Archive for March, 2012

Question? Where In History Has Libertarianism Ever Worked?

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Where in history has libertarianism ever successfully been practiced? It seems a miserable failure in Somalia. What are the problems that you feel need to be "fixed"? I like much of what I read at the Mises site and other Libertarian internet gathering places, but I dislike and disagree with the majority of it. What would you call "socially progressive" and how can that be achieved through libertarian policy as opposed to our current system?

— Jeff.

You’re right sort of. That is, if you define libertarianism as rothbardianism (anarchism) rather than Hayekianism (jeffersonian classical liberalism). Because the term ‘liberal’ was stolen by the progressive and socialist movements, the classical liberals adopted ‘libertarian’ under Hayek’d advice. The anarchists under rothbard adopted it as well, following the french tradition. (Realistically this division is a debate between the jewish and christian concepts of social order. and those two concepts are differentiated by the norms needed by land holding Christians and non-land holding jews.) At this moment, the anarchists and classical liberals are fighting over ownership of the self identifying label ‘libertarian’. This pair is, over the past two years, further breaking into ‘bleeding heart libertarians’ under the guidance of Horowitz, the Propertarians under Hoppe and people like myself, and the ‘libertarians" (anarchists) under the mises institute., and the more classical liberal republicans under the Cato institute, and the conservatives under the Heritage and other organizations.

So when you hear ‘libertarian’ most of the rhetoric on the web is driven the the Rothbardians under the Misesians. Because Lew Rockewell has succeeded in educating a legion of informed followers using the argumentative model developed by the marxists. That is why the ron paul effect is working. And the rest of us are trying to promote either private government that replaces political bureaucracy with private insurance companies, or some version of jeffersonian classical liberal institutions with updated principles that include libertarian economic insights – mostly those developed by Friedman, and legal insights, most of which are developed by Hayek and Sowell.

The conservatives meanwhile are relying on insights found from history that finally articulate the conservative position as something rational. These ideas are being provided by economic historians like Neal Ferguson, Religious historians like Karen Armstrong, and inadvertently by political historian Francis Fukuyama as well as hundreds of others. And then I’m in my little corner of the world trying to piece it all together as a consistent framework so that we can have rational rather than moralistic arguments.

So to answer your question: the reason you and I have the choice to argue about the ‘spoils’ of productivity from this classical liberal economy (libertarian economy) that we live in, is because unlike every other society on earth, we developed the rule of law (which means that the government is limited in what it can do by laws, it does not mean that we have to follow the laws). We developed rational debate, and the competition between powers in order to preserve that rule of law. And we developed the nuclear family in order to break bonds of consanguinity so that people would eschew corruption — something unique to the west — in order to be loyal to society and abstract rules, rather than family and tribe.

The trick in history it turns out is to produce innovation faster than the state and others can seek rents against that productivity. This feat is accomplished through property rights guaranteed by the rule of law.

So the answer to your question is that we live in libertarianism. It was successfully attacked by marxism, at the cost of 100M dead. It was attacked by socialism, at the cost of endemic corruption and poverty. It has been attacked by social democracy, which has played out as bankrupting the west. And finally it has been conquered through immigration.

The underlying question is whether we transfer from the productive who breed less to the unproductive who breed more. And that question has a dysgenic answer. That answer has resulted in the falling of westerners behind their ashkenazi peers. That is the best metric we use for a practical example of the result.

Matt Bruenig Uses Advanced Name Calling (Framing) Against Conservatives

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Matt has used liberal framing to categorize three different conservative argumentative techniques. Effectively, it’s an elaborate game of name calling. And nothing more.

Instead, he ignores all of history, all of the development of thought in philosophy, law, and government in order to reduce his argument to one of simplistic ideology and emotions. Which makes no sense, in particular, because conservatives if anything, are driven by history and use it in daily life — rather than relying on liberal’s primitive animalistic liberal approval and disapproval cues.

The dispute between conservatives and liberals can be summarized in this quote from Matt:

The only reason someone does not have enough money to support a child is because of government policies to enact a certain kind of economy. You have to first argue why those policies should be the policies we choose. You never do that. You just assume that the default policy set is a marginal productivity policy set. But that’s not the default set. It is 1 among 100 other policy sets. You still fail to put forward an argument for that set.

Thats the whole problem isn’t it? But a) CAN an economy accomplish this (Looks like no. Not over more than a few generations.) b) Will a society capable of doing so persist (looks like no, and it also looks like the reason that all other urbanized civilizations have died) c) therefore why should those of us who are productive support the breeding of those who are unproductive?

It’s a simple question. Why is it that one person has more right to bear children than another person has the right to consume the product of his efforts? This is the fundamental problem between the frameworks. There is no other point of reasoning.

And any other approach is dishonest.

Especially ‘name calling’.

His full article is included at the bottom of this post. (With a few other comments from others thrown in.)

A desert is a place without water, and lots of sand. A dessert is a thing you eat after dinner. :) Your ‘just desserts’ are what you achieve based upon your character and your labor.

Conservatives seeks to concentrate capital in the hands of those who will best innovate with it. Since innovation is the source of all prosperity, because innovation causes the decrease in prices, and innovation requires the concentration of capital behind those best demonstrably able to innovate.

The argument is that less able, more impulsive, more hedonistic people have higher (shorter) time preferences, and are unable or unwilling to delay gratification in order to achieve what conservatives have achieved. Why should a conservative do without, when he had to sacrifice to get something? Why should some people work harder and longer with more discipline than others if only to have to give it away?

The competing arguments are that instead of superior ability and discipline, conservatives have superior advantages. The problem is producing some data that supports it.

If instead, you want to say that we must accomodate the inferior, then the exchange must be that the inferior should not be allowed to breed in exchange for redistribution.

Why should you have what another person has? Why should he do with less, and have less to experiment with, because the proles feel privileged to reproduce like cockroaches?

It’s not a complicated argument.

all a conservative asks, is ‘what will you give me in exchange’. A progressive asks is ‘give it to me without anything in exchange.’

We have made it culturally impolitic to state the inferiority of proletarians. But that does not mean we actually believe they are equal. Property is the only means by which we can have liberty. And liberty is incompatible with equality. Because we are marginally indifferent. We are unequal in ability. And for every 15 points of IQ we are dramatically unequal in ability in the modern world. The superior are practically superior in every way, and as such, the produce more, and are of more value to society than the inferiors.

That we should have charity to the inferiors is not a question. The question is why we permit them to breed if they cannot support themselves.

Why should we sacrifice so that others can fulfill their wants without compensation in return?


In the end. The point I am making is that you’re correctly articulating EMOTIONAL REACTIONARY arguments but not the CAUSAL arguments that give rise to them. And I’m supplying them: Conservatism is a reaction to the status quo. The status quo conservatives feel affectation for is the aristocratic manorial system with classical liberal institutions. It is an agrarian system where there is little difference between most people that are not reducible to behavioral traits. It may or may not be applicable to the industrial era. We do not know. I have very little confidence in the progressive social democratic model (redistributive socialism) because a comparative analysis of world institutions across history demonstrates the uniqueness of the western model, and the unique ability of the western model to produce innovations that improve the quality of life of all human beings. The problem is, that that western model also includes an implicitly eugenic system. And I am not sure that we shouldn’t consider it carefully. Even if it offends our sensibilities.

THe world contains a finite set of resources after all. And our defeat of malthusian forces is a product of harnessing fossile fuels, not a product of our intellect.

I will take your second sentence to mean that I am correctly explaining what conservative philosophical frameworks actually say, but that you think there are other motivations beside the intellectual ones conservatives provide. My post is not trying to talk about what actually motivates conservatives. I know for instance, many self-identified conservatives are secretly (or not so secretly) motivated by racism for instance.

Nonetheless, these are the intellectual arguments they put forward. – Matt

(actually they’re a liberal FRAMING of the arguments put forward.)

Well, technically I’m saying you’re correctly categorizing three types of conservative arguments, but creating your own labels (framing) in order to obscure the underlying aristocratic (conservative) theory so that you can demonize it as an emotional and selfish rather than rational and social construct, and then claim that you’ve provided an insight simply by failing to use established terms. In other words you’re employing a ‘shifty argument’.

Those three categories have been historically discussed in the literature as:
1) Market Competition — instead of political competition
2) Rule of Law (evolving through common law) — rather than rule by political decree,
3) Meritocracy: Meritocratic Service Of Society Through The Voluntary Market — rather than political corruption by political decree.

You’re missing four more categories of argument:

4) Balance of Powers (competition between houses of government), and balance between ethical institutions (the church which teaches manners, ethics, morals and myths) and property institutions (the state which adjudicates disputes and ‘discovers’ laws ).

5) Institutional Balance of Class Powers (multiple houses as in the British and pre 1911 US model that allow classes to cooperate) (We artificially call this ‘enfranchisement’ or ‘suffrage’ today.)

6) Social innovation by adopting demonstrated success rather than political experimentation that externalizes failure. (ie: conservatism is scientific)

7) Property is an individual possession which we grant to the government to wisely use for the common good, versus property is communal and ‘lent out’ for utilitarian purposes to individuals for use in achieving the common good.

8) The nuclear family which creates the smallest possible collaborative economic unit for the purpose of raising children, while at the same time undermining both tribal and extended family ties and inbreeding. — (I missed this one, so it’s included here only as reference for the future.)

The conservative does not abandon the poor. He just does not support failure. We all need insurance. We do not need to support living an impulsive life at others expense. We understand that there are material differences in intellectual, emotional, and physical ability. And that all people should be protected from suffering through charity. But that does not mean we should desire equality of outcomes – in fact, that would be a perverse incentive.

It is true that conservatives like progressives resort to nonsense arguments. But there is nothing virtuous about either party in that regard. It might be argued that conservatives have been right about all the big questions since Burke invented Conservatism in response to the horrors and bloodshed of the French Revolution. It can also be argued that the privileged hide behind conservatism (slavery) when it suits them. But there is no way of arguing that the entire socialistic program was based upon faulty concepts of man and economics and have been relegated to the dustbin of history.

We are once again are proving conservatives right – that we are in the early stages of the abandonment of the ponzi scheme of the european welfare state. Just as conservatives have warned. Humans under capitalism do not breed in an ever expanding intergenerational pyramid.

So, no I do not think you’re honestly or correctly positioning the conservative argument. I think you’re conducting a dishonest argument through typical progressive framing. Nothing more.

Well done, Curt, you have revealed all conservatives as cold hearted Darwinists. You fool! That wasn’t to be revealed until NEXT DECADE! Seriously, though, Doolittle has DONE little other than feed a false stereotype. This makes me immediately suspicious of where his (if it is even a male) true intentions. The basic difference between conservatives and liberals involves immediate gratification, and is an emotion versus logic argument, which is why it will never end, but also never be resolved. – RTP

?? I’m all over the internet. I use my real name. I belong to two (three) libertarian organizations. I don’t hide or cower. Just use Google for goodness sake.

BTW: Aside from using an ad hominem, you are using amateurish language in your posting. The technical terminology in economics is “Time Preference”. The behavioral terminology is “Impulsiveness” or “impulsivity”. The psychological terminology is Gratification -delayed or instantaneous”. For background see Banfield’s “The Unheavenly City” and “The Unheavenly City Revisited”. See Fussell’s “Class” for fun. Banfield was the first (I think) to demonstrate that the urban poor were poor because they have a higher (shorter) time preference. We have since learned that they also have lower IQ’s. And conservatives have said for centuries, that the purpose of civic virtues is to compensate for lower IQ’s and to train the impulsive to have longer (lower) time preferences. We can see that the lower classes are abandoning the civic virtues. (Murray) We can see that not only have physical labors (farming) but now manufacturing and construction are disappearing as reliable means of obtaining an income, and that the lower classes are unable to learn the abstract tools and concepts which in turn is leading to the concentration of wealth in the more intelligent and better educated. We can see that as women enter the work force they are breeding less. We can see that the upper classes are forming a caste. And that the lower classes are forming at least one if not two castes.

The question is, what are we going to do about it? We can adopt the conservative strategy and encourage the impulsive to adopt virtues. Or we can adopt the progressive strategy to subsidize the impulsive and their overbreeding. (As the british have done.) One way we end up with a communal society. the other way we end up with castes.

Adam S.
i enjoyed this post and then Curt’s comment was the masterstroke that made me love the internet all over again

Thanks adam.
Although I will tell you that most conservative intellectuals do not play on blogs. They look for positions in think tanks and magazines (and conservatism is not a verbal system anyway). But my feeling is that magazines preach to the choir, and most conservative arguments are sentimental rather than rational. So I want to fix that. In any way that I can. And blogs are a good way to try.

I have been a social worker for 20 yrs. and can tell you not only from my clients and training but also from growing up in poverty – the dependency argument is false and only applies to the middle class, rich and the corporate world who receive many more and undeserved entitlements. – Maria

I don’t think the question is whether we need safety nets as a means of insuring each other against accidents. I think the question is whether you FEEL people have a right to breed children that they cannot afford to support.

There is no good reason we need more children in this world. So you FEEL people have that right, then that’s OK. But your feeling ends when someone else’s pocketbook becomes involved.

Of course the only fly in the ointment with your argument is that the proletarians produce everything. A proletarian drilled the oil to make the plastic that another proletarian made into the keyboard that that was delivered to your house by another proletarian that allowed you to type out this great admission of ignorance that you produced a week ago. The car you drive, the sidewalks you walk upon, the planes you fly in… all are produced by the working class. You don’t have a clue of a clue.

As far as equality goes the American founders placed it right alongside of liberty. Not because they thought all people had equal abilities but because all people, in order to have liberty, must be equals in the eyes of the law and the government that is based upon those laws. The billionaire and the street person, when dealing with the government must be treated equally, using the same rules and same procedures. In order to guarantee liberty the State has to be an impartial arbiter of justice, ignoring class, ignoring the inequality of achievement of individuals and dispensing justice equally to the rich and poor. – fishskicanoe

RE: Proletarians produce everything.
But this isn’t true is it? Look at world unemployment. Even in this recession, unemployment is almost an entirely proletarian problem.
Overpopulation. Energy consumption. Pollution. Peak oil. Social security. These are all proletarian problems. The upper classes (middle and up) are barely replacing themselves.

We all know this is what conservatives are thinking but its a tactical error to come out and say it! I will be using your comment to illustrate the real beliefs of conservatives to the people I know who support right wing parties. – GM

It’s not a tactical error. It’s the truth.
If you tell conservatives that the reason the aristocratic social model succeeded in producing the world we live in in part because it suppressed the birth rates of the lower classes and increased average IQ by doing so, and they’re offended by that, then you have a convert.

I mean, do we all wnat to argue in pseudo moralistic nonsensical terms forever? Or do we want to find a way to solve the issue?

All political differences come down to this one problem: the difference in male and female mating strategies, and the different social orders that the two strategies would favor compared to the OUTCOMES of the two strategies, and which OUTCOMES we would favor.

So, why is it that a woman has the right to bear children she cannot support, and afford to educate?

I think the world would be better off if we had honest discourse.

They cannot support their children because they do not have high enough incomes to do so. Why not? You say because they are not productive enough. Even if we somehow pretend that people are paid according to their marginal productivity, the whole line of analysis is still question-begging.

There is no fundamental rule of the universe that individual compensation must be what their productivity is. A system that distributes income on that basis is one invented by government policies. That still leaves the question then: Why adopt Policy Set X (that distributes income according to productivity) over Policy Set Y?

An intentional decision was made to implement one set of policies over another. The dispute is about which policy set to enact. All of your analysis proceeds on the question-begging assumption that Policy Set X is somehow the way things have to be. But they don’t. Your job is to actually give a justification for Policy Set X, not to just assume it exists and then talk about some of the impacts of it (for instance, that it creates such poverty among large swaths of the population that they do not have enough money to raise their kids).

That is a consequence of the decision to pick Policy Set X over Policy Set Y. It is not a consequence of the nature of the universe, but of government policy selection. You still need to make an argument *for* Policy Set X if you want to avoid question-begging. – Matt Bruenig

They cannot support their children because they are not productive enough to support their children. I do not need to make an argument why people are paid anything. The market proves it. People are paid for their value to others.

I’ve articulated the causal difference. That is, that conservatives want a meritocratic society based on performance and progressives want a society that is not. It’s not complicated.


I did not see these replies until running through my Google alerts today. So I apologize for the delayed response.

1) The conservative sentiment (it’s only a sentiment as it is poorly articulated, even by Kirk or Oakeshott) is in support of the aristocratic social order reinforced by the classical liberal institutional model. I am simply explaining that causal relation.

2) In the second paragraph you mention, I’m articulating it in utilitarian rather than moral language. But that utilitarianism is in effect the strategy embedded in the aristocratic model.

3) The solution I’m suggesting is to ask for exchanges, rather than become either reticent, or the victim of encroaching totalitarianism. We must ask for retention of freedoms in exchange for redistribution. I do not know why that is controversial.

4) Whether you agree that the underclasses should trade something in exchange for breeding children that they cannot support is simply a choice. Under the manorial system only the fit could obtain access to land. Without access to land, one could not produce, without production, one could not obtain a wife, without a wife, one could not breed (easily). The entire western cultural corpus is based upon this one unstated but obvious necessity: the need to obtain productive resources, to demonstrate your character in order to obtain them, and late marriage that allowed women to participate in the work force. (More than that. but that will do.) So, I am simply applying the concepts that were the source of our traditions to the current time period, and and articulating those concepts in current terms. CONSERVATISM IS BY DEFINITION SOCIAL DARWINISM in the sense that it is behaviorally meritocratic and genetically meritocratic. (Albiet the market is a lottery and it must be in order to function.) The weather and starvation now do not accomplish what they have in ages past. The point we have to deal with is that under the manorial system we have improved the ‘human capital’ both in classical and medieval times. Since 1850 it looks like we have reduced average european IQ by 5 points. In other words, we’ve taken european descendants from rough parity to ashkenazim and asians to 1/3 of a standard deviation lower. And why does this matter? It matters because the norms it is possible to instill in a population, and therefore the institutions it is possible for a population to operate under, are governed by the distribution of (verbal) IQ in a population. SO if you want your freedom, you have to respect certain realities – physical laws so to speak.

Nothing I’ve said here hasn’t been said before in one way or another. The problem is that we are still plagued by the Nazi memory instead of looking at the problem rationally.

I do not particularly care which solution we choose. I would prefer that we broke the country up into smaller nations with more similar cultural interests and continued with the american experiment.

But as a historian of aristocratic philosophy, I’m articulating in clearer language, WHY conservatives have these ideas — because they are a the habituated remnants of an historical strategy that was eminently successful compared to the three other global traditions. And furthermore, I’m articulating the concepts in conservatism as a defense by the upper classes against the lower classes. I’m acknowledging that societies are bi-modal, and I”m acknowledging that the two cultures that produced the industrial revolution (greece and england) were both aristocratic manorial cultures with a competition between multiple institutions rather than a central government.

And that is the secret to the west: the manorial system, competition, and a balance of powers. The fact that this system is NOT dysgenic may be an accident. But it worked.

Knowing that all other models have failed. What does one do?


The three big conservative philosophical frameworks

Conservatives are pretty shifty in arguments. One moment they appear to be concerned about the poor and how taxes will ultimately hurt them and kill their jobs. The other moment they seem to think the poor don’t deserve anything anyways. Most folks — no matter their political leanings — do not consciously think about the philosophical frameworks that the justifications for their opinions tend to fall in. Although rigid frameworks are probably a bit reductive, they can be useful tools to understand what exactly people are saying. The following three conservative philosophical frameworks can account for almost all of the conservative rhetoric and arguments out there these days. I offer them here to hopefully help those who want to understand and better analyze conservative justifications.

Utilitarian arguments used to be much more prominent among conservative political thinkers. Economists especially relied upon the idea of subjective utility and growth to argue that unrestrained free markets were the way to go. The way this argument works is probably familiar to most. Because low-tax, low-regulation markets generate economic growth while allowing individuals to choose for themselves what to purchase, utility is supposed to be ultimately maximized by conservative economic policies. Milton Friedman, probably the most famous libertarian of the 20th century, was the most prominent advocate of this way of thinking. When asked whether redistribution should be pursued, Friedman’s response was almost never about who deserved what income or the violence of taxation; instead, it was about how taxing the rich would ultimately hurt the poor, undermining the whole purpose of the project.

The closest resemblance to this kind of reasoning these days has to be the right-wing rhetoric surrounding “job creators.” Doing anything mildly redistributive through the government is claimed to reduce overall employment, thus hurting the poor. There is a lot to be said in response to this kind of viewpoint, and obviously I am not very moved by it. But for the purpose of this post, just note how the argument works. The problem with moves towards redistribution is not so much that it takes from the productive and gives to the parasites or that the process of redistributive taxation is intolerably forceful or aggressive. Instead, the problem is that it will reduce utility because of the negative economic impacts that follow.

While this framework is still around of course, conservatives — especially younger conservatives — have shifted away from it and towards other other philosophical approaches. It has its obvious flaws. The most glaring flaw is that comparatively speaking, strong social democratic countries appear to have generated the best overall utility of any political system implemented thus far. They serve as an empirical check on the idea that redistributive taxes and well-run universal state services are a drag on overall welfare. There are also of course more theoretical objections to the idea that redistribution is always somehow utility-destroying. After all, taking a dollar from a rich person and giving it to a poor person should almost always increase overall utility if done efficiently.

Procedural Justice
Conservatives who are a bit scared of making the utility argument — as they should be because it is probably the weakest one they have — often fall back on a procedural justice framework to justify their viewpoint. Procedural justice theories rely on the idea that a just economy and political system is one that follows just processes. So long as just processes are followed, whatever outcome that results is necessarily just. The conservative/libertarian thinkers most prominent in this camp are Robert Nozick, Murray Rothbard, and the super-bizarre internet sensation Stefan Molyneux.

The conservative procedural justice account can get pretty complicated at times, but most have probably run into the basic elements of it from time to time. The account emphasizes free exchange, free association, and voluntary agreements. Advocates of it drone on about self-ownership and non-aggression, two qualities that they think libertarian economic processes possess. When someone complains about their terribly low wages and work conditions, these are the guys who retort back “but you voluntarily agreed to work there didn’t you?” Taxation is called theft, aggression, and slavery because it is not consented to.

I think this account is probably the strangest one, mainly because as far as I can tell the 19th century anarchist philosophers successfully beat back all the libertarian procedural justice arguments that are now popping back up again. But without getting too involved in that whole discussion, I just hope here to emphasize the way the framework works. The procedural justice position is not concerned with utility and it is not concerned even with giving people what they deserve necessarily. It is only concerned with following just processes even if those processes result in widespread misery.

Desert Theory
Desert theory has to be the most American of the conservative political theories. It is at the root of the ideology of the American Dream. According to desert theory, we want to design the economy and political apparatus in a way that gives people what they deserve. What do they deserve? Well, conservative constructions of desert theory are generally based upon productivity: you should be paid equivalent to the amount of value you add to the economy.

The most famous proponent of desert theory among American conservatives is of course Ayn Rand. In her philosophy, the super-rich basically make everything in the world and they deserve everything they get and probably even more. Paul Ryan, the much-praised House Republican from Wisconsin, is reported to be a huge fan of Rand’s work, possibly explaining his atrocious budget plan which was clearly Rand-inspired.

The problems with this approach are numerous and the word “privilege” probably goes the furthest in counteracting this idea. One’s race, class, gender, family, and all sorts of other non-meritocratic things have enormous impacts on how well one does in life. Once this is conceded, the whole desert theory approach becomes very vacuous very fast. Nonetheless, the framework persists in one form or another. When people talk about welfare mothers living off the dole, they typically have in mind some sort of desert theory of justice. When they talk about how rich people work hard and how poor people are lazy, they typically have in mind a desert theory of justice. On the desert view, our aim should be giving people what they deserve from their hard work, not maximizing utility or necessarily following just processes.

As far as I can tell, these three frameworks encompass about 99% of what comes out of the mouths of conservatives in one form or another. Either they are concerned about utility, just processes, or just desert. Often of course, they jump from one to the other right in the middle of a discussion if they find themselves pinned down. But, now that you know these frameworks, you can at least identify when those jumps are happening and begin to better understand what exactly the conservatives are trying to get across when they argue.

Three Institutions And Why Libertarianism Is The Answer To Political Problems

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

The nuclear family is an expensive artifice. It is economically accountable. It is the smallest economically accountable unit (tribe) humans can produce. It requires constant compromise. It requires suppression of our instincts and desires. It requires a long time preference. Because of that it encourages late marriage, and careful mate selection. The reward we get for economic accountability, constant compromise, suppression of our instincts and desires, the risk of planning, delaying marriage, and careful mate selection, is status cues and economic enfranchisement by others who pay these high costs. Conversely, if we do not ‘conform’ we pay the cost of lost economic and social opportunity. If one ‘cheats’ through non conformity, one is effectively obtaining the benefits of this highly conforming, high-trust, highly productive social order at a discount — at the expense of others, and they see it as ‘unfair’.

It is not clear to westerners who live in a universe of nuclear families, that this social order is an artificial construct created by the church in order to undermine inbreeding and family and tribal ties. The church outlawed marrying as far out as six cousins. (if we did that to the muslim world they would be unable to breed.) The manorial system required that one demonstrate fitness in order to obtain land to rent, in order to obtain a wife and feed a family (and obtain access to sex.) These three systems: the manorial (corporate) system, and the nuclear family, and the common law, induced the conformity we see as ‘western conservatism’. (which is inaccurate. It’s western germanic christian manorialism with english classical liberal institutions that ‘conservatives’ feel ‘conservative’ about.) But it is impossible to create a high trust society (“getting to Denmark”) without these three systems. That is why the west is unique. It used the nuclear family, the ‘corporation’, and the common law (no centralized power) to create a highly accountable system where allegiance was to society as a whole rather than family or tribe. And by doing so, this process insured quality breeding: it suppressed the breeding of the underclasses. (Which has led to the assertion, that while western ‘whites’ and ashkenazi jews previously had the same IQ distribution, we have fallen by 5 points since 1850 because of overbreeding by the lower classes. As it stands, the USA will continue to decline in aggregate IQ over the next century. The impact of this is not something we understand. But given that both the greek pre-industrial revolution and the British industrial revolution occurred after a similar duration of manorialism makes it very curious as to whether our way of life, which is predicated on verbal reasoning that requires a substantial part of the population possess an IQ over 106, is worth considering.)

That this economic and social system unarticulated is one of the great unfortunate features of history.It prevents conservatives from understanding that their social system can adapt given the proper institutions and ridiculous non-conforming objections like race and sexual preference are immaterial if the institutional safeguards are in place to protect the economy from aberrant norms.

WIthout understanding our own society as a set of causal institutions we cannot create a government of exchanges where both win rather than dictates where one loses. And the central premise of libertarian philosophy is that we can EXCHANGE, rather than FORCE each other to do things.

Krugman Is A Racist And A Dishonest Hack

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Weighted by popularity, Krugman is the most dishonest public intellectual in America.

He is a party hack at best. At worst he is nothing more than an anti-white racist.

Of course he’s still dangerous. But libertarians and conservatives are dangerous too. Libertarians, because we believe that it is possible for a majority of humans to adopt a rational and meritocratic rather than sentimental and egalitarian political framework, and conservatives because they argue from sentimental, historical, and economic framework that they cannot articulate in rational language and as such, they do not even understand themselves — there is as much danger in stupidity and ignorance as there is in malice and dishonesty.

Krugman got the prize for political reasons. Because he could influence the debate. People do listen to him. But until we unite libertarians and conservatives, and until we help conservatives articulate their social strategy the dishonest will win out over the ignorant.

Krugman is an anti-white, racist, political hack, who uses an award given to him for political reasons and a podium with a broad reach to distort the public dialog in favor of his malicious agenda. He does not engage his critics. He simply repeats his invectives as a mantra for his supporters, in order to feed their confirmation biases.

There Is No Ambiguity In Chinese Strategy Over The South China Sea

Monday, March 26th, 2012

But the sea also remains in dispute, with China and five other countries having claims to some or all of its islands, rocks and waters. It is also a cause of superpower rivalry. America asserts its own “national interest” in the freedom of navigation in the sea, and, like the South-East Asian claimants to the sea, sees China as the threat. For that, the ambiguity that shrouds China’s own position has much to do with it.

via South China Sea: Full unclosure? | The Economist.


a) It is strategically possible to cause china to surrender militarily through blockade of the south china sea (See Stratfor) because the country would rapidly both starve and economically collapse.
b) China is an empire with significant internal frictions that would have vast internal consequences if the government was seen to fail, or even if it was seen to be weak. They are aware that fomenting rebellion would not be difficult.
c) Chinese tactics (per Kissinger) are to delay, mislead, lie, and mollify until they have the advantage, then use the advantage to conquer either explicitly or by eliminating all possible options. All chinese culture is predicated on avoidance and deception until the opportunity presents itself (this was a cultural consequence of their geography). All western culture (Per Keegan) is predicated on quick resolution of disputes (likewise a consequence of geography, inferior numbers, and technology.) We cannot judge their actions by western standards ( the same is true of islam). We cannot judge their values by western standards. We cannot judge their strategy by western standards. Deception is the primary tactic in chinese strategic thinking because it is the primary tactic in daily life. (Sun Tzu)

China is set to restore itself to middle-kingdom (the center of the universe around which all asian cultures revolve) in part to preserve itself as a political order, in part to preserve the privileges of the party members, and in part to assuage the vast chip on their shoulders for their repeated failures to adapt to modernity which is an affront to their self perception of superiority.

Yes, We Need To Define ‘Structural’

Monday, March 26th, 2012

One growing point of tension that I that has both semantic and substantive difficulties is whether or not we regard the situation in the mortgage markets as “structural.”

via Two-Track Intermediation « Modeled Behavior.


I would love it if you would solve this semantic problem. Because it’s material to the public debate. The technical definition is artificially narrow and as such leads to either dishonest (Krugmanian) or semantic rather than material debate.

To Austrians, “Structural” means that we have misallocated financial capital and thereby caused a misallocation of human and fixed capital such that the cost of reallocating that capital is so high that the fixed capital may be ‘wasted’ and the human capital (human beings) cannot be put to productive ends because the learning curve and lifetime commitments of individuals cannot be altered by the market at ANY possible cost. This circumstance results in a permanent loss of competitiveness in relation to other societies what can allocate capital against the remaining productive workers.

We see this as a permanent loss with human consequences. For example, the misallocation of human capital during both the tech boom and the housing boom mean that certain people obtained higher incomes in a short period of time but by doing so lost the opportunity to gain competitive skills (in relation to their ages) that had ongoing value to them. Furthermore, by implication, it means that those prior skills were of lower marketability than the skills that they might have possessed.

The counter-arguments are that a) people are infinitely fungible (that’s not supportable) or b) we can keep misallocating capital from boom to boom as a means of redistribution, or c) this process is cumulative and causes permanent shifts toward financialization at the top and unproductive labor at the bottom, and production of inferior goods in the middle. I think you err on the side of (b). I think Austrians err on the side of (c).

In more abstract terms I think this is a debate over the welfare of the bottom of society or the middle, with your side favoring the former and the austrians the latter. I also think your side considers this problem immaterial and Austrians (and conservatives) consider it cumulatively destructive. And of course, I disagree with your ‘belief’ that we can fix problems in the future. If that were true we would not have the polarization we do today – a polarization which is being solved, not by reason or argument but by differences in breeding rates and immigration.

PJ Lifestyle » Why Do Ads that Diss Women Get Removed while Ads that Diss Men are Funny?

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Jim Macnamara, author of Media and Male Identity: The Making and Remaking of Men did a PHD Dissertation looking at men and the media and found the following:The study involved collection of all editorial content referring to or portraying men from 650 newspaper editions 450 broadsheets and 200 tabloids, 130 magazines, 125 TV news bulletins, 147 TV current affairs programs, 125 talk show episodes, and 108 TV lifestyle program episodes from 20 of the highest circulation and rating newspapers, magazines and TV programs over a six-month period. Media articles were examined using in-depth quantitative and qualitative content analysis methodology.The research found that, by volume, 69 per cent of mass media reporting and commentary on men was unfavourable compared with just 12 per cent favourable and 19 per cent neutral or balanced. Men were predominately reported or portrayed in mass media as villains, aggressors, perverts and philanderers, with more than 75 per cent of all mass media representations of men and male identities showing men in one of these four ways. More than 80 per cent of media mentions of men, in total, were negative, compared with 18.4 per cent of mentions which showed men in a positive role.The overwhelmingly negative reporting and portrayals of men in mass media news, current affairs, talk shows and lifestyle media was mainly in relation to violence and aggression. Violent crime, including murder, assault, armed robberies and attacks such as bashings, accounted for almost 40 per cent of all media reporting of male violence and aggression, followed by sexual abuse 20.5 per cent, general crime 18.6 per cent and domestic violence 7.3 per cent.Some people think the negative portrayal is “no big deal.” But it is a big deal. This portrayal of men is dangerous to society as it causes people to stereotype men and see them as dangerous perverts. Men are reacting to this stereotype by going on strike, avoiding interactions with women and children; they no longer work with kids, volunteer as often or get married as readily for fear of a legal or cultural backlash. Many are “going Galt.” These are not positive developments for society. So, yes, negative portrayals of men are a big deal.

via PJ Lifestyle » Why Do Ads that Diss Women Get Removed while Ads that Diss Men are Funny?.

John Cochrane on Krugman on Friedman: The Austrian Approach Vs The Keynesian

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

John Cocharane argues:

Paul Krugman, in a most recent post, argues “Backward moves the macroeconomic debate” with “the result that our economic discourse is significantly more primitive now that it was 70 years ago.” Per Krugman, this backward movement is apparent in the use by some opponents of active demand management policy, such as Amity Shlaes, and of the “supposed legacy of Milton Friedman.”

via Krugman on Friedman: An Austrian Approach | The Circle Bastiat.

Then he follows up with:

While Keynes’s verbal analysis in the General Theory continued to emphasis the role of investment, interest, and money in determining output and employment, his abandonment of the natural rate concept masked the intertemporal coordination issues at the heart of fundamental economic problem, made it easier to ignore the important capital theory issues involved in the original Hayek-Keynes debate, and facilitated the morphing of the economics of Keynes into the IS-LM single macroeconomic output aggregate Keynesianism.

Relative to most quantity theorists, old or new, and most modern macroeconomics which model the economy with a single aggregate production measure, Keynes, even in the General Theory, continued to stress the importance of the distribution of production and resources between present uses, consumption, and the future oriented uses, investment. The single aggregate approach makes it nearly impossible to even recognize intertemporal coordination problems. Keynes does recognize potential problems. But a major factor differentiating Keynes from the Austrians is Keynes’s lack of any well defined capital theory compared to the Austrian use of structure of production capital theory, a capital structure -based macroeconomics (Cochran and Glahe 1999, pp. 103-118 and Horwitz 2011). Hence, “In the judgment of the Austrians, Keynes disaggregated enough to reveal potential problems in the macro economy but not enough to allow for the identification of the nature and source of the problems and the prescription of suitable remedies” (Garrison 2001, 226).

To which I replied:

First, Krugman has a political agenda and Keynesian policy supports that agenda. Everything he says and does is in support of that political agenda. It has absolutely nothing to do with any moral assumption of meritocracy or the common good implied by economics as a tool for assisting in policy decisions. Second, he never uses prewar data or historical examples which would expose his ideas to scrutiny. Third, he argues that the good that comes from Keynesian spending compensates investors and entrepreneurs for the costs. Fourth, he ignores the misallocation of human capital and the long term social consequences of that misallocation – again, because it suits his political agenda.

Austrians assert that not only are we misallocating capital and human capital, and not only are we creating perverse incentives and moral hazards like confetti at an italian wedding, and not only are we destroying the civic virtues, but that entrepreneurs and investors are not compensated for the impact upon their planning. (Some even make a purely moral argument which I think is specious on all accounts.)

The problem is, as far as I can tell, we cannot produce a mathematical model for an argument either way. I’m sure that we intuit that we are kicking the can down the road and creating bubbles of every possible kind. But I’m not sure that we can argue (yet) that the use of aggregates and all the implied redistribution that the use of aggregates entails, is either good or bad.

It’s pretty clear that the conservative (aristocratic classical liberal) social model is being affected. it’s pretty clear that entrepreneurs are being prevented from solving many social problems like education. But these are difficult causal relations to prove. And to many they’re desirable outcomes. Freedom is and always has been the desire of the minority. Everyone else just wants ‘aristotle’s relishes’: to consume without consequence.


The Real Reasons There Aren’t Many High-Earning Female CEO’s And Business Owners

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Peak Oil is nowhere near as troublesome as the different points of Peak Female and Male participation in the workforce. Unemployed women can participate in child rearing. Unemployed men create civil disruptions.

via The Real Reasons There Aren’t Many High-Earning Female Business Owners; A New Study from American Express OPEN Explains | Business |

A new study released this week shows that more women-owned businesses are generating upwards of $1 million in yearly revenue. But while this seems like something to cheer, it obscures the real truth behind women’s progress as firm owners.

First of all, the basics. The study, published by American Express OPEN, shows that more women business owners are raking in the seven-digit revenues, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The bad news? These high-earners account for just 1.8% of all female business owners.

Even worse, that percentage is identical to what it was in 1997.

The article then goes on to list the stereotypical reasons:
a) Women tend to have multiple priorities in life, while men tend to be myopic.
b) Women are less likely to risk capital (take out loans) than their male counterparts.
c) Women are more risk averse than men. Or perhaps, men are more risk tolerant than women.

To which I’d add two points:

The first is a clarification. What women see as bias men see as efficiency. Men look for a ‘hunting pack’ to belong to constantly, and join more easily, and absorb risk on behalf of the pack more readily. In exchange for risk tolerance, males invest in other males. Over a lifetime of experience, a man learns that women are a higher cost and higher risk partner than men. This risk tolerance shows up in interesting ways: men will take risks on less information especially if they see negligible losses. Failure (especially in the USA) among men is the result of attempting to be heroic and it sends positive status signals to other men and women to have taken risks. Women do not tend to share this self perception even when they appreciate it in men.

Secondly, at the risk of being offensive on a terribly sensitive topic, there is one unpleasant elephant in the room:

CEO’s of large companies tend to have IQ’s of 130 or higher. And men vary in IQ more widely than women (there are more males below 85 and above 115 than women). At 125 there are two men for every woman. This imbalance continues to a five-to-one, and eventually to as much as a thirty-to-one difference.

If we also account for time spent in the work place, it should be statistically unlikely that the number of female CEO’s will increase substantially. At least numerically, it appears that we are already at or near the maximum, and that explains why the curves have flattened.

This argument and the supporting data has been out there for quite a while now and simply presents an uncomfortable truth. At the extremes (and ceo’s are outliers) males dominate numerically not only by preference for risk, but by ability. There are just many more males in the upper and lower IQ ranges.

Like professional sports, when we are talking CEO’s we are de-facto talking about outliers. This exceptionalism at the margins canot be applied to ‘average’ people. And if they are compared, women possess clear advantages in short term memory and ease of adaption to existing social groups. Men possess clear advantages in dealing with quantitative analysis, risk and abstractions. Female superiority in short term memory is not an advantage in the most demanding roles, but it is a distinct advantage in most roles. Empathy assists in obtaining understanding and compromise, but running large companies is a matter of ‘sensing’ the world through empirical data rather than through empathy. The majority of jobs in the white collar world favors women’s abilities more than mens. And this can be seen in the data.

However, this fact has no impact on the small business market in which success is more a matter of relationship building and sales. Women have taken over any number of industries and specializations. The most obvious are medicine: veterinary and general practitioners. Two occupations that were almost exclusively male. But more importantly, women continue to displace men in the middle. And jobs that have been a male specialty because of physical strength continue to disappear. Beginning with farming in the 1850’s, then manufacturing, then construction. All the muscle-work is being replaced by machines. This is creating an unemployment problem for ‘lower end’ men — who usually become a problem for society. So to some degree we have displaced men permanently. And while we may have women feeling unfulfilled to some degree, we have legions of men who are increasingly likely to simply check out of society, and in some cases return to violence and drugs — or the modern equivalent: video games and sports, while remaining permanently underemployed.

Otherwise the article is honest and correct. Which is rare for an article on this topic.

What does this mean? Well, it means that there is a ‘peak’ to women’s participation at the extremes, and a peak to men’s participation in the middle. It looks like both genders have peaked. This doesn’t mean women should stop trying to achieve increases. It means that there is no ‘male conspiracy’ to keep women down. And as a member of the anti-misandry movement, I would prefer that we dealt with the truth rather than ideological fancy that demonizes men as a means of obscuring material differences in ability at the extremes, while ignoring differences in the middle — where most men and women actually exist.

On Education Policy (UNDONE)

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012


Neil Postman’s proposed five new ‘gods’ or narratives, that may better serve american culture. Postman’s ideas are interesting in that there is nothing ‘American’ about them. They are the feminine values of the campfire. They fail to address what made the west a religion of rationalism, a high trust society that consistently embraced technology and became the master of the vicissitudes of nature rather than the victim of them.

In keeping with the “balance of powers” I’ve proposed a competing masculine perspective. By teaching the two story arcs as a dynamic tension, or balance, we can accurately represent both the feminine need for community  and the masculine need for institutions that allow us to compete and invent, so that we may continue to transform the universe to suit our will, and fulfill our ‘destiny as heir to the divine’.


Our Shared Human Experience

The Communal Feminine Universalist Underclass View

The Miracle Of The West

The Minority Tribal Masculine Heroic Aristocratic View

1) The Spaceship Earth
The story of the Earth as a “vulnerable space capsule” with humans as its stewards and caretakers
1) Transform The Universe To Suit Our Will  – Man as god.
Our desire is to master the hostile universe into a beautiful
garden for human existence.
2) The Fallen Angel
The story that human beings make mistakes, but can get closer to the truth by learning from their errors and eliminating what is false
2) Heroic Man

Technology against the dark forces of time and ignorance

3) The American Experiment
The story of America as a grand experiment (a perpetual question mark, not a definitive period) – one in which students are invited to play an active part
3)  The ‘Game Society’ As Scientific Search For Solutions
The Balance Of Powers
Constitutionalism and The Common Law
The Market


Greek Rationalism And The Balance Of Powers
Confucianism And Totalitarian Hierarchy
Scriptural Monotheism And Theocracy
Hinduism/Buddhism And Anarchy

4) The Law of Diversity
The story of how human culture has been enriched and strengthened through the inclusion of different cultures and their ideas
4) The Pursuit of Excellence
Society As Science
Identify And Learn From The Best
5) The Word Weavers/The World Makers
The story of how humans use language to give meaning to the surrounding world and, as a result, are then changed by their own creation
5) The Calculators
Reason, logic and Argument
Numbers, Prices, The market as information system
The Formula Makers