Sunday, September 12, 2010 35 Comments

Henry (9/11/10)

Henry is the name of a serious person.
No one delivers a presentation,
A serious presentation, while still
Knowing that the whole room thinks:
"Yes, but his name is 'Henry.'"
(My own is an old family surname,
Scottish in origin, now announcing
Some early, minor Black Panther.)
No: Henry is an old big hitter.
Since Charlemagne was a little boy,
A Henry could be anything
In England or in France,
From Portugal to Perth.
He steals horses in Texas,
He sells them in Tangier.
Past Hong Kong he likes them raw.
A poet, a Nazi and a saint,
He sings for money in the street.
And every fool can spell his name.


Blogger gwern said...

Henry is, I take it, Henry Paulson. Likening him to a horse-thief who sings for money in the street (= testifying before Congress and the mob) doesn't seem like an entirely untruthful characterization of where the financial bailout money has gone.

I have no explanation for why this poem is linked to 9/11, however.

September 12, 2010 at 6:55 AM  
Anonymous Genius said...

Stokely Carmichael?

September 12, 2010 at 9:13 AM  
Anonymous josh said...

Curtis Powell

September 12, 2010 at 9:25 AM  
Anonymous Genius said...

Niceā€¦ but who hears "Powell" and thinks "Curtis"?

September 12, 2010 at 12:56 PM  
Anonymous josh said...

I can tell you who hears "curtis black panther" and thinks "powell." Google.

September 12, 2010 at 3:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I have no explanation for why this poem is linked to 9/11, however."

It's the kid's birthday! (Duh)

September 12, 2010 at 5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Powell is Welsh, not Scottish. And if Mencius' last name was Powell we would have heard of it by now.

September 13, 2010 at 3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

His first name is a Scottish surname. Not Powell. If you are confused see:

September 13, 2010 at 4:26 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Mencius was named after a comic-strip character. His parents were quite forward-thinking.

Yglesias has been referencing Ian Smith lately, though it isn't apparent he knows much about the man.

September 13, 2010 at 8:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

September 16, 2010 at 3:03 AM  
Blogger TGGP said...

My first link is broken. Try here.

September 16, 2010 at 9:05 PM  
Anonymous josh said...

I wold guess Yglesias first heard of Ian Smith within the past few months. He is close to my age and I managed to make it through my entire "education" without hearing of the man. Also, an informal poll of people I know all with graduate degrees and nobody knew who Smith was. I think name dropping this somewhat obscure character as if his audience should know all about him makes Yglesias feel smart.

September 17, 2010 at 4:51 AM  
Anonymous josh said...

Incidentally, MM's comment thread lead me to discover some really cool primary sources. Charles Crane's Institute for Current World Affairs has archived the the letters of its operatives (for lack of a better word) since the 20s. I've started with John N. Hazard,a well connected guy straight out of Harvard Law who would go on to earn his own wikipedia page, and his trip to "the Union" (as he calls it), .

So far we've heard from Bill Bullitt, Manly Hudson, and some other wiki-worthy folks, made a stop in rural Nazi Germany, been horrified by the "counter-revolutionary" forces still present who must have been responsible for the death of Sergey Kirov, seen the glorious construction of the Moscow canal by "volunteers", as well as a lot of interesting day to day stuff. It also does follow the MM line of history. This guy definitely sees the Union as a following the Anglo-American march toward freedom, and his particular network seems to be both long established and exclusively WASP. Obviously there were simultaneously heavily Jewish networks and post WWII the old WASP networks would be the ones that would die off, but this definitely seems a data point in favor of at least one continuous strain of WASP progressivism of indigenous origin.

Anyway, its a pretty cool resource, free registration required.

September 17, 2010 at 5:30 AM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Crane's wiki page says he was pro-Hitler and anti-British.

It looks like my first comment form Sept 16 has disappeared, making my second look like a non-sequitur. I was discussing the "sphere of deviance" and asking people to contribute examples so that we can better determine it's boundaries. Apparently, saying "Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims" does not cross the line. At least if your friends donate a bunch of money to Harvard. In my now-vanished comment I linked to James Fallows giving examples of people who faced more serious consequences for saying what can't be said.

September 18, 2010 at 9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

but this definitely seems a data point in favor of at least one continuous strain of WASP progressivism of indigenous origin.

No it doesn't. That's like saying a plane that gets hijacked is part of one continuous strain of the original pilot's intention.

September 18, 2010 at 3:25 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

May HBM grow up to be an efficient Patchwork Autocrat and ruthless agent of International Jewry.

but this definitely seems a data point in favor of at least one continuous strain of WASP progressivism of indigenous origin.

1) I'd say progressivism is more Protestant in origin than particular to Anglo-Saxonry.

2) Moldbug is still wrong to single out American progressivism as the origin of postWWII European leftism.

Protestant Progressivism and European socialist movements evolved independently of one another, albeit there has been quite a bit of cross-pollination over the past three decades or so.

For one thing, if the progressive movement created post WWII leftism in Europe then how does MM account for the fact that the EU elites are more leftist than American elites?

That's like saying a plane that gets hijacked is part of one continuous strain of the original pilot's intention.

May I ask who you think it was who hijacked WASP progressivism?

September 18, 2010 at 8:18 PM  
Anonymous Lawful Neutral said...

>how does MM account for the fact that the EU elites are more leftist than American elites?

The party line is as follows: because American Progressivism evolved here, other competing belief systems have had more opportunity to develop resistance to it. Those poor Euros in contrast are like the American aborigines meeting smallpox for the first time. A good example of this kind of thing is the strange little religions that survive at the heart of the Muslim world (Yezidis, Druze, etc.).

Maybe you buy it, maybe you don't, but MM's definitely addressed it.

September 18, 2010 at 9:02 PM  
Blogger alexi de sadesky said...


Can you provide some MM linkage on that topic?

September 19, 2010 at 3:55 AM  
Anonymous josh said...

"That's like saying a plane that gets hijacked is part of one continuous strain of the original pilot's intention."

Are you suggesting that WASP progressivism no longer exists?


In addition to what lawful neutral has said, which seems to be the general answer (MM has often referenced provincial extremism), MM gives an answer here.

September 19, 2010 at 4:13 AM  
Anonymous Rob S. said...

> No it doesn't. That's like saying a plane that gets hijacked is part of one continuous strain of the original pilot's intention.

I tend to agree with you. Especially because I'm basically a centrist on policy, far right only on racial preservation and form of gov (mixed monarchy). I mean, today I'm certainly a far rightist but, as has so often been explored here, some would be centrists in 1920, including me. So I'm not a far rightist 'over the centuries'.

The extreme leftism of today is most certainly connected to past leftist causes that I support, like not executing nonconformist Christians. But, the good leftism is also connected to goodness, and the extreme leftism connected to badness. Each particular 'leftist' cause is connected to many other concepts, despite being 'left' in a more or less clear way.

You can't take one, admittedly important connection out of many, and privilege or reify it to the exclusion of all others. I many sound like a postmodernist or something there (yikes), but it's true. I mean, we could say Hobbes is the root of Nazism because he liked order and clear authority, or the classical Greeks are the root of Nazism because they were racial chauvinists. There is validity in those connections, only the actual quantity of validity is limited.

So, I'm not so angry at the Enlightenment, or the Reformation, even though I easily see serious downsides to both, and mild leftism in both. The sin belongs to those who created, and foisted on us, extreme leftism. To say otherwise is verging on the genetic fallacy, though maybe not quite there. Though, again, it is accurate to draw certain connections between the Enlightenment (or Benjamin Franklin Trueblood) and our current predicament, assuming you don't reflexively attribute the entirety of our predicament to the Enlightenment.

September 19, 2010 at 10:14 AM  
Anonymous Lawful Neutral said...


I searched around for a bit and the best I could find was:

"In Europe, Universalism has no significant natural enemies. It flourishes as a kind of clonal hypercolony, like the Argentine ant. The sort of right-wing populism one can see every day on Fox News barely exists even in Britain, in the degenerate lowbrow form of the Daily Mail, where it is clearly in the process of vanishing. On the Continent it is already extinct for all political purposes, reappearing only east of the Oder in figures like the Kaczynski twins. While anti-Universalist attitudes are socially unfashionable in the United States, they are socially unacceptable in most of Europe."

Also, from

"Communism is not an Old World virus that spread to the New. It's a New World virus that spread to the Old. Europe, Asia and Africa got the worst of it, but that's how it always goes with exotic pests: no immunity, no natural enemies."

I'm pretty sure there's a more comprehensive post about this out there, but a better moldbugologist than I will have to locate it. If you feel like it, browse for a while and you might run across it.

September 19, 2010 at 2:44 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Communism is not an Old World virus that spread to the New. It's a New World virus that spread to the Old. Europe, Asia and Africa got the worst of it, but that's how it always goes with exotic pests: no immunity, no natural enemies.

If America "infected"* Europe with leftism then why did pre-WWII Europe for the past ~250 years almost always exhibit worse symptoms of leftism than the United States and the Anglo-Sphere in general?

The French Revolution was a much more destructive "outbreak" of liberalism than the American Revolution. And the War of Independence technically wasn't even a revolution, it was a war of secession that resulted in the replacement of one form Anglo-Saxon common law governance with similar, locally based one.

The pre-FDR Democrats, while populist, were the party of Confederate war veterans and comparatively to the right of contemporary European socialist parties on economics and social policy (both mainstream socialist and revolutionary socialist).

The American socialist and American Communist parties were always an irrelevant nuisance party even during the Depression when they should have been much more electable among blue-collar Americans, whereas the revolutionary socialist parties in Europe found considerable support among trade unions and the working class even before 1929.

This is the exact opposite of what MM's theory would suggest.

If leftism did originate in America then we would expect the pre-WWII European leftism to be less disruptive than the American progressive movement because America didn't geopolitically surpass Western Europe as a whole until WWII.

When we observe the different stages of post-1789 Western history and compare American political trends with their contemporary European trends it becomes obvious that Europe has always been more liberal than the US (and the Anglo-Sphere in general).

Frankly there is too much Anglo-bashing on this blog, which makes me suspect MM has some French ancestry in his background.

I suggest rather than damning Britannia, Moldbug should instead lie back and think of Kelly Brook.

* Note, I am of the opinion that analogies comparing the spread of ideas/memes to the spread of viruses are dubious.

But even if for the sake of argument I concede to MM that viruses and ideology spread in similar ways his logic still doesn't hold up to historical scrutiny for the reasons noted above.

September 19, 2010 at 7:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mencius is right that the US is pro-Palestinian. If the US was anti-Palestinian it wouldn't be doing this:

Olmert: US agreed to absorb 100,000 Palestinian refugees,7340,L-3956711,00.html

"Ehud Olmert said that during his tenure as prime minister he had reached an agreement with the Americans for them to absorb 100,000 Palestinian refugees as part of a peace deal, adding that he struck a deal with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas according to which Israel would absorb "a minimal amount" of refugees."

"The source said disagreement had remained on the subject of refugees right to the end. "We wanted Israel to absorb hundreds of thousands, while Israel talked about absorbing far fewer," the source said, but confirmed that various countries around the world, including the US, Canada and some Scandinavian countries, had agreed to take in thousands."

September 20, 2010 at 12:09 AM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Robert Farley besmirches the name of Deng. A while back I got into an argument with Mencius about Deng's reactionary creds vs Lee Kuan Yew, but thanks to js-kit's screwing up gnxp's comments I can't find it anymore.

I don't know if anonymous is joking, but agreeing to an Israeli request regarding the Palestinians might well be interpreted as being pro-Israeli. Here's my half-assed plan along those lines.

September 20, 2010 at 6:56 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

General Fonseka has been imprisoned for corruption.

September 21, 2010 at 5:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Possible goldmine about U.S. progressives' political domination of postwar Germany: "Germany's sovereignty restricted by US and allies?"

Russia Today report on book by former West German military intelligence head.

September 22, 2010 at 12:26 AM  
Anonymous wolfman said...

hmmm, early "minor" black panther with a scottish name. I'm thinking Malcolm. Understatement's a classic Moldbugian technique. Plus, if I were to make an alliterative pseudonym, I'd keep the first letter of my name.

September 22, 2010 at 8:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, wolfman, IRL-nym, not pseudonym.

September 23, 2010 at 1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: re: wolfman: nm, misread your comment.

September 23, 2010 at 1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Malcolm is still wrong though. See josh above.

September 23, 2010 at 1:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OT but have you seen this?

seems right up your alley, would love to hear what you think.

September 24, 2010 at 9:02 AM  
Anonymous wolfman said...

@escrogs There's nothing scottish about Curtis Powell. Curtis is an Norman name, from Old French Curteis. And like Anon said, Powell is Welsh.

September 25, 2010 at 6:26 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Vladimir has been promoting the Richard Crossman view of government at Less Wrong. A liberal Harvard law professor says the will of bureaucrats has superseded the Constitution, and furthermore he views that as a good thing.

September 27, 2010 at 5:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the links TGGP.

inb4 "get a handle."

September 29, 2010 at 4:42 AM  
Anonymous josh said...

What blogs are you guys reading these days? I'm getting bored w/out the weekly 25 page screed that used to be found here. The ones I check daily barely get me through my coffee.

September 29, 2010 at 4:54 AM  

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