Don't call it a spade
Monthly Archives: August 2017
Damn, New York Times link show up automatically like Tweets now. Talk about privilege.
Anyway; you know what Gell-Mann amnesia is. You read the news, and assume what you’re reading is, well, worth reading. It’s generally accurate. Then you read something on a topic you have some expertise about, and you find that it’s worse than false. It’s completely inaccurate and misleading. It just shows how the writer has absolutely no clue of what he’s talking about. Then you realize: well, it’s some journalist who has no expertise at all except in writing jargon, of course he has no clue.
Then you go on reading more news. As my mother says, you gotta talk about something.
So the New York Times ran a story on how dialects are back in Singapore. Because they’re, you know, “vibrant”. That’s not how I would describe Hokkien, but then I did study some Hokkien, instead of taking journalism classes. The story itself is not very remarkable, besides how inept and ignorant it is. I’m tempted to just become a Chinese chauvinist and blame the anti-Chinese animus of the American establishment, now shaming Mandarin Chinese as something to be avoided. Then it would make some sort of sense. But as they say, never blame malice what is likely just stupidity.
I guess it’s just me, but I feel there’s few things more harmful than bad linguistics. Take a look at the crap the NYT is trying to pull here:
At the time of the founding of the Republic of Singapore in 1965, it was led by a charismatic and authoritarian prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, who was a self-taught linguist. A product of the English-speaking elite who rarely spoke Chinese dialects, including Mandarin, Mr. Lee held the popular idea, discredited by linguists, that language was a zero-sum game: speaking more of one meant less mastery of another.
In short, he considered dialects a waste of the brain’s finite storage capacity when it should be filled with, above all else, English.
“He felt that since he couldn’t do it, the rest couldn’t do it,” said Prof. Lee Cher Leng, a language historian in the China studies department at the National University of Singapore, referring to Mr. Lee’s inability to fluently speak multiple languages. “He felt it would be too confusing for kids to learn the dialects.”
First of all, LKY, peace be with him, was not a “self-taught linguist”. He’s a guy who learned some languages as an adult. That doesn’t make him a linguist. This makes him a language learner. There’s billions of those across the world. Lee Kuan Yew certainly wasn’t very good at it; the ability to learn foreign languages doesn’t correlate very strongly with IQ.
Mr. Lee held the popular idea that language was a zero-sum game? No, Mr. Lee understood the commonsensical idea that your brain has limited storage capacity. Like anything else. Your brain is made of atoms. It is not made of magic. It is not made of godly dust. It is a material thing. It is, in a sense, a container of information, and information takes space. It obviously does in computers; pray tell, NYT, why the brain should have infinite capacity? It doesn’t make sense.
Now I don’t know if LKY thought of it in these terms. I think that, as a language learner, he went by experience. I guess the more time he spent practicing Mandarin, or Hokkien, or Malay, the worse his English prose got. And that’s exactly how it works. Happens to me all the time, and happens to anyone who uses 2 or more languages regularly. The more different the languages, the less commons structures they share, the more acute the problem. Again, there is no reason why it should not be so. Information takes space. It isn’t hard.
Alas, it is true that academic linguists will not tell you this, even though they probably did in the 1950s. That is not because common sense has been “refuted”. It is because since the 1960s academia has morphed into a worldwide racket of fraud and deceit. If you read this blog you already know that; economics is bogus, climate science is bogus, psychology is bogus; even more than half of medical papers are bogus. Well, surprise surprise, linguistics is also bogus. The language learning industry is huge. There’s a lot of money in telling people that the brain is made of magic dust, that they can learn whatever they want whenever they want, as long as they give you money. 3 languages at the same time? Go for it! Kids are like sponges, they can learn anything. No, they can’t.
Now of course, all human traits are distributed in a Gaussian curve. Some kids are pretty good, can learn 3 or 4 languages given some exposure. Some can’t even speak 1 language properly by the time they enter primary school. Lee Kuan Yew, who was in charge of spending Singapore’s money, realized he didn’t have money to waste, and he took what was the most rational decision: let’s focus on having everyone learn English, then let’s make some half-assed effort at teaching a “mother tongue”; mostly for political reasons, so tribalists didn’t complain. Some kids will learn the mother tongue well; most won’t. Not the government’s problem. Lee Kuan Yew was CEO and what he wanted was an efficient workforce, so English it was. And English he got. Well, kind of.
Japanese researchers, fortunately isolated from their American comrades because of their ineptitude at learning English, have long found that Brazilian immigrants in Japan often end up not bilingual, but “halflingual”. They end up speaking shitty Portuguese and even shittier Japanese. Because Japanese is hard, they don’t speak it at home, and whatever they speak at home tends to have very low vocabulary levels. So they end up sounding retarded even if they really aren’t.
You know who else sounds retarded? Singaporeans. OK, sorry, that’s overly harsh. I apologize to my Singaporean readers, I love you all. But I had to say it. With all due respect, Singaporeans in general don’t speak proper English. They speak Singlish, which is a pidgin English with a fair amount of Chinese grammar and vocabulary baked in, and a pretty weird (and what sounds to me a pretty big Indian influence) pronunciation. As you may remember, even Singapore’s prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, by every account a 150 IQ genius, speaks what can only be described as pretty goofy English. Again, it’s not their fault, it’s just the unintended consequence of public language policy.
How did this happen? By forcing diglossia (widespread bilingualism) on Singapore. After independence most people spoke some either Chinese dialect at home, Malay or Tamil. The schools taught English, what is a foreign language to everyone. So yes, they learned, the minimum required to pass the exams, and went on with their daily lives. Given that kids spent almost more time at school than at home, eventually the exposure of English was greater than their respective languages. Let’s say a random Singaporean teen was exposed to 65% English and 35% Hokkien during their formative years. So, surprise surprise, he ended up speaking a language which is 65% English and 35% Hokkien, and so did most everyone else, with all languages and dialects getting some of their stuff in this hodgepodge lingua franca that evolved into Singlish. And once that got widespread it became almost impossible to change.
If Singaporeans speak bad English, their Mandarin is even worse. I’ve seen business owners who couldn’t even write it. Again, I don’t blame them. Chinese is hard, especially the writing system. I’m pretty sure Lee Kuan Yew was never very good at writing it. And most likely he never thought most Singaporeans would be able too. But he had two good reasons to teach Mandarin to every Chinese in Singapore. First; some talented people would learn it, and Singapore needed those people to go make business in China. And second, dialects had to be stamped out. Chinese people were extremely clannish back in the day. They still are in some parts of China. Liberals think dialects are like race, this colorful thing that adds vibrancy points to a culture. But no. Race is in your genes, you are born with that. You can’t change it. But dialect is a choice. Even if your parents teach it to you, children will forget it very soon, just as they forget everything their parents try to teach them.
Dialects survive because of a political choice. Language is a badge of loyalty; speaking Hokkien or Cantonese instead of Mandarin means that, as a child, you’ve reached the conclusion that Hokkien is more useful than Mandarin. Singapore, as all societies of Southeastern Chinese ancestry. used to be run by small dialect and family based societies, who did their thing unbeknownst to the state. Imperial China was laissez-faire about this kind of clan-based society, but Lee Kuan Yew was a legalist, and he had to crush them to impose his authority. So crush them they did. Once the clans were crushed, speaking dialect stopped working as a signal; and so the signal died. Whatever the NYT says, dialects aren’t coming back. There’s no money there, and Asia doesn’t trade in those vibrancy points which make New York housewives happy.
Why did Irish die soon after Irish independence? The signal wasn’t needed anymore. They had their own country, and God knows speaking Irish is a costly signal. Hokkien or Cantonese aren’t that costly for a competent Mandarin speaker, but they aren’t cheap either, so most likely this “dialect revival” is just 10 bored housewives who happen to eat in the same noodle joint as the NYT correspondent there. Fake news, as usual.
What the article gets right is the cultural desert that Singapore became after LKY enforced the power of the state and broke every intermediate society. There’s a lesson there: high cultural output depends on the identity of a people. It’s a political statement. It thrives on conflict. But Lee Kuan Yew would have none of that. He had a multiracial to run in a very delicate balance, and he couldn’t risk people developing a cultural identity without things spiraling out of control. He couldn’t tolerate cultural diversity; but he, cursed by the knowledge of HBD, wouldn’t allow race mixing. So he was left with a multicultural society where conflict wasn’t allowed. So the culture died. Romans stop producing good literature after the Empire. Nobody remembers the great books written by the Ottomans. And I wonder if in the future anybody will remember the Singaporeans at all.
How does this square with accelerationism? The forces of capitalism and the market feeding themselves into a self-catalytic process by which humans and their talents are consumed to form… Genderqueer Maoism?
A lot of people are completely focused in economics, like Marxists, libertarians or accelerationists. And yes, the economy is very important. Marx was an improvement over the religion-centered theories of history which preceded him. And the short-lived race-centered theories were worse. Yes, the economy is hugely important. It’s one great pole of human society. How people organize to make stuff and exchange it can explain a great deal of what society is and does.
But there’s another one pole. Violence. Or in other words, politics. How people organize to break stuff and kill people. That is also hugely important, and it explains a great deal of what society is and does. And it’s always there. Violence is always there. You may not be interested in war, but Trotsky is, so you better be too.
Politics and the economy are obviously related. You need to make weapons before using them. And the other way around: what you are allowed to make and how to exchange it depends on those guys with guns. Yin-yang, folks.
Politics and Economics are bound together. They cannot live separately, as much as they’d like to. Politics can’t do as it please, if people won’t make stuff for it. The communists realized that the hard way. But economics can’t do as it please either. The guys with guns won’t let them. Capitalism won’t consume everything for its own purposes. It has no purpose. It can only work in the small range that Politics allows it to. Right now, capitalism can consume everything, as long as it’s for the benefit of advancing the holy cause of Marriage Equality, Transexual Toilet Rights *and* Protecting Muslim Feelings.
What’s scary is that capitalism can work with that. And make money. Oh well. Skynet is going to be very queer.
The last video by the Chinese state news agency Xinhua wasn’t widely appreciated by my Western audience. The common reaction is that Asians just are awfully bad at propaganda.
Yes, they are pretty bad. And that’s an Asian thing; it’s not a communist thing. Look at this video by the Japanese Foreign Ministry. This also ties with my other recent post on Japanese decline.
I gotta say I’m impressed. Chinese propaganda in English is improving a lot. The chick is cute, she’s dressing in traditional clothing, her English is ok, but has a clumsy enough accent to sound cute, and the content is both strong and funny. Well done, guys.
Graphics are fairly low-quality, but that’s easy to improve. But making fun of the latest US Navy mishaps is pretty good, given that the odds are the Chinese military has been involved in some way. I can imagine the grin in the Chinese high command. Still, the emphasis on “American lives being lost”, “American taxpayer being wasted” is a bit try-hard. Just focus on Asia being Asia and Americans being incompetent bullies who have no business there, and you might even convince some baizuo over there.
Here’s welcoming some competent soft power here. Soon we will have cute Chinese waifus to complement Putin’s alpha allure to the Western masses.
I’m guessing that Mr. Derbyshire’s Chinese in-laws have been extremely mean to him; else I don’t quite get his hostility towards his children’s motherland. He should be happy that they’ll get to choose to live in the world hegemon no matter what happens during this century. But no, he keeps criticizing the empire.
To his credit, he criticizes the other, as of now foremost empire, the USA. I guess it’s this small-town conservatism thing. This dream of ethnically homogeneous, small countries, tied by very strict but widely shared cultural norms, and ruled through direct citizenship participation. Yes, it’s kinda nice. There’s this bucolic flavor to it; and if we look at revealed preferences, people all over the world pay big bucks to visit those kind of places (Switzerland, northern Italy) every year. To the point, tourists visiting Japan is a booming industry, with over 20 million visitors last year.
But as nice as homogeneous, peaceful towns/countries are; the logic of history doesn’t care. Northern Italy was this collection of small sovereign city states. Then they consolidated into a few states ruled by the biggest cities, Milan, Venice. Then Napoleon came with his steamroller and it all went to hell. The fact that Switzerland still exists has all to do with it being a bunch of (back then) unproductive real estate freezing up in the Alps, and not due to its superior government.
Anyway, to the point, Japan. I know Japan. Very well. There’s no fucking way in this universe or in any of the infinite universes out there that the 21st century is the Japanese century. Yes, Japan is a fairly pleasant place to live. No crime, by our standards. Very clean; awesome infrastructure. Amazing service by workers so polite they put Victorian butlers to shame.
But Japan is dying. Japan was the first country to stop breeding (and refuse to mask it with foreign workers), so right now it has a 25% old-age population. One in four Japanese are over 65 year old geezers. Who get pensions and consume untold amounts of free healthcare. Who pays for that? Well young people; who haven’t seen their salaries raise, even nominally, for decades, mostly due to raising payroll taxes. The money-printing hasn’t produced any inflation, but it has produced a bubble in the stock market and prime real estate.
Young people aren’t stupid, they see the writing in the wall. If Western populations have been losing testosterone due to getting their balls busted by feminism since the 1970s; modern Japanese have lost the will to live, period. 40% of Japanese are virgins by age 30, men and women. You’d think it’s all the lying Western press, fake news. Oh no, I know the place. It’s true, people. National decline is a scary thing. Japan is in steep decline.
Oh, but the don’t have immigrants! Bullshit they don’t have. Try to buy any groceries in central Tokyo and not see a Vietnamese or Bangladeshi kid in a 7/11 uniform. There’s 2 million immigrants. There’s foreigners everywhere. 2 million in total. Yes, of course, compared to what’s going on in the West, that’s nothing. Japan has a rational policy. It doesn’t take “refugees”. It takes workers, on their terms. Pretty harsh terms. Japan pays low salaries and makes people work really, really hard. Plenty of foreigners just won’t take it. Japan is very far away, it’s expensive, the language is crazy hard, there’s little fun to do out there. And the sort of Japanese boss who takes foreign workers (agriculture, low-margin manufacturing and the like) are often nasty, nasty people. The conditions some workers are made to accept would make many Dubai employers blush.
Of course, that’s the only way to run an immigration policy that pays for the accepting country. Japan doesn’t have an immigration industry. There are no foreign foundations paying for the colonization of the country by hostile foreigners. The government doesn’t fund QUANGOs to bring them. It doesn’t give welfare quotas to their cities to advantage foreigners over natives. The Japanese have their country, and want to keep it. Yes, they’ll take any foreigner who is willing to work for them, without making any accommodation. Japan is their country and they like it as it is. Good for them.
But… Japan is not going anywhere. Don’t believe the hype over the recent GDP growth figures. It’s all bullshit. Japan is losing 1 million workers every year. The electronics industry is dead. Sharp was bought by the Chinese, Toshiba is bankrupt. The videogame industry is dying, completely outdone by America’s. Japan tried to start an aeronautic industry, with the much hyped Mitsubishi MRJ, but the plane sucks and Mitsubishi Aircraft is bankrupt. Japan today can only afford to eat meat because Americans like to drive Toyotas and Hondas. Japan’s future is closely tied to America’s. As the USA declines, so will Japan. But the USA has the best real estate in the world. You can fill the USA with Mexicans and Africans and they’ll still have plenty to eat, if only. Japan though, is a bunch of volcanoes on the path of the Asian monsoon. They can barely feed 30 million people by themselves. Their economic boom only happened because they happened to be an American vassal in a strategic zone. But America will soon run out of money to feed their vassals.
What then? The Japanese century? Hah. In all likelihood they’ll be China’s bitch in 2 or 3 decades. And China will not be kind to them. The Chinese empire used to be kind to its vassals, giving them vast amounts of money in exchange for pathetic shows of allegiance. But China doesn’t have an empire now. It has a micro-managed, internet-connected demotic regime, with hundreds of thousands of people engaging in government PR. Japan better practice their kowtows very well if they want the Chinese people to show them clemency.
So again, let us not lose sight of how the modern world works. Hell, how the world has always worked. Good government is nice. But nations don’t live in a vacuum. Foreign policy is as important as internal policy. It doesn’t matter how well governed a nation is, if the international situation isn’t good. Venice was very nice, nicer than France; Napoleon crushed it. Same for all those nice bucolic principalities across Germany. If your neighbor is big he is going to crush you, sooner or later. This is a fundamental principle of history. To that, add globalized economies today. Hardly any country is self-sufficient today, even potentially. Every single developed country today is an American satrapy. How long will the US be able to afford them? What then? Certainly not the Japanese century. Nor the Swiss century. Gentlemen, there is no Patchwork, and there will never be. The logic of Empire always applies.
Have I mentioned there’s a growing community of Japanese converts to Islam? Of course it’s still tiny, but it’s really funny. And given the sexual market in Japan these days (40% incels, remember), there’s plenty of incentives for it to grow.
With a gag over her mouth, yeah, why not. And a sock inside her mouth too. Whatever makes her shut up for good. Sheesh. If Civilization is this mechanism to produce humans; man, our machine is broken.
I am increasingly of the opinion that any man who wants to engage leftists in real life should only do it with 4 big, muscular friends, two on each side. Ideally naked, Bronze Age style. I’m completely serious.
Chinese media celebrate the success of the 2 Child Policy: 18.46 million births in 2016. 2 million more than 2015. Hurray. Long live the party and its core leader Xi Jinping. 萬歲萬歲萬萬歲.
Why the Chinese would want even more people escapes me. But given how modern economics (either through this Landian catallactic capitalist logic or whatever) hates demographics vacuums and tends to fill every empty spot with whatever human-like DNA it finds; well I don’t blame them for wanting to take care of that. And who knows; the whole First World is depopulating, maybe there is a grand plan of colonizing the whole world once the Great Famine happens and all those “refugees” die of their own ineptitude.
At any rate, let’s review the Baby production statistics worldwide:
China: 18.46 million Chinese babies (source)
Japan: 0.98 million babies (source)
US: 2 million white babies (source)
EU: 3 million white babies (source)
Greater Russia: 2 million white babies (source)
India: 27 freaking million babies (source)
Maybe some commenters can illustrate the breakdown between Hindu et al.
I’m guessing caste-based dysgenics must be quite serious.
Subsaharan Africa: 37 damn million black babies (source)
So there’s been another Islamic terrorist attack, this time in Spain. A dozen dead. This time though, funnily, the terrorists didn’t kill themselves. They’re still on the loose. Apparently the main actor is a 17 year old Moroccan. Even if they catch him, as a minor he’ll probably get a slap in the wrist and some community service.
After Charlottesville, people should have noticed that when Power wants something, it gets it. It will take any means necessary, put any resources needed to achieve it. If the Power in the West wanted to get rid of Islamic terrorism, it could do it.
As an example, China wants to get rid of Islamic terrorism. Pretty damn strongly. So what do they do?
I just love this picture. The huge banner on the mosque says: Love the Party, Love the Country. On a mosque. In rural Kashgar. Which is 100% Uyghur. Look at it again. “Love the party”. They don’t say that back in China proper. In Beijing you would get laughed at for being so in your face. But the Uyghurs must take it.
This of course is enforced by a huge security apparatus, killing suspects on sight, and a police state that would’ve scared the shit out of Orwell. You haven’t seen Internet control like China’s. Although I hear Germany’s is getting close.
So anyway, it isn’t hard. Xinjiang is 50% Muslim, and increasingly so. But China will take care of it. It can be done. When there’s a will. In Europe there obviously isn’t.
This Tweet encapsulates perfectly the cuckservative mindset. Cucks are, by any account, more pleasant people than leftists. Usually smarter, or at least with way more common sense. I’d guess most of us have conservatives in our family. Many I guess have married one.
What makes them contemptible, though? What makes them cucks? Their cowardice. It’s one thing to ignore the truth. To just not notice what’s in front of you. It’s another thing to be an evil liar and just spread falsehoods for your own benefit, as leftists do.
It’s a yet completely different thing to be able to notice the truth, admit most of it, and just stop our brain working just when it starts to get interested. To be just that close, to be on reach of the truth, but then… crimestop engaged. That’s what makes the cuck a cuck.
Don’t be a cuck.
Oh, and incidentally, don’t be alt-right either. Why? They are getting purged utterly from the Internet. So let this be a lesson of functional semantics. The only valuable labels are those that work.
Said Matt Yglesias. Who, while being a disgusting piece of grease, is more candid than most other apparatchiks. Which is useful in understanding what leftists, or a particular set of leftists from a particular ethnic group, are thinking about. See this other recent example:
Mmm why would he say that?
If you’re into memes this guy makes the same point.