Saturday, September 22, 2018

prosperity and decadence

It’s generally taken for granted that economic prosperity is a good thing. Like most things that are taken for granted it’s something that seems much more dubious when you actually think about it.

A certain degree of prosperity is certainly desirable. That does not mean that ever-increasing prosperity is a good thing. Too much of anything can be dangerous, and that includes material prosperity.

Prosperity seems to lead to decadence. Maybe this is not inevitable but it’s difficult to think of a prosperous society that has not to some extent been afflicted by decadence. Once prosperity increases beyond a certain point what you have is excess prosperity. Excess prosperity leads to status-signalling and status-signalling in material terms seems to lead to ideological status-signalling.

Too much prosperity gives people the opportunity to indulge in unwise and unhealthy behaviours. A struggle for existence on the other hand doesn’t offer such opportunities. Being forced to focus on survival has the advantage of keeping us out of trouble.

Excessive material prosperity also undermines religion.

Too much prosperity seems to be a problem for both individuals and societies. The idea that wealth leads inevitably to happiness is central to both liberalism and capitalism but it is at best an unproven assumption.

What does seem certain is that consumerism leads inexorably to decadence. Consumerism is the ultimate drug. As long as people still have the mot precious human right of all, the right to shop, they will accept anything. Nothing else matters.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

gender quotas and the disaster that is feminism

There are many reasons why the Australian Liberal Party has to die but now there’s yet another reason. They are seriously considering introducing gender quotas to increase female representation in Parliament.

In a way it’s quite amusing. Gender quotas are in fact an admission that women are simply not good enough to make it without special assistance. On a level playing field they just can’t compete. It’s a great example of the utter failure of feminism.

Amusing perhaps, but it’s also a sign of the total surrender of the Liberal Party to political correctness. It’s another example of right-wing liberals being even worse than left-wing liberals.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

why the police love political correctness so much

It often amuses me, and at the same time saddens me, when people on the dissident right get all shocked and surprised whenever the police behave as enthusiastic enforcers of the new globalist/social justice order. Anti-globalist Britons in particular seem to be absolutely astonished at the way the once much-loved British bobbies have become the Rainbow Thought Police, busily hunting down anyone who fails to bow down to the dictates of political correctness.

These Britons really do seem to be unaware that Dixon of Dock Green was fiction. There’s no question that the police are today much much worse than they have ever been before, but that’s because they’ve now been let off the leash. They can now indulge their worst instincts and not escape punishment for it, they can get rewarded for it. If you want a top police job you need to have an established track record of crushing political dissent.

The root cause is a problem that has always bedevilled police forces - the sorts of people who want to become coppers are exactly the sorts of people who should never be allowed to do so. A police career attracts people who like to push other people around. It attracts bullies. It attracts people of fairly low intelligence who value the social advantages of being part of a pack. The police always end up developing an Us and Them culture because that’s inherent in the sorts of people who want to be police officers.

And ambitious officers have always understood that the best ways to secure promotion to senior rank are to learn to play politics and learn to be a faithful toady of the ruling class. They don’t care what the nature or composition of the ruling class is. As long as it’s the ruling class they will serve it. That way they get promotion and their pensions are secure.

While the police are happy to do whatever they are told to do they do genuinely love the new era of political correctness. They love it because it’s so wonderfully vague. Thought crime is whatever the ruling class decides it is. Which means in practice, on the street, thought crime is anything that a police officer decides is thought crime. They don’t have to be able to prove such charges. That’s the beauty of thought crime. You can’t prove it and you don’t have to. If you’re a cop and you accuse someone of thought crime your accusation is enough. The courts will back you up. You don’t have to concern yourself with evidence, or with respecting people’e legal rights. When it comes to political crimes evidence is irrelevant and legal rights are a fantasy. Political crimes are about power. The police have immense (and ludicrously excessive) power. Ordinary people have no power.

In practice legal rights offer protection only so long as those in power are willing to act with goodwill and in good faith.If they decide, as they have decided throughout the West, that goodwill and good faith are no longer necessary then legal rights effectively cease to exist.

You can clutch your copy of the Constitution to your breast but your constitutional rights only exist so long as those in power choose to allow them to do so.

Over the past half century we have been very foolish in allowing governments to gather to themselves an enormous amount of power to micro-manage our personal lives. Ironically this has happened at the same time as governments have largely abdicated their responsibilities to control the activities of the corporate sector. Mega-corporations can do whatever they want but ordinary people are subject to vast webs of petty regulations and bureaucratic controls and the rights of ordinary people to express any form of discontent or dissatisfaction have been almost entirely curtailed. And we have been very foolish in allowing the police to accumulate vast powers to act as enforcers of the prevailing political dogmas. If you give the police more powers they will abuse those powers. That’s what the police do. That’s simply inescapable.

actual science and pseudoscience

The inability to distinguish between actual science and pseudoscience is one of the major problems we face. It’s not just ordinary people who find it difficult to distinguish between the two. Intellectuals seem to have even greater difficulty with the concept.

It’s really pretty simple. If you can prove it by experiment it’s definitely real science. If you can’t prove it by experiment but you can point to actual evidence, as is the case with historical sciences like geology and evolutionary biology, then it’s real science but you can’t feel quite so confident that all the details will be correct. If it’s based on a mixture of wishful thinking and deliberately dubious methodology, like climate science, then it’s probably pseudoscience. If it’s based purely on subjective value judgments, as is the case with sorcery and psychiatry, then it ain’t science at all.

disappointment in Sweden

The Swedish election is another disappointing result for nationalists. The Sweden Democrats seem to have gained around 17-18% of the vote. They have made gains but 17-18% is still a miserable result.

There just isn’t really any actual nationalist groundswell in western Europe. Any party that is identified primarily as a nationalist/anti-immigration party is going to see its support max out around the 15-20% mark, which means permanent political irrelevance.

Of course when there are other factors in play, such as establishment parties that have become so corrupt that the stench can no longer be disguised, then things can change. Outsider parties then have a chance. But nationalism and an anti-immigration stance are simply not going to win you an election.

People are stupid and they are short-sighted and they are selfish and they will happily vote for civilisation-destroying policies as long as they think that they personally have enough money to be sheltered from the results. Appealing to a love of one’s country or a loyalty to one’s culture or a concern for the future just doesn’t work. In a capitalist/consumerist society people just don’t care about that stuff.

This is why I believe that nationalism and anti-immigrationism have a better chance if they’re combined with some policies that ordinary people actually do want. Maybe offer people not just decently paid jobs but jobs with a future. Housing they might actually be able to afford. Genuine security for their old age. Maybe take on the predatory mega-corporations that increasingly wield not only unlimited economic power but unlimited political power.

You know, offer people the sorts of things that mainstream moderate left parties used to offer. It’s just a thought.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

psychiatry, the story of a pseudoscience

I’m having way too much to do with the mental health system at the moment. No, they haven’t sent the men in the white coats to take me away. Someone close to me is however having some major problems with the system.

The major problem of course is that the mental health system is constructed upon the assumption that psychiatry is real and that psychiatric diagnoses have some connection with reality. The truth of course is that psychiatry is about as scientific as astrology. The sacred text of psychiatry, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), is best described as a work of imaginative fiction.

Which means that admitting a person against his will to a psychiatric hospital based on a diagnosis by a psychiatrist is really no different from locking someone up because they have Pisces rising or because of a very unfavourable conjunction of the planets. There’s no actual scientific basis to it, which means that the legal basis for such measures are built on non-existent foundations.

That’s not to say that mental illness isn’t real. It may be real. We don’t know. We have insufficient data. If psychiatrists and politicians were prepared to be honest enough to admit that they know very little about this subject it might be possible to do some good. But good can never be achieved when you’re basing policy and basing treatment on ignorance combined with arrogance.

There are of course lots of other problems. Psychiatrists are like cops. They stick together. They stick together very tightly when their actions are questioned by civilians. When a psychiatrist gets things hopelessly wrong (which is extremely frequent) it is very difficult to get that wrong reversed because the psychiatry code is that you don’t rat on a fellow psychiatrist. So even if you know that psychiatrist Dr Bill Smith is an incompetent buffoon who should not be allowed to practice as a horse doctor much less a psychiatrist other psychiatrists will tend to defend Dr Smith.

And of course there is the biggest problem of all. If you ever find yourself on the wrong side of the mental health system you will discover that absolutely everything you do, no matter how reasonable and understandable, will be interpreted as a symptom of your mental illness. It’s like the old line that if you turn up late for an appointment with a psychiatrist it’s a bad sign because you’re trying to avoid treatment. If you show up early it’s a bad sign because you’re showing hostility. If you turn up on time it’s a bad sign because it shows you’re obsessive-compulsive. You can’t win.

If a heart specialist makes a ludicrously incorrect diagnosis it can and will be overruled by another more competent doctor. Once you’ve been incorrectly diagnosed once as being mentally ill your chances of having that diagnosis overturned are slim.

I’m not suggesting that al psychiatrists are idiots or malevolent. Some try very hard to do good. Some actually succeed. But psychiatry is an art, not a science. We should never make the mistake of treating a pseudoscience like psychiatry as real science.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

solving problems by throwing money at them

There are many reasons why consumerism and capitalism have been negative and generally corrupting influences. One of the simplest examples of this is the way we judge the efficacy of public policy by how much money it costs.

It really does seem to be accepted by most people that if you increase spending on education by 25 percent then you automatically get 25 percent better education. If you double spending on health then you must get a health system that is twice as good. All social problems are solved by spending money. There is no need to give any actual thought to the nature of the problems being addressed or to various policy options. What matters is how much money gets spent.

This is accepted because we know that virtue is measured by money. The societies that spend the most on education, health, social welfare, etc, are the most virtuous societies. The politicians who support spending the most money on these problems are the most virtuous politicians.

The fact the spending more on education just means more money going into the pockets of assorted parasites like diversity counsellors or our already overpaid teaches doesn’t matter. The fact that increased health spending merely directs more money to administrators and other parasites doesn’t matter.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not attacking the welfare state. I like the welfare state. But it is smart to give some thought as to how money is going to get spent.

The argument applies to right-wing sacred cows just as much as to left-wing sacred cows. People fondly imagine that an increase in defence spending makes the nation more secure. In many cases it makes the nation less secure, either by provoking or alarming potential enemies, or by encouraging insanely aggressive foreign policies or ridiculous foreign policy entanglements. Look at Britain for example. If the British reduced their defence spending to sensible levels they’d be a lot safer. Sensible levels would be close to zero. Britain faces zero military threats. Anything more than a token defence force just encourages British fantasies of being a great power again. Britain’s security depends on accepting the reality that Britain’s days as a great power are over.

Spending money is the easy way to solve problems. It always sounds impressive. The people making the decisions have the luxury of spending other people’s money. And if the policies end in failure there’s a built-in excuse. We just didn’t spend enough money. If we spend more next time the problems will definitely be fixed.