Thursday, October 29, 2009 54 Comments

UR will ship no wine before its time

The terminally bored, however, can observe my contribution to our nation's great national-security debate here. Also, General Fonseka is on Facebook.

If you prefer something older, there is always Cromer's Ancient and Modern Imperialism. Or Austin's Plea for the Constitution. Please feel free to read and discuss these fine works!

54 Comments:

Blogger Alrenous said...

So, is it apropos to point out the apparent link between bitching about poetry et cetera, and lack of posts?

It seems doing so might just be more bitching, and I want a second opinion.

Bitching, after all, tends not to be useful to anyone but the bitcher, with one exception. I consider widespread bitching to be a symptom of democracy, as democracies are supposed to make bitching a legitimate way of affecting governance.

October 29, 2009 at 5:52 AM  
Blogger Professor said...

"At the same time, we hunt it with Predators. It's like a bad episode of "The Dog Whisperer," with the Pashtoons instead of the dog. Couldn't we get Cesar Millan to run Afghanistan for a while? His skin is about the right color, and he could hardly do worse."

That's gold.

October 29, 2009 at 5:58 AM  
Blogger Alrenous said...

The fundamental problem with the predator is entirely psychological. The named problem is that they kill things you didn't mean to kill with them, but to reject them by that standard, you'd have to reject all weapons.

Next, for warriors it seems dishonourable to push the 'kill' button, go get a cup of coffee, and come back to check up on the kill status.

As the commenters point out, this is little different than artillery, although the causative chain is a few steps longer.

This brings me to the responsibility - it seems unclear to many who is responsible for a predator's kills. Logically there's no issue, and similar chains of responsibility are dealt with daily in other respects.

Ultimately the thing really is just another weapon, with strengths to be exploited and weaknesses to be compensated for.

Nevertheless these factors make the weapon feel uncanny enough that everyone and their dog seems to need to rationalize why it's some kind of special weapon that shouldn't be used.

October 29, 2009 at 6:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my, MM owned that thread about drone warfare. That was tremendous. The fascinating thing is that the other participants are stuffed so full of Cathedral propaganda that they just can't possibly get what MM is saying.

October 29, 2009 at 8:02 AM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Just came across this on the Monkey Cage about what factors were associated with resisting the Germans and Soviets in WW2 (and some time after):
http://www.themonkeycage.org/2009/10/when_do_people_resist_occupati.html


Alrenous:
You are correct that airpower is much like artillery (but moreso!). There are problems associated with those that make some prefer "boots on the ground". Even with advanced technology, knowledge of the situation is limited at such distances and precision with munitions is less than that of a sniper's bullet. Robin Hanson is concerned with the psychological effects, many readers here might not be.

It is curious that MM favorably cites the old British experience in Afghanistan, since the colonialists were kicked out. MM has previously referred to the "suspicious exception" of successful resistance to a communist regime in Afghanistan. I would like to hear him take on that curious exception. The case for Afghanistan in particular being a sort of timeless ESPN Zone of empires is at least as plausible as his version of it as quite governable depending on whether you're sufficiently brutal.

October 29, 2009 at 8:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not really on topic, but reading about Pink's War, I kept thinking that Pakighanistan is just a totally macho place - all those names like "Swat" and "Tank".

October 29, 2009 at 10:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even with advanced technology, knowledge of the situation is limited at such distances and precision with munitions is less than that of a sniper's bullet.

Yeah, as if snipers have never shot the wrong guy.

Robin Hanson is concerned with the psychological effects, many readers here might not be.

The psychological effects of drones are GOOD from our perspective. The bad guys live in a constant state of fear that the omnipresent flying death machine is going to rain destruction on them, and the bad guys start blaming each other, and purging their ranks of suspected spies, whenever one of them gets whacked.

You could only be against the psychological effects of drones if you don't want to win.

October 29, 2009 at 10:30 AM  
Anonymous blue anonymous said...

^ Dude, LESS... NEVER. Very different things.

October 29, 2009 at 11:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dear MM,

i have followed your writings for some time now with great interest, but it pains me to see your emphasis on intelligence as the end all and be all of human worth and value, when i possess very little of it, at least no more than the average person does. perhaps you might dedicate a post to us normal, average, median peoples and how we should live in a world of standard deviations. thank you.

October 29, 2009 at 11:13 AM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Yeah, as if snipers have never shot the wrong guy.
Ugh, I said "less than" and you said nothing to dispute my point. If I argued for using assault rifles rather than the gladius as the standard weapon for infantry, it would be just as silly to say "Yeah, as if battles have never been won with the gladius".

The ratio of bullets fired to people killed is FAR lower for snipers than the shell/casualty ratio for artillery & bombers. Guided missiles don't have as much of a problem with hitting nothing, but would you dispute that they result in more mistaken kills than snipers?

You could only be against the psychological effects of drones if you don't want to win.
I believe his point is that we are more willing to launch wars from the comfort of a view-screen than we would be if the killing happened right in front of us, even holding casualties constant. As it happens, you are wrong about the psychological effect on the enemy. Artillery makes up a larger portion of casualties than small arms fire, but soldiers are much more frightened by the latter. They are also frightened of knives, despite the tiny proportion of combat deaths resulting from them these days.

October 29, 2009 at 11:16 AM  
Blogger Porphyrogenitus said...

Interestingly enough, one of the first comments in that "Drones" post is by my old SCO, Col. Gentile.

Glad to see he didn't ignore the pooh-poohing of the use of Drones.

You know, if there's one thing I've learnt from being in the Army, it's never ignore a pooh-pooh. I knew a Major, who got pooh-poohed, made the mistake of ignoring the pooh-pooh. He pooh-poohed it! Fatal error! 'Cos it turned out all along that the soldier who pooh-poohed him had been pooh-poohing a lot of other officers who pooh-poohed their pooh-poohs. In the end, we had to disband the regiment. Morale totally destroyed... by pooh-pooh!

October 29, 2009 at 5:07 PM  
Blogger Porphyrogenitus said...

TGGP, it's all "push-button war" to you people - you're not there.

And not every soldier or nearly every soldier can or will be a sniper out of a Clancy novel, or a "Dead-Eye Jake".

Guided ammunition represents the humanization of war, not the dehumanization of war. Unless you prefer gravity bombs or refuse, as you apparently want to, to give the soldiers on your side artillery or air support of any kind.

I suppose, for example, that when watching "We Were Soldiers" (most likely your closest experience to modern warfare) you root for the Troopers to not be given artillery or air support at their LZ, and for their position to be overrun and everyone killed by the NVA.

Now, one can be against fighting a specific conflict, or even be an ethical pacifist and opposed to all conflict. If your opposition here is grounded in that, in opposition to fighting in Afghanistan (or wherever else), that is one thing.

But it's an entirely another thing to say to your side's soldiers "you and them go fight...but we're not going to let you use X weapon, because it would be unfair".

Real war is not some game where the sides ought to be "game-balanced", Blue and Red. The stakes are too high for that.

The current Army Times contains a front-page article on 8 soldiers who were killed at an outpost because of lack of timely support. If some of you had your way, it would be *policy* rather than a frag-up that such soldiers not receive support. Frankly, that disgusts me - and illustrates just how deeply some of the ideas Moldbug has talked about regarding how we turn "rules of war" against ourselves, resulting not in saving lives but in extending conflicts and killing more people.

October 29, 2009 at 5:29 PM  
Blogger All-In-All said...

Interesting as always. I just love the conclusion that you're out to make the world safe for Isra'el.

October 29, 2009 at 5:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ten points to Porphyrogenitus for the Blackadder reference.

October 29, 2009 at 6:22 PM  
Anonymous Kansas said...

All-In-All,

I thought you were supposed to be gone for a year.

October 29, 2009 at 6:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ugh, I said "less than" and you said nothing to dispute my point. If I argued for using assault rifles rather than the gladius as the standard weapon for infantry, it would be just as silly to say "Yeah, as if battles have never been won with the gladius".

It was sarcasm, you fucking halfwit.

The ratio of bullets fired to people killed is FAR lower for snipers than the shell/casualty ratio for artillery & bombers.

OK, first of all, a Predator is not at all like artillery or bombers. When they fire the Hellfires they have eyes directly on target, and they are shooting at one specific person. Therefore, the ratio of bullets fired to people killed is about the same for a sniper rifle as the ratio of Hellfires fired to people killed.

Guided missiles don't have as much of a problem with hitting nothing, but would you dispute that they result in more mistaken kills than snipers?

Yes, absolutely. What determines whether or not there is a "mistake" is the intelligence that positions the sniper or the Predator, not the weapon itself. The sniper is going to kill the guy he's told to kill, but he has no way of knowing whether or not they told him to kill the right guy - and believe me, mistakes are made.

Another issue is that for the most part, snipers are used on the battlefield to kill enemy officers, enemy snipers, and other tactical targets. Snipers are not often used against "strategic" targets like important terrorists because generally we can't get a sniper anywhere near an important terrorist. We can, however, get Predators near those guys. So the facile alternative of "use a sniper instead of a Predator just to be extra careful" does not really exist in reality. The real choice is shoot at important guys with the Predator and risk making a mistake, or don't shoot at all and have zero chance of killing the right guy.

As it happens, you are wrong about the psychological effect on the enemy.

As it happens, you don't know what the hell you are talking about. The bad guys hate and fear the Predator because they can neither see it nor hear it, and they never know whether it is there getting ready to zap them. Even if they shoot it down, they don't even have the satisfaction of killing an enemy pilot. They have no way to fight back, as they do against snipers, and they know the Predator isn't as indiscriminate as artillery so we are much more likely to use it on them. That the Predator is extremely effective and usable is exactly why the enemy is trying so hard to make us stop using them with their "drones are counterproductive and increase resentment" campaign. Geez, figure it out already.

October 29, 2009 at 8:39 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Well, if we're going to run a milquetoast, pansy-ass, colonialism is bad-style occupation, Drones are counterproductive.

If we're actually going to run the damn place they work fine.

Also, MM's comments were fun to read but what the hell is up with all the jew-haters out there? Jews rock! Jeez.

Looking forward to when the wine reaches its time. . .

October 29, 2009 at 8:50 PM  
Blogger Alrenous said...

Dear IQnonymous,

I'm going to appeal to the ideal patchwork.

In a proper patchwork, those of average IQ are only frowned upon if they want to rule the thing. It seems trying to direct a group with large amounts of 120+ IQ people with an IQ of 100- would not likely end well.

The other context IQ comes up in is crime, as criminals tend to be pretty dumb.

However, as long as you don't want to rule, and you're not criminal, the patchwork will be more than happy to gainfully employ you. After all, the patchwork is assumed to tax at the Laffer maximum, which means you're going to be handing over a huge chunk of what you make anyway.

If you mean anything more profound by 'living in a world of standard deviations,' then MM's political theory does not address it. (Or at least should not.)

I'm going to bring up employer IQ testing, though. A lot of people seem worried that a bad test will get you stuck in a low pay grade, regardless of your output. That seems pretty ignorant of actual employer behaviour, to me. If nothing else, you can take evidence of your performance to another employer and get your raise that way. At least, assuming no other pathologies are going around.

October 29, 2009 at 9:09 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Porphyrogenitus:
I was not arguing for or against predators, artillery or snipers (or claiming that everybody can be a sniper, rather I was using snipers as a contrast). I was pointing out the existence of tradeoffs. I made no statement about what tradeoff I deem appropriate, mostly because I view our presence there as a giant pointless waste.


Anonymous:
It was sarcasm, you fucking halfwit.
Oh, really? Because my example regarding battles won with the gladius wasn't sarcastic in the slightest. You must be very intelligent to have spotted that non-sequitur which renders my point invalid.

OK, first of all, a Predator is not at all like artillery or bombers.
They fire explosive munitions from a large distance, in that sense they are alike. They are indeed more targeted, as I acknowledged in the next line you quoted.

What determines whether or not there is a "mistake" is the intelligence that positions the sniper or the Predator, not the weapon itself.
A common issue that has come up in AfPak is wedding parties being blown up. If instead there were "boots on the ground" taking out the target, that would be less likely to happen.

As it happens, you don't know what the hell you are talking about. The bad guys hate and fear the Predator because they can neither see it nor hear it, and they never know whether it is there getting ready to zap them.
I cited Randall Collins', who has gathered a lot of info on participants in wars. Artillery & bombing are fired from a large enough distance that the target often doesn't see them. That is precisely WHY they are less frightening, despite accounting for more casualties, than small-arms fire.


G. M. Palmer:
Also, MM's comments were fun to read but what the hell is up with all the jew-haters out there?
MM is practically inviting it. Remember the anti-semitic commenter who summarized MM's thesis, with the world-replacement of Marxist Jews for Protestants? In other respects, his take is a lot like many anti-semitic conspiracy theorists.


IQnonymous:
The truth can hurt and MM is under no obligation to explain to you why you're just as good as everyone else. Given his previous referenced to turning Palestinians to fertilizer, we can't expect him to have much sympathy for untermenschen. What his actual opinion on the subject is I can't say, and I'm not going to try to speak for him here.

October 30, 2009 at 7:33 AM  
Anonymous Steve Johnson said...

TGGP:

"You must be very intelligent to have spotted that non-sequitur which renders my point invalid."

The mind boggles.

October 30, 2009 at 9:31 AM  
Anonymous Bearded Spock said...

That time has come and gone. With such blown commitments, MM is turning into a novelty act.

Deadlines matter, asshole.

October 30, 2009 at 9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a good takedown of the childish adolescent-nerd idea that the most important thing needed to win wars is Will. Executive summary: (1) the emphasis on Will is macho posturing by the insecure, (2) insurgents will always have more Will than an occupying power.

October 30, 2009 at 12:33 PM  
Anonymous blue anonymous said...

IQnonymous,
Mencius' idea for an IQ franchise is retarded. As a man of Mencius' intelligence should know if he ever reads GNXP, the IQ distros of the american left and right are virtually identical, except with the most intelligent slanting a bit leftward.

October 30, 2009 at 1:13 PM  
Blogger Professor said...

Anonymous, that "takedown" was weak, or at least irrelevant. Who has ever actually said that the group with more will will necessarily win the conflict? Probably not the referenced warbloggers, and certainly not MM. The argument would more accurately be presented, if forced to use the concept of "will", as "There are a set of actions that would allow the U.S. to easily prevail, but it lacks the will to execute them".

October 30, 2009 at 1:39 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Bearded Spock:
I agree and propose that his wages be docked. That ought to motivate him and teach him what's acceptable.


blue anonymous:
There isn't too much left/right variation with IQ (and as Half Sigma has noted the current association of high IQ with the Dems is a somewhat recent occurrence), but the parties don't really differ by that much for it to matter. Less intelligent people have systematically different political beliefs from the more intelligent. See both Bryan Caplan and Scott Althouse on that point. Restricting the franchise will mean both the right and left will be represented, but just by their most intelligent members. Politicians will then not have the incentive to pander to the least intelligent. We saw policy changes occur after property restrictions were dropped from the franchise, as we also did when women were given the vote, so we will probably see that happen when franchise is restricted by IQ.


Professor:
The real problem is with the goals of the U.S, for which strategy & tactics must be tailored. Nuke & pave can achieve victory for some values of "victory", but not the one in use by the U.S. I myself completely reject the goal of nation building, so it all strikes me as pointless.


Though reiterating that I am not arguing for or against drones vs BOTG, I recall an earlier point which seems relevant. The one recommendation I can recall Peter Moskos ("Cop on the Beat") offering is increased use of foot patrol rather than vehicle patrol. Back in 1990 Bruce Benson's "Enterprise of Law" presented the evidence that foot patrol leads to less crime than car patrol, but bad incentives lead police to rely on car patrol instead. The possible advantages of BOTG over death from above could be analogous to that of foot patrol over car patrol. I believe though that the idiomatic expression BOTG usually includes land-vehicles as well as the literal boots of infantry. War and policing are different, so mileage may vary.

October 30, 2009 at 4:51 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Whoops, should have reread my old post before linking to it. It just discusses two-man cars as opposed to one-man cars. I think the book also discusses foot patrol, but I'll have to recheck it tonight. Moskos on foot patrol here. I believe he also discusses it in this diavlog.

October 30, 2009 at 4:55 PM  
Anonymous nick said...

In an earlier comment thread I came up as a topic, i.e. why I no longer comment here. Of course I blog as much as ever, and folks are free to converse with me at http://unenumerated.blogspot.com. I hear the blog owner there actually reads and responds himself to many of the comments.

October 31, 2009 at 3:20 AM  
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October 31, 2009 at 10:53 AM  
Blogger All-In-All said...

While I have no idea who you are, basically I am away from my actual computer and too cheap to buy another (much less pay for internet). But I do have intermittant access to the web via work, school and library computers.

October 31, 2009 at 3:16 PM  
Anonymous c23 said...

Wow, that "takedown" of the idea that will is important in war is the dumbest thing I've ever seen linked from UR, and that includes Chinese Viagra spam. He uses the example of the Nazi defeat, which involved being ground down by numerically and industrially superior enemies, to somehow show that will isn't enough for the US to win against a bunch of goat herders. As if anybody was saying that will alone is enough to win in all circumstances.

The comments on it are nothing but congratulations from other liberals who believe this nonsense. A big circle jerk. How boring it be to only talk to others who agree with you.

October 31, 2009 at 9:04 PM  
Anonymous Kansas said...

All-In-All,

I see.

BTW, nobody actually believes your self-description i.e. that you're "a 20 year old Korean girl high school dropout, ultra-libertarian/reactionary, hardcore Austrian econ nerd who’s apparently read every work of Austrian econ ever including QJAE articles and the works of obscure living Austrian economists like Boettke and Salerno" as a commenter at TGGP's put it.

October 31, 2009 at 10:04 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Razib has an interesting post which, among other topics, discusses the Protestantization of American Catholics and Jews:

Religious diversity & its discontents

Despite America’s official “hands-off” policy in regards to religion, in the 19th century to a great extent the Protestant elite won its kulturkampf with th Roman Catholic Church. The first Roman Catholic President of the United States was a cultural heir of the anti-Catholic Boston Brahmins (John F. Kennedy has been accused of being a secular humanist in his private beliefs by some religious conservatives, and even if the aspersion is not factual it goes to show that his specific commitment to the details of Catholicism are held to be suspect by many).

snip

November 1, 2009 at 8:05 AM  
Blogger Porphyrogenitus said...

TGGP: Your arguments and their underlaying assumptions seemed to indicate otherwise, but I accept that I inferred what you didn't imply.

This, however, is "Not Proven", and is largely what led to my inference (as well as it being connected to your explaining the position of those who, IMO, clearly did imply what I inferred):

I believe his point is that we are more willing to launch wars from the comfort of a view-screen than we would be if the killing happened right in front of us, even holding casualties constant."

This is ahistorical; in past societies, those who had the killing right in front of them, and with higher casualty levels, were actually more likely to go to war than we are. They launched punitive expeditions in response to affronts that cause us to instead appologize like a beaten spouse over.

Ironically enough, this attitude produced the international system of "peace" that MM wants to recreate, while ours - of relative reticence - produces its opposite (as an empirical reality, rather than a rhetorical one where in the current age we're somehow warmongers compared to past societies, including our own).

Also, there is no way to guarantee "hold[ing] casualty levels constant", but perhaps you mean by redistributing the side that takes them (denying our soldiers certain weapons lowers casualties on the other side, and raises it on ours, naturally).

Since assertions along these lines are not infrequently employed, seemingly whistfully, by those who oppose this or that expedition, and seem to pine for more body bags a buttress for their arguments that it should cease.

Thus I naturally find the arguments along these lines by such military sages to be despicable.

November 1, 2009 at 5:21 PM  
Anonymous radtrad said...

Here's a good takedown of the childish adolescent-nerd idea that the most important thing needed to win wars is Will. xecutive summary: (1) the emphasis on Will is macho posturing by the insecure,

True fact: Napoleon said "The moral is to the physical as three to one." Macho poseur?

"(2) insurgents will always have more Will than an occupying power."

Please explain any successful conquest ever, starting with, e.g., Rome's occupation of Gaul from the battle of Alesia onwards.

November 1, 2009 at 5:25 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Porphyrogenitus:
This is ahistorical; in past societies, those who had the killing right in front of them, and with higher casualty levels, were actually more likely to go to war than we are.
It's a ceteris paribus statement. Those past societies would be even more willing to go to war if they could do so from a greater distance, we would be even less warlike if we had to do it all up close. Within an army those with small-arms have a lower firing rate than operators of distance weapons like artillery. People subjected to small arms fire have higher rates of PTSD than those hit with artillery or bombed, even though small-arms produces fewer casualties.

Also, there is no way to guarantee "hold[ing] casualty levels constant", but perhaps you mean by redistributing the side that takes them (denying our soldiers certain weapons lowers casualties on the other side, and raises it on ours, naturally).
No, I did not, it's a ceteris paribus statement. I'm talking about the effect of distance on willingness as distinct from the effect of casualties on willingness. If I had not made that distinction a reader would have said "Of course we're more willing, there are fewer casualties".

Since assertions along these lines are not infrequently employed, seemingly whistfully, by those who oppose this or that expedition, and seem to pine for more body bags a buttress for their arguments that it should cease.
Who gives a shit about them. Save it for when you comment on their sites.

Thus I naturally find the arguments along these lines by such military sages to be despicable.
Let's not waste time by talking about what's despicable (or even "racist"), rather what is factually correct.


radtrad:
Please explain any successful conquest ever, starting with, e.g., Rome's occupation of Gaul from the battle of Alesia onwards.
This person's point is that Will isn't everything, and you are asking them to explain the defeat of people they claim had more Will. That's confirmation, not falsification.

November 1, 2009 at 8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I WANT MY UR FIX!

Am I the only one who cheks in everyday?

November 1, 2009 at 9:41 PM  
Anonymous tenkev said...

I check every day too.

November 2, 2009 at 7:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so do I.

November 2, 2009 at 8:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

me too

November 2, 2009 at 8:45 AM  
Anonymous anonymoi said...

don't forget about us.

November 2, 2009 at 8:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

get an rss reader.

November 2, 2009 at 7:14 PM  
Anonymous 孟子打钱 said...

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November 2, 2009 at 9:03 PM  
Blogger nazgulnarsil said...

XD best spam timing ever

November 3, 2009 at 1:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i was your reading your post UR's crash course in sound economics which explains how money has anomalous demand that increases its value. i guess one prediction of this theory would be that the relative price of gold to silver would increase at the end of bimetalism which seems to be correct.

Also as gold has been replaced by fiat currencies I would expect gold to have less anomalous demand so decrease in value relative to other goods. So isn't it odd that gold has increased in value relative to silver since the widespread adoption of fiat currencies.

November 3, 2009 at 2:43 AM  
Blogger newt0311 said...

@Anon,

Gold is still used widely as an inflation hedge. Thus its demand cannot be said to be based solely on its value as a commodity.

November 3, 2009 at 8:07 AM  
Blogger James A. Donald said...

The Google Books link to "Ancient and modern imperialism" is in snippet view.

Was it in snippet view when you generated the link?

Or does a siren go off at google whenever you link to something that records history that deviates from official truth, and they then put the inconvenient book into snippet view?

I have been reading some history books, which keep citing stuff from "The Hikayat Abdullah", a book by Munshi Abdullah depicting the late pre-colonial period
and early colonial period, as he personally experienced it. Indeed, it appears that most of our knowledge of his period and area comes from him - but what he had to say is filtered, adjusted, and "corrected".

"Munshi" meant something like "language teacher", but it is more respectful than that. "Professor of linquistics" comes closer, but it was not primarily languages he
studied, but rather western culture - colonialist culture - showing us his civilization and our own through the eyes of his civilization.

It is apparent to me that those historians relying on this book were deeply disturbed by what he wrote, and were denying it, explaining it away, rationalizing it away, and trying to say that Munshi Abdullah was saying something other than what he said, plus he must be crazy and unreliable to think these thoughts that must be left out for the reader's own good. It was apparent from the brutal way in which these historians treat their primary source that the full original Munshi Abdullah, as translated by Thompson, was just too horrifyingly politically incorrect for impressionable minds to take unfiltered - and was horrifyingly politically incorrect quite early in the twentieth century.

But when I look for Thompson's translation of "The Hikayat Abdullah" I get snippet view, even though it is long out of copyright.

November 3, 2009 at 5:52 PM  
Blogger juantblanco said...

All this dithering around leaves me hungry, more action, less thought:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RN-no1Ka7yU

November 3, 2009 at 6:49 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Some here might be interested in my attempt to slip some thought-crime to the wunderkids at LessWrong. The response was better than expected.

November 3, 2009 at 11:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous Goldbug said...

@Anonymous of November 3, 2009 2:43 AM: Many goldbugs (I'm thinking in particular of this guy) have an almost religious faith in the 16:1 ratio, and insist that (after the inevitable collapse of fiat money) gold and silver will return to that natural relationship. (Of course, they don't seem to be aware that this makes them Bryanists, populists, and the next best thing to commies. But I digress.)

Assuming MM's analysis is correct, there is presumably no fixed ideal ratio of gold to silver, as only one be money at a time.

November 4, 2009 at 4:25 AM  
Anonymous Alat said...

To James A. Macdonald:

The complete text of the books Google puts in "snippet view" may be available in the Internet Archive (http://www.archive.org/). I don't know why MM prefers to link to the Google version, but my experience is that the full text of most of his "snippet view" suggestions is available at the IA.

November 4, 2009 at 7:51 AM  
Anonymous Alat said...

Here's the link to Cromer:

http://www.archive.org/details/ancientmodernimp00cromrich

November 4, 2009 at 7:53 AM  
Anonymous Alat said...

And here's your full Hikayat Abdullah:

http://www.archive.org/details/translationsfrom00abdu

November 4, 2009 at 7:56 AM  
Blogger James A. Donald said...

Alat said...
Here's the link to Cromer:

http://www.archive.org/details/ancientmodernimp00cromrich

And here's your full Hikayat Abdullah:

http://www.archive.org/details/translationsfrom00abdu

Thank you Alat. I will in due course compare Hill's translation of Abdullah with this older translation to see if my suspicions that the past has been rewritten have a basis in fact.

November 4, 2009 at 4:11 PM  
Blogger juantblanco said...

MM is so ridiculously novel that I'm addicted...

...even if I find archdruids more coherent sometimes.

November 4, 2009 at 5:38 PM  

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