||"dawnbreak in the west"|
Sunday, April 22, 2018
New Testament dark matter
One of my fellow parishioners at the Vigil Mass last night lent / gave me Scott Hahn's book, The Lamb's Supper. I read a lot of it over watching the Rockets lose, and have reviewed it at The Book Thread.
Summary of that review: more enjoyable than watching the Rockets lose. It was a confused and biased patchwork of an academic treatise explaining how John's Revelation matches the Divine Liturgy, and a gushing review of the Divine Liturgy. But it was published 1999. Maybe some more-focused books have appeared since then.
Hahn thinks the Revelation came from the Apostle, and that the "Johannine" writings also come from that apostle or from associated movements, but I don't think he made the case. Better is his argument that the "Johannine" writings agree with John over the meaning of the Liturgy and over the Messiah's place in it as the Lamb.
I got the impression over Holy Week that pseudoJohn's Gospel, also, develops from a liturgy. This Gospel doesn't much talk about the Last Supper - directly. We know the Christians knew about this supper because Paul talks about it in 1 Corinthians. Also the Evangelist alludes to it when he has Jesus speaks of flesh and blood, John 6:35,52-59.
Just as Evan Powell senses that the Synoptics react to some early version of John (mostly chs. 1-20; 21 is Mark's missing conclusion), and as others sense that John expands a paraSynoptic "Signs Gospel", I'm suspecting that the Revelation - also - expands on a Liturgy Of The Lamb, which (some) Christians were already celebrating. It's that 2000-year-old problem: was the Passover celebrated before Jesus' death, which allowed for a Last Supper; or was it celebrated in Jesus' death?
It'll be fun to see what happens when someone uncovers this evangelio oscura.
Public-employee retirement accounts
In non-communitarian states - let's pick on Illinois for a bit - taxpayers don't want to pay nontaxpayers' teachers (especially) very much. So to lure talented people into teaching and other employment, the politicians've been making promises. Such employees get a wage just-about good enough to live in the ghetto. Or they bunk up with a wealthier and/or better-connected spouse. The "deal" is that part of their wage is sequestered into a state-run account. Then the employees on their way out get a pension.
That's a pretty good deal for taxpayers - over the first few years. It has some problems though: the money isn't truly invested. Instead it goes to some "lock box". In other words, it's a liability on the state balance-sheet. When bondholders lose confidence in the state's ability and/or willingness to make good on its promises, they go loanshark and jack up interest-rates. So now the state has to pay interest instead of funding roads.
Also, there exists a Socialist party in these United States, formerly known as "the Democrats". Its partisans are invested in a democratic farce whilst running things to benefit the Party. The Party has an interest in growing its constituency of votes-for-hire. Even if the Party wasn't actively evil, it would have to behave evilly, just to keep and to grow its empire. There's always some need for a "coordinator" here or an "administrator" there. Besides, hiring more people - on the face of it - grows the number of dollars that go into the "lock box".
Yeah, it's Ponzi. And it's going to fail. Is already failing.
Slashing retiree pensions doesn't help because the courts, rightly, see the old deals as legally-valid deals. Hiking taxes might seem to work but productive people will just up and move. Asking public employees to contribute more to such retirement accounts is a non-starter if it cuts into their pay which is already, by design, low. With underpayment comes an incentive to corruption; with teachers this can even take the form of paedo.
The way to solve this is to get off the whole mindset that the underpay-now, promise-later model is any sort of model at all. PERAs should never be handled directly by the government; the promises now made should be offloaded, as soon as legally allowable. Also: no state income-tax should be levied upon a state employee.
Instead of taking the money from these employees, the state should licence some state-approved 401ks which, on condition of licensing, must invest some proportion in local bonds. Some public high schools and two-year community-colleges could be chartered as academies toward public service - National-Guard, police, education - which could then require a few years of actual public service, before releasing them to the private-sector. Or to the public-sector as higher-paid employees.
And public-sector unions need to be banned from growing too large, or from co-ordinating activity amongst each other, or from any political activity beyond working-conditions. I'd not even let public employees vote and, yeah, the 24th Amendment needs repeal.
The public school problem: sketching the outlines
Earlier I'd sketched out how minarchism erodes. Let's talk schools now.
Schools needn't be centrally-run. The definition of "public", for schools, is fluid. The English call even a private school a "public" one. (I guess because most such were set up by a royal charter, so public... for those who could pay.)
Ideally parents would educate their own children - or at least get a pool together to hire what can teach them. In some highly-communitarian societies - like the villages of sixteenth-century East Anglia and of its colony Massachusetts - the village is so ideologically homogeneous (and a bit inbred) that the childless merrily join in to fund the education of others' children, who are often cousins anyway. These contributions may or may not be formally taxes, but the schools gonna get funded or else the bums gotta leave. The bums are low-number enough that they do leave; or else get hassled and shunned, until the latter shape up.
In non-communitarian societies, and in Diverse And Vibrant societies, we see taxes levied upon population A to fund a large population B. In these cases Population B has browbeat Population A on several fronts: one day marching in the streets to make A's commerce impossible; the next day putting out woe-is-me, i's-po'-fo'ks propaganda to peel off the weak-willed members of A.
You'd think the A taxpayers would just secede and fund schools for A, forcing B to deal with B. And historically, that's what happened, which the Supreme Court stamped into law by Plessy v Ferguson. In practice A's districts got funded locally (or by endowment, cf. Rice University). B's districts relied on the overall state, on the Federal government, and on charity often from the North.
PvF isn't the law anymore. Population A wishing to preserve A culture in A children have turned to parallel school systems for A. They then vote down taxes for public schools as such - because only B goes there anymore. When A can't vote it down they leave.
In the ongoing struggle of A's middle class to educate A's own children and to stay in their homes, A has gone to the overall state to restrict what can be taxed. Hence, Taxpayers' Bills Of Rights. Hence, the Californian local baronetcies enshrined by Proposition 13, which fixed tax-levels.
Thus far, as I see it, we have two tiers of "public" school in any given state. There's the New England / Anglia model, where everyone pitches in, and if some outsider (say, a Jew) moves in to stay, he's wealthy enough not to mind the hit. And there's the Alabama model, where public school is the dumping ground. "Socialism for Boers, fascism for Blacks."
To start, let's not overuse the term "public". The roads in a city are a public service. So is the army. Beyond that, most services are elective. They have evolved to become public responsibilities by millennia of trial-and-error.
Fire-departments started out as civil agencies, basically one of the duties a mayor and his boys were supposed to handle. In first-century BC Rome, which grew too fast for civic authorities to handle in time, these became privatised and attached to insurance-companies - Crassus got himself rich this way. Which might explain why that experiment didn't take off: say I get Crassus' service and my neighbours don't. Crassus doesn't come when my freeloading neighbours get torched. By the time Crassus sets off to guarding MY home, there's a raging inferno and he can't help, especially not with Roman-era tech.
The example of infectious disease is very like the fire example, and is how come many districts mandate vaccination.
Friday, April 20, 2018
The Aquatic Ape
I'd got into Elaine Morgan's "Aquatic Ape Hypothesis" back in the 1990s, by way of Larry Gonick (yeah, I know); and I bought Scars of Evolution a decade later. Today there's news about microevolution toward that direction in modern-human deep-water populations like the Bajau. But it might not be modern. Perhaps it is Denisovan in origin.
I'd read Morgan long before modern genetics. We had some mitochondrial DNA but none of the sweeps we're seeing now.
So - now that we have a handle on archaic human DNA like Denisova and (more to the point) Pacific Rim paraDenisova - can we start looking into Morgan again? Maybe paraDenisova preserves the Aquatic Ape genes, lost in other populations like Neanders whose waters are too cold or in Africans whose waters are (historically) full of worms.
Thursday, April 19, 2018
Dr Zoidberg's guide to epigenetics
I got Jordan Peterson's Twelve Rules last weekend. I got to The Bit About The Lobsters. This part has implications for blank-slate theory and stereotype-threat.
Peterson reports that a lobster's brain is small and, also, has larger neurons. So we can see what's going on in there more easily than with, say, a Tunisian macaque. To boil it all down, the lobster brain exists in two states: alpha and not-alpha. Without that, lobsters will fight each other until all are dead except one mortally wounded. Alpha lobster wins fights, and his brain develops to keep him well-fed and secure. Those whom alpha beats undergo a... frightening neural process. Peterson describes the process as liquification. The fluid brain of the loser then reorganises itself, around not challenging alpha. Think of it as disassembling and reassembling LOGO bricks.
Peterson brings all this up to show that this likely was the case in the common vermicious ancestor to lobsters and to men. It makes sense that in the first complex brain, there were only so many neurons to spare, and a loser had to keep itself alive somehow. After all, alpha might die one day and the lobsters would then need a new alpha. So, when alpha is demoted or non-alpha is promoted: brain liquification it is, and reconstruction.
This has neurophysical consequences in humans. If we inherited that sourcecode, then some major parts of our brains will liquify too in event of abrupt demotion in status. But our brains are much larger and more complex. So it is unlikely the full brain even can liquify - nor would we really want it to, given all the essential information it stores (language, for a start). Hence: cognitive-dissonance, denial (at first), depression.
This implies that, yeah, stereotype-threat, much maligned these days in HBD circles, is a thing. Ditto trigger-warnings and safe-spaces and micro-aggressions and the rest of the modern Millennial experience.
Now, how much a thing it is, and to what extent we wish to encourage people to make it a thing instead of, oh, to build up a store of neural reserve against The Awful Day Of Trigger - I guess that's where we all part ways.
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Here's the plan next time you be hankerin' for some coffee and free wifi: bring a laptop and a thermos of whatever you brew at home (I recommend Black Rifle), get into Starbucks first thing in the morning, and make yourself comfy.
What are they gonna do? Seriously, that's the Starbucks master-plan - provide services to Da Peepo. The outpost on Sheridan up on Westminster, CO has had a "make every day Martin Luther King Day" poster for years. I dunno if they still do but hey, MLK himself would have agreed, wholeheartedly.
What a joke that place is. Their coffee was always mediocre-to-poor and overpriced (their apologies notwithstanding); their food, microwaved. About the most that place had going is that it was a safe spot for middle-class people to sit down and read, on weekends, when the libraries weren't open yet. Well, now it's Hobo Haven. Good luck with that.
Sunday, April 15, 2018
The cult of Founding Fathers Christianity
It is frequent to see quotes, attributed to various Founding Fathers, which assert a strict Biblical literalism. Sometimes the quote supports more exactly a general Old Testament / Decalogue Deism; sometimes it is narrowly Christian. But overall they are bundled into a florilegium.
That the quotes are false or incontextual is long-known on the 'web. The most-canonical collection comes from one David Barton. Barton is well-respected; and his organisation survives, the Wallbuilders Inc. Wallbuilders has upheld several of these quotes. But has repudiated several others.
But when confronted, the spreaders of this stuff won't look up contrary opinions for themselves. I used to get spam by a "Jcistheway" AOLer when I was on that site, even when I asked him to cut it out. Yesterday at the Republican Assembly a big guy was aggressively touting this stuff from the promenade. I pointed out that the quotes were false and offered evidence. I got called a "liberal" and an "atheist" for my efforts. I also got told to get out of America.
These are not people who argue in good faith. They don't want to make converts to Christianity, much; since they peddle lies, they can never convince someone who is maybe on the fence. Their aim is to drive a cognitive-dissonance amongst Americans, to browbeat them into accepting this form of Christianity; or else to drive non-Christians - and the wrong sort of Christian - out of the Party and ultimately out of the country.
It is a cult. The cult is less prevalent nowadays than it once was; also, I concede he got his right to speak same as I do, and since a speech is not a debate, he's even got the right to shout down dissenters, until some outside party sets up opposing stalls and rules of order. It's not like we need a Safe Space. The sight of an outspoken liar, bigot, and would-be religious cleanser is, still, depressing to experience at a party convention, even if at the sidelines. I guess bullies gotta bully.
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Greg Lopez has stopped beating his wife
I got a lot of ugly text-messages from this or that campaign, from anonymous phone numbers I know not. After Greg Lopez won I got this. About some crap that happened when Lopez was in his twenties. A quarter-century ago.
G-d help me if any of the stupid shit I did 25 years ago comes out, when I was a student at Rice. Or if some of the stuff my classmate George Prescott Bush got into comes out . . . (Disclosure: he and I barely interacted; my stupid shit was mine own, as his was his own.)
Look, guys; people do stupidity when they are young, and often there is no excuse for it, and we just have to atone, to the people we've hurt and - if that's your thing - to God. Decades pass. And we learn.
I'd actually distrust, more, people who didn't have dirt in their pasts. I'd wonder about the content of their hidden mistakes. And I'd wonder what powerful forces were ensuring that those mistakes stayed hidden. Candidate Jared Polis, for instance: homosexual, and proven liar. These creatures aren't born; they are made. Who ensured Polis got made, as it were?
My second Colorado Assembly
This one was in Boulder so, getting there was not as much a Pita Sandwich as the last one for this particular hobo.
There were two races of consequence (i.e., with candidates) this time: Treasurer and Governor. Both were a leeetle negative and I hope the supporters of the losers can kiss and make up like they didn't in 2016.
Because the 2016 election cost Colorado a Senate voice, and it also pledged its Electors to - quite literally - Satan. Republicans cannot afford to go through that again.
I also need to point out that the party apparatus done f0cked it up, such that candidate speeches that should have started in the late morning didn't start until mid-afternoon. Also, the event may as well have been The Ken Buck Show because we all saw a lot of that guy, for better or worse - mostly for better (and I like Ken Buck), but his support of Stapleton smelled like favour-dealing. Outside the arena I give much credit to the University of Colorado and to the security-detail for getting parking sorted out (at least for early-arrivals) and for not getting us bombed or shot.
As Treasurer goes, all four candidates (a fifth advertised in the programme, but didn't stand for nomination) looked good, for what the Treasurer can do. Three campaigns went hard against Lundberg - who lost. Secondarily, Everett had apparently run some additional negativity against Barkey - or at least Barkey whined about it on stage. Everett had impressed me before the show started, by expanding on the Public Employee Retirement fund, "PERA". Which is 83 million dollars in the Unfunded Liability hole. I wish he'd said more of that on stage instead of going into hurr durr pro life muh gunz, which the Treasurer does jack sh-t about. But he'd also repeated his PERA comments, which must have got him to the 49%; none of the others could reach 30, so, Everett is going to the general election.
I want to shout out to Brita Horn as also being a strong candidate, besides what the numbers say... she just wasn't strong on stage. I do hope that this is not the last we shall hear from her.
I'd gotten wind of the petition shenanigans which Walker Stapleton got into. Apparently he was going for the primary and wanted to skip us deplorables at the Assembly. But, the petition failed and Stapleton ended up on stage - questionably, some say. Stapleton's crew (I suspect -they didn't put their names on it) ran a nasty campaign against Cynthia Coffman who, then, abused her non-campaign speaking platform to attack Stapleton.
I'd gone to the Assembly leaning Greg Lopez. I'd seen him two years ago but had wholly forgotten whatever it was he'd said then, as did everyone else after the stemwinder Darryl Glenn threw at us. Lopez's speech this year was better - a lot better, probably the best one this year; but not as great as Glenn's 2016. Lopez was good enough to get 33%, squeaking through to the primary.
Barlock and Farah had, actually, some good points on their platforms as well; but they didn't come off as having had the leadership skills as Lopez (a mayor), Stapleton (state treasurer), and Coffman (state attorney-general) had. Gaiter and Kear, meanwhile, should not have bothered; Kear the Californienne got six votes, and wasted her time and ours, like, totally. Cursus Honorum: illum unum... thing-um, est.
Some formative feedback for Barlock: he had a good speech as noted but it relied too heavily on Trump who, er, didn't win here last time. Trump-love gets one pretty far in this year's Republican electorate, but not enough to win it all. Also, Barlock didn't leaven his speech with jokes and smiles. So he came off like the leader of Trump's fan club, not like a new Trump himself. In retrospect Barlock (and maybe his brother too) should have run in a local race. County Treasurer or Town Controller or Mayor would all work, for either of them. Cursus Honorum, yo.
Thursday, April 12, 2018
Dwayne Johnson will star as President in a movie
Scott Adams noted in Win Bigly that the 2016 electorate had seen Donald Trump as President before voting him as President. Trump had appeared as President in a Saturday Night Live sketch. And "President Trump" had been mooted long before that... by the hard Left, for instance Rage Against The Machine. To proffer another example Arnold Schwarzenegger, California Governor had been mooted in this or that movie: most memorably Demolition Man, and (as McBain) The Simpsons.
We are not, here, judging the merits of any of these heads of state. (To cite another movie that inserted a Presidential meme.)
Dwayne Johnson has been 'the Scorpion King' in, I think, two movies. Except that Johnson's not doing any kinging. He's a monster in The Mummy. In the titular prequel, he's a Conanlike. So if we have seen Johnson as a leader he is not a leader of nations.
Johnson if he wants to be President, and I think he does, is going to have to insert the meme that he can be President into some form of media. This will likely be cinema.
Dwayne Johnson is a phony
The Rock has made quite the career out of playing the natural leader, and at the same time pretending he Cares About You.
I will admit - I was once a fan, too. Although genre-by-genre he looks less good; for instance Prince of Persia is better than The Scorpion King, such that I offloaded TSK when I moved but retained PoP.
But anyway. To be a fan of The Rock, you have to agree to hand over your means of self-defence to the cops. The Rock can keep his licenced security-detail but you'll have to stick with neighbourhood-watch schlubs like Zimmerman, and you can probably guess what The Rock thinks about him.
Johnson is, like Zimmerman and like his co-star Vin Diesel and like your humble blogger, mixed-race. Johnson happens to be part-Samoan. But for Johnson, that's situational. Johnson has never spoken out against Margaret Mead or (more so) her mentors and followers in anthropology, when they appropriated Samoan culture for their cracked Western theories.
Gonna guess right here an' now that, Vin Diesel versus Johnson, Vin Diesel is the better man. I'd certainly got more entertainment from Butcher Bay than from anything Johnson ever did.
This just in: teenagers talk a lot of sh!t
My generation - GenX - left college in the 1990s hearing a lot of those politically-correct bromides now tagged #woke. And then we got wind of books that informed us that our profs had delivered to us a pack-o'lies: The Sokal Hoax; Not Out Of Africa... The Bell Curve. This is why The Matrix struck such a chord with us. (I wonder if the Contract With America election 1994 had emboldened these Sargon-of-Akkad classical-liberals. That might be worth another post someday.)
But today, let's look at the fateful hoaxing of Margaret Mead. Mead's "work", if you can call it that, has been proven to be useless in understanding Samoan or Polynesian life; and the Polynesians detest Mead to this day, such that we will find none of her theses in Moana.
Mead was not a fraud herself but had stuffed her head with frauds, from Boas her mentor. So she went to Samoa with some confirmation-bias. Well, she found her evidence... amongst the local teenagers. Teen Boys Losing Virginity Earlier And Earlier, Report Teen Boys.
Monday, April 09, 2018
This post concludes the fourth thousand of posts on this blog. Post 3k was Decemberish 2015 perhaps.
The last three-and-a-half years started with my translation of Paul Casanova but otherwise my Islamic research basically stalled. I collected an essay-collection but didn't post a book. The new essays there and on my site are mere consolidations. I revised Throne of Glass, but that's just because I'd struggled with the original...
I read a lot about late-antiquity, mainly Iran and Armenia. Last year I dabbled in fiction-writing.
In other news: over 2016 I got involved in Republican politics, first to lose with Cruz and next to get stumped with Trump. (Sigh, Californorado.) I also visited England and a bit of Scotland.
In 2017 I lost my job and then, this year, gained a new one. That was also the Hurricane Harvey year so I went back to Houston to help my parents with that.
The blog's focus has remained the same through posts 3000-4000 as it was 2000-3000: unfocused and dissident-Right. I think I get more readers now. There's that Macedonian fellow and, also, some Algerians who come here. I get a lot of Italians too, although I've no clue why.
The main shift, I think, has been my discovery of Rene Girard late 2016. This explained substitutionary atonement sufficiently that I returned to Catholicism last autumn.
This is why we call it Faux News
Far be it from me to raise whether MacDowell intrinsically deserves a platform... somewhere. I do however note that MacDowell is a charlatan; arguably, the first charlatan exposed as such in the Internet Age. The general discredit of MacDowell online was a major factor in my exit from Christianity in the middle 1990s.
MacDowell had conflated his lies with all Christianity. It then followed - if you believed MacDowell - that if MacDowell was wrong, then Christ was wrong (and so was the Bible).
Praises to G-d, I no longer think this. But as long as MacDowell promotes his lies, I cannot forgive him: when I was atheist, for believing a word he'd said; when Catholic, for driving me away from G-d.
As for Fox, by publishing this piece they show they're not much interested in the health of the Church either. They just want clicks.
Africa is physically connected to Eurasia by way of Suez / Sinai, and in visual range - or near enough - via Gibraltar and Yemen. So there have been many "Out Of Africa" events. Monkeys. The ancestor to the Orang-Utan. Homo erectus. Maybe the proto-Neander. And us modern Eurasians, of course.
It is, then, arbitrary to suppose that modern humans just hung out in Africa, smokin' blunts and drinkin' 40s, until Yakoob kidnapped my ancestors and made them Aryan. But this is already known.
Recently we got new evidence for a move into Eurasia, here via Yemen. The once-carbon human remains are fossilised, which means they've turned to rock. Here is the good news: they can be dated like rocks are dated, with that rock's uranium : thorium ratio. This gets the age the remains became (rock) fossils. The remains, before that, were still remains. When dealing with the myriads of years BC rather than with the hundreds, rock-dating works better than carbon14-dating works.
And here is the bad news: the fossilisation process doesn't turn DNA into stone tablets or whatever.
On that timescale, I think I'd prefer DNA.
Blogger's search function is crippled
On topic of historical games, Google may or may not be playing games with the software I use to publish this journal. Specifically its internal search option, which allows me swift access to what I used to post here.
Yesterday I noted the Maya for non-chocolate reasons. To provide sources, I did that internal search, and found what I was looking for - for 2016. But then I noticed something odd: I've been interested in the Maya for decades, so presumably I'd posted something about them for longer than two or three years; and I remembered getting angry at a professional Mayanist's unprofessional meddling in elections. But the internal search had forgotten this.
So I switched to Google itself, with the "site:zimriel.blogspot.com" option - and whaddaya know, I had indeed posted about the Maya in 2009. I found similar when searching for "Heather" (Peter Heather, that is). There's a cutoff late 2015.
Anyways, I did find (and link) that older Maya comment which I'd posted back when. But I couldn't use Blogger for that. I reported the broken search immediately but I see the problem is ongoing.
I do hope this is a bug, and not some gaslighting scheme against Right voices on this Left platform. Like Twitter's shadowban. Like Google's hiding of politically-incorrect search-results.
The chocolate game
George Orwell noted some games that propagandists play with history. A government will say the chocolate ration was increased from
Yesterday RottenTomatoes, which is a Hollywood and specifically Warner lapdog, had a good sneer at Chappaquiddick not meeting "expectations". Today the Right is claiming this movie overperformed "expectations". One side or the other is playing the chocolate game. But who knows, right?
There do exist people who want to know: those who want to make money off the next indie release. In the cinema world we call these investors, "Producers". Probably best we ask them.
Sunday, April 08, 2018
Chappaquiddick v. Blockers
I saw one movie last weekend: U+1F413 Blockers - yes, the one with that emoji. In the process I missed out on a slew of other movies, including some fine ones like Chappaquiddick and A Quiet Place. Gemini came out near here as well, although officially they'd released that one last week. Anyway the box-office is in, and so are some official reactions.
By those official reactions, Bathtime With Teddy failed and Penis Penis Penis LOL is a winner. Allow me to nuance this.
I, personally, dislike to drive in this particular American state. Chappaquiddick wasn't playing near me. U+1F413 was. I also like to watch a movie over a meal, so I had to wait until I was hungry; and if something mindless was on the visual menu, I was up for comedy over horror. So: I went for that serving of penis. Yay me.
I regret watching U+1F413. I do not recommend it for others. It wasn't harmless slob-comedy; it has a message, entirely Left, promoting underage sex and also homosexuality. (And race-mixing; although as liberalisms go, that one can be defended on civic-nationalist grounds. The House is a safe-space for misce. Although-although the Asian wife we see onscreen is a Sonya Madan feminist, who deserves cats.)
More insidiously it promotes sending girls off to college too far from home too early for too much money and for too frivolous of reasons, as with the blonde character who was the only one (technically) to lose their virginity. To that, let's let Steve Sailer explain how a healthy community handles this - the Armenians. Community-college is the wisest halfway-stage.
In America, blondes' parents aren't wise; we cater to their whims. In the sequel, blonde girl ends up like Witherspoon in Election, and - a few years after that - gasping for air upside down in a submerged Buick.
What is sovereign debt?
Dean Baker, h/t Razib:
We have had a general policy of making patents/copyrights longer and stronger. There is almost no analysis showing that increased useful research justify the higher cost. ... It is also incredible that these government-granted monopolies are not recognized as a form of government debt. We all know that if the government borrows to pay 4 research it has created debt, but if it gives Pfizer a patent monopoly to pay for research, somehow this isn't debt.
Back in 2008 when I was making sense of the Wall Street cataclysm - the reaction to which got a devoted, if thankfully lazy, Marxist propelled into power in the USA - I read This Time Is Different, about sovereign debt and how it trammels a government's options. This was brought up again in Yuval Harari's Sapiens when it judged why France couldn't raise funds as well as Britain could, despite that - on paper - France had a much greater home advantage. (Spoiler: Mississippi Bubble. The markets deemed the French Régime to be feckless, unaccountable, and weak.)
Later on, hunting down unrelated stuff, I stumbled into some Maya history. Toward the end the Maya ahauob were producing fewer and lower-quality monuments, and the Maya "nobles" were producing monuments of their own. I'd read about this in my teenage years, when Forest of Kings was making Maya history available, but I'd skipped past that bit of it at the time. Re-reading it more recently I saw the same pattern as in late eighteenth century France (which professional Mayanists didn't). The ahau has ceded privileges to the nobles, and now the nobles are exercising those private-laws to act on their own.
Debt, therefore, doesn't require a denomination in francs or in British sterling or in Dutch guilders. Monetary balance-sheets just formalise the process of state weakness. And they formalise only what is out in the open. (As we can see in, say, the "off-budget" items in the budget.)
The Hollywood elite has leveraged its near-monopoly on public entertainment, and the tech elite its monopoly on social-media, to cajole Congress into ceding licences - into ceding rents.
Happy, happy, happy
New York Times, h/t raysawhill -
White women over 45 account for about one-fifth of the adult population but account for 41 percent of antidepressant users, up from about 30 percent in 2000, the analysis found. Older white women account for 58 percent of those on antidepressants long term.
This has two sarcastic responses... from women, both in agreement. In some cases older female depression might be toxoplasmosis. But going full cat lady is more likely a knock-on effect in one who'd rescued the (diseased) cats because she was already lonely.
For my part I will float what I observe in the central Longmont and Boulder coffee houses, and in the "artistic" spaces. The Ctrl-Left has wooed this demographic extensively. The Ctrl-Left offers community, certainty, and purpose. Humans need all this - women, maybe even more than men need this, as we see from those women from a Christian background. But at least those women have Christianity. Bahai don't have Christianity, and one of them just gave us the Bruno / Youtube shooting. As for Jewesses and Muslimat . . .
So, yeah, there is a need in older womens' souls; and if their religions at birth cannot fill it, someone else will exploit it.
Friday, April 06, 2018
Only a fool imagines he can negotiate with Lord Foul.
John Turner (h/t again from HBDChick) notes:
You may have seen maps of The Roman Empire in your classroom - particularly as Octavian Caesar the Augustus Princeps left it. The Mediterranean "mare-nostrum" is commonly portrayed like nineteenth-century Canada or the USA: with borders and provinces, the provinces shaded differently depending on if the Senate retained it or if the Principate had wrested it, or if some client king ruled it (and you knew he wouldn't be ruling it long). 14 AD is the schoolboy's most-convenient stopping-point, since it also leaves off the abortive settlement of transfluvial Germany. (Although it won't give us Britain, Dacia, or Crimea.)
Kyle Harper in The Fate of Rome points out that this map belies the military realities of empire. In many areas, the Romans couldn't (or wouldn't) rule the locals directly. A truer map would have a patchwork wherein some tribes are permitted self-government - or granted it, for their services - and other tribes... aren't. Maps of Roman Britain (once that existed) explain this: they show the Iceni in the east as semi-independent, whilst the Cambrian / Cornish west is rife with military forts. Typically there were some towns which were Coloniae - legally part of Rome itself, under Roman citizen law - and other towns which were built by the natives. And some native towns could shift: Camulodonum / Colchester, for instance, became a colonia. So did Eboracum / York. These towns were outposts. Later the countryside might Romanise, as happened in much of southeast Britain. But it might not. Cambria didn't.
So the "Empire" in northwest Europe looked a lot like the British interests around India and Burma. Some places looked and behaved like the motherland, full of Latins and wannabe Latins. Other places looked like - well, like Pakistan, where the Roman citizens knew their place, as vulnerable foreigners.
As I was growing up looking at maps of the Roman Empire after Augustus, I noticed a particular controversy over whether the Crimea counted as part of the Empire. I am unaware it was ever organised as a province or (later) as a Diocletianic "Diocese"; by contrast with Dacia or Iraq, which were so organised, just not for very long, so always appear shaded with diagonal lines.
Harper's model of the Empire as a Britishlike at its fringes would explain this. There were financial and strategic interests out there, and the Romans posted some men out there to guard them. How formally this was done, we may never know; but the archaeology and certain surviving literature attest that in Crimea it was done. In that light, there seems little reason to doubt that the Romans had some men in Ireland too - here, Drumanagh. When those men left, the Irish went marauding, and enslaved the Roman citizens nearest them most famously Patrick now an Irish saint.
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