Miscellany 13: In Soviet Union, Miscellany reads YOU!

(1) This judicial pick exemplifies my concern about some of Trump’s judicial nominees. This one, Bridget Bade, even got the approval of Dianne Feinstein, for fuck’s sake! That’s not a good sign.
https://www.foxnews.com/politics/trump-picked-ninth-circuit-judge-clears-last-hurdle-to-confirmation-with-more-in-the-pipeline

(2) That said, it is still true that concern trolls are worthless cunts (see here, for example.). I know, it’s obvious, but here’s yet another point about them:

If Trump says, “I’ll build a wall” and the wall isn’t built three seconds later, the concern trolls start screaming, “He was lying! He never intended to build a wall!”
(This one is particularly stupid now that he has appropriated the funds and declared an emergency to build it.)

But if Trump says, “I’ll invade Venezuela” and Venezuela isn’t invaded three seconds later, they don’t say, “He was lying! He never intended to invade Venezuela!” They shriek “Oh my God! He’s going to invade Venezuela and get us involved in an unnecessary war!”

There are detectable differences between concerns expressed sincerely and ones that aren’t. The concern troll crowd is obviously not sincere. They say we should take him at his word only when they hope it can be used to lower morale of people on the right.

(3) Menelaos Apostolou. Sexual selection under parental choice: the evolution of human mating behaviour. 2014.

There’s nothing else about this available except a short abstract. The point is, people are starting to grok that evolved sexual preference evolved in the presence of parental constraints on behavior. In particular, female mating was a probabilistic function of both what the girl wanted and what her parents wanted. (That is still true in many Muslim societies today.) I have no specific point to assert, just that we need to allow for the possibility that this was significant as we continue to make progress in the evo psych of sexual psychology and behavior.

(4) Amusing gif with Trump as Neo:

Especially apt now that the Mueller report has ended the Deep State-media conspiracy to overthrow the President. They’re still trying, of course, but at this point it’s just because they can’t help themselves.

(5) Beautiful Women in the 1970s and Now

I recently watched Rollerball (the 1975 original, not the 2002 re-make/sequel).

Wow, the music!
Per Wikipedia:
• Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor,
•The Adagio in G minor by Albinoni/Giazotto,
• The Largo from Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5.

And the girls! The brunette at the hero’s ranch… the “I’m not a librarian” girl. She’s fucking gorgeous! … and the hero’s ex-wife, who shows up in the second half. Her cheekbones are like wrecking balls!

Why don’t we see girls like this in movies or TV any more? We don’t. And that worries me. Have endocrine disruptors, the Pill, and various meds in our water actually fucked up our physiology? Seriously, watch this movie (stills on the Net are not the same; don’t bother) and check out all the women, but especially the “not a librarian” girl and the main character’s ex-wife. And tell me if you’ve seen women like this in pop culture any time in the last two decades. I haven’t.

Beautiful women, yes, of course. But beautiful women who look like those girls? No. No time this century.

This is really, I’m not kidding, weird.

(6) People figure out how to steer a “self-driving” car into oncoming traffic. https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2019/04/researchers-trick-tesla-autopilot-into-steering-into-oncoming-traffic/

“Researchers have devised a simple attack that might cause a Tesla to automatically steer into oncoming traffic under certain conditions. The proof-of-concept exploit works not by hacking into the car’s onboard computing system, but by using small, inconspicuous stickers that trick the Enhanced Autopilot of a Model S 75 into detecting and then following a change in the current lane.”

It’s time to stop the self-driving car thing. Just give it a rest, leftists. We know you want this so you can control our movements. Better solution: Stop being a bunch of totalitarian psychopaths. Then you won’t have to worry about getting strung up on lamp posts in the first place.

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International Trade: Oh God, Not This Again

Aright, bitches, the free trade thing.

This is not one of my “issues,” and I incline toward free trade, but the people who create these so-called free-trade deals obviously aren’t setting up free trade, and many of these “elites” (we need a better word for power-mad idiots) have an end-goal of eliminating western populations. They love treaties that destroy jobs held by European-descended people.

But they have much more dangerous ways of working toward that goal, which is why trade is low on my list of priorities. But for those for whom it is a high priority, some advice about debate:

Don’t contest free traders on theory. That’s their strength. Contest them on the thing that actually matters: the practical realities.

Why not take them on in the arena of theory? Because comparative advantage theory is not speculation. Its core proposition is a theorem, like the Pythagorean Theorem. That is, its core conclusion is proven to follow from the premises. We can judge from the amount of chatter that economists devote to it that the core proposition of comparative advantage theory is this:

If two nations have different tradeoffs in production, then there exists the possibility of mutual gains from trade.

(“Tradeoffs in production” means the slope of the production possibilities frontier, which describes a nation’s tradeoffs of one good for another. Like, how many apples they must sacrifice to grow another orange.)

This is the proposition free-traders have in mind when they repeat their mating call, “Ricardo!”

PPF
A production possibilities curve, showing tradeoffs in production.

And how are these gains from trade to be realized? Answer: if two nations have different tradeoffs in production, then it can be proven that they can minimize their joint costs of production… IF they trade in the right way.

The right way is the cost-minimizing way, where “cost” means the cost in terms of other goods you must sacrifice. (E.g., if you switch land from growing apples to growing oranges.) Minimizing costs of output means more output. So produce and export goods of which you’re the low-cost producer. That’s trade according to comparative advantage.

You cannot dispute the if-then statements in bold without looking like a doofus to anyone who is knowledgeable.

So don’t dispute them. If someone tells you, “Here is a triangle that is NOT a right triangle, and the Pythagorean Theorem tells us that…” you should point out that the Pythagorean Theorem doesn’t apply if it’s not a right triangle. Don’t dispute the Pythagorean Theorem; you’ll look like an idiot. Dispute its relevance to the matter at hand.

If you want to argue against so-called free trade agreements, here are some points you can make:

1. Verifying what a county’s comparative advantage is, is empirically impossible as a practical matter. Note what the central theorem says and doesn’t say. It says that if countries have different tradeoffs, then there exist some mutually beneficial trading opportunities. It doesn’t say that we know what those opportunities are… let alone that we can guarantee that actual trade is according to those mutually beneficial possibilities.

2. So-called free trade agreements are never actually that. Many people have made this point. They’re managed trade agreements, in which governments tweak the interventions they do in international trade.

Even George F. Will, before he became a contemptible cuck, pointed out when NAFTA was passed that if it were really a free trade agreement it would only be a couple of sentences, not hundreds of pages.

3. The proposition that there exist mutually beneficial gains is a statement about the aggregates of a nation. The theory does not say that all groups within the nation benefit. It leaves open the possibility that one group benefits to the tune of 10 units while another group loses 8, for a total aggregate gain of 2. OK, but if you’re in the group that loses 8 it’s not clear why you would support such a move. This is actually not heterodox, apparently. I once read on some Econo-blog about a (peer-reviewed!) paper that concluded that one group could benefit and another lose, from moving to free trade. I can’t cite the paper(s) off the top of my head, but apparently this has been out there in the literature for years now.

4. The theory says nothing about who captures the gains from trade even on a nation-to-nation level. It could be, in principle, that one nation captures all the benefits from trade and leaves the other nation exactly as well off as it was before. Except that not really, because all the adjustment costs are real costs, and then you never get any benefit. Adjustment costs include e.g. having to move to a new state to get a new job. Ricardian comparative advantage theory totally ignores adjustment costs.

The same point applies if your nation gets a small benefit from adjusting its industries, but the benefit is smaller than the adjustment costs.

* * *

Of course there is a real case against government interventionism in trade. The real case against interventionism is that governments are no more knowledgeable or angelic here than they are in any other area of life. They are ignorant and corrupt assholes, and there’s no reason to let them tell us what we can buy or sell.

Above I pointed out that many of the people who create “free trade deals” hate western populations. Well, giving those same psychopaths power to limit the trade we can do would be even worse than the current situation. In the current pro-free-trade political environment, they at least have to pay some sort of lip service to reducing trade barriers, which has occasionally forced them to actually do such. If we tell them, “Go ahead and control who we can trade with,” they will do exactly that, with great joy and gusto, and it won’t be with our best interests at heart.

If these people ever get the unlimited power they crave, they’ll try to starve us to death, following Stalin’s Ukraine genocide. Part of that attempt will be outlawing food imports. They’re likely to try that anyway, if they think they can get away with it, but for fuck’s sake let’s not make it any easier for them.

But all this is a relatively long-term issue. In the current political situation, worrying about international trade is rearranging the deck furniture on the Titanic just after it got hulled by the iceberg. Right now we need to worry about emergencies like immigration and the lawless judiciary. Once we solve those problems, we’ll have all the time in the world to worry about trivia like trade policy.

Holiness Spirals and Wars of Attrition

A crucial concept in understanding our current political situation is holiness spiral. It may be the single most important concept.

A holiness spiral is equivalent, in terms of game theory, to a war of attrition. I know what you’re thinking: “Sure, Neuro, wars of attrition are interesting, but what about all-pay auctions and patent races? Is a holiness spiral game theoretically isomorphic to those also?”

You’re in luck; the answer is Yes, because they are winner-take-all contests.

AttritionWar

Why does that matter? Because once you’re invested in a winner-take-all contest, it is actually rational, in a certain sense, for you to keep putting resources into winning the contest even after the value of winning is lower than the value of the total resources you’ve put into it. No, I’m not crazy; this is well-known in game theory.

A classic example is the “dollar auction.” This can be an auction in which all bidders must pay their bids even if they don’t win (all-pay) or it can be such that only the two highest bidders pay their bids. Business schools have done experiments. A professor of business goes in front of his class and says, “Here’s a dollar bill. I’m going to auction it off. The rules: Highest bidder pays his bid and gets the dollar. Second-highest bidder pays his bid but doesn’t get anything. All lower bids pay nothing and get nothing.”

Some doofus bids a cent. Some other doofus bids 2 cents. And the idiocy has begun! Now that someone has bid 2, the guy who bid 1 is in the following position: If he doesn’t change his bid he loses 1 cent. If he raises his bid to 3 cents he wins the dollar and pays 3 cents, for a net gain of 97 cents. OK, so they’ll bid until one of them has bid 99 cents, then they’ll stop, right?

Nope. Say the bids stand at 98 cents and 99 cents. The guy who bid 98 loses 98 cents if he stands pat. If he bids a dollar he wins and breaks even. So he does that.

OK, now the bidding is done, right?

Nnnnnnnnope.

The guy who currently has a bid of 99 cents loses 99 cents if he stands pat. If he raises his bid to $1.01, then he wins the dollar, for a net loss of 1 cent. That’s better than a net loss of 99 cents.

Hmm. And the other guy? If he stands pat he loses his dollar bid. If he raises his bid to $1.02, he wins the dollar, for a net loss of 2 cents. But that’s better than a net loss of a dollar.

You see where this is going (“To infinity and beyond!”). Not only in theory, but in actual experiments, people do in fact end up paying more than a dollar to win a dollar!

Key features:

• Your outcome depends on where you are relative to the other player. Just knowing your own bid doesn’t tell you whether you’ve won; you have to know the other guy’s bid as well.

• You bear costs whether you win or lose. This is the “all-pay” feature. An all-pay auction is an artificial situation, but consider a war of attrition: some of your soldiers are killed, etc., whether you win or lose. It really is all-pay. Same for patent races: Suppose you spend $0.9 billion on R&D trying to develop a new medicine worth $1 billion, but your competitor is on track to win by spending $1 billion. Win or lose, you pay the R&D costs. It would actually be better to plow another $0.2 billion in, so you’ll “win” the race by paying $1.1 billion.

• Action is sequential: You would never start by bidding $1.02 for a dollar, obviously. But once you’re invested, you have some losses you’d like to recover. So your investment in the contest keeps rising.

So… holiness spirals. If you’re new to this concept, the word “holiness” is ironic here; it means “leftist.” It probably started centuries ago with some totally innocent-sounding thing like, “Let’s expand women’s rights. Why shouldn’t women be allowed to work as secretaries outside the home?” Before you know it, it’s the official position of the Washington Post that no woman should ever go to prison, no matter what crime she commits.

And someone said, reasonably, “Why should it be illegal for men to wear women’s clothes and vice-versa?” (Used to be illegal, apparently.) A century later, male-to-female transvestites are in the women’s bathroom, and a security guard who tries to remove one from the ladies’ room is charged with assault.

What the hell happened? What happened is that some asshole started the political equivalent of an all-pay auction.

Let’s look at holiness spirals in light of the three features above. We want to understand this because that will help us to stop the fucking thing. And a holiness spiral is like an asset bubble: It either keeps advancing or it collapses. So if we stop it, we destroy it.

Holiness spirals:

• Your outcome depends on where you are relative to the other player(s). You can attack people less holy than you, but they can’t effectively attack you. If Fred is the holiest he can say to the mob, “Attack Steve; he’s not holy enough!” But Steve can’t say, “Attack Fred; he’s too holy!” That’s saying, “Attack Fred; he’s too good!” So everyone tries to out-holy everyone else.

• You bear costs whether you win or lose. Say your position is that a man should be allowed to use the ladies’ bathroom. If your policy wins, you (along with the rest of the society, by the way) pay the costs of an insane bathroom policy. But you pay those costs whether or not some other lunatic is saying, “Yeah, AND anyone who objects should be thrown into the hoosegow!” If that guy wins, then there are dudes in the women’s bathroom— as you advocated— plus dissenters are punished. Why did he outflank you to your left? Because while that made the society somewhat more insane, it made him personally safer, since now he is the holiest.

• Action is sequential: You would never start by saying men should be allowed to use the women’s bathroom. Indeed people didn’t start by saying that, historically. But your initial sane position that “There’s no need for laws to enforce gender clothing norms” got outflanked by someone who said something a little more pro-trans. That put you in a less holy position relative to him, so he could attack you, but you couldn’t counter-attack. So you outflanked him with something a little more in that direction. Thus the bidding war. It starts with you saying “I bid one cent for that dollar.” It ends with guards being charged with a crime if they try to keep a man out of the women’s bathroom. Well, that’s not actually where it ends. We’re not done with our holiness spiral yet.

Fighting these fucking disasters.

Above I wrote this: “Say your position is that a man should be allowed to use the ladies’ bathroom. If your policy wins, you (along with the rest of the society, by the way) pay the costs of an insane bathroom policy.”

THIS IS KEY. One of the crucial aspects of all this is that even sane, normal people pay the costs of having trannies in their bathrooms, and women (if the WaPo gets its way) being allowed to commit murder without punishment. (Well, they already are, but the WaPo wants this to be expanded beyond babies.) That means that— unlike the all-pay dollar auction— even people who aren’t participating in the holiness spiral have an incentive to stop it. This mattered e.g., on November 8, 2016 and will matter more as the holiness spiral becomes ever more extreme.

What specific actions can we take? First, we need to spread the awareness of the insanity as far and wide as possible. I do this in various corners of the Net, and everyone on the right should.

Also— and plainly this has already started— we need to ramp up our black knighting. N.B. not black knighting as in Monty Python’s hapless knight, but black knighting as in attacking our enemies under the guise of being holier enemies. For example, when an organization proudly announces on Twitter that it has hired a homosexual female, attack them for not hiring a minority or Muslim homosexual female. This sort of thing happens all the time now, and one can’t tell whether it’s the crazies getting crazier or good guys black knighting. The great thing is precisely that one can’t tell. That’s why it’s effective.

And what is the effect? Simple: It eliminates the safety, and therefore the benefit, of leftward movement. If my proudly announcing that I just hired a white lesbian immediately gets me attacked for not hiring a black lesbian, there’s no safety in that holiness-signaling move, so no reason to do it. Lately, if you just hire a straight white Christian male and don’t say anything, you’re less likely to be attacked by the hate mob than if you’re a leftist who proudly boasts about that lesbian hire. (Leftists seek vulnerability: They go after other leftists because they know leftists (1) care about fitting in with the lefty herd, and (2) must comply with the latest left-wing demand to keep their leftist customers/donors/whatever. In contrast, what will happen if they scream about Vox Day hiring a straight white male for his publishing company? He’ll just laugh at them. His customer base sure as hell isn’t SJWs.) The realization will spread that you might as well just hire the best person and keep quiet about it. That is becoming safer. And to the extent that it’s not safe, it’s not much less safe than trying to appease the SJW mob. And that destroys the incentives that propel the holiness spiral.

Black knighting must be done absolutely straight-faced. Don’t try this in a forum where they already know you’re not an SJW; you’ll just be dismissed as stirring up shit. But: New personality (dox-proof) in a forum where they don’t know you. We can all get to work black knighting.

The beautiful thing about black knighting is that the enemy has no defense against it. If they even try to defend, then you’re like, “Hey! They’re Anti-trans! Anti-wymyn! Anti-gay!” Etc., etc. They simply cannot deny that you’ve out-holied them. This isn’t theory; we’ve seen this happen increasingly in the last few years. E.g., the gay black author who was just SJW-shamed into pulling his book due to accusations of insufficient political correctness.

So, two things everybody on the right can do: Spread news to normies about the craziness. And join the black knighting movement, which is already well underway.