Sunday, May 28, 2017
Finally, someone besides me is noticing that this is no longer your grandfather's environmentalism:
Even environmentalism, which was once motivated by a love of the natural world, now seems more concerned with finding slightly less destructive ways of enabling an overprivileged civilisation to carry on surfing the internet and buying laptops and yoga mats than it does with protecting wildlife from its ravenous jaws.
All the talk these days is about carbon and something obscure called “sustainability”. There’s much less talk about the kind of human-scale cultures we might want to foster, or why we would even want to help sustain a culture that requires the ransacking of every square centimetre of soil, forest, ocean, river and wilderness to survive. In its understandably pragmatic, green-lite approach to reducing emissions, it lost both its vision and its soul, forgetting that a movement without either is hardly pragmatic.
As Paul Kingsnorth notes in his remarkable new collection of essays, Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist, environmentalism has reduced itself to being “the catalytic converter on the silver SUV of the global economy”. Kingsnorth remarks that it is now, in broad terms, focusing its efforts on “sustaining human civilisation at the comfort level that the world’s rich – us – feel is their right, without destroying the ‘natural capital’ needed to do so”.
So instead of defending wild places we now spend our time arguing how to best domesticate these wild places – deserts, oceans, mountains – to generate the “green” energy needed to fuel things that, up until recently, we couldn’t even imagine, let alone claim to need. Environmentalism’s increasingly urban mindset, Kingsnorth claims, can be summed up by an absurd equation: “Destruction – Carbon = Sustainability”.
Guardian - Comment Is Free.
As far back as 1988, 75 million people ago, Edmund Abbey sounded the alarm in an essay the New York Times refused to publish:
To everything there is a season, to every wave a limit, to every range an optimum capacity. The United States has been fully settled, and more than full, for at least a century. We have nothing to gain, and everything to lose, by allowing the old boat to be swamped. How many of us, truthfully, would prefer to be submerged in the Caribbean-Latin version of civilization? (Howls of "Racism! Elitism! Xenophobia!" from the Marx brothers and the documented liberals.) Harsh words: but somebody has to say them. We cannot play "let's pretend" much longer, not in the present world.
Therefore-let us close our national borders to any further mass immigration, legal or illegal, from any source, as does every other nation on earth. The means are available, it's a simple technical-military problem. Even our Pentagon should be able to handle it. We've got an army somewhere on this planet, let's bring our soldiers home and station them where they can be of some actual and immediate benefit to the taxpayers who support them. That done, we can begin to concentrate attention on badly neglected internal affairs. Our internal affairs. Everyone would benefit, including the neighbors. Especially the neighbors. Ah yes. But what about those hungry hundreds of millions, those anxious billions, yearning toward the United States from every dark and desperate corner of the world? Shall we simply ignore them? Reject them? Is such a course possible?
"Poverty," said Samuel Johnson, "is the great enemy of human happiness. It certainly destroys liberty, makes some virtues impracticable, and all virtues extremely difficult."
You can say that again, Sam.
Poverty, injustice, over breeding, overpopulation, suffering, oppression, military rule, squalor, torture, terror, massacre: these ancient evils feed and breed on one another in synergistic symbiosis. To break the cycles of pain at least two new forces are required: social equity - and birth control. Population control. Our Hispanic neighbors are groping toward this discovery. If we truly wish to help them we must stop meddling in their domestic troubles and permit them to carry out the social, political, and moral revolution which is both necessary and inevitable.
Or if we must meddle, as we have always done, let us meddle for a change in a constructive way. Stop every campesino at our southern border, give him a handgun, a good rifle, and a case of ammunition, and send him home. He will know what to do with our gifts and good wishes. The people know who their enemies are.
Sunday, April 23, 2017
Science! is unfortunately a recurrent theme on this blog. I wonder if any of the Science Marchers are open to discussion of IQ heritability, or the reproducibility crisis, or Mann's hockey-stick?
Science seems increasingly less about collecting data and going where observation and inductive inquiry lead you, and more about constructing non-falsifiable hypotheses to support pre-ordained conclusions. "Climate Change" and "Nurture, not Nature" are good examples of hortatory, non-falsifiable hypotheses, because the variables and data sets are so large you can always string enough stuff together to support the Cathedral's pronouncements.
You think they're joking.
As noted Scientist Robert Reich Pee Aitch Dee reminds us, there's Good Science and there's Bad Science. Cosmological and biological evolution are Good Science, because they contradict the Biblical literary narrative of Creation espoused by Christian nutjobs. Observing that biological evolution means homo sapiens evolved to fit different environmental and social niches is Bad Science, because it implies that not all men are created equal.
Even venerable old academics like Darwin's Dangerous Clan
run afoul of Good Science. Hopefully this Internet dialogue published by David Haig's Edge stays up for posterity.
One of the Edge participants, Daniel Dennett, apparently offends Good Science for his rather prosaic observation that Consciousness appears to occur along a spectrum of neural complexity. I find this controversy odd because when I was growing up, Dennett would have been the anti-Establishment rebel quoting Charles Darwin and Sartre, versus the Baptist preacher lecturing his congregation that Man is not an Ape. Now, Dennett is the stodgy Darwinist who sings Christmas carols and says natural selection molded brain structures to an apex point of Conscious Man, while Australian academic David Chalmers is the fundamentalist preacher handing out Chick tracts and denouncing Dennett's soulless materialism. Dennett looks at increasingly complex brains and behaviors and concludes consciousness exists along a spectrum. In opposition, Chalmers talks about "feelings" (no kidding) and "pan-proto-psychism" ("It's out there, man!") and Dennett, frustratingly, finds himself wrestling Jell-o. Guess which one gets invited to TED talks.
Why is Dennett's hypothesis so controversial? Chalmers argues for a Mind-Brain dichotomy which is not observable (and hence, non-falsifiable). But even non-scientists observe that as human brains degenerate, consciousness ebbs. Nevertheless, the Mind-Brain dichotomy must be maintained because, among other topics, it "explains" trans-genderism. After all, nobody has yet found a "female" brain in a male body so, by transcendent leap, we conclude that Caitlyn Jenner's Mind got metaphysically trapped in Bruce's Body, through all those years when he was winning the decathlon and siring six children by three women. Likewise, if mentation is proficient to the extent of an individual's neural structure, then Education is a private good with diminishing marginal utility.
Chalmers' discomfiture appears rooted in the Cathedral's dictate of Equality, to which even Science must bend the knee: humans are bound by an over-riding psychic unity; all humans are equally educable; hierarchy has no basis in reality.
Sunday, April 16, 2017
And finally, real food.
Lamb after 47 days pic.twitter.com/JW7FzETLqA— NassimNicholasTaleb (@nntaleb) April 16, 2017
If Taleb comes across as too harsh, here's St. John Chrysostom to explain it all.
Blessed Pascha to all.
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
"Thou shalt not be Hitler!"
CNN even follows that phrasing: "First rule of politics: never compare anything to Hitler"
This new rule is going to be pretty hard to follow, given how often I've heard "literally Hitler!" over the past year.
Anglospheric Loki has an interesting take on this:
To reiterate, the first and greatest commandment of the new Anti-Religion is, "Thou shalt not be Hitler!" But since education is increasingly about things other than actual history and critical thinking, we know less and less about the real Adolf Hitler: who he was, where he came from, what he actually did, and his historical and social context. No less an educated man of the world than the President's press secretary is as in the dark about literally Hitler! as anybody. So when he says not even Hitler used chemical weapons (and he didn't, no more than our legal gas chambers constituted use of chemical weapons), the High Priests of the Anti-Religion can roll out their "Don't-Be-Hitler" standard and conduct an Auto da Fe.
Sean Spicer is obviously about as not-Hitler as you can be, an amiable WASP in a bureaucratic job with a wife and two kids and probably many Jewish acquaintances. But then he tosses out a remark that implies Bashar Assad is worse than Hitler, which is impossible because as we all know, Hitler is the Absolute Zero of Evil. There can be no worse Evil than the Hitler we all must not-Be. To imply otherwise is literally Hitler!
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
If you want to know why I don't feel bad for Charles Murray, only expressed in more brutally trenchant fashion from someone at least one standard deviation higher than me in IQ, read Z Man's takedown:
Anyway, Murray went off to Middleburry to give his speech and the campus lunatics shut down the event. They even managed to assault one of the professors, who sponsored the thing. Murray wrote up his reflections on the event, as if it was a seminal moment in the history of the republic. Normies have been getting the business from the lunatics for a long time, but no one cares about them. When Ann Coulter gets screamed at on campus, guys like Murray just shrug, because after all, Coulter deserves it. She’s a bad thinker.
That’s the thing with these guys. They don’t care about free speech or the open exchange of ideas. They care about their free speech and their access to the marketplace of ideas, which means staying in good with the Left. When a John Derbyshire is shut down by the campus lunatics, Conservative Inc is silent. To defend Derb or anyone else the Left has ruled out of bounds would risk their standing and that can never happen. The only core principle of these so-called conservatives is to remain on the good side of the Left.
This is not supposed to happen to good thinkers like Charles Murray, so it is a big deal to the people who pretend to be on our side. It also offers another opportunity for Conservative Inc. to pretend they are on the front lines fighting the Left. As I pointed out the other day, these guys are looking for a way to insert themselves at the front of the movement they claim to lead, at least until things get serious. You just know that one of them will be declaring himself the “respectable” version of the Dissident Right.
The incident is a good reminder of Official Right’s worthlessness. Murray’s piece reads like an apology. That’s because it is an apology. The boys and girls of Conservative Inc have always worked to position themselves at the edge of what the Left considers the respectable Right. Twenty years ago, the Bell Curve was right at the edge. Now, the Left considers it heresy and Murray knows it. It’s why he invested so much effort into advertising his opposition to Trump. It’s part of the long apology for his past heresy.
I stand on the toes of giants.
Aaand ... Porter weighs in:
And who should expect otherwise? Only conservatives attack their friends rather than their enemies. The left views Murray as its enemy because The Bell Curve refutes its doctrine and lends credence to our lying eyes. His attempts to counter this perception with bouts of frenetic Twitter cuckoldry go completely unnoticed because the bombs are long out the bay doors. Only explicit disavowals of his own work accompanied by strenuous groveling would gain him neutrality at this point. Absent that, he remains their enemy.This is why I don't subscribe to the New York Times or National Review. If I want elegant writing and cogent analysis, I can get it for free in any number of places from that left sidebar.
As a result, his scholarship is irrelevant; enemies don’t get free speech. Those who attack traditional America are allies, and so they do. It’s not confusing. And it’s not an illogical contradiction. After all, what idiots would grant enemies the same accommodations they do their friends? You don’t have to answer that.
Sunday, March 5, 2017
Charles Murray attempted to give a talk at a place called Middlebury College, and got chased out by a mob. Murray, as this corner of the Internet knows, was the co-author of "The Bell Curve", in which the authors point out that there are different IQ distributions for different racial and ethnic groups, and that high IQ is correlated with better life outcomes. This is an appalling hatefact, because it leads to the conclusion that all men are not, in fact, created equal and government efforts to make them so are unjust and uneconomic.
Why do conservatives do this? They go to a riot and expect a debate to break out. Murray was also particularly venomous in denouncing Donald Trump, who was the only candidate promoting policies to protect the American prole class, a group whom Murray purports to champion.
Murray has forgotten an ancient formula: every political regime requires Ideas and the Muscle to immanentize it.
Ideological conservatives have spent the past several decades pretending they didn’t need Muscle. That’s how I used to think: the cogency, the elegance of my Ideas will carry the day! Not true. No amount of argumentation or even data will convince a liberal that all children are not equally educable. No parade of historical, real world-failures will convince a Marxist that the labor theory of value does not describe reality. So if you want a country where you can politely debate Enlightenment concepts like inalienable rights, then you need (1) a territory, (2) a people with the IQ and time preference necessary for abstract ideas and a temperamental aversion to violence, and (3) lots of razor wire and machine gun emplacements to keep out all the people who can out-thug, out-breed and out-vote you. Sometimes you are going to lose this fight, which is what the former Byzantine Christians in the Middle East found out.
Murray has the typical ideologue’s conceit: he thinks his lofty ideas built America and sustain it. That is only partially true. America was built by ornery Anglo-Celts and defended by two oceans and weak neighbors north and south. Since the 1980's Murray, George Will, and all the other polite conservatives who grew up in 88% white America soothingly told everyone that inside every immigrant was a Republican-voting WASP just waiting to get out. Donald Trump has a much more realistic view of human nature and he is in effect asking the conservative elite just what the hell they’ve been doing for the past twenty years.
Trump is like the boss who storms into the shop where everybody’s sitting around smoking cigarettes and talking on the phone. “What are you doing? Get to work! Conserve!" Murray’s the grumbling shop steward fighting the new reality.