My belief, or observation really, is that economics as a discipline is a tautological exercise in self-referential abstractions: it explains nothing but itself, and has lost connection to the world. It fails as a science because in science, ideas are tested against reality, and adjusted. In economics, reality is adjusted to suit the doctrine. (Kind of like climate change ideology).
But I am a mere political scientist and sort of lawyer, so what do I know?
“Surely there’s nothing wrong with creating simplified models. Arguably, this is how any science of human affairs has to proceed. But an empirical science then goes on to test those models against what people actually do, and adjust them accordingly. This is precisely what economists did not do. Instead, they discovered that, if one encased those models in mathematical formulae completely impenetrable to the noninitiate, it would be possible to create a universe in which those premises could never be refuted….
“The problem, as Skidelsky emphasizes, is that if your initial assumptions are absurd, multiplying them a thousandfold will hardly make them less so. Or, as he puts it, rather less gently, “lunatic premises lead to mad conclusions”:
The efficient market hypothesis (EMH), made popular by Eugene Fama…is the application of rational expectations to financial markets. The rational expectations hypothesis (REH) says that agents optimally utilize all available information about the economy and policy instantly to adjust their expectations….
Thus, in the words of Fama,…“In an efficient market, competition among the many intelligent participants leads to a situation where…the actual price of a security will be a good estimate of its intrinsic value.” [Skidelsky’s italics]
“In other words, we were obliged to pretend that markets could not, by definition, be wrong—if in the 1980s the land on which the Imperial compound in Tokyo was built, for example, was valued higher than that of all the land in New York City, then that would have to be because that was what it was actually worth.”
When you reach the state where, by definition, you cannot be wrong, you are doomed. How many currently unassailable ideologies will come crashing down in the passage of time? My answer, of course, is ‘all of them’.
Sometimes an article of fundamental importance gets through the ideological filters. One such was the publication this week in Science and reported on in Scientific American of the psychological and cultural effects of banning cousin marriages.
From the Scientific American report of it: “The engine of that evolution, the authors propose, was the church’s obsession with incest and its determination to wipe out the marriages between cousins that those societies were built on. The result, the paper says, was the rise of “small, nuclear households, weak family ties, and residential mobility,” along with less conformity, more individuality, and, ultimately, a set of values and a psychological outlook that characterize the Western world. The impact of this change was clear: the longer a society’s exposure to the church, the greater the effect.”
And from the article in Science in the words of the authors: “A growing body of research suggests that populations around the globe vary substantially along several important psychological dimensions and that populations characterized as Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD) are particularly unusual. People from these societies tend to be more individualistic, independent, and impersonally prosocial (e.g., trusting of strangers) while revealing less conformity and in-group loyalty. Although these patterns are now well documented, few efforts have sought to explain them. Here, we propose that the Western Church (i.e., the branch of Christianity that evolved into the Roman Catholic Church) transformed European kinship structures during the Middle Ages and that this transformation was a key factor behind a shift towards a WEIRDer psychology.”
The scientists continue: “Globally, we show that countries with longer historical exposure to the medieval Western Church or less intensive kinship (e.g., lower rates of cousin marriage) are more individualistic and independent, less conforming and obedient, and more inclined toward trust and cooperation with strangers (see figure). Focusing on Europe, where we compare regions within countries, we show that longer exposure to the Western Church is associated with less intensive kinship, greater individualism, less conformity, and more fairness and trust toward strangers. Finally, comparing only the adult children of immigrants in European countries, we show that those whose parents come from countries or ethnic groups that historically experienced more centuries under the Western Church or had less intensive kinship tend to be more individualistic, less conforming, and more inclined toward fairness and trust with strangers.”
I am as much astonished as pleased with this report. Astonished, because it violates every contemporary commandment of political correctness, or the madness that is sweeping our intellectual life. Pleased, because it does so.
In general, you are not permitted to how that modern western mores might be preferable, let alone superior, to others, and more, that religion might have been the source of these values.
Cousin marriages have genetic effects. Visit childhood disease and mortality statistics from cousin marriages. Observe that societies or religions that extensively practice cousin marriages have much higher levels of genetic diseases than those which eschew the practice. For example, see the Guardian article here:
“Marriage between first cousins doubles the risk of children being born with birth defects, according to a study seeking answers to the higher than expected rates of deaths and congenital abnormalities in the babies of the Pakistani community.
“Researchers have concluded that the cultural practice of marriage between first cousins is a bigger factor than any other – outweighing the effects of deprivation in parts of Bradford, where the study was carried out. Marriage to a blood relative accounted for nearly a third (31%) of all birth defects in babies of Pakistani origin.
The main point of the Science article was not genetic defects, however, but the cultural effects on trust, conformity, openness, innovation, obedience to general law, and looseness of kinship connections by the proscription of first cousin marriages.
My question remains unanswered. I do not know how this article slipped through the pervasive censorship by the egalitarian forces that determine so much of what we are allowed to see. A glitch in the matrix is always possible, but people like Steve Sailer, Razib Khan, Gregory Cochrane and Henry Harpending, and other explorers in the minefields of culture and breeding have reasonable cause to be envious.
“You people … you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple bucks for a poppy or something like that,” Cherry said. “These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price.”
Sportsnet has apologized for hockey commentator Don Cherry’s remarks about what he believes are new immigrants not wearing poppies ahead of Remembrance Day.
Everyone apologizes. His buddy Ron McLean apologized. Everyone was insensitive.
Don Cherry has the same place in Canadian society as the Queen’s late mother had in England: the one authorized truth teller. Don’t back down, Don. Don’t apologize. Even if you are not always right, you express the natural and normal reactions of English Canadians to a lot of contemporary cant and nonsense.
I tried to read a book this summer called Bronze Age Mindset by a man calling himself Bronze Age Pervert. The book was intensely annoying. Not because I thought it wrong in substance, though I have some arguments with it, but that I thought the tone to be insufferable and its lack of coherent structure to be tedious. As in Nietzsche: a series of discoordinated apercus, from a mind that had ceased to care for discourse or coherent argument. My alarm needle goes into the red when any author adopts the pose of Jove sending thunderbolts to lighten the darkness of my mind. Yes I recognize you are a plenty smart fellow, Mr. Pervert, Sir, but that does not excuse bad writing. You are not the only clever young man to have rebelled against the feminist/Bolshevik/PC/you-name-it hydra, so cool your attitude. But such is the arrogance of youth and the wisdom of having been young and arrogant once myself.
But the times call for a more militant response when society’s dominant issue is no longer voting rights for black people, but rights for white people to exist at all in freedom. I will let the Pervert speak for himself:
“What is going on now is a widespread rejection of the ruling authorities and their beliefs, on the part primarily, but not only, of the American youth at large. This is similar to the rejection of communism by dissidents and youth in the Soviet bloc in the 1970’s and 80’s, and driven by similar causes….”
“Insofar as my book is representative of this phenomenon, it is only in the sense that unvarnished, unedited Nietzscheanism, “right wing nihilism,” has been one of the opinions absolutely forbidden by the postwar liberal world order. It has resurfaced in the space of freedom provided recently by the internet, and has spread there with some speed, the way it always will when it is not repressed. But it is hardly the only view present in this world, or even the dominant view. Nor, as I keep repeating, is this phenomenon—I lack a better word to call it—reducible to any view or set of views, but it represents rather a youth counterculture that has rejected the controlled, staged, edited and therefore mendacious form of public discourse that dominates America and the West right now….
“The failure of the conservative establishment to address the insanity of the new left is the chief negative cause of the phenomenon or movement in question. …
“The anti-male and anti-White rhetoric of the new left is extreme. The racial attacks on whites in particular approaches exterminationist propaganda seen only in, e.g., the Hutu against the Tutsi in 1990’s Rwanda. [examples are cited.]
“Whether out of loyalty to the generally leftist social sphere in which the conservative intellectual establishment lives, or out of simple fear, mainstream and traditional conservatives have completely discredited themselves by failing to oppose the violent racial hatred and other forms of unprecedented insanity coming from the new left.
“I haven’t even yet touched the conservative powerlessness when it came to stopping the destruction of the family; or the new push for the sexualization and grooming of children on behalf of transsexualism and other supposed “sexual identities.”
“If we listen to the rhetoric of the left, we can only guess that further restrictions of speech and life, both de facto and de jure, are coming. What is the conservative plan to deal with any of this?…. “
What is the conservative plan to deal with any of this? Nothing. In Canada, for example, the leader of the opposition dares not say he thinks abortion is a sin, and the press questions him upon because they are heresy hunting, Scheer is weak. He could say that it is not the function of the press to be looking into men’s souls, but that would be an actual attack on the press. Too strong!
The question is far more important than my trivial example. The Pervert correctly points out that the Republican party has held power for longer than the Democratic for the last sixty years, and yet has been unable to do anything about the corruption of the culture.
Bronze Age Pervert again:
“The problem Anton or other conservatives must face isn’t that my audience, or the “youth” in question doesn’t accept the principles of the American Founding, but that the left and thereby a large part of the establishment rejected these principles long ago. The left has been saying exactly what they plan to do for decades. They want to destroy your country, instill a death wish in the white population, set majorities against market-dominant minorities, atomize everyone: the British plan in Malaysia and a few other places but now applied domestically within a country.
“But the conservatives didn’t do anything, or anything effective, to counter the left—this is the problem. Many conservatives would rather blame people who point out the left’s explicit intentions. If Hillary Clinton says that Merkel is her role model a year after Merkel made the youth of Germany a minority in their own country, and if we point this out and support any candidate who might prevent this unprecedented madness, it is mainstream conservatives who call us Nazis and worse simply for pointing out the left’s stated goals.
” The left completely abandoned Americanism in the 1960’s; at this point they’ve also abandoned biological reality. Vitalism is all that is left against their demented biological Leninism. Encouraging health, normality, and physical nobility against their celebration of deformity, obesity, and sexual catamitism must be one of the basic functions of conservatism in our time. It is one of the reasons my message is powerful among many who are fed up with the left’s gospel of wretchedness: what is your plan to take that on? ….
“We are now faced with a left that has embraced a dialectic of racial and class destruction in a context where belief in absolute human equality is professed at the same time that no one believes in it anymore. I don’t see how the vision of the Founders, widely dismissed as white nationalism even by “conservatives” when presented with its reality, has more political potential in our situation than Bronze Age perversion would…..
” If you fail to see that you live in the Soviet Union of the 1970’s or 1980’s, or rather something slightly even more repressive than the Eastern Bloc of that time, it may be you don’t know about the threats, financial ruin, and mob violence that Trump supporters and anyone really who steps out of line has been subject to since at least 2016—but actually since some time before that. “
What we need right now is glasnost and perestroika. Opening and restructuring. For me, however imperfectly, Trump is the ice breaker setting free the trapped ships. The larger cultural struggle has yet to be undertaken by conservatives. In this regard, students of the US Constitution such as George Will, who rail against Trump, are not even wrong. They are, in the deepest sense of the word, irrelevant – to either side of the culture wars. Arguing that the US Constitution has strayed from its Madisonian intentions is up there with support for the restoration of the Stuart Kings. It might be true, but the issues of our time do not concern Presidential overreach, the weakness of the Congress in the face of the Presidency and the Courts, or the abandonment of free trade. They concern the eliminationist and exterminationist tendency directed towards me and you as white people. It is that simple. And most conservatives have not woken up to this, or refuse to see it, yet. I predict they will.
On the subject of Brexit, she says (at about 00:09:30 in the show) that her first thought was that Brexit gives to the British the chance of stopping the relentless advance of the “West-destroying” Left through the institution of Britain “which believes that the very idea of a British nation is racist”. “Britain now has a chance of regaining its identity….My second thought was, they’ll never allow it.” (at 00:10:45)
Seems she is right. “It is a fight to the political and cultural death, which is why we are in the state we are in.”
The political demoralization of which she speaks is the central event of our time. I have been living through it all my life. The attacks on nationalism by the leftist hydra have accomplished exactly what we see: the inability of the the west to defend its political soul. Nationalism is the necessary antibody that defends political liberty and constitutional government. Take it away and we suffer cultural equivalent of auto-immune disease. We die of adventitious infections that otherwise we could fight off, such as Islam, which is by itself powerless to impose itself upon us. When you hear the bleating chorus of “sexism/racism/homophobia/transphobia”, what you hear is the voice of those infected by the demoralization.
Most English Canadians find aspects of Quebec’s political culture to be tribalist. Here I would like to insinuate a subversive thought. Maybe Quebec is on its way to solving problems of identity and belonging in a way that is direct and effective. Moreover I think its policies are designed to establish a state based on values rather than ethnic identification. In a curious way, Quebec may be handling its problems of declining birthrate by telling people who wish to immigrate that democratic behaviour and attitudes is part of the deal.
Quebec’s decision to impose a values test on immigrants is a sign that intends to ensure that every immigrant is on notice that democratic and peaceful behaviour is expected. Sure, people can cheat on the test. They can fake attitudes they do not have. Any such test is open to guessing the right answer and giving what the immigrant thinks the government wants to hear. But what is so bad about that?
Denmark has tests for immigrants. The United States has tests for immigrants. Moreover, as states move way from unity through ethnic uniformity to unity through shared values, there is no way to escape the question of values. The United States is a country founded on shared values, not shared ethnicity. As other societies move from kinship to common values as the basis of adhesion, they too have to start talking about a language of values, rather than assume belonging through kinship.
And then the old Quebec rears its ugly head. “Bonjour- hi”, which is the practical response to serving the customer in his language, is condemned by politicians. Quebec is open and tolerant, as long as the issue is not about the use of English. The shared values are expected to include a measure of adhesion to the French language. This is the source of English Canada’s eternal disagreement with Quebec, because it does not respect Quebec’s pretensions to control the language of public discourse. Quebec has won every legal battle in its drive to suppress the use of English and, by inevitable consequence, the number of people living in Quebec who identify as English-speaking Quebecers. While Quebec is right to insist on a values test, the language conflict colours English Canada’s interpretation of what Quebec does.
“Diversity isn’t our strength; our strengths attract diversity. People from all nations come here because of the freedom, stability and opportunity Canada offers, not because people from all nations come here.
“There is thus a Canadian mainstream after all, and it is the foundation on which repose the diverse identities of Canadians which so preoccupy progressives. That mainstream is deeply conservative. The fact that no political party has been able to articulate and defend it is the greatest reason for our divisive and fractured politics.”
The Canadian political conservatives have been unable or unwilling to address the obvious falsity of “multiculturalism”. Canada has been nearly destroyed on several occasions because of the reality of two national cultures, French and English. Imagine twenty. Imagine the difficulties of governing when your nation is composed of a multitude of races, nations, religions, ,and languages. Imagine India.
Crowley touches on many other themes than the vanity of multiculturalism. He correctly points out that conservatism is based on a sentiment of gratitude. There is much more to his think piece than the jabs at multiculturalism. But the direct attack on the falsity of multicultural ideology is for me the most welcome.