April 2008

I recently linked to a post by a feminist seperatist concerned about violence against women. She advocated celibacy and/or lesbianism as alternatives to marriage with men. I decided to check out the GSS to see the relation between marriage and experiencing a personal assault for women (I’ll add a section on sexual orientation of women vs assault after I ask the Inductivist which variable to use). I believe there are also victimization surveys that have data from multiple countries, but I don’t know of an easy way to access and analyze them. The variable I’m checking is LAW2 which is determined as follows: (more…)

A commenter at Overcoming Bias pointed out a website of feminist critics, but a post I found there more interesting than any linked to was this guest post from a feminist advocating women’s separatism. The biggest laugh line is probably the distinguishing between segregation and separation. It’s about which group is oppressor versus oppressed (read: what is politically correct), kind of like how the powerless supposedly cannot be racist. Regarding her dream, I don’t think it’s going to happen. As Kissinger said “There’s too much fraternizing with the enemy”. It would have a hard time sustaining itself as well (there’s a reason there aren’t any Shakers around any more). I still applaud the secessionist impulse though and hope she forms a small community, if only to serve as an example. I’ll even agree that men cause most of the problems in the world. Men are also responsible for most of the best things in the world. Is the world on net good or bad? I invite your opinions.

I have been alerted to the existence of a blog called The Institute for Pica Studies. It is dedicated to a racist, anti-semitic reddit commenter. It’s not quite the Danimal Archive, but what is? If the Uhuru Guru and Big Effer aren’t enough for you, check it out.

A member of the Attack the System group points to Deconstructing the “Human Rights” Ideology. One person speculated due to its anti-Westernism that the author, Peter Myers, is an Australian Aboriginal. It is an attack on the Enlightenment and modernism in favor of “Confucian” values. Fans of de Maistre, Sartre and Weil find some of it appealing. I’ve personally never read of them, or even heard of the last until just now. I’m at a rate now of reading about a paragraph of Franz Oppenheimer every other day now, so it could be a while until I get to them. So many distractions. UPDATE: Apparently I was introduced to the writings of Mr. Meyer through Robert Lindsay way back when, and simply forgot.

Glenn Greenwald (whose view of the press at the founding is quite at odds with Jefferson’s) and Megan McArdle have a diavlog on the obligation of journalists to pound the point home on the Yoo memos. I am largely in agreement with Megan non-water-engineer that The People are to blame. Unfortunately many people, including not only bog-standard liberals but radical anarchists like Kevin Carson and Murray Rothbard fall prey to The People’s Romance. Jack Ross explains the latter as just being Jewish. The good thing about Carson is that he seems to take the Moldbuggian view of objective journalism. Greenwald takes the MM view of the privileged nature of the journalistic profession, but sees that as a noble ideal they unfortunately fall short of. I am down on that kind of idealism because it leads you to be perpetually shocked, whereas the real measure of an accurate view of reality is not being surprised. The press is not a branch of government created to check the other ones. It is a self-interested outside power-center of the sort Bertrand de Jouvenel wrote about, expect it to behave like one. I’ve defended Greenwald before if only because he was being attacked on little basis, but in this dispute he seems to have behaved like a real ninny. As long as I’m piling on, his new book’s blatant hypocrisy seems like a good example of the Jimmy Johnson rule in action. I had suspicions about it earlier and was not persuaded otherwise by its editor at the time.

A little while back Chip Smith pointed out the sad case of Tim Masters. It’s the sort of thing you would expect Radley Balko to write about. However, there’s too much abuse of power for just one man to cover. Balko himself has recently finished an excellent story on years of police persecution of some old grandparents in Church Point Louisiana. It’s the sort of thing that inclines one to much less sympathy towards the police than, say, Peter Moskos in his diavlog with Will Wilkinson on his book “Cop in the Hood“. One interesting thing they discussed was how he could rationalize fighting a drug war he didn’t believe in. His answer was that he saw his activities as quality of life maintenance. Peter’s big idea is foot patrol. I laid out evidence on the effectiveness of different police patrol tactics here.

During the Duke Lacrosse brouhaha a Sudanese immigrant cab-driver was arrested on trumped up charges (a fare he had driven was convicted of shoplifting way back) because he had an alibi proving one of the accused was not at the scene of the “crime”. For defying the authorities (which he was taught to fear in his home country) and sticking up for an innocent stranger he was made Reader’s Digest Hero of the Year. Remember that no good deed goes unpunished and that economic freedom is just a kind of personal freedom as the authorities still haven’t finished screwing him over. Although he now has his citizenship Durham went after his license due to complaints from his competitors that he was “unfairly competing” (i.e offering a better product or service at a lower price than the politically connected) with them and so he is out of the taxi business. I recognize that public roads are a state subsidy rather than a feature of the market and that a free-for-all on the commons can mean congestion, but state licensing of cabs is simply rent seeking and an invitation for corruption. Tom DiLorenzo explains how good provided privately in the past were monopolized and then turned into supposedly “natural monopolies” here.

UPDATE: J. Slavyanski now blogs at Red Banner.

Robert Lindsay was initially fine with me referring to him as a Stalinist, but later stated he is really a “grocery shop leftist”. He points out the real deal here. Not merely a Bolshevik or Leninist or Stalinist or Maoist but a follower of Enver Hoxha! When Albania stands alone, he stands with Albania. He apparently used to be a Nazi (odd for someone named “Slavyanski”, aren’t his people supposed to be subhuman?) but has flopped in the manner Eric Hoffer described. He seems to be in good company with Greg Cochran on Operation Barbarossa revisionism. Speaking of which, Barborassa revisionist American Goy gets plugged and Greg Cochran dispute with Mencius Moldbug gets extended at this post from The Daily Burkeman1. Small world, eh?

Are you disappointed that I’ve linked to fundamentalist Christians, retro-commies, anarcho-mutualists, authoritarian racialists, neo-colonialists and paleo-conservatives but as of yet no black nationalists? Well too bad, because this site pointed out in the Attack the System yahoogroup seems to be shutting down.
See what happens when you go up against The Man? Elsewhere C.R Hamilton talks of the need to “thwart infiltration, too much public attention and the risk of revealing too much of their ideology to the enemy”, and so it for the good of The Cause that I will insist readers not seek him out.

I still invite pointers to any readable radical Muslim blog, which would seem to be more relevant these days than Hoxha.

This is my first GSS post. This website, which was supposed to have an easy to use interface, wasn’t working. So I used this.

At Steve Sailer’s, a commenter going by the name “testing99″ that seems like he’s trying to replace a previous visitor called “Evil Neocon” made the claim “Blacks don’t want gun control either, the last thing they’d want is for their militias er … Gangs to be disarmed. That’s what keeps them from being ethnically cleansed by Latino Gangs or gentrification yuppies”. That seemed like data-free assertion, so I decided to check it. I ran the question GUNLAW in the 2006 GSS against race. The question asks “Would you favor or oppose a law which would require a person to obtain a police permit before he or she could buy a gun?”. (more…)

A site that has proved its worth by putting me on its blogroll (if I’ve slighted blogs in the past by not mentioning them when they link to me, it’s probably because it’s usually only the top-X pages by clicks and then alphabetical order that get displayed in my dashboard unless I go more in depth) is Puzzle. If you like the link roundups at the Fourth Checkraise but can’t stand the one-paragraph posts of original content, this is the site for you. Two links in particular that struck me concern William S. Lind, who I do not mean to demean when I call him an interesting character. The first is a blog post on armored cavalry, which was interesting to me if only because DNI had switched from its old clunky form to a nifty wordpress-type blog format. The second is a video detailing the history of political correctness, focusing on the Frankfurt School. Besides Lind the only person that seems to share a similar obsession with those folks is Kevin MacDonald, though they view them from quite a different angle.

On an unrelated note (other than perhaps a connection to MacDonald’s anti-semitism) Jack Ross critiques Walter Block’s latest on those crazy Jews and their infatuation with anti-capitalism. Arnold Kling discusses the issue here, as does James Q. Wilson here. I also couldn’t resist this attack on Spengler from Daniel Larison at Taki’s where commenter James Cantrell seems to have independently discovered the Mencius Moldbug take on the Jews.

On a final unrelated note, I still haven’t gotten around to reading Vox Day’s “The Irrational Atheist” (I have finished the Blank Slate, but still haven’t reviewed it or In Defense of Hypocrisy), but via Uncertain Principles I see that Evangelical Realism has a category devoted to debunking (in a more serious manner than the UP commenters) his book.

Oh, and I lied about that final note thing. Gene Healy is back, and his book The Cult of the Presidency: America’s Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power sounds neato.

In the latest EconTalk, Russ Roberts interviews Chris Coyne about his book After War: The Political Economy of Exporting Democracy. Along with the few relative successes like post-WW2 Germany and Japan, it goes over numerous failures and explains why best laid plans went awry (a paper of his taking a public-choice perspective on the bureaucracies of reconstruction can be found here). Chris is a contributor to the Austrian Economists blog and Russ manages Cafe Hayek with Don Boudreaux. A list of foreign interventions by the United States starting with Wounded Knee and ending in 2001 from ZMag is here.

Steve Sailer points out Stanley Kurtz’s “I and My Brother against My Cousin” in NRO on the importance of tribalism in the Middle East, as opposed to Islam. It has plenty of bashing of post-modernist/post-colonialist and Marxist academics as well. Steve previously highlighted Stanley’s anthropological perspective on the Middle East here and here. I’m sure this will lead to another complaint from Lawrence Auster on “non-Islamic theories of islamic extremism”, a complaint I don’t think much of for reasons explained here. The classic article on the distinction between old tribal codes and the orthodox tenets of Islam is Pushtunwali: Honor Among Them.

I just learned from this post at The Daily Burkeman1 that the cause of the recent trouble at TakiMag was Prozium (UPDATE: Prozium states that he had already left Taki’s before the trouble started and Alex Linder from VNN was responsible). I’ve come to have a low opinion of the average commenter on the internet (at least for relatively large/popular sites like TakiMag) and so registration seems like a reasonable solution to the problem. I haven’t had any problems here with my few readers and for the moment intend to let people post whatever they want as long as it isn’t spam. Savrola at TDB1 has plenty of mockery for the Zmiraks of the world (and Kevin Carson) that seems to blend into a cynical take on the paleo movement more generally (although displaying anything but pessimism about the prospects of conservatism might be grounds for expulsion from paleoland). Prozium is strangely optimistic, as he believes that paleos will ultimately achieve their goals despite their utter failure to accomplish anything themselves. Plenty of other reactions elsewhere. On a somewhat related note, James Poulos claims that deconstructionism is more a threat to postmodern bourgeois liberalism than postmodern conservatism in a post that reminds why I generally don’t bother reading postmodernism of any sort.

I’ve never found it in any rental place, so I saw it on youku through alluc. If you haven’t seen it, this gives a pretty thorough explanation. This is my third Peckinpah movie, with the first two being The Wild Bunch and Cross of Iron. There’ll be some spoilers below, so I’m putting the rest below the fold. (more…)

A member of the attackthesystem group asked the following: A common criticism of libertarians and anarchists is that we don’t need more freedoms than what western democracies allow us today.
So, let me ask you:
What freedoms do YOU want, that you don’t have today?

Keith Preston responded: I think your point here illustrates very well the central intellectual question of our time concerning political theory. We need to intellectually attack the basic presumptions of the ruling class, particularly “democracy” and legal positivism. These two things are the cornerstones of the modern state’s ideology of self-legitimation.
Virtually all educated people in modern societies recognize the illegitimacy of absolute monarchy, military dictatorship, communism, fascism, aristocracy, theocracy, etc. Only “democracy” and “rule of law” retain supposed legitimacy. What this view means is that the state can legitimately do whatever it wants to anyone so long as there is an existing parliament, elections are held periodically, and laws are made according to some kind of formal institutionalized procedure. Discredit these ideas like the divine right of kings has been discredited, and the modern state is finished.

I wrote: I’ll stick up for “rule of law”. The phrase does not indicate that a law is dandy just because it is on the books, but that the government is restricted by law rather than the whims of those in power. Of
course the Constitution can’t protect itself, but establishing the norm of not violating it (even if I would prefer the Articles of Confederation) is helpful. Similarly “state’s rights” proponents don’t actually think states have rights, only that the central government does NOT have certain rights over them.

Expanding on that, I wrote: Hume’s is-ought would seem to preclude ever establishing anything to be objectively valid or good, but we can still insist on standards or boundaries for officials and a Constitution can serve as a Schelling point.

Keith wrote: This is my take on this issue:

Laws simply reflect the self-interest of those who make them. Nothing
more, nothing less. Whether or not a particular law gets enforced
depends on the wishes of the powerholders of the moment. To the
degree that “law” restrains powerholders, it is only because of
competing power centers in society, or wider historic traditions or
cultural norms that preclude certain state actions. For instance, it
would be impossible to outlaw Christianity in the US, not because the
First Amendment says so, but because of the wider cultural power of
both organized religion, the self-interest of powerful Christians and
the historic tradition of church/state separation.

On the other hand, from my studies of the “war on drugs” I would say
that “the constitution” does absolutely nothing to restrain drug
enforcement officials or the courts, for the simply reason that drug
users/sellers lack cultural power, historic recognition, powerful
advocates, etc.

“Law” is simply as mask for the ongoing war of each against all. The
law will reflect the views of those who have succeeded in this war to
the degree necessary to institutionalize their own interests.

I responded: My point is that “rule of law” is a norm that serves to restrict the government. It doesn’t do so as much as we would like, particularly in the case of marginal folks like drug dealers or prostitutes (I assume you already read the Levitt article about how pervasive police-rape is), but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t do it at all. I suspect that living in a country that doesn’t even pay lip-service to rule of law would make you nostalgic for the Great Satan.

Keith replied: Yes, I agree, but is not this “rule of law” that restrains the state (sometimes) not an expression of wider historic and cultural traditions derived from the Anglo-American Enlightenment? Is it really “the law” that’s the issue or is “the law” merely a euphemism for this wider cultural/historical milieu?

I replied: I think the idea was cemented with the Magna Carta, which was the result of elites being angry that their traditional privileges were being encroached on, but the idea is not just the English tradition of limited government but that the government is subject to the law just as much as people are. The issue is alive today in the wire-tapping amnesty where some people say it’s okay for the law to be broken under extreme circumstances, or in Mansfield’s ideas on the executive.

Keith Preston notified the members of his mailing list of this attack on Matt Welch and his Ron Paul column by Justin Raimondo at Taki’s Top Drawer. I wrote up a response, but Taki has a very restricted comment system, so I’ll have to put the post here and then link to it.

Both Welch and Raimondo aquit themselves poorly. Nowhere did Welch actually demonstrate that “whipping up white resentment” was unpopular, and any political analyst worth their salt knows that cosmopolitan libertarianism (correct on its merits or not) is a very minority opinion. The people at the Monkey Cage were right to mock the Reason crowd for their active fantasy lives. LeftConservative already wrote a good take on the Duke issue [he responds to this Raimondo post here].
Raimondo takes the typical mistaken oppositional view of the LR crowd that believes people are even aware enough of paleos to have it in for them. Reason was not “out to get Paul”; any centrist or leftist would have thought they were huge Paul boosters. It is the same mistaken view that led Raimondo to believe that Reason was going to fire Doherty for being pro-Paul. Welch explicitly denies that there is any evidence Paul was a racist in his article. Welch’s criticism regarding MLK isn’t simply voting against the holiday, but embracing J. Edgar Hoover’s take on him as a menace when Paul later called him a hero (it seems implied that Paul didn’t make the first statement). I can’t think of any excuse for Rockwell’s statement about recording the police, but I think there are legitimate reasons to work with members of the Communist Party, if not for communism.

Raimondo tries to paint Welch as dishonestly covering up his past, but he admits at here that before he “begged for U.S. leadership in a feckless world to stop the slaughter in Sarajevo” but after the Iraq war has shifted gears. I also wonder if Raimondo spoke similarly about Vaclav Havel in the past.

UPDATE: In an online Q&A, al Qaeda’s Ayman al Zawahiri says of the U.S and Iran Let’s You and Him Fight. Kind of like the Iraqi government.

UPDATE 2: Noah Millman discusses the plausibility that Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia or nefarious corporations got us into Iraq, all the while trashing the remake of “The Manchurian Candidate” in comparison to the original. The War Nerd complains about the Times stealing his “Dick Cheney as Iran’s Manchurian Vice President” idea here.

UPDATE 3: Israel’s Tehran connection

VERY LATE UPDATE 4: Convergence of U.S-Iranian interests in intra-Shi’ite struggle in Iraq

A little while back I was drawn into this Samizdata thread on “Human Smoke”. I started out with my Charles Lindbergh spiel, but the subject later shifted to Iran. Iran is a fairly important country to know about that people are extremely ignorant on the subject of (yeah, I ended a sentence with a preposition just to stick it to grammar-Nazis). I was thinking of that as I watched a few topics from this diavlog featuring the unbelievably stupid Michael Goldfarb of the Weekly Standard. What’s worrying is that John McCain seems about as idiotic on the subject but the press adores him and ignores it lest it impede his ordained path to the White House (which is not to say they’d treat Obama different).

American Goy lets us know that Iran thanks the brave American soldiers! In the comments I point out this from Justin Raimondo on a similar line. A conspiracy theory he floated before is that Iranian agents suckered us into Iraq, which is almost too sensible in retrospect to be plausible (although we have been duped before by the K.L.A, Savimbi and others). It does seem odd that the supposedly crazy suicidal warmongering Iranians coolly shrugged off the fanatically anti-Shi’ite Taliban’s murder of their officials until the U.S found itself raring to do their dirty work for them, at which time they were quite willing to stick the knife in those Pushtun barbarians. I previously discussed the relatively sensible behavior of the mullah regime here. One person who has been promoting the idea that Iran pragmatically pursues its strategic goals and is not dead set on war is Trita Parsi, author of Treacherous Alliance, who I suppose you can dismiss since he was born in Iran. Sounds like good stuff for anyone who reads the National Interest. Is a Persian Pink Police State in the future? Probably not, though we can always imagine.

On a completely unrelated note, I was reading this by Keith Preston where among other things he discusses “the primary intellectual framework of a new American radicalism”. I had never heard of Jack Ross or Matthew Raphael Johnson and asked for references. Keith kindly pointed out that though the former has not yet published his work of history, he blogs at Brooklyn Copperhead. Since then Ross has had a bit of a dispute with Daniel Larison. Keith also gave me the heads up on Johnson’s book, The Third Rome: Holy Russia, Tsarism and Orthodoxy, and his website. Now connecting this to someone I discussed above, American Goy promotes the theory that the reason Stalin seemed completely unprepared for Hitler’s offensive into Russia is that he had shifted the military from a defensive posture to a preparation for an offensive into Germany that Hitler noticed and pre-empted.

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