Monday, December 24, 2012 88 Comments

Some perspectives from Prudentius

"The past isn't dead; it isn't even past."  And we all know that America is Rome.  Late Rome.

But which late Rome?  The late Republic?  Or the late Empire?  Do we deserve an Augustus?  Or are we just waiting for our Alaric?

Tonight I thought we'd hear from one of the leading experts on the subject.  That's right - let's give a big hand to Aurelius Prudentius Clemens (no relation to Sam).  Courtesy of our capable medium, Sister M. Clement Eagan, C.C.V.I. (Incarnate Word College, San Antonio, TX, 1965), we'll speak with Prudentius live and in blank verse - from the very special year 403.

Prudentius?  Can you hear me?  We know you're very concerned about Symmachus' controversial new proposal to restore the Altar of Victory, which many feel would be a big step backward for the Roman world.  Can you share some perspectives on the role of conflict and migration in Rome's historical leadership of the international community?
I see what moves you in these instances
Of ancient gallantry: you say the world
On land and sea was conquered, you retrace
The thousands of triumphant victories
And heavy spoils borne through the midst of Rome.
Would you, O Roman, have me tell the cause
Of your success and of the high renown
That has impressed your yoke upon the world?

God willed to join the peoples and the realms
Of different languages and hostile cults
Under the same empire and make all men
Accept the bonds of one harmonious rule,
So that religion might unite all hearts;
For there can be no union worthy of Christ
Unless one spirit reigns throughout the earth.
Concord alone knows God, alone it pays
Due homage to the Father: harmony
Among men wins His blessings for the world,
Discord drives Him away, war saddens Him,
Peace pleases Him, good will possesses Him.
In all lands bounded by the western sea
And brightened by Aurora's shining dawn,
Bellona was inflaming all mankind
And arming savage hands for mortal wounds.

To curb this madness, God has everywhere
Taught nations to accept the selfsame laws
And Romans to become -- all by the Rhine
And Danube washed, by Tagus' golden flood,
The great Ebro and Hesperia's horned stream,
The Ganges and warm Nile with seven mouths,
He bound them by a common law and name
And brought them into bonds of brotherhood.
In all the world they live as citizens
Within their native city's sheltering walls,
United round the same ancestral hearth.
Tribes far apart and sundered by the sea
Are brought together through appeals and trials
In common courts, through their commerce and trades
In crowded marts, through intermarriage
With those of other climes; for many bloods
Are intermingled in a single race.
Thanks, Prudentius!  As we know, tolerance has always been a core Roman value.  Or has it?  As I think Symmachus and many other conservatives would argue, Rome became mistress of the world through the valor of her arms and the virtue of her unsullied blood.

Of course, that was before the waters of the Orontes emptied themselves into the Tiber, rejuvenating our Empire with vibrant diversity and cheap chalupas.  But doesn't it seem a little risky to abandon the last symbols of this ancient military tradition?
If I may take the part of Rome, the words
I speak now in her name befit her more.
Since she disdains to mourn her banished gods,
To say the aegis fought for her in war
And that she faints beneath the weight of years,
She hails her princes in a joyful voice:
'I greet you, famous leaders, noble sons
Of an unconquered emperor under whom
I shed old age and saw my silver hair
Turn gold again: time blights all mortal things,
But length of days has given me new life,
And I have learned to have no fear of death.
At last my years are shown due reverence;
I merit the name of mistress of the world,
When now an olive spray my helmet crowns,
And verdant garlands veil my grim sword-belt,
While, armed, I worship God without bloodshed.
Dark Jupiter led me on to crime, alas,
And I profaned my sword, inured to war,
With holy blood of martyrs slain by me.
Nero, inspired by him, his mother killed,
Then drank the Apostles' blood, soiled my fair name
With blood of saints and marked me with his crimes...
Your reign alone has cleansed me of this guilt.
My life is holy now, once impious
Through Jove, I must confess.  What cruelty
Did he not teach, what good did he demand?
Alarmed at seeing praise of Christ take root,
He burned with wrath and stained the world with blood.

Some dare to blame us for disastrous wars,
Since we have spurned the altars of the gods,
And say that Hannibal was driven back
By Mars and Jupiter from the Colline Gate,
That from the Capitol Senones fled
Because the gods fought on the rock above!
Let those who harp upon our past defeats
And ancient woes note that in your regime
I suffer no such ills.  No savage foe
Knocks at my gates, no strange barbarian
Roams through my captured streets and carries off
My youth in bondage far beyond the Alps.
Thanks, Prudentius.  You're confident, then, about the military situation on the Gothic frontier.  We've had some issues there, of course, but Stilicho does seem to have matters well in hand.  And I must say, it's a remarkable testament to Rome's Christian tolerance that for the first time in her long history she's chosen a magister militum who's openly proud of his Vandal heritage.

But what about economics and climate change?  Symmachus claims that we've seen an unprecedented string of droughts and famines since Rome abandoned her old gods.  These are unproven allegations, of course.  Still, how do you react?
Does the dry bed drink up the stream midway,
Or sudden crevice swallow up the flood
And keep the tide from covering furrowed lands
And spreading over Egypt's arid plains,
Softening the clods with penetrating surge,
So that the corn may wave on ample fields
And clothe them thickly with the heavy ears?
See whether African farmers cease to load
Their ships with grain and send their stacks of wheat
To Tiber's mouth to feed the multitude,
Or Leontinian tillers of the soil
Stop launching grain cargoes from Lilybaeum,
Or fleets that bring Sardinian stores to burst
The granaries of Rome no longer sail.
Do Carthaginian yeomen heap their boards
With woodland pears, Sicilians feed on roots,
Sardinians furnish acorns from their oaks
And stony cornels form the food of Rome?

Who now comes hungry to the circus shows?
What mill is silent on Janiculum?
What great provisions every province brings,
What harvests from the earth's rich bosoms flow
Is shown by bread you give your people, Rome,
Which feeds the sloth of such great multitudes.
Wow!  Well, frankly, I may be biased, but I think that's a pretty eloquent testament to Rome's financial strength, and ought to come as a big relief to some of our audience who may have been misled by conspiracy theories that "the EBT cards will run out."  How does a card run out?  It's a card, people, not a bag of gold solidi.

And that's about all the time we have today.  For more context, see Peter Frost.

88 Comments:

Anonymous Feh said...

And now, time for TUJ to spam the comment section with a dozen annoying posts about defunding the Cathedral by eliminating gen ed requirements!

December 24, 2012 at 9:51 AM  
Blogger vanderleun said...

Many thank, Men, for taking a perfectly clear point and presenting it in an absolutely opaque manner. I join with many of my fellow late-stage Romans in saying that was numbingly boring.

PS: Please add a captcha device that is even more indecipherable.

December 24, 2012 at 10:07 AM  
Anonymous Alrenous said...

What's his point, vanderleun? State is clearly for us...?

December 24, 2012 at 11:50 AM  
Blogger TGGP said...

I can't take the theory about Christianity causing collapse that seriously, because of course the eastern/Byzantine Roman empire was thoroughly Christian.

I've been writing a post about the collapse of the Roman empire (and others), but very slowly.

December 24, 2012 at 12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greg Cochran says that Moldbug is a "fool" and "wrong about damn near everything":

https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2012/03/01/325/#comment-2072

"Moldbug is a fool. Just so you know."

https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2012/03/01/325/#comment-2093

From what I’ve seen, he’s tendentious and wrong about damn near everything.

December 24, 2012 at 12:30 PM  
Anonymous Feh said...

Anon, why even bother telling us about Cochran's totally content-free insults?

December 24, 2012 at 12:45 PM  
Anonymous Koanic said...

I buy that liberal, foolish, false Christianity was a contributor to the collapse of Rome, then and now. Well done, Moldbug.

One must follow the link to get the direct argument.

Not that there weren't other, probably more significant factors - ethnic decline and the decadent arc of empire. However false Christian words did grease the decline.

Christians must learn the Jesus had no nation. When you have one, Old Testament rules apply.

December 24, 2012 at 1:01 PM  
Anonymous fsascott said...

I'm not sure about the rôle of Christianity in Rome's collapse. I believe one of the principal causes of its failure was the constraint imposed by an economy based on slave labor. The ancient world had great architects and engineers, but it never saw the development of industry on a modern scale. Mechanical labor-saving devices were not highly valued. Time and again we find promising developments; the ancients liked technical novelties. For example, steam drove the aeolipile, but was never harnessed to do useful work, as it was by Newcomen and Watt. Why?

The ancient world's answer to any problem requiring massive effort was to put platoons of slaves to work on it. Unfortunately, a slave can only do so much work without mechanical assistance, and he requires to be fed. At some point, improvement in the productivity of such an arrangement becomes impossible.

The present division between the liberal arts and the mechanical arts has been passed down to us from antiquity. The liberal arts are so called because they were those judged suitable for a free man to pursue. The others, those which we call mechanical, were implicitly servile, unworthy of the attention of anyone but a slave. The ancient world's contempt for them, and consequent failure to reward them, sealed its fate. The development of technology is what has enabled modernity (so far) to avoid the Malthusian trap into which antiquity fell.

Gibbon's laying blame on Christianity for the fall of Rome is perhaps best understood as due to his inability to foresee the importance of technical development to sustainable economic growth. He lived at the very beginning of the industrial revolution, and from the point of view of his age, the world had made very little technical improvement over the Romans. Indeed, it was seen by his contemporaries as running up against the same constraints that the Romans did: vide Malthus and Ricardo. None foresaw that technological improvements would be the deus ex machina to deliver their world from a comparable fate.

The rise of Christianity is perhaps a symptom, rather than a cause, of the economic hopelessness of the late ancient world. This perhaps was instinctively sensed by the people of the time, and focused their thoughts on apocalypse and the hereafter. In that way they were much like us today. For us, though, the vision of St. John is terribly démodé, especially the implication that people might go to hell for their sexual peccadilloes. Hence the appeal of alternative apocalypses, such as the latest Great Disappointment, having to do with the Mayan calendar, or that hardy perennial, global warming.

December 24, 2012 at 1:44 PM  
OpenID ctd said...

To the casual reader (but then, why are you here?) Prudentius plays the part of the Fool here.

December 24, 2012 at 2:29 PM  
Anonymous Um said...

I can't take the theory about Christianity causing collapse that seriously, because of course the eastern/Byzantine Roman empire was thoroughly Christian.

There is hardly anything the western empire did not share with the eastern. Therefore, if a cause is ruled out because the west and east both had it, then practically every cause is ruled out. What is your answer - geography?

December 24, 2012 at 2:33 PM  
Blogger DR said...

"The ancient world's answer to any problem requiring massive effort was to put platoons of slaves to work on it. Unfortunately, a slave can only do so much work without mechanical assistance, and he requires to be fed. At some point, improvement in the productivity of such an arrangement becomes impossible."

Whether you have slave labor or wage labor the marginal cost of labor is still the same. The only difference is the distribution of the payment. To hire slaves you must still buy or rent them and pay the owner. To hire free workers you pay them wages all of which go to the laborer.

Even if you already own a large slave estate their labor isn't free since you pay the opportunity cost of selling your slaves to someone else. Regardless the marginal cost of labor is the same under both slave and free labor (this can be demonstrated as a simple corollary of the Coase theorem).

Since the marginal cost of labor is the same, the marginal utility of labor saving devices is the same and slave economies should be no less likely to industrialize than free economies given the same level of technological development.

The reason Rome didn't industrialize was simple, a lack of the perquisite technologies available. The dark ages despite common misconceptions were not a period of technological stagnation, and many advances occurred. The technological state of Europe circa 1750 was aeons beyond the height of Rome, in the fields of physics, mathematics, metallurgy, mining, maritime transport, textiles, agriculture, and chemistry.

The principles of the steam engine were known to the ancient Greeks in the same way that the principles of nuclear fusion is known to us today. It's understood but there's no practical way to harness it on any usable scale.

December 24, 2012 at 2:38 PM  
Anonymous Trebics said...

ofiscAs Spengler pointed out with others -most notably in agreement with Gibbon - Rome has lost 90% of its population between the Augustininan age and by the time the Huns appeared at the gates, turned back miraculously by the exhortations of the Pope.

Gibbon attributes the decline to Christianity, but it is not the generally accepted view, most moderns favouring economics to transcendence. Nevertheless, Gibbon is mostly right, although not in the way he himself understood his argument.

Christianity sapped the strength of the pagans, not the christians. Without the Faith, they lost the will to live and reproduce, having no children, they disappeared and the Christians won by default, they were the last men standing. As the Lord himself taught, few are the saved and many are the lost to perdition. So, the ten percent of the population kept the commandments, was fruitful and multiplied, and by the time of Attila, they were the only ones left.

Something similar is happening today. The west's post-christian - or neo-pagan - population is rapidly disappearing, and only the real faithful christians and the muslims who never accepted modernity will be left in the future. The secularists and faithless are doomed to disappear.

Thy will be done!
Benedicamus Domino!

December 24, 2012 at 3:38 PM  
Anonymous Chevalier de Johnstone said...

Prudentius is as much an example of the follies of ascetic vegetarianism as of anything related to Christianity. I wonder if the people claiming evidence that Christianity explains the fall of Rome (or of modern Western civ) are the same people claiming evidence that Christianity caused the "dark ages" and the Crusades. It's a world-dominating, violently militarist religion subscribed to by limp-wristed beta milktoasts!

Read Vegetius, De Re Militari. Note that Vegetius, who was not a soldier or military man, wrote the text to Emperor Valentinian because nobody in Rome was following basic military preparedness, tactics, training, or strategy. The government was unwilling or incapable of investing in the maintenance of a Roman-citizen-populated military force.

How many of Vegetius' prescriptions did Western Rome follow? Was Valentinian III successful in retaining the territorial sovereignty of the Western Empire?

Read the Strategikon, the original manual of combined arms warfare. How many of its prescriptions did the leadership of the Eastern empire follow? (Hint: the authorship is attributed to the Emperor.) Was Maurikios successful in defending Byzantium from the Persians and the Avars?

Belisarius, an orthodox Christian, was of course an abject failure as a general, proving that organized Christian leadership and warfare could not hope to compete with the pagan peoples.

Obviously, it's Christianity which is the cause of the Decline and Fall, and not horribly idiotic government policies bringing about fiscal bankruptcy and military ineptness. Just like today, the decline of the West is due to the Christians, who run everything the Jews don't, and not to government malfeasance, corporate graft, fiscal bankruptcy and the ineptness of military leadership who apparently can't even figure out how to keep a simple sexual affair from becoming a national debacle.

December 24, 2012 at 4:11 PM  
Anonymous Chevalier de Johnstone said...

Thought-inspiring and excellent post as always, Mencius Moldbug.

December 24, 2012 at 4:19 PM  
Blogger Jacob Lyles said...

The history of the Byzantine empire is one of decline, at least after the emperor Justinian in the 500s. By 750, they had lost Northern Africa, Egypt, Palestine, and Syria to the muslims and most of their European territory to various tribes.

December 24, 2012 at 4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since the marginal cost of labor is the same, the marginal utility of labor saving devices is the same and slave economies should be no less likely to industrialize than free economies given the same level of technological development.

Think about the fall of Rome or Southern Confederacy:

Slaves.

In both cases, the elite decided they could do without the labor of the yeoman class and imported slaves to reduce labor costs. In the case of the South, a great many of the Yeomen could and did migrate west where there was uncultivated land while others of an independent bent had to find land by fleeing to the hills—quite literally—to become despised by the elites as “white trash” or “hillbillies”.

The driver of this is “economic rent”.

Think about it like this: If you own land, the larger the economy becomes the more demand there is for your land. So you have an incentive to import more and more people—that is unless you are in the labor market! If you are in the labor market, as are most yeomen, you must balance the increase in value of your land (whose value is dominated by its provision of life to your family anyway—so you can’t really think of selling it) against the prices you can get for your labor.

If the value that falls on assets from increasing economic activity is not taxed away and redistributed to the posterity of the founders, a welfare queen elite will arise that thinks it is entitled to the benefits of civilization, and the rest of the population, who were intended as the beneficiaries of the nation by its founders, are increasingly forced to compete with imported slave labor until they are forced to sell their subsistence properties and then go into debt slavery.

The invading peoples will, of course, complain loudly about being enslaved—but the punishment will be handed out to the populace for the crime of being of the same ethnicity as the elite—while the elite will absolve themselves of guilt by surrounding themselves by foreign sycophants.

December 24, 2012 at 6:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The real problem with imperialism, and the immediate way it attacks the people of the imperial country, is by putting the people of the country into competition with foreign labor—competition that ultimately returns to the homeland.

Guys like Disraeli, the Rothschilds, the slave-trading Marranos, etc. are all about collecting economic rent via lowered wages. They will do anything to avoid taxation of their economic rent and are insightful enough to use the threat of such taxation against the existing elite during their rise to rentiers in a newly invaded territory.

The British Empire was essentially a way to keep wages low despite the fact that the American West (and Canada, Australia and New Zealand) offered higher returns on self-employed labor than the rentiers could compete with—and this was forcing rentiers to turn to technologists to save them via the development and deployment of industrial technologies. The indigenous elite of the UK didn’t object to this so much—despite how much has been made of the conflict between the landed gentry and industrialists—but if there is one thing that the Semitic culture likes less than a dominant Yeoman class, as was emerging in the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, it is handing over real power to technologists. If you don’t need large populations, who are you going to lord it over?

December 24, 2012 at 6:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The history of the Byzantine empire is one of decline, at least after the emperor Justinian in the 500s. By 750, they had lost Northern Africa, Egypt, Palestine, and Syria to the muslims and most of their European territory to various tribes.

Eh bullshit. In any case, if their "decline" lasted four times longer than the United States has existed they must have been doing something right.

December 24, 2012 at 6:51 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

And now, time for TUJ to spam the comment section with a dozen annoying posts about defunding the Cathedral by eliminating gen ed requirements!

What a demanding audience we have tonight. All I did was point out a major system-wide vulnerability of the Cathedral only to be repaid with sarcasm.

What else is better to talk about politics wise? The election? As if Romney winning by a Reagan landslide would have done anything better than maybe reducing the projected increase in the national debt by 1.48%. Spare us. Why the Republican blogs even cared about the race is mystifying. If they want to make a difference they should be reading MM, where all the important counter-revolutionary action is. The only GOPers who are reading the big M is Scott Walker, who has the honor of being one of the few conservatives in the country to actually inflict damage on the Cathedral.

It's better to talk about something useful like pulling the power cord on liberal academia. And don't think removing gened reqs wouldn't work just because it's simple. Most of the funding for the non-STEM and non-business departments comes from herding freshman and sophomores into those courses. Removing the 45-60 credits of the ~120 credits needed to graduate would cut the Cathedral's income (Over 150 billion of student loans are given out by the feds each year) by a third to a half.

There's already a move in some medical* and law schools** to eliminate unnecessary courses. Nothing about canceling the big cash cow, useless undergrad courses, at least not yet.

But just wait to see what the left's reaction would be to a governor who even suggests eliminating the gened, it will rival their response to Scott Walker.

http://www.businessinsider.com/tom-keefe-jr-wants-to-change-law-school-2012-12

https://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/24/education/nyu-and-others-offer-shorter-courses-through-medical-school.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&smid=tw-nytimes&_r=0

December 24, 2012 at 7:39 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

I must second TGGP: Byzantium lasted centuries longer than the Western Empire despite the Eastern Empire being Christian. Furthermore, the Eastern Orthodox Church was still unified with the Roman Church up till the Great Schism and yet they suffered no disadvantage from having a link to the Vatican.

Furthermore the Byzantines put up a much better fight during their border wars with pre-Islamic Persia and they spent centuries trying to fend off Muslim invaders. The reason Byzantium and Persia fell to Islam was because they had weakened themselves in a series of wars against eachother.

If there is a reason for Rome's fall then it must lie with some other factor than Christianity.

And Roman Catholicism hasn't exactly been a slouch militarily defending the West against barbarians. Charles Martel and the Christian victory at Lepanto, among other examples, held the line against the accursed Mohamadens.

December 24, 2012 at 7:49 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

In any case, if their "decline" lasted four times longer than the United States has existed they must have been doing something right.

Empire has proven to be an extremely durable form of government. Democracy has centuries to go before it can prove it will be as robust a system of sovereignty as the great empires of history.

December 24, 2012 at 7:52 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

The British Empire was essentially a way to keep wages low despite the fact that the American West (and Canada, Australia and New Zealand) offered higher returns on self-employed labor than the rentiers could compete with—and this was forcing rentiers to turn to technologists to save them via the development and deployment of industrial technologies. The indigenous elite of the UK didn’t object to this so much—despite how much has been made of the conflict between the landed gentry and industrialists—but if there is one thing that the Semitic culture likes less than a dominant Yeoman class, as was emerging in the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, it is handing over real power to technologists. If you don’t need large populations, who are you going to lord it over?

So the British Empire was a Jewish scheme?

Are you anti-semites stupid this stupid or are most of you ADL interns trying to undermine anti-semitism from within?

Because this is getting absurd. At this point, even Abe Foxman must ask himself whether Majority Rights (and similar outlets) is some sort of prank being run by bored undergrads out of a dorm at Yeshiva University.

Is it?

December 24, 2012 at 8:03 PM  
Anonymous Lawful Neutral said...

UJ, attacking gened requirements is a solid idea, it really is, but there comes a time when one must make the leap from commenter to blogger. Your comments lately have been lengthy and numerous, more fitting for a whale shark than a remora. MM himself spent a larval stage attached to gnxp; now he swims free and rules the vasty deep. Maybe you should give it a try.

December 24, 2012 at 8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So the British Empire was a Jewish scheme?

While not as monstrous as Cromwell’s illegal readmission of the Jews (perhaps the most monstrous act of treason committed by any Briton), Disraeli’s “accomplishment” was to “solve” the rising value of labor, due to the great demand for labor in the New World, in a typically neocon manner: Go imperial and acquire more labor. The countervailing force was typically British: Invent. It is hard to imagine what might have become of Great Britain if, rather than disappating its energies in Africa and Asia, to ultimately import those populations to its native soil, it had focused all of its energies on technical innovation.

The problem is in the very nature of scientific knowledge. Science is defined by reproducibility. This used to be somewhat protected by differing languages, but of course one of the first attributes acquired by a mobile mercantile culture is facility in foreign language acquisition. About the only thing you can do is keep out the merchants and anthropologists and appear to all to be a primitive people wielding stone-age technologies—while, somehow, all who threaten to invade seem to drop like flies or seem just to do something else more “interesting”.

People like Disraeli who run around forcing billions of foreign people to speak your native tongue are perhaps the worst sort of enemy to a creative nation.

December 24, 2012 at 9:40 PM  
Anonymous Feh said...

What a demanding audience we have tonight. All I did was point out a major system-wide vulnerability of the Cathedral only to be repaid with sarcasm.

What else is better to talk about politics wise?


Except, we get it already. Talk to the hand. No need to say any more about it here or at Half Sigma.

It is hard to imagine what might have become of Great Britain if, rather than disappating its energies in Africa and Asia, to ultimately import those populations to its native soil, it had focused all of its energies on technical innovation.

What are you talking about? The heyday of imperialism was also the heyday of Britain as a leading technical innovator.

The time when Britain should have focused on technical innovation was after 1945. They should have given up their pretensions to world power the second Germany was defeated, and focused on becoming a technical innovator and exporter.

There was no necessary connection at all between pre-1914 imperialism and the post-1965 influx of non-white rabble to Britain. Whether or not imperialism was advantageous before 1914, there was no advantage at all to bringing the dregs of empire back to the homeland.

December 25, 2012 at 12:06 AM  
Anonymous Victor said...

Christianity was not responsible for the fall of the empire. The very barbarians who conquered it, with few exceptions, were Christians themselves. What's more, this claim that Christianity encourages pusillanimity and thus weakened Rome before her enemies doesn't pass muster. Does Charles Martel or Godfrey de Bouillon seem pusillanimous to you? Yet both were devout Christians and descendants of the very barbarians who destroyed the empire.

December 25, 2012 at 12:07 AM  
Anonymous gig said...

There is hardly anything the western empire did not share with the eastern. Therefore, if a cause is ruled out because the west and east both had it, then practically every cause is ruled out. What is your answer - geography?

The Western Empire was bigger, less populous, much less wealthier and according to Toynbee had borders that were much harder to defend. Also, according to Toynbee, the Western Emperors came to depend much more on local Lords and barbarians.

And there is geography. The Rhine almost never frooze during the early Empire. But the world got colder around 400 AD, when the Rhine freezed almost every yyear.


So the British Empire was a Jewish scheme?

If the Jews are as smart and powerful as the most rabid anti-semites make them appear, I have two questions:

1 - why didn~t they dominate the world much earlier?

2 - why the hell do you fight them?

December 25, 2012 at 5:19 AM  
Blogger Debra said...

Paul Veynes, who is a French erudite on Roman history, discredits the idea of Christianity being responsible for many things that are offen attributed to it.
Because Roman society was apparently already ripe to be picked by Christian ideas and morals at the time they became dominant.
What makes civilizations collapse ? The combination of a great many factors, probably, but wealth and lack of ambition/drive are pretty good guesses.
There comes a point when too much wealth.. kills wealth...
Complacency sets in. An overwhelming desire for security that induces intellectual inhibition.
Undiscovered Jew, I find that the current modern tendency to cry "Antisemite !!!" is rather ironic considering how Spinoza himself secularized Jewish beliefs, and opened the door for the current secularization of Christian beliefs.
In that context, definitions of who/what is Jewish become moot and beside the point.
Adolf Hitler already illustrated this dilemma/difficulty in the 20th century.
But we have not yet learned this lesson...

December 25, 2012 at 8:49 AM  
Blogger james wilson said...

When we discover ourselves in an era gone by it is well to remember that time is a thing which is greatly compressed in the modern world.

December 25, 2012 at 11:13 AM  
Anonymous Fsascott said...

DR wrote: "The technological state of Europe circa 1750 was aeons beyond the height of Rome, in the fields of physics, mathematics, metallurgy, mining, maritime transport, textiles, agriculture, and chemistry."

Certainly not in all things. As an example, the ancient Roman city of Bath had a sophisticated municipal water and sewer system. After the Roman abandonment of its colony in Britain, the Romanized Britons continued to use it, but did not know how to maintain it, so eventually they reverted to drawing their water from wells and streams, and emptying their slops into the streets, to the occasional discomfiture of passers-by. They were still doing this in 1750, as a famous engraving of Hogarth's illustrates. Bath did not have a municipal water and sewer system to rival that of the Romans until the early twentieth century.

The Romans were great architects and engineers (including the design of plumbing) in good part because the dignity of those professions was recognized in their society. The dignity of most of the other mechanical arts was not. That, I submit, was why ancient Rome never experienced an industrial revolution. It simply did not put the knowledge it had to uses it thought beneath the attention of gentlemen. Its mathematics included (as the recently discovered Archimedes palimpsest shows) a form of calculus, antedating Newton and Leibniz by almost two millennia. Its astronomy was as sophisticated as any before the introduction of the telescope. As for its chemistry, in 1750 the Aristotelian elements were still accepted by some chemists as the basic constituents of matter, and German princelings were still subsidizing chrysopoietic alchemy in the vain hope of replenishing their treasuries. It is true that by 1750, printing had existed for 300 years, and literacy was much more widespread than it had been at any time since classical antiquity. The first stirrings of the industrial revolution had begun, but most people still lived by un-mechanized subsistence farming, as they had done from time immemorial.

To illustrate my point about the effects of slavery on an economy, we have a much more recent example at hand in the American ante-bellum South. Mechanical industry was well developed in the North, manned by wage laborers; there was practically none in the slaveholding South. The South was wealthy, but only because slaves were counted as assets. After secession, the South's lack of industry severely impaired its cause; the Tredegar Iron Works was all it had to supply the basic material for the weapons of war, and its supply of powder was always short despite the heroic efforts of the Rains brothers.

Why did wealthy southerners not invest their fortunes in the development of mechanical industry, as wealthy northerners did? Can the answer be found in purely economic terms? I suggest that it has at least as much to do with attitudes fostered by the culture of a slaveholding society, whether in the old South or ancient Rome.

December 25, 2012 at 11:44 AM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Maybe you should give it a try.

Thanks but I'll stay a commenter for a while longer. Monitoring a blog is a bit more time consuming than just popping in and out of comment sections. In the future I might open one up depending on my time constraints. In the meantime you can engage me in the comments and get the same content I would put on a blog.

Disraeli’s “accomplishment” was to “solve” the rising value of labor, due to the great demand for labor in the New World, in a typically neocon manner: Go imperial and acquire more labor.

The Brits had "gone imperial" long before Disraeli's parents were even born.

Why did wealthy southerners not invest their fortunes in the development of mechanical industry, as wealthy northerners did?

Slavery definitely held back the South's industrialization. Even Southern supporters of slavery admitted as much.

December 25, 2012 at 7:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Brits had "gone imperial" long before Disraeli's parents were even born.

The British Empire was basically a post-Cromwell Jewish extended phenotype expressed in the body of the nation. It was a disease exploiting nationalism’s natural expression as should be manifestly obvious from the consequences now being visited upon the homeland by formerly colonized nations. The treason was not yet overt but was destined to become so.

December 26, 2012 at 12:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the best MM post in many months, in my opinion.

December 26, 2012 at 1:20 AM  
Blogger Debra said...

The "gentleman" word has historically been attached to the aristocracy.
As has the value of land as refuge, and the necessity of transmitting it outside of a commercial/monetary system.
An industrial society is one which is "hors sol".
OUT of the land/soil. And increasingly so.
One which is diametrically opposed to a land based society...
Abstract property is assigned value in an industrial society. Not land.

December 26, 2012 at 2:42 AM  
Anonymous Steiner said...

The Roman West disappeared because the Empire as a whole could no longer contain the increasingly numerous and vigorous Germanic tribes, particularly on the field of battle. The end began at Adrianople (378 AD), and when the Franks breached the Rhine frontier on the last day of 406 AD, and were never repelled, Rome West became a Mediterranean power only, and a rapidly declining one at that.

As earlier commenters have pointed out, the big German tribes like the aforesaid Franks and the Goths were Christian by this time.

If you wish to understand the course of human affairs, begin and end with military affairs. Everything else belongs to the "sociologists".

Love your smack, Moldbug!

December 26, 2012 at 8:04 AM  
Anonymous Toddy Cat said...

Oh, come on, Mencius, not that tired old "Christianity killed the Roman Empire" chestnut again!

The Eastern Roman Empire lasted longer than any human political institution in history; it produced, in Belisarius, perhaps the greatest general of Antiquity; and it's army held the forces of Islam at bay for five-hundred years, when every other system around it collapsed. If that's "decadence", sign me up for some.

December 26, 2012 at 8:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gaius Gracchus
is in charge now?
maybe we are late republic
populare in charge, raping the elite, until they come to their senses.

December 26, 2012 at 4:56 PM  
Anonymous Feh said...

The British Empire was basically a post-Cromwell Jewish extended phenotype expressed in the body of the nation.

Fascinatingly stupid!

It was a disease exploiting nationalism’s natural expression as should be manifestly obvious from the consequences now being visited upon the homeland by formerly colonized nations.

The "consequences" were in no way natural or inevitable; in short, the immigration of colonial peoples was NOT (and is not) a "consequence" of imperialism, but a consequence of post-1945 European democracy.

You should note that many European countries with no history of imperialism whatsoever are keen on non-white immigration. Indeed, even Ireland, which was a victim of imperialism rather than an imperial power, has invited the non-white hordes to immigrate. This should tell you that non-white immigration to Europe is not a natural consequence of imperialism at all.

December 26, 2012 at 5:59 PM  
Anonymous spandrell said...

To those who say that Christianity is cool because Byzantium was awesome: Byzantium really was a history of decline. Yes, Belisarius was brilliant, but shortly after that they lost Italy, the whole Middle East, and after Manzikert in 1054 the Empire was effectively dead.

It's longevity is a historical artifact. Before Constantinople fell the Empire had been dead for centuries, and if you count each dynasty as a different Empire (as we do with China), it's not that awesome any more.

Not to say that I find any merit in blaming Christianity for the decline of Civilisation (in any case Rome was to blame for accepting Christianity), but Byzantium wasn't all that much better than Medieval Europe.

December 26, 2012 at 6:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should note that many European countries with no history of imperialism whatsoever are keen on non-white immigration.

The destruction of Europe subsequent to WW II cannot be considered independent of US hegemony, and US hegemony cannot be considered independent of Jewish influence.

December 26, 2012 at 6:54 PM  
Blogger DR said...

"The destruction of Europe subsequent to WW II cannot be considered independent of US hegemony, and US hegemony cannot be considered independent of Jewish influence."

Oh my God, will you morons ever shut up.

If there is a great Jewish conspiracy then why is it that the among Jewish sub-groups the most culturally and ethnically Jewish, the Orthodox and Hassidic, are the least successful and culturally influential.

If Jews are colluding to subvert gentile culture, they're doing a pretty shitty job of it, since they can't even maintain their own culture among their own people. Furthermore if Jews are conspiring to help each other out at the expense of the gentiles then why is that those who appear outwardly the most Jewish (i.e. the Orthodox) are far less successful than the most assimilated (i.e. the ones who you aren't even sure are Jewish or not).

Look at all the most powerful and rich Jews today, they also happen to be the most culturally protestant. They certainly don't dress traditionally, speak Yiddish, keep kosher or probably even believe in Yahweh.

There's a reason that Presbyterian founded Harvard university is the center of the nation, not Jewish founded Yeshiva university. If Jews are trying to establish culture hegemony, then why have they used their effort to make protestant institutions more prestigious than Jewish institutions.

Everyone who has any power or influence in this country is culturally protestant, regardless of what their nominal heritage is. The traditional Jewish culture has been completely marginalized by the Protestant juggernaut. Every smart and successful person this century assimilated into mainstream Protestant culture.

Steve Ballmer, Ben Bernanke and Harvey Weinstein would all be totally alien to the peasants that occupy the world of Fiddler on the Roof. by comparison they'd be much more comfortable with a mainline Protestant Victorian like Sherlock Holmes.

Ashkenazi Jews are the highest intelligence ethnic group known to man. Their genes are just awesomely adapted to success in a modern industrial economy. Not unlike how a greyhound's genes are awesomely adapted for dog-racing. Yet for some reason they've completely been culturally subverted by the objectively inferior WASP population's culture.

To me this look likes a vast conspiracy, but it ain't coming from the Jewish side...

December 26, 2012 at 7:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Indeed, even Ireland, which was a victim of imperialism rather than an imperial power, has invited the non-white hordes to immigrate.

By "Ireland" do you mean people like Alan Shatter, the only Jewish member of Ireland's parliament and the Minister for Justice and Equality?

"Shatter introduces visa waiver scheme"

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/0512/1224296752885.html

"MINISTER FOR Justice Alan Shatter has introduced a visa waiver scheme where visitors with a valid permit for the UK will not need a separate visa for Ireland.

“This is a major change in public policy,” Mr Shatter said. “It is the first time that Ireland has contemplated such a programme and as such it is proposed that it be pilot tested from July of this year to October 12th.”"

December 26, 2012 at 7:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Jews are trying to establish culture hegemony, then why have they used their effort to make protestant institutions more prestigious than Jewish institutions.

Harvard hasn't been "culturally Protestant" in decades.

Look at all the most powerful and rich Jews today, they also happen to be the most culturally protestant.

You don't know anything about Protestant culture if you think secular Jews are "culturally Protestant". Wearing Brooks Brothers or something doesn't make you "culturally Protestant".

Steve Ballmer, Ben Bernanke and Harvey Weinstein would all be totally alien to the peasants that occupy the world of Fiddler on the Roof. by comparison they'd be much more comfortable with a mainline Protestant Victorian like Sherlock Holmes.

LOL. Uncouth, nebbish Jews aren't comfortable anywhere, let alone among Protestants.

December 26, 2012 at 7:49 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

The destruction of Europe subsequent to WW II cannot be considered independent of US hegemony,

Modern European leftism has birthed during the interwar period, not post WWII. The blueprints for a European Union super-bureaucracy was developed by Jean Monnet and others who dreamed of a "United States of Europe" after the shock of WWI, not WWII.

Alan Shatter has introduced a visa waiver scheme where visitors with a valid permit for the UK will not need a separate visa for Ireland.

This sounds like the waiver applies to tourists. And this article is from 2011. Ireland had already been allowing non-whites to immigrate before then.

You don't know anything about Protestant culture if you think secular Jews are "culturally Protestant".

You don't know anything about WASPs if you think they've been conservative since WWII. At best they've been Rockefeller RINO Republicans like the GHW Bush, ex-Senators Lincoln and John Chaffee and ex-MA governor William Weld. At worst they've been flat out social gospel liberals a la Adlai Stevenson (a Unitarian), David Souter, and John Paul Stevens.

Anyway, I'm done responding to anti-semites who think the British Empire was a vehicle for Jews.

December 26, 2012 at 8:41 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Every smart and successful person this century assimilated into mainstream Protestant culture.

The ethnic white Catholic voters were also Protestantized. To take one prominent case, Joe Kennedy's children were marinated in Harvard and the Ivy League even as they were proudly boasting of their Irish heritage. Italian Americans like Nancy Pelosi and the Cuomo family also love to brag about their Italian roots and fealty to Roman Catholicism even though their politics and theology has little, if anything, in common with true blue Sicilian grandmas.

The WASP culture successfully assimilated the Great Wave immigrants with the WASPs largely intermarrying with them to complete the absorbtion process (Pinch Sulzberger is half-WASP on his mother's side).

December 26, 2012 at 8:53 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

To those who say that Christianity is cool because Byzantium was awesome: Byzantium really was a history of decline. Yes, Belisarius was brilliant, but shortly after that they lost Italy, the whole Middle East, and after Manzikert in 1054 the Empire was effectively dead.

The Byzantines at least put up a strong fight against the barbarian hordes centuries after the Western Empire fell. They may even have survived if the Crusades had gone more favorably for Christianity.

December 26, 2012 at 8:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The blueprints for a European Union super-bureaucracy was developed by Jean Monnet and others who dreamed of a "United States of Europe" after the shock of WWI, not WWII.

Yes and Hitler dreamed of a German dominated Europe. He had blueprints too.

And this article is from 2011.

Shatter's activities have been aggressive and extensive. He is the most powerful and most destructive immigration proponent in Ireland.

"Shatter: Citizenship takes too long"

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/republic-of-ireland/shatter-citizenship-takes-too-long-16015800.html

"Justice Minister Alan Shatter has told Ireland's first citizenship ceremony that many immigrants were forced to wait too long to become full Irish citizens."

""You have waited a long time for this moment - too long in many cases," said Mr Shatter.

"You came to our country and chose to live among us; we welcome you and we hope that you will continue to contribute to our communities, to our neighbourhood and to our society.

"As a people we have been enriched by your presence and in making you citizens of our ancient and proud land we are acknowledging that contribution.""

"The justice minister said he had slashed the huge backlog of citizenship applications since coming to office and expected to have it completely cleared by spring next year. There are still 13,500 applications awaiting decisions for more than six months.

There are also plans to recruit more people under the new government internship programme to help speed up the naturalisation process, he revealed.

Mr Shatter said the historic pilot ceremony in Dublin Castle would be the first of many such events welcoming immigrants into the "national family"."

December 26, 2012 at 9:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is Shatter guilt-tripping the Irish with the Holocaust card for being against immigration in the past:

http://www.independent.ie/national-news/state-did-nothing-for-jews-in-wwii-2997255.html

"In a hard-hitting speech delivered at the opening of a new Holocaust exhibition in Dublin last night, Justice Minister Alan Shatter said the Irish State lost its "moral compass" during and after the war.

"An inconvenient truth is that those who chose to do and say nothing during this unprecedented period in European history included this State.

"In the period following Hitler coming to power and preceding the Second World War, the doors of this state were kept firmly closed to German Jewish families trying to escape from persecution and death," he said.

Records unearthed by the Minister from the Department of Foreign Affairs while he was researching the period many years ago show that the then Irish Ambassador to Germany, Charles Bewley, recommended the Government refuse visa requests from Jews to protect Ireland from "contamination".

"In understanding the Holocaust and maintaining its memory...we should not forget or ignore the failures of this State and this State's responsibilities for such failures," he warned.

Mr Shatter said this has consequences today for how we treat Israel.

"We should not be in denial nor should we ignore that the conduct of our State, at that time, in the eyes of some, delimits Ireland's moral authority and credibility when today we seek to lecture later generations of those whose families survived the Holocaust on the conduct of their affairs in Israel," he added."

December 26, 2012 at 9:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't know anything about WASPs if you think they've been conservative since WWII.

No, you clearly don't know anything about WASPs.

The ethnic white Catholic voters were also Protestantized.

No. Going to Harvard, shopping at Brooks Brothers, and having lots of money does not make someone a Protestant. That's like an ignorant non-Protestant's idea of "cultural Protestantism".

The WASP culture successfully assimilated the Great Wave immigrants with the WASPs largely intermarrying with them to complete the absorbtion process (Pinch Sulzberger is half-WASP on his mother's side).

No, "the WASP culture" is largely dead and has been displaced. Contemporary American "elite" culture is not WASP at all.

December 26, 2012 at 9:13 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Yes and Hitler dreamed of a German dominated Europe.

That's irrelevant, my point was that the basic structural plans for the modern EU was already in existence BEFORE WWII when America would have had the opportunity to impose the EU framework on Europe.

Since the plans preceded America's intervention in WWII then this means Europe's current construct didn't originate with America. In fact the entire mainstream (non-Communist) European left of today closely resembles the interwar left.

For instance, Britain was already crawling with Fabian socialists from 1918-1939. The British left only temporarily allowed the Victorian Imperialist Churchill into the captain's chair to defeat Hitler. Once Hitler was clearly on the road to defeat, the Brits promptly sacked Winston and went about creating the disastrous post-WWII Britain they were already pining for before Germany's invasion of Poland.

Shatter's activities have been aggressive and extensive.

Aggressive compared to who? Every European immigration minister supports reducing backlogged immigrant applications. And where are the other non-Jewish Irish MPs (everyone except Shatter) to protest? What about the Irish PM? It seems Shatter's activities are only exceptional if you have confirmation bias and ignore the actions of gentiles and only monitor and bring up the actions of Jews, which mirror gentiles exactly.

December 26, 2012 at 9:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's irrelevant

It's irrelevant because Europe was destroyed by war and what happened after can't considered independent of US hegemony, and US hegemony cannot be considered independent of Jewish influence.

It seems Shatter's activities are only exceptional if you have confirmation bias and ignore the actions of gentiles and only monitor and bring up the actions of Jews, which mirror gentiles exactly.

He is the most powerful and most destructive immigration proponent in Ireland.

His activities aren't exceptional. It's fairly typical behavior among Jews.

December 26, 2012 at 9:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyway, I'm done responding to anti-semites who think the British Empire was a vehicle for Jews.

It was basically a Jewish extended phenotype. Read Richard Dawkins' The Extended Phenotype. I'm not sure what you mean by "vehicle".

And I don't know what "anti-semites" have to do with this. If you say that a dam is an extended phenotype of a beaver, does that make you "anti-beaver"?

December 26, 2012 at 9:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Their genes are just awesomely adapted to success in a modern industrial economy.

Their genes seem adapted to rent-seeking and trade-route bottlenecks, not to modern industrial economies per se. Rent-seeking and trade-route bottlenecks are independent of modern industrial economies and can exist in both modern industrial and non-modern industrial economies. They didn't create the modern industrial economy and their track record suggests they aren't very well adapted to it.

December 26, 2012 at 9:54 PM  
Blogger 罗臻 said...

Christians of late Rome were neocons long before AIPAC!

December 27, 2012 at 11:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does MM know his comment section has turned into a cesspool of Jew-hating stupidity? Or does he just not care?

December 27, 2012 at 12:39 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Or does he just not care?

He knows but doesn't care.

Byzantium wasn't all that much better than Medieval Europe.

Yes, but they were at Medieval European levels of development during the Dark Ages. If the Crusades had gone more favorably for the Christians, Byzantium during the Medieval Ages would have likely been at a superior level of development vis a vis to Europe.

December 27, 2012 at 8:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL to commenters who forget that this post is not literally about Rome.

December 28, 2012 at 9:26 PM  
Blogger Zimri said...

Christians of late Rome were neocons long before AIPAC!

Shh. If that gets out, reactionaries might learn to distinguish between neocons (like Prudentius and the Guelphs and various other exporters-of-revolution) and Zionists.

December 29, 2012 at 8:19 AM  
Blogger TGGP said...

My post on Joseph Tainter's "The Collapse of Complex Societies" is here.

December 29, 2012 at 9:27 PM  
OpenID mukatsuku said...

OK I'm new here. Regarding gen ed requirements, I agree with the criticism TUJ is receiving.

Here are the most popular majors at Harvard:
http://www.boston.com/news/education/higher/articles/2009/03/30/harvard_pop/

Only 2 of them are science majors. The rest are undoubtedly shot through with Cathedral thinking, providing ample employment opportunities for Cathedral professor employment, forever.

Anyway, gen ed requirements have already evolved into "take whatever you like but fill a humanities bucket, a social science bucket, etc." This blunts all criticism because it offers plenty of flexibility for both professors and students, all within the Cathedral framework.

An analogy from a Moldbug insight, where he states that an NYT company bankruptcy would change nothing, as the great foundations would step in to fund the NYT. So defeating the Department of Information (through failure of their corporate form) is a laughable notion.

By analogy, defunding the professoriate is laughable. Even if they didn't already have massive $$ and power over our future iron triangle personnel, it wouldn't matter. They are in the driver's seat.

December 30, 2012 at 1:51 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

My post on Joseph Tainter's "The Collapse of Complex Societies" is here.

I'll have to check out that book. Quality points. You even managed to sneak in a quote from Spinal Tap in the process.

December 30, 2012 at 10:25 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

mukatsuku,

Only 2 of them are science majors. The rest are undoubtedly shot through with Cathedral thinking, providing ample employment opportunities for Cathedral professor employment, forever.

Anyway, gen ed requirements have already evolved into "take whatever you like but fill a humanities bucket, a social science bucket, etc."


Eliminating gened requirements just for state schools would be devastating for most non-STEM and non-business professors because only a minority of undergrads are liberal arts majors. Most of the per-credit hour tuition the liberal arts depts receive comes from the basic classes freshmen and sophomore must sit through, not junior and senior level lib arts majors because there simply aren't enough of them.

Furthermore, since there is tiering of tuition at many colleges whereby liberal arts students pay less tuition than more vocationally oriented students, the universities would lose more money per student if, say, the engineering students got to skip English 101 than if English majors skipped English 101 because the engineering students are often paying more in tuition per class than English majors.

January 1, 2013 at 7:39 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

mukatsuku, see here:

http://www.popecenter.org/commentaries/article.html?id=2763

Restricting general education courses to a select few will be extremely unpopular with some faculty. There are large numbers of teaching jobs at stake: many departments that now teach popular general education courses could lose half or more of their students. If that were to occur, financial sanity dictates that faculty jobs in those programs be cut. (Of course, new jobs will be created at the same time for specialists in the essential subjects.)

January 1, 2013 at 7:40 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Continued,

your other point about Harvard being largely invulnerable to shorter degree tracks because most of Harvard's undergrads are taking soft majors is a good point.

My response is that while Harvard and the other top 10 or so schools have the endowment to keep funding the most leftwing nonsense departments, they would still lose influence if most of the other liberal arts departments across America were shuttered because the progressive elite requires volume of output as well as the prestige of the institution to keep the propaganda machine rolling. In other words, to lose most of the liberal arts departments would be damaging to the political influence of the remaining elite schools because they wouldn't be able to make up for the absolute amount of leftist "research" output that is put out by the lesser schools.

Furthermore, I will go so far as to assert that even shutting down Harvard itself would not significantly harm the left because the progressives are a decentralized bureaucratic dictatorship with no presiding leftist dictator, a la the old Communist regimes. Closing down Harvard and arresting all of her faculty would simply result in either Princeton or Yale assuming Harvard's position.

The way to defeat the Cathedral is through causing a system wide failure of their decentralized political machine, not by focusing on a single Cathedral agency.

Let me put it to you another way; you brought up the New York Times. Imagine if all of the newspapers in the country were shut down with the exception of the Times. How influential would the Times be if it were the only newspaper left in America? The Times' influence would be miniscule under this scenario because the Times wouldn't be able to get its message out without the lower tier newspapers churning out the same propaganda as the Times. Closing down the smaller newspapers (which is coming soon thanks to the internet and computer tablets wiping out newspaper's revenue streams) would make the Times a much less effective outlet because they couldn't make up for the volume of propaganda being churned out by the lower level publications.

The same holds true of Harvard: Shutting down the supporting liberal arts departments at the lesser schools would also harm Harvard's political machine because of a lack of output.

January 1, 2013 at 7:59 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

The general education studies in the Ivy Leagues have been infested with liberal progressives since the beginning of the 20th century.

The reason leftist progressives were not in the seat of power in Guilded Age America as they are today is not because they didn't have overly represented (and arguably a majority) of social science professors at Harvard. Rather, the reason the progressives of the early 20th century were not strong enough to dislodge the then conservative Yankee business establishment was because they didn't have the supporting Cathedral infrastructure to transmit their views until after FDR built the New Deal apparatus for them.

Defund the smaller tentacles of the Cathedral and American governance will naturally be restored to its rightful owners as envisioned by the founders and by Lincoln; corporate oligarchs.

Gentleman, I introduce you all to the early New Dealers and their disastrous social Gospel:

Abolish Social Studies
Born a century ago, the pseudo-discipline has outlived its uselessness.

http://city-journal.org/2012/22_4_social-studies.html

Why promote the socialization of children at the expense of their individual development? A product of the Progressive era, social studies ripened in the faith that regimes guided by collectivist social policies could dispense with the competitive striving of individuals and create, as educator George S. Counts wrote, “the most majestic civilization ever fashioned by any people.” Social studies was to mold the properly socialized citizens of this grand future. The dream of a world regenerated through social planning faded long ago, but social studies persists, depriving children of a cultural rite of passage that awakened what Coleridge called “the principle and method of self-development” in the young.

---

In 1912, the National Education Association, today the largest labor union in the United States, formed a Committee on the Social Studies. In its 1916 report, The Social Studies in Secondary Education, the committee opined that if social studies (defined as studies that relate to “man as a member of a social group”) took a place in American high schools, students would acquire “the social spirit,” and “the youth of the land” would be “steadied by an unwavering faith in humanity.” This was an allusion to the “religion of humanity” preached by the French social thinker Auguste Comte, who believed that a scientifically trained ruling class could build a better world by curtailing individual freedom in the name of the group. In Comtian fashion, the committee rejected the idea that education’s primary object was the cultivation of the individual intellect. “Individual interests and needs,” education scholar Ronald W. Evans writes in his book The Social Studies Wars, were for the committee “secondary to the needs of society as a whole.”

The Young Turks of the social studies movement, known as “Reconstructionists” because of their desire to remake the social order, went further. In the 1920s, Reconstructionists like Counts and Harold Ordway Rugg argued that high schools should be incubators of the social regimes of the future. Teachers would instruct students to “discard dispositions and maxims” derived from America’s “individualistic” ethos, wrote Counts. A professor in Columbia’s Teachers College and president of the American Federation of Teachers, Counts was for a time enamored of Joseph Stalin. After visiting the Soviet Union in 1929, he published A Ford Crosses Soviet Russia, a panegyric on the Bolsheviks’ “new society.” Counts believed that in the future, “all important forms of capital” would “have to be collectively owned,” and in his 1932 essay “Dare the Schools Build a New Social Order?,” he argued that teachers should enlist students in the work of “social regeneration.”

January 1, 2013 at 8:12 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

More from our progressive founders:

Like Counts, Rugg, a Teachers College professor and cofounder of the National Council for the Social Studies, believed that the American economy was flawed because it was “utterly undesigned and uncontrolled.” In his 1933 book The Great Technology, he called for the “social reconstruction” and “scientific design” of the economy, arguing that it was “now axiomatic that the production and distribution of goods can no longer be left to the vagaries of chance—specifically to the unbridled competitions of self-aggrandizing human nature.” There “must be central control and supervision of the entire [economic] plant” by “trained and experienced technical personnel.” At the same time, he argued, the new social order must “socialize the vast proportion” of wealth and outlaw the activities of “middlemen” who didn’t contribute to the “production of true value.”

Rugg proposed “new materials of instruction” that “shall illustrate fearlessly and dramatically the inevitable consequence of the lack of planning and of central control over the production and distribution of physical things. . . . We shall disseminate a new conception of government—one that will embrace all of the collective activities of men; one that will postulate the need for scientific control and operation of economic activities in the interest of all people; and one that will successfully adjust the psychological problems among men.”

Rugg himself set to work composing the “new materials of instruction.” In An Introduction to Problems of American Culture, his 1931 social studies textbook for junior high school students, Rugg deplored the “lack of planning in American life”:

Repeatedly throughout this book we have noted the unplanned character of our civilization. In every branch of agriculture, industry, and business this lack of planning reveals itself. For instance, manufacturers in the United States produce billions’ of dollars worth of goods without scientific planning. Each one produces as much as he thinks he can sell, and then each one tries to sell more than his competitors. . . . As a result, hundreds of thousands of owners of land, mines, railroads, and other means of transportation and communication, stores, and businesses of one kind or another, compete with one another without any regard for the total needs of all the people. . . . This lack of national planning has indeed brought about an enormous waste in every outstanding branch of industry. . . . Hence the whole must be planned.

Rugg pointed to Soviet Russia as an example of the comprehensive control that America needed, and he praised Stalin’s first Five-Year Plan, which resulted in millions of deaths from famine and forced labor. The “amount of coal to be mined each year in the various regions of Russia,” Rugg told the junior high schoolers reading his textbook,

is to be planned. So is the amount of oil to be drilled, the amount of wheat, corn, oats, and other farm products to be raised. The number and size of new factories, power stations, railroads, telegraph and telephone lines, and radio stations to be constructed are planned. So are the number and kind of schools, colleges, social centers, and public buildings to be erected. In fact, every aspect of the economic, social, and political life of a country of 140,000,000 people is being carefully planned! . . . The basis of a secure and comfortable living for the American people lies in a carefully planned economic life.

During the 1930s, tens of thousands of American students used Rugg’s social studies textbooks.

January 1, 2013 at 8:15 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Toward the end of the decade, school districts began to drop Rugg’s textbooks because of their socialist bias. In 1942, Columbia historian Allan Nevins further undermined social studies’ premises when he argued in The New York Times Magazine that American high schools were failing to give students a “thorough, accurate, and intelligent knowledge of our national past—in so many ways the brightest national record in all world history.” Nevins’s was the first of many critiques that would counteract the collectivist bias of social studies in American high schools, where “old-fashioned” history classes have long been the cornerstone of the social studies curriculum.

Yet possibly because school boards, so vigilant in their superintendence of the high school, were not sure what should be done with younger children, social studies gained a foothold in the primary school such as it never obtained in the secondary school. The chief architect of elementary school social studies was Paul Hanna, who entered Teachers College in 1924 and fell under the spell of Counts and Rugg. “We cannot expect economic security so long as the [economic] machine is conceived as an instrument for the production of profits for private capital rather than as a tool functioning to release mankind from the drudgery of work,” Hanna wrote in 1933.

Hanna was no less determined than Rugg to reform the country through education. “Pupils must be indoctrinated with a determination to make the machine work for society,” he wrote. His methods, however, were subtler than Rugg’s. Unlike Rugg’s textbooks, Hanna’s did not explicitly endorse collectivist ideals. The Hanna books contain no paeans to central planning or a command economy. On the contrary, the illustrations have the naive innocence of the watercolors in Scott Foresman’s Dick and Jane readers. The books depict an idyllic but familiar America, rich in material goods and comfortably middle-class; the fathers and grandfathers wear suits and ties and white handkerchiefs in their breast pockets.

January 1, 2013 at 8:17 PM  
Blogger Avery said...

People in this thread are saying "Jew" when they mean "middleman race", of which Jews are only one, and by no means the largest (that title goes to the Chinese). For more information please consult Black Rednecks and White Liberals by Thomas Sowell.

January 3, 2013 at 4:34 PM  
Anonymous Federico said...

Fans of Austrian economics and deductive thinking may be interested in my essay, Which economists are anti-empirical?

It excerpts heavily from Hazlitt's The Failure of the "New Economics", which Moldbug has recommended./a

January 4, 2013 at 12:13 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Avery, Sowell's essays was one of the first things I put up on my blog.

Federico, there are a number of problems with your posts. Keynes made a statement that Bayesians might like to quote, but my understanding is that his views (in a Treatise on Probability) are more akin to Knight/Shackle/Lachmann. There's a commenter at econ blogs by the name of Blue Aurora who will be happy to tell you about Dr. Michael Emmet Brady's book on Keynes & probability (Brady seems to argue he's the true conservative against the libertarians). Most economists didn't think socialism would work very well, and it's hardly an established fact that the problem was "calculation" (Eric Crampton argues that actually improves communist countries) rather than incentives. I didn't read your entire post, but I noticed Hazlitt's bit on whether cheap money reduces unemployment. I wondered how he might explain away that graph showing how countries started recovering from the GD once they went off the gold standard (or Sumner's cool graph of industrial production vs inverse detrended real wages). Instead he uses as his measurement LOW INTEREST RATES whereas the ur-monetarist Milton Friedman and neo/market monetarist Scott Sumner that low rates are more often a sign of tight money (watch for the reaction to central bank announcements).

January 5, 2013 at 12:07 AM  
Blogger TGGP said...

I forgot to link Sowell's essay, it's here.

January 5, 2013 at 12:09 AM  
Blogger poulpinnette said...

Undiscovered Jew, I am still amazed that you have not picked up on the fact that Galbraith, during the Kennedy years was already saying that the U.S. military industrial state was a planned economy.
The technological/industrial state can only work with a planned economy, otherwise it falls apart.
Maybe that is what is happening under our eyes ?
Maybe it has even been happening for a while ?
I like that idea that when you look at a star through a telescope, you are seeing what it was millions/billions of years ago.
That is an excellent metaphor for the limits of what you can see.. with your mind, too.
On socialism... I had a revelation last night.
We may be living in a very socialist society, but the number of people actually sleeping together (no, not sex) in the same bed, in the same room, in the same house, keeps dropping, as our socialist society creates more and more... "independant" "autonomous" and.. ISOLATED individuals.
Probably Tocqueville had something to say about that.
Really, New Year's resolution number 1 should be to read Tocqueville. I'll keep you posted on the results.. ;-)

January 5, 2013 at 12:51 AM  
Anonymous Federico said...

TGGP, thanks for the thoughtful comments.

Skeptics of the Austrian business cycle theory must be able to raise statistics that shed doubt upon it. In keeping with the thesis of my post, I find deductive arguments somewhat more persuasive*, although I think the repeatedly mediocre performance of Keynesian remedies, including since Hazlitt wrote his book, are quite strong "direct" evidence against them.

The point of all those Hazlitt quotes is about methodology. Whatever one thinks of Hazlitt's statistics, he is not the one resorting to a priori claims and general anti-epistemology. The LessWrong critique, although worthwhile, is flawed because of the bad inference:

"Mises makes silly claims about epistemology, therefore Austrian economists are 'irrational' and use flawed reasoning."

Swimmy himself acclaims the Austrian critique of socialism**; if this be unsatisfactory, Hayek in particular has other successes to his name. It is foolish to criticise Mises's epistemology without addressing the problem that it obviously isn't an accurate description of how Mises and the rest reason about economics.

He also implies that Austrians eschew use of statistics, which is demonstrably untrue.

* In brief: why does the free market work in every instance, apart from the financial system? Why is it a bad idea for the government to "set" prices, apart from the interest rate? Isn't it extremely suspicious that this mysterious behaviour, and some very fishy arguments from Keynes, revolve around an opportunity for the government to print money?

** You have mentioned before that large corporations should also suffer from calculation/information problems. Is this not indeed the case, hence the perverse phenomena described by P-literature?

January 5, 2013 at 5:46 AM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Federico, I find deductive arguments much less persuasive. Human reasoning just isn't very good (you may have heard the theory it evolved for argumentation), lots of links in a logical argument decrease the probability that they are all correct, and verbal arguments tend to leave lots of assumptions implicit or vague.

Regarding the mediocre performance of Keynesian remedies, are you including FDR and other leaders going off the gold standard? There were some quite stunning effects, and though FDR still managed to screw things up again later (N.R.A cartelizing industries, Social Security tax, raising reserve requirements which is admittedly more the fault of the Fed), those aren't typically viewed as particularly "Keynesian" steps. Cartelizing labor might count if you buy Eggertsson's "paradox of toil", which I certainly don't considering Sumner's graph I mentioned earlier.

It isn't just Mises, others (particularly followers of Rothbard who populate the internet and revere Mises) also demean empiricism in economics. Mencius has taken that tack, but he's not entirely consistent and lately has stumped for the Austrians' enemies in the German Historical School.

You say the free market works in every instance, except the financial sector. Mises said the primary indicator he would use of whether a country was free was its stock market! I don't know if I'd say the financial market is more screwed up than health care or education. All of these are afflicted by government, but then you'd have to lay out a criteria as to what counts as "free market" and could go down the left-libertarian anti-capitalist rabbit hole of saying everything we know is unrepresentative of how the libertopia of a "freed market" would look.

Stop thinking in terms of interest rates. That's the predominant language among New Keynesians, but it leads people seriously astray. Think about money, and the role it serves (Nick Rowe is particularly helpful on this). I also oppose central banks and government getting involved generally, but the Austrians have not acquitted themselves well on this. Bob Murphy and Peter Schiff both lost money predicting big declines in the dollar's value ("Mish" Shedlock was taking the opposite tack, but he didn't seem very representative of Austrians). Nominal wage stickiness is a fact that has to be recognized. Krugman posted a good chart with a huge discontinuity at zero for shifts in wages/salary.

I've heard of Putt's Law in the form of the Dilbert Principle. Ironically enough, just a few days ago at my new job a co-worker was complaining that the manager was too technical! A previous manager of mine was not technical (I think he had already stopped programming before I ever started), but he was enough of an ass-kicker I figured he was what the transitioning start-up of a company needed (though the meetings were somewhat excessive). If you're referring to my own discussion of dysfunction in corporations, I've referenced Karl Smith who is making a point about agency problems. Shareholders don't play a very active role in managing a corporation, so the management can serve its own interests by continuing forward with even wasteful attempts to regain company standing rather dissolving the corporationg and distributing the proceeds to shareholders.

There are many "information problems", but I don't think they all qualify as "calculation problems" in Mises' sense. Corporations generally don't set prices internally, but that's not usually much of a problem. Coase and Oliver Williamson are the authorities on the firm vs market distinction.

January 5, 2013 at 11:16 PM  
Anonymous Federico said...

TGGP, from the comments to the blog post you linked:

"Mathematical models make assumptions explicit and explore boundaries/different conditions."

Hazlitt's critique of Keynes's math is that it obscures assumptions. This is because humans tend to be better at parsing language than mathematics.

Keynes says:

"Let Z be the aggregate supply price of the output from employing N men, the relationship between Z and N being written Z = ø(N), which can be called the Aggregate Supply Function. Similarly, let D be the proceeds which entrepreneurs expect to receive from the employment of N men, the relationship between D and N being D = f(N), which can be called the Aggregate Demand Function."

This means in English:

“The total cost of producing a given output will vary precisely and predictably with the number of men employed, and the proceeds that entrepreneurs expect to receive from the sale of that output will also vary precisely and predictably with the number of men employed.”

This is nonsense. But I think the fallacy is easier to spot when written in English.

I agree that lots of links in a deductive argument decrease the probability of an accurate conclusion; Neocameralism is a good example of this, especially since many of the links are far from near-certainty.

Hazlitt has this to say about inflation as a remedy for sticky wages:

In 1936, reviewing the General Theory, which had appeared in the same year, Professor Jacob Viner ventured a prediction:

Keynes's reasoning points obviously to the superiority of inflationary remedies for unemployment over money-wage reductions. In a world organized in accordance with Keynes's specifications there would be a constant race between the printing press and the business agents of the trade unions, with the problem of unemployment largely solved if the printing press could maintain a constant lead and if only volume of employment, irrespective of quality, is considered important.

This characterization has proved, in part, remarkably prophetic. There may be some doubt whether the problem of unemployment has been "largely solved." But we have certainly been trying to solve it since 1936 in accordance with Keynes's specifications, and we have certainly embarked upon a race between the printing press and the trade unions.

And our failure to solve the problem of unemployment even by this method is partly the result of a development Professor Viner could hardly have been expected to foresee: the spread of "escalator" clauses in labor contracts which provide not only for automatic increases with every increase in the cost of living, but for so-called "productivity" increases which come into effect whether marginal labor productivity actually increases or not.

The truth is that the only real cure for unemployment is precisely the one that Keynes's whole "general theory" was designed to reject: the adjustment of wage-rates to the marginal labor productivity or "equilibrium" level. [...]

All that government policy needs to do, besides keeping the currency sound, is to enforce the laws against violence and intimidation, and to repeal the laws which confer exclusive legal privileges and immunities on union leaders, or abridge the freedom of employers and individual workers to bargain.

...

Wages may also be sticky due to personal irrationality, but (perhaps like you) I don't think the trade-off weighs in favour of central banking and inflation.

January 6, 2013 at 10:23 AM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Undiscovered Jew, I am still amazed that you have not picked up on the fact that Galbraith, during the Kennedy years was already saying that the U.S. military industrial state was a planned economy.

The US was certainly a planned economy during Kennedy's regency but I vigorously oppose the contention the military industrial complex was running the show.

If my understanding of Mencian Politiphysik is sound, and I believe it is, the term "Military Industrial Complex" implies US governmental sovereignty could be traced to a covert military junta.

If only!

I'm afraid there is no military junta running things behind the scenes. The US is being run by a dictatorial bureaucracy - which is also known as the New Deal and all of its mutations such as the Great Society - of completely insane bureaucrats in academia, the media, public and private sector unions, think tanks, and non-profit agencies who do not have to answer to any elected politician.

Bureaucratic dictatorship must never be confused with Communism. Under the Communist system, the state organs such as Pravda and the KGB all responded to a traceable hierarchical system, with the Soviet Premier being the root command. If any Soviet Civil Service agent displeased Stalin, the agent would be removed, often in spectacular fashion.

Under Bureaucratic dictatorship, the Civil Service cannot be punished for their failures by the politicians.

I'm increasingly confident bureacratic dictatorship/The modern Western Civil Service is worse than Communism because the Western bureaucrats focus on countless micropolicies to justify their agencies existence whereas the Communist regimes, being traceable in nature, focused their attention on a handful of major issues such as spreading revolution, building nukes, and executing political opponents.

And, of course, the Civil Service of a conservative administration is by definition traceable to the sovereing; under Louis XIV the French civil service obeyed the will of the Sun King.

January 6, 2013 at 12:48 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

I don't have a very high opinion of Keynes' book, people are still arguing over "what Keynes really meant" because it wasn't always clear. There is only one graph in the book, and it was only included to show a model he rejected! The economics that became popular was John Hicks' more explicit interpretation of Keynes, which Keynes endorsed even though Post Keynesians will tell you it was a gross distortion (and that Hicks later rejected it).

Keynesians blamed stagflation on labor unions (some even said the only possible remedy would involve clamping down on them), but we ended managing merely with changes to monetary policy (first "breaking the back" of inflation, but then allowing 4% inflation in the Reagan recovery). Today labor unions represent a very small fraction of the work-force, concentrated in the public sector. Licensing restrictions are a much bigger issue nowadays.

As for the failure of monetary stimulation, Australia has maintained a 4% inflation rate for decades. That's higher than most economists would say is desirable, but they've also been recession free over that time period.

In a different world, like that of the 1920-1921 recession, wages would be much more flexible. But they were still inflexible enough that deflation caused a rather severe recession. I don't know how one plans to return to that kind of inflexibility, I'm enough of a small-c conservative to think it's unlikely to happen in anything like a short timescale. In the meantime I would prefer the institution we stupidly granted a monopoly on currency not to fall down on the job by disrupting the expectations the rest of the economy depends on. I am against central banking because I don't think we can rely on it to do that, it was too loose when it was first created around WW1, too tight with the GD, too loose again in the stagflationary era and too tight again in the recent great recession. A free market would have supply respond to demand, and monetary "velocity" is really just the inverse of demand.

TUJ, you often have interesting ideas but saying the modern west is worse than communism sounds like you're taking the piss. Wake me up when westerners start fleeing to North Korea (or even slowly reforming Cuba) rather than the other way around. And calling Kennedy-era U.S centrally planned sounds like quite a stretch as well.

January 6, 2013 at 7:15 PM  
Anonymous Chevalier de Johnstone said...

Huh. I kinda figured TUJ was Mencius alter ego. Anyways, I would certainly check out a TUJ blog, but I don't think there's any reason to pressure someone into blogging rather than commenting. The reactosphere generally has intelligent comments compared with mainstream blogs, and atomizing the conversation into thousands more websites with less and less readership really isn't the answer to building an online reactionary community. Also, starting a blog entails some responsibility to post somewhat regularly, else the blog will likely fail to gain a readership. Spring-boarding off someone else's blog post as a commenter adds to the conversation just fine.

I have a response to the "repeal gened requirements" idea, but will put that in another comment.

January 6, 2013 at 8:33 PM  
Anonymous Chevalier de Johnstone said...

General Education Requirements:

I haven't seen any arguments for getting rid of them.

I've seen comments suggesting they should be done away with, that is, but no actual argument.

It seems to me all of the arguments expressed on this track actually lead to the conclusion that general education requirements ought to be significantly beefed up - and reformed.

Does anyone think Western culture was not on firmer foundation when all university students were required to be able to read the Iliad in Greek and Cicero in Latin? (Cicero is quite a good prophylactic to Caesarism, by the way.)

How about music theory embracing appreciation of Bach, Mozart, Brahms, Handel? Art history covering objects which actually look like art?

Japanese students read Shakespeare.

And so on.

The problem with general education requirements is that we don't have any. We have crap classes masquerading as general education. Real "general education", what used to be known and respected as "liberal arts", consists of those things every educated person was expected to know in order to function in a civilized society. This included Western literature, music, art, science, philosophy, math, and sport. "Transgender Studies of the Diaspora in 20th Century Swahili Spoken-Word Poetry" this ain't. Victor Hanson writes frequently regarding the increasing lack of interest in classical literature among American university students (and the appreciation up-and-coming immigrants have for the same.)

We've already done away with general education requirements, and substituted stale piss in its place. Rather than abandoning the battle and doing away with "general education" entirely, we ought to be pushing to reinstate real requirements, e.g., no, your Lesbian Asian-American Authors class is not sufficient to fulfill a requirement that you read and understand Western literature.

The West - America - does not need more scientists and engineers. What the West needs is a reason to go out and discover new truths and a reason to build things.

To quote Robert Anson Heinlein, "Specialization is for insects."

January 6, 2013 at 8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People in this thread are saying "Jew" when they mean "middleman race", of which Jews are only one, and by no means the largest (that title goes to the Chinese).

Presumably you're referring to the "overseas Chinese". The vast majority of Chinese aren't "overseas Chinese" or middlemen. Most Chinese have been landed and relatively isolationist throughout their history. And the "overseas Chinese" and their history are quite different from the diaspora Jews and their history. In many cases they were more like settlers than middlemen. In Thailand, the royal house is Chinese descended and much of the population is Chinese or mixed Chinese descended, even if they're identified as "Thai" ethnicity.

It's misleading to group the Jewish diaspora as part of a generic "middleman race" pattern. The Jewish diaspora is unique in its extent and scope. It comprised an entire group, not just a segment of it. An entire group was cut off from its land. And it consisted of repeated migrations.

January 6, 2013 at 11:23 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscoved Jew said...

TUJ, you often have interesting ideas but saying the modern west is worse than communism sounds like you're taking the piss. Wake me up when westerners start fleeing to North Korea

TGGP, you must learn to govern your passions. They will be your undoing.

Admittedly, living under USG in 2013 is not as bad as Soviet Russia 1955. But only because the Cathedral doesn't have the full dictatorial functionality enjoyed by the now extinct old hard left regimes, powers such as the ability to execute ideological enemies at will.

The current bureaucratic dictatorship does not have full Stalinist powers because it seizes absolute power one regulation at a time.

If you counter that the Cathedral's domestic death toll is not as high as Stalin's Russia that's only because the Cathedral has not yet gained a sufficient level of political functionality to start killing its political opponents for any reason as uncle Joe enjoyed and exercised quite, er, liberally.

But certainly the Cathedral would like to have the power to kill its political enemies. And if it gains enough unaccountable powers it would eventually acquire the ability to kill it WILL start killing. There was an Australian professor who just wrote anyone who denies global warming should be executed. Suppose the EPA, or the Eurozone or Australian equivalent of our EPA, suddenly gained the functionality kill anyone who denies global warming. How quickly do you think it would take for the dissident death toll to hit the 1 million corpse mark? Not long I'd expect.

The Soviet revolutionaries were much more straight forward; they gained 100% of the Russian state immediately by overthrowing Tsar. There was no slow movement towards seizing the reigns; the reigns were seized and from then on there was no dispute over where the Soviet chain of command led nor was there doubt the Soviet Civil Service existed to serve and obey the Soviet State.

The Cathedral does not have 100% of sovereign power. But we can see clearly where its blueprints will have it evolve as more power gets absorbed by it. The Cathedral's endgame is to become the European Union, not Soviet Russia*, however many Cathedral apparatchiks may propagandize for the late USSR.

In the EU system, the elected leaders of Europe have handed over the levers of statecraft to their unaccountable and insane cartel of philosopher kings just we are handing power over to our unaccountable and insane philosopher kings.

The unelected European Commission has what the Cathedral dreams of having: nearly dictatorial regulatory powers where the legislative organs can override the laws of elected national legislators, prime ministers and local courts.

Despite the best efforts of the American left, there is still nothing in America that can quite be compared to the European Commission. But you had better pay attention to the EU because that's where the American left wants to drag us.

January 8, 2013 at 9:36 AM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

continued,

The best way to think of the EC is to imagine an America where the EPA, Department of Education, HUD, EEOC, Harvard and her partners in crime in academia, the SEIU, Teachers Unions, and all the rest sit on one supreme regulatory board. And on this board they have the power to override the SCOTUS, Congress, state governments and POTUS. Imagine what such a board would do to the United States and you understand what the European Commission and Union is and why Europe is in its current state, a state which is doing everything it can to rival the Soviet Union in bad governance and will eventually surpass the Soviets if it continues to gain power.

The EU is simply further ahead of America in political disintegration because because Europe's liberals entered the 20th century (politically speaking) in 1914. The European mainstream left of the interwar years (which is when the idea for a United States of Europe was germinated by the evil Jean Monnet and other "Federalists") looks remarkably similar to the mainstream Euro left of 2013.

America didn't politically enter the 20th century until 1932. Because of this, Europe is more politically degenerate than us in large measure because they had an 18 year jump start on us.

* Fascinatingly, most of the old Warsaw Pact sattelites which gained liberty from Communist Russia have now handed themselves over on a silver platter to the thugs in Brussels; a motley crew that is already more incompetent and loonier than the USSR.e

January 8, 2013 at 9:37 AM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Rather than abandoning the battle and doing away with "general education" entirely, we ought to be pushing to reinstate real requirements,

That would require seizing control of the levers of bureaucracy. It would be much easier to just pull the funding cord on the gened (and torpedo the jobs of the professors who "teach" them) and let the rare handful of college students who are interested in great literature read them off their iPads.

January 8, 2013 at 9:41 AM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Wisconsin Gov Scott Walker just sneaked in a beautiful piece of malware into the Cathedral's servers. He's proposed college reform that will give college and high school students working on a four year degree a way to test out of the general education requirements. Of course, they could already do this with CLEP exams but they weren't widely used because they weren't online.

Is governor Scott Walker a UR reader? That must explain why he's the Republican showing all the others how to inflict serious damage on the Cathedral.

A leftist professor worries the flexible degree could put him and his comrades in the humanities departments out of business:

Bradley Butterfield: We must value liberal arts education

http://lacrossetribune.com/news/opinion/bradley-butterfield-we-must-value-liberal-arts-education/article_8181de6a-5386-11e2-a521-001a4bcf887a.html

Walker also announced his support for a new “competency-based degree model that will transform higher education in Wisconsin” called the UW Flexible Degree option. This will allow “individuals who have learned skills from their employment, from military service or from other areas to work toward a degree at their own pace” and to satisfy their degree requirements by passing competency-based exams.

But this plan to “revolutionize higher education” is not just about granting technical degrees to people who have more than mastered the skills they need outside of the classroom. “Additionally,” to quote the program’s website, “students can use the flexible option to complete the general education requirements toward any four-year degree.”

While efforts to make higher education more manageable and affordable for nontraditional students are laudable, the troubling assumptions behind Walker’s remarks and the flexible-degree option are that serving the economy is the point of higher education, if not of life itself, and that students learn nothing in their general education courses that cannot be learned through job experience and/or tested with a skills-based competency exam.

snip

If we want a generation of technologically efficient yes-men and women, capable of completing any task but rarely capable of evaluating the value of the task itself, then measures such as funding only job-producing degrees and allowing students to bypass rigorous coursework in the humanities would seem appropriate.

snip

Turning American universities into vocational schools — which is the path this “revolution” would start us down — will not only result in a dearth of great leaders; it also will undermine our democracy. A healthy democracy depends upon educated citizens — not just workers educated in doing their jobs, but citizens educated broadly enough to know that the way things are is never the way things have to be.

Such educated citizens can relate any given situation to the various concepts and perspectives they’ve encountered in their studies. They’re less likely to blindly follow the demagogues of prejudice and war, and more likely to organize politically when their values are under attack. They’re less likely to fear and revile those who are different, and more likely to see them as fellow sufferers deserving respect.

January 8, 2013 at 10:14 AM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Other ways to pull the plug on the Cathedral:

1) Create a neo-spoils system. Start working at the state level to give governors the power to, without legislative approval, fire x percentage of all non-law enforcement government workers per year. Eventually work up to the presidential level and give the president the power to fire at will a certain percentage a year of non-defense, non-law enforcement, and non-judicial government workers.

2) National boycott of all US newspapers and magazines except the Wall Street Journal (which I subscribe to), Investors Business Daily, and Forbes magazine which is evolving into a very neat blog-magazine.

January 8, 2013 at 10:33 AM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Overseas Chinese sound much like middlemen than settlers. Settlers come into areas that either aren't already heavily settled, of if they are the previous inhabitants are conquered. Either way, settlers tend to live off resource extraction (farming), which the mainland Chinese largely do. Overseas chinese live within a larger non-Chinese society and serve a middleman role within it.

You are right that the Jewish case is unusual in that it comprises all of the group (excluding Sephardic & Mizrahi Jews, so maybe not so much). I vaguely recall Parsis being included, so they're another one that's all diaspora. Armenians didn't have their own polity until the end of the Ottoman empire, but it's plausible that they were the majority within Armenia's present boundaries and had been so before conquest.

TUJ, I cannot endorse your endorsement of the WSJ. I've read too much Glasner and Sumner. More of the latter, but the former discusses idiocy in the WSJ more. I don't ready any newspapers regularly at all.

January 8, 2013 at 4:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many Southeast Asian ethnic groups are actually Chinese or part-Chinese descended, from older waves of Chinese migrations southward. Overseas Chinese aren't really middlemen serving as intermediaries between native elites and the larger native populace.

The Sephardim and Mizrahim are part of the diaspora and have lived among non-Jews.

January 9, 2013 at 2:27 AM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

TUJ, I cannot endorse your endorsement of the WSJ. I've read too much Glasner and Sumner. More of the latter, but the former discusses idiocy in the WSJ more. I don't ready any newspapers regularly at all.

You always have to find something to disagree with, don't you.

January 9, 2013 at 4:27 PM  

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