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Monthly Archives: February 2014

Monarchy and Monarchs

After all the praise that my Monarchy post got, I started to suspect that people hadn’t really got the point. And while I am quite proud of it as a piece of storytelling, I wasn’t praising monarchy as a system or anything like that. My suspicion was confirmed when Habsburgian transhumanist monarchist Michael Anissimov linked to the post in Twitter. Well if he liked it I’m sure I didn’t make my point clear.

The point of the story was that the Japanese monarchy is a sham, and has been so for 13/14 of its history. Actual imperial rule lasted, at most, 100 years, after which it was co-opted by the Fujiwaras, the Heikes, the Genjis, and so on. The fact that the Imperial family was never actually deposed Chinese style has more to do with the ineptitude of the early shoguns and sheer inertia later.

Now one might make the point that even if the official monarchy was a sham, to the extent that the shoguns exerted personal rule they were running a monarchy themselves. Which is quite true. What’s amusing is that the pattern of takeover of political power by the father in law not only happened to the Emperor himself, many shoguns also fell into it. So the Emperor loses actual rule to the Genji shogun, who is himself a puppet of his Hojo father in law. This puppetry chain never went further than two links though. But anyway, yes of course the shoguns were monarchs too, and the Tokugawas run a very real monarchy for 250 years.

What’s ironic is that while the Tokugawas were monarchs by right of conquest, and run the best unified administration Japan had never seen, that didn’t help their legitimacy in the long run. In the end, the national studies scholars ended up arguing that Japan only had one legitimate monarch which was the imperial family, the Tokugawas were usurpers inasmuch as they ruled in place of the emperor, so the best monarchs that Japan had ever had were evil usurpers and had to go. Funny thing is after the Meiji revolution which ostensibly was started in order to restore personal rule by the Emperor, the system that resulted was a broad oligarchy where not only the Emperor didn’t have personal rule, but monarchy as a system ceased to function. The revolution was led by the peripheral provinces of Satsuma and Choshu, but not by their feudal lords; it was a broad movement mostly led by junior samurais. So they installed a Privy Council with the elders of the revolution, told the Emperor what to do, and got themselves busy monopolizing the army and bureaucracy.

The restoration of monarchy of 1868 was actually the abolition of monarchy. Of course that didn’t go unnoticed, but the thing is nobody in Japan has never argued for monarchy per se. Japan has and has never had monarchists. What they have is legitimists. Nobody ever thought that the young samurais should have put their feudal lord as the shogun, and run the government as a monarchy. No, to the extent that the Emperor was legally the seat of sovereignty and the commander of the armed forces, the actual constitution of the government was of no concern. The only real problem was that the Emperor didn’t actually have the reins of power.

Funny thing is that the revolutionary elders couldn’t hold to power that long, as resentment to exclusive rule by a bunch of provincials was widely resented. So they were forced to set up a parliamentary system, and elections. The franchise was tiny at the beginning, but as you might suspect it grew rapidly, and Japan had universal suffrage by 1928. The revolutionary elders held to their Privy Council dearly, but eventually they died, and once they did, the government ceased to be controlled by this noble oligarchy, and political parties were formed. 4 decades after the glorious revolution which restored power to the legitimate emperor, not only had Japan abolished monarchy, it had an electoral system of political parties running the country. How the hell did that happen?

There was no wide consensus in Japan towards the moral necessity of parliamentary politics, elections were the result of internal conflicts among the elite, and the official ideology of the country kept on being that Japan was a glorious monarchy under the personal rule of the great Emperor descended from heaven. Yet somehow they got free press, political parties, universal suffrage and massive pork distribution to the parties’ patronage networks. All this happened against the official and popular ideology of the country. How did this happen? The Jews! No, no Jews in Japan. It just happened, for many reasons which are enough to fill many books, and of course there’s a large bibliography on the subject. Now the vast majority of people can’t care less about the dissonance between the written Constitution and the actual constitution. But there’s always someone who’s going to notice that something looks fishy.

In Japan the focus of discontent was the army. The army was full of overzealous dim kids who had their head filled with propaganda on boundless loyalty to his majesty son of the Goddess. And when you’re being asked to die for this ideal, well you might as well take it seriously. And so the movement grew, also fueled by many popular intellectuals in the big universities. Their goal was again not restoration of monarchy qua superior political arrangement. They were legitimists, and wanted personal rule by His Majesty. Starting in the 30s they made a lot of noise, and in 1936 they attempted a massive coup, killed a bunch of millionaires and government ministers, and asked the Emperor to stand for them and assume power.

The coup itself was quite successful, and the Emperor (Hirohito by then) could plausibly have joined the coup leaders and change the system. But he didn’t, and his rationale was one of the best comebacks in 20th century history. “They want me to assume personal rule? They killed my dear ministers! I want nothing to do with this people, call whoever’s in charge and crackdown the coup as fast as possible.”

Point being that the law says the Emperor already has personal rule, he just happens to appoint ministers to help him with the task. The coupists had killed the dear ministers he had personally appointed to run his country! Hirohito was many things but he wasn’t stupid. The coupists were instantly discouraged, the crackdown proceeded nicely, and those who weren’t apprehended obediently killed themselves.

The lesson here is that Hirohito could have got personal rule but he didn’t want it. Japan had a massive state apparatus to promote monarchy as the heavenly mode of government, but the heavenly ruler himself couldn’t be bothered to uphold this. Which of course was a very smart move on his part. Hirohito got to enjoy his sham monarchy until his death in 1989 (!), and he even got to visit the USA, quite a feat after the ruckus of WW2. After his visit he run the first press conference ever, on which he had to answer an untactful question about the Hiroshima bombings. Hirohito had the nerve to say: “Well these things happen during wars, and while I’m sorry about the people in Hiroshima, I think it couldn’t be helped.” You can see how nervous he got when answering it. “Ehm… uhm… well…”. By the way the latter half of the clip is about an unrelated question, he isn’t laughing about the nuke.

I guess my point is that Monarchy doesn’t happen because you want it to happen. Japan very much wanted it to happen, but it didn’t. One part of it is that there are some structural prerequisites for monarchical rule, say the size of government, military technology and whatnot, and modernity seems not to be very conducive to autocratic rule. And the second point is that many monarchs just can’t be bothered to rule themselves. Recently there is a lot of talk about sociopathy, and how some people are innately driven by their personalities to seek power to a quite irrational degree. Well it follows that not everyone seeks power, and many monarchs don’t. It’s hard enough to keep power when you want it, imagine when you don’t even want it. This of course isn’t just a problem of modernity, although the conveniences of modern life for non-kings probably make it worse. But monarchs not bothering being monarchs are a very old problem.

Let me introduce another lecture from the Chinese history series by Yuan Tengfei.

I’m always being misunderstood. People say I hate the Ming Dynasty. That’s a huge misunderstanding. It’s not that I don’t like the Ming Dynasty. What I don’t like are the Ming emperors. Why? As I said earlier, the Ming Dynasty is full of both tyrants and lousy emperors.

During the Ming Dynasty, which lasted 276 years, emperors didn’t attend court even once during 121 years. Emperors didn’t attend court for almost half the dynasty. They had their own hobbies. And these hobbies of theirs can hardly be said to be very sophisticated. A majority of the emperors were lewd and vicious. Awful in both arms and letters.

Say the first horrible emperor, Zhengde. There’s a famous play now on his life. Well this fucker was bored in his palace, so he went out often. He was actually fooling around, seducing people’s daughters and sisters. The Zhengde emperor ruled for 10 years. What he liked most was to go fooling around. In Tiananmen there are this two columns, with two weird animals on top. It’s kinda like a dragon and a lion mixed, anyway this thing’s called Hou. These Hou’s have names: one is “hope lord leaves”, the other is “hope lord returns”. If the Emperor is constantly out of palace, doesn’t attend to the administration, “hope lord returns” starts to cry. “Come back boss, the palace needs you, lots of stuff to do”. If the Emperor is constantly in the palace, fooling around with his concubines, doesn’t know of the hardship of his subjects, and the big problems of his land, then “hope lord leaves” cries. “Boss, come out man, the people are suffering, stop fooling around.”

During the Ming Dynasty these two Hous were extremely busy. This one cries, then the other one, alternating like crazy. In the Zhengde era, I suspect that “hope lord returns” cried so much it lost his voice. The Emperor was constantly out. Thing is when the Emperor goes out he has to organize security, has to file for it. The Emperor thought it was a hassle, so he disguised and left without asking. Once he left for the North, hearing that in Datong there are lots of hotties. No idea, but anyway, all he did was going out in disguise and looking for women. Rumor has it he was once detained and sent to the county sheriff. I’ve no idea how he explained who he was to the county sheriff. “I am the Zhengde Emperor”. “Your Majesty, aren’t you satisfied with all your concubines? You come out to seduce women?” He also died doing that, he was fooling around with women and fell into some body of water, they picked him up but he got a fever and died at 30.

So he was constantly fooling with women. He also had one other hobby, he liked to play war. He didn’t like to wage war, he liked to play war. They even gave him the temple name “Martial Emperor”. He often went around the Great Wall with a small team of armored soldiers. If they found some Mongolians, the armored soldiers would run into them and kill them. Victory in battle! No matter that those weren’t Mongolian soldiers, just some herders. Who cares.

And he also felt his title, “Emperor” was too short. Too boring. If you see the titles of ancient ministers, they’re all very long. Some had even 200 letters. Just like today, “consultant to the State Council, March 8 red banner, awarded May 1st workers price, especial expert recognized by State Council”. Back then they had all their titles together, if they printed a name-card they’d have needed an A4 sized paper, both sides. Look at all the titles of Li Hongzhang, it never ends.

The Emperor really envied that. All those names, damn that sounds fun. But I only got one, “Emperor”. Not cool. I’ll give myself a title. I’ll be “Pacifier Lord Martial General”. And some commandery lord or something. The ministers couldn’t stop laughing. He also changed his name. He had a name, Zhu Houzhao, but he changed it to “Zhu Shou 朱寿”. [Pun is the surname Zhu 朱, which means Crimson, is homophonous with 猪, meaning pig. And Shou 寿 means “long lived”, is homophonous with 瘦, meaning skinny]. Pigs should be fat, but he was a skinny pig.

The Ministers were just ashamed. Emperors are lords. Generals are subjects. You can’t be both. You can’t call your mother in law dear sister. It doesn’t work like that. Can you just stop? Why would you be a general anyway. The Emperor answered “I cut an enemy officer’s head among millions of soldiers.” The Ministers just had it. “Why don’t you try then, huh. Even the Dynasty founder didn’t brag about that. Let’s see if you can make it.” So the Emperor showed them what he meant by cutting an enemy officer head among millions of soldiers.

So in a huge square, a thousand Ming soldiers, sabres in hand, bows stretched, surrounding a Mongolian prisoner, tied to a horse. The Emperor rushed in, and cut his head off in one blow. This was “cut an officer’s head among millions of soldiers”. Leaving aside if this guy was an officer, even if he was you’re fucking tying him. And this millions of soldiers are your soldiers. So the Emperor comes in and bahm, head cut in one blow. “You see, awesome huh? That’s why I’m a general. At least I can handle a sabre.”

Just fucking ridiculous. He died young after 10 years. The evil emperor left no issue, so they grabbed his cousin to succeed him. The Jiajing emperor. This one was even more awesome. A professional Daoist priest. He ruled for 45 years, second longest of the dynasty. He succeeded at 15, lasted 45 years. 30 years he didn’t attend court. What was he doing? Daoist alchemy! Elixir of immortality. All day making elixirs in the palace. One year worth of Alchemy ingredients was 200,000 silver taels. You can’t make elixirs burning wood, you gotta burn wax, white wax. All day making elixirs. When meeting his ministers he wore Daoist attire. You call him “Your Majesty” and he gets angry. They had to call him “True Man“. That made him happy.

He also didn’t bother with the government. In the rare case he did, nobody could understand his edicts. Why? Heavenly Script! The Emperor was a True Man. If you can understand what he says he’s not a True Man anymore. His edicts were all extremely short. If you could understand what it said, the Emperor thought your heart was in tune with the True Man. Why do you think in that era the great evil minister Yan Song grabbed power? That’s because he could guess what the Emperor meant.

For example there was a minister who received an edict from the Emperor. Said:” What do your teeth and virtue have in common?”. The minister was baffled. Oh damn what does it mean? What to do? Go ask Mr. Yan, he’s the only one who can guess this stuff. Of course Minister Yan doesn’t do it for free. He takes his translation fee. With these little fees he got to be immensely rich. Yan Song took a look at the scroll and said: “The Emperor is asking you who is the oldest of you and Wang De (德 De=virtue)”. Teeth being code for growing old.

Next day this minister goes to the Emperor and tells him the whole story of him and Wang De, who’s the oldest, who was born in what month and all that. The Emperor was very happy, hey, you can read Heavenly Script? Promoted! Why was he able to read it? Minister Yan taught me. Can he not be loyal to Minister Yan? That’s the kind of lousy emperor he was.

When he died, his son took the crown. Longqing Emperor, actually quite good, one of the few good emperors of the Ming Dynasty. Unfortunately he wasn’t lucky, after 7 years he died. The Wanli Emperor succeeded. The Wanli emperor got the throne at 10 years old, was 48 years ruling, longest emperor of the dynasty. The Ming Dynasty perished at the hands of Wanli. During 48 years he didn’t attend court for 30 years, and it is said he only left the Forbidden Palace once in all this time. Where did he go? Changping, the imperial tombs. He went to check his own tomb.  A great heart he had. Generally speaking, the imperial tomb can’t be finished while the Emperor lives. If you finish it, it’s like the handing over of the keys, you can come in and live there. Not very appropriate. But the Emperor’s tomb was finished and he went himself, and took people to go see it! Very happy he was. “Very nice, very nice, I’ll live here then!” Then he had a massive feast in the palace. Very big heart.

He never left the palace, day after day hoarding money and fooling around with the concubines, arguing with the ministers. After so long he finally dies, and his son the Taichang Emperor succeeds. 29 days and he dies. Probably the shortest lived emperor in the history of China. He probably got too excited. “About time! My father took 48 years to kick the bucket. At last I get the throne. Let’s get to choose concubines, fast!”. Dead in 29 days. After he died, his son succeeded, the Tianqi Emperor.

Now this guy was something. Famous carpenter. Normally emperors go to court. He went to his workshop, saw and axe. The Emperor’s bed and throne were all made by himself. Helping reduce the burden of his subjects, day after day making models of the palace. It is said that his skills were so good, he once made a folding screen, very high quality one. He made it and called an eunuch, and ordered him to go out and sell it for 10,000 taels of silver, no bargaining. So the eunuch grabs the screen and goes out, in less than 2 hours he comes back with a note for 10,000 taels. Which means the stuff was real good.

So imagine if the guy is busy every day doing this sort of stuff, can he bother ruling the country? And so the great evil eunuch Wei Zhongxian grabbed power. He monopolized power, even killed the concubines of the emperor and their children. The Emperor didn’t give a shit, he was busy all day in his little kingdom of art.

When he died after 7 years, his brother the Chongzhen Emperor  succeeded. The 17  years of Chongzhen were really hard. He skimped on food and sleep, sleeping at 12, waking at 3 or 4 to deal with governing the country. But as they say, when the building is falling, you can’t support it with one column. Later when Li Zicheng conquered Beijing, the Chongzhen Emperor hanged himself at Mei Shan, he was frustrated. “I didn’t deserve to see the dynasty fall! I’m not like Liu Shan of the Shu, or Yang of the Sui. I did all the best I could!” Well tough luck, it’s a pity he had to have all those son of a bitch ancestors he had. And so the Chongzhen Emperor, while doing his best, saw his dynasty fall, gathering the compassion of many.

If you’ve read the previous posts on this series, you will remember that the Ming Dynasty saw the strengthening of imperial power by abolishing the figure of Chancellor, giving the Emperor himself the duty to administer the government directly. Which surely must have fit Zhu Yuanzhang and his direct successors. But eventually some Emperors stopped bothering, and instead of having a proper government to fall back in, what happened is that a random minister or eunuch would grab power for himself. Which isn’t that different from having the Chancellor abuse his powers anyway. This tells you that the system doesn’t matter, the law doesn’t matter. As Moldbug said, a Constitution is either false, if it doesn’t reflect the actual working of government, or superfluous if it does. As it happens, all Constitutions are first superfluous, then false, and there’s nothing we can do about it.

Now of course you might say that it doesn’t matter if monarchs are real or not, what matters is that having a monarchy, even if it’s a sham and it doesn’t hold real power, has X benefit because of the effects of the institution on the national narrative, promoting an ethos of loyalty or whatever. If you really think that you need to go for a trip to the UK. Or read the Daily Mail for a week.

Noli me tangere entryists

Peter Turchin recently published his research, which says that the trigger for civilization wasn’t a certain geographical situation, or a critical mass of food or other resources. No. Spontaneous civilization didn’t happen. War happened, masses of horse riding bandits happened, and settled farmers had to pull their shit together to confront them. Hence, civilization. It is through outsider attacks that people learn to coalesce and organize.

If you need more close evidence, look at the state of neoreaction these days. For some reason the mainstream internet media has noticed that there are evil reactionaries on the internet, and suddenly progressives over the internet are finding the need to proclaim their unconditional condemnation of Emmanuel Goldstein. Everybody was getting agitated, and just when the hate wave was subsiding, the follow-up came: entryism.

So the progs are out to infiltrate the Dark Enlightenment, to make Moldbug into an antiracist antisexist saint, whose points were all about improving governance in order to benefit women and minorities. Oh well, Moldbug was never very focused on HBD or  sex realism, although I do remember him linking to Roissy. And hey he’s half-Jewish, so if Polansky can be forgiven for ass-raping a 13 year old, Moldbug can surely be forgiven for advocating the restoration of the Stuarts.

What remains of course are the scared rank-and-file of neoreaction closing ranks on seeing hordes of little progressive bitches flood into our blogs filibustering our comment threads with cherry-picked statistics taken from Scott Alexander’s FAQ, and pointing how World War T hasn’t finished yet so how can you talk about the leftist singularity? There’s so much to do!

Under Peter Turchin’s theory, when under attack a group naturally grows asabiya, and part of the (for lack of a better term) exogenic ethno-genesis process is defining who we are. Which is a good question we have been asking for years, without a good answer. What do we stand for? Outside sympathizers like T. Greer asked us to drop the whole movement thing, and scatter so our political radicalism doesn’t taint mainstream scientists who do research on topics we agree with. Given that we live in an era of witch hunting where public heresy will lead you to poverty and ostracism, guilt by association is understandably scary.

But the thing is this gestalt that we call neoreaction doesn’t stand for anything in particular. That’s not what this is about. Neoreaction is not an advocacy movement, it’s an analysis movement. What draw us together is our willingness to see reality for what it is, and to see how exactly did civilization decay to the point that it has.

That’s why we have techno-futuristic anti-nationalist exiles together with open admirers of Hitler, staunch Christian conservatives with 6 children with poolside nihilists who pump and dump our sisters and daughters for pleasure. Yes we’re all in it and we get along mightily well. Why? Because we (mostly) agree in (most parts of) reality. As GLaDOS said in a pretty good thread on LessWrong:

Watson was right about Africa. Larry Summers was right about women in certain professions. Roissy is right about the state of the sexual marketplace.

Democracy isn’t that great. A ghetto/barrio/alternative name for low-class-hell-hole isn’t a physical location, its people. Richer people are on average smarter, nicer, prettier than poor people. The more you strive to equalize material opportunities the more meritocracy produces a caste system based on inborn ability. Ideologies actually are as crazy as religions on average. There is no such thing as moral progress and if there is there is no reason to expect we have been experiencing it so far in recorded history, unless you count stuff like more adapted cultures displacing less adapted ones or mammals inheriting the planet from dinosaurs as moral progress. You can’t be anything you want, your potential is severely limited at birth. University education creates very little added value. High class people unknowingly wage class war against low class people by promoting liberal social norms that they can handle but induce dysfunction in the lower classes (drug abuse, high divorce rates, juvenile delinquency, teen pregnancy, more violence, … ). Too much ethnic diversity kills liberal social democracy. Improving the social status of the average woman vis a vis with the average man makes the average man less attractive. Inbreeding/Out-breeding norms (and obviously other social norms and practices too) have over the centuries differentiated not only IQs between Eurasian populations they have also affected the frequency and type of altruism genes present in different populations (visit hbd* chick for details ^_^ ).

These are things we broadly agree on. Add to it the historical speculations of Moldbug on how progressivism evolved, which is still controversial but I think we might say the broad consensus is that the Jews aren’t totally responsible, that progressivism is more or less a descendant of Puritanism (with more or less Jewish input), and that’s what unites neoreaction. A common diagnostic, of sorts.

But we aren’t an advocacy group who is trying to come up with some utopia to sell to the masses and gain status for ourselves. No, the left is about What should be done! Oh we should start a 21st century Oneida Community in Berkeley so I can fuck with all my school friends while we talk about how biased conservatives are! Oh, we should go to Africa and shit on the beach with blacks so I can go back home and shame my friends for not going to Africa! Or eating in the floor with Indian peasants and rationalize it as being healthier! Holier-than-thou through advocacy. So much for sola fide.

Advocacy is what leftists do. Neoreaction is not about advocacy. Of course we do think about how to cure progressivism and build a new society from the ruins of it, but as you might imagine there’s little agreement. That’s part of why the community is so alive: we’re constantly bickering with each other about how this or that isn’t good or feasible. Nick Land says smart people should just beat the fuck out and take their brains abroad where they’re welcome; Michael Anissimov says we should restore the Habsburg monarchy and fund transhumanist research. Obviously both agree very little, and honestly I don’t agree with either. But leftists don’t understand why anyone would go in the internet and write without trying to form a conspiracy to change society and raise their own status. So suddenly neoreaction is all about Monarchism. Yes we’re a Dark plot to abolish democracy and put ourselves as kings and enslave all the black lesbian neuroscientists. Why else would we have a blog, huh?

And so we are undergoing the natural asabiya-genesis process that happens when you’re under attack, but we also see that we already have all the asabiya we need anyway. We aren’t running anything besides our blogs, and we (mostly) believe democratic politics are part of the problem, so we aren’t planning to organize to participate in the political process. Of course the movement is maturing, and some initial attempts of community building are already starting in the US. To the extent that some actual real life communities evolve out of this, they will have to decide their own rules and advocacies. Henry Dampier has some good ideas over here. Communities, if they happen, will be different, some will dislike each other, and the whole thing will splinter.

But that’s cool, because this isn’t about doing anything. Neoreaction is above anything an intellectual movement that seeks to know what humans are really about. I’d say we’re pretty fine close to it. For the most part the conclusions aren’t pretty, and the way out doesn’t seem easy. Some have joined fundamentalist communities and live a life of deep religiosity. Some are working for the Cathedral and not giving a shit. Some are building ethnic communities out of scratch. Some are staunch patriarchs while others are enjoying the decline poolside.

None of this matters to neoreaction because neoreaction is not a government agency. It’s a research center. We’re here to see what reality is and what it teach is, in short, that humans are evolved apes, with mammal brains, with innate biases and tendencies, all of them inheritable and variable between individuals, groups and races. That everything that the powers that be teach us is false, and that they lie to each other too. Well we don’t lie to each other. That’s all we have in common, and all we can have in common. And it’s enough. When the entryists come in, we’ll know who they are, because they’re the ones lying. We have the best shibboleth there can be.

Babies

It’s hard to argue that modernity sucks when people are so mesmerized by their iphones and air conditioners, but there are some aspects of modernity which are quite easy to argue against. One being the aesthetic violence it inflicts on all of us with ugly architecture and the public promotion of sexual deviancy. And the other being low fertility. Funny how we live in the greatest era of all time, we are the smartest and holiest and happiest people the earth has ever seen, yet people can’t seem to be bothered to have children.

Now the problem of low fertility is like the fall of the Roman Empire, everybody discusses what caused it, and there are hundreds of theories out there, yet none seems to fit quite right. And that’s a problem, because we’re supposed to to do something about it. The causes of the Fall of Rome aren’t really that important (unless you think they might be useful to avoid the collapse of Western Civilization), but measures to raise the birthrate are a common policy problem in all modern countries. And yet we don’t really know what’s causing it, so most policy measures to raise the birthrate simply end up being a way to signal support and issue pork to whatever group has the upper hand in representing women with the bureaucracy.

The country most affected by low birthrate is Japan, not because it’s the lowest in the world, although it’s close, but because the process started earlier, so Japan is already losing population (although I think Germany is losing native population too). The Japanese government has been discussing the issue for decades, which of course hasn’t helped a bit to solve the problem, but has produced tons over tons of studies and graphs and statistics of all sorts. The official population forecast graph is this:

What is says up there is that with current birthrates, by 2050 Japan will have a total population of 95 million, 8.2 million young, 49.3 million middle aged, and 37.6 million old people. And while 95 million people is still a whole lot of people for a country with barely 100k km2 of inhabitable land, well having 8 million youngsters against 37 million elderly is not good. Not good at all. Especially when those 37 million get pensions and free healthcare, and have a tendency to live up to 90 years old.

Now my first instinct is say: well stop paying the damn pensions. Especially when right now 60% of the assets in the country are owned by old people (at present 20% of the population). The average savings for an elderly household today in Japan is over 30 million yen. Yes I know they paid their money to the pension fund but they don’t really need the money. And while it’s grossly unfair to deny them a pension which was promised to them because the government spent it in pork for their cronies, surely it’s more unfair to tax the dwindling young generation back to the stone age. All to raise funds to pay for the n eye surgery for 85 year old grandma.

But of course all politics are local, bureaucratic gridlock is what it is, politicians and bureaucrats are themselves increasingly old so nobody will touch the sacred pensions and healthcare. But the question remains: how do we pay the damn thing. To their credit, the bureaucracy has started to cut pensions and is talking on rising the retirement age. But of course they are also raising taxes everywhere they can. And then there’s the big project. Raise the population!

To raise the population you need to: 1. Bring immigrants, 2. Put unemployed people to work, or 3. Raise the birthrate. As you might expect, the American embassy, the business community, the QUANGO lobbies et al. are extremely busy in trying to promote immigration to the country. “Japan is not for the Japanese”, said the infamous Hatoyama Prime Minister, the son of a billionaire, Stanford educated, self-proclaimed freemason. Thankfully he didn’t last long, and the bureaucracy has been very prudent about bringing immigrants. In the heyday of Japanese manufacturing, factory labor was lacking so Japan started a Gastarbeiter program to find workers. But instead of muslim Turks they had the sense of bringing back Brazilian Japanese, the descendants of Japanese emigrants who were sort sorta pushed out of the country in the poor postwar days.

It didn’t work out very well, as many non Japanese Brazilians got in, and even the purely ethnic Japanese Brazilians had absorbed Brazilian culture all too well. It’s a known problem in the country that the Brazilians refuse to learn the language and manners, are not stellar workers and pretty much a pain in the ass. Once Brazil started booming again a decade ago the government was fast in getting them to go back home, with mixed success.

After Japan run out of foreign kin to bring back to work, well it could only look for real foreigners. The bureaucracy pretty much delegated the whole idea to the business community, whose idea it was from the beginning. So Japan started a “training visa” system, which bring foreigners to work in farms or factories across the country with a special visa which ties you to your workplace, where they pay you whatever they want, not subject to minimum wage laws. As it I’ve heard of average wages of 300 yen per hour, which is between half and a third of the local minimum wage.

What’s funny is that officially the system is not a guest worker system to help local industry. It’s a “skill training project”, which ostensibly teaches Japanese technology to third world people, so they can go to Japan, learn the stuff and get the fuck back to their countries. So they will introduce all those marvelous Japanese methods they have learned and promote goodwill with Japan in their countries. Right. As it is most people under this system were Chinese, but with higher wages in their homeland and bad relations between the countries the Chinese have been decreasing precipitously, and with Abe anti-China foreign policy, the focus is now on building friendship with Southeast Asia, so it’s all Vietnamese and others coming now.

Still the numbers are quite small, with around 150k in total. They are trying to bring some more to build stuff for the Olympics, but there’s this little problem with over 10% of the “trainees” going “missing”, i.e. going to work in the underworld, usually employed by local mafias. Many are forced to, to pay for the mafias who arranged their going to Japan in the first place. And you can’t pay the mafia loans working for 3 bucks an hour in a farm.

I used to get very riled up about all this talk on bringing immigrants to Japan, but I reached the conclusion that there’s not that much to fear. The Chinese aren’t coming anymore, so they can’t take over, and who the hell is going to come anyway? Most of Southeast Asia has sub-replacement fertility already, so it’s not like they have that many people to spare, and the working conditions in Japan aren’t that spectacular. Working in Japan is notoriously harsh even for the locals, imagine how they treat a Vietnamese or Indonesian 85 IQ peasant. It seems the Japanese nation might be saved by the sheer nastiness of their business community and the very fortunate distance from Africa. Maybe the Japanese Islands were chosen by the Sun God after all.

Anyway so migrants aren’t paying the pensions, what about the unemployed? Well there’s a million hikikomori who are either autistic, borderline autistic or so messed up emotionally they just won’t leave their rooms. So who else can we use? Well who but Japanese women! Again I guess the American embassy has been telling the Japanese bureaucrats that the 70% of Japanese women are working. Only 70%!! How dare Japan not put 100% of all its women to work? And so it sent the Huffington Post to create a Japanese version to shame the Japanese bureaucrats into putting their wives into offices so they can have sexual fantasies with their bosses. And young Japanese women are even more willing to stay at home than their elder sisters, no doubt because they have seen how pathetic the life of the working woman usually is.

Still, Mr. Abe needs American support for his militarization program so he has to play ball with American feminism, and he has announced a Great Plan to put woman to work. They are also pushing for a law to put a quota of women in corporate boards, so big bosses can give their wives and mistresses a job and double their vote power. What’s not to like? Of course the problem is that women don’t work because they don’t want to work, and the usual policy to put them to work is to put more money into public daycare. Because mothers are just craving to leave their fluffy tiny babies to some education major dumb girl and go sit their asses in an office for 12 hours a day. The good life.

And anyway, just do the math. How many foreigners, and women working does Japan need to be able to pay their pension obligations? At least 10 million foreigners and 200% of women. Not gonna happen. It doesn’t add up. It’s just stupid American pressure and excuses for pork. The only long-term way out is raising the birthrate. And raising it big. Japan has very extensive stats on the problem, and the fact is that the overwhelming majority of married couples have 2 children.

So why is the birthrate in the 1.30s? Because 30% of people never marry. The herbivores and their spinster counterparts are legion, and growing. Now making those people have sex, marry and have children is a whole different problem from setting incentives to raise the birthrate. I won’t go there, although most of you might imagine what should be done about them.

So the issue is how to get married couples to have more than 2 kids? Now that’s a problem. It’s a huge problem. First because the average age of marriage for woman is now 29. And children out of wedlock are still taboo in most of society here. Are people supposed to have 5 kids starting at 30? Not very feasible. So the issue is getting women to marry earlier. Which means that men would also marry earlier. And that isn’t a very good sell.

Still, when you see all the stats on fertility rates around the world, any objective analysis tells you that the best indicator for low fertility is women education. Even Kuwait, Iran or Saudi Arabia have seen their birthrates plummet once they took their girls to school. While Afghans who treat their women like cattle while they bugger 10 year old boys have their womenfolk churn 7 kids on average.

One can imagine many mechanisms for women education lowering the birthrate. Women reading too many books doesn’t seem conducive to them marrying early and submitting to their husbands. But then there’s a deeper psychological reason which I just came upon while seeing my wife with my kid. I have a lovely child which is cute and fluffy and adorable and the best-thing-that-ever-happened-to-me, I won’t bore you with the details. My wife is staying at home as she always wanted, and I’m happy she does.

Still for all our conservative inclinations the fact remains that babies are a huge pain in the ass. It’s still totally worth it and I hope to have many more pains in the ass like this one, but it’s a lot of work. Not just a lot of work but it’s just disrupting of all the life rhythms you have grown accustomed to (the darn thing insists on going for walks every morning, in winter). Of course you could just call me and my wife lazy (as my mother does), and you’d be right. People always tell me my baby is the best behaved and best slepeer they’ve ever seen and that I have nothing to complain about. Still sometimes it just gets into your nerves.

I came back home one night and gave my wife some work of mine I wanted her to help out with. I expected her to complain about being tired and all, but to my surprise she accepted eagerly and was instantly focused on the computer. Then without looking back she just said: “you play with the baby” and put herself to work. Now as I was telling you she loves staying at home and has no intention of ever going back to work in an office, but she cherished that little piece of office work I just gave her. She was at ease. It surprised me how comfortable she just seemed.

Then it struck me: it shouldn’t surprise me at all. My wife had gone to school for almost 20 years, then worked in an office for several years too, doing office work which isn’t that different from school work. For 20 years her brain changed its wiring to optimize itself to do what it was asked to: work with a piece of paper or a computer screen and process information. And if you’re good at school, as my wife was, means her wiring got very deep. Doesn’t mean she enjoys it, but she’s good at it. Aren’t we all?

Now compare that same stuff we’ve been routinely doing for 20+ years of our time with taking care of a baby. Yes that’s supposedly also hard-wired in women’s brains, and it’s quite a sight to see how naturally it comes to them. Still many parts of child rearing go against everything you’ve been doing for a very long time. Is it a wonder that some women prefer work to marrying early and having babies? It’s probably just inertia.

Now compare that to a woman 200 years ago, or probably an Afghan today. You have a bunch of siblings, some of whom may die but most of whom will not, and since you starting walking and talking sense you’ve been put to work in the household. Ever since you can remember there have been babies in the household, and as a girl you’ve also taken part in taken care of them. You might have gone to school to learn your letters and numbers but you’re much more familiar with babies than you are pencil and paper.

Then in your teens if you’re in Asia, or your mid twenties in Europe you are married off, and have babies right away, which is what is expected of you. You take care of your babies with some other women helping out, but still you know what do you because you’ve been doing it your whole life. That’s what women do. You’re hard-wired for it and soft-wired too.

Compared to that the modern woman is far more accustomed to writing bullshit papers for school and having fun in her free time than she is about playing with babies 24 hours a day without any real leisure at all. I guess that’s part of the rationale behind the bureaucratic push for expanded daycare worldwide. But the fact that your baby is annoying on occasion doesn’t mean you’re willing to leave it 12 hours a day with some complete bureaucrat stranger who is likely to have some weird theories from her days in university.

Any reasonable calculation to get Japanese (or any industrialized country in a few years) population growing again would need the average married couple to have 4 children. It’s not going to happen. Not even Mormons do that. And yes I know the optimistic evolutionary theory that people who like babies will inherit the earth. I’m sure they will given a 500 year timeframe, and that’s assuming the heritability of “liking babies” is very high. But mid term we’re going to hell before we solve this.