Archive for April, 2012

A Heretical Question? Do Women Have Too Much Power?

Saturday, April 14th, 2012


Given that women control access to sex and access to reproduction.
Given that women have a different mating strategy from men.
Given that women determine the outcome of elections.
Given that women prefer anti-liberty policies.
Given that in the modern economy women are more easily employable than men. (Or rather, that the distribution of women is heavier in the middle, to the disadvantage of men in the lower two quintiles.)
Given that women are financially capable of raising children on their own, and are doing so in record numbers.
Given that the only sector in which women do not dominate is in the upper quintile of intellectual ability, and therefore the upper incomes in the private sector.

Do women not have both in logic and in practice, the power to effectively enslave men by legislative means?

Women evolved in order to manipulate one group of men in order to gain control of another group of men. The agrarian order changed that for a short time.

Women evolved to seek the best alpha mates that they could obtain, then use sex to gain the resources and cooperation of beta males, once they have their children.

Men could cooperate politically because they only differ in ability. But women differ from men in that they do not seek liberty to succeed in order to obtain access to sex and reproduction. Women already control access to sex and reproduction.

So can men and women cooperate in a democratic order if it is possible within that political order to conduct involuntary transfers?

Libertarian Strategy

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

We can solve for freedom by attempting to gain sufficient converts in order to create a religion – a means of rebellion against institutions. Or we can solve for freedom by attempting to create formal institutions as a means of preventing others from taking our freedom. The first assumes that freedom and its corollary, responsibility, are a majority preference. The second assumes that freedom and responsibility are a minority preference.

Freedom as we understand it, is a uniquely western value, and is antithetical to traditional paternalistic and tribal social orders.

So pick a religion, or pick a government, or pick both. If you pick a religion the state will defend itself against you. If you pick a government religions will rebel against you. If both, then you lose the balance of powers that places limits on either.

So the choice comes down to whether you believe a majority of humans desire freedom and responsibility as individuals, or whether you believe the majority simply desires the benefits of the market economy as members of families, extended families and tribes.

It becomes difficult to demonstrate evidence that the majority of people prefer freedom and responsibility. In fact, they seek it for themselves at the expense of others, almost universally.

Criticizing Rothbard, Or Criticizing The Abuse Of Rothbard?

Friday, April 13th, 2012

I criticize Rothbard all the time, but always for the same single reason: he did not solve the problem of formal institutions and effectively, he tried to advocate freedom be achieved through informal institutions alone — effectively via a religion. That’s what Confucius did as well. He could not invent politics so he directed the entire civilization to operate as a hierarchical family.

But religions are means of rebelling against formal institutions largely by the lower classes, and those rebellions are limited to use by the lower classes. For the middle and upper classes to rebel, they need something to advocate that assists them in cooperation through formal institutions, even if those formal institutions are very limited in scope. And in our terms, limited in scope to the resolution of conflicts. Hoppe solved that problem. He solved the problem of formal institutions. That’s his genius.

Hoppe’s weakness is that his English words are structured in turgid German thought, and his writing is not as accessible or organized as are Rothbard’s and Mises’ – nor structured as a social appeal as is Hayek’s work. But Hoppe has found the answer to government that we have been looking for — for two and a half millennia: how to create those cooperative instituions, without at the same time creating bureaucracy. Or, how to create instituions within the market, and subject to the market rather than insulated from it.

When we try to advocate Hoppe’s work, we tend to advocate his line of reasoning, rather than the utility of his ideas. I think we do that because we’re paying too much attention to Rothbard’s approach to libertarianism as an informal institution — which again, I’m arguing is counter-factual: the majority do not want freedom, but increased ability to consume. So, both of these argumentative strategies are difficult, because those we wish to convert find fist, that the arguments themselves are ant-social, rather than just thought experiments to help us understand the difference between truth and norm. And second that the arguments are too complex and unnecessary given that the Hoppeian social order is actually quite simple. And any discussion of that social order serves to undermine the presumption behind government: that bureaucracy is a necessary component of achieving social order.

Curt, … I don’t follow you. what is the problem of “formal institutions,” and how did Rothbard “fail” to solve it, and why is this … something to criticize him about? No one can do evertyhing. What exactly is the probem of “formal instituitons” and what IS the “solution”, in your view? And what has this to do with libertarianism anyway?
— SK

1) Three categories of institutions: a)Technologies: history, numbers, arithmetic, accounting, objective truth, contracts, interest. b) Formal institutions: laws, courts, banking, armies, formal organizations for capital concentration. c) Informal institutions: manners, ethics, morals, norms, traditions, narratives, myths, rituals, public rituals, and religions.

2) Criticize is a bad word I guess, you’re right. a) I think I dont really comprehend how someone can argue for a normative system that is against the expressed political desires of the many, even if only for status reasons, despite the fact that it would serve their economic interests, if not their status seeking interests — or their will to power. So I tend to view rothbard and mises, as did Hayek, as artificially narrowing the scope of the problem for cultural reasons — because of their sentiments. b) The entire argument from Crusoe on down is a useful thought experiment, but one can’t draw conclusions from it without also trying the opposite thought experiment: an island populated with men in which one desires property rights. THe island after all, creates property by definition if one man is on it.. So, the many-man experiment is more insightful. And the Crusoe argument becomes subject to the reductio fallacy. That’s the thought experiment that’s equally as informative. And from that one comparison of thought experiments, we would have to answer the problem of institutions. And I’m pretty sure we run up against the nasty problem of redistribution (or better said: dividends) if we explore that experiment as well.

So you’re entirely right. It isn’t up to one man to solve anything. It is however a material problem, if we have created an ideology, rather than a solution. Ideologies are useful for obtaining the power to establish a form of government, even if that form is anarchic. But institutional solutions are necessary: both technical, formal and informal. So I’m criticizing perhaps the abuse of rothbard. He succeeds in creating the INFORMAL institutions. And hoppe the FORMAL institutions.

Rothbard created the simple rules that are necessary for infinite application. He just didn’t solve the rest of it. So I’m not so much criticizing him, as much as criticizing a reliance upon the rothbardian rather than hoppeian solution set.

3) What does this have to do with libertarianism? I see libertarian (commercialism), conservative (manorialism), and progressive (socialism) sentiments as cognitive biases that are largely a reflection of mating strategies. (Too deep for this post). And within libertarian sentiments, ‘libertarianism’ is a rothbardian invention. Libertarianism is a rigid concept, as you’ve stated many times. Libertarian sentiments are much wider. And many political solutions can be classified as libertarian in the sense that they serve the sentiment if not adhere to the hard definitions of rothbardian ethics.

(— Eds: added text follows –)

Further, as I stated in the first posting, hoppe solved the problem of institutions without bureaucracy.

(From a FB conversation)

Analogies are the core of cognition: Hofstadter

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

(Thanks to Skye for pointer)

The attempt to better understand the physical structure of our brains doesn’t seem to have produced anything more useful than the philosophical insight that precise definitions, deduction in its three forms, and the syllogism as a means of comparing those definitions, and the use of analogies in their multitude of forms, are the minimum reducible objects of cognition and calculation by that process we call reason.

(Note: here are notes on deduction etc: Section III: Types of Analogical Argument)

The major improvement to human cognition have been: First the development of writing and accounting that allow us to communicate an idea consistently, and to perceive and compare what we cannot with our senses alone. And second, the use of statistics to create categories we could not perceive with our senses, and calculus to allow us compare multiple axis of causal properties, both of which draw upon our accumulated record of financial information — information that makes economic assessment, and therefore tests of our moral narratives, finally possible by other than purely philosophical means.

But in the end, empirical observation must be reduced to some categorical type which is in itself an analogy — and must be. Because we cannot perceive it by our senses alone.

NASA Complains, and So Do I: My experience with the AGW movement.

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

There is very little that is the product of the human mind that is incomprehensible to an individual who is determined to understand it. I’ve gone through the climate arguments for years now, and the data as presented is tentative if not counterfactual and contradictory. Especially troubling is the fact that the increase in temperatures does not seem to continue.

I’ve even invested (and lost money) in the AGW movement. As a participant I’ve been witness to the opportunism of political bureaucracies in finding a new means of taxation and regulation that mean more jobs, more budget and more political power — all justified by popular sentiment, and none motivated by the matter under question. I’m personally acquainted with some of AGW’s leadership early proponents, and the leadership of the supposedly neutral agencies. I’ve witnessed self interest trump public good on the part of nearly every one of these people I’ve come into contact with. It was nothing but a cash grab: a gold rush by everyone I encountered.

The demonstrated abuse of the scientific process, and the energetic politicization of the material throws what is potentially informative into question. Especially in light of the more serious environmental concerns, particularly overfishing, developing-world pollution, and human overbreeding — concerns whose solutions would requires states engage in the difficult task of competing with one another rather than against a weaker private sector that cannot refuse their authoritarian violence.

Therefore the objective mind is left to choose between a possible risk that cannot be proved, or yet another abuse of institution of science for self serving and political purposes. And the simpler solution prevails: human self interest, hubris and error.

However, given that we all want a cleaner world to live in, and that a world that continues to industrialize will only exacerbate the problem. Then the objective mind argues that we should attempt to produce power and create the fewest emissions.

That’s a smart policy. Tax games that just reward the academic and political bureaucracies for shoddy science and immoral political behavior are not smart policy.

The AGW peak has passed. But we must keep up the struggle against the bureaucracy until we learn how to privatize, and that we must privatize, in order to prevent the abuses that naturally arise from any bureaucracy that is not subject to market pressures.

Paper: Conservatives Have Lost Faith In The Integrity Of Science

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Notes from: Politicization of Science in the Public Sphere: A Study of Public Trust in the United States, 1974 to 2010 — Gordon Gauchat
Available at:

1) Their position: Science is, and always has been, political. It will remain political, because the economy of the scientific establishment, and academia in particular, represents a large number of people, a great deal of money, large bureaucratic organizations, and a dependence upon the public trough.

2) “the scientific community leverages its credibility and technical expertise to assess and certify social policy and other institutional practices (e.g., military technology, medical developments, and expert advisory panels). A breakdown of this postwar consensus along sociopolitical lines may signal that the authority of science no longer provides sufficient legitimacy to policymakers and government regulators or, paradoxically, that the authority of science has reached its upper limit (Yearley 1994). ”

3) I’m not sure I agree that the conservative position has been articulated in this paper. The problem is that conservatives laud the achievements of science in discovery of the physical world. But they see nothing but the politicization of it in the social and political arenas.

Science fits within the conservative concept of man: imperfect and hubristic. Therefore science is a means by which we can overcome our imperfection perception, imperfect comprehension, and hubristic fantasies.

Conservatism is scientific: it seeks demonstrated proofs of success via observation before something can be incorporated into the ‘fragile’ social and political system.

The question is whether, just as man’s ‘law’ should be ruled by ‘natural law’ to prevent hubris, whether scientific inquiry should be limited by ‘natural law’ to prevent hubris. Meaning, science loses its legitimacy whenever it seeks to hypothesize that it is possible to alter the nature of man by policy. Instead, man’s systems of cooperation must be altered carefully by market forces, which are utilitarian, and ‘scientific’ not utopian and ‘scientism’. Scientism meaning, subject to the errors of scientific reasoning.

4) Conservatives and Libertarians in particular were heavy supporters of science. Science fiction forms the basis for libertarian mythology. Technology is inseparable from the western conservative military tradition, and obsession with technology is probably the primary differentiator of the western man from every other civilization.

5) Science as a process, and as a profession, has a very checkered history. it’s only because most of science’s history relates to the physical world, not the social world, that many and frequent the failures of science are immaterial, and its successes valuable. But when science works on social policy, and when we consider human beings are such victims of hubris and error, and prone to so many biases and cognitive failures, then the cost of those failures is not born by the community itself, but externalized onto the rest of society. Many of whose members are engaged in commerce. Commerce exposes human nature and incentives more accurately than do any other forms of test. And for the commercial sector, whose ‘science of human nature’ is exercised daily. The propositions of science with regard to human nature, and the consequences of political and social and economic policy are UNSCIENTIFIC in its methods, and COUNTER TO THE EVIDENCE in its results.

This is why conservatives see science through two methodological lenses: The physical world through observation of the physical sciences — those objects and processes where our senses fail us. And the commercial science, where our senses and their limits are the very means and methods used to build society through voluntary and productive exchange.

This is a profound concept that I have only been working on for a few months. Maybe a year. But commerce is the science of human cooperation. Conservatives are commercial. Conservatism is scientific. The physical world can neither learn from the tests imposed upon it, nor can it seek to outwit them. Humans do both. And the members of the scientific community are as subject to those failures because they possess a multitude of incentives, a means of exciting them, and human frailty of reason.

Commercial science is brutally scientific. Failures are found early. They are costly to the individuals who explore them. They are beneficial to consumers no matter whether successful or a failure.

Economics has failed because of scientism. We already have a science of human nature: it’s commerce. It’s the only science of human behavior that can be trusted.

From that perspective, academic science is a religion of mysticism founded on obviously false methodology, seeking to fulfill utopian preconclusions, producing a history of demonstrated catastrophic failures. And as such is an industry, an ideology, and a political movement that has been as damaging to human life as it has been beneficial in the physical sciences. The only catastrophic commercial experiments have been communistic in origin and promoted by academia. They were “anti-scientific scientism.”

I would argue, as have others, that science-envy in economics and philosophy was as responsible for the downfall of western civilization as was the nation state.

6) “Parsons (1962) proposed that scientific knowledge, particularly its empirical and universal qualities, is essential to secular institutions.
Similarly, Barber (1952, 1975, 1990:40) describes a “special congruence” of science with rational-legal authority and modern societies. Yet, even these scholars envisaged limits to public trust in science, because, in their view, organized science would reach a level of societal prestige and power that would engender public anxiety (Barber 1990; Merton 1938; Parsons 1962). STS scholars have been sharply critical of the “special congruence” of science and modernity on numerous fronts (for a concise summary, see Shapin
2008), but most clearly, the underlying assumption that modernity is irrevocably tied to scientific progress and technical innovation. Notwithstanding these criticisms, the modernist argument translates into a clear and testable hypothesis. Predominately, it forecasts science’s cultural ascendency: a uniform growth in public trust in science over time that may be slowed by a general distrust in power and authority.”

In other words, science will cease to be an independent external form of useful heresy, and will become part of the bureaucracy. The libertarian argument is that this is only possible because we publicly fund sciences. Basic research in the physical sciences is useful. The question is whether we should fund practical research or research into the social sciences. And I would argue no. Including economics in that social science. Social and Economic sciences are subject to perverse incentives and so must be part of the “Commercial Science” not physical science. (This would not help with the global warming problem, but it would help with the economics problem.)

7) The author repeatedly makes the mistake of stating that conservatives are skeptical of science. THey aren’t. They’re skeptical of the motivations of scientists. They’re skeptical of the motivations of politicians. They’re skeptical of the use of pseudo-science in the political sphere. Conservatives after all, rely upon NORMS (self-organizing traditions and habits) not articulated, man created, and therefore hubristic rules. Modernity consists of rules. (Weber).

8) I realize that I’m one of the ‘educated’ conservatives, and one of the conservative intellectuals, and one of the ‘new right’ conservative intellectuals at that. So I am able to articulate conservative ideas, and I don’t rely on the same arguments as do social conservatives. (Or classical liberal economists and political thinkers either.) But that’s different from saying that conservatives aren’t rational. It’s purely rational, even if they express the concepts in allegorical language. Conservatives speak in antique speech. That doesn’t mean we can’t understand the content of it.

9) Again, American Conservatives LOVE technology that can be USED by society. They just reject that science can CHANGE society – or man for that matter. Conservatism as a sentiment is a bias in favor of group competitiveness against other groups.

10) OK, Now we get to his argument: “Jacques, Dunlap, and Freeman (2008) have identified an elite-driven movement that is culturally located in conservative think tanks and media outlets and often disputes scientific conclusions to advance ideological or financial goals (see also Oreskes and Conway 2010). Altogether, a wide range of scholarship points to the NR’s intellectual boundary work that successfully distinguishes the conservative identity in terms of a competing base of knowledge that opposes the broader society’s established cultural institutions (Gross et al. 2011).”

THis statement contains a number of erroneous assumptions
a) “Broader society” tends to AGREE with conservative sentiments. It’s not like ‘liberal’ is anything but a minority sentiment. The society leans conservative. Research confirms that every month. (Pew).
b) Yes it’s an elite driven movement.. ALL political movements are elite driven.
c) Yes, political movements exist to advance ideological goals.
None of these are tests of anything rational. The question is whether conservatives who respect commercial science or anti-conservatives who advocate utopian physical sciences into the social sphere, are RIGHT in their assumptions about what it is possible for human beings to achieve by rational choice versus institutional habit. And by consequence, wht the impact to our civilization and mankind would be. Again, conservatism is scientific. It states that hubris leads to catastrophe. It states that scientism is a mystical religion. And it’s demonstrably true.

We have to understand that conservatism in this context means ‘european aristocratic christian commercial manorialism’. Or what we call ‘classical liberalism’. And that it was classical liberalism and its emphasis on commercial society as separate from the church and dependent upon the norms created by the church.

7) “Yearley (1994:252) argues that “there has begun to be a switch from
science being seen as a way of increasing production to a view of it as a means of handling risks and of achieving regulation.” The shift toward regulatory science that began in the 1970s could account for conservatives’
growing distrust in science, given this group’s general opposition to government regulation.”

Again, this is a progressive interpretation of history. Commerce requires tht all members of an industry are subject to the same rules. Those rules must exist GOING INTO the investment, not after it. If the government allows pollution then comes in later to fix it, then it’s a government cost so to speak. A conservative or a libertarian just wants the government to acknowledge property rights. We understand that in an effort to promote industrialization, governments in the west violated property rights (Took away rights of individuals to sue polluters of all kinds: toxic, light, noise, etc. And failed to force industrialists to clean up after themselves: replanting trees, re-landscaping mines.) This was a government action. The common law let farmers sue industrialists for damages. THe state conspired with industrialists. As such, conservatives and libertarians feel that this process wold be better handled as property rights, rather than as legislation. Because bureaucracy is slow, incompetent and self serving, and drives up costs. (We have that data too.)

8) The rest of the paper goes on to describe the data and the methods used. It’s not of much interest other than it’s based upon survey data — ie:it’s dependent upon human expression rather than OBSERVATION of human action. (Which a commercial scientist would argue is unscientific on its face since people act very differently from how they speak. But may be useful in some way or another. )

I should write a paper on this for one of the rags. But I’ve got other work to do.

CONSERVATISM IS SCIENTIFIC AND RELIES UPON COMMERCIAL SCIENCE. Conservatives are skeptical whenever the physical sciences attempt to encroach upon the commercial sciences. One is a process of discovery. One a process of invention. They are governed by different rules.

Conservatism is SCIENTIFIC. I don’t know what’s hard about that. WHy do you think westerners invented ‘science’ in the first place? Because they were a minority that relied upon technology for military superiority and financed their superiority through commerce. Commerce is scientific. Westerners are (were) a commercial people. Commerce is scientific. Science as we know it is an outgrowth of commercial society.

Sigh. So obvious its painful.

RE: STRATFOR On Iran’s Strategy — Why I Support Action Against Iran

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Depending upon your concept of the world: universalist democratic socialist, or hierarchical tribalist, or utilitarian economist, you might see US policy toward Iran in a different light.

One thing is for sure: we are accomplishing for militant islam, on behalf of Iran, precisely what the Persians and the radicals have always desired — a restoration of the empire from the mediterranean to the Sino-Hindu border, and a vehicle for concentrating wealth via oil revenues that will surpass both the classical era’s means of concentrating wealth via agriculture, the renaissance era’s means of concentrating wealth through shipping, or the industrial era’s means of concentrating wealth through institutional capitalism and industrial production.

We will have an expansionist, anti-rational, totalitarian civilization, operating on non-market principles, with which much of the developed world cannot compete.

We will lose the dollar as a reserve currency, and as a Petro-currency, and finish the cycle of credit expansion, finish the Keyenesian economic era, and eradicate the ability of the west to pursue debt-dependent social programs. We will see europe need to remilitarize just when it cannot afford to. We will see the USA split between a hostile and patient china and a hostile and impatient islam, just when the USA is itself split by political, regional and racial discord.

One cannot ‘spread democracy’. One can only spread capitalism and consumerism. Democracy is a unique property of the west, because the west is the only civilization to have broken familial and tribal bonds — having forbidden intermarriage for centuries. Democracy will never succeed except among families, tribes, villages and small cities. It is antithetical to human nature. Even capitalism is ‘democratic’. Nations adopt democratic republicanism when the middle class requires access to politics, and when the antiquarian political systems can no longer accomodate the increased number of people with economic interests. Republican democracy is not ideological, it is simply a necessity born of increases in the numbers of economic interests.

For these reasons I did, and do, favor war in the middle east on an entirely humanistic, as well as economic, as well as cultural basis: We have spent five hundred years raising humanity out of agrarian ignorance and poverty, through the spread of rationalism, science, technology and the capitalist institutions that make industrial production possible. We must treat Islam as we did the Soviets and the Chinese communists: a militaristic, expansionist form of anti-market regressiveism. A threat to our existing way of life, by a mystical, tribal and familial empire, its culture and religion.

Until the last, most primitive civilization has joined the movement, they are a regressive threat to all of humanity. They are the latest luddite movement — yet another variation on Marxism, and nothing more. An attempt by existing power structures, and existing cultural investments, to hold onto antiquity despite the obvious failure of their culture in the contrast to others.

And while my libertarian friends do not like battle drums, they too often ignore the fact, that one must defend one’s market from non-market forces. Markets of the peculiar composition in the west, were made by man, by intent, not by accident.

The institution of property itself requires defense of not only the property itself, but the institutions of property, and the market itself. Our libertarianism evolved within that set of institutions. And within that set of Institutions it is viable. That does not mean the same principles apply without. Those broader threats pose to high a risk.

Ideology is for children living under the convenience of those institutions.

Although I would argue that the attempt to contain Germany actually caused the suicide of the west, our attempts to contain the Russians, Chinese and now islam has not been so.

CNN Is Anti Christian On Easter. How Nice.

Sunday, April 8th, 2012

I really don’t care about the content of religious mythology. I don’t think it matters. It might be better for preachers to read from the Iliad and the Odyssey, The Carolingian Epic, La Morte De Arthur, and the Nibelungen than it is to read from the Bible. It might be better to read selections from history and then speak about current events and how they relate. But the idea of a ceremonial leader and a teacher: someone very well educated that the community hires and pays for, and who speaks to the community every week, so that we actually have some sense of membership in something — even if it’s only for festivals and celebrations, births, marriages, foundings, launchings, consolation and deaths, and so we have an excuse to be civil egalitarians in practice by having an occasional meal together and afterward to work on charity together — well, that all seems like a good thing.

I love the Monarchy, History, Mythology and Mankind. Nothing more miraculous than that seems necessary. I love the Pope too, just like I love the Monarchy. The only protection from the mob is having someone out there whose entire purpose is the perpetuation of our extended family, and who can, with caution say, ‘I do not know what is good, but I know what is bad, and this is bad, and this other thing might be better’. Moral leadership when it is powerless except for the use of passionate persuasion is a defense against tyranny of the mob, ideologies, groups or individuals. Monarchy, even only as a vehicle for veto or ascent, is good for the same reason – especially if the nations are small. Monarchy is in history, the most common, best understood, and therefore the natural order of man for this reason. Our parliaments are merely a means of getting more work done – not better work done.

Religion need not be supernatural for it to have mystery and profundity in the beauty of its complexity. As humans we are capable of all that and more on our own. Gods should be a role model. A model we can aspire to, and perhaps one day achieve. I might prefer Arthur or Alexander. But if you have to pick a particular Nazarene instead, I’m all for it. He was a good man to use as a role model. And the consequences of using him for that purpose are nothing if not magical. :)

Defending John Derbyshire: Dear Brits, Get Ready To Eat Crow On Race

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

(Updates at end of post.)

The Guardian has a nice piece on the flap over John Derbyshire’s recommendation in Takimag that white and asian parents educated their children to avoid african americans on the streets. I found the comments typical of populist high minded British/Canadian public commentary and unrelated to the facts.

Dirbyshire is a satirist. The right relies upon satire, the way the left relies upon ridicule. Given the severity and pervasiveness of the racial problem in the states and satire is as good a tool as any to draw attention to it.

1) Derbyshire is playing off the news story in which a hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer with a ‘white’ name in a gated neighborhood shot and killed a black man after calling the police to alert them to his presence, and then being confronted and punched in the face, then beaten by the black man. Without this context, it is impossible to for the  UK reader to understand what Derbyshire is saying, and why: avoiding them is a better strategy than confrontation.

2) African americans are FACTUALLY responsible for an absurdly disproportionate percentage of violent crime in the states, and three quarters of their crimes involve white victims. African Americans FACTUALLY demonstrate African American distributions of IQ are FACTUALLY almost a full standard deviation lower than that of their white counterparts, just as asians and ashkenazim five points higher than whites – a problem for the job market in an advanced economy. The research is still out on the cause of these factors, but it is an active area of inquiry. And no, there is no disagreement in the literature over the accuracy or meaning of the tests — that is left to the popular press to spread as a misconception in order to sell advertisements.

3) If we eliminate African American crime from US statistics, the remaining population has approximately the same level of violent crime as do northern European countries. And the USA has even less petty crime than those countries, and Canada. These facts seem to surprise Europeans, and it is almost impossible to convince Canadians of it — until we show them the data from Canadian government sources that proves it.

5) Derbysire’s point, and it is a reasonable one, is that sweeping these facts under the rug and blaming the circumstances on oppression, rather than dealing with the practical reality of the problem, does not help us develop a mutually beneficial society devoid of racial conflict.

5) UK residents have no concept of the severity of racial tensions in the states, nor the degree to which they play into social and arenas. There are two reasons for the difference in tensions between the US and UK: a) institutions that apply pressure for the purpose of achieving conformity, and b) possessing a critical mass of the population, and the distribution or density of those communities within the population – dispersed being irrelevant and concentrated being very relevant.

a) The US does not have a coherent consistent means of applying social pressure in order to achieve conformity to norms that is so ever present in UK society, and absolutely pervasive in France. It is not socially acceptable to treat aberrant behavior among minorities as unacceptable. It must be tolerated under the principle of diversity and freedom of self expression. This is one of the many reasons why religiosity remains so hight in the USA: it is the only means of applying normative pressures. The UK has both a less flexible concept of society, and a pervasive class system, a somewhat elitist identity, and a majority with which to reinforce all of them. In the states the women’s movement allied with the anti-slavery movement, the the rapid immigration movement, then the labor movement, then the civil rights movement and the culmination of these processes has been anti-christian, anti-white-male, and resulted in the complete loss of identity. The problem is not so relevant in the UK yet, because this problem of racial conflict has been theoretical not material.

As Charles Murray writes in his recent work Coming Apart, the lower classes in the States are no longer adhering to the middle class norms — or ‘virtues’ — that compensate for differences in impulsivity and intelligence between the social classes. But moreover, by failing to adopt those norms, US society is fragmenting into different castes. The recent massive immigration by hispanics has caused additional tension — not the least of which is caused by the La Raza movement to reconquer the southwest. And the presence of muslims, while small, is exaggerated by their failure to integrate into the economy, society, and its norms — just as we see with muslims in the UK — and their association with harboring and funding terrorism.

b) British popular hand-wringing and moral outrage to the contrary, racial conflicts happen because of frictions between sets of dense populations; and because of material differences in economic productivity between those groups, as well as differences in the value of status signals between those groups. The USA has numerous areas of density-differences between the races. The black and white populations have never integrated. And there is no evidence that they will, or even desire to. We know that at about 10% diversity, neighborhoods radically flip (create white flight), and become poorer. We know many sets of statistics that demonstrate that people tend to sort geographically by race. We know that intermarriage is up, but it is largely up to about 15% between whites, asians and hispanics, not blacks. And while the USA was 75% white not that long ago, it will approach less than half white fairly shortly.

The UK was still approximately 85% white in 2001, and no minority had a 10% presence overall, and so it hasn’t been possible to have significant friction except in certain very small neighborhoods. But in those areas where racial density allows the formation of a cultural identity, that identity is eventually expressed as political power, and when expressed as political power we see racial frictions. Because politics controls access to money and opportunity, law writing and customs. These tensions, since 2001, have expressed themselves in the development of the British National Party, the English Defense League, other groups in the UK. Once a minority population has 10% of the vote, and can motivate higher voter participation because of their minority status, which can be concentrated behind a narrow number of issues, political conflict, and racial conflict will ensue. There is nothing special about the USA. It’s all just demographics, politics and money. The USA is just ahead of the cuve for europe, because we have dealt with the racial problem for 150 years now.

The Problem of and Importance Of Norms
Without the power to ostracize people for anti-social behavior, and to force adoption of norms, a population must develop frictions, if for no other reason than difference status signaling, and its expression in the pursuit of political power — signals are how we select mates, and gain access to more advantageous social groups, and are therefore inseparable from human nature. A society can rely on religion, education, rigid class nor caste norms, geographic ostracization, and commercial ostracization, in order to achieve that normative equality, from which all other forms of equality are made possible. Ostracization, religion, education are sticks and economic participation and status signals are the carrots by which we encourage adoption of the norms needed to create a cooperative polity. That said, however much races mingle in an economy, people consistently demonstrate a preference for being surrounded by those with morphological, cultural, class, and economic similarities. And despite our best efforts, we will not change that bit of human nature. It is against the interests of those who can more successfully achieve positive status within group than across group.

Norms must be homogenous in order for politics to be cooperative. The United States do not have a means of pressuring blacks into norms the way the UK has — mostly we assume, because of differences in density. There are just too many in high concentration that are too culturally unified to break communal bonds. Differences in the distribution of intellectual ability mean that there is a permanent density of underclass blacks that have no possible means of class rotation in the US economy. The hispanic problem is largely one of breeding patterns and language. We should note that american hispanics are largely a mixture of amerindian and spanish genetic pools. Otherwise, if the USA could forcibly change the language, and the breeding patterns, they would be possible to integrate into the society — albiet criminality is still high in that population. Just as it was for the Irish and Jews before them. And despite the negative impact the catholics and jews have had on the US Court system – particularly the Supreme Court, economically and culturally it has been a successful process of integration. Of course, I make these statements of value because I place rule of law higher in value than democratic will. And I do so for the same reason that the founders did, and the greeks did: the fashions and passions of the people are economically dangerous, and bureaucracy eventually leads to tyranny.

How The Church Solved The Problem Of Norms
The church managed to break european tribalism, which was very similar to racism, by prohibiting intermarriage out to as many as six generations. But intermarriage among europeans is not a visible property once it’s done. You cannot tell a smith from a jones. Races do not carry this same property of anonymity.

The church conducted this program of outbreeding in order to capture more inheritance revenue for itself. It was not a socially beneficent policy. It was entirely self serving. And I wold argue that the state is conducting a program of integration and multiculturalism in order to do the same: create power and wealth for members of the state, at the expense of the non-state, coming english people.

The problem the UK faces with Pakistanis for example, is their high rate of inbreeding — which is demonstrated by their near monopoly on UK birth defects. Inbreeding is also the same reason for muslim familial tribalism, and the reason for, like american blacks, a standard deviation lower IQ and higher impulsivity, both of which lead to disenfranchisement and criminality. If the UK were to ban intermarriage out to six generations again, it may be possible to integrate Pakistanis and other muslims into society. But as it stands, they are not integrating even after two or three generations, even if they are economically successful. They are forming a permanent subclass, which is maturing into a permanent caste, which will seek political power wherever it has density, in order to alter the privileges of, and persist and improve the status signals for the group.

The problems of the USA are occurring in the UK, and for the same reasons: Under any kind of democracy, where it is possible for groups to obtain political power, and where political power enables control of the purse, norms must be homogenous to prevent political divisions. Norms are more difficult to establish between racial groups than they were between tribal and family groups.

Our sentimental political values for tolerance arose from an era of religious and tribal rather than racial differences. And religious and tribal differences disappear with intermarriage and the enforcement of norms. Racial differences don’t because they’re visible, and because at the EXTREMES (jews on one end, blacks on the other) it is against the interests of those groups to adopt the norms, as it would impact their status signaling economies, and therefore their real economies. It is important for jews to be racist, so that they can persist their advantages. Whites used to be racist but the wars ended their comfort with self confidence. Blacks are racist at the bottom. And Arabs like blacks will remain racist for a long time to come. Because signaling in-group is beneficial to them, and out-grop it is not. And the dirty secret is that the races are materially different in distributions of talents, and as such these signals have extraordinary value and meaning to the members of each group.

Closing With Satire and Ridicule
So, like many things we observe over the past two centuries, the USA is just a window into the future for Europe in general, and the UK in particular. I remember the high-minded criticism of the States by UK and continental pundits as the banking system collapsed, and the cheering of the vox populi as they congratulated themselves on their superior wisdom — that was, until a lunch of steaming crow was served in heaping portions when it turned out that the problem was even worse in Europe than in the States. The same is true for the race issue: Do not attribute to wisdom and character, that which is a function of demographics and luck. We here in the states will start saving our crow in large freezers in preparation for your feast. Because UK populists will very soon be eating it.

(FYI: Eating crow is a U.S. colloquial idiom, meaning experiencing humiliation for having been proved wrong after taking a strong position.)

UPDATE: BANNED FROM THE GUARDIAN FOR THIS POST!!! This is a longer version of a post I put on the Guardian, which was later removed for ‘violating community guidelines’. The fact that facts can be offensive is offensive to me. :) This is quite a good post which will reward the patient reader with new understanding. — Curt

UPDATE 2: Dirbyshire was fired from the National Review for writing the article. The primary failing he made, and one I make as well, is to made clear that the race problem is one of distributions: black lower classes are the problem because of where they sit in relation to other groups. I would suppose that most of us think that’s just patently obvious, but then again, that’s because we think in terms of classes. Racism is just plain stupidity. You never know who it is you’re talking to by the color of their skin. But if the color of their skin raises a question, and their signals and behavior make obvious their class, then he’s just right on all counts.

UPDATE 3: Again, racism between individuals is simply irrational stupidity. You cannot judge an individual by the properties of his class, only a class by the properties of an individual. However, that requires that you KNOW the individual and that we are talking about individuals, not groups, when groups act as groups because of shared interests. The fact that violent criminality is predominantly a property of the lower classes, the American lower classes are dominated by african americans, and that 40% of african americans are below what we consider ‘cognitively limited’ 10% of whites are. That means that there is a one in ten chance that if you meet a white person entirely at random that you’ll find someone not very bright (a random event which isn’t possible, since people geographically colocate by IQ). And in that group, the dominant majority will use various pressures to control the behavior of those individuals. WHen meeting a black person, there is a four in ten chance that you’ll meet someone who is not very bright. The difference is in the DISTRIBUTION of white and black, ‘dumb’ people. If you’re in africa, and everyone else is black then you don’t think you’re kept down. If you’re black in the states, and 90% of white people are better off than you are, it’s obvious to you that it’s intentional ostracization, rather than a byproduct of the meritocratic sorting of mating and economics. We KNOW that people all rate themselves as above competent until they’re highly competent. We can measure it. But if you’re part of a group that is systemically at a competitive disadvantage, and where you intuitively judge yourself as normal, and therefore everyone else outside your group is conspiring against you, and when everyone on street that you meet treats you as having a 40% chance of being an idiot, and a 80% chance of being a criminal, and when your peers try to find solidarity through signaling that tries to evangelize primitive expressions, so you adopt those expressions of your group for solidarity and perhaps survival, and then walk a street with those signals all about you, simply verifying by signals what outgroup people expect, then it makes sense that you would be frustrated. THe only question asked by conservatives then, is a) why can’t I prohibit those signals if they contribute to an inability to integrate?, b) why can’t I prohibit people from my neighborhood who look and behave a certain way? c) why should I pay for people in that gene pool to have children? This isn’t irrational on anyone’s part. THe only reason conservatives can come up with is to empower the government.


Gödel’s Theorem Needs Godel’s Law

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Kurt Gödel’s incompleteness theorem came up in a debate the other night.  I usually react by hanging my head and groaning in anticipation of the chaos that eventually ensues. But on an impulse made a statement about the narrowness of its applicability in a vain attempt to avoid the conversation. It was futile. Chaos ensued.

The conversation really troubled me. Because I couldn’t defend it from memory. I couldn’t reconstruct the argument in my head.  I’ve spent time with the problem in computer science. So much so that it’s intuitive. But I could not remember how to reconstruct the salient part of the problem — the arithmetic requirement — so I couldn’t argue it. I had to go look it up again. And in doing so remembered why I can’t remember it: it’s complicated, and difficult if not impossible to reduce it to something more accessible. That’s why no one does it. :) That’s why no one has done it.

Gödel’s theory is one of the most abused concepts referred to by people outside of professional mathematics. And when it is used, it’s almost guaranteed that it’s being used incorrectly. I suspect that’s because of the popularization of the idea by way of the liars paradox, which is then inappropriately applied elsewhere by analogy. But mostly it’s abused as an excuse to create arguments to defend mysticism in religion and avoidance in philosophy, and to justify any state of skepticism. Instead, it is in fact, a fairly narrow argument, related to axioms and number theory. ie: questions within axiomatic systems that are testable by the rules of arithmetic.

I do no better. I usually express it as “given any fixed axiomatic system, there are statements that are expressible that are contradictory to the claim of completeness.” Which itself is incomplete because the difficulty with Gödel’s theory is in describing its arithmetic requirements — and that description is complicated, which is why it’s never included in any definition, and by that omission leads to its spread by erroneous analogy.

This simplified definition is useful within computer science, because computers themselves are bound by Gödel’s arithmetic constraint in the first place — unlike mathematics, wherein he discussion of Gödel’s theorem must specifically address the arithmetic requirement in order for it to be narrow enough to be true.

So we have three categories of problems that help us understand Gödel’s theorem in the abstract even if the mathematical concepts are difficult to convey other than by examples that are difficult to construct: 1) the computational problem set which is by definition constrained, 2) the mathematical problem set which must be constrained, and 3) the linguistic problem which cannot be constrained. And philosophical questions are part of set 3 – impossible to constrain to arithmetic limits which are the reason incompleteness is imposed by the theorem.

The net result is that Godel’s theorem is, for all intents and purposes, never applicable to non-mathematical, non-computational propositions. Ever. But since, in casual debate, we break Godwin’s law in any conversation by mentioning Nazis about once an hour, then even if we created a new law: “The inclusion of Gödel in any philosophical discourse is sufficient proof that the argument is faulty”, we would still break it once a week. Because in the end, people of philosophical bent, are actually searching to fulfill their un-sated desire for mystical release from our inescapable requirement to reason and adapt to a constantly changing, and entirely kaleidic reality. :)

Here is a wonderful little criticism by From Cosma Shalizi, Assistant Professor, Carnegie Mellon University. And as such it is only an appeal to authority – again, because the proof is burdensome and inaccessible.

“There are two very common but fallacious conclusions people make from this, and an immense number of uncommon but equally fallacious errors I shan’t bother with. The first is that Gödel’s theorem imposes some some of profound limitation on knowledge, science, mathematics.

Now, as to science, this ignores in the first place that Gödel’s theorem applies to deduction from axioms, a useful and important sort of reasoning, but one so far from being our only source of knowledge it’s not even funny. It’s not even a very common mode of reasoning in the sciences, though there are axiomatic formulations of some parts of physics.

Even within this comparatively small circle, we have at most established that there are some propositions about numbers which we can’t prove formally. As Hintikka says, “Gödel’s incompleteness result does not touch directly on the most important sense of completeness and incompleteness, namely, descriptive completeness and incompleteness,” the sense in which an axiom system describes a given field.

In particular, the result “casts absolutely no shadow on the notion of truth. All that it says is that the whole set of arithmetical truths cannot be listed, one by one, by a Turing machine.” Equivalently, there is no algorithm which can decide the truth of all arithmetical propositions. And that is all.

This brings us to the other, and possibly even more common fallacy, that Gödel’s theorem says artificial intelligence is impossible, or that machines cannot think. The argument, so far as there is one, usually runs as follows. Axiomatic systems are equivalent to abstract computers, to Turing machines, of which our computers are (approximate) realizations. (True.) Since there are true propositions which cannot be deduced by interesting axiomatic systems, there are results which cannot be obtained by computers, either. (True.) But we can obtain those results, so our thinking cannot be adequately represented by a computer, or an axiomatic system. Therefore, we are not computational machines, and none of them could be as intelligent as we are; quod erat demonstrandum.

This would actually be a valid demonstration, were only the penultimate sentence true; but no one has ever presented any evidence that it is true, only vigorous hand-waving and the occasional heartfelt assertion.”



Recommended by Shalizi

  • Michael Arbib, Brains, Machines and Mathematics A
  • George S. Boolos and Richard C. Jeffrey, Computability and Logic [Textbook, with a good discussion of incompleteness results, along with many other things. Intended more for those interested in the logical than the computational aspects of the subject — they do more with model theory than with different notions of computation, for instance — but very strong all around.]
  • Torkel Franzen, Gödel’s on the net [Gentle debunking of many of the more common fallacies and misunderstandings]
  • Jaakko Hintikka, The Principles of Mathematics Revisited [Does a nice job of defusing Gödel’s theorem, independently of some interesting ideas about logical truth and the like, about which I remain agnostic. My quotations above are from p. 95]
  • Dale Myers, Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem A
  • Roger Penrose, The Emperor’s New Mind [Does a marvelous job of explaining what goes into the proof — his presentation could be understood by a bright high school student, or even an MBA — but then degenerates into an unusually awful specimen of the standard argument against artificial intelligence]
  • Willard Van Orman Quine, Mathematical Logic [Proves a result which is actually somewhat stronger than the usual version of Gödel’s theorem in the last chapter, which however adds no philosophical profundity; review]
  • Raymond Smullyan, Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems A
  • To read:
  • John C. Collins, “On the Compatibility Between Physics and Intelligent Organisms,” physics/0102024 [Claims to have a truly elegant refutation of Penrose]
  • Rebecca Goldstein, Incompleteness [Biography of Gödel, which seems to actually understand the math]
  • Ernest Nagel and James R. Newman, Gödel’s Proof [Thanks to S. T. Smith for the recommendation]
  • Mario Rabinowitz, “Do the Laws of Nature and Physics Agree About What is Allowed and Forbidden?” physics/0104001