White flight

Even though the Mizzou protesters were able to wring a number of undeserved concessions from the institution they supposedly joined voluntarily, and even though they largely succeeded in silencing any sort of official sanction from authority figures or the media, one thing they do not control (yet.) is the decisions of their fellow students and alumni who no longer have the stomach for their divisive theatrics.

Of course it will never bother them to know how much damage they’ve done to their school and the other people going to it. In their fantasy land, in the rhetoric they’ve chosen to deploy, a black person attending Mizzou is like a Jew paying to go to Buchenwald.

Authoritarians always fail to comprehend that they can use all of the carrots and sticks in the world, but they can’t force a man to accept something he knows isn’t true. Affirmative action is a clear cut example of this. By making it easier for a minority to get a degree, what happens afterwards is that employers will look askance at all degree-holding minorities. On the flip side of this, an Asian’s degree is worth more than normal because college is more selective of them than of whites. Would anyone ever say this? No, because it would be illegal to say that.

All that ConcernedStudent1950 would have accomplished, were all their demands met, would be to lower the value of an education at Mizzou and for minorities at Mizzou specifically. That’s exactly the opposite of what they wanted. They believe that if they structure the surface world in a certain way–its institutions, its language, its culture–the people living in it will naturally fall in line. Many do, but a great many also do not. A man is still (unfortunately) permitted to think his own thoughts, whatever restrictions are placed on his actions and speech.

One of the ways these heretical thoughts manifest is when there is abundant plausible deniability. No white person needs to explain why they aren’t living in a certain area, or why they aren’t going to a certain college, or why they aren’t dating outside their race. There is still freedom of association, and many perfectly upright liberals express their preferences in this way.

And so it goes:

Compared to last year, 1,470 fewer students had paid their $300 enrollment fees by the May 1 deadline—and with cancellations rolling in over the weekend, the numbers may be even more grim, the local TV station KMIZ reports. That’s a drop of about 25% from last year’s freshman class of about 6,200.

Mizzou also reported a three-year low in grad-school applications, down 1,140 from two years ago. The number of new students shrunk even as the university has embarked on an aggressive effort to drum up interest in the school, using text messages and Skype and deploying more out-of-state recruiters.

So thousands of prospective students, who if you asked them directly about the events at Mizzou would likely have sided wholly with the protesters, have never the less made a curious decision not to attend the institution.

People will say and even believe lots of things to be popular, but if they feel their interests at stake their brain stem will seize hold of them long enough to make a reasonable decision. They might still cling to their worthless opinions, but watch how they act.

Because of this, the next depressing chapter in the West’s march towards tyranny is an intensification of the campaign against free association. People who make the wrong choices should not be allowed to choose.

Anthropology: the job anthropologists won’t do

After putting up a post entitled Anthropology sucks, not two days later I find myself reading an article regarding interesting advancements in the field. I thought I might have to eat crow. Were anthropologists doing academic work after all, and shining a light on humanity? Were they doing, in other words, their so-called job?

As it turns out, no, they weren’t. However not every academic department is intellectually dead:

Now, a provocative new study suggests the fates of societies hinged on a subtler problem with these plants. And if it’s right, it could dramatically complicate the popular theory of the agriculture-driven dawn of civilization that has appeared in textbooks for generations.

The study, published last year by economists at the United Kingdom and Israel doing novel work on archaeological and anthropological evidence, attempts to explain a strange pattern in agricultural practices.

Emphasis mine. You really can’t make this stuff up. Of course it had to be someone from another field to question baseline anthropological assumptions, because once critical theory takes hold all mental activity ceases.

Trust the machine

For work I have to go to a lot of new places, and the necessitates relying, at least partially, on a GPS. My practice for using a GPS is to pull up the map, get the gist of it, and navigate myself 90% of the way there. I then activate it for the last 5 miles of local roads, which I generally don’t care enough to memorize. I listen to music and don’t appreciate the lady breaking in to tell me something I already know or at least should know.

Little did I know this might just save my life someday. Well I wouldn’t say I didn’t know at all; I had an inkling. ArsTechnica writes on the ‘Death By GPS’ phenomenon, which is hard to get all that worked up over. More interesting is when they start touching upon how we build internal maps of our surroundings:

The participants were linking their perceived location to its position on city maps that they retrieved from memory—which, like most maps, were oriented to the north. The cognitive process the participants went through was, in a sense, more complicated than necessary, since they had spent a greater chunk of their lives navigating the city than looking at maps of it—and most of the locations they were asked to point out did not appear on maps of Tübingen. Some participants reported that they had not looked at map of the city for decades. The knowledge they had acquired just by navigating their city day after day was multisensory and tinged with memories of real experience, whereas a map is flat, and the only sense it appeals to is visual. Yet, when asked to organize the information they held, they still reflexively translated it into broad survey knowledge, a bird’s-eye view. They willed themselves onto a map.

There’s a particular exit to the highway in Greensboro that I, for some reason, always exited in the wrong direction. Then one day I spotted the tallest building in Greensboro, the towering 20 story Lincoln Financial Center, peeking out in the distance while approaching this exit. Suddenly the map in my head rotated into place and I never exited the wrong way again.

Personally I love technology, but I’m far too experienced with it to ever trust it. Maybe part of the problem is that, in the modern world, so much of it works so well that it’s easy to feel a sense of security. For a paleonerd who grew up when it hardly worked, ever, it’s easier to be suspicious.

Anthropology sucks

I once took a course offered by the Anthropology department. I figured it wasn’t going to go well, knowing in advance the field had been seduced to the easy path of post-modernism, but after watching the madness play out in person I decided that there was simply no way I was going to survive if I took it seriously. You’ll have more luck having a reasonable discussion with a rabid dog than a critical theorist. That’s what they are, essentially: intellectual (and I use that term loosely) mad dogs. Once they catch the bug they abandon all reason and attack, attack, attack.

What I wound up doing in the class was invent a parody of a barely-coherent radical and attempt to get to the left of the professor (and everyone else in the class) on every single issue. This proved to be far, far more difficult than I first imagined, but I think I managed. I got an A in the class, and I can’t say I did much to deserve it. I must’ve said the right things.

That was years ago. What I did then would now be impossible, because everyone has actually become the preposterous man I was pretending to be. Are they all pretending? We can only hope.

Anthropology in particular, as a discipline, can be summed up in this simple way: all cultures are equally valid, except for yours, so just castrate yourself. Peter Wood goes into detail about this wretched cult of irrational anti-Western traitors:

Many anthropologists busy themselves attacking Western ideas about objective knowledge, but they don’t go far enough. You need radical Black anthropologists to finish the job of destroying the West.

Allen and Jobson are perfectly explicit about their larger goal.  Their essay, though turgid, is clear enough in its lament for the fall of Soviet communism:  “The fall of the Soviet Union was of interest—and destabilizing—to anthropology.” That’s because the end of “state socialist projects […] foreclosed a moment of revolutionary optimism.”

These people are silly court fops pretending to be academics. They don’t research the human condition; they simply exist to powder their wigs and slander the values of decent men.

Gimme shelter

I pointed out before that, at the current rate which citizens are alienating themselves from each other and losing faith in federal power, the US will eventually break up into smaller entities. Tears in the national fabric have appeared before, however, and been forcibly mended by sufficiently strong central authorities–think of Jackson threatening to hang the first South Carolinian nullifier from the first tree, or of Lincoln refusing to compromise on the integrity of the Union. (By the way, what is it with South Carolina and rebellion? Thank God I live in North Carolina, where we are completely sane.)

The difference between ye olden days and now is that, now, there are no men of principle left in the halls of power. If and when the rebellion starts, there will be hardly any resistance to it.

This is a bold theory, but what I hadn’t realized is that it’s already true, albeit in a way I hadn’t considered or anticipated. At least, according to VDH, America’s most perspicacious crank. He writes on the subject of the breakdown of federal law over at PJ:

Yet the idea of a sanctuary city is Confederate to the core, reminiscent of antebellum Southern states picking and choosing which federal statutes they would abide by or reject. Even before the Civil War, the Nullification Crisis of 1832-33 pitted South Carolina against a fellow southerner, President Andrew Jackson, as the state declared that federal tariff laws were not applicable within its confines. Jackson understood the threat to the union, and promised to send in federal troops before South Carolina backed down.

The problem with legal nullification is always the enduring principle, never just the immediate landscape, of its implementation.

You also have states refusing to enforce federal drug laws, and encountering little push back on the issue. In many places the feds are starting to lose their grip on power, even as it appears to be approaching its zenith. The monster is becoming too big and lethargic to respond to threats. Prominent state officials such as Hillary Clinton break the law and nothing happens to them. Why should it? A modern day Nixon might have kept his office.

Our fondness for law and order, for our fellow Americans, and for obeying the federal government is breaking down. What inevitably happens next might take time, as a wasting disease, but–if you ask me to make a bet, it will happen quickly. Some precipitating event (for example: the election of a ridiculous man or a literal criminal to the office of the President) will make everyone who is paying attention realize that the seemingly omnipotent federal government is, in actuality, a brittle entity which is incapable of enforcing its will on the states. They’ll see at once–the liberals in their blue states, and conservatives in their red, and Mexicans in Aztlán–that there is really quite a lot about federal law they’d like to ignore.

The purge

Rename your schools, change the logo of your restaurant, tear down the memorials to your heroes. Every day a new demand for submission and erasure, and the beaten dogs eagerly comply more often than not.

Having more or less won the culture war, the left is doing what the left does best and executing a purge. What’s the point of winning a revolution if you can’t, afterwards, destroy all your enemies?

What’s happening now is nothing new. During the Roman Empire this practice was called damnatio memoriae, and–worryingly–first became popular during the death of the Republic. In the Soviet Union they had a saying: ‘the future is always certain, and yet the past is always changing.’

It’s an authoritarian tic. The one who believes in freedom has nothing to fear from history, because he isn’t trying to control others with a manufactured narrative. He has nothing to fear from symbols he disagrees with, because there is no one he is oppressing who might cling to them.

It doesn’t matter to them that there are many people who admire Robert E. Lee, who think that Confederate soldiers were often brave and worthy of a memorial, or that the Rising Sun and the Confederate flags aren’t synonymous with Nanking and slavery. The victorious Union contented itself with a material victory over the South, but the people who attack it now want to rip the very marrow of pride out of Southerners.

It is evil to demand that any people live eternally in shame. Not when the history of the world is so bloodstained that you couldn’t find a single person with a thousand years’ worth of innocent forebears. It is wrong to demand, as the price of forgiveness, a man’s pride. Not Japanese, not Germans, not Southerners, and certainly not white people as a whole. It is wrong to demand it, and it is cowardly to submit to such a demand–that’s my opinion of all the people who give in day in and day out in the hopes of making their lives just a little easier. They’re selling us all out.

To authoritarians, only their opinion matters. Only their feelings matter. Only their interpretation of history should be told. Only their icons should be displayed in public spaces. That perspective is not worthy of an American.

I suspect the reason that this embryo of intolerance and instability continues to grow is that there are fewer and fewer people who believe the old values. There are fewer people who are, in any sense, Americans.

Give PR back to Spain

A brilliant comment from from ‘JamesInOhio’ at WaPo follows from Will’s column, “What Happens In Puerto Rico Won’t Stay There”

The best solution would be to return Puerto Rico to Spain. Declare that Puerto Rico was improperly taken from Spain and let Spain have it back. To sweeten the deal for Spain, the U.S. would agree to assist in getting Puerto Rico’s financial mess straightened out, and agree to a defense treaty to militarily protect Puerto Rico, if Spain wishes. Puerto Rico was created as a Spanish colony, is culturally Spanish, and is much more suited to be a territory of Spain than of the U.S.

Here here. I’d be fully on board with this.

I actually believe that all US holdings that aren’t contiguous with the lower 48 be returned to their inhabitants, including Alaska and Hawaii. Hawaiians hate us properly but would sell us Pearl Harbor for use as a base, and Alaska would certainly sell us their oil, so what’s the point of these places being states?

Much less Puerto Rico, which is an absolute parasite. At least you can drive through the parasite states of the lower 48 and, potentially, visit a national park in them. That’s not nothing, for the taxpayer. It’s not much, but the difference between not much and zero is immense. Propositions with little value are debatable. Propositions with no value are not.

The comment is revealing insofar as it touches upon the point that, in the modern world, colonies are more like bloodsucking insects than resources. We’d have to beg Spain to take PR back. High maintenance girlfriend Puerto Rico wouldn’t want to be taken back by Spain, either, because Spain isn’t rich enough to put up with them.

The leftwing commenters are all of a similar mind, though: we should pay for Puerto Rico’s financial mistakes forever, because colonialism. Ah, no. That’s not even remotely rational.

A saucy comment suggests that, were we to cut PR loose, they’d form alliances with hostile nations. So what? Cuba did that. What’s another intransigent banana republic to us? No one south of the Rio Grande has US interests at heart, and that includes present day Puerto Rico.

I’m not saying it’s aliens, but–

KIC 8462852 Star Mystery Just Got Even Deeper

Astronomers Bradley E. Schaefer from Louisiana State University takes a different approach to find out more about this star. He looked over a collection of sky photographs in the archives at Harvard College Observatory, a collection which covers the entire sky from 1890 to 1989.

Then he measured 131 magnitudes of KIC 8462852 star from 1890–1989. Results? The star appears to be dimming slowly, over the course of the past century;

KIC 8462852 star displays a secular dimming at an average rate of 0.164 magnitudes per century. This century-long dimming is unprecedented for any main sequence star. Such stars should be very stable in brightness, with evolution making for changes only on time scales of many millions of years.

Of course there are many possible explanations for the other data (which are all, themselves, outlandish in their own way) but none of them seem to account for this. Why would a star dim at this rate? One hypothesis is that a Dyson sphere/swarm is under construction before our very eyes.

It’s not necessarily the case, but what is cute is that, for astronomers, being the first person to rule out ‘aliens’ is like a race. Mark my words, astronomers, one day it will be aliens–and the lot of you will wind up feeling very silly. Or, I don’t know, maybe you’ll go and scream into your collective pillows like a lovestruck teen girl.

Spee!

Richard Fernandez wrote an excellent article regarding the moral hazard of large organizations, but kicked it off with a bit of a moot point:

Winston Churchill memorably predicted the end of the German East Asia Squadron when it slipped out of Tsing-tao harbor under Admiral Maximilian von Spee. “He was a cut flower in a vase, fair to see yet bound to die.”  Winston knew that the Spee’s s squadron however imposing and bravely led had no means of support.  Sooner or later it would come to grief, which it duly did.

In drawing this parallel, he runs afoul of my admiration for Admiral Spee. The eventual destruction of Spee’s East Asia Squadron was one of the low-lights of Royal Navy history, and I’m sure that’s not what Churchill had in mind when he described the squadron as a ‘cut flower.’ Perhaps Spee was a cut flower, but one determined the prick the limeys with whatever thorns he had.

The Battle of Coronel, where Spee ran into the first British attempt to stop him, resulted in 1500 British dead, and the Germans hardly suffered a toothache in return. Emden, detached from Spee’s squadron, went on to become one of the most successful commerce raiders in history while operating alone and without support. This gripping story is all told in Massie’s Castles of Steel.

So it’s exactly the opposite of the metaphor Fernandez wished to make. The Royal Navy was the one, in this situation, that was ‘too big to fail.’ Spee did more damage than anyone could have envisioned, including the man himself. There’s a reason the Germans named a class of heavy cruiser after him.

Pack it in, again

I’ve mentioned before that our armed forces are well on their way to complete destruction, if not already there. At the hands of an enemy? Yes; an enemy within.

One Dr. Craig Luther elaborates on the point in Frontpage Mag:

What I want to speak to is his administration’s systematic destruction of the 200+ year-old culture of the U.S. military. This “multicultural makeover,” happening right before our eyes, threatens to undermine the very fabric of our armed forces. The forced acceptance of open homosexuality and the burgeoning hostility toward Christianity; the gratuitous degradation of our troops (e.g., forcing ROTC cadets to march in red high heels to experience what it’s like to be a woman; making male soldiers wear simulated lactation devices, or lecturing them on “white privilege,” dare I go on?); the “full-court press” to make our forces more diverse, most alarmingly by opening up combat positions (even special forces) to female soldiers; and the relentless purging from the ranks of dozens of fine general officers whose only “offense” was their failure to “get with the program” — all of this, like some nightmarish “progressive” Blitzkrieg, is now wreaking havoc with our reluctant service members, the objective being that of a complete and irreversible cultural transformation.

What I like about this article is the palpable anger with which it was written. The good doctor was so angry while writing this he wasn’t even pausing to break paragraphs. The reason I like that is because this situation calls for anger. When I wrote my own post I felt very much the same way.

The difference between Luther and I is that he seems to think this would stop if a particular man were dis-employed from his position as Secretary of the Navy. That is extremely optimistic, bordering on naivete. The ideas that animate our elites can’t power something like a military, and also can’t brook the presence of a competing idea. It might as well be written in stone.

The greatest fighting force on the planet is being hollowed out in place. It looks, from the outside, like the same old military. But it isn’t. It’s missing both the people and the ideas required to fight. All of the expensive gear in the world will not save them.

Soon enough the military is just going to be a jobs program that doesn’t–or actually, can’t–fight. I don’t see any way to reverse this, but I would like not to have to pay for such a bad joke. At least the Euros slashed their military budgets. I suspect we’ll get the worst of both worlds, though: a joke of a military that’s also hugely expensive.