Bloody shovel

Don't call it a spade

Pork and hamsters

Steve Sailer has been posting on the NYC universal pre-K, which is the stereotypical stupid progressive policy, which everybody knows it doesn’t make any real sense. But progressives arguments are those of faith, faith who nobody (besides us) dares contradict, lest the demons of HBD appear and Hitler returns to Earth to execute the Gay Holocaust. Or something.

I could go on repeating all the arguments against spending public resources on trying to make stupid toddlers stop being stupid, but Sailer has done that very well already. Of course the question remains, are NYC public officials really that stupid? Or so devote to their progressive faith? Well perhaps they are but that can’t be the whole story. Religion is a powerful force in human society, but a skeptical attitude towards the real power of religion in peoples motives has always done me good. A commenter in Sailer’s post expresses my attitude very nicely:

Universal Pre-K is nothing but a pork project. They use it to create jobs and contracts to reward their friends. The politicians who argue that universal Pre-K will bring about racial equality do not care in the least if that claim is true.

The stuff about racial equality is equivalent to the low-pitched grunting noises that gorillas make when they don’t want other gorillas messing with their food.

“Don’t mess with my pork or I’ll call you a racist and bounce you out of your job,” is a good translation from politician-speak into English.

Pork is a very well known phenomenon in political analysis, but I feel neoreaction hasn’t been paying much attention to it. Which is a bad thing, as pork is of paramount importance in the critique of democracy. Besides the all too easy argument that democracy gives voice, or “nanoslices of power” to retarded people (which it doesn’t really do), perhaps the best argument against universal suffrage is that it increases the level of pork to an astronomical degree. Pork, i.e. the appropriation of public money to distribute to one’s political power base is a universal in any political arrangement. But in parliamentary politics you get an order of magnitude more people engaged in politics than in a monarchy. Electoral politics means each of those power holders has no title to its power so he needs a broad power base to put him there, a power base which of course requires pork for their services. And with universal suffrage the sheer size and level of organization of the power base increases exponentially, requiring ever bigger amounts of pork to satisfy them.

In fact one could make the argument that modern progressive politics are all basically a massive operation of pork distribution, and everything else is just rationalization marketing needed to justify the pork. See for example the War on Drugs. Peter Hitchens has recently wrote a book on the war on drugs which he says is a sham. Surely no real war on drugs is going on when acquiring and consuming drugs is easier than ever, and probably every single westerner has had some illegal drug at least once in his life. Where’s this war? He is of course correct, and I can’t but admire his oratorial skills and sheer patience he has in explaining his views in public. See this speech he did in Australia, and the retarded audience he has to deal with.

I have to give credit to a man who has the nerve and patience to answer with force to stupid arguments such as that. I’m sure many of you share my experience of just giving up arguing with these kind of people after feeling sheer despair towards humanity. Not to say that I agree with all of his argument. Surely there must be some biological cause for addiction as they vary greatly between nations, and East Asians have developed a gene to prevent them from digesting alcohol and getting drunk.

But of course Peter Hitchens, as his powerful oratory shows, isn’t arguing facts. He’s arguing faith, he is fighting the progressive faith in its own territory. A territory in which he lived for many years. Now leaving aside the fact of whether addiction is or isn’t surmountable through personal willpower, he’s of course right that Western states have made no real effort to stamp out drug use, so the “war on drugs” and the horrible evil it allegedly does by promoting criminal gangs (and putting millions of blacks in jail) is a baseless sham. East Asian countries have done much better at discouraging drug use without spending billions in DEAs and foreign military interventions. So no War on Drugs.

Yeah well, but why is that? Why does this half-assed “war on drugs” go on, and billions spent fighting it? Well because they are spending billions in it, billions which go to people which quite enjoy receiving those billions. And the present law enforcement arrangements towards drugs put the police in close contact with the most lucrative business on earth. And, surprise surprise, they get a cut on that business. I don’t know about the US but in my country when the police gets their hands into some drug stash in an anti-gang operation, it is widely known that they grab the stuff, sell it and keep the money for themselves. And juicy budgets for drug-fighting go to police forces all the time. There’s a very nice pork business built around the War on Drugs, the same way there’s a very nice pork business going on in Closing the education Gap, or in foreign aid, or in public healthcare. A guy’s gotta eat! Gotta keep the boys happy!

Authoritarian systems have many problems but pork isn’t one of them. The guys who gotta eat aren’t that many, and you don’t need an elaborate faith argument to set up a system for pork distribution. Say China. China makes their high speed rail system, spends untold trillions on it, trillions paid by public debt which will probably never pay themselves. 90% of the stations built 30km out of the main cities, many in the middle of rice paddies where proper roads haven’t even been built yet. How many billions were skimmed of it? I don’t know but the Railway Minister is in jail and the Ministry itself was abolished, which means even the Chinese government is embarrassed by it. But hey China now has a pretty cool high speed rail network which they sorely needed, works like a charm, and out of the hugest budget in human history they only had to pay off some local officials and the railway minister. I’ve seen estimates of 5%. The waste on pre-K education is 100%.

Japan’s history pre-WW2 is often told as one of creeping militarism, but nobody talks about why that happened. The Meiji revolution in 1868 set an aristocratic system led by the (duh) leaders of the revolution. Eventually in 1889 they acquiesced to a formal constitution and a British inspired parliamentary system, but they held the government. Until they died, and the suffrage was expanded, and political parties arose. With political parties came the inevitable emergence of pork, massive pork to pay off the MPs constituencies, in often wasteful infrastructure project which the still very poor Japan really couldn’t afford. It was watching this shameless distribution of pork that the young officer class in the Japanese military grew more radical in their authoritarianism, and started coup after coup to kill the parliamentary leaders and grab power to abolish electoral politics. That way the military would get all the public money. But that’s not pork. Oh well.

As I’ve tried to communicate through my posts on Chinese history, having a god-king doesn’t really matter inasmuch as he exerts his rule through associates who may be good or bad, few or many, respectful of their authority or secretly exerting power themselves. And the problem of comparing old and new political forms is that there are more differences caused by them being old and new. Arguably the size of the modern progressive states isn’t just only a contingent effect of the Roosevelt family, but is the result of historical processes that made it possible and necessary for the state to control more of the life of its subjects. No matter your political system, to fight WW1 you needed a huge army and a bureaucratic apparatus to raise and feed it.

Still to a big extent it is fair to say that political arrangements do depend on fairly contingent Schelling points. Say you needed a huge army and bureaucracy to fight WW1. If you have a democracy there’s no way in hell to dismantle that bureaucracy. It’ll stay there for there is no one with enough authority to dismantle it and send it home, and the bureaucrats will organize effectively to lobby for their survival. A King though can change the government as he wishes for he is the damn king. His word is law and he has no constituency to distribute pork too, except perhaps the Army if he’s a new king. Although Kings did have problems with ministers sending pork home, and the lack of competition in pork procurement means they had no limits on their pork shippings, which could get quite outrageous.

Recent scientific discoveries tell that most of human rationality is not used to make decisions, but rather to come up with arguments to rationalize decisions which the subconscious brain has already taken. It seems to me that political arguments aren’t also really used to make decisions, but rather to rationalize decisions which the subconscious body politic has already taken. Perhaps we should address those subconscious, systemic patterns of decision making, instead of all those hamsters rolling on the front, even though they have their bloodshot eyes locked at us demanding our attention. They can’t really hear us anyway.


15 responses to “Pork and hamsters

  1. JS January 29, 2014 at 19:26

    I think that you’d be interested in Bruce Bueno de Mesquita’s podcasts on Econtalk re: the Selectorate. Pork and the Le Petomane Effect (“We’ve gotta protect our phoney-baloney jobs, gentlemen”) explain so much of what government does that they render most political science irrelevant.

  2. reakcionar January 29, 2014 at 23:14

    In fact one could make the argument that modern progressive politics are all basically a massive operation of pork distribution, and everything else is just rationalization marketing needed to justify the pork. See for example the War on Drugs.

    Ecology is another fascinating example. While the green movement is consisted of a lot of true believers, most of people involved in recycling, green energy, waste management etc. are guys with a Tony Soprano mindset. The whole thing seems like a big monastery where half of the monks are holier than thou lunatics, and the other half are mobsters who would sell their mother for a gram of gold or political power. They all believe in the Goddess Earth, but with very different motives.

  3. cassander January 30, 2014 at 03:10

    Pork is just patronage, and politics always has, and always will be, founded on patronage relationships. And authoritarian systems DEFINITELY have pork, or its equivalent. To use your example, China spends trillions propping up state owned banks, which then lend those trillions to either state owned industries or local governments to spend on hugely inefficient operations, which then don’t pay them back.* Huge sections of the state owned chinese economy are basically just massive jobs programs. And the reason they do this is not because they are stupid, but because these massive useless programs have one very important function, they give the people in charge of them money, jobs, and favors to dole out. Sure, the Rail Minister guy apparently got a little too greedy for his own good, but his being shipped downriver is the exception, not the rule.


  4. Thrasymachus January 30, 2014 at 13:18

    >>It seems to me that political arguments aren’t also really used to make decisions, but rather to rationalize decisions which the subconscious body politic has already taken. Perhaps we should address those subconscious, systemic patterns of decision making, instead of all those hamsters rolling on the front, even though they have their bloodshot eyes locked at us demanding our attention. They can’t really hear us anyway.<<

    What *is* motivating people? Why isn't HBD, a perfectly obvious concept, more popular? My answer had been it was originally deployed against lower-class whites in the 19th century, and politicians like William Jennings Bryant promoted HNU to oppose it. So a large number of whites have a loyalty to HNU deep in their bones. And HNU is more or less true, *if you are only talking about whites*.

    Maybe- probably- one hamster can only be replaced by another. The hamster could be pan-European white racial consciousness.

    • spandrell January 30, 2014 at 13:24

      Masses all over the world, non-whites too, share the same passion for HNU so it can’t be such a parochially American explanation. It’s deeper than that. My theory is that people love the idea that genetic ability is random so social mobility is possible: those filthy rich will come down, and my son might be a genius.

      The progressive hamsters have been bred for viciousness, pan-European hamsters don’t even exist yet.

      • SMERSH January 31, 2014 at 16:52

        No, no.

        The masses don’t believe in HNU. Have you ever spent time with proles, when they felt safe to speak freely? They know, they know all too well.

        They don’t know anything about Papuans and Khoisans, but they know all about the parts of HNU that are relevant to them. IE: Whites v.s. blacks and mestizos. Do Chinese people not notice that they’re smarter than South East Asians? Please. People know, they’ve always known.

        People notice. You can’t stop the masses from noticing, if they actually have to interact with these other groups.

        You may be able to stop certain classes of people from noticing (academics and other successful groups that only interact with the talented tenth) if they’re allowed to live in a bubble and only interact with carefully selected members of these groups. Especially since higher IQs often make people better at rationalizing and fooling themselves in .

        So it’s not just that not noticing makes you holier, it’s also that not having to notice is a sign of high status (or at least that having to notice is a sign of low status).

        • spandrell January 31, 2014 at 16:58

          Oh, I have spent plenty of time with proles. Lots of proles. Family, not family, white, yellow and brown. And no, they don’t like to think that their are stupid so their children will be stupid for all eternity.
          Yes everybody knows about the races that are stupider than they are. Oh they know, and they love to talk about it. But nobody knows about people who are smarter than them. That’s… money. Head start you know. Those privileged fuckers.

          HBD isn’t only about race. Racial differences are a good sell for American white proles who are tired of having blacks around them. But they’re an extremely bad sell for European or Asian proles who have no minorities around. For them it reminds them of their low status.

          • asdf February 7, 2014 at 16:09

            Yes, the real story of HBD is within race differences. The race differences simply prevent a conversation about that topic.

  5. neovictorian23 January 30, 2014 at 19:54

    There is another factor not touched on directly here; “pork” expanded in direct correlation to the contraction of farmers and farm laborers and the expansion of mechanization of industrial production. Vast direct government and quasi-government (contractors, subcontractors and let’s include mommy welfare recipients) “employment” is necessary for people to think they’re “doing something.” We have the resources in Western societies to have 50-60 percent of the population on guaranteed minimum income while the rest produce everything needed.

    The horror of how that would turn out leads to the present system.

  6. Zarf January 31, 2014 at 16:52

    How would this pork-based understanding of progressivism explain its feminist, pro-Black(etc.), pro-homosexual drive? Is it that a huge bureaucratic effort is required if a society is to be prevented from generally conforming to Natural Law (which prescribes male governance, the rule of more competent groups over less competent ones, and a preference for heterosexual unions), so that the perpetuation and expansion of this drive against Natural Law provides lots and lots of important-feeling jobs to people who would otherwise have to reconcile themselves to their own social insignificance?

    • spandrell January 31, 2014 at 17:00

      To the extent that fighting nature is impossible and nature always asserts itself, fighting nature is an endless battle which needs increasingly more people and bigger budgets. So it’s the perfect pork project. Eternally expandable.

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