30 April 2011

What Good is Intelligence?

Bob Lefsetz, ladies and gentlemen:

Along with the rise in materialism in the eighties came a  denigration of education, of being smart, of critical analysis.  It’s cool to be dumb.  Just ask Snooki.  Or Sarah Palin, whose flock consists of idiots too stupid to realize the people they back are profiteers leaving them by the wayside.  But if you’re intelligent, if you’re educated, you can think about things, work them through your fingers and come to new, interesting conclusions.  You can debate economic policy instead of trying to prove Barack Obama was born in outer space.

I am not, of course, a fan of Sarah Palin, nor of Snooki, for that matter.  But I can’t honestly say that the country would be worse off with either of these two in office.  Obama is allegedly a genius.  And, in spite of his tendency to mispronounce common words, Bush was/is quite intelligent as well.  The same was asserted about Greenspan and is now being asserted about Bernanke.

The current mess is the result of geniuses being in charge.  Arguably, America can’t afford any more brilliant leaders, so why not give the morons a shot?  They may not fix the mess, but it’s hard to see how they would make it worse.  It takes a certain level of genius to make this big a mess, which neither Palin nor Snooki possess.  So, if nothing else, putting stupid people in charge would ensure that the problems facing the country wouldn’t multiply as quickly.  That’s worth something, right?

28 April 2011


It appears that America's third-favorite radio host is turning from a conservative caterpillar...

...into a libertarian butterfly.  This transformation is beautiful to behold.

27 April 2011

An Interesting Question

A few days ago, Xamuel asked if mathematics was subjective or objective. After discussing the question, he came to this conclusion:

One could make the program more sophisticated, and have it make definitions in such a way as to ultimately minimize the sheer complexity of its theorems. But could it come up with those names in a good way? Going about it the most obvious way, it might define a noun “N9524″ to mean what you and I mean by “prime number”, simply because that happens to be the 9,524th noun that it defines (and in reality, 9,524 is probably a hilarious underestimate of a cosmically infinitesimal nature). That’s assuming its definitions match up with ours at all. More likely, its definitions would have only a loose relationship, if any, to human-made definitions. To get around this, to give these nouns halfway decent names, would probably require full-on, post-singularity, open-the-pod-bay-doors-Hal, Artificial Intelligence. (Or maybe I’m wrong. Many a pessimistic futurist has been humiliated in the past…)
So to sum it all up? Mathematics must necessarily be somewhat subjective as a defense mechanism against trolls who could otherwise flood the journals with true-but-useless flotsam and jetsam. But it is far more objective than any other discipline in the world.

I’m inclined to disagree with his analysis, but only because I approach the question differently.  Xamuel’s answer, assuming I understand him correctly, is that determining mathematical truths must be an inherently subjective activity because humans must determine what truths are correct and relevant.  Some assertions may be incorrect; others may be correct but either irrelevant or redundant.  Humans are therefore needed to sort out useful axioms from unnecessary or wrong axioms.

Xamuel’s answer, then, is quite correct in that it recognizes the inherent human element in the discipline of mathematics.  Where he and I differ, at least insofar as I can divine his beliefs via his public writing, is that I would assert that mathematics, as a discipline, is fundamentally subjective.

I say that mathematics, and mathematical truths, are fundamentally subjective because the system is inherently axiomatic.  The number 2, for example, is self-defined.  The statement “1 + 1 = 2,” though quite correct, is also quite subjective.  The numbers and relational symbols are inherently axiomatic and, as such, the truth of the statement is inherently axiomatic.  Since all other mathematical truths are either axiomatic or based on reductive axioms, it stands to reason that the entire discipline is fundamentally subjective in nature.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that mathematics is without value.  In fact, its value is derived from its wide-ranging application.  Businesses make use of mathematics every day, as do virtually all scientists.  Mathematics’ value is that it is perfectly logical, consistent in its relationships, and very abstract.

Mathematics’ high degree of abstraction is, in my opinion, its greatest value.  You can have a symbol or two stand in place of large amounts of data and then derive relationships between various data.  The ubiquity of the Cartesian plane should speak to the value of this highly abstract method of analysis.

Additionally, the high degree of abstraction allows mathematics to be treated as an objective method of analysis because it is less subject to the vagaries of human perception, which is, I believe, the point that Xamuel was trying to make.  There are very few fundamental shifts in mathematical understanding. The most recent, as I define the phrase "fundamental," was the shift from Roman numerals to Arabic numerals, which applied to mostly western mathematicians, and the invention of “0.”  Pretty much everything else since then has been built upon this system.  Pi, for example, is commonly understood within the framework of Arabic numerals (i.e. 3.14159…).

As it stands, the fundamental axioms of mathematics (the base-ten Arabic numbers, e.g.) are so well-established that it is easy to treat them abstractly and relate them to real world applications.  So, even though “2 + 2 = 4” is inherently subjective, it can be treated as an objective truth because no one disagrees with it.  Thus, mathematics is considered objective because, in part, there is no point in disagreeing with its inherent subjectivity.
(For further reading, see “The Limits of Science,”  from my book The Early Years.  Also see Xamuel's post on 1 + 1.)

Ringing Endorsement

This should cause one to have more confidence in the proposal to raise the debt ceiling:

The Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee, a key group of senior representatives from investment funds and banks, this week warned that any delay in interest or principal payment by the U.S. government could trigger a catastrophic financial crisis.
“I am writing to express my concerns regarding the urgent need to increase the statutory debt limit,” J.P. Morgan Managing Director Matthew Zames said in a letter, dated April 25, to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

So, “senior representatives” from banks and investment firms think it’s a good idea to raise the debt ceiling.  And I’m just supposed to believe that they’re being altruistic here?  Especially in light of all the bailout money they’ve received?  They have to be kidding.

What I don’t understand is why everyone keeps talking about raising the debt ceiling when the real problem is that the government is spending more than it can take in.  None of the clowns that signed this letter would seriously propose the same action for a business that faced a similar financial situation.  How, then, can they be so dense?  The mind boggles.

Is That So?

Thomas Sowell makes a claim:
Why has Trump surged ahead of other Republican candidates and potential candidates in the polls? It is not likely that his resurrection of the issue of Barack Obama's birth certificate has aroused all this support.
The birth certificate issue does more political damage to Obama's critics than to the president himself, because it enables the media to paint those critics as kooks. Nor are Donald Trump's political positions such as to create a stampede to his cause. [Emphasis added.]
I respect and admire Dr. Sowell.  Indeed, he’s the reason I’m an economist, and I’ve found his work to be profound and thought-provoking.  However, he appears to have made an error in his thinking.  Namely, he asserts that “the media” holds the key to political success or failure.  There are two problems with this assertion.

First, he uses “the media” too generally to be correct.  There are various forms of media with a plethora of viewpoints.  Specific members of each medium will vary in bias and approach, and so lumping them together is simply disingenuous.  One member of the media, World Net Daily, has been prominent in bringing up Obama’s birth certificate issue.  There are others as well.  Thus, “the media” as a whole does not paint Obama’s critics as kooks.

Second, America is nominally a democracy.  What “the media” thinks is nowhere as relevant as what actual voters think (be they legal or otherwise), at least in terms of “political damage.”  (This is especially true in light of the fact that American elections are decided by secret ballot.)  The only political damage that matters in America is elections.   As such, Dr. Sowell should be concerned with what actual voters think about those who criticize Obama over the birth certificate issue.

As it stands, Dr. Sowell’s assertion that the birth certificate issue does more damage to Obama’s critics is false, at least for the reasons given.  In fairness, though, it should be noted that the reasons he gives for Trump’s success appear to be correct (or, at least not obviously incorrect).  Ultimately, what Dr. Sowell should have asserted is that criticizing Obama is not the only possible explanation for Donald Trump’s current political popularity.  This would be a legitimate assertion that would allow him to bring up other reasons for Trump’s success, which was the whole point of the article anyway.

(Addendum:  Vox has an explanation as to why the assertion that criticizing Obama over his birth certificate paints said critics as kooks is false.)

UPDATE #1: Obama has released his alleged long-form birth certificate.

UPDATE #2: Karl Denninger analyzes Obama's alleged long-form birth certificate.

26 April 2011

Romans 13 and the State

John Cobin explains the link between Satan and the state:
How then can the Bible say that states are “ordained” or “appointed” by God to be his “ministers” (Romans 13:1-2, 4, 6)? Briefly, divine appointment to God’s service does not imply that the person or institution appointed is holy or godly. After all, Satan himself is ordained by God, and his actions are bounded by Providence (e.g., as the Bible describes in Job’s trials and the protecting of Peter from being sifted “as wheat” by the devil in Luke 22:31). The state is ordained by God but the Bible indicates that its most intimate relationship is with the devil (Revelation 18:9), and the state has generally served Satan’s evil designs throughout history, even if God ultimately directs the state and disposes of it as He wills.
For some reason, many Christians have difficulty properly applying the teaching found in Romans 13. I suspect the reason why this is the case is because many people neglect to include Romans 8 in their study of Romans 13. As hard as it may be to believe, Romans 13 is not a standalone argument, but is actually an application drawn from the preceding arguments made in the book.

In order to better understand Romans 13, it is necessary to first read Romans 8:28-39 (NKJV):
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written:
For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Paul’s argument here in Romans 8 is that there is nothing that can circumvent or undermine God’s will. No man, nation, power, principality, spirit, or any such can separate man from God, if that is God’s will. In essence, God is absolutely sovereign.

(On a tangential note, Vox Day has addressed someone who has problems understanding God’s sovereignty. In regards to this, it is necessary to point out that God’s sovereignty has two components: Purposed Will and Permissive Will. Romans chapter 8 and 13 both speak to the former. Reality speaks to the latter. Quite simply, there are things God permits as a matter of course, due to having given Man free will. Of course, this is a discussion for a different post.)

The key phrase to pay attention to in this passage is “all things work together for good.” Paul is claiming, by inspiration, that everything that happens in this world will at some point be used for good. This claim is fairly straightforward, especially in light of the argument found in chapter 11. The evil that that befell Israel in the wilderness was used for good. The numerous times the Israelites were in captivity was used for good (provoking the Israelites to repentance). The book of Judges, Obadiah, and other prophets all speak to God’s willingness to use evil nations as a way of punishing the evil of other nations. Thus, even though a nation may be evil, it doesn’t stand to reason that said nation cannot operate on behalf of God.

Understanding this is necessary to understanding Romans 13:1-7, which states (NKJV):
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.
When the divinely inspired Paul claims that the authority is “God’s minister to [us] for good,” it is important to note that he is not claiming that the authority itself is good. Rather, he is stating that the authority exists for good. Since God has claimed to use evil rulers and nations for good, it would be ludicrous to claim that someone who brings about good on God’s behalf is necessarily good.

Paul’s claim that “the authorities that exist are appointed by God,” then, is best understood as an application of the argument that was made in chapter 8: namely, that all things that happen in this world are within God’s sovereignty. Or, to state it negatively, there is nothing any worldly authority can do that is outside of God’s sovereignty. Paul’s statement can be seen as a form of comfort, especially in light of the persecution that Christians in Rome would soon be enduring at the hands of the state. The Christians in Rome could rest assured that, even in the face of persecution, God was still sovereign and that there was nothing the state could do to thwart his will.

Paul’s claim that “whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God” can best be understood as warning that Christians’ purpose in life is not violent revolution. A Christian not expected to rebel against evil governments, for a Christian is expected to concern himself with spiritual things, which are considerably more important the political concerns of this temporal realm. Of course, submission to the government is tempered by submission to God (cf. Acts 5:29).

The phrase “for he does not bear the sword in vain” also seems to give some Christians fits. Many interpret this claim to mean that the government is given the authority to use capital punishment. However, this could also mean that God uses nations to execute judgment on other nations. The sword was used both for punishment and warfare in first century Rome, so it makes sense to interpret this claim in both manners. Since it is fairly obvious that the government has often failed to punish people who were clearly deserving of such punishment, it is more prudent to say that this passage refers to God’s tendency to use one nation to punish another nation, particularly in light of the ambiguity of God’s providence (cf. Philemon 15). This would strike fear into the hearts of evil doers, for it is well known that those who live by the sword will die by the sword (cf. Matt. 26:52)

Additionally, note that Paul nowhere claims that the state is inherently moral or necessary. Given that states often commit evil which God then punishes by another state, it would be ludicrous to suggest that the state itself is a moral entity. It can bring about God’s will, but Biblical history suggests that many states have brought about God’s will quite unwittingly. In fact, many have brought about God’s will by committing evil. It is thus strange to say that the state is an inherently moral entity when history tells us it is not.

In keeping with this observation, note the phrase “the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” There is nothing in this phrase that would indicate that any state must exist. The only conclusion that can be properly drawn from this is simply a reinforcement of Paul’s argument five chapters earlier: there is no state (or any other entity) that exists outside the scope of God’s authority. If no state existed, God would still be sovereign. The existence of a given state has no impact on God’s sovereignty and authority. Therefore, the existence of a state is not necessary to maintain God’s sovereignty or authority.

As it stands, God’s sovereignty is not impacted one whit by the state. God does not need the state, nor does he command its existence. In fact, given the evils perpetrated by the state and its close association with Satan, it would be wise for Christians to disassociate themselves with the state to the greatest extent possible.

Group Work and Group Think

With the emerging dialogue in the popular press and blogosphere about fostering creativity in business, there is no lack of desire for collective creativity. Take this recent quote by Bruce Nussbaum about looking beyond fostering "design thinking" and instead encouraging "creative Intelligence":
I am defining Creative Intelligence as the ability to frame problems in new ways and to make original solutions. You can have a low or high ability to frame and solve problems, but these two capacities are key and they can be learned.... It is a sociological approach in which creativity emerges from group activity, not a psychological approach of development stages and individual genius.
Yes, group activity can provide the impetus for better framing of problems, which can lead to original solutions. But creativity is the "end result of many forms of intelligence coming together, and intelligence born out of collaboration and out of networks," to quote one of my co-workers, Robert Fabricant. When we collaborate with different kinds of thinkers, sometimes from different cultures and backgrounds, we individually struggle with ingrained behaviors that reduce our likelihood of manifesting creativity.
One of the more disturbing memes I’ve come across in college is the idea that somehow group work is superior to individual effort, particularly in the realm of creativity.  In fact, professors show a cult-like devotion to group work.  Most of the reasons professors offer for the need for group work smell strongly of bovine fecal matter.

The most common rationale for group work is that students need to learn how to work in groups.  Frankly, this reason is simply insulting.  I’m not a sociopath or retarded.  I’m actually quite capable of interacting with others when I need to.  Thus, it’s insulting to insinuate that, as a legal adult, I do not know how to work in a group even though I passed kindergarten with flying colors.

Within this rationale is the implicit goal of acclimating students to yielding to group norms.  This was generally an issue for me since most of my classmates were idiots.  I generally refused to follow others in the group when they proposed asinine ideas or tried to divvy up the work in ways that stuck me with a large amount of work.  Fortunately, I was quite skilled at winning power battles, so I was pretty much the leader of every group I was in, with one exception.  Incidentally, I earned an A on every group assignment.  The lesson I took away from all of this is that a successful group is one that follows my lead.

Even with that, though, I still hated group work because it was generally a waste of time.  For the most part, I was quite capable of completing an entire group’s worth of work by myself in half the time it would have taken the entire group.  Group papers were especially wasteful because I spent more time editing the papers, begging for sources, and formatting the paper than I would have spent if I simply wrote the paper myself (and I know this for a fact because I was ghostwriting papers for other students at this time).

The thing I disliked most about group work was that it was generally unnecessary.  It was as if professors were turning a one man job into a six man job.  The reason for this, of course, was that professors would have fewer papers to grade.  Thus, a large amount of my time was wasted because my professors were too lazy to evaluate their own students individually.

Another thing I dislike about group work is that it allows some to ride on the coattails of others.  This was especially true when professors decided to select groups themselves.  No one had any choice in group mates, so the lazy ones could slack off and profit from the efforts of others.  Why professors thought this was a good idea is beyond me.

Finally, the whole notion that group leads to better results is laughable on its face.  There are specific factors and conditions that enable some groups to achieve better results than individuals, and professors almost never replicate those conditions.  Successful groups need to have people who, for starters, know what they’re talking about.   They also need people who have self-discipline.  Most groups in college lack people with those characteristics.  As such, most group work consists of lots of complaining and shared ignorance.  This isn’t exactly a recipe for success.

Also, professors try to make things more profound than they actually are, but that’s a post for another day.

As it stands, group work is an unfortunate trend that is handled poorly by academia, and yields counterproductive results.  It is often the mark of a lazy and/or stupid professor.  It should be avoided at all costs.  Kids these days are already lazy enough.  There’s no need to capitulate to the worst among them, particularly in such a Marxist fashion.

24 April 2011

He Has Risen

Now behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and just man.  He had not consented to their decision and deed. He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself was also waiting for the kingdom of God.  This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.  Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before.  That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near.

And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid.  Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.

Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared.  But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.  And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments.  Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’”

And they remembered His words.  Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.  It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles.  And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them. But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.

23 April 2011

Paragraphs to Ponder

From The Epicurean Dealmaker:
Arguing that society should fund university philosophy departments because they teach practical knowledge is disingenuous, at best. There's nothing remotely practical about philosophy. It is the most radical (from the Latin radix = "root") intellectual discipline of all, because it recognizes no limits to its subject matter and no limits to the depth or breadth of its analysis. Philosophy aims to discuss not only what we know, how we know it, and why our belief is justified (epistemology), but also the very nature of reality (ontology and metaphysics) and the justification for our actions toward each other (ethics), inter alia. Its tools are rigorous critical analysis, rational argument, and logic. It considers no subject off limits and no question or issue completely and permanently resolved.
This is a key point to understand: philosophy, as a discipline, does not provide answers. Notwithstanding the inference a naive reader might draw from Mr. Jones' discussion of physicians and detectives, there is no body of widely accepted answers to commonly encountered questions like reason for belief or standard of proof, such as might be found in a natural science, for example. Instead, almost every subsector of philosophy known is riven by multiple competing critiques, opinions, and worldviews, each carefully and exhaustively argued, which even professional philosophers cannot—and do not wish to—reconcile. Philosophy provides questions, plus the tools with which to try and answer them and persuade others to your point of view. As such, it can be rightly said that the proper effect of philosophy is to make people exquisitely alert to their assumptions, sensitive to the rigor of their analyses, and—truth be told—permanently uncomfortable about the validity of their conclusions. If anyone should realize that, an epistemologist should. If Professor Jones does not, perhaps he doesn't deserve to teach philosophy.
I shudder to think what a sensitive and intelligent criminologist, jurist, or physicist would take away from a rigorous course in the foundations of knowledge. If he or she has half a brain, they would be rendered permanently uncertain about the validity of their own day-to-day work. Frankly, this may not be such a bad thing. The most likely practical outcome from a non-philosopher taking one or more philosophy courses is the potential inculcation of healthy self-doubt and skepticism. Even if a student does not or cannot take each argument fully on board, the mere exposure to powerful, persuasive, contrasting points of view on multiple sides of a carefully defined issue can persuade the densest individual that life, knowledge, and "truth" are not the oh-so-simple constructs he or she may have been led to believe. At its most basic and abstract, philosophy teaches that no topic is off limits, that there are no simple or unchallengeable answers, and that there are only good questions. Among more sensitive and reflective souls, this can engender a lifelong skepticism of simplistic arguments, facile rhetoric, and conventional wisdom.
The rest is here.

22 April 2011

More on Private Protection of IP

Just to clarify from an earlier post, my stance on protecting IP is that is wrong for the government to do so, but I have no issue if a private business wants to protect its intellectual creation.  Furthermore, I am not a piracy positivist.  I do not believe that people have a “right” to IP for free.  If they can capture another’s idea for free, more power to them.  If they have to pay, so be it.  No one has a right to information.

In keeping with the above, I would recommend reading this article at Cracked.  To me, this seems like the perfect way to handle IP protection.  Obviously, the government isn’t cracking down like it used to, so businesses have built designed their own protections to ensure that they actually paid when people use their product.

This seems to be the optimal way of handling this issue, especially since IP law has devolved into a massive redistributionist scheme for big business (cf. Apple’s recent lawsuit, Microsoft’s recent lawsuit, Google’s recent lawsuit, etc.)   Why not let people protect their own intellectual “property,” and stop this headache of a legal system?  This system does not seem to make any difference to the big companies and has a tendency to screw over the small time inventers and innovators (ever heard if patent trolls?)

Women Are Not the Problem

I use to debate on online forums and would read quite a bit of stuff from opposing points of view so I would be better in a debate.  Because I have almost always been anti-feminist I read a lot of feminist stuff to familiarize myself with the topic.
The problem was that just reading the rantings and ravings of the feminists put a wedge between my husband and I.  When they talked about their bad fathers, boyfriends, husbands, co-workers etc I got to thinking about all the problems I have had with men.  Even though I wasn’t reading with the intent to agree, I did sometimes find myself agreeing and it took its toll on my emotions.
Since I have started reading more things from the “masculinist” perspective I have had a similar problem.  I find myself frequently wondering if my husband (and all men) secretly hate me.

This is one of the complaints I have about the man-o-sphere, particularly the MRM:  these guys seem seriously anti-woman.  And I cannot, for the life of me, understand why.

At the risk of sounding beta, I have to say that I love women.  Yes, it’s fun to hang out with men and do man things, like work on cars, talk politics, throw a football around in the backyard, and other manly activities.  At the end of the day, however, I like spending time with the ladies.  I like talking to girls, I like teasing them, I like gaming them, I like to watch interact with children.  I like listening to women talk about their children and husbands.  I like how women look.  I like how they move.  I like how they smile.  I don’t care if this makes me the most beta man in the world, I like women.

And I just don’t understand all the vitriol that men direct towards women.  Women aren’t inherently immoral (I don’t believe in original sin, so to clarify I will simply say that women are no more or no less inherently immoral than men).  They aren’t evil witches plotting how to destroy men and make their lives miserable.  They don’t sit about, cackling about how they plan to asset-strip their chump of a husband in divorce court.  Most women want their marriages to work.  They want their children to turn out well.

The difference between their desires can be explained by one thing:  feminism.  Feminism is the biggest failure of my grandparents’ generation.  They fed their sons and daughters on the gender equality nonsense while putting and to the social constraints that had bound women’s behavior.  This isn’t the fault of the current generation of women; it’s the fault of their parents.  It’s the fault of feminists.

And if there is any group of people that deserve men’s (and women’s) unadulterated loathing, it’s feminists.  They’re the ones that declared a war neither side really wants.  So now men view women as ticking time bombs and women view men cads and losers.  Thanks, feminists!  I see no reason to hate women, and I suspect that most women see no need to hate men.  But we all have plenty of reason to hate feminists.  Let’s place the blame where it belongs.

Speaking of Idiots

There are multiple things wrong with this claim, but the most fundamental, I think, is that it represents a remarkable misunderstanding of the reasons why we have taxes in the first place. They don’t primarily exist as a way to induce lower private consumption, although they may sometimes have that effect; they are there to ensure government solvency.
So right off the bat, Krugman decides to define taxes by the stated intent, not the actual result, although he isn’t stupid enough to ignore it completely.  Economists Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams, among many others, have argued that any and all entities should be defined by what they actually do, not what they’re intended to do.  Thus, taxes may be intended for government solvency (a claim that is simply ludicrous in light of the massive federal deficits of the last twenty years and in light of how rapidly the federal government is approaching the debt ceiling), although the reality of the situation is that taxes do, in fact, induce lower private consumption.
Consider first the taxes raised by, say, the state of New Jersey. Chris Christie doesn’t tax me because he wants to reduce my consumption; he taxes me because NJ needs money to pay its bills. It’s true that in the short run, if we ignore the legal restrictions on state borrowing, he can spend more than the state takes in in taxes; but over the longer run the state must, one way or another, collect enough revenue to pay for its spending.
Again, Krugman presents and recognizes the Intentions/Reality dichotomy, but somehow doesn’t realize that this dichotomy is the entire point of Landsburg’s post.  Yes, the government may want to tax the rich by stripping them of all their money.  But since the money is in the bank, being loaned out to middle class workers or other borrowers, the taxes effectively deprive those who would borrow the money of the assets they would otherwise purchase.  That’s the whole point right there.  It doesn’t matter if the federal government, or Chris Christie, for that matter, intends to reduce citizens’ consumption; that’s what happens.
Does the same thing hold true for the federal government? Well, the feds have the Fed, which can print money. But there are constraints on that, too — they’re not as sharp as the constraints on governments that can’t print money, but too much reliance on the printing press leads to unacceptable inflation. (Cue the MMT people — but after repeated discussions, I still don’t get how they sidestep the issue of limits on seignorage.)
Krugman, not satisfied with having taken merely a twelve-gauge to his toes, now prepares to fire an RPG at them.  The reason why inflation is also a form of taxation is that it increases the money supply without actually increasing production.  Among other things, inflation creates a sense of uncertainty, which generally has a negative impact on production, meaning that there is less for everyone.  (On a side note, if I were to accept the argument for money neutrality, inflation can still function as a redistributive tax in the short-term.)
So taxes are, first and foremost, about paying for what the government buys (duh). It’s true that they can also affect aggregate demand, and that may be something you want to do. But that really is a secondary issue.
Ultimately, the flaw in Krugman’s “rebuttal” is that he forgets that money, particularly fiat money, exists primarily as a medium of exchange.  The pieces of paper that people use for trade are worthless if there are no assets to back them.  The only thing money is good for if not exchange is to be used as wallpaper.  Money’s main value is that it can purchase things.

If the government confiscates money through taxation, it is really confiscating one’s purchasing ability.  Every dollar the government takes from is a dollar that I cannot use to purchase something for myself.  That was Steve Landsburg’s whole point, which Krugman brilliantly proves for him.  The reason why the wealthy Mr. Kendrick can’t be taxed is because his consumption won’t be altered; someone else’s will.

There are a limited amount of resources, and money is used as way to allocate these resources among people.  This is basic economics.  The reason why the government taxes people is because it wants to purchase things.  It wants to command resources.  It is easier to do this by confiscating money instead of assets because money is more liquid, and more widely dispersed, ensuring that there is a relatively large tax base.  The government wants money because the government wants things.  Any dollar the government confiscates cannot be spent by the person from whom it was confiscated.  Any resources the government consumes as a result cannot be consumed by the person who was taxed.

Basically, Krugman is in agreement with Landsburg.  Unfortunately, Krugman is too stupid to realize this.  In closing, I would simply like to quote a well-known Nobel laureate who weighed in on the stupidity of this situation:
Discussions like this really disturb me; they indicate that there are a lot of people with Ph.D.s in economics who can throw around a lot of jargon, but when push comes to shove, have no coherent picture whatsoever of how the pieces fit together.

If It Smells Like A Duck

My long-held suspicions have been confirmed:

Their argument is that pornography causes sexual violence, molestation of children, sex trafficking, and other maladies. "This material harms individuals, families and communities and the problems are only getting worse," wrote the group, led by Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of—you guessed it—Utah. You will wait in vain to hear of other senators joining together to say this is all nonsense, though that happens to be the case.
The past two decades have been to electronic erotica what Thanksgiving is to gluttony. Never in history have more people had easier access to sexually explicit material in such vast abundance and such low cost. More than one out of every three Americans with Internet access regularly visits porn sites.
By the logic of the puritans, we should be coping with an avalanche of collateral damage. But we're not.
Sexual violence? Rape has dropped by 86 percent in the United States since 1991. Harm to families? Divorce rates are down 25 percent during the same period.
As for sex trafficking, no one really knows how much goes on, or whether it's rising or falling. But when the Bush administration mounted a crackdown on the problem, The Washington Post reported in 2007, it found only "1,362 victims of human trafficking brought into the United States since 2000, nowhere near the 50,000 a year the government had estimated."
Numerous studies have failed to prove that viewing prurient pictures has any deleterious consequences to individuals. Just because the occasional rapist or child molester blames his crimes on skin flicks doesn't make it true.

Since I am a Christian, I cannot and will not condone the use of pornography (cf. Matt. 5:28).  However, I’ve long been suspicious of the claim that viewing porn causes violent crime.  To me, the argument is similar to the claim that video games cause violent behavior.

Both claims are especially nonsensical given that both pornography and video games are used as escapes/substitutes for reality.  People who use either are generally seeking to avoid direct interaction with others, not escalate interpersonal interaction.

Of course, this doesn’t make porn healthy for people, and it certainly doesn’t make it moral.  But the porn abolitionists do not have a leg to stand on anymore.  No one’s rights are violated with porn.* And legalization doesn’t open up the floodgates to violent crime.  Opposition no longer makes sense.  Just move on already.

* In case you’re blinded by your emotions, remember that this post is only concerned with consumption, not production.

21 April 2011

Paragraphs to Ponder

I came across this when stumbling through Karl Denninger's archives.  I thought it was worth reposting.

The State of XXXX has in fact rendered that vow you took a legal nullity, and what's worse, you not only swore a false oath before God but the celebrant knowingly participated in the fraud!
I often write about frauds upon the public in my Ticker columns, but this is, in my opinion, far more serious.  Fraud upon the public is punishable by the government under the law, at least if you're a "little person" - the big guys, of course, get away with it daily, as we have repeatedly seen.
But fraud upon God is a different matter.  He doesn't have a definition of "little people", at least not that I know of (while I may be on a first-name basis with him, I've yet to hear a booming voice from Heaven!)  Indeed, most religious beliefs would make the claim that we're all "little people" in this regard, and that The Devil is perfectly happy to burn people like Paulson just as he'll take me, and irrespective of where you stood in life, in death we're all naked with our bodies eaten by snakes, with whatever is left either ascending or descending, as our acts on Earth deserve.
I find it disconcerting (to put it mildly) that those who bang the bible (or any other holy book of choice) loudest are the biggest defenders of a statist system that is an utter fraud - and a fraud upon the very God that is claimed to guide both words and deeds.
Yes, we need reform in this regard, but it is not to commit an even bigger fraud upon the public and God.  Specifically, if we are to have a recognition of "marriage" at all by state actors we must bring it into alignment with what is promised and stated before God.

20 April 2011

Athol Kay Has a New Fan

I’ve been reading Athol Kay’s new book in order to finally get a review up on the blog.  I’m about halfway through it right now.  I meant to finish it tonight, but I couldn’t find the book when I got home.

Apparently my youngest brother (currently a freshman in high school) saw the book and, because it had the word “sex” right there in the title, picked it up to read.  As a testimonial to Athol, he immediately recognized that Athol Kay’s observations about the fair sex were spot on, and recognizes the inherent truth of Game.

Fortunately, my brother’s a natural alpha, so this book serves as icing on the cake.  He’s pretty engrossed in the book, and has apparently read about half of it in less than a day.  I believe that this book will serve as the perfect introduction to Game, and should help him refine his interactions with the girls at school.

Anyway, many thanks are due to Athol for providing a great introduction to Game.  Go out and buy his book (or Kindle version) now.  It has a ton of applications beyond marital relationships, as my brother can readily attest.

Book Review

The Rational Optimist  by Matt Ridley

This book is a very intriguing work, for it bucks the all-too-common refrain of doom and gloom to bring a message of hope, backed by empirical evidence. But its value lies not solely in the groundwork undertaken by Matt Ridley; what makes this book valuable is how Mr. Ridley chooses to interpret the data.

What makes this book worth buying is how Ridley addresses a very significant flaw permeating mainstream economic and scientific research.  The result is profound and slightly cheering.

This book, The Rational Optimist (henceforth TRO), takes aim at scientists’ nasty tendency to extrapolate data based on current trends.  For some reason, scientists and economists have developed the strange habit of assuming that humans will not adapt to the changes in their environment, even though history exists because humans do precisely that.  What many seem to forget is that mathematical models only predict what they are told to predict.

As Ridley demonstrates, this is seen in economics, when discussing the problem of poverty, and in science, when discussing global warming.  In both cases, many of the predictions made in regards to both are based simply on the implicit assumptions made by those making the predictions.  There is no reason to assume, for example, that food production will not increase in the face of dwindling land.  Nor is it reasonable to assume that humans won’t adapt to global warming.  And yet, experts have a tendency to wax eloquent in their prophecies of doom, only to be proven wring time and again.

TRO also demonstrates, again and again, how humans are more than capable of adapting to changes in their environment.  One might say that observing humans’ tendencies to adapt to changing conditions, for the better, is what makes Ridley a rational optimist.  More concisely, one might say that human nature is the reason why Ridley is so optimistic.

I do not share Mr. Ridley’s optimism.  I agree with his observations about human development.  I agree with his assertion that we cannot beat the indomitable nature of the human spirit.  I even agree that with his argument that the world is better off now than ever before.

The reason I disagree with him is because I see an unfortunate anti-market tendency, not just here in America, but around the whole world.  I fear that this tendency, if left unchecked, will retard a good portion of the progress heretofore made by humanity.  And I see no reason to believe that the anti-market tendencies of peoples and states will do anything but grow and fester.

Politicians and intellectuals have smeared and mocked the market for decades, and states have tried to shut down the market by imposing onerous taxes and regulations on participants.  Yes, the black market is alive and well.  Unfortunately, it has limits to the amount of wealth it can generate, for participants have no guarantee of property rights or legal recourse, making it difficult, if not downright impossible, for individuals to leverage their capital, a necessary step in building wealth.

Thus, it seems quite clear that humanity is, for the most part, hell-bent on destroying everything it has accumulated, in order to assuage its newfound guilt of privilege.  I see no reason to be optimistic.  Maybe this book can convince you otherwise.

18 April 2011

Consensus Theology

Here’s something I found thought-provoking:

He said one thing that really stuck with me. He described the activities of some churches as, "The sharing of ignorance with the intent of developing consensus theology." Wow, did that hit hard.
How much of what churches do could be described in such terms? How often do Sunday school classes, small group meetings, and other church activities descend into efforts to come up with something we can all agree to, but which may not, in fact, be in keeping with God's will.

One of the reasons I tend to dislike church groups, Sunday school classes, and any other church group activity that is intended to be a collective Bible study is due to the tendency of said groups to spend more time trying to reach agreement with one another, regardless of whether the group consensus is correct.  Is it really so hard to call someone wrong?

I’ve never thought so, although I do like to make sure that I understand what someone is trying to say before calling them on it.  But my experience has taught me that very few are willing to take a stand if that means making someone feel uncomfortable.

I am unable to understand why this is the case.  Are other people’s opinions of you so important that you can’t stand for the truth?  And are people so thin-skinned that being corrected will cause them to leave God?  (Of course, if one doesn’t want to receive correction from God, it is arguable that they were never truly with him, and thus could not leave him.)

At any rate, this trend of “consensus theology” is something I find to be annoying and impractical, which is why I prefer to study by myself, far away from the inane nattering of study groups.  When it comes to God, I prefer to know his will, not others’ opinions of his will.  I figure if he’s the only who can save me, it behooves me to listen to him.

Corporate Taxes Revisited

Corporate Taxes as a Percentage of Federal Revenue
1955 . . . 27.3%
2010 . . . 8.9%
Corporate Taxes as a Percentage of GDP
1955 . . . 4.3%
2010 . . . 1.3%
Individual Income/Payrolls as a Percentage of Federal Revenue
1955 . . . 58.0%
2010 . . . 81.5%
Anyone who is serious about closing the US deficit should consider the changes in what corporations pay in taxes and the rise of the deficit.

Mr. Ritholtz seems to have neglected debt as a form of raising revenue, which is why his corporate tax contribution rate is 9%, whereas the IRS places it at 4% (an approximate value).  Actually, once you factor in debt as a means of revenue, the “taxes as a percentage of federal revenue” rates are cut in half for 2010 figures, which suggests that the biggest issue facing the federal budget is deficit spending, not low corporate tax rates.  As it stands, I find Mr. Ritholtz’s recommendation of raising corporate tax rates to be absurd for a couple of reasons.

First, there is absolutely no reason to believe that an increase in one tax rate will lead to an increase in net revenue in a meaningful way.  For the last sixty years, federal tax revenue has been capped at roughly 20% of GDP.  This has been the case when tax rates were and when tax rates were low.  Additionally, fluctuations in revenue are better explained by the business cycle than the actual rate.  The reason why this is important is because it suggests that government spending should be no higher than 20% of GDP.  Since spending is considerably higher than that, it seems reasonable to conclude that solving the fiscal problem is going to require spending cuts, not tax hikes.

Second, tax avoidance exists, and explains the soft cap on revenue.  If corporate tax rates increase, money will be spent to avoid paying taxes and money will be diverted to avoid paying taxes.  People don’t like paying taxes, and that fact doesn’t change with the rates.  What changes is the profitability of tax avoidance.  Those who avoid paying corporate taxes will have a greater incentive to do so in light of a rise in the rates.  Those who don’t have a reason to avoid paying taxes will have even more of a reason to do so once these rates increase.

Third, only people pay taxes.  Raising corporate taxes will not work the way Mr. Ritholtz thinks, because whatever money is confiscated from corporations is actually confiscated from either customers or shareholders.  This in turn means that whatever is confiscated at this time cannot also be confiscated later (in case Mr. Ritholtz was asleep during Econ 101, this is known as an opportunity cost).  Taxes are merely systemic price points, and should be treated as such.  Having more price points doesn’t necessarily mean an increase in revenue, for people will have less money after each price point (because taxes are mandatory). 

This sort of thinking, then, is too clever by half, for it is built on ignoring fundamental principles of economics.
Mr. Ritholtz has thus allowed populist sentimentality to influence policy recommendations, leading to advice that is not grounded in reality, and should thus be discarded.  My personal recommendation for fixing the fiscal mess is simple:  eliminate all unconstitutional spending and implement a single tax (either an income or sales tax) at a single rate, with no exemptions, credits, or deductions.  I see no point in setting the rate higher than 20%, since history has shown that the federal government is incapable of raising revenue in excess of that.

In On the Joke

I came across this story in the New York Times the other day.  Essentially, the main point of the article is that collegiate business programs have been dumbed down considerably over the last few decades, resulting in graduates who don’t really have a clue about business.  Basically, business school is for slackers.

As someone who is majoring in business administration at a small private Midwestern college, I can say that, in my experience, this characterization of business students and business programs is absolutely true.  I’ve never once studied or read any of my textbooks for a business or management class, unless I needed to do homework.  I’ve never studied for a test in any business or management class either.

The reason I never put forth effort is a result of three factors.  I take copious notes in class, I am very intelligent, and business and management classes are ridiculously easy.  The lowest grade I ever received in a business or management class was a B, and the bulk of my grades in either type of class were A’s.  Econ classes were the easiest.  If the professor didn’t have an attendance requirement, I would have only showed up for class in order to turn in homework and to take tests.

Overall, my impression of business-core classes is that they are incredibly easy, even at the 400-level.  Most classes consist of reading jargon-filled manuals that exist to explain the jargon used by the manual writers.  There are a couple tests that closely resemble the vocab tests you take in second grade.  There may also be a paper due at some point in the class, and the occasional pop quiz.  Homework is very light.

It may surprise some, but I do not find these classes to be enjoyable at all.  I normally enjoy reading about businesses, business leaders, economics, markets, and finance, but college classes somehow manage to suck all the fun and joy out of these things, as if being dull equates to be profound and challenging.

The only classes I found to be enjoyable were math classes and classes not related to my major.  I especially enjoyed my English and literature classes.  I even enjoyed my ethics class (which was my philosophy elective).  Of course, I found my PoliSci class to be enjoyable as well, especially since the professor introduced me to Vox Day’s blog, which led me to discovering other blogs, and played an indirect role in my decision to blog.

I suspect the reason why business classes are so unenjoyable is because they are pointless.  They are filled with incomprehensible jargon that, when explained, boil down to well-established principles of business:  Serve the customer, obey the law, pay your taxes, train your employees well, pay them well, and cut costs wherever possible as long as doing so doesn’t lead to a decrease in quality.  That’s three years’ worth of instruction right there.

Yes, day-to-day decisions are considerably more complicated than that, but they only way to learn how to handle the real world is to actually be a part of it, not observe it from afar long after the fact.  I learned more about business when I worked fast food during high school than I did from going to college.

Want to learn about how a business works?  Get a job.  I’ve worked in fast food, in department stores, as a painter, as a roofer, in construction, in IT, and as a freelance writer.  I’ve learned more from doing those things than I have from all the business and management classes I took in high school and college. Of course, I don’t know the jargon used utilized by managers self-managed work teams, so I suppose that my practical experience is for naught.

At any rate, it’s very clear to me that business programs are nothing more than a bad joke.  Unfortunately, the punchline is lots of debt and no usable skills.

Ha ha ha.

17 April 2011

Newsflash for Betas

Her skirmishes were often played out for the benefit of others.  Debbie Reynolds once was shocked to see Elizabeth being belted by her third husband Mike Todd, when Reynolds tried to help, Elizabeth told her not interfere, then the diminutive brunette hit her spouse right back. The Todds enjoyed physical altercations; sometimes they were a prelude to lovemaking.  Elizabeth later made fun of Debbie for being a square.  Another shouting match with Todd in 1957 at an airport was witnessed by writer/producer Ernest Lehman, he remembered it nine years later when he hired Elizabeth to play against type as the foul-mouthed, husband-loathing Martha in Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf.  Her real-life public brawls with her fifth husband and frequent co-star Richard Burton became notorious, yet Burton insisted they never fought while they were alone. [Emphasis added.]

You know how Roissy always says chicks dig jerks?  It’s because chicks dig jerks.  The attractive ladies can usually have any guy they want, and, invariably, that guy is a jerk.  Don’t say I didn’t tell you.

So I Went to a Wedding

I just got back from a wedding tonight, having been sufficiently reminded why I hate weddings.  In fact, this experience has strengthened my resolve to decline all the other wedding invitations I've received for this year.

At any rate, the only reason I mention this is because I was pleasantly surprised by what the preacher said tonight during the ceremony.  As he was explaining the spiritual purpose of marriage, he turned to Ephesians 5 and read from there how husbands need to love their wives.  Then he read aloud how wives need to submit to their husbands.  Later on, he addressed the wife and said, to her face, that she was to submit to her husband and ignore the world's advice on marital equality.  Incidentally, when they exchanged vows, the woman who was getting married promised to submit to her husband.

I just have to say that witnessing this was a refreshing change of pace from the all-too-common feminist dogma of gender equality that is so pervasive in our society today.  I expect that this newly-formed couple will have a more than decent shot at marital success, and wish them the best of luck as they start their new life together.

16 April 2011

This Means a Lot

Via Yahoo:

The House on Friday passed a Republican budget blueprint proposing to fundamentally overhaul Medicare and combat out-of-control budget deficits with sharp spending cuts on social safety net programs like food stamps and Medicaid.
The nonbinding plan lays out a fiscal vision cutting $6.2 trillion over the coming decade from the budget submitted by President Barack Obama. It passed 235-193 with every Democrat voting "no."  [Emphasis added.]

This story brings up another reason I dislike democracy.  The system encourages political leaders to posture instead of actually solve problems.  I do not blame politicians for working within the confines of the system.  Rather, I blame the voters who have absolutely no grasp of reality.  There will be plenty of people who will make a big fuss over this legislation.  Conservatives will use this point out how liberals aren’t serious about addressing government spending; liberals will point out how this measure doesn’t actually address government spending either (because it’s non-binding), and the problem will remain unsolved.  Then this cycle will be repeated endlessly for every issue henceforth:  politicians will propose meaningless half-measures to solve serious problems, and such measures will fail.

This bill specifically, though, has nothing to love.  It’s non-binding, extremely partisan, and doesn’t do enough to actually solve the problem.  This is a farce of a solution.

First, what value is a non-binding solution in the face of such a significant problem?  To test the waters?  Americans know that the current situation is no longer tenable.  Businessmen and economists know the situation is untenable.  Even Bernanke, in the back of his brain, knows that we are no longer able to continue the excessive borrowing even though he will never say this publicly.  Besides which, everyone already knows that Democrats are only good for the most feckless of proposals anyway.  The Republicans should have simply offered a binding proposal and let it play.  Go big or go home.

Second, there is no hope for permanent reform if the Democrats aren’t on board, at least at this time (which is of the essence, by the way).  The fault for partisanship, in this case, lies not with the Republicans but rather with the Democrats.  If the Republicans are unserious about reigning in spending, then the Democrats must think this a new opportunity to practice their stand-up routine.  At least the Republicans are making an effort, albeit a futile one.  All the Democrats have to offer is refusal and non-solutions.  Actually, they don’t even offer the latter.  All they can really do is hope that they can wish hard enough to change reality.  Good luck with that.

(Note:  I do have one minor criticism of the Republican’s political maneuvering in this matter.  They should have suggested a considerably more drastic reduction in government spending in order to make $6 trillion look like a reasonable compromise.  But that’s just a minor complaint, for it does not seem likely that Democrats would have accepted it or even negotiated in good faith.  Still, the Republicans could have at least made the effort.)

Finally, $600 billion dollar budget reduction per year isn’t even forty percent of the projected deficit for 2011.  The reality is simply that we can no longer continue to run any deficits. Period.

The projected deficit for 2011 is $1,645 billion, and the projected savings are $600 billion.  That means we’re still running a TRILLION DOLLAR DEFICIT.  This sort of thing is not sustainable.  And, frankly, it’s completely unacceptable.  Reality will eventually kick us in the face if we do not stop this immediately.  And when it does, we will deserve it.

The time has come to get serious.  The time has come to end the half-measures.  I sincerely hope both parties are up to it.

Take the Hint

I wonder what this can mean:
After all, when the Conservative Political Action Committee this year polled members on their choices for a 2012 candidate, the winner, by a seven-percentage-point margin, was Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas). This is in sharp contrast to last year’s poll, in which the winner by nine points was Ron Paul.
When a Rasmussen poll sized up potential general election candidates against President Barack Obama, the most competitive Republican hopeful turned out to be Ron Paul.
When NPR ran a March Madness contest of Republican politicians—a competition that drew 963,719 participants—the winner was Ron Paul.
On the other hand, when participants at the Tea Party Patriots February convention in Phoenix, Arizona held their own poll of presidential prospects, the winner turned out to be…Ron Paul.
Here’s a hint for the Republican Party leadership:  Your days of power are over.  Done.  Finis.  It is pointless to deny this reality.

Normal Americans (you know, all the “middle class” conservatives whose values you purportedly champion) are saying quite clearly that they are tired of the overspending, the high taxes, the crippling regulation, the financial shenanigans, and all the other anti-freedom crap that Washington has pooped out over the last twenty years.  They’re tired of the pointless, cumbersome, expensive foreign interventions.  They’re tired of all this nonsense.  They’ve watched the banksters (including those in The Fed) undermine the traditions hold dear, and they want it to stop.

They’re tired of it, and they recognize that Ron Paul is the only politician in Washington who sees the problem and knows how to solve it.  Sure, he sounds crazy, like he came straight out of a loony bin. But he’s also right.  And most people in the party know it, save for the clowns at the top.

That self-described conservatives (aka the party base) have a strong preference for Ron Paul should indicate that these people would also have a strong preference for smaller government, which in turn means that they favor less power for political leaders.  As such, this spells the end of Republican power.  The party base will feel increasingly alienated if Republicans continue to seek more power, and will eventually stop voting Republican, which means that the Democrats will win.  Alternatively, the Republicans can actually strip power away from the federal government, which also means that Republicans have less power.  In either event, Republicans will eventually lose power.

There is no point in being “Democrat Lite.”  The pro-state side is only going to vote Democrat anyway.  And the pro-liberty side will wise up and stop voting Republican.

At this point, the Republicans need to deal with the fact that, one way or another, they will have less power.  And if that’s the case, it would be better to accede power on their own terms.  Thus, my advice to the Republicans is to get off the fence and stand for liberty.    It’s too late to be the party of big government, and moderation is futile in the long run.  Just take a stand for liberty.  What have you got to lose?

15 April 2011

Man Up!

I’m not an MRA (Men’s Rights Activist), nor am I part of the MRM (Men’s Right Movement).  I do think that MRAs do have some valid complaints, and I also think that their opposition to feminism is laudable, but I simply cannot bring myself to associate with such a large group of embittered betas.

Seriously, these guys are a bunch of sad sack whiners, and I want no part of it.  It is far too common to hear these men complain about being asset-stripped in a divorce, about being prevented from having even partial custody of their children, and about all sorts of legal and social ills forced upon them.  I do not deny the validity of their complaints, but do they always have to be so whiny?

Everything they say* is always about forces outside their control, about how “the system” or “she” ruined everything for them.  And you know what?  This is starting to get real old, real fast.

Yes, the system sucks.  But who doesn’t know this already?  We’ve seen default custody switch from men to women a long time ago.  Alimony has been around for decades.  And it’s not like marital law is hidden from public record.  So why do why do MRMs complain about how they’re still losing when the game changed a long time ago?  At this point, the fault lies primarily with the men who failed to adapt.

And yes, beta male providers are treated like disposable wallets.  Guess what?  They are.  They allow themselves to be treated that way.  Somehow, they got the silly notion in their head that women are attracted to quiet, introverted provider males and will never cheat on them because money can buy loyalty.  Oh, society, women, your parents, and the church all told you that’s what women want?  And what did your eyes tell you?  Who did you see the hot girls going off with?  The quiet beta provider?  Or the alpha bad boy?  Who are you going to believe, society or you own lying eyes?  You picked society, and got shafted.  And that result was easily predicted.

And guess what else?  You bear a good portion of the blame in your divorce.  Do you think that getting married doesn’t mean you have to try anymore?  Does it mean you don’t have to tease your wife, flirt with your wife, or take her out on dates anymore?  Marriage may mean that you don’t have to charm multiple women anymore, but it doesn’t stand to reason that you don’t have to charm any women at all.  (For starters, it’s a very good idea to charm your wife.)  But beyond that, it is incredibly na├»ve to think that paying the bills is enough to ensure attraction.  Your wife didn’t marry an ATM, she married a man.  She married someone she was once attracted to.  Did you think that marriage meant you didn’t have to try anymore?

And so you settled into a boring routine, ignoring her deeper needs, thinking that if you just paid the bills, she would still be in love with you.  And you were wrong.  Marriage doesn’t mean you stop trying, it means you focus your effort on one person, and you failed to do that, so her attraction to you turned into disgust, and she divorced you.  Now you want to cry about how unfair her behavior is.

The problem that MRAs have is that they don’t claim power for themselves.  They can only do so much (read: earn a paycheck) and everything that happens after that is out of their control. Look at the words they use:  “the legal system screwed me over”… “my wife ruined me” … “the fem-marxist judge had it out for me because I was a man” … and so on.  They should have simply stepped up from the beginning and said:  This is my life, and I’m in control of my destiny!  This may not be true, at least at the start, but it generally becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Instead, they relinquished control of their lives to women, to the state, and then acted like the loser betas they were and hoped for mercy.  They ceded control and got screwed as a result.  They got what they deserved.

And, like I said before, I’m tired of hearing them complain.  The game changed, but you still played by the old rules.  Did you seriously expect to win?  You ceded control of your life to others and got taken advantage of.  How could you reasonably expect different?  You made some incredibly foolish mistakes, which had consequences, and now you want to complain about it.

Some argue for reform, some argue for revenge, some argue for dropping out.  Why not simply focus on self-improvement instead?  In the end, the only thing you can really control is yourself.  So be a man and take charge of your own destiny.

And while you’re at it, quit annoying me with your whining.

* Allow me some hyperbole.