Category: Politics
Trump the anti Intellectual yet idiot

Amazon opens in Australia, moves to tax foreign packages go into hyper-drive. Quelle surprise, big business always wants to impede competition. It’s the easiest way to lock in fat profits. They legally bribe politicians and regulators with donations and post public service sinecures.

You need to extend patent or copyright induced monopolies? No problem. You want to do it in other countries? Well, have we got a treaty for you.

Milton Friedman stood up for the consumer and against big business and government:

“There’s a common misconception that people who are in favor of a free market are also in favor of everything that big business does. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

In this he followed in the footsteps of Adam Smith:

“People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”

Few modern economists, policy makers and politicians do. All too often they impose the same harmful policies. Our establishment class, be it of the “left” or “right” are cognitively captured. Their blinkered mindset and arrogance make them Taleb’s Intellectual Yet Idiot.

“These self-described members of the “intelligentsia” can’t find a coconut in Coconut Island, meaning they aren’t intelligent enough to define intelligence hence fall into circularities — but their main skill is capacity to pass exams written by people like them. With psychology papers replicating less than 40%, dietary advice reversing after 30 years of fatphobia, macroeconomic analysis working worse than astrology, the appointment of Bernanke who was less than clueless of the risks, and pharmaceutical trials replicating at best only 1/3 of the time, people are perfectly entitled to rely on their own ancestral instinct and listen to their grandmothers (or Montaigne and such filtered classical knowledge) with a better track record than these policymaking goons.

Indeed one can see that these academico-bureaucrats who feel entitled to run our lives aren’t even rigorous, whether in medical statistics or policymaking. They can’t tell science from scientism — in fact in their image-oriented minds scientism looks more scientific than real science. (For instance it is trivial to show the following: much of what the Cass-Sunstein-Richard Thaler types — those who want to “nudge” us into some behavior — much of what they would classify as “rational” or “irrational” (or some such categories indicating deviation from a desired or prescribed protocol) comes from their misunderstanding of probability theory and cosmetic use of first-order models.) They are also prone to mistake the ensemble for the linear aggregation of its components” Taleb, The Intellectual Yet Idiot, “https://medium.com/…/the-intellectual-yet-idiot-13211e2d0577

Is it really any wonder that Trump was able to run rings around them? He bested what Republicans claimed was the most talented field ever. He then defeated the Democrat candidate in the face of fierce media, academic and public servant opposition. “Intellectual yet idiot” Trump is not. The world needs more like him, so we can reform peacefully rather than through revolutionary rivers of blood.

 
China Rising

“China is a sleeping giant. Let her sleep, for when she wakes she will move the world.” Napoleon Bonaparte

China is sowing the seeds of its own stagnation:

  • President Xi Jinping removing term limits
  • The one child policy induced decline in the workforce
  • The longer-term consequences of its negative return infrastructure led growth.
  • The censorship of thought is creativity crushing, free thinkers will think freely.

China has clearly awoken and is moving the world. Unfortunately in doing so it is also ushering in new models of despotism. Ones which enable democracies to transition to tyrannies with minimal fuss:

China said it will begin applying its so-called social credit system to flights and trains and stop people who have committed misdeeds from taking such transport for up to a year.

Twitter, Facebook and Google are already embracing authoritarianism and crushing free speech. Big business and government working hand in hand to steer the masses. What does that remind you of? Fascism is alive and well and its foundations are being built by our technology companies and their academic ideological enablers. Technology enabled fascist national socialism will be as damaging as international socialism has repeatedly proven to be.

The benevolent dictator model is great, as long as the dictator is great. Lee Kuan Yew is perhaps the best example, but for every Lee Kuan Yew there are multiple Mugabe’s. Democracies elect incompetents, but they also constrain how much damage they can do. The intensity and duration of the damage done by despots’ dwarfs that of elected leaders. Over the long term democratic systems trump despotic ones. Something the EU ought to have taken into account as it designed its undemocratic governing systems.

Deng Xiaoping learned from Lee Kuan Yew’s example in Singapore. He transformed China. China may have another good or even great leader in Xi Jinping. Removing his term limit is, to my mind, an ominous sign. Better to be further embedding a culture of peaceful regular and regulated transition.

Better also if the institutions of Western Civilisation propagated an understanding and appreciation of the building blocks its way of life, of progress and prosperity. These act as an immune system to repel destructive ideologies. Political correctness has much to answer for.

 
Warrantless searches

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Something rotten in the State of Denmark. The NSA spying revealed by the CIA “Vault 7” leak shows the US government cares not one bit for the privacy of its citizens. Yet, the spark which led to the American revolution may have been government breaches of privacy.

 

Colonial authorities…began issuing … a kind of blanket search warrant… (We would now call them “National Security Letters.”) Attorney James Otis took the case of 50 merchants who sued the British crown over these overly broad warrantless searches, and his powerful speech condemning these practices was heard by John Adams, who considered it the spark that led to the American Revolution.
George Mason’s Virginia Declaration of Rights of 1776 forbade these writs of assistance.

Thomas Jefferson depended heavily on that document when he authored the Declaration of Independence. When he talks about “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” one of the things he means by liberty is that the government shouldn’t be able to snoop at will through your private letters.

The sentiment against warrantless searches and overly broad writs of assistance was put into the constitution by James Madison, with what became the 4th Amendment.”

Warrantless searches were seen as inimical to liberty and the rights of Englishmen. This was because they are. Imagine the control those with access to everything you have ever said on phone, written in an email, typed on a browser or seen on a site will have. Blackmail will be the least of it. Yet a database of this information is what the US is creating and the Obama administration authorised for widespread dissemination:

 

With mere days left before President-elect Donald Trump takes the White House, President Barack Obama’s administration just finalized rules to make it easier for the nation’s intelligence agencies to share unfiltered information about innocent people.

New rules issued by the Obama administration under Executive Order 12333 will let the NSA—which collects information under that authority with little oversight, transparency, or concern for privacy—share the raw streams of communications it intercepts directly with agencies including the FBI, the DEA, and the Department of Homeland Security, according to a report today by the New York Times.

That’s a huge and troubling shift in the way those intelligence agencies receive information collected by the NSA. Domestic agencies like the FBI are subject to more privacy protections, including warrant requirements. Previously, the NSA shared data with these agencies only after it had screened the data, filtering out unnecessary personal information, including about innocent people whose communications were swept up the NSA’s massive surveillance operations.

 

In Australia questions were recently raised about why the supposedly current center-right government was to the left of past center-left governments. The question ought to be asked of conservatives in the US. Neocon support for the surveillance state takes them further along the big government path than any previous administration. Current Australian conservatives are similarly to the left of all prior Australian administrations in the rights of the individual against government. They impose fiscal penalties on the parents of children who are not vaccinated. Something previous left leaning governments did not do. Even Australia’s libertarian party succumbed to the big government “do gooder” mentality:

Parents have the right to not immunise their children; they do not have the right to put other children at risk.

That’s why Liberal Democrats WA will make immunisation a requirement to attend state school in Western Australia.

No exceptions to conscientious objectors.
Senator David Leyonhjelm Facebook post

 

As a commentator states:

Better stop parents from driving. Have you seen how many of them run over kids? “they do not have the right to put other children at risk.”

Government taxation will have deprived many of the ability to pay private school fees. You know this. Or have you spent too long supping on the taxpayer teat in Canberra? At the least allow conscientious objectors to put the school per pupil funding to other uses. Be it private school fees or freeing up a parent for homeschooling.

The road to hell may be paved with good intentions. But why can’t we turn around and walk back up it? Every government impost seems to be almost impossible to roll right back. The Republican shenanigans around the repeal of Obama care being just the latest example.

 

Those elected to defend our freedom, our inherited rights do not even know what they are giving up. The left have corrupted the conceptual framework through which the right views the world. It is a global phenomena. Even the internet is threatened.

 

The inventor the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, warns:

 

Even in countries where we believe governments have citizens’ best interests at heart, watching everyone, all the time is simply going too far,” he said, in an allusion to WikiLeaks’ disclosure of what documents claim is a vast CIA surveillance operation. “It creates a chilling effect on free speech and stops the web from being used as a space to explore important topics, like sensitive health issues, sexuality or religion…

 

Berners-Lee is just the latest high-profile technologist to share concerns over what former Cisco Systems executive Monique Morrow calls a fundamental assault on privacy and cybersecurity, with critical infrastructure — banking systems, the grid — hanging in the balance…

 

Proliferation of cyberweapons pose a significantly greater threat — especially smartphones in the hands of unwitting consumers, and eavesdropping TVs in their living rooms — because they spread at a faster rate than physical weapons, says Phil Reitinger, CEO of the Global Cyber Alliance and a former director of the National Cyber Security Center.

 

Over-educated intellectual pygmies have allowed this to happen. No previous generation considered this level of surveillance acceptable in a free democratic society. Even when in wars against existential threats.   Yet our supposed leaders cast our hard won rights aside, with nary a second thought. America once rebelled to secure their rights as Englishmen. They enjoyed much support in England. Support which was strongest in those areas which once supported Parliament against the king in the English civil war.

It is time to turn the road to hell into a road from hell. It’s time to restore our freedoms. Let us make our own paradise, rather than suffer under the hell of the “do gooders”:

Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

 

They may be more likely to go to heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell on earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level with those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”

God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics (p.292) by C. S. Lewis: