I just posted a comment at the anti-natalism blog. There is moderation there so it won’t appear until James Crawford (aka metamorphhh) approves it, but until then I figured I’d turn my paragraph on abortion into a post of its own here. UPDATE: It is up. (more…)
February 9, 2008
February 8, 2008
I was reading [Sic!] (pretty much the only thing that isn’t Gary Brecher I read there) in the exile and came across a final snarky respone linking to this Amazon page. Is it for real? I don’t know. If it is, I’m glad. For all his jokes, “Gary Brecher” is a better commentator than any talking head you’ll find on tv. Online I’d also say he’s better than Tom Barnett, Coming Anarchy, Zenpundit, tdaxp and Chicago Boyz, to name some blogs that discuss similar matters and commonly link to each other.
I was reading the site because my RSS feed brought up this, which was supposed to be about the use of the mentally challenged as suicide bombers, but brought up a blank page. I was really annoyed when they switched to their 2.0 format that doesn’t have a page linking to every War Nerd article and also breaks the individual articles into multiple pages. This may just be another artifact of that stupid change. I think he was off in saying that brains aren’t important for a terrorist. Terrorists tend to be well-educated engineer types rather than the rabble that Mr. Nerd points out made up much of the conscript armies of the past.
In completely unrelated news, Matt McIntosh at GNXP has a good post on how the immuno-suppresants that protect a fetus in the placenta may have been inherited from retroviruses. It reminds me of an earlier post on mother-child conflict in the womb. UPDATE: This post with a video program on wasp vs bee fights is quite excellent as well. I agree that it should be shown in classrooms to get kids interested in science.
February 6, 2008
Via Rodrik, it seems some people are claiming is happiness is not all it’s cracked up to be. Nothing new to me: as Darby O’Gill said “There is only one who is truly happy… the village idiot!”. There is unfortunately no mention of Theodore Dalrymple, whose relation to human misery may be analogized to that of a fish to water or a sculptor to clay (I think he gets a kick out of his most Hogarthian depictions).
This seems relevant in light of the recent discussion on anti-natalism, which was continued here at Marginal Revolution though my second post was blocked as spam. Perhaps I should put a damper on the rampant linking. Some, like Matthew Cromer, claimed anti-natalists were motivated by depression (I will now concede that Jim of the antinatalism blog is likely unhappy). It was countered that depression is no more likely to result in faulty reasoning that happiness, and in fact tends to debias people (except with regard to how long their depression will last). However, if the utilitarians are wrong about the utility (snort) of hedonic utility, that could also undermine the case for anti-natalism, at least of the David Benatar variety. I don’t know what “virtue ethics” has to say about anti-natalism, but some advocates are certainly fine with killing lots of people (Larison replies on the issue here). Even those who put exalt “revealed preference” above all (as I pretty much do) can get behind unhappiness, as some are apparently willing to spend time and money at “crying clubs“. UPDATE: The anti-natalist blog discusses the depression charge here.
There is a good roundup of blues videos here, so instead I’ll link to sludge and doom metal, which actually makes me laugh. Apparently there used to be a genre called “sadcore“, which seems even more removed from hardcore than “emocore” (Rites of Spring is succeeded by Fugazi, which also comes from Minor Threat) featuring appropriately named bands like Low.
Some music trivia: Low’s bass player joined a drummer and another bass-player to form a guitarless band called Enemymine. The other bassplayer was from the also guitarless band Godheadsilo (what’s with the smushing of multiple words together?). The two members of that band have since formed Smoke & Smoke with Spencer Moody of the Murder City Devils, but they still don’t have any instruments other than a bass guitar and drums. Previously the bass player (Mike Kunka) played with Moody and MCD’s guitarist & drummer in Dead Low Tide. That drummer formed another 2-man guitarless band called Big Business with a former member of Karp, both of whom joined the Melvins (who were without a bass player, but oddly enough not a drummer) for the album A Senile Animal. It’s rather unusual for a band to use two drummers at once, but it worked for King Crimson and it worked for the Melvins as well.
On an unrelated note, it appears I’ve been exceeding the appropriate limit of comments at UR.
February 2, 2008
Vox Day’s “The Irrational Atheist” is now freely available for download. I’ve got the pdf on my machine, but it would feel wrong to read it before finishing “The Blank Slate”. I’ll probably have to reread that before reviewing it as there have been some long gaps during which I’ve likely forgotten a lot of things I was planning on saying.
The latest post at the Hoover Hog points out the Antinatalism blog. The three viewpoints it pushes are rejection of “Religious Truth, Free Will, and Existential Affirmation”, which are things I look forward to discussing in the near-future rather than yacking on about libertarianism and racism some more. I had already been reading and commenting at the blog a few days ago (a post responding to one of those comments is here), but I decided not to make a post about it before Chip because knowing about something that others don’t makes me feel special. Now that I’ve spilled the beans I can add it to my blogroll, so up it goes. Readers who enjoy that might also like Possessed by Death, a blog by Andy Nowicki of the Last Ditch, though it unfortunately seems to have stopped after five posts by the end of 2006. I think a sufficiently out-there Christian like Vox Day is well position to argue against antinatalism. Though Chip earlier used something like Pascal’s Wager to argue that the possibility that one’s child will risk eternal damnation in hell prevents Christians from having children, Thomas Aquinas famously proclaimed long ago that we should not mind the suffering of the damned but rather rejoice in it as the fulfillment of God’s will. If Vox may consider the massacre of children to be as acceptable as a programmer deleting a data structure, why not also shrug off the eternal hellfire poured out on those wanting of the grace of God?
On a completely unrelated subject, via BLCKDGRD comes this far left anti-Zionist attack on Walt & Mearsheimer’s “The Israel Lobby” thesis. You can watch Mearsheimer discuss his book with Bruce Feiler at bloggingheads here. I would have preferred if they matched him up with one of their political science regulars like Henry Farrel or Daniel Drezner. At Unqualified Offerings it is claimed that Tel Aviv is “Christian-occuppied” territory, which strikes me as plausible as the converse. For an actual example of an Israeli exhibiting the heartless drive for power that some people ascribe to them (which seems odd to me given how small Israel still is after winning a good number of wars) check out Samson Blinded, which is also freely available for download.
February 1, 2008
I’ve got a number of posts I’ve been thinking about writing, but they’ll be delayed for now. It will likely be a few days as there are some things I really need to get around to doing.
At first I thought I wouldn’t add the Odessa Syndicate to my blogroll even though they put me on theirs. I figured linking to Mencius Moldbug and Robert Lindsay was enough, as combining them results in something a lot like it. Rethinking things, I decided they really are unusual enough to merit it. Most racialists on the internet really do seem to have nothing but contempt for the left and wouldn’t bother considering any ideas of merit that it has to offer while their own vision often seems to simply consist of the America we already know but consisting only of white people. Prozium picks out some of the very worst ideas the left has to offer (though to his credit he doesn’t seem to think much of old-style nationalism), but I’ll give him points for novelty. Ian Jobling at the Inverted World tries to position their eternally impotent movement as “true liberals”, but that’s tired and second-hand. I’m all for progressives giving back up the name “liberal”, but I’ve grown sick of all the positioning as “the good guys” or the “side of the angels“. Back from that digression, I suppose Bill White might be somewhat similar to what Odessa imagines, but he really just seems like an attention-whoring bullshitting asshole than the representative of any ideology to me. He’s called himself a “utopian anarchist” and “libertarian socialist”, which I don’t think gels with the Odessa synthesis. Since I talk about Vox Day a lot, I’ll add him to the roll as well. I look forward to when TIA becomes a downloadable pdf, as I don’t really feel like paying for it. I’ve got some other blogs I’m thinking of adding to the roll, but that’s for another day and another post.
I notice that in his most recent post Prozium echoes UR in stating that conservatism/the right always loses (on the bright side we can look forward to less of the right-triumphalism wrought by fall of the Soviets, with Fukuyama’s hegelianism and talk of having “won the battle of ideas”, while occasionally imbibing in nostalgia which I admit is still enjoyable). I wouldn’t put it so absolutely, and I can imagine another plausible historical narrative in which liberalism/the left always loses (I have to read Gabriel Kolko’s Triumph of Conservatism some day, and maybe some anarchist and deviationist communist literature as well) which sites like A Tiny Revolution, the Defeatists, Stop Me Before I Vote Again and others of an IOZian bent seem to be pushing. At any rate, if libertarianism is to be judged by the growth of the state (which I think it is), it has certainly lost. I agree with Tyler Cowen that that’s largely going to be a function of technology so it’s not surprising that they will pretty much constantly lose, but I disagree with him (and Keynes) about their ideas being important and I’m also less optimistic about the future. My capitulation is a bitter one. I don’t believe in any and don’t see myself in any way related to a side of the angels, and I’ve dropped the last vestiges of a “Whig theory of history” for a verdict of absurd (I’ll highlight a blog pushing a starker version of that than mine in a later post). Modern conservatism, libertarianism, liberalism/progressivism will all lose. The winner might be termed “idiocracy”, but Mike Judge’s is the entertaining version while the more realistic one is Phillip Longman’s Return of Patriarchy, though of course the second law of thermodynamics indicates that the ultimate result will be the heat death of the universe. My lack of optimism seems to indicate one of Bryan Caplan’s four biases, but I would still like to enlist Caplan on my side against Cowen by pointing to his The Totalitarian Threat. The North Korean model is rather stable and it is what all states may be said to aspire to even if they think otherwise. The boot may indeed stamp on the human face forever.
Getting back to the original topic, at No Treason Josh Sabotta points out to me some amusing links about the inter-fascist split, both during The Big One and today. Some interesting things to point out include Tristan Torriani’s reference to “the genocide perpetrated against Slavs in the name of Marxism and Bolshevism” while ignoring the one perpetrated against them by Nazis and his attempt at claiming minority-victim status that thankfully failed for Italians in the past. Judging by his last name I am likely more related to Richard McCulloch, but despite that and the Anglophile mild bigotry I share with John Derbyshire (even against my own Catholic Irish ancestors, though it is fading with my old Whigness), I’ll have to side with Torrianni and Rienzi. McCulloch’s main problem with Southern Europeans (Torrianni uses the term IIB, or Italian-Iberian-Balkan) is that they will breed with Northern Europeans and bring about the extinction of the more distinctive types. As someone who agrees with Assman that the world-center of hotness is nearer to the Mediterranean than Sweden (though I’m open to women of all races and willing to prove it on camera given a suitably pun-filled title), I find his restrictions unacceptable. Though I’m a big proponent of secession and panarchy/intentional communities (which seasteading should help if it works out) racial separatists often seem to ignore how marginal their viewpoint is and don’t consider the fact that there will be a lot of white people like me who want to live in mixed areas. I want them to leave, and I’d like the option to leave, but I don’t want to be forced to leave with them. A fortunate exception is Michael H. Hart (maybe it’s the result of his malevolent Southern European/Ashkenazi Jewish genes!) who proposes dividing the U.S into white, black and mixed thirds. Aside from where our large number of Hispanics fit in, I think his proportions are off and I’m interested in a much higher degree of division on numerous factors, but it’s a start.
The other link from Sabotta was on the Italian military in the Far East. The alliance between European fascists and Japanese rather than Chinese Nationalists strikes me as rather arbitrary (kind of like the Italian alliance with pre-Anschluss Austria and then it’s Nazi German rival), and the fact that they were the only side with a major non-white element really makes the claim that they carried the banner of the White Race seem ridiculous (as does all the harm they did to other white people). Like I said before, it is only through willful stupidity that Hitler’s cheerleaders today can continue considering him a hero. As Robert Lindsay put it, nationalism/racism rots the brain. So why do I even bother with this stuff rather than reacting like someone threw a diseased rat my way? Like Ross Douthat said, when you’re on the fringe you tend to cease caring worrying about other fringe-types. It’s the respectable center that actually has power and causes the problems and the possibility of these people gaining any power is slim enough that I can dismiss the consequences.