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joined 2022 September 09 05:53:53 UTC
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User ID: 1062



2 followers   follows 0 users   joined 2022 September 09 05:53:53 UTC


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User ID: 1062

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Suppose an American consulate were bombed by anybody, what would you expect the US response to be?

Let's imagine that Iran didn't just bomb a US embassy, but stormed it and took diplomats/civilians hostage. What would happen?

There's precedent: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_hostage_crisis

The US response would probably be to tighten economic sanctions on Iran, but to avoid military escalation. As the Ukraine war shows, the US is very wary of escalating conflicts, even with second-tier powers like Russia or Iran.

For purchasing internationally (and thus for the arms industry) nominal GDP is more important. PPP is a better indicator of domestic prosperity. International suppliers care about what you can offer them at market exchange rates, they don't care about your domestic prices. If Israel can offer me $500 for some small electronics part and Iran can offer me $400, I don't care if it's cheaper to live in Iran.

I'd be surprised if they thought of any nation that is not of immediate concern to them.

And very often not even then: https://youtube.com/@JustinAwad/videos

Esteem/affirmation culture, in my view, lends itself far more to mere masturbation-by-proxy than a guilt or shame culture does.

Plausible and interesting. I shall look more into this issue.

Though I am not a Christian or against homosexual behaviour as such, I shall say this: their separation of (a) homosexual preferences from (b) homosexual behaviour ("It's ok to be born gay, as long as you don't do gay things" etc.) is already more sophisticated than many of the takes I hear from my students when debating this issues. Again, what people are vs. what they do.

Agreed. The similarities between affirmation/esteem culture and guilt culture have probably been underinvestigated. I have a meta theory that many problems of human activity involve too much focus on what people ARE rather than what they DO. "Hate the sin, not the sinner" is once instance of moving in the right direction, but I think there are others, e.g. "Provide children - and people in general - approval for good things they accomplish, not for what they are."

(That's not to say that affirmation/esteem/guilt have no place in parenting, education etc.)

I grew up in a relatively conservative community. There was one boy who, at age 4-ish, liked to dress in girl's outfits when we played dress-up games. He also liked some "girl's" toys, e.g. Polly Pocket. He was also fearful of competitive sports and tended to make friends better with girls rather than boys (I was an exception).

As often happens, he's just gay. He often finds it easier to identify with women and empathise with them, perhaps because he has more of a lady-brain (who knows?). People in this relatively conservative community generally ignored it, reasoning "He'll grow out of it," and they were right, since he is (99%) a typical adult guy these days.

The same thing happened with a girl in my neighbourhood, who just turned out to have a very active imagination as a child. She's now married to a man, with kids etc. She had a very religious family, who treated it as a game (like a child who decides that they are a dinosaur) and within a year she had forgotten even that she used to insist that she was a boy.

Kids are weird. Sometimes, it's because there is something deeply different about them. It's hard to know why, so it's best to enjoy the ride (within sensible boundaries e.g. keeping them from sexual experimentation) and offer them love throughout the process.

don't have enough for retirement.

I'm sure that there are some deserving poor Boomers, but it's notable that the savings rate fell as they earned more of national income:


Cutting saving rates by > 50% on average doesn't seem like a good retirement strategy, except insofar as you know that welfare (Social Security, Medicare etc.) will come to the rescue.

I don't know if Boomers in particular were saving less, though.

The Twitter account is run by the character's creator, Andrew Doyle, and has some funny moments. As often happens, the best stuff is the material that is JUST plausible enough to get sincere reactions. Or when reality catches up with parody:


I remember talking to someone from Pakistan about life in a part of that country where the Taliban were active. He was threatened by armed men on the train because of a little Western apparel. He also once saw a dead man in the street, but just ran away, in order to not instigate a feud between the dead man's family and his own. Presumably the dead man stayed on the street and fed the flies, until someone from his family found his rotting corpse.

also empirically the Arab population grows

More and more slowly, as they become more prosperous, like other ethnic groups:



Primarily, Arab birth rates are high because most Arabs are still poor. They are about half that of the DRC, where most people are even poorer than most Arabs.

finding an ideology not of mutual servitude but of domination and strength has a lot of appeal to disaffected western men.

Which is ironic, given the actual level of social power and approved autonomy of young men in most Islamic societies. One of the most successful efforts of feminists has been to persuade people that, in traditional societies, the overwhelmingly significant power differential is male vs. female. The lives of young male Muslims does not seem to be defined by domination and strength.

One introduction to what life is like for most young male Muslims, at least in the Arab world, is to see what it's like to be a soldier:


Head-to-head competition among individuals is generally avoided, at least openly, for it means that someone wins and someone else loses, with the loser humiliated. This taboo has particular import when a class contains mixed ranks. Education is in good part sought as a matter of personal prestige, so Arabs in U.S. military schools take pains to ensure that the ranking member, according to military position or social class, scores the highest marks in the class. Often this leads to 'sharing answers' in class--often in a rather overt manner or junior officers concealing scores higher than their superior's.

American military instructors dealing with Middle Eastern students learn to ensure that, before directing any question to a student in a classroom situation, particularly if he is an officer, the student does possess the correct answer. If this is not assured, the officer will feel he has been set up for public humiliation. Furthermore, in the often-paranoid environment of Arab political culture, he will believe this setup to have been purposeful. This student will then become an enemy of the instructor and his classmates will become apprehensive about their also being singled out for humiliation--and learning becomes impossible.

It's tempting to think that American-style individualism and meritocracy is universal, but the opposite is true. Power over your wife (provided her family isn't more high status than yours, within the constraints of various reprisals by her family against you etc.) is a small degree of compensation for the more general submission that Muslim men (and men in most societies) must do to their parents, in-laws, and so on. And until you are an old man, that power is mostly exercised by your parents, by-proxy, since you are expected to obey them. So your "authority" over your wife is mostly power for your parents, including your mother-in-law (dominating you and your wife is HER compensation for submitting to HER parents/in-laws in the past and her current husband).

Of course, unless your parents also convert, you are instantly suspect and low status, precisely because your parents are infidels, so a greater degree of deference and forfeiture of power is likely to be required, unless you're rich, famous etc. (in which case Western dating is probably working fine for you). I suppose you might have some success in social acceptance if your in-laws essentially take all the power over you associated with both your parents and in-laws, but I wouldn't recommend that.

Frankly, the idea of men adopting a religion named "Submission" to gain domination and strength is one of those classic "buyer beware" cases. More generally, historically what has been called "patriarchy" was primarily power for patriarchs in relation to their social status. In your case, almost certainly, you aren't close to a patriarch, and even if you were, any power you would have relative to the West would be more than compensated for by your superiors (even once you are old, there are more high status patriarchs who have deep social authority over you) to whom you would be expected to submit.

I do understand why e.g. some submissive (sexually or otherwise) men convert to Islam, since it integrates them into a system where they get thoroughly dominated by men, women, and God. This can also appeal to wayward men who feel like they can't control themselves, since Islam offers a social and religious structure in which they are thoroughly controlled by older/more powerful men and women, and God himself.

More power to them I say, since the white pro-Muslim feminists are some of the most obnoxious blue tribers in existence

See Pro-Muslim Slut Walk: https://youtube.com/watch?v=BTbXjksvsbI

Argentina does have some incredibly bad policies, though, e.g. about 1/6 of government tax revenues come from taxing exports. It's as if they looked at export-led industrialisation success stories and said "How can we stop that happening here?"

'Hermaphrodite' is not a social category

If "social category" is a classification of people that makes a significant difference to how they are treated and grouped by social instiutions or practices, then "hermaphrodite" is a social category that predates trans women/trans men (in the predominant modern senses) as social categories. In many cultures, by THOUSANDS of years. The Ancient Greeks were making myths about hermaphrodites long before the sex/gender distinction was even invented. The Laws of Manu distinguish three genders: male, female, and hermaphrodite. Ancient Rabbinic law distinguishes hermaphrodites as a separate category. Ask anyone in the ancient world to tell you what a hermaphrodite is and they would be able to tell you; ask them about our modern categories of transness and your chances of initial comprehension of the relevant categories would be more dubious.

The main difference is that hermaphrodite is also a longstanding biological category that presumably predates humanity, but obviously something can be both a social category and a biological category.

Or are you using "social category" to mean something else in a way that excludes hermaphrodites?

Also, you probably don't think that being a social category identified on the basis of appearance or genitalia is a sufficient condition for self-identification rules, because you probably don't think that race should be determined by self-identification rules. So this is a potential red herring: even if it could be proved that hermaphrodites are a social category, that wouldn't be enough to change your mind.

Taking back the North Sea Oil from the thieving English will allow an independent Scotland to have Scandinavian public services with British taxes

While also not growing the industry:

Late last year in response to the UK Government’s announcement to grant new licences, The First Minister, Humza Yousaf; attacked the decision saying: “This is the wrong decision. I have expressed concerns about this going ahead for some time. We don’t think the taps should be turned off tomorrow, but neither can the north-east have unlimited oil and gas extraction. ”


It's one thing to believe in a magic money tree, but it's quite another to think that the magic money tree will survive without water.

Whereas people like Rowling aren't fully committed to that broader conservative project, they just want to slander and eradicate trans people, and they're annoyed that people like Peterson have scared some of their supporters into thinking they might ever face consequences for spewing vile slander 24/7, thereby mildly restricting the spigot.

You are usually more charitable than this.

True, but that's the audience to whom attackers of J. K. Rowling are appealing. In the long run, small groups of politics-obsessed extremists can have a huge impact; just compare the changes on trans issues in the past 20 years.

Yes, it's an extrapolation from his approach in other areas.

Just responding to the manufacturing point, I don't think British voters particularly fetishise heavy industry so much as they feel that the return of these jobs will allow these poorer regions in the midlands and north to thrive again.

That's part of it, I agree. The LKY solution would be to build lots of houses where there are jobs, so more people can escape dependency and joblessness. If people complain about losing the green belt or excess urban density or the loss of the beautiful Essex countryside, then you're doing it right.

Also, in my experience Brits consistently conflate manufacturing output with manufacturing employment. Thatcher's policies led to a boom in UK manufacturing, just not UK manufacturing employment: https://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2014/10/22/1413987501531_wps_2_SPT_Ben1_jpg.jpg

So if you ask a Brit if they think that the UK produces more today than in the days of coal mining, Ravenscraig etc., they'll think, "Certainly not." This is partly because they conflate manufacturing with "a man's work" i.e. something dirty and smelly you do with your hands (but in public).

Of course, this sort of sentiment is almost universal, but for a while, the UK had the leaders and the electorate to plough forward with tough, realistic decisions.

Having lived in quite a few European countries and knowing British history in some detail, I would put it this way: the UK had a period of great comparative success across a huge range of fields (prior to about 1945) where European countries they didn't outperform economically (France, Germany) were outperformed militarily/diplomatically, and the UK developed a fairly "laissez faire" type of imperialism that had some definite advantages over Belgian rapaciousness, French assimilationism etc.

The UK had a period of relative decline in 1945-1979. This was only relative (this was a period of mostly solid growth) and with some exceptions (UK unemployment rates were low in this period, even compared to e.g. the US).

The UK had a concerted and successful effort to combat relative decline from about 1979-2007. This took different forms, e.g. Thatcher had great confidence in Victorian institutions, practices, and values; Blair had a huge love of America (especially Clintonian America) public service modernisation, and wanted the UK to lead the EU into a modernist, progressive, American-style supra-state; Major was somewhere in between, with a strange sort of quiet iconoclasm in favour of "ordinary people" that ranged from the clever (getting rid of stupid regulations on everything from employment agencies to service stations) to the absurd (the "Cones Hotline").

For various reasons, I mostly blame Brown and subsequent UK politicians, and of course the UK voters to whom they pander. For example, the UK has a great edge in financial and business services. UK business services are one area where the UK still does great, partly due to language, partly due to regulation, and partly due to agglomeration in London/South-East England. What do UK politicians and voters love? MANUFACTURING. Steel. SHIPBUILDING. It's like a tall, scrawny but fast kid wanting to play rugby and set weightlifting records rather than basketball and netball - admirable, but stupid. So the UK overregulates and taxes its financial sector (as well as the occasional kick to its oil sector) and then wonders why its economy underperforms.

Similarly, the UK voters hate paying taxes at the levels of European countries. So they have the opportunity to e.g. save more of their own money for retirement, taking advantage of the huge long-term gains that private investment can make relative to pay-as-you-go state pensions. But they also want state pensions at European levels (no Boomer left behind) so politicians have introduced an unsustainable pensions uprating scheme that has meant that, despite significant spending cuts in some areas (welfare, education etc.) and despite tax rises to about peacetime highs, the UK public finances are still shit. This is not how a serious country deals with an ageing population.

And there's the UK national religion, the NHS, a healthcare system designed to save the UK Labour party from the wrath of doctors in the 1950 election, which voters think (a) should be improved, (b) should not be changed, and (c) should not cost them personally any more in taxes or fees. I suppose there are some religions with more absurd origins and principles...

Scotland is the beak of the UK ostrich: deepest into the sand it has buried itself.

I have lived in Germany, Austria, Netherlands, France, Italy, Greece, and other places. These countries all have their own chronic problems and a similar lack of ambition in dealing with them. For me, it just stands out more in the UK (and more recently in the US) because the Limeys used to have some leaders and an electorate who were serious about tough changes. For all her faults, Margaret Thatcher was about the closest the West has come to a Lee Kuan Yew figure: someone who really thought, "If a policy is too popular, then we are being too careful."

I think what's really needed is a Scottish DeSantis to immediately turn these dystopian laws on the left. The only thing that stops this train is leftists being jailed for hate speech.

I'm not sure it would stop it. True, communists became suddenly more keen on the "bourgeois values" of freedom of speech and academic freedom during the McCarthy years, but e.g. the reaction of most religions in most time and places to oppression by another religion has not been "This shows the importance of freedom of religion" but rather "This shows how important it is to impose our religion on people."

A leftist reaction to jailing leftists for hate speech might just be, "This is why DeSantis types must never have the powers we have invested in government." This can lead to either democratic optimism ("demographics is destiny" "reality = education = a liberal bias" etc.) or just old-fashioned authoritarian attitudes.

They can't really attack her for being a right wing extremist when her world famous books are a pretty clear allegory of Racism Bad.

As the TERF controversies showed, agreeing with right wing extremists on Current Year issues is enough to be judged guilty by association. For example, Julie Bindel is far to the left of almost all of her critics, on most issues. Controversies-of-the-day create weird alliances: think of Christopher Hitchens and neoconservatives on the Iraq War.

The prudent investor will definitely seek a good bargain when purchasing a Christianity.

(I am not mocking Christianity, but the pragmatic approach to theism, where one adopts a religion based on its "cash value", to use William James's term. I admire the mind of a Thomas Aquinas or a C. S. Lewis, whereas pragmatism seems deeply cognitively corrupting.)

I've been wondering for a while now if this (generally - I'm not talking about your wife specifically) isn't an underappreciated disaster of the transition from a broad-based traditional Christian culture to a Oprah / Doctor Phil Therapy culture.

Christianity has its own expensive forms of therapy. Just look at pilgrimages, Hail Mary's, time spent talk to someone who never says a word in response (close to some psychodynamic therapists?). And it's easy for people to transfer their neuroticisms to hell, maintaining faith, or the disturbing fact that so many people think you are out of touch with reality. Any one of these concerns can lead to fear, depression, or anger, just as much as a therapist's unscientific speculations on "repression", "authenticity", and "self-esteem".

Here's an evo-psych just-so story: women usually like to be attended to, whether that's by friends, family, "the boyfriend who will always be there for you" (Jesus) or a therapist. This is important, because women who were attended to by many people were more likely to successfully raise children. Human children are hard to raise to raise to reproductive viability, even now.

However, compared to therapy or some other religions, Christianity is fairly cost-effective. A person looking to satiate their lust for attention and elevation of their feelings' importance could do much, much worse.

My favourite therapy sketch:


This actually works very well in my experience, if you have the motivation to use it. And it costs much less than talk therapy.