February 2008

Award for worst equivocation of the year goes to Steve Sailer for comparing James Watson’s donation toward Barack Obama to Don (of Stormfront) Black’s contribution to Ron Paul. Steve himself had been defending Watson earlier and pointing out that he’s not some troglodyte but an intelligent though prickly political moderate. There really is no way to cast Don Black in a better light, and unlike Jared Taylor I don’t think he would even want you to. Even better, Steve could have pointed out that some white nationalists and neo-nazis (among them former Paul supporters) are down with Obama (I give more links in the comments there). Of course, you’re an idiot if you think that indicates Obama is a white nationalist or neo-nazi. You’re also an idiot if you believed that about Paul. (more…)

See Gene Expression.

Something for very, very, very foresighted libertarians to keep in mind.

The clerico-libertarian anarchists at No Treason try to see how far I’ll go and I oblige.

As long as we’re talking rape, 2Blowhards is discussing the dispute between Heather Mac Donald and Cheryl Miller on the “campus rape industry” (I thought neocons weren’t supposed to paraphrase Finkelstein) here and here.

UPDATE: Christopher “Thank You For Smoking” Buckley eulogizes his father here.
I just saw this at the Agitator. I personally can’t forgive Buckley for all the people he “kicked off the bus“. The Frankenstein’s monster of modern neo-conconservatism is in part his creation, even if he might have regretted making it. I also can’t forgive him for this on smoking. That he’s not as bad as others doesn’t make him good. Rot in peace anyway, Buckley, you’re not doing anything to piss me off at the moment.

Current list of folks paying their respects (or possibly lack thereof): Tyler Cowen, Kathryn Lopez, Douglas Martin in the NYT, Ilya Somin, Alan Bock in the OCRegister, Robert Poole, Brian Doherty, Tavis Smiley & Garry Wills (video), Jacob Sullum, Matthew Yglesias, Jeet Heer, Steven Hart, Billy Beck, Prozium, Justin Raimondo, Richard Spencer, Andrew Sullivan, Jamie Kirchick, Rod Dreher, Marc Ambinder, Joe Klein, Rick Perlstein, Vox Day, Kip Esquire, Ilya Shapiro, John Derbyshire, Lawrence Auster, Timothy Noah, John F. McManus (president of the John Birch Society and author of William F. Buckley, Jr.: Pied Piper for the Establishment), Christopher Westley, Glenn Greenwald, Ann Coulter, Mona, Scott Horton & Lew Rockwell (audio), Daniel Larison, Ross Douthat, Taki Theodoracopulos, IOZ, Limited Inc, Dennis Perrin (with video of old debate between Buckley and Chomsky on Vietnam/imperialism), Robert Sirico, Peter Brimelow, Jacob Heilbrunn, Ximena Ortiz, Buckley’s biographer-to-be Sam Tanenhaus, Razib, Joe Lieberman, Brian Moore, Robert Bidinotto, Edward Cline, Alexander Cockburn, Katrina Vanden Heuvel in Newsweek, John Nichols, James K. Galbraith, Ezra Klein, George Shadroui, Mark Steyn, David Warren, Jeffrey Hart (and again in AmConMag), Chris Roach, Wretchard, Jerry Pournelle, Steve Bachman, FreedomDemocrats, Paul Tuns (quoting and linking to George Will), David Gordon, David Bardallis, Jay Nordlinger (the most sycophantic yet), Peter Suderman & Ezra Klein (video), Paul Gottfried, Paul Cella, Dan Spielberg, Savrola, Joe Sobran, Jack Hunter the Southern Avenger (now with video goodness!), Richard Posner, Gary Becker, Tom Piatak, Christopher Hitchens, Marcus Epstein, Gore Vidal, Jonathan Bean, Austin Bramwell,

Lew Rockwell notes that (like Rand and Rothbard) the John Birch Society’s Robert Welch criticized our involvement in Vietnam, which is why he was also booted out. At Luke Ford’s site Jewish Press editor Jason Maoz notes that the JBS wasn’t really an anti-semitic organization, and Buckley only rejected them because he thought their “kooky, paranoid image” reflected badly on conservatives. Buckley himself explains the story about him, Goldwater and the JBS here. Another piece written years before Buckley’s death by Werther (who you may know from William S. Lind‘s “Defense and the National Interest“) holds him in large part responsible for modern “pseudoconservatism” as described in Richard Hofstadter’s “The Paranoid Style in American Politics”. Sean Higgins filling in for Jeremy Lott discovers why Buckley had such an unusual accent here.

Lawrence Auster and Mencius Moldbug got into an argument about the civil war. I e-mailed the following to Larry:

You say it would be horrible if the South were to secede and divide the continent. But is the continent not already divided with Canada to the north and Mexico (technically still part of North and not Central America) to the south? In the Articles of Confederation (unfortunately overlooked as it was superior to the Constitution) there was a provision for including Canada if they wished to join that was never taken up. Do you believe it is an imperative to join at least the anglophone portions of Canada with our country?

Personally I wish the south had seceded succesfully because I do not like it and do not want to be in the same country as it (William Lloyd Garrison felt similarly and tried to get the north to secede). Also it would increase the number of independent jurisdictions leading to “policy competition”.

You also blame some sympathy with the Confederate cause on loss of “love of country”. Were the “patriots” during the American War of Independence (more a secession than revolution) insufficiently animated by “love of country” compared to the “loyalists” or “tories”?

He responded that I was indulging in vain and irresponsible thoughts. I’m not sure where the vanity comes in other than my low opinion of the south. We both hold a low opinion of what’s to the south of the American south (Mexico), but I doubt he considers that vanity. Not being in any sort of position of responsibility where my thoughts could make a difference, I don’t see what’s irresponsible about them.

At another post he made much of the lenient treatment of Mike Nifong given his pursuit of innocent people. I said “If you think that case is unique, you haven’t been reading enough Radley Balko.”

Title thanks to John Sabotta at No Treason.

Robert Lindsay has been quite active in my absence, with frontpage of almost all new posts. Unfortunately a lot of them were sparked by Joachim Martillo (who thinks there’s “no such thing as Jewish music” though he is ethnic Ashkenazim himself) and are less interesting to me. One of the better ones has the oh-so-politically-incorrect title “The JewSSR“, which is actually intended sarcastically as Lindsay is rather sympathetic to the Soviet Union and hostile towards much Jewish political influence. The most interesting part was his link to Peter Myers. Myers believes that Stalin carried out a counter-revolution against the “Jewish Bolsheviks” who in that later period may be personified by Trotsky (the spiritual grandfather of the neoconservatives of course, even if they may be more correctly identified with the Right Opposition of Bukharin and Burnham than Trotky’s pre-existing Left Opposition). Stalin embraced Russian nationalism rather than internationalism and brought back old Orthodox morality and social restrictions, which is why Prozium at Odessa Syndicate is so fond of him. Mr. Myers has a focus on the “One World Movement“:

The One World movement has three factions, which co-operate with one another against “nationalism” or “isolationism”. They are (a) the Tory (Imperial) (b) the International Socialist (Trotskyist, Fabian & Green Left, against the Stalinist Left) (c) the Zionist: british-conspiracy.html.

The first delivers the “Right”, the second delivers the “Left” to One-Worldism: oneworld.html.

Still too conspiracy-theory for my tastes, but I like the recognition of several different groups with some similar interests rather than merely laying everything at the feet of an invisible Elders of Zion. He also seems to have some interest in “Nihonism”, or Japanese nationalism, which a lot of white supremacists these days like to forget Hitler had anything to do with. His site is of the amateurish sort you might find on a geocities or tripod page, but still interesting stuff if you’re into the bizarre as I am. It reminds me of the “Illuminatus!” trilogy, especially with the bits about Cecil Rhodes. Another site Lindsay linked to was this Nazi one called Hitler Research featuring some bashing of the Strassers. A lot of Nazis like to associate themselves with the Strassers rather than Hitler in some sort of Third Way maneuver, so it’s nice to hear some smashing of these Left Deviationists for a change. On the subject of the Soviet Union, if you enjoy reading dismissals of the Katyn massacre, as Mencius Moldbug does, you’ll also like Lindsay’s post A Short History of 20th Century Poland. UPDATE: Lindsay discusses the possibly fascist nature of Stalin and other communists in this post, ostensibly about Kosovo independence.

Elsewhere Lindsay and I agree that Hezbollah isn’t as bad as it’s made out to be. He also points out some Pakistani patriots while explaining the difference between good patriotism and bad nationalism from a communist point of view. The patriotic Pakistani laments the ignorance in the West of Hindutva terrorism rather than just islamist terrorism and the cultural influence of these Indian/Hindu supremacists. Linday’s previous post discusses just that saying “I really cannot put into words how much hatred I feel for these people” and alleges that they have formed a conspiracy on Wikipedia, just as of course the Jews have, and the two have formed an alliance presumably against their shared enemy in Muslims. I knew that there were communal riots in India but I didn’t think the Hindus formed paramilitary/terrorist groups that went after not just Muslims but Christians, Dalits and Sikhs (maybe in the last group in the 80s around the storming of the Golden Temple and assassination of Indira Gandhi). Gene Expression has discussed Hindutva/RSS here and used them as a primary example in one of my favorite posts “Nerds are nuts“.

Finally, breaking from Linday’s site, a dispute recently arose within the left side of the blogosphere after Castro retired. Chris Bertram at Crooked Timber said to ignore all the nasty oppression and give six cheers. In the comments a huge fight ensued touching on right-wing apologetics for Franco and/or Pinochet, the Angolan Civil War and the end of the apartheid government in South Africa and the importance of political rights vs material well-being. Plus, there is a rare individual who makes the “break a few eggs” argument for both Castro and Indonesia’s Suharto. Brad De Long sticks up holding everyone to the same progressive standards here and here, but being De Long he also acts like a dick and deletes scads of comments he doesn’t like.

Via Reason Hit & Run, a website called WikiLeak has sprung up to provide “an uncensorable Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis […] exposing oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East […] of assistance to people of all regions who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their governments and corporations”. As might be expected, not everyone likes that and a judge ordered it to be shut down. Fortunately, the judge doesn’t understand how the internet works and so you just have to use its numeric IP address rather than domain name. Doh! Hit & Run has a somewhat related story about censorship in Finland here.

I discussed journalism’s privilege to leak with IOZ here, Mencius Moldbug has railed against it here, here, here and here.

Hopefully Anonymous is back!

I hope it’s for real this time.

I must have blacked out everything between the third or fourth shot of Skol on Saturday night and waking up in the hospital the next day. Apparently in between then I was brought to my dorm room, whereupon I vomited all over the floor, choked on my own vomit and stopped breathing before an ambulance carried me away. I had a lethal amount in my system and would have died if I had not been treated as quickly. I have an aunt who works as a police-officer who has taken a good many calls of this type, and in not one instance has the person survived.

Perhaps I was lucky to be unconscious during the worst of it. If I actually had died I wouldn’t have experienced the panic of my body trying to stay alive or the fear of impending death. I would have gone out happy. I’m glad I’m alive though. I don’t want to die. I want to graduate in May, I want to see Myth published and there are countless things I haven’t gotten to do that I’d like to.

I could go further and state that I’m lucky this happened at all. I’ve always been sort of out of it and generally unaware. I’ll forget to eat unless it’s at a scheduled time, when I ran track I sometimes didn’t know it was raining until someone mentioned it and two years ago when I was a freshman on Saint Patrick’s Day I shattered my elbow and only though I might have hurt my wrist a little until the next morning. On Saturday night I didn’t feel nauseous or get any other warning signs I ought to that I should stop drinking, so this was probably bound to happen eventually, only I might not have survived some other night. Now I know that I’m not capable of telling myself when to stop and the only solution is to never start again.

Being a teetotaller will certainly have some downsides. I don’t just imagine that I’m a more pleasant person when I drink, I’ve been told so. On the internet I can choose only to talk about the things I find interesting with the people I think are worth talking to, and in meatspace that’s a very small range. I’ll also have to figure out how to get to sleep early enough on Wednesday nights to get up in time for my early classes on Thursday.

A funny thing is that when I was told that people at my church were praying for me and one of the pastors there stopped by (he happened to be dropping his son off) and gave some God-talk and prayer at my hospital bed, it made me feel better. I still haven’t told any of them I’m an atheist, and that would probably have been the worst possible moment. Some people get closer to God after a near-death experience, but that didn’t happen to me. I don’t think there’s any deep reason I survived and so many others don’t, it just happens.

I’ll feel kind of out-of-place at AA, because I’ve never really felt any urge to drink and I don’t do it all that frequently. I just don’t stop when I should when I do drink. Alcoholism runs in both sides of my family, so I’m likely prone to it and would have wound up an alcoholic if I hadn’t stopped early.

I’m at home now with pneumonia and I’m not allowed to return to class until next Monday. I’ll probably be light on the blogging.

I accidentally let it slip before, but was chastened to keep it hush-hush for now, which is why I said nothing even after it was mentioned that I had written something for Nine Banded Books. Now it has been announced at the Hoover Hog and so I feel free, or perhaps obligated, to let my few readers know that L.A Rollins’ “The Myth of Natural Rights” is going to be published with an introduction from yours truly, along with some other of Rollins’ writings. I don’t quite know what a “post-paleo-libertarian” is, but I suppose it’s as good a description of me as anything else.

I highly recommend Myth, and I’m not just saying that because of my connection to it. If you have any interest in libertarianism and/or moral philosophy or if you just enjoy a good skewering of nonsense, you will probably enjoy it. It’s not available for order yet, but Bradley Smith’s The Man Who Saw His Own Liver is. Having read both the original one-man play (originally titled “The Man Who Stopped Paying”) online and its 9BB novelization, I can say the latter is a significant improvement. Though on its face it is about a war-tax resister fearing a nuclear holocaust during the Cold War, describing it as simply that would not do it justice. It comes with the short piece “Joseph Conrad and the Monster from the Deep”, a meditation on guilt that I personally found to be more up my alley.

I sent an e-mail to Sandefur after reading this post:

You hypothesize that Iraq has been a winning issue for the GOP but moralism has not (I’m guessing you think less of “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” than Stephen Rose then). I don’t think I’ve heard anybody put forth that idea before. Polls show Iraq to be quite unpopular.

I suspect that the Democrats could actually increase their votes by jumping on the moralism bandwagon, but desist in doing so because the elites in their party are educated cosmopolitan types that find it very distasteful, while Republicans would do better if they advocated more populist economic policies. Jim Pinkerton made that point a while back at bloggingheads.tv but it’s almost impossible to find diavlogs made before the site redesign now. I don’t favor such policies, but I recognize the public does, which is why I am not a big fan of democracy.

I used the correct e-mail address this time (I didn’t know he had a gmail account before and sent one to his work address before), but there was still no response. Guess it’s back to clogging his work inbox! Larison discusses the issue here. A parody of the Obama-song targetting McCain’s message of war is here.

I didn’t bother listening to the whole diavlog since I had other stuff to do I should have started a few days ago, but when I saw that Mark Kleiman had a plan for halving the prison population while reducing crime I had to check it out. He seems to support the Bryan Caplan view of drug addiction as not any sort of uncontrollable disease but something highly responsive to incentives. The economist Glenn Loury interjects that there’s no way criminals are rational actors, and Kleiman agrees. So does Bryan Caplan. There are still ways to incentivise their behavior, however. I’m still wary of Kleiman because despite recognizing how awful the “war on drugs” has been, he opposes legalization in the hopes of his favored technocratic solution being implemented, with no reason to believe such a thing will ever occur other than the sheer inspiring nature of Barack Obama.

See here.

I think this guy deserves an award.

The Bad Medicine blog (not quite as good a name as Bad Astronomy, and I’m not just saying that because I hate Bon Jovi) recently linked to my blog due to a clock-evolution simulation on youtube I linked to in a comment. From that blog I found NeuroLogica which is dedicated to “Neuroscience, Skepticism and Critical Thinking”, all nifty things as far as I’m concerned.

Robert Lindsay says Altruism Does Not Exist. He seems to be taking the position that Eliezer Yudkowsky mocked here, as did Bryan Caplan here, but those always struck me as weak arguments from incredulity. One thing I like about Robin Hanson is that rather than using a typical division of altruism (sometimes of an absurd Kantian kind) from selfishness he shows how sub-optimal actions can result from things evolution has done to benefit us (or our genes) but fooled us into thinking are self-less. Genuinely having an irrational devotion to others helps to signal your loyalty, and so there are ways evolution can select for it while still acting in our “self-interest” in some sense. I can’t improve upon Saint Max, so I will end by linking to what he had so say on the subject.

When I was writing my previous post on abortion I had forgotten about this old comment from the Mises blog, (I think) back when I still believed in God and objective morality (though I was still less bothered by abortion itself than the bad legal arguments for its Constitutionally protected nature). I still like my James Bond analogy. (more…)

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