Bloody shovel

Don't call it a spade

The Geopolitics of Empire

Cool title, huh? It always feels good to type this kind of stuff. “Empire”. Pronounced with a 1900s British accent. Feels good man. Insert happy frog pic.

Anyway. The most interesting, shall I say “official” theory of historical geopolitics of the reaction must surely be Peter Turchin’s theory of meta-ethnic frontier armies pumping up their asabiya and conquering the civilizational center.

The theory basically says that to run a civilization you need a strong army. To run a strong army you need cohesion, discipline, i.e. asabiya. To produce this cohesion and discipline you need your soldiers to feel its need. Discipline isn’t nice. You’d rather slack off and drink beer and be merry. The kind of discipline an army runs off is produced by massive amounts of violence and unreasonable demands. You can only get people to do so if they feel is absolutely necessary. And they will only feel it’s necessary if they get to the realization that either they behave like good soldiers, or they’re dead, and they will lose everything they hold dear.

The way you get your soldiers to feel that is to stack them against a different civilization. People so alien to you that they you have nothing in common. If they win, everything you are accustomed to, all your life, all those little habits of behavior that form your identity: all that will be destroyed. And you don’t like that. It’s taken a while for you to adapt to that culture. Starting at birth. Your brain unconsciously produced a very fine set of motor sequences that make you able to gain some status inside that culture. If that culture were to change, because you got invaded by a different one, you’re screwed.

I mean, most likely you’d be directly screwed, in that your wife and daughters will be raped and you and your sons will be put into slavery; but even if the invaders were nice, they are just alien sons of bitches. So you gotta be sure they don’t conquer you. So you gotta be strong. So you join the army and you become a good soldier.

Once you are part of this strong army, you realize that all your fellow countrymen down below in the center are a bunch of pussies; you could easily conquer their asses in no time. Not that you need to, most of the time, but every now and then the center just collapses out of sheer dysfunction and runaway rent-seeking. So when the center collapses, the strong armies of the meta-ethnic frontier come down and restore order. That’s the Ibn-Khaldun civilizational cycle.

It’s pretty easy to understand, and it makes a lot of sense. Check your history and it fits quite mightily well I must say. And it also fits stuff that didn’t end up happening but people used to think it would. See this quote that a commenter at Nick Land’s left some days ago:

“The oppression of Hungary has ratified the oppression of all our continent. Since she has fallen, Italy has been completely crushed, the moderate freedom of Germany has been put down by Austria with the support of Russia; lastly, the usurpation of Louis Napoleon has been made possible. Without the restoration of Hungary Europe cannot be freed from Russian thraldom; under which nationalities are erased, no freedom is possible, all religions are subjected to like slavery. Gentlemen! the Emperor Napoleon spoke a prophetic word, when he said that in fifty years all Europe would be either republican or Cossack. Hungary once free, Europe is republican; Hungary permanently crushed, all Europe is Cossack.

The political fragmentation of Europe is an obvious historical anomaly. The history of mankind is the history of great empires. China, surely. The Persian Empire, and it’s Arab successors. The Roman Empire was the only one which didn’t rise again. Of course there’s a thousand theories about it; mainly Britain being a pain in the ass. But if you look at the map, it is pretty reasonable to conclude that Europe would end up a part of the Russian Empire. Russia is of course a perfect example of a meta-ethnic frontier, with White Christian Farmer Russians fighting for centuries against Asian Muslim Nomads. Now I know someone who is just going to come and write that the Russian army was a piece of shit, and that Russia only won because of sheer numbers and an Asiatic disregard for human life. But anyway. Those guys could fight. Hell, they conquered up to Alaska, the whole of Central Asia, and would’ve conquered Constantinople if not for British and French intervention.

So why didn’t Russia end up conquering the decadent Europeans? Well, in great part because the fragmented Europeans weren’t quite decadent. We could fight pretty well. France and Britain kicked ass everywhere they went. Which is weird, as neither of them are on a meta-ethnic frontier. Or are they?

Britain and France were huge colonial powers, which meant that their effective frontier was all over the place. By that argument Western Europe was the longest meta-ethnic frontier ever to occur in human history. They were out there fighting extremely alien peoples all over the planet.

But again that doesn’t quite apply to Napoleonic France. Or to the German Imperial army, by most accounts the strongest and most disciplined army in the world, probably since the Mongols. And Germany was no colonial power. By no stretch of the word you could argue that Germany is on a meta-ethnic frontier.

So what is it? The Napoleonic singularity should give you a hint. Nationalism is what fed the French army. And very much what fed the German army. Nationalism creates a meta-ethnic frontier from thin air, by changing the parameters of what makes an ethnicity. If you force people to become extremely anal about their group identity, the asabiya-production algorithms are much easier to activate. The Germans understood that was the basis of their strength; and so after losing WW1 they doubled down and came up with a Hitler.

Of course the asabiya-hacking ability of nationalism is a collective action problem. The point of asabiya is war. Of course it’s useful for a lot of other things, namely to run a wealthy industrial economy. But, at the end of the day, the business of groups of men is war, and excess asabiya will end up creating the circumstances so that it can show itself in the battlefield. And so nationalism ended up creating meta-ethnic frontiers all over the place. Which created the most massive and coordinated armies ever seen by men. Which was complete overkill. Not a good idea.

But now that Europe has forsaken nationalism, maybe the old patterns will reassert themselves, and Europe will fall to the closest meta-ethnic power. That is kinda the situation right now, with the USA as the conquering power. But they didn’t do so explicitly, and they are likely to leave in short term.

I never read him, but isn’t this argument basically what that Alexander Dugin guy is always talking about?

How to Figure out Gnon’s Will

A basic idea of this blog is that people don’t choose ideas according to the merits or the logical value of those ideas. People have different personalities, different status-seeking dispositions, so to speak. Some people desire a lot, some people are content with less, some people are willing to go further in order to attain it, others don’t. Given that basic foundation of personality, people then choose the ideas that think can better aid their status-seeking plans. Ideas spread or don’t spread according to how well they fit the wider aggregate status-seeking dispositions of the population. Which of course is affected by the current idea landscape of the culture.

This is why rabid leftists become rabid rightists, or viceversa, while seldom becoming apolitical. They’re just into politics, period, so they get behind whatever is fashionable or suits their background better. Understand this point and you’ll understand much better how the ideological landscape in the West is going to change in the next few decades. For instance, take a look at this:

A tale of two white British brothers who took VERY different paths: One supports right-wing EDL – while the other has converted to Islam

How can they be so different? Well it’s quite obvious. The guys just aren’t into mainstream crap. They’re edgy, as brothers they share those edgy genes, they just happen to stumble into different edges.

But of course ideas have consequences. Not ideas themselves; but different ideas help different groups get together, and social circles have big consequences. Social circles are everything, really.

Another point of this blog, of course, is to look at human behavior from a biological perspective. Richard Dawkins was able to write his masterpiece The Selfish Gene, because he was a zoologist. Everybody should be a zoologist. Everything makes much more sense when you look at stuff like that. Gnon is a zoologist. He really is. Now let’s look at the British brothers as zoologists. One looks happy, has two children, an obedient wife. The other has… his pub mates. Doesn’t look very content, does he?

Now I could start with that and start with the sociological consequences of that… but you already get it, don’t you? Again, I’m no apologist. I completely agree with this post by Jim. This is the solution we don’t want. But I’m not sure Gnon cares about what we want.

The Journalistic Mind

Yesterday I wrote that the leftist media (i.e. all of it) can’t shut up about the alt-right because they’re fascinated for finally having a worthy rival. They see the appeal.

Another possibility is that journalists basically spend all their lives in Twitter, and our Frog-Twitter friends are trolling them so hard that their Dunbar brains are just saturated with alt-right people. And so they react. And react, way beyond the real world importance of them. It’s like high-school kids talking all the time about their classmates. Of course they do, it’s where they spend their whole lives. But it’s all absolutely trivial in hindsight.

Here’s some evidence of how journalists work, and why they’re brains are basically on drugs with Twitter. This is a passage from David Halberstam’s The Best and the Brightest, a 1972 book detailing how the Cathedral back then, the media and the bureaucracy, botched the Vietnam War because they couldn’t stop sucking each others’ dicks. Basically because everybody wanted to suck JKF’s dick.

David Halberstam was a fairly successful journalist, who took a long leave of several years in order to write a book. He writes how hard it was to quit his usual routine as a journalist for the lonely job of writing a book who would only be complete after years of work.

The hardest thing I had to do at the start was to take leave of my byline for the next four years. Ours is a profession built upon the immediacy of reward: We graduate from college, and our peers go off to law school and graduate school and medical school. They have barely started their first-year classes, and our names are bannered across the front pages of the nation’s leading newspapers. They get their medical or law degrees, and start out in their residencies or as the lowest hirelings in a law office, and we are old-timers, covering the statehouse, or on our way to Washington, by now, we believe, the possessors of a well-known brand name. The byline is a replacement for many other things, not the least of them money. If someone ever does a great psychological profile of journalism as a profession, what will be apparent will be the need for gratification—if not instant, then certainly relatively immediate. Reporters take sustenance from their bylines; they are a reflection of who you are, what you do, and why, to an uncommon degree, you exist. It was hard enough to give so much of it up when I went to Harper’s, where I would get only five or six bylines a year. But to go from the world of easy recognition, from the world of the Times and Harper’s, to a world where I might get only one byline in four years, was a great risk. A journalist always wonders: If my byline disappears, have I disappeared as well? My friends, knowing my compulsions, my innate impatience, wondered if I could do it. Would I be able to resist assignments and stay with my project?

 

Find the Symmetry

The liberal media won’t shut up about the Alt-Right. They’re even talking about Neoreaction. Apparently Trump has read Moldbug. Or at least Bannon has. The counterrevolution is happening. Or so you’d think if you believed the liberal press.

Funny thing is, the dark side of the Internet is a small, tiny little thing. Really. Neoreaction is, what, 1,000 people? Spread around the whole world. 75% in the US, maybe. And the alt-right, which has inherited much of good ol’ national-socialism, is what, 20,000 people? I love those guys, I really do. Frog Twitter is hilarious. /pol/ is very funny. But come on. Even Steve Sailer, who has been writing for decades, who is a middle-class, 50+ old, utterly middlebrow guy who writes in very accessible language, who writes about sports! Steve Sailer has 13,000 followers on Twitter. Ezra Klein has 1.6 million. Ezra Klein, that doofus-looking doofus. Even Matthew Yglesias, whose picture is in English phrasebooks to explain the phrase “his face looks like a joke”, has 270k followers. The alt-right is beyond small. Trump didn’t win because of the alt-right. He won because he got 60 million Fox News watchers to vote for him.

But, the liberal press won’t shut up about the alt-right. Why? Why aren’t they writing about the actual Trump voters? Because this is not about numbers. This is a war of ideas. And even if ideas can adapt to people, more often than not people adapt to ideas. Ideas are the stuff of humanity. The stuff of social coordination. Ideas is what we use to get together and to stuff. Schelling points, remember? Well, for the first time, the left is scared. They’re very scared. And why are they scared? The left are masters in ideas. They have come up with this steel-strong memeplex that even though it doesn’t make any logical sense whatsoever, even though it wrecks every culture and civilization it touches, even though it makes men and women miserable and keep them from having babies; these guys keep winning. The left is good at ideas. And the left won’t shut up about the alt-right.

Maybe they sense something? Maybe they’re scared that they know that fascism is a good product. Not that it makes much sense. Slightly more than what the left sells, but fascism isn’t about truth and logic. Fascism is about what it has to be about; about coordination. About power. What the left is also about, if only in a more cheating and roundabout way. Maybe the left is scared because they know what happens when good ideas get out of the bottle. First some guy like Bannon reads Moldbug. Then he becomes the Chief Strategist of the POTUS. Then the guy actually manages to have political power. They’re trying hard to stop him. It’s likely that they succeed. But say they don’t. Say Trump and Bannon manage to stop the meddling of the US judiciary in the legislative process; say he purges the shuts down the CIA and consolidates the 16 intelligence agencies into a single one that actually follows orders; say he gets Paul Ryan to go home and work as a stripper for fat cougars.

If that happens, then whatever Bannon thinks will, slowly, become high-status. And then people who want a piece of that status will start to believe in the same stuff. And once some critical mass has been achieved, everybody will start believing in it. And once the ideas go mainstream, then they become a religion, a self-catalytic process where people start signaling and out-signaling each other and manipulating others into signaling too. That provided the ideas are a good sell at the beginning. Provided the ideas can get that critical mass. That means they must sound like a good deal, in abstract. But of course fascism sounds good. That’s the whole point of fascism. It’s catnip for civilized men.

Journalists are peddlers of ideological catnip. They’re drug dealers. That’s why there’s so many. It’s a nice job. I mean, it’s not, it doesn’t pay crap, but some people are irresistibly driven to it. And those guys who were driven to the Current Year Leftism, just can’t stop writing about the alt-right. Part is tribal anger, of course. But again, the tribes are incommensurably different in size. There’s no contest really. There’s a million leftist writers for every alt-right Twitter account. And yet… they can’t stop being curious. They see those Frog-Twitter kids, they see the drive, the passion, the brotherly manners. The asabiya. They know that’s how ideas get started. And once they get started, they can get big very, very quickly. And once they do, the guys doing the street violence won’t be Berkeley communists. They’ll be Berkeley nazis. The same people, perhaps. Because people are just empty vessels, looking for a kick. They don’t really care who provides it, only that it’s good.

Why do people go to class

Not to learn, certainly.

David Friedman says:

I have long been puzzled by why lecturers were not replaced by books shortly after the invention of printing made books cheap. Video is just the latest incarnation of that puzzle.

Well if you’ve been puzzled for long, why don’t you think about it? Come on, Mr. Friedman. You’re a smart guy. If you don’t understand something, just think a bit harder. Or better still: think outside the box.

Some guys out there put theories about humans being wired to pay attention to lecturers, more than to books or videos. I don’t know. Certainly didn’t work like that for me. A boring lecture is a boring lecture whether on video or in person. I’m not the most patient guy so your mileage may vary but I surely didn’t pay much attention myself to my professors unless they were particularly good.

The answer to the question is obvious. I mean, come on. People don’t go to college to learn. They go because it’s the official way of attaining high status. That’s what education is for. The guy who just wants to learn already reads the book and doesn’t bother with the lecture. The fact that we still have lectures and pay lecturers, as some guy said over there, “pay thousands of professors to give exactly the same Calculus lecture”, is not to satisfy the market of kids who want to learn. That’s not the market that high education caters for.

Robin Hanson made what I consider the best claim: education is about making friends with high prestige people. “Impressive people”, as he put it. He would know, as he’s quite impressive himself, and he appears to understand that a lot of people try to be friends with him even though they aren’t at all interested in what he has to say. So for any average kid, a math professor is a high prestige guy. He’s smart. He’s impressive. Being in the same room with the guy means you have something of the social standing of that guy. You may not be impressive yourself, but you’re good enough to be in the same room as an impressive guy.

You’ll notice that’s the same logic for why people follow celebrities all over the world. What’s the freaking point in going batshit crazy over some singer, paying thousands and thousands of dollars? Why do people ask for autographs? Why do teenage girls go insane when some famous guy looked at them? Why the hell does every TV celebrity have millions of followers on Twitter? Because interaction is status. I have some connection with a high-status guy. Means I’m high status too. Sorta. It used to work like that in 100,000 BC. Not so much today in social media. But evolution is what it is. Gnon is lazy.

Dunbar Feminism

I think I should stop selling “behaviorism”. By which I mean, I should stop calling what I sell “behaviorism”. I shall call it “immediatism”.

Basic points are: all politics are local. All cognition is local. Nothing is abstract. People behave so as to immediate conditions. Here’s an example. Sweden.

http://www.government.se/government-policy/a-feminist-government/

Let me quote:

Sweden has the first feminist government in the world. This means that gender equality is central to the Government’s priorities – in decision-making and resource allocation. A feminist government ensures that a gender equality perspective is brought into policy-making on a broad front, both nationally and internationally. Women and men must have the same power to shape society and their own lives. This is a human right and a matter of democracy and justice. Gender equality is also part of the solution to society’s challenges and a matter of course in a modern welfare state – for justice and economic development. The Government’s most important tool for implementing feminist policy is gender mainstreaming, of which gender-responsive budgeting is an important component.

Feminism gender gender feminism power gender feminism. And first. You get the gist. They also had this sort of battle picture:

1486134179161

So you’d think these people will be very consistent feminists, and make a lot of policies to further the movement. And indeed, they are wreaking havoc in Sweden by doing retarded stuff like “feminist snow plowing”, collapsing the whole transport system in the process. But then these feminists do things like this:

And so people start howling: you can’t do this! What kind of feminist are you if put on a veil to pander to Muslims. Which is true of course, and this bunch of evil hags should be shamed as much as possible. But if you want to understand what is really going on, you gotta understand immediatism.

See, these Swedish middle aged women aren’t feminist in the abstract. They are feminist in their local environment. Which means that there are in a power struggle against their men. Not men in the abstract. But Swedish men. Their husbands, their brothers and their fathers. It is them who they want to spite. And to spite them they adopt “feminism”, i.e. they parrot feminist rhetoric, mostly imported from the USA. And the policies they adopt are tailored to fuck with Swedish men: like taking the snow out of the driveways that women walk, instead of the big roads that their men use to drive to work and transport stuff.

Iranian men just don’t compute in whatever drives these people’s behavior. Even the Muslim men who are slowly invading their country don’t count for much. For all they care they aren’t real people. They’re just some abstraction you read about. Only the people in your Dunbar circle are real. So their “feminism” is about fucking with the men in their Dunbar circle. Anything else isn’t actually there. It is often said that progressive rhetoric assumes that minorities don’t really have agency. Everything is the fault of white men. Same thing. Progressives are in a power struggle against fellow white people: nobody else matters. “Agency” only exists in so far as progressives find it useful in order to achieve more power for themselves against their Dunbar-rivals.

And so when a Swedish prime minister goes to Iran, she puts the veil. Not because she’s not a feminist: but because her feminism is an immediate concern, not an abstract principle. Far away from home, out of sight of her husbands, brothers and fathers who they want to spite, they can be themselves, and enjoy being in the company of real men who force them to behave like decent women. They actually enjoy this, obviously. But they will never admit so to their fellow men. There’s two reasons for that. Often people say that is because their fellow men are beta, feminism is a shit test, the local people don’t pass the shit test so women end up despising the men for it. But I don’t think that’s all the story. Point is, in the local environment, white women and men are rivals in a power struggle, and no quarter is given. No amount of alpha can solve that. Only alphas who are not part of the local power struggle can influence women. Of course the question is how to stop white women from being in a state of war against their men. But that isn’t as easy as it sounds: Asian women give plenty of shit to Asian men, and even Muslim women are a pain in the ass in their own way. I guess only Afghans got that solved for good.

Penis Envy

I’ve meant for a long while to write a post about iconoclasm. The Byzantine Empire had been suffering defeats to Muslims for centuries. They lost 2/3rds of the Empire, and almost lost the whole of it too. It’s no wonder that some emperors thought that maybe Muslims were doing something right. They certainly seemed to have God’s favor.

The conclusion they reached was that God liked the Muslims because they did not have human figures in their mosques. Byzantine churches being full of icons, paintings, mosaics of Jesus and the myriad saints. Most of them pretty lame, too. Byzantine icons tend to be plain, dull, and often just badly drawn. It probably was the work of an endogamic caste of icon-painters who promoted each other for personal reasons unrelated to skill at painting, and flayed at any criticism by laypeople. How dare you criticize our holy art? You are just ignorant of God’s taste in painting. Kinda like the argument that progressive academics use when called out on their nonsensical “research”.

Anyway, Iconoclasm was attempted. The Byzantine state burned every human figure from their churches, which became as bare as mosques. It didn’t do much to help out in the war against the Muslims. What it did was provoke a century-long civil war. The icon-painter guild was *very* stubborn. And the Byzantine state was a mess who couldn’t impose it’s authority. So the change did more harm than good. Rhomania kept declining and rising again and then declining for good. And that was that. I guess there’s a parable here about cultural continuity.

Still, whatever the real world results of Iconoclasm, I couldn’t help feeling for Leo III when reading this piece of news. Man, these guys are doing something right.

wynne-forced-into-corner-mosque2

Who is this lonely looking woman? It’s the premier of the Canadian province of Ontario. She went to visit a mosque. See? All my multicultural subjects are my dear subjects citizens, I go around and they all worship me equally. That’s an actual line by Yongzheng emperor when been asked by a Chinese minister about Muslim misbehavior, by the way. But I digress. The premier of Ontario goes to visit a mosque as part of her show of holiness, and what happens? The Imam tells her that the guys are praying, so she gotta wait. And out of the way, please. We guys are busy. Serious stuff. Oh, yeah, go sit over there in the corner. But don’t you dare take off your veil. That’s right, good girl. Now where were we guys? Allaaaaaahu akbar.

The funny thing is that the Ontario premier is a lesbian. “First openly gay blabla”. A lesbian. A woman who wants to be a man. She probably wants to be there with the boys, praying to Allah. Dressing like a bro. But Allah won’t have her. Look at that face again. Poor thing. All the power of her office is nothing against the rock-solid frame of the Imam. Damn, that must have felt good.

Cost Disease

Cost disease. Why is everything so expensive?

This is the asexual take. This is the sexual take.

Not much to add myself. Just a small observation. Look at the graph:

primary_scost

I wonder what the graph of “female participation” looks like. That would include teachers, administrators, lobbyists, women with influence in the school district, etc.

Methinks that graph would look rather similar to the blue one. Perhaps with some time lag.

This also should apply to the other stuff: healthcare, subway construction, etc. It would be nice to look at the data.

Modernity

Maybe you can think of a different caption.

Behaviorism in Context

Let me explain what I mean when I call myself a Behaviorist. No, it’s not about blank slatism, or being able to completely manipulate anyone at will. It’s about not taking what people say at face value.

See this tweet:

No, no. Just, no. Please, somebody just close all the psychology faculties. Or close the whole universities while they’re at it. But this is completely wrong. Nonsensical, really. “People believe that…” doesn’t make sense. Look at this closely. It assumes that people have stuff inside their heads (“ideas”) and that that stuff inside their heads has some causative effect in how they behave. This is an utterly wrong way of thinking about this.

I mean, you don’t know what’s going on inside people’s heads. You just don’t. Look at this study in particular. They ask people about their own eating behavior and that of others. The answer to that question is not the “ideas” in the people’s heads. I mean, just look at the setting closely. You have:

1. Some college students
Being asked some question by:
2. A professor or grad student
About their own behavior.

And surprise, surprise, they make themselves look good and make others look not so good. Why would they do that? Well… maybe they want to make themselves look good. Because they want to appear high-status because that’s what people do.

Imagine this other setting: you are in Berkeley, and leftist thugs are running a Maoist style struggle session. They grab unpopular kid, who they think might be a Trump supporter, and they ask her what she thinks about heir own and the leftist eating habits.

What do you think she’s going to say? If she doesn’t want to get beat up with bats until she’s unconscious and gets half her rib broken, she’ll say her eating habits suck and that those of others are awesome. Why? Because she wants to survive. That’s also something that people do.

If you want to know what drives people’s behavior, you have to look at… people’s behavior. What they actually do. Not just ask them questions. Questions are social behavior which follows social rules. It’s all about context.

Modern social science still works on the rationalist paradigm, that people have “ideas” and that they “reason” about them. That is just a descendant of the Christian emphasis on “faith”, i.e. that some people have “faith” in their “hearts”, which makes them better people. Of course that was just a subterfuge to run a loyalty assessment on people. Making a good show of the “faith” in your “heart” was a very good costly signal to show your loyalty to the Christian team. Politics runs on this sort of misleading rituals. They work very well. I’ll loudly proclaim my loyalty to Kek and prostrate in front of its image whenever needed. The more people think it’s stupid the better a signal it will be.

But science should be about how things actually work. And the way things work is that you must look at what people do, not what they say. Or more accurately, you should understand what people “say” as a kind of “do”. If all those “scientists” got out of their parochial WEIRD world they’d actually understand that.