed the young and adventurous. It was called la Serrata.

She fears for the same tendency in the world of the ultra rich today.

“This cultural Serrata matters because it increases the political myopia of the plutocrats. Add to that ordinary greed and a society that has turned its capitalists into popular heroes and you have an economic elite primed to repeat the mistake of the Venetian merchants – to drink its own Kool-Aid (or maybe prosecco is the better metaphor) to conflate its own self-interests with the interest of society as a whole. Low taxes, light-touch regulation, weak unions, and unlimited campaign contributions are certainly in the best interests of the plutocrats, but that doesn’t mean they are the right way to maintain the economic system that created today’s super elite.”

I shall make some inferences from having read this book, which may not be justified, but which I suspect are true.

  1. The author of this book is a very clever cookie, and it is a credit to Canada that somehow she has climbed this far.
  2. Her analysis of what it means to live in a society dominated by plutocrats is the same as Trump’s: the domestic working class is being neglected and the plutocrats do not give a damn for maintaining first world salaries or wage rates.

Points one and two can be demoinstrated by reading her book. My third inference is more conjectural.

3. The reason the Trudeau Liberals have refrained from criticism and restrained themselves from doing anything stupid in relation to Trump, the reason they have appointed a serious senior finance journalist to the international affairs ministry, is that their analysis of the large picture –  framed in the light of arguments made by Freeland – is not much that different from Trump’s intuitive take on the position we have arrived at. Too much plutocracy; too much influence of the plutocrats over politics and governments.

If you doubt Freeland’s take for partizan reasons (fool!), I would like to refer you to Angus Deaton, the Princeton economist (of Scottish origin) and Nobel winner whose work on inequality, and increasing mortality rates in the American working class, should inform everyone who is trying to make sense of politics these days.

For my part, I recommend Plutocrats for a sane and carefully researched appreciation of the large picture. It is an easy read, and that is a compliment.

A more scholarly and broader ranging interpretation is given in Deaton’s book, The Great Escape: Health, Wealth and the Origins of Inequality,  which I have just ordered. The key charts you should look at are found in Deaton’s discussion in the Wharton business school article “Is Despair Killing the White Working Class?”

The article contains one graph which shows why Trump won, which you have to click on to expand to its full size. The complete article and its charts are found here.

 

Prizes for Murderers

It’s just been announced that Mr Short-Pants, Canada’s pantomime Prime Minister, will be apologizing to Islamic terrorist Omar Khadr, a former Gitmo resident who murdered an American medic, and awarding him in excess of $10 million.

Ah! The caring! The sensitivity! The inclusivity!

Apparently, the fatuous Supreme Court of Bozos in Ottawa found that…

Canadian officials through assisting the United States’ interrogation of Khadr had violated “the most basic Canadian standards about the treatment of detained youth suspects.” These officials, the court ruled, violated Khadr’s rights as listed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
(h/t…Daily Caller)

Umm, no mention of the rights of the murdered victim. Perhaps, in the interests of vibrant multiculturalism, Mr Short-Pants should propose the Order of Canada for Osama bin Laden and his Merry Men, al-Quaeda.

Ain’t Diversity great?

Rebel Yell