Friday, March 27, 2015

A Troublesome Intelligence:2

Due to personal commitments, I never got around to putting up a follow up post to this one.  Wade's, A Troublesome Inheritance book seems to have fallen off the radar but I've never been one to not to put a boot into an idiotic theory even if it isn't topical.

One of the problems with Wade's contention, that economic success is a result of genetic selection, is that in many instances he does not control for multiple variables which my also influence his observed results. Wade, for instance, does not control for religion, or political regime which, in my opinion are important confounding variables. Ideally the best way to test for the genetic component of wealth creation is to control for as many confounding variables you can  whilst allowing the genetic component to fully express itself.

Ideally, what you would want to do would be to put as many different genetic groups into the same political, religious and economic climate. Preferably, then, you would like to "acclimatise" them for a few generations to avoid legacy effects and then observe them for a few years and then stratify them upon their per capita wealth.

Fortunately, this data is quite readily available on Wiki, and a short scrutiny of the data pretty much demolishes Wade's claims. I know that the data is not perfect, and that there are other confounding variables, such as religion which aren't dealt with but Wiki has data which is much better than anything Wade presents.

Per Capita Income in the United States by Ancestry (i.e. genetic heritage)  makes for interesting reading. Clearly, if Wade's theory was correct you'd expect the genetic advantage bred into the Northern Europeans would be transferable to the the U.S. with their immigration to it, and that in the equal economic environment of the U.S. they would be able to out-compete with the untermensch from the other parts of the world. And yet the data illustrates that this is not the case. My own ancestors, Croatians, listed 58 on the IMF GDP per capita rankings are ranked 17th in the U.S., on per capita income, just under the English, but well above the Swedes, Scots-Irish, Germans, Danish, Finns and Dutch. Yet, Croatia was a backward frontier outpost of the Austro-Hungarian and Venetian empires with a very limited economy. Clearly, if Wade's was correct, then Nordic economic superiority should have evident, at least in the instance of the Croatians, the opposite effect is observed.

Yet, when you look at Per Capita Income by Country of Birth you see that the Croatians are ranked 48, much closer to the IMF world rankings. How is it then, that after spending only a few generations in the U.S., not enough time for natural selection to occur, that a Croatian's economic potential is so markedly improved?

It's the software stupid. It's culture.

Another  very powerful demonstration of the power of culture is shown by way of the example of Germany. Communism had its hold on Eastern Germany from 1945 to 1989, roughly about two generations worth of time, not enough for selection pressures to be significant. Additionally, most of East Germany was Protestant which had traditionally superior economic performance per captia when compared to Germany's Catholic areas. Yet, despite 2 trillion Euros worth of investment, subsidies by the government  and a new found economic freedom, the Eastern part of Germany is still lagging financially. What gives?  Why should 50 years of communism leave a lasting economic legacy 25 years after unification?

Culture and Culture.


The map on the Left is GDP per capita and the map on the right is worker productivity per capita.

In this fascinating paper on the change in IQ of German military recruits by region of origin Roivanen makes the following point.
These results show a strong correlation between IQ, GDP, and education, confirming the observations made by Lynn and Vanhanen (2012). However, it is difficult to explain these correlations using biological or genetic factors because of the rapid changes occurring within a short time span. It is not reasonable to assume significant genetic or biological differences between East and West Germans in 1992 but not in 1998. [Ed] Instead, social and political factors offer a simpler explanation. Great  differences existed between East and West German societies before the unification in 1990 in terms of education, economics, politics, and religion. Due to political factors, such as lack of democracy and economic freedom, the East German economy did not perform as well as the West German one and offered fewer resources for education, which is known to have a strong effect on IQ. When the two societies started to merge in the 1990s, eastern Germany gained in GDP and the educational expenditure rose. The educational level of East German conscripts was significantly higher in 1998 than in 1992 resulting in robust IQ gains.
Buried in that paper is another gem:
Children from immigrant families had much lower mean scores in PISA 2006 than children with German parents (Prenzel et al., 2008). Ebenrett and Puzicha (1999) do not report the share of conscripts from immigrant families, but census data indicates that it was probably higher in 1998 than in 1992 and this may have affected the stagnant IQ scores in West German cities. On the other hand, 1.3 million Germans moved from East to West Germany from 1989 to 2006, half of them younger than 25 years of age (Lehmann, 2008). The education level of these migrants was higher than that of the general population, with roughly one third of the early 1990s migrants having at least a high school diploma. The east–west brain drain has been an important political issue in unified Germany (Ebenrett,Hansen, & Puzicha, 2003). Arguably, IQ gains in eastern states would have been larger without the migration.
Despite the brain drain from East Germany, German IQ continued to rise! In other words there was a positive effect on IQ despite negative genetic drift!

Now I'm not arguing that genetics don't matter; you can't put in what God's left out, but it's clear that cultural software is very important with regard to IQ and economic performance and reductionist explanations that are biased towards one or the other are false. Wade's theory is rubbish.

For those who are interested, here is an interesting paper discussing the cultural wedge that has been formed by the fifty years of Communist rule between East and West Germany and why there will be differences between East West performance for a long time to come.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

On Chesterhate.

The other day, on Twitter, there was some discussion with regard to the merits of G.K. Chesterton and his relationship with Neoreaction ,with some negative comments made with regard to his economic ideas.

G.K.C was, like Mencken, a brilliant wordsmith who signature style was to use a paradox to illustrate his ideas. The problem with being a brilliant wordsmith is that people frequently see your work as good literature instead of looking at the ideas incorporated in them and praise your style instead of your content.  Mencken, for example, is seen as a humorous political journalist, instead of a fierce critic of Democracy. Good writing , then, can paradoxically obscure the point of your argument instead of augmenting it. As such, G.K.C is frequently seen as a man of letters instead of a serious intellectual force.

His work on St Thomas Aquinas, written after reading only four books on his subject matter, is considered by many serious scholars of St Thomas to be the best ever book written about him. Etienne Gilson had this to say about him;
For many years I have studied St Thomas and written on him and a now a journalist writes a better book about him than I have!
This isn't praise from the peanut gallery. The subject matter was hard and his mastery complete, and anyone who thinks Chesterton is a lightweight is seriously mistaken. He was one of the first to see the problems that modernity would cause to Western Civilisation, he saw the problems of capitalism without embracing socialism, he argued against the female vote, against eugenics and in fact, many of his positions taken in the early 1900's would be quite compatible with a lot of Neoreactionary ideas. Surprisingly, as I found out a few days ago, he even gave the young Eric Blair one of his first breaks.

But to be fair, Chesterton was also a man of his times and, in my mind, he was biased towards some of the causes he took on. Orwell's criticism of him , especially his "Catholic uber alles" approach,  blinded him to some of the real problems in Catholic countries and has some legitimacy. Furthermore, his optimisitic view of human nature blinded him to some of the realities of it. Operating within the Belle Epoque, in a civilisation which had peaked, and in a society which was mannered and well behaved (but with a large underclass) it would have been easy to have absorbed some of the progressive Kool-aid unthinkingly. It is interesting, that as his years progressed, he seemed to lose some of that optimism with regard to human nature just as Orwell began to lose some of his belief in atheism.

Even though he was one of the huge influences in my life, I did find myself disagreeing with him on some issues, particularly with regard to his ideas on Distributism. Firstly, two things need to be distinguished, the principle of Distributism, which I supported, and the his implementation, which I didn't. Distributism is the notion that the wealth of the nation should be distributed as widely as possible in a society, not so much as everyone having an equal share as much it is as everyone having a reasonable bit. Chesterton was spot-on when he said;
The problem with too much Capitalism is not too many capitalists but too few.
Chesterton understood that unfettered Capitalism caused a concentration of it in an economic elite who's sole elitist virtue was the capacity to make money. The problem is that this elite then gained an disproportional representation in the political and cultural process by sole virtue of their economic success. The meta-economic consequences of this aren't hard to gauge. In essence, he and Belloc, were the forerunners of the Ordoliberal school of thought.

His is ideas for the implementation of his Distributist policies, in my opinion, rested on the pastoralist utopian ideas which are frequently found amongst many conservatives who want to "escape to the country" and return to idealised primitive conditions. Despite years of campaigning, his ideas on Distributism gained little traction in the Anglo-sphere but it needs to be remembered that he was competing with another more publicised alternative which was intellectually easier to grasp (yet wrong) amongst the recently enfranchised prole masses.

In fact, perhaps one of the best implementations of Distributism is in Germany, where the concept of the Mittelstand has been aggressively pushed. This is thanks to the work of the Ordoliberalists.

The point here is that while Chesterton was wrong on some points he was a serious intellectual force and should not be dismissed lightly especially amongst Neoreactionaries. He had to work out many of his positions on his own and in an age which was far more optimistic than our own. He did not have the experience of the 20th Century, which was then a bright future, to balance some of his ideas and assumptions. For some of us, if it is that we can see further than he did and with greater clarity, it's because we stand on his shoulders and have benefited from his labors. He deserves a lot of respect.



Friday, March 13, 2015

The Problems of Semitisation.

On April 25, 1945, this picture was taken of a meeting between American and Soviet forces on the Elbe. After six years of bloody war it truly was a joyous occasion, and it was wise to forget that nearly six year prior, the guys on the right were having another joyous meeting with another group of friends with whom they had since fallen out with.


The Eastern European perspective of the Second World War is not the same as the Western European one. Poles do not regard the Liberation of Warsaw in the same way that the French regard the Liberation of Paris and the emotional response to VE day in Europe has different dimension, depending on which side of the Iron Curtain you had the mis/fortune to inhabit. As Keith Lowe's book, Savage Continent, demonstrated, in the East of Europe the killing continued for a long time afterwards and many of those killed were the good guys.

When Hitler's armies stormed in Poland on September 1st, 1939, it was done with the tacit agreement of the Soviet Union, who had promised to invade Poland--on a as per previously agreed timetable--as per  the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact. And though, chronologically, the Germans invaded first,  the Russians were holding off till it was their turn to put on the screws. World War Two, therefore, was a result of the combined German-Soviet agreement to unjustly partition Poland. It is therefore strange for an Eastern European to hear of how Germany "started the war", whereas in reality it was Germany and Russia that did it. For countries in Eastern Europe, the "liberation" from the Germans was the starting date for the enslavement by the Russians. Liberation proper, only occurring after the fall of Communism. What has always perplexed me is, why isn't this fact more readily recognised in the West?  Or what I should really say is, in the European cultures west of the Iron Curtain.

What always amazes me is the differential judgement accorded to both ideologies (and countries) when in reality both were malignant facets of evil. Nazism was vile on so many dimensions; for its system of concentration camps its, treatment of the Jews, it's embrace of savagery and cruelty, its plunder and so on. But so was Soviet Communism, whose body count was greater than that of Nazism and whose cruelties and savageries were on many instances on par. Every now and then I hear of how one was worse/ or better than the other but in my opinion it's a bit like choosing between cancer of the lung or the bowel: both are bad in their own kind of ways, there is nothing good about either of them.

In Eastern Europe both are seen as vile ideologies, but why the slant to the Left in the West? Especially, as the on-the-ground facts were better known there than in the East where there was widespread censorship and suppression of information?

Part of the reason I suspect, is that the West never had to fight the Russians and never got the full  experience of Bolshevism. Had, perhaps, five to six million Anglos or Frenchies been sent to the Gulag and "disappeared" Western perceptions of Russia would be different. Since it only happened to the "Western Slavs/Krauts" it really didn't matter and it really never made it into the public consciousness.  Furthermore, for those in the know, the alliance with the Communist savages must have caused considerable angst, and there is now considerable evidence that the West did know what was going on but preferred to turn a blind eye lest the "alliance" be threatened by moral questions that would have been raised. 

Necessary exigencies partially explain this dual standard during war time but with collapse of the Nazis, and the emergence of the Cold War, there was more than enough time for History to be set straight and yet it hasn't. Why? Part of the reason, I suspect, is because of the "Semitisation" of history in the West.

The terrible experience of Nazism by the Jews has resulted in their community focusing particular attention to the Nazi period, trying to understanding it, particularly with regard to their own cultural context. Given the predominance of Jews in academia and the media, the leftward slant of modern Judaism,  the freedom of speech in the West and the sheer weight of their publications ensured that the West was given a particularly Semitic interpretation of the Fascist phenomenon. This resulted in a moral evaluation which made the National Socialists more evil than the International Socialists.

Furthermore, the Anglo experience of fighting the Germans  and of having the Russians as allies, combined with cultural insularity, tended to emphasise this view. I also feel that once the full horror of what happened to the Jews became apparent, I think many of that many of the Allies were more than  happy to the let the focus fall onto German evil instead lest their own culpability in the Holocaust be bought to light by refusing to provide Jews with refuge.  The prevailing cultural interpretation of the Nazi period became Semitised.

By Semitisation, I mean the interpretation of things through a Jewish dimension to the exclusion of other facts. Now, I want to stress that I don't believe that this is as a result of a deliberate policy by the Jews or some sort of conspiratorial effort, rather, historical and biocognitive factors are more than responsible for this state of affairs.

On the other hand, in Eastern Europe, the post war interpretation of Nazi period was heavily Communised.  Here the official interpretation did not emphasise the Jewish dimension of the Nazi period but tended to see it in terms of the Marxist struggle, though everyone knew that the Jews were treated badly. It's hard to see the Holocaust as anything special when so much indiscriminate death was around in the post-War killing fields or Eastern Europe and where friends are family were disappearing in the night well into the 1970's.

I'll illustrate what I mean by Semitisation. For instance, it's a given that  Hitler is understood to be virulent anti-Semite, which he was, but it needs to be understood that he was primarily a racial purist and his anti-Semitism was secondary to it. The Semitic interpretation tends to see Hitler as intrinsically anti-semitic.  Now there's plenty enough evidence to show that Hitler was not just anti-Jewish, but he was also anti-Slav, anti-Gypsy anti-homosexual, anti-deformed, anti-Communist and anti-Catholic. Well before his final solution was formally implemented in 1942 Hitler had signed the decree for the T4 program  (1939, involuntary "euthanasia" of the mentally defectives) and it appears that the physical liquidation of the Jews was not on the top of his priority list. Though once the Nazi's decided to exterminate the Jews they did so with Germanic efficiency.

However,  as vile as the Final Solution was, an even greater depravity was in preparation, the Nazi's, Generalplan Ost, which would have killed tens of millions of Slavs and literally exterminated Poland. Focusing on Hitler as an intrinsic anti-Semite instead of virulent Darwinian racist downplays the racial purity aspect of the Nazi ideology whilst elevating the importance of the anti-Semitism.  Furthermore, by emphasising the Semitic dimension of Communism i.e. it was generally pro-Semitic early on, Fascism and Communism can be polarised on a Semitic axis. With Fascism being intrinsically anti-Semitic and thus bad, whilst communism which was pro-Semitic, and thus less evil (good). Fascism is thus seen as "more evil" from this perspective and Communist victims are accorded a lower status than Nazi ones. This type of "logic" offends common sense, natural justice and in Eastern Europe, this particularly tends to rub people the wrong way.

Semtisation is not just a Jewish phenomenon, it also needs to be seen as as a Nazi/Crypto-Nazi one, except in the negative sense. Crypto Nazi's are always on the lookout for the Jewish dimension in anything and judge the goodness or badness of a thing by its position on their own Semitic axis. If a Jew or Gentile is responsible for a crime then the Jew is worse even though the culpability is the same. Furthermore, a Jewish dimension is imputed even if there is no factual evidence for it. If the economy is in tatters, it's the fault of the Jews, If a country has lost the war, Jews are to blame. If the public is shifting to the Left the Jews are to blame. Alternative explanations are not sought and conflicting evidence is explained away.

In a paradoxical sort of way both Semites and anti-Semites approach history through a Semitic interpretation, though by opposite directions and both accord Semitic issues a predominance which they doesn't necessarily deserve, since, in reality,  the Jewish aspect of thing is frequently unimportant.

The problem with Semitisation is that it is a distortion of reality and an impairment to accurate thought, and whilst some people may be disposed to hate/love the Jews the fact is that Semtisation tends to inflate their significance out of all proportion to that warranted by events.  Clear thinkers should steer well away from the cognitive habit and concentrate on objectivity and empirical evidence. Furthermore the Right should steer well clear of it, since Semtisation of issues tends to "Frame-shift" them towards contemporary culturally accepted norms of Judaism regardless of their ontological congruence. Semitising an issue in the Nazi /Muslim world would be to make the issue negative on the other hand Semitising an issue in the U.S. would place it either in the "uncritical philo-semite or rabid anti-Semite polarities.

For example, when Mearsheimer and Walt published their book on the Israeli lobby, the response in the U.S. was predictable. They were obviously anti-Semites and crypto-Nazi's by association. Instead of discussing the contents of their book, and the relative merits of it,  M+W, spent a lot of time defending themselves from charges of anti-Semitism. Here in Australia, where there is a far weaker Likud lobby, the book was given a reasonable treatment. In the Middle East, the book was proof of Jewish perfidy and even garnered praise from Osama-bin-Laden, further smearing M+W through guilt by involuntary association. An objectivist would simply say than in democratic country like the U.S.,  lobbies are allowed to be formed and advocate their various interests to lawmakers. The fact that the Jewish lobby is well organised and effectively lobbies for Israel is a credit to them.  Big deal. Its all above board. Car makers, environmentalists and NAACP do it all the time and no one goes rabid when the fact is pointed out. If Americans aren't happy with their county's policies they're welcome to lobby as well, but its far easier to invoke Jewish superpowers, mind control and conspiratorial tendencies than to do something.

Furthermore, for the Right, Semitisation acts like a magnet to wannabe Nazi's and weakens it to entryism by them. It's a no win situation, and the best way out of no win situation is not to get into it.

For the record, I'm eusemetic, and I don't like to talk about Jewish issues since the current cultural frame in which I operate admits only two positions. Uncritical philo-Semitism which needs to be affirmed continuously or presumptive anti-Semitism. Since I'm neither, and most public discussion tends to occur with morons, the matter tends to be a waste of time with me either being called a Nazi or a Jewish tool. The only reason why I'm breaking my silence on the matter is because I'm seeing anti-Semitic muttering amongst some of the Neoreactionaires and I don't think they realise just how wide they're opening the door to the Neo-Nazi's. Furthermore they're chasing imaginary demons instead of tackling serious intellectual problems.

Semitic issues are irrelevant to the problems plaguing conservatism. The problem with Conservatism is not it's relationship with the Jews but its relationship with the truth. If you're a conservative that's constantly thinking about the Jewish Question then you're really not thinking at all.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

100 Years Retarded

Was browsing Conservapedia today and noticed this on the biography of Woodrow Wilson;
Thomas Woodrow Wilson (1856 - 1924), a Democrat, was elected as the 28th President of the United States of America, and reelected in 1916, serving from 1913 to 1921. A Princeton president who became an intellectual leader of the Progressive Movement, Wilson demonstrated his mastery over Congress by creating the Federal Reserve System, lowering the tariff, and revising the antitrust laws in a way that ended most of the "trust-busting" and drew clear lines on what was allowed. In general these policies would be in line with conservative recommendations in 2009.[ED] He supported liberal policies such as raising wages of railroad workers when they threatened a nationwide strike in 1916. Trying repeatedly and failing to broker peace during World War I, Wilson in 1917 led the United States into the war. He set up a draft and trained millions of soldiers, sending the American Expeditionary Forces to France under the command of General John J. Pershing. Woodrow Wilson was also known for his racist policies promoting segregation, and promoted eugenics based off of Darwinist theory.[2]
Woodrow Wilson was doing in 1913 what has become mainstream Republican policy in 2009.  How depressing is that. Conservatism in the U.S. and the rest of the world is in serious trouble. It has literally become a party of the retarded.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas



Apologies to all for the radio-silence but, as usual, it has been a far busier few months than I have expected.  I must admit that I'm glad to see the year over since it hadn't panned out like I expected it to do. Anyway I hope 2015 is better.

I would like to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas particularly Nick B Steves who took the time out to meet me in New York and another person who met me there but who shall remain nameless. You know who you are.

2014 has been a mixed year for the Right side of politics/culture  across the globe and while things may appear grim, I actually feel that we're in a better place than we were a year ago.

Best wishes to all.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Observations on the Catholic Synod.


For those who are interested, my silence in the blogosphere has been due to other unforseen commitments which I have had to take on, principally, building and designing various elements of a house. I'm still keeping an eye on things and hope (for about the umpteenth time) to be blogging regularly in the next month or so.

However, I thought I would make a brief comment on the recent Catholic Church Synod.

Nial Ferguson, in explaining the rise of the west, explained its success in due to its ability to create "killer apps" which allowed it to overtake other civilisations. I think Ferguson presents a strong and compelling case (though some of his analysis is a bit simplistic) that certain cultural memes enable the flourishing of a civilisation. Ferguson does not go very much into the "software" by which these apps are written but in my mind, it is religious and philosophical culture which are the origin of the code.

Taking a Fergusonian view on the matter then, the recent Synod really needs to be thought of as a Western Civilisation software conference, and one of the foundational bits of Western Civilisational software is the Institution of Sacramental Marriage.  While a lot of Neoreactionaries seem to be concerned with politics as a driver of social change the real money is to found in the religous and philosophical underpinnings of society.  Religion more so than philosophy, because good religion seems to provide some protective effect against bad philosophy.

Tinkering with marriage comes with great peril though I feel we should be alright. I think a lot of strange things are going to happen to the Catholic Church in the next few years and all the gay talk (and I don't mean happy) has unsettled the true guardians of the faith Traditionalists. The problem with Tradition is that it is hermetically sealed, all that has been said about the Faith has been said and there is no new development that can occur out of it. Doubling down is the Traditionalist solution to every problem. I'm sorry people think this is a caricature but I'm calling it as I see it. The Traditionalists have stopped the development of any new "killer apps."

As I see it, the question that Francis is posing to the Synod is this, "How can we develop new applications using pre-existing software and code?" The issue remains inderminate.

Many see the very fact that Francis is asking this question as proof that he has gone "Lefty". But I don't think this is the case. In a speech, which was not widely reported by the media, Francis pretty much lays the boot into "alternative arrangements":

In an audience with members of an international Marian movement, Pope Francis warned that the sacrament of marriage has been reduced to a mere association, and urged participants to be witnesses in a secular world.
“The family is being hit, the family is being struck and the family is being bastardized[Ed],” the Pope told those in attendance at the Oct. 25 audience.

He warned against the common view in society that “you can call everything family, right?”

“What is being proposed is not marriage, it's an association. But it's not marriage! It's necessary to say these things very clearly and we have to say it!” Pope Francis stressed.
This ain't no New Age Pope.  No wonder the media turned a blind eye. The Cathedral does not want you to know.




Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Somebody's been reading this blog

Firstly, a quote by G.K. Chesterton

The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected. Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is already defending it as part of his tradition. Thus we have two great types -- the advanced person who rushes us into ruin, and the retrospective person who admires the ruins. He admires them especially by moonlight, not to say moonshine. Each new blunder of the progressive or prig becomes instantly a legend of immemorial antiquity for the snob. 

Secondly, a quote by Pope Francis at the end of the Synod.

......And since it is a journey of human beings, with the consolations there were also moments of desolation, of tensions and temptations, of which a few possibilities could be mentioned:

 - One, a temptation to hostile inflexibility, that is, wanting to close oneself within the written word, (the letter) and not allowing oneself to be surprised by God, by the God of surprises, (the spirit); within the law, within the certitude of what we know and not of what we still need to learn and to achieve. From the time of Christ, it is the temptation of the zealous, of the scrupulous, of the solicitous and of the so-called – today – “traditionalists” and also of the intellectuals.

 - The temptation to a destructive tendency to goodness [it. buonismo], that in the name of a deceptive mercy binds the wounds without first curing them and treating them; that treats the symptoms and not the causes and the roots. It is the temptation of the “do-gooders,” of the fearful, and also of the so-called “progressives and liberals.”

Francis, pretty much sums up what I feels ails the Catholic Church at the moment and why it is currently withering.  On one hand, there is a strong Traditionalist faction which permits no innovation even within the spirit of pre-existing doctrine, on the other, another faction which innovates stupidly to the Church's destruction.