Bloody shovel

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Monthly Archives: November 2013

BBC reading Moldbug

I didn’t set out to make a series on BBC snippets, but I feel that I must. I shouldn’t even be watching BBC documentaries. But somehow tricked by my love of their nature documentaries (which are just amazing) and some residual memory of their great series on Civilisation, I downloaded in bulk a series of recent BBC shows that looked interesting. But of course the BBC being what it is, basically the representatives of evil on earth, these recent documentaries I’ve been seeing are so jarringly and boorishly leftist, so in-your-face on their promotion of evil that I feel I must take something good from them. I’m that sort of man that hates wasting time on anything, I must always be able to rationalize any activity as having made learn something, or been the groundwork of some future productivity. I can’t say I learned much of this BBC show so I might as well make a blog post on it.

So the BBC makes this 3 part documentary on the Ottoman Empire. And it’s presented by this man who looks a lot like an old Egyptian waiter I knew from years ago. Why would they use an Egyptian to make a special on the Ottoman Empire? Beats me. Beats me more still when I check out the guy’s name and learn that he isn’t Egyptian, but Somali. He’s not a dark Egyptian then, but a light Somali. And a connected one by that. Name’s Rageh Omaar, public school and Oxford educated. Younger brother of the Somali Foreign Minister. Who’s also been to Oxford apparently.

Now this reminds me of Jim Donald’s latest post. He talks of Alassane Ouattara, which is some guy from Ivory Coast who’s educated in the US and gets a cozy fief  job in the international bureaucracy. Then for some reason he’s installed as president of the Ivory Coast, even though he doesn’t live there, has no local power base, and is married to a white Jew who probably has never even been to the place. As he has no power base, the locals rebel against his rule, only to be gunned down and replaced by foreigners.

For all the anti-colonialism and anti-imperialist rhetoric of modern liberalism, it’s clear that whatever the reason imperialism came to be in the first place, the reasons seem to continue existing today, and thus effective imperialism also goes on to this day. Now instead of having overt rule by European administrators, they have corporations doing whatever business needs to be done, and some plausibly local guy educated in the metropolis sent over as a figurehead. In exchange you give the figurehead’s younger brother a job in the BBC. And a white wife, of course. That’s indispensable.

Anyway what does all this have to do with the Ottoman Empire? I didn’t get it either, until they got to this point:

See what they did there? Look again. It’s such an bold-faced piece of bad propaganda, their Soviet ancestors must be crying in their atheist underworld. The BBC screenwriters must have felt so smart with all that covert symbolism. Ethnic nationalism. Stories of the war. An inter-faith choir. Modern-looking women. Did you hear what they’re singing though?

It sounds very strange to me that any self-respecting Bosnian Serb would join a choir with Muslims and chant Allah for a 100 times like in that clip. I bet you half the black stone in the Kaaba that Muslim Bosniaks don’t join Serbs in chanting Gregorian Chant and sing the glories of Jesus Christ.

And the poor Bosniak woman thought the war was hell. Oh war sucks so much when you lose. It sucks really really badly. She wouldn’t say that had her side won, and her brothers the ones gunning down Christian boys and raping their little sisters. That’s, you know, politics. It happens.

And all that talk about how we all got along so well back then. Respect! Multiculturalism! What’s infuriating is that this clueless kin of pirates had just 1 hour ago talked extensively about how Christian were taxed heavier, their children were kidnapped and enslaved into service to the Sultan, and their Churches were always made simple and down-run in contrast to the big and pretty mosques on the same town. Hey, but there was more respect! Funny that it’s the people in Sarajevo saying that. Why didn’t they ask the people of Belgrade or Athens?

My wasting-time-stop-this-now reflex was going overdrive listening to the Ottoman’s Empire multicultural respect, when I arrived to the end of the clip. Now that’s just priceless. Let me quote it in big letters:

In the case of the Ottomans, what is most impressive to us is that they were able to think through a system of government that did not depend on ethnic sovereignty.

No kidding? No fucking kidding? A Cathedral minion finally asks the right question. How did the Ottomans come up with a system not based on ethnic sovereignty? How did that happen?

Well, that system has a name actually. It’s called Absolute Monarchy. And that particular flavor was commonly called Oriental Despotism.

It seems the BBC has finally come up with the answer to how to make multiculturalism work in the modern world. What we need is Absolute Monarchy. And slavery. Heh. I didn’t see that one coming.

Jewish soul

I have my reserves towards the, let’s call it Moldbug theory of Jewish leftism, which argues that Jews aren’t a causative agent of leftism, but that during Emancipation the Jews contracted the virus of Progressivism, and being highly talented, they caused the virus to mutate and grow further into the catastrophic malady that it became.

I really have my reserves. In the end it’s all about assigning blame, and when you think about it carefully, the whole idea is quite misguided. Assigning blame for particular memes is hard enough when talking about individuals; when talking about groups, the very concept of agency becomes quite fuzzy. So trying to come up with a comprehensive theory on blame or the origins of anything is quite probably the wrong way of looking at it.

Nonetheless it is always interesting to look at particular examples, particular people and particular ideas. Notwithstanding my reserves towards clearing the Jews of all blame about leftism, I have found a quite persuasive data point towards them being victims of infection by the progressive virus.

This is from a recent BBC documentary series on the Jews, led by Simon Schama. Simon Schama himself is quite a good example of Jews being victims of English ideology, but just watch the video.

Lol. The shtetto and the ghetto. That’s just humiliating. If you let that happen at your place of worship, you’re not dominating the world. Just saying.

High Level Equilibrium Trap

If you’ve read some history you’ll probably know about the Needham Question, i.e. why China didn’t have an industrial revolution. Personally my favorite answer is the High Level Equilibrium Trap, which is a theory saying that China had developed medieval technology so efficiently that it just never had a need to develop machinery and high density energy sources.

It is perhaps unrelated, but one does have the impression that Asians generally do more with less. The Confucian exhortation to self-improvement and mastery in some way produces a mindset conducive to extracting all the juice from whatever you have, instead of abandon it and come up with something new from scratch.

For a more graphic take on the idea, take a look at this:

Shibboleth Threat

Evo-psych has quite a bad reputation, as it has produced a lot of just-so stories with little in the way of falsifiability. Well that might be true, but so what? Evolutionary psychology might not be amenable to the bureaucratic scientific procedures set by modern academia, but that doesn’t mean it has no value. It has produced a lot of very reasonable theories on phenomena that modern science has no clue about and mostly refuses to study. I don’t know how many times I’ve explained to people around me the theory that women like shopping because they were in charge of fruit gathering in the ancestral environment, and a shopping mall unconsciously reminds them of a lush forest full of fruit, which back then must have been an orgasmic experience. Same with men being good at directions (gotta find your way around when hunting), and women being good at remembering where stuff is around the house. Compared to the common narrative these days, that every talent that follows a population pattern is the work of (evil) social conditioning, evo-psych makes for way better stories.

And I’d like to share a just-so evo-pysho story I just came up with. Watching Game of Thrones the other day, there is this tension filled clip:

The downtrodden defenseless man, asking for help, but not knowing if the strangers would be willing to. If they had been enemies, he would have died a painful death. That must’ve been scary.

It sort of reminded me of the very common occurence of going out and asking for directions. It is a common known fact that while men are better at finding their way than women, men often refuse to ask for directions, which women just can’t understand. That’s another real phenomenon of human psychology that modern science knows nothing about. There are of course many explanations, most of it being women accusing men of being something bad (pride issues, etc.), or men rationalizing their choice of not asking the way when you’re obviously lost.

Let’s be honest though, refusing to ask for directions is an unproductive and very irrational course of action. In 90% of cases, if there’s a woman in the car, she’ll nag the man until he finally comes up with courage to ask for directions, which leads to a safe solution to the problem. So why not ask for directions in the first place? Which the reluctance? I do so myself, as does my father, and it always bugged me, but I just can’t do it.

Then it struck me that in the ancestral environment, asking a stranger for directions was probably not a very intelligent thing to do. Mostly because ‘strangers’ were almost by definition enemies, and the mere act of asking directions is a public declaration of outgroupness. 9 times out of 10 in the old days, that would get you apprehended and killed. So it’s no wonder men have evolved an instinct towards refusing to admit to strangers that you are a stranger in the place.

This is of course the same as the old biblical story of the Shibboleth, where people were made to speak so the tribe would know if they shared the same accent. Those who didn’t were killed on the spot.  So allow me to introduce the concept of “Shibboleth threat”. If Stereotype threat has made the carreer for many thousands of liberal scholars, I can do that too.

Shibboleth threat can also explain the fact that women are less shy about speaking in foreign languages while they are still learning, while men are less outspoken and reluctant to practice until they’ve reached a higher level. The Gileadites probably didn’t care about the Ephraimite women not being able to pronounce Shibboleth. But for men failure meant death by the sword.

In humanity’s ancestral environment, and until quite recently really, the difference between ingroup and outgroup was absolute, and the mere sight of the outgroup often resulted in conflict, warfare and death, overwhelmingly of men. So a deep fear of the outrgroup is a sound evolutionary strategy. Being careful about displaying one’s outgroup status is a good instinct to have.

So thank God for navigation systems.