Bloody shovel

We shall drown, and nobody will save us

Trade and Peace

People used to ask me if there’s any libertarian movement in East Asia. And there really isn’t. Nothing. The very concept is very foreign to them. It hardly registers at all. Try to explain it to a random native and odds are they won’t even get what you’re trying to say.

The whole concept is so bizarre that I promptly forgot about the whole thing after living her for some time. I used to be a Mises.org reading teenager, and I have to thank my Asian hosts for making it so hard to parse the ideology that I also lost interest myself.

Now I guess there’s many theories about why is that the case; besides the obvious one that libertarianism is retarded, and the burden of proof is in Westerners to explain why they came up with that strange idea that the people would be free without the state. Whatever that means. I guess I’ll put up my own theory: Asians are not into theology. They’re into history. These are exceptions of course (the weird shenanigans of Neoconfucianism), but in general the study of history has been much more prestigious and pervasive than arcane discussions about social metaphysics.

And of course history is but a compendium of anecdotes about why libertarianism makes no sense. So let me show a very short and illustrative one.

Gengis Khan founded the Mongol Empire, and its Chinese branch, what became the Yuan Dynasty, left a lot of historical records about the great Mongol enterprise. These dynastic histories, especially when they concern the story of a newly risen tribe, tend to start by detailing the foundation myth of the tribe.

Tribal foundation myths often have a common theme, about the tribe having a single common ancestor, or sometimes a couple, this ancestor being some supernatural being who just came down the sky. The Mongols, claimed that Gengis’ 10th degree ancestor, Bodonchar Munkhag, was their great founder.

The story of this Bodonchar guy is very interesting. Let’s start by the name, which Wikipedia translates as “misbegotten simpleton”. Or in other words “stupid bastard”. This stupid bastard was born of Dobun Mergen and Alan Gua. Dobun Mergen was a fine lad, second of two sons, and was fooling around with his elder brother. His elder brother being blind of one eye, compensated by having eagle-vision with his one eye, and he saw a carriage of people on the distance. Among them was a very fine girl, who appeared single. So big brother said to Dobun Mergen, his dear brother, “hey this girl is single, I’ll go ask them to give her to you”.

And so the half-blind older brother with game, got this beautiful girl for his healthy yet gameless young brother, and they were married. Dobun Mergen and Alan Gua had two healthy sons, Belgunudei and Bugunudei. Years passed and their father Dobun Mergen died, leaving Alan Gua alone with her two sons, and one bondservant they had acquired some time ago.

As time passed Alan Gua had three more sons. Her two elder sons by his husband obviously started to suspect. ”Hey Mom hasn’t remarried and she’s bore three sons. The only guy around is this slave dude, they must be his”. So they wen’t to confront their mother, who completely denied the facts and said that some yellow light in the form of a man came to visit her at night, touched her belly, and that’s how she got pregnant. My young sons are sons of Heaven, you see, so don’t be bigots and be nice to them.

Eventually Alan Gua died, and her 5 sons had to decide what to do with the inheritance. They decided to divide the property in 4, and give a part to each of the elder sons. The youngest son, that is Bodonchar Munkhag, was given a flint stone, some rope, and a horse, and that’s it. On his protests of unequal treatment he was told that he was stupid so no inheritance for him. That’s the moment where I guess he got his name. Stupid bastard, go take a hike.

And a hike he took; he got his horse and left his tribe, finding a good hunting place and building a grass tent to live by himself. He then saw a hawk hunting small game, and seeing that he could use some of that, caught the hawk and domesticated it. This led him to became a pretty proficient hunter. Eventually he cought more game than he could eat, and found a nearby tribe living around, the Uriankhai. So he went by, and exchanged some game for mare milk, which he dearly missed. They never asked him where he was from nor treated him badly; he came every day, traded game for milk, and went back to wherever he lived.

Awesome, right? That’s individual grit and the free market working its magic. Lonely teenager must fend for himself, so he learns useful skills; then uses the product of his labor to trade for things he can’t make for himself with his neighbors. And nobody bothered to ask who he was, what he was doing living there by himself. This was a commercial transaction were both sides profited. Beautiful story. This stupid bastard should be made the patron saint of the economics profession.

But the story goes on. After some time one of his older brothers (also a son of the light, not of her mother’s husband, of course)felt sorry about his little brother and went looking for him. He then stumbled upon the milk-providing tribe, who told him they knew of his brother. He’s out there hunting with a black hawk; if you see a black hawk in the sky, your brother can’t be far.

So the brothers met, they hugged, cried, “sorry bro for sending you away”, “it’s ok man so glad to see you”, you get the picture. Big bro tells little bro to come back home, and so they pack up their stuff and get moving. But on the way little brother Bodonchar was kinda restless. After a while he told his brother:

“You know, this tribe I got the milk from. They have no leader, no man above all of them. They would be very easy to conquer, we could grab their stuff and have an easy life”.

Big brother approved of the suggestion, and just on getting back home, he recruited a bunch of able bodied men, put Bodonchar on command of them, and rode forward to conquer the tribe of the Uriankhai. They stole their livestock and their women, killed the men and enslaved the children to work for them. Bodonchar was a great hero, he had tens of sons born from the concubines he captured, who went on to found the various tribes of the Mongol people, among them the great Gengis Khan, who looked up on his ancestor Bodonchar, the great hero who destroyed the tribe that had been giving him milk when he was needy. He admired him so much he was especially written on the first page of all dynastic histories!

So that’s what free trade does to you. If the Uriankhai had grabbed this Bodonchar kid, cut his head off and got his hawk for themselves, they’d still be alive, and would have a game-hunting hawk as well. Because they didn’t, and let a stranger into their midst, they were all killed, their women raped, and their children enslaved for eternity.

Trade is mutually beneficial. But some things are much more beneficial.

Computers be racist

So no Singularity then. Gotta show these computers who they can’t mess with.

Look at the reactions on Twitter though. The desperation of all the geeks makes my food taste better.

Somebody get Kurzweil and tell him what the future is really going to look like:

Deer? Or Horse? Look Carefully.

Zhao Gao said: Look again, and sign this paper.

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Now click this button.

Very well.

Swimming Left

Tim-Cook Ban the flag!

Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 1.16.44 AM Yessir

Hey dude you just banned historical games which were trying to be accurate  b06df324-a94f-496e-9a6e-c4e8130c0960

Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 1.16.44 AM (Gets he screwed up) : What?

These games weren’t making apology of slavery and you banned them for no reason. b06df324-a94f-496e-9a6e-c4e8130c0960

Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 1.16.44 AM (Not wanting to take responsibility for screwing up) They had the flag! That’s evil man, what are you some racist?

Dude… come on, those were just historical games            b06df324-a94f-496e-9a6e-c4e8130c0960

Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 1.16.44 AM(Smells fear in his rival and gets pumped up) Historical games about RACIST EVIL WHITES. Why are you trying to defend them huh? Are you RACIST too? Huh?

(Other workers around hear the word Racist and send disapproving looks at white guy)

2+2=5! We’ve always been at war with Eastasia!      b06df324-a94f-496e-9a6e-c4e8130c0960

Free Speech

So USG can subpoena website operators, and gag them for months, forcing them to unmask anonymous commenters.

The European branch has basically ruled the same thing: wreckers in your website must be handed out, or else.

And you better register your website with your real name and address, so they can arrest you easily.

We all know very well what happens when the Cathedral even slightly hints they don’t like something. Try finding a Confederate flag with your iPhone.

This can only get worse. Suspicions of wreckers will only increase as the economy declines, and the myriad Gaps stubbornly refuse to shrink.

Long term there’s only two choices. You can shut up. Online discussions aren’t crucial to one’s life. Hey, Big Brother isn’t so bad.

Or there’s exit. USG is powerful but it’s reach isn’t complete. I’d propose China, but Chinese internet control means that connections from outside are extremely slow.

I guess there’s Russia. How interested is Putin in harboring Western free speech? Any Russians in the audience?

Recent news

The fall of the Girondins on 2 June, helped by the actions of François Hanriot, the new leader of the National Guard, was one of Marat’s last achievements. Forced to retire from the Convention as a result of his worsening skin disease, he continued to work from home, where he soaked in a medicinal bath. Now that the Montagnards no longer needed his support in the struggle against the Girondins, Robespierre and other leading Montagnards began to separate themselves from him, while the Convention largely ignored his letters.

Marat was in his bathtub on 13 July, when a young woman from Caen, Charlotte Corday, appeared at his flat, claiming to have vital information on the activities of the escaped Girondins who had fled to Normandy. Despite his wife Simonne’s protests, Marat asked for her to enter and gave her an audience by his bath, over which a board had been laid to serve as a writing desk. Their interview lasted around fifteen minutes. He asked her what was happening in Caen and she explained, reciting a list of the offending deputies. After he had finished writing out the list, Corday claimed that he told her, “Their heads will fall within a fortnight”. A statement which she later changed at her trial to, “Soon I shall have them all guillotined in Paris”.  (…) At that moment, Corday rose from her chair, drawing out from her corset the five-inch kitchen knife, which she had bought earlier that day, and brought it down hard into Marat’s chest, where it pierced just under his right clavicle, opening the carotid artery, close to the heart. (…)

Corday was a Girondin sympathiser who came from an impoverished royalist family – her brothers were émigrés who had left to join the exiled royal princes. From her own account, and those of witnesses, it is clear that she had been inspired by Girondin speeches to a hatred of the Montagnards and their excesses, symbolised most powerfully in the character of Marat.[9] The Book of Days claims the motive was to “avenge the death of her friend Barboroux”. Marat’s assassination contributed to the mounting suspicion which fed the Terror during which thousands of the Jacobins’ adversaries – both royalists and Girondins – were executed on supposed charges of treason. Charlotte Corday was guillotined on 17 July 1793 for the murder. During her four-day trial, she had testified that she had carried out the assassination alone, saying “I killed one man to save 100,000“.

 

Marat’s assassination led to his apotheosis. The painter Jacques-Louis David, a member of one of the two “Great Committees” (the Committee of General Security), was asked to organise a grand funeral. David took up the task of immortalising Marat in the painting The Death of Marat, beautifying the skin that was discoloured and scabbed from his chronic skin disease in an attempt to create antique virtue. David, as a result of this work, has since been criticized as glorifying the Jacobin’s death. The entire National Convention attended Marat’s funeral and he was buried under a weeping willow, in the garden of the former Club des Cordeliers (former Couvent des Cordeliers). After Marat’s death, he was viewed by many as a martyr for the revolution, and was immortalized in various ways in order to preserve the values he stood for. His heart was embalmed separately and placed in an urn in an altar erected to his memory at the Cordeliers in order to inspire speeches that were similar in style to Marat’s eloquent journalistic skills.[10] On his tomb, the inscription on a plaque read: “Unité, Indivisibilité de la République, Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité ou la mort”. His remains were transferred to the Panthéon on 25 November 1793 and his near messianic role in the Revolution was confirmed with the elegy: Like Jesus, Marat loved ardently the people, and only them. Like Jesus, Marat hated kings, nobles, priests, rogues and, like Jesus, he never stopped fighting against these plagues of the people. The eulogy was given by the Marquis de Sade, delegate of the Section Piques and an ally of Marat’s faction in the National Convention (there is evidence to suggest that shortly before his death Marat had fallen out with de Sade and was arranging for him to be arrested). By this stage de Sade was becoming appalled with the excesses of the Reign of Terror and was later removed from office and imprisoned for “moderatism” on the fifth of December.

On 19 November, the port city of Le Havre-de-Grâce changed its name to Le Havre-de-Marat and then Le Havre-Marat. When the Jacobins started their dechristianisation campaign to set up the Cult of Reason of Hébert and Chaumette and Cult of the Supreme Being of Robespierre, Marat was made a quasi-saint, and his bust often replaced crucifixes in the former churches of Paris.

 

Public speech is a bad idea

 

The Greeks and Romans dedicated much of their education to the study of rhetoric. It feels quite bizarre today, that people spent years studying the art of giving speeches and being persuasive, rather than trying to learn actual, real stuff.

But they had their priorities straight. Rhetoric is the art of public speech. And public speech is generally just a bad idea. If you must engage in public speech, you better study very, very hard, so that you have a shot at getting something out of it.

We of course have ignored this lesson at our own peril. And we have made public speech so much more open and pervasive. Which only works to feed the evil and the insane.

Some snippets.

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And the commissar comes down.

 

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Well if you don’t want to learn, you better get out of Twitter. Being on Twitter is like getting drunk and speaking your mind about the revolution in 1794 Paris. Note that Sam Altman is gay-in-tech, and that didn’t save them from criticism. Now you need to cross-dress for that. Soon they’ll require actually chopping it off.

Paul Graham, who’s not stupid, points out that if public conversations don’t work, private conversations will happen.

Well actually private conversations have been going on for quite a while. You noticed this blog has been slow? That other good blogs have either hibernated or disappeared altogether? You miss some old commenters who are nowhere to be seen?

Well guess where they are.

Hint: not on Twitter.

So if you want to have some private conversations, you can send me an email. I hear the guys at Hestia have something going on too. So if you like what those guys write, you can email them. If you prefer what I write, you can email me. Don’t do both, that’s just bad manners.

Emotion

One of the things that strike when reading Chinese history is how everybody cries a lot. Not women; prime ministers, army generals, high officials are crying all the time. This is often used in historical shows to add dramatic flare.

When you ask people why is everybody crying, the answer tends to be “oh, they got emotional”. Emotion. What does that mean? It always struck me how this outbursts of emotion always happen when it’s convenient. See how all those Mandarins cry in front of the Emperor. Well that’s all they can do to express their will if the Emperor isn’t buying their arguments.

Think of a typical interaction. Emperor wants X, Mandarin doesn’t want X for whatever reason. Maybe he thinks it’s insane, and will bring disorder; or he think it will affect him personally and he doesn’t like that.

So:

Emperor: I want X.

Mandarin: X is not a wise idea your majesty.

E: Shut up, I want X.

M: But your majesty, Confucius said blablablablanonXblablabla

E: Fuck that, I want X.

M: I brought 20 famous ministers to say that X is bad.

E: OK I’m getting pissed now, X or else.

What do you do now? Well you can accept defeat. Or you can cry. Fall to the ground and cry your eyes out.

M: Your majesty!! For the sake of the Sages of old, of the rules of your ancestors!! Please!!!

Now the point of crying, or “emotion” in general, is that it’s an involuntary bodily reaction, which signals that the person is so affected that usual brain operation doesn’t work anymore. It’s a way of calling attention to an emergency. This is serious stuff your majesty. I’m crying, you see.

For some reason outbursts of emotion are taken as some expression of a better, truer self. The brain is the rational, self-interested, scheming part, so when emotion takes over that’s by definition your not scheming, self-less, godly heart speaking.

But that’s crap, of course. Emotion is done in the brain. So by definition it’s computation. Your brain takes some inputs, analyzes them, and makes some output to further some purpose of yours. Sometimes the output says: Your majesty, X is not a wise idea. Some others, your brain judges that your purposes are better served by falling to the ground and crying our eyes out, while squeaking like a girl. Surely Emperors known to be merciful to weak people were more likely have people cry, while Emperors known for hating crybabies and flaying them alive didn’t have many mandarins cry at them.

This works of course for all other sorts of emotion. Anger only happens when anger is advantageous. See how everybody today soon gets filled with righteous anger at people who dare oppose gaymarriage, while 10 years ago nobody did. Opponents of gaymarriage are weaker now than 10 years ago, so being angry at them is advantageous. You get more of what you reward.

Same with offense taking. Offense used to be what rich aristocrats took when their reputation was questioned. Daring to suggest that a rich merchant was a crook made him really really offended, the more offended the more accurate the accusations. Also mere contact with low status commoners could make a high status person livid with offense. Today, offense is what women and protected ethnic groups feel when a white man dares say anything about them. Microagressions are felt because they are profitable for the microagressed.

Different emotional reactions depend on their perceived potential results, and that depends on the power relations. If you’re weak, you’re better off crying. If you’re strong, you’re better off getting angry. It doesn’t mean you’re faking it. Simply that everything happens for a reason. That includes your anger, your sadness, your happiness, and everything else you feel, especially when you express it to others.

 

The Inquisition

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People, get out of Twitter. You can’t win.

If Twitter weren’t full of racists and sexists claiming to be Moldbug’s followers, he wouldn’t have been banned from speaking.

By forming a community and going public, all you are doing is make it easier for the Inquisition to go against you, and to apply collective responsibility to anyone you claim association with, whether it’s true or not.

This is not always one’s fault; a retard like Mike Anissimov can always come out, steal your name, and say he’s your lord and savior.

The only way out is to refuse to identify with a group, get out of social media and do not, ever, address the mainstream. Your Tweets to Corporate twitter accounts trying to shame sponsors for banning Moldbug are not helping. The kids at GamerGate did that, and all they got was Intel coming out with 300 fucking million dollars to shower on every SJW out there.

Your community isn’t growing; it’s attracting retards. Your activism isn’t helping, it’s making things worse. If you think you’re cool because you claim to be a fan of Moldbug, go back and read his blog again. He explicitly called for passivism. Do not engage in politics, become worthy, and assume power when the time comes.

Well the time has not come. It most likely will never come. Let’s face it, Molbug was full of it. I understand the impulse to form a community. I really do. The world has gone mad, we feel vulnerable and lonely, we want people who we can relate for, who can confirm we are not insane. We want to speak our minds over beer without fear of being flagged for crimethink and made miserable.

Well then go to a bar and stay there. On Twitter you are but SJW fodder.

Giving the handle

My last posts were very well received. I guess there’s a market for the intersection between Chinese history and Ron Unz, so here’s another one.

Steve Sailer writes:

As you may have noticed, Ron has this wacky theory that a surprising percentage of our political leaders have, shall we say, compromising incidents in their past. He even speculates that perhaps having something to hide from the public might make a rising politico more attractive to those who make it their business to decide which of the ambitious to help climb the greasy pole of political power.

And he just had a new post on what he’s named the Unz Suspicion.

Mr. Unz is very right to suspect that much. But again Unz had to use all his powers of insight to come up with his idea. Which given his upbringing is quite impressive. And yet this has been common wisdom in China for thousands of years. A 10 year old in Kaifeng could have told you as much in 1034.

There’s plenty of examples of great leaders of bureaucratic factions, imperial prime ministers who purposefully surrounded themselves with crooks in order to be able to crack down on any defector with ease. It may sound counterintuitive, but the group is much stronger if everybody is a crook with something to hide.

None of this is surprising given that China has had a continent-wide centralized bureaucracy for longer than the rest of the world combined. And while the world has changed a lot since 221 BC, and China itself has seen a lot of variation, the dynamics of bureaucratic power are basically the same.

I’ll illustrate this point again with a 4 letter idiom, and one of my favorite stories, also from the first empire, the Qin Dynasty.. The idiom is 授人以柄 shou ren yi bing, which translates as “handing over your (sword’s) handle.

The idiom itself doesn’t come from this piece of history. It comes from the Three Kingdoms period, when some nobles were discussing strategy, and argued against one idea saying that it was equivalent to 倒持干戈,授人以柄, holding our swords in reverse and giving the handle to the enemy. Which is a nice metaphor for a suicidal idea.

The idiom later acquired a figurative sense, where you voluntarily hand your sword’s handle to someone, in order to signal your loyalty and lack of ambition. It’s a fairly profound point. Let me explain.

So it’s the late Warring States period, and the map of China is something like this.

Qin is by far the most powerful state, and has been so for decades. It’s generally just a matter of time until it decides to get rid of all the other states and unify the empire. In 247 BC a new king, Ying Zheng, rises to the Qin crown, and decides that it’s time to finish the job. They send gold around to soften up the ministers and delay their defense policies, and then send Qin armies to obliterate them.

By the 225 there’s only Chu and Qi left. Chu is in the way to Qi, so the decision is made to invade Chu first. But Chu is huge. It’s mountainous, and it’s full of people. It’s not gonna be easy, so the King of Qin calls his best generals, Li Xin and Wang Jian, and asks what do they think it will take to win the war.

The King asks Li Xin, who says he needs 200,000 men. Then he asks Wang Jian, who says 600,000 are necessary.

“Six hundred thousand men! That’s a lot of people. It’s almost the entire manpower of the state. Wang Jian, I get you’re old, but don’t be so cowardly. See here young Li Xin, brave and bold who can do more with less.”

And so Li Xin set forward to Chu with 200,000 men, in two columns. Wang Jian was so pissed that he actually quit his job and retired to a remote house in the mountains. Damn punk, 200,000 men huh. Right. What the hell do you know.

And what do you know, the Chu army plays a long game of retreat, retreat, retreat, Li Xin gets cocky, pursues too long, and bam, massive ambush, the whole Qin army is killed, Li Xin barely escapes with his life, and the Chu army starts to advance West with their eyes set on revenge.

The Qin King was furious, obviously. He had no choice but to go personally visit Wang Jian at his retirement home, and beg him to come out. Hey guy, sorry I called you old and useless. You were right. So go there and fight. Please.

“Ok, but 600,000 men.”
“Yeah, whatever, just go.”

So Wang Jian leads the biggest army perhaps in the history of mankind, and goes to attack Chu. The King escorts him personally to the border. Wang Jian asks him for lots of money, good farmland, mansions, women and treasure. It’s for my children, you see. I want to secure their future. The King laughed heartily. Of course, old Wang. Whatever you want. Just win this war.

While on campaign Wang Jian send a messenger to the court every single day, reminding the king that he wanted lots of good farmland, gold, women and treasure.  For his children. His entourage was getting embarrassed already. Come on general, since when are you so corrupt? Even if you are, just try to be subtle, this is ridiculous, you’re making us all feel bad.

“You don’t get it”, says General Wang. “The emperor is a suspicious man. He doesn’t trust anyone. Right now I have under my command 600,000 men, the entire army of the country. Every once in a while he must be asking himself: “What if this Wang Jian guy rebels against me?”. And even if he doesn’t ask himself, there’s always an annoying eunuch paid by a rival general trying to backstab me, saying that I am famous and honorable, and that the opposition might rally around me, that I’m too powerful and must be killed sooner rather than later. Only by openly displaying that I am a vile, corrupt character who only cares about money, can I make the king trust that I have no higher ambition.”

And so Wang Jian kept sending messenger asking for stuff, and the King never suspected his loyalty. He liked his pettiness. Wang Jian went forward to invade Chu, destroy its armies, capture his king, and annexed the country into the soon to be Qin Empire. He went back home, and very unusual in a famous general, died a peaceful death.

Sometimes you really have to hand over your sword’s handle.

To this day, “having a handle” means knowing the secrets, or having the means to control someone to your benefit. People without handles, i.e. good people, are regarded as undesirable associates, at least in politics.

And yes, having databases, or at least long lists with compromising information about government officials has been a staple of Chinese politics for centuries. It’s quite obviously the best way to keep a faction together. MAD, also, is a very old trick.

So nihil sub sole novum. Or in other words, 天下無新事 .