What the “Anti-Federalists” Got Right

First, the Anti-Federalists predicted that the federal government the Constitution created would increase its power until states were merely secondary considerations. Second, that this powerful federal government would be too big and distant for the people to effectively control, and thus vainglorious men of ambition and avarice would control it to enrich themselves off the common people.Third, that it was unwise to govern a diverse and large population from a remote and distant government that would hold such immense power over the daily lives of common people, and, as a result, politics would become something more primitive than civilized, characterized by constant discord and fighting as different factions tried to control the lives of their fellow citizens.

Source: The Anti-Federalists Predicted Today’s Political Morass, & Can Get Us Out

Faster Evolution Means More Ethnic Differences

Russian scientists showed in the 1990s that a strong selection pressure (picking out and breeding only the tamest fox pups in each generation) created what was — in behavior as well as body — essentially a new species in just 30 generations. That would correspond to about 750 years for humans. Humans may never have experienced such a strong selection pressure for such a long period, but they surely experienced many weaker selection pressures that lasted far longer, and for which some heritable personality traits were more adaptive than others. It stands to reason that local populations (not continent-wide “races”) adapted to local circumstances by a process known as “co-evolution” in which genes and cultural elements change over time and mutually influence each other.

Source: Edge.org

The Conflict of Desirable Values

The central values by which most men have lived, in a great many lands at a great many times—these values, almost if not entirely universal, are not always harmonious with each other. Some are, some are not. Men have always craved for liberty, security, equality, happiness, justice, knowledge, and so on. But complete liberty is not compatible with complete equality—if men were wholly free, the wolves would be free to eat the sheep. Perfect equality means that human liberties must be restrained so that the ablest and the most gifted are not permitted to advance beyond those who would inevitably lose if there were competition. Security, and indeed freedoms, cannot be preserved if freedom to subvert them is permitted. Indeed, not everyone seeks security or peace, otherwise some would not have sought glory in battle or in dangerous sports.

Justice has always been a human ideal, but it is not fully compatible with mercy. Creative imagination and spontaneity, splendid in themselves, cannot be fully reconciled with the need for planning, organization, careful and responsible calculation. Knowledge, the pursuit of truth—the noblest of aims—cannot be fully reconciled with the happiness or the freedom that men desire, for even if I know that I have some incurable disease this will not make me happier or freer. I must always choose: between peace and excitement, or knowledge and blissful ignorance.

Source: A Message to the 21st Century | by Isaiah Berlin | The New York Review of Books

Cursing as “Competence” Signal

My days, nobody cursed in public except for gang members and those who wanted to signal that they were not slaves: traders cursed like sailors and I have kept the habit of strategic foul language, used only outside of my writings and family life. Those who use foul language on social networks (such as Twitter) are sending an expensive signal that they are free – and, ironically, competent. You don’t signal competence if you don’t take risks for it – there are few such low risk strategies. So cursing today

(A counterpoint to the previous post.) Source: How To Legally Own Another Person – Medium

The Case for Manners

I think that codes of manners also can be used to convey respect for others. You are telling people, including strangers, that you conduct yourself with them in mind.

I believe that restraint in the use of four-letter words used to serve this purpose, and it could once again serve this purpose. This puts me at odds with my fellow Baby Boomers and those who came after.

Source: The Case for Manners | askblog


All of MY SIDE’s references and statements are to be taken in the coolest, hip-ironic, culturally aware, benign-metaphorical way possible; all of YOUR SIDE’s references and statements are to be taken in the most mindlessly literal, threatening way possible.

Any charge against MY SIDE requires exquisite legally admissible proof of its accuracy; WHEREAS, any charge against YOUR SIDE must be true if it was asserted by anyone, anywhere.

People on MY SIDE are responsible only for what they said personally, in full-quotation context; BUT, people on YOUR SIDE are responsible for the inferred implications of anything said by anyone who ever held any idea vaguely similar to what your people think.

(Edited for brevity and flow.) Source: THE NEW REFORM CLUB: Judge Boggs

Perception vs Percentage of Islamic Population

As long as the Muslim population remains around 1% of any given country they will be regarded as a peace-loving minority and not as a threat to anyone. In fact, they may be featured in articles and films, stereotyped for their colorful uniqueness.

At 2% and 3% they begin to proselytize from other ethnic minorities and disaffected groups with major recruiting from the jails and among street gangs.

From 5% on they exercise an inordinate influence in proportion to their percentage of the population.

They will push for the introduction of halal (clean by Islamic standards) food, thereby securing food preparation jobs for Muslims. They will increase pressure on supermarket chains to feature it on their shelves — along with threats for failure to comply.

At this point, they will work to get the ruling government to allow them to rule themselves under Sharia, the Islamic Law. The ultimate goal of Islam is not to convert the world but to establish Sharia law over the entire world.

When Muslims reach 10% of the population, they will increase lawlessness as a means of complaint about their conditions ( Paris –car-burnings). Any non-Muslim action that offends Islam will result in uprisings and threats ( Amsterdam – Mohammed cartoons).

After reaching 20% expect hair-trigger rioting, jihad militia formations, sporadic killings and church and synagogue burning.

At 40% you will find widespread massacres, chronic terror attacks and ongoing militia warfare.

From 60% you may expect unfettered persecution of non-believers and other religions, sporadic ethnic cleansing (genocide), use of Sharia Law as a weapon and Jizya, the tax placed on infidels.

After 80% expect State run ethnic cleansing and genocide.

100% will usher in the peace of ‘Dar-es-Salaam’ — the Islamic House of Peace — there’s supposed to be peace because everybody is a Muslim:

Of course, that’s not the case. Muslims then start killing each other for a variety of reasons.

Edited for brevity, from What Islam Isn’t; see the original for lists of percentages and countries.

Stagnant vs Permanent

Let us take the second [argument] first. And let us strip it of the illegitimate emotional power it derives from the word ‘stagnation’ with its suggestion of puddles and mantled pools.

If water stands too long it stinks. To infer thence that whatever stands long must be unwholesome is to be the victim of metaphor. Space does not stink because it has preserved its three dimensions from the beginning. The square on the hypotenuse has not gone moldy by continuing to equal the sum of the squares on the other two sides. Love is not dishonored by constancy, and when we wash our hands we are seeking stagnation and “putting the clock back,” artificially restoring our hands to the status quo in which they began the day and resisting the natural trend of events which would increase their dirtiness steadily from our birth to our death.

For the emotive term ‘stagnant’ let us substitute the descriptive term ‘permanent.’ Does a permanent moral standard preclude progress? On the contrary, except on the supposition of a changeless standard, progress is impossible. If good is a fixed point, it is at least possible that we should get nearer and nearer to it; but if the terminus is as mobile as the train, how can the train progress towards it? Our ideas of the good may change, but they cannot change either for the better or the worse if there is no absolute and immutable good to which they can recede. We can go on getting a sum more and more nearly right only if the one perfectly right is “stagnant”.

And yet it will be said, I have just admitted that our ideas of good may improve. How is this to be reconciled with the view that “traditional morality” is a depositum fidei which cannot be deserted? The answer can be understood if we compare a real moral advance with a mere innovation. From the Stoic and Confucian, “Do not do to others what you would not like them to do to you”; to the Christian, “Do as you would be done by” is a real advance. The morality of Nietzsche is a mere innovation.

The first is an advance because no one who did not admit the validity of the old maxim could see reason for accepting the new one, and anyone who accepted the old would at once recognize the new as an extension of the same principle. If he rejected it, he would have to reject it as a superfluity, something that went too far, not as something simply heterogeneous from his own ideas of value.

But the Nietzschean ethic can be accepted only if we are ready to scrap traditional morals as a mere error and then to put ourselves in a position where we can find no ground for any value judgements at all. It is the difference between a man who says to us: “You like your vegetables moderately fresh; why not grow your own and have them perfectly fresh?” and a man who says, “Throw away that loaf and try eating bricks and centipedes instead.”

Real moral advances, in fine, are made from within the existing moral tradition and in the spirit of that tradition and can be understood only in the light of that tradition. The outsider who has rejected the tradition cannot judge them. He has, as Aristotle said, no arche, no premises.

(Extra line breaks added for readability.) Source: The Poison of Subjectivism, in which I am reminded how much I like C. S. Lewis’ writings.

Free trade conserves lower prices, not social stability

The advantages of Free Trade are lower prices for stuff. That means they are more cheaply produced. As the economist David Ricardo wrote, there is a principle of comparative advantage that coupled with free trade guarantees maximum profits for when there are no trade restrictions, and impediments to free trade are supposed to be mutually disadvantageous.

But do understand, what is conserved is lower prices. Nor social stability. Not communities. Not family life. Indeed those are often disrupted; it’s part of the economic model. Under free trade theory, it’s better to have free trade than community preservation, better to have ghost towns of people displaced because their jobs have been shipped overseas; better to have Detroit as a wasteland than a thriving dynamic industrial society turning out tail finned Cadillacs and insolent chariots and supporting workers represented by rapacious unions in conflict with pitiless corporate executives.

Source: Back to Normal. Beginning a discussion of Free Trade by Jerry Pournelle. He goes on to say that a “conservative” should ask himself, “What precisely is being conserved?”

“Smart” Is No Better Than “Strong”

Higher-than-average intelligence doesn’t make you any better than anyone else, any more than being taller, or faster, or stronger does. What it often does, however, is allow others to convince you that you should be something different than you are, or than you want to be. Even worse, it gives you the ability to successfully rationalize away your failures, to both yourself and others.

Nassim Taleb says something similar. Too often, “being smart” makes you better at rationalizing, not better at being rational. How much the worse if you make “being smart” part of your identity. (File under “being smart is overrated.”)

Source: Vox Popoli: Always an excuse.