Barrel Strength

Over-Proof Opinion, Smoothly Aged Insight

Why nationalism is necessary for being liberal

George Friedman of Stratfor lays out the arguments for nationalism. Liberalism begins with the right of national self-determination. Unless you have a nation in which you have can exercise civil liberties, you do not have civil liberties, you only have empires. Nationalism is not the opposition to liberalism, it is the expression of liberalism. If you do not believe in nationalism, you do not believe in liberalism.

I observe that Friedman is now saying what Bannon is saying. Nations are fighting for their existence and relevance against worldly technocratic elites. If you take away the consent of the governed, you take away liberalism. Nationalism is liberalism.

The contrary view leads to pan-national empires, which are an older way of organizing societies without the consent of the governed. This doctrine used to be peddled by Joe Clark, the former Canadian conservative leader, in the following form:  Canada was a “community of communities”, and not a nation. Such societies could only be governed by panels of technocratic experts.

 

Support David Warren

David Warren, former journalist, and now inspired  blogger, has pissed off more people than me, way more. He is also a brilliant writer and thinker and a staunch Romanist and self-avowed reactionary. I once read a paean of his to Pharaonic rule, where he lauded the fact that there had been absolutely no progress or change in Egypt for three thousand years. Here at Barrelstrength, we hold to views that are more moderate, meliorist, and, dare I say, progressive.  The influences of Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, and David Hume fight it out for supremacy here. Barrelstrengthians are ever so slightly better adapted to modernity, and we have, in the main, accepted the legitimacy of the House of Hanover (Windsor) to the British throne, instead of those feckless Stuarts. We have held jobs and not lost them to personal piques and quarrels, nor have we gone over to Rome in despair at the state of the Anglican Church, because once you go to Rome, expecting to at last be received into true religion, you end up in a worse place.

I once heard a Liberal consultant swear he had cancelled his subscription to the Ottawa Citizen three times because of editorials Warren had written when he was there. What more recommendation of Warren can I offer?

Warren and and the cheerful loons of Barrelstrength each would be derided as fascist racist sexist classist reactionaries.  However we have jobs and pensions while Warren does not. Hence my appeal to go on his site and send him some money.

He needs it, and we don’t.

His is a great talent, and his voluntary poverty should be alleviated periodically.

 

David Warren

Chinese geneticist claims to have gene-edited babies

Image result for fetus at 20 weeks

 

Amidst the usual moral posturing and condemnation, it appears that somewhere in China some scientist – who is a graduate of top US universities – engaged in “washing” the sperm of some HIV infected fathers in order to spare their children HIV infection. The Guardian reports, through a lot of huffing and puffing, the following:

The researcher, He Jiankui of Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, said he altered embryos for seven couples during fertility treatments, with one pregnancy resulting so far. He said his goal was not to cure or prevent an inherited disease, but to try to bestow a trait that few people naturally have: an ability to resist possible future infection with HIV.

He said the parents involved declined to be identified or interviewed, and he would not say where they lived or where the work was done. There is no independent confirmation of He’s claim, and it has not been published in a journal, where it would be vetted by other experts.

He revealed it on Monday in Hong Kong to one of the organisers of an international conference on gene editing that is due to begin on Tuesday, and earlier in interviews with the Associated Press.

“I feel a strong responsibility that it’s not just to make a first, but also make it an example,” He said. “Society will decide what to do next” in terms of allowing or forbidding such science….

He Jiankui studied at Rice and Stanford universities in the US before returning to his homeland to open a lab at Southern University of Science and Technology of China in Shenzhen, where he also has two genetics companies.

He said he practised editing mice, monkey and human embryos in the lab for several years and has applied for patents on his methods. He said he chose embryo gene editing for HIV because these infections are a major problem in China. He sought to disable a gene called CCR5 that forms a protein doorway that allows HIV, the virus that causes Aids, to enter a cell.

All of the men in the project had HIV and all of the women did not, but the gene editing was not aimed at preventing the small risk of transmission, he said. The fathers had their infections deeply suppressed by standard HIV medicines and there are simple ways to keep them from infecting offspring that do not involve altering genes. Instead, the appeal was to offer couples affected by HIV a chance to have a child that might be protected from a similar fate.

He said the gene editing occurred during in vitro fertilisation. First, sperm was “washed” to separate it from semen, in which HIV can lurk. A single sperm was placed into a single egg to create an embryo. Then the gene-editing tool was added. When the embryos were three to five days old, a few cells were removed and checked for editing. Couples could choose whether to use edited or unedited embryos for pregnancy attempts. In all, 16 of 22 embryos were edited, and 11 embryos were used in six implant attempts before the twin pregnancy was achieved, He said.

Tests suggest that one twin had both copies of the intended gene altered and the other twin had just one altered, with no immediate evidence of harm to other genes, He said. People with one copy of the gene can still get HIV.

Musunuru said that even if editing worked perfectly, people without normal CCR5 genes faced higher risks of contracting certain other viruses, such as West Nile, and of dying from flu. Since there are many ways to prevent HIV infection and it is treatable if it occurs, those other medical risks are a concern.

Thus, sexual selection, and disease, which is the normal way humans and all sexual species have been gene-edited, body by body, phenotype by phenotype, for the last billions of years, that is okay. But getting into the molecular level  and splicing and cutting genes is bad. Go figure.

I can hear the Christians calling me a Dr. Mengele, that the genome is sacred, and I hear that that the bioethicists have “concerns”. [Can you imagine that some people are paid to be “bio-ethicists”?]

I can hear the sound of the Asians flocking to new technologies to make their babies smarter, healthier, more disease resistant, and stronger.

New forms of competition will come to the human species, and it will be genetic, though the practices associated with gene-editing will be tolerated or encouraged by certain races and cultures ahead of some others. Attitudes against gene editing will soon be seen as the equivalent of not allowing the pasteurization of milk. Nothing  can be done to oppose it, except voluntary non-participation. Those cultures or religions that do not participate will eventually be considered to be like those sects that do not allow blood transfusions.

We in the politically correct West will be talking about the non-existence or social construction of racial differences, which simultaneously exists and does not exist, depending on the argument being engaged in. Meanwhile, other cultures or races will be busily experimenting with genetic engineering.

Hitler in Hell

I get over-Hitlered. I have read too much about the man and I resist, in vain, yet another tome on the subject of this revolutionary modernist mass annihilator. I know that Stalin makes Hitler look like a piker when it comes to mass murder, but Stalin is fundamentally a communist, and Communism is stupid, dumb, mechanical, and eliminatory.  In Communism we find the modern university, obsessed with false explanations for inequality, but with death quotas and actual mass murder.

“Fascism”, as Fran Leibowitz said, “is too exciting, communism, too boring”. So it was with some trepidation that I ordered Martin Van Creveld’s pseudo-autobiography “Hitler in Hell”. Hitler writes from a sort of air-conditioned featureless, shadowless world where the demons take his tray and keep him fed, but he faces an eternity of nothingness as a punishment for his sins and crimes.

Martin van Creveld is a military historian, an Israeli Jew of Dutch origin. He has written plenty of serious important books on warfare, logistics, and strategy.

His Hitler in Hell is a hoot. It is a way of telling Hitler’s story in an amusing way while Creveld (alias Hitler) gets to take a few shots at Joachim Fest, David Irving, Allan Bullock, John Toland and Ian Kershaw, Hitler’s historians, and, in his fictional voice,  the German generals whom Hitler thinks betrayed him.

It presents Hitler in straightforward terms as acting rationally to defend and avenge Germany in the wake of World War 1, as long as you can accept the absolutely demented notion that the Jews are the world’s parasites. Van Creveld presents Hitler as sane, save only that he was obsessed with the Jews, obsessed, and ready to murder them the way you take insect spray to a hornet’s nest.

Just as Stalin was a pure communist, and sought to eliminate all capitalist-market relations in the Soviet Union, even at the price of destroying his farmers and peasantry, so Hitler was a pure anti-Semite, and sought to eliminate all Jews wherever he could get his hands on them.

All the rest of his behaviour was sincerely anti-democratic, expansionary, war-mongering, cruel, and suited for the obloquy of man, but it was rational if you accept the premises of German cultural and racial supremacy, and hatred of everything Jewish.

One other book that comes close to capturing Hitler’s mindset is the most outrageous book I have ever read, Norman Spinrad‘s “The Iron Dream”, which purports to be a book authored by one Adolf Hitler, who emigrated to the United States in 1919 and illustrated science fiction books, and who eventually turned his hand to writing science fiction. You know, with titles like “Lords of the Swastika”. I recommend it if you can find it as a book, or go to the Intertubes and find it as a pdf.

There was yet another book about Hitler in which a team of Israeli commandos find him in the jungles of Paraguay. They cannot get him out for some reason so they put him on trial before a jury of one Guarani Indian. It was The Portage to San Cristobal of AH, by George Steiner. In his self defence, Hitler is allowed to speak. The Indian juror does not understand a word of the oration, but understands his meaning perfectly. The Guarani Indian decides that Hitler is a shaman. As such he could not be guilty, since he is a magician. In his defence, Steiner’s Hitler defends master race ideology  as nothing more than what the Jews believe about themselves, and claims to be the real founder of Israel. You can imagine the controversy that Steiner got himself into.

It is curious that, in reading van Creveld’s commentary on writing Hitler in Hell, found at the back end of the book and George Steiner’s comments on writing the Portage to San Cristobal  of AH, they each admit that once they got the idea, the books practically wrote themselves.

Steiner, Van Creveld, and Spinrad – all Jews – are a lot quicker and less ponderous to read than Joachim Fest and Ian Kershaw. Of the three of them, Spinrad captures the anti-semitism of Hitler as no one else ever has. I repeat my warning that Spinrad’s book is outrageous. Frankly I think only a Jew could get to the core of anti-semitism as well.  Van Creveld’s take on Hitler will convey more facts and accurate chronology. If you want to read about the Third Reich for a rapid and insightful overview, van Creveld is greatly recommended.

 

 

Harper talks sense

“Conservatism is empirical and fundamentally cultural”.”It must be applied to real-world problems”. “It is a balance of liberty and order, with a greater emphasis on order.” Much to ponder and much that I agree with here. I wish Harper had been as open and conversational in his time in power.

 

Fatuous Nincompoop

 

The more I ponder the current Liberal government in Canada, the more I realize they really are fatuous. Vapid. Hollow. And they may be really dangerous to the nation’s unity and health.

Our Glorious Leader was in Calgary the other day and was asked about getting oil out of the province. The Prime Minister was addressing the Calgary Chamber of Commerce.

“…chamber CEO Sandip Lalli grilled Trudeau on what Ottawa intends to do, including possibly investing in moving crude on trains as a stop-gap measure as new market-opening pipelines remain in limbo.

“You think there’s a super-simple easy answer and there’s not. There’s a multifaceted complex issue and as much as there is a tendency out there in the world to give really simple answers to really complex questions, unfortunately the world doesn’t work like that,” Trudeau replied.

“We need to make sure that we’re moving forward in the right way and that is where actually listening to the experts is sort of the best way to make policy.”

Trudeau said the federal government is doing what it can to get the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion built, which would triple its capacity to carry oil to tankers on the west coast.”

There are two known ways of getting oil to market: pipelines and trains. Pipelines are less hazardous and cheaper (witness the disaster in Megantic).  Either you build pipelines or you buy tank cars for the railroads. This is not complicated. What makes it complicated is that Trudeau and his cabinet of Greens think that, in principle, the fossil fuel industry should not exist. This is the second time that Alberta has faced federal moves to cripple its (and Canada’s) oil industry. This time the blows are being administered by economically illiterate judges rather than Liberal cabinets, as under Trudeau the Elder, but the solutions to this economic illiteracy of the courts are in the hands of the federal government.

In my early days in government (in the regime of Trudeau the Elder), I too received the same speech from my boss at the time. Steepling his fingers, he told me that public policy was multifaceted and complex, and gave me to understand that bulge-o-brains such as himself grappled and wrestled with its complexities. Implied always was that I was welcome to join the Church of Complexity and grapple with Deep Issues, or that I could exile myself in the wilderness of Simplification, or the Simplistic.

“O what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive”.

Whenever you hear the word “simplistic” you may be sure that you are in the presence of someone who is trying to con you into believing that you are wrong because you, but not they, want a solution and think one is possible.

The solution may be complex, but the will to find one is simple. Therein lies the confusion. Getting half a million troops ashore on D-Day in June 1944 was as complex as any operation ever launched, but the will to send them there was simple.

What Trudeau and his minions lack is the will to solve the Alberta oil shipment problem. It suits their green agenda to destroy the industry as fast as they can, while pretending to be concerned.

As Don Braid points out in the Post

It was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself who said in January 2017: “We can’t shut down the oilsands tomorrow. We need to phase them out. We need to manage the transition off of our dependence on fossil fuels.

“That is going to take time. And, in the meantime, we have to manage that transition.”

Peter Zeihan, the geo-strategist, has said for a long time that Canada is in long-term trouble. His reasons are as follows. Canada is increasingly dependent upon Alberta’s oil, whether through taxes or actual supply. Alberta has the youngest and fastest-growing population. It has to sell its oil in Canadian dollars and buy its equipment in US dollars.The rest of Canada is failing to reproduce, is ageing rapidly, and is becoming more like Japan, which has an even larger problem of ageing and lack of reproduction than we do. Albertans pay $6,000 more per head than they take in revenues, and that figure is rising. They are the only net contributors to equalization. Alberta has the only rate of reproduction above replacement. What solves Alberta’s problem at a stroke, and exacerbates Ottawa’s revenue problem? Alberta joining the US. So argues Zeihan.

See the video. The arguments are persuasive.  Another Zeihan video on the same topic is here, even better.  Zeihan is too gloomy towards Canada, but his analysis is hard to fault on rational grounds.

Accordingly, I do not believe that Trudeau Junior’s government is up to the task of dealing with the real problems this country faces. I observe them destroying the tax base that supports the ageing Canadian population. Do they care? In order to care, they would have to have a clue. They are clueless. Hence Canada staggers towards long-term disaster, confident in all the wrong things.

 

 

Doom: The Complete Version

 

It is all the fault of fluctuations in CO2. So says Peter Brannen in “The Ends of the World”. This is a terrific book even if you disagree with it, as I do, on no grounds I can think of except that he is a doomist.

Every few scores of millions of years, there have been massive exterminations of species. Brannen relates the best recent evidence for how these extinction events came about. There have been five of them, at least. Usually the underworld opens up and continents of lava spew forth, killing everything in their continent-sized lava flows, and what is not killed directly is then wiped out by ocean acidification (CO2 again). Or so much CO2 is belched out of the ground by volcanism that the planet gets too hot, such as 40C seas at the equator, which is hot-tub hot.

Obviously Brannen thinks that all of current human civilization is pumping massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere with such abrupt speed that nature has no chance of adapting to it.

It is not hard to find a paragraph that supports his contention.

As a result of this innovation [coal burning], human civilization is now propped up by a continuous explosion f energy, a global megametabolism, with hundreds of millions of years worth of sunlight being released all at once in combustion engines and power plants. Carbon dioxide is a by-product of this new civilizational metabolism, and we now emit 100 times more CO2 each years than volcanoes. This far outstrips the  ability of the earth’s thermostat to keep up with rock weathering and ocean circulation, operating as those processes do on 1,000- to 100,000 year timescales. (at p. 236)

Nitrogen-fixing from the air, which is the technology that gives rise to artificial fertilizers, is also to blame for runoffs that take the oxygen out of seawater.

And it goes on. We are rapidly wrecking large parts of the planet, and he gives the reasons why this is so.

I must confess that Brannen makes my skepticism about the doomist view more difficult to maintain. However, he is well worth the effort, first because his science is good, second because he points out the enormous spans of time this planet has been around –  spans so large that the earth  has in effect been several different planets in the course of time – and third, because I think that every global warming/doomist skeptic needs to know the full argument, not just the IPCC version. Brannen has been hanging around with real scientists, not with atmospheric trend projectors and data falsifiers, such as NOAA and HadCrut and the IPCC pseudo-scientific international bureaucrats.

In my view, doomism is justified if we cannot get human population to shrink. There are several ways that the human race will make less impact on the planet in the next few hundred years.

Population reduction through lifestyle changes are already well underway. Everywhere women can guarantee that their children survive, they stop producing more than two children. See Hans Rosling on this issue.

The other traditional method is war, famine, pestilence and death. That is what will happen if we fail, and maybe it will happen anyway. If the world starts to go to hell through ecological disasters, war will inevitably follow, and with it the usual population correctives.

We could reduce population peacefully by conscious choices and end up in prosperity for the remaining few billions who will be found at the end of this process. We could reduce it by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and end up in a low productivity, high birthrate world, such as we began to get out of on the 18th century.

Maybe we are like bacteria on a Petri dish, and our numbers will expand until we die off catastrophically, as we exhaust our resources. That was the view of the biologist Lynn Margulis.

This question was also ably examined, in a more balanced way, by Charles C. Mann in his The Wizard and the Prophet. But Mann’s book, while more balanced than Brannen’s, deals with two scientists with two points of view, doomist and meliorist, whereas Brannen coneys a vast amount of information about how hellish the earth has been in the Great Extinctions that have ravaged the earth over time.

The disturbing aspect of Brannen’s argument is that, in his view, humans are acting as the unconscious agents of destruction. I do not see any happy outcome, but I hope I am spectacularly wrong.

 

 

 

First All-Black South African Bank Collapses

If you wonder why most of Africa after the end of white rule wallows in corruption, poverty and tyranny, yet another lesson was provided recently by the collapse of the VBS Mutual Bank, hailed as the first bank in South Africa to be run exclusively by Africans—black Africans, that is.

An official inquiry set up by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has found that: “…its owners stole all the cash and bribed government and local government officials into depositing money in the operation,” as the New Observer reports. Further,

…the SARB report found that R1,894,923,674 (US$ 130 million) was transferred from the Bank to fifty three individuals between 15 March 2015 and 17 June 2018. According to the report, R16,148,569 (US$1.09 million) went to Brian Shivambu, younger brother of the anti-white Economic Freedom Fighter senior politician Floyd Shivambu.

News24 South Africa comments on the recommendation that at least 50 persons be prosecuted:

This includes the bank’s former executives and their associates, shareholder executives, politicians and their relatives and auditors who signed off on the bank’s “fraudulent” financials. The criminal charges should stem from evidence of fraud, corruption and bribery perpetrated by the bank’s leadership and public officials with whom they were in cahoots.

Not only that, the monies accreted by these crooks came from local municipalities controlled by, you guessed it, the African National Congress (ANC), the gang of communist bandits that passes for a government in South Africa. Senior ANC officials were the instigators in fleecing the municipalities, that is, robbing the taxpayers, and channeling the loot to the VBS bank.

The SARB report [available here], entitled “The Great Bank Heist”, makes fascinating reading to the extent that it makes the Mafia look like schoolboy amateurs. The report contains chapters with delicious titles such as “The Extent of the Looting” and “The Methods of Looting and Pillaging”. And, as news24 South Africa reports:

Motau [the main author of the SARB report] also recommends that VBS be wound up (liquidated), as he does not believe there is any prospect of saving it.
“It is corrupt and rotten to the core. Indeed, there is hardly a person in its employ in any position of authority who is not, in some way or the other, complicit.”
Motau found there was “widescale looting and pillaging of the monies placed on deposit at VBS”.

However, the author of the SARB report was not without a sense of irony; the first page begins thus:

More than forty years ago the most daring heist in South Africa’s banking history took place. A group of industrious thieves, led by the elusive Mister Nightingale, skillfully tunneled
their way some twenty -one meters underground into the vault of the Standard Bank in Krugersdorp. The bold bank robbers withdrew the princely sum of R400 000. They disappeared with the loot and no arrests were ever made.

I have, for the past five months, investigated the sorry affairs of the VBS Mutual Bank. My report will reveal that the perpetrators of the heist at VBS made away with almost R2 billion. And they certainly did not put in anything like the hard work and effort of Mister Nightingale and his team.

I trust that, in this case, arrests will be made.

Rebel Yell