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User ID: 1076



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User ID: 1076

I'm almost inclined to view Napolean as a force of nature rather than as "good" or "bad."

He was a man of incredible talent, incredible will, he was both a man of action and intellectually a total mensch. Thus, anyone who wants to achieve something in the world, can profit from studying his life.

But, what he accomplished, he accomplished for his own visions. The results were in the end catastrophic for the men who followed him, as they starved and froze to death in the Russian winter. The results for France itself were a mixed bag.

But it is hard for me to cry too many tears about the fate of his followers or of his victims. The institutions that fell were old and rotting. The men who followed him, chose to do so, if they were captivated by his amoral visions of conquest and were willing to subjugate themselves to his vision, then I cannot say they deserved better. We all die in the end.

I, an amateur to the Napoleonic wars, wandered away from Ridley Scott's Napoleon feeling more or less pleased with my night.

I haven't seen the movie and don't intend to after reading the American Sun review and others. From what I've heard the main problem is that they turned one of the most charismatic men in history into a mumbling bumbling clingy loser.

Last year I did a big Shakespeare read and discovered to my surprise that many of the famous quotes, in context, mean something very different than how they are popularly used. For instance, when Mark Antony says, "I have come to bury Caesar, not to praise him" he is lying and goes on to praise him and foment a revolution. Now, when I see someone playing on that quote in a title, I never know if they are using the surface meaning or the in-context meaning.

  • Large conspiracies like faking the moon landing would require so many people to be in on it as to be impossible to maintain. So concepts like “The Cathedral”

The whole point of "The Cathedral" is that it is not a conspiracy. It is a phenomenon of distributed, public coordination -- there is no inner-party doing the coordination.. It is a herd. A very powerful, important herd, and one that continually defies any attempt to be named. There are microconspiracies within the Cathedral (journolist, Climategate, etc.) There are super-influencers who to some extent can move the herd. But the overall phenomena is a herd phenomena that is not generally based on secret coordination, but rather everyone looking to their left and to their right to stay in line. "The Cathedral" has a very enviable ability in that every time someone tries to coin a term for it "The System" "The Establishment" "The Uniparty" they manage to make associate usage of the term with being a kook or "conspiracy theorist."

People with a classical education could also talk all about the Roman Republic and French Revolution. We can't teach everything, and I'd much prefer to double down on stuff that's real than stuff that's fiction.

In general I'd agree, there was way too much fiction -- especially bad contemporary literary fiction -- in my high school curriculum. But certain works of fiction are of such cultural importance that they keep getting referenced by historical figures, so it is very helpful to have read the original so you know they talk about. Perhaps part of the problem with Shakespeare is that schools spend too much time over-analyzing it (badly). And often, they don't even watch a good production of it. It should be possible to get through a play in about 10 hours, including both reading it, watching it, and reading a commentary on it. Spending 60 hours total out of 6,000 hours of total schooling on Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, Romeo & Juliet, and two comedies seems like a good use of time to me. I'd throw in a few histories as well, integrated in with a history course on that subject.

On one hand, I agree that classic logic and rhetoric should be included in any elite education, along with statistics and exercises in doing historical primary source research and discovery. However, if you try teaching these things to a midwit, they will just start accusing everyone of "having confirmation bias" instead of "being stupid", they won't actually apply these concepts accurately, just use them as smart-sounding replacements for classic insults.

That said, in order to think well, it's important so simply have a lot of knowledge about the world. You can't be a good thinker in a vacuum. You need high quality information to feed in all those Bayesian priors. If the BBC publishes an article about 10% of Britain being black in the 1300s and black women being hardest hit by the plague, if you have a grounding in lots of historical knowledge about the world of that time period, including lots of primary sources and literature, then you will have a lot better intuition about whether that claim is likely true or absolutely ridiculous.

Learning about Shakespeare and studying themes in classic novels, while not completely useless, is less useful than learning about real historical events.

Kids do something like 6,000 hours of school-time and schoolwork over the four years of high school, there is plenty of time to do both. Storm of Steel should of course be required reading. I think it would be cool if elite students read the Shakespeare historical plays, watched multiple play versions, and then read the actual primary source history and the secondary source history. You learn the literature, you learn the history, you learn about propaganda and how the magic of storytelling works, you break out of the present and immerse yourself in a world very different than ours.

IMO, it's important to read primary sources and the classics. First, multiple generations have concluded that these sources were edifying, whereas a new book is much more likely to be of low quality that will soon be forgotten (the Lindy effect0. Second, classic sources help you eliminate "presentism" and build a basic common sense and historical grounding for how the world works. It's easy to read a history book in 2023 and have also sorts of current ideologies imposed on the past, you may read about how terrible the patriarchy was and how everyone was secretly gay, etc, but if you actually immerse yourself in primary sources I think you come to a much more complex, interesting, and realistic view about the past. Even if the play itself is fiction, all the assumptions built into the background of the play tell you a lot about the people who created such a play and the people who watched it.

But when talking about reforming high school, the elephant in the room is that most kids should not be in high school, at least not until age 18. If your IQ is around 105, you probably should be done with school once you can write a business letter and know enough math to do some carpentry or double-entry book-keeping for your business. If your IQ is 95, you should be done with school once you can do basic reading and know enough math to make change. Sticking the majority of kids on an academic-heavy track is not doing anybody, any good.

I think a lot of book-smart millennials were socialized into a culture that pattern-matches anything Republican/Fox News/"homophobic" as morally bad and scientifically wrong. The big battle they witnessed was that of gay rights, where the people who not on board with gay rights in the early 2000s were, in the eyes of the culture, proven to be morally in the wrong. So the instinct is that the LGBQT/NPR team is the good guys, and the trad Christian conservatives the anti-science bad guys. This generation was also raised in a culture (epitomized Jon Stewart) where you didn't carefully examine both sides of the debate, one side was good, and the other side only deserves mocking and derision.

Meanwhile if you transition around the start of puberty, you don't have to do any of these surgeries - you'll go through the rest of your life as a normal-looking member of the opposite sex, and won't have to go through the trauma of watching your body turn into something that gives you psychological pain every day. There's only one surgery you might have to do and that's sex reassignment surgery, and there I don't have any issue with not allowing minors to go through it.

Jazz Jennings seems to be going through plenty of psychological pain.

This not an honest presentation of the pros and cons of early transition. You are listing out the possible pros of early transition while forgetting the massive, elephant-in-the-room con: the child will likely be sterilized, they will likely never be able to have their own biological children, and may never have any proper sexual function or ability to orgasm. Again, see Jazz Jennings. No child is prepared to make that decision, no adult should be making that decision for a child.

What's the number of kids who are put on puberty blocking or cross-sex hormones?

In comparison, gender-affirming surgeries on cis minors are about 20 times more common.

Do these surgeries prevent the child from ever becoming a breast-feeding mother?

I still tend to have a lot of trust for economists, but that is maybe because I have found economists I actually trust, and I don't read the economists that would ruin my trust.

They were the first class of experts to lose my trust, after 2008. Hmm, actually, maybe the second after Iraq and the GWOT. Of course I never believed the "gender" and "psychology" experts in the first place, so there is that too.

An individual saying "food costs more than it used to" is exactly what inflation is, and exactly what inflation statistics are supposed to measure. If the statistics don't match the experience, then the statistics are wrong.

Not necessarily:

  1. The person might live in a particular geographic location which has particularly bad inflation.
  2. The person might suffer selective outrage, noticing the prices that have risen the most, but ignoring products whose prices have remained flat, and ignoring that if you actually average them all out they do match the government numbers.
  3. The person might have specific shopping habits that don't match those of the average consumer.
  4. The inflation on particular product SKU's often exceeds CPI inflation as corporations try to sneak by price increases on lazy existing customers, while giving discounted prices to new customers. So you see the product list price go up and think high inflation. But maybe you forgot about that time you called your cable company, threatened to cancel, got your SKU slightly changed, and are actually are paying the same as you were three years ago for a bundle that is just as satisfactory. And when you average it all out, the actually increase in what you pay is not as high as the increase in the list price.

Going back to the example of bias in policing that I mentioned earlier, I’d say that the vast majority of people on this forum would say that you can’t really use “lived experiences” to contradict data.

I think that almost no one believes data that contradicts what they see with their own eyes. And that is good, because there are million ways data can be limited, poorly recorded, confounded, erroneous, etc. And that applies a hundred times more so to numbers that are not "data" but complex statistical creations.

Data is useful as a check on personal experience. If the two contradict, then one simply has to do the work to see which is more likely to be wrong. There is no shortcut.

The one that bothers me personally is when I've seen people point to total crime data to show that crime hasn't risen in the major US cities. But as someone who lives in such a city, I know that simply reporting a crime is a very burdensome process of waiting hours for the police show up, and the police won't do anything anyways. I know that many (most) people don't report crimes in the city that would likely be reported as a crime in the burbs. Thus total crime number is rate-limited by the police capacity to arrive on the scene and take down a report; it has nothing to do with the actual rate of minor crimes. Thus trend data is absolutely useless. But you would only know this if you knew actually knew something about the city in question, and didn't blindly think that "data" is the highest source of truth.

However, we should remember why the specific phrase "lived experience" became the target of much ire. People have forever validly cited personal anecdotes during debates; but citing "lived experience" was a novel and obnoxious argumentation tactic. The appeal to "lived experience" was specifically being made when the person could not actually specifically describe the evidence they had seen with their own eyes. Rather than say something specific like, "I've had X many racist interactions in these situations in Y years ..." etc the person citing "lived experience" was citing something far more amorphous and undefinable. Or, the context was often that the person citing "lived experience" was claiming the sole right to interpret events that had happened to them. So person A says, "I have experience racism all the time, such as people asking me where I am really from." And B says, "Eh, I don't think that is racist, white people get asked about their ancestry to, that's just a result of living in a country that is a melting pot" and person A then responds, "how dare you deny my lived experience of racism."

In contrast something like this is a valid contribution to a debate:

HlynkaCG says he “has receipts” and linked to a 2 year old post where his local price of cheap meat went from $5/lb to $6.75 (a 35% increase) whereas the national meat price index at the time had only gone up by 9.5% over that period.

HlynkaCG's claims are worth taking seriously. We should investigate this discrepancy. And maybe we find that he just had the bad luck of liking one kind of meat which has risen in price the most and when you do a more broad analysis the government numbers are correct... or maybe we find that the government economists are actually cooking the books.

The better alternative is to use other economic data to make a point. If you think unemployment numbers don’t show the true extent of the problem, for instance, you can cite things like the prime age working ratio if you think people are discouraged from looking for work.

This only works if accurate and relevant data actually exists in published form, which often it does not. You must avoid the "looking for the keys under the lamppost fallacy."

Do you think Ezra’s lived experiences are a valid rebuttal here?

It's at least worthy of further investigation. Where did Ezra live? Who are his friends? If he grew up in a rich suburbs and all his black friends were friends he made at the Black Student Union at a private boarding school, then the reason for the discrepancy becomes obvious. His friend circle is not at all representative of the general population. If Ezra lived in very typical black neighborhood in south-side Chicago and all his friends were all from the neighborhood and public school, then his claims would be puzzling and worthy of more investigation. If Ezra was the only person saying this, I might think he was just making it up, or was ignorant of his friends behavior. But if other people like Ezra kept making the same claim, I might suspect there was something wrong with the government data.

In reality though, your Ezra is fictional The anecdotal evidence, even as supported by black activists like Ta-Nehisi Coates, corroborate the FBI numbers. Personally, I don't believe that blacks have a higher crime rate solely because of the FBI data, I believe it because of lots of anecdotes and from what I see with my own eyes. Actually, based on what I read from news stories and what I see with my own eyes, the FBI data likely significantly understates the black crime problem, because FBI data does not distinguish public crime (knock-out game against strangers) from private crime (eg, a bar fight).

Even if the story has no material affect on my life, I am still surrounded by people who care about it, and in turn expect me to care about it. Should the conversation emerge at my place of work (so far it hasn't, and for that I am extremely grateful), I may be asked for my opinion, and my genuine opinion would piss off everyone in the room.

How about: "I'm on a fast from following the news cycle in order to focus my mental energies on friends and family and my own well-being. But from the nuggets that I have heard, it all sounds terrible and tragic. I pray for peace." If you know the person's affiliation, maybe also give a nod of sympathy toward their position.

TBH, I'm a bit relieved that we finally have a Current Thing that I do not have to follow all that closely, because there is nothing actionable about it for me. For this conflict, following events closely and really figuring out what is going on doesn't seem to have any prospect of informing important decisions that I might have to make, so I can hopefully just mostly ignore it.

To be fair, that's been the Catholic Church's stated position for opposing birth control since the 1960s. See below the relevant section of Pope Paul VI's Humane Vitae:

Exactly. Since America conquered achieved world hegemony after World War II, the Catholic Church leadership have wanted to avoid cancellation (ie, losing non-profit status, having Catholics being auto-excluded from being members of the bar, being dis-invited from all establishment media, and also Catholics just generally not wanting to seem like fuddy-duddy "bad guys" by the standards of progressive morality, etc. etc.) and so have tried to put a more modern/feminist spin on long-standing teachings. So in the past 60 years, the Catholic Church has emphasized the angle of "we are actually the real feminists because sexual sin is a case of men hurting women,"

No, the unpopularity of sin/policing rhetoric isn’t due to fear of cancellation. It derives from the general loss in status of religion.

That's...the same thing.

Religious conservatives and sex-negative feminists both agree that casual sex in the society that exists is inherently degrading to women, that women should choose not to engage in it, and that men should be punished for engaging in it.

A problem here is that the religious conservatives who are allowed to speak in mainstream outlets under their real name have to make concessions to feminism in order to not get cancelled. So they have to argue that the real problem with feminism is that men will take advantage of women. They have trouble arguing directly that hooking up is a sin for women, a sin that many women will indulge in if allowed, and that women must be policed too, and not just men. However, these conservatives who making the socially acceptable right-wing argument, aren't actually accurately representing what the typical right-wing conservative man actually deep-down believes.

This is similar to the "Democrats are the real racists" trope that mainstream conservatives (at the National Review, etc.) get trapped in. To avoid cancellation, they can't just argue that affirmative action is bad because it is bad for whites. They have to make the argument that affirmative action is bad because it is actually bad for black people, because of "mismatch" or the "soft bigotry of low expectations" or because it won't prepare blacks for the "real world." Ultimately, these arguments do not work (the left can just extend affirmative action entirely through a person's career) and the conservative ends up just ceding the moral high ground to the left.

I’d argue that the more or less unstated promise of the Sexual Revolution to young single women was that: a) they will be sexually free without inviting social shame i.e. normalized sexual experimentation and promiscuity on their part will not have an unfavorable long-term effect on men’s attitudes towards them, and women will not sexually shame one another anymore b) they will be able to leave their constrictive gender roles to the extent they see fit, but this will not lead to social issues and anomie because men will be willing to fill those roles instead i.e. men will have no problem becoming stay-at-home dads, nurses, kindergarteners, doing housework etc.

And none of that turned out to be true.

I'd argue that these actually turned out far more true than many critics at the time would have ever imagined. Shaming against sluts has decreased dramatically, men have repressed their concerns about sexual history, men have started to do much more housework and childcare, etc.

The two great errors were:

  1. The claim that sex with someone whom you were not committed to with is fun and healthy -- the claim that it is not inherently sinful/disordered/"bad for your psyche"/"bad for your soul". This claim is false -- sex is very likely to create an emotional bond, and so when you create that bond without permanent commitment a woman is setting herself up for great hurt and distress. It also makes it harder to pair-bond in the future, which makes women less likely to find or create successful marriages.

  2. The claim that "consent" is the critical thing that society needs to police. Sex doesn't work that way, it originated before we could even talk, and it is simply more natural and preferable to use body language. Many women like playing a bit of cat and mouse, like giving some token resistance, and don't like being explicit. What women want is "it just happened." Meanwhile, explicitly "consensual" sex can still be traumatic or greatly regretted. It gets even worse when "consent" is expanded so that women cannot actually consent to sex with more powerful men. But this is a problem because power is something that inherently something women find attractive. So women cannot consent to men they are most attracted to? Or women can only consent to sex with men who they attracted to for reasons of the genetic lottery (looks, height), but not to men who earned their attraction by working hard and gaining status? This is all a giant mess. The "consent" framework wrongly says that society shouldn't police a handsome guy who attracts and pumps and dumps a fully consenting women. However, it should ban, say, the relationship that made my good friend's life possible (his dad was a professor, his mom a grad student on the same team, they married and had a very long, fruitful, and successful relationship). IMO, what should matter is seduction with intent to marry. I'm fine with a professor going after a grad student or a boss his secretary, but if he wins her heart he better marry her.

They are treating school decisions as very short term, zero-sum games which in a sense they are.

It was actually a negative sum game. Especially by the 70s, the whites were not actually hoarding any resources. So when you forced integration you made schools terrible for the whites because the kids were getting assaulted and the teachers were distracted by teaching students who were at a lower grade level, and you made the schools no better for the black kids. The forced integration made things worse for everyone in ways that were obvious and predictable, but the people pushing it were so inflamed by self-righteousness that they did not care, it was those leaders pushing integration who were morally in the wrong.

harmful to assume it's all just zero-sum and instead should be seeking out more effective solutions.

Like what? You don't just get to advocate for a situation where girls were getting sexually assaulted in the halls and then say, "well, they should have figured some other solution and then we wouldn't have to forced integration" and then get to take the moral high ground. Let's be very clear here because the rest is just window dressing: deliberately creating a situation where education is impossible because of kids constantly being assaulted and bullied is morally wrong, all the time, in every society. The situation created by forced integration was worse, and the people responsible were morally in the wrong, far more in the morally wrong than the people who supported the segregated status quo.

It's morally wrong, all the time, in every society, to treat people worse for some arbitrary reason before you get to know them.

"Arbitrary" and "treat worse" are tricky here. It is morally wrong to overtly mean or aggressive against someone who has not wronged you. However, it is morally permissible to withhold charity, or withhold generosity, or withhold sharing, or withhold your friendship, or withhold permitting someone to migrate into your terrirtory, or withold wanting your children to raise my children (which is what school is) based upon limited, imperfect information -- such as ethnicity/race, or religion, or politics. Race, like family, or like in many cases religion, is not something a person chooses to be born into, but it is not exactly arbitrary either. Race is tribe, it is a measure of closeness of blood relations, it is not arbitrary, and something that is quite often relevant.

It is rather annoying how certain activists have destroyed the meaning of the word....Genuine "I hate X race" type people can now get relatively far in politics

Eh, good riddance. Anyone who has is acting in morally deplorable ways relating to race can be condemned in language and terms and concepts that long predate the word "racism." Just call out what they are actually doing that is bad -- whether it is being slanderous, committing detraction, or covetous or whatever the bad thing actually is.

Meanwhile, as I read more history, I find that a lot of the "classic" racism that was universally abhorred before the "great awokening" (for instance school segregration) was not as clearly wrong as I thought it was. Read for instance Wolter's The Burden of Brown. I don't blame the white parents of any school district from using whatever laws they had at their disposal to keep their school from being overrun by a population with much higher rates of committing assault and with entirely different cultural norms and with incompatible levels of pedagogical needs.

"Racism" is an anti-concept. It is a word of activist power. It groups a whole bunch of unlike phenomena together, and then the people who can use the word can equivocate on the definition in order to target the people they want to target for shaming and cancellation.

An example of the game plan is:

  1. Create an association in the public between the word "racist" and images of white people throwing stones at black children and calling them horrible names.
  2. Include in the definition of a racist "a person who believes in the superiority of one racial group, such as a group being more intelligent"
  3. Then using that definition, call people like Charles Murray or Steve Sailer "racists" since he arguably fits definition 2) even though they are the farthest thing from definition 1).
  4. Cancel Charles Murray and Steve Sailer, since their ideas are a huge threat to the $2 trillion dolllar education-industrial complex.

Another way of saying this is that "racism" is any idea that opposes the current left/center-left establishment ethnogensis or ethno-preservation projects. So if you are against busing ethnic Polish and Irish white kids to black neighborhood schools, you are against a certain ethnogensis project, and therefore racist. If you are against historically black universities, or against a law making certain hair styles a protected characteristic, you are against a certain ethnology-preservation project and therefore racist. If an asian-American mom wants her daughter to marry an Asian guy, that is irrelevant to any establishment plans, so the establishment does not care and does not consider the mom a racist.

and I've observed enough of the latter that I think c-secs are far less annoying or painful, even if you opt for an epidural.

Except with a c-section the woman is not back to normal for many weeks, as they have to cut through her skin and muscle to get at the uterus, and that has to heal. Meanwhile if all goes well with vaginal birth, the woman can be almost completely back to normal and fully active in a matter of days.

Also, with every c-section scar tissue builds up, which inhibits future pregnancies, meaning if you want to have more than 2 or 3 kids, intentionally scheduling a c-section is a bad idea.

It was literally the standard common book of prayer up until 1928. And "wife has a duty to obey" was the standard Christian, Hewbrew, and Roman teaching, so that is a span from 700BC to AD 1928. So which viewpoint is bizarre? OK, but we have cool modern technology now! We have indoor toilets now! Why should we take the norms of the past seriously? On the other hand ... technology was progressing from 700BC to AD 1928. Are things progressing now? At the same rate? The same second derivative?

What do you mean by "fully sovereign" in this context? In what sense are the current generation of men "sovereign?"

Most modern men are slaves by historical standards. A "sovereign man" or perhaps more accurately a "free man" is able to both obtain the means of sustenance by building and trading and interacting with society, and physically can protect what he has from predation. Remember, the idea that police are the frontline protection against predation is very new. In older times, a free man was much more responsible for physically protecting his own liberty and property.

What to you mean by "owned" in this context? Do you have any anectotes about this?

A book could be written on this. The term "owned" isn't quite right, the husband-wife relationship is sui genersis so inherently it needs its own word. But for one example -- women will boundary test (like children) (also known in PUA as shit test or fitness test), all women will boundary test, and they like it if you pass the test and are deeply uncomfortable if they fail. An wife ultimately wants to rely on you as her rock, and as part of that is having enough of a sense of command to do what is good for her, not always what she says she wants at the time.

Out of curiosity, are you married?

Yes. To a girl I met in college, who was an NPR liberal, who did not vow to obey me. But, she does accept my lead and gets deeply uncomfortable if I do not lead like a traditional male, if I do not act as a rock upon which my family relies. As an infamous crimethinker once said (paraphrasing since I can't find the exact quote: "Every successful modern marriage is secretly imitating a 17th century trad marriage" He exaggerates ... slightly.

returning half the human species to the status of property to restore?

It is my observation and studied opinion that:

  1. Women have enormous natural power because they have the power to make men immortal.
  2. Men inherently do not like to see the women they live like unhappy. It is my experience, my observation, and I don't have it on hand, but I remember seeing some study that a husband's happiness was very correlated with his wife's happiness, but not vice-versa. Or going back to the patriarchal age or Biblical proverbs: "It is better to live in a corner of the housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman."
  3. Women, like children, do not have the capability, physical or psychological, to be fully sovereign over themselves.
  4. Women, like children, actually like to be owned by a father/husband.

Feminists say that feminism "is the radical idea that women are human." Well it's more like feminism is the radical idea that women are men, that is, they thrive in having the same social and legal situation as men do (1). And that is not true -- it is fantasy-based argument that does tremendous harm to men and women alike. Women are their own thing, not men, not children.

So even if women, have little legal power, they retain tremendous power to bend men to their will, and to extract the means of a happy and fulfilling life.

And since women can never be self-sovereign, they are either wards of their fathers, wards of their family, wards of their husband, wards of the state bureacracy, or temporary wards of a rotating array of characters (their boss, their boyfriend). eg. I believe that only fathers and husbands have the knowledge and alignment of interest to actually take care of women in the best possible way.

(1) Actually, feminism is more like calvinball where women alternatively get treated as men, sometimes indeed as super-men, or sometimes as agency-free, angelic, children (eg, when they argue women shouldn't be made to publicly testify in college sexual assault cases, they should just be believed)