Monday, August 31, 2015

The High And The Low

     JOHN TANNER: And that poor devil is a billionaire! One of the master spirits of the age! Led on a string like a pug dog by the first girl who takes the trouble to despise him. I wonder will it ever come to that with me. [From George Bernard Shaw’s Man and Superman]

     I’m an anomaly in several dimensions, one of which is that my capacity for enjoyment bridges many categories that others disdain to cross. I enjoy both Beethoven and Van Halen. I delight in the paintings of both Rembrandt and Dali. I’ve taken great pleasure in both the dark imaginings of Fyodor Dostoyevsky and the light-hearted romantic science fiction of Linnea Sinclair. I love filet mignon braised in garlic butter, but I’ve often derived just as much enjoyment from a hamburger. I’ll serenely sip Mouton-Cadet or gleefully guzzle Bully Hill Banty Red. One’s choices in those domains are not a matter of “high” or “low” quality, but of one’s capacity for enjoyment.

     For the above reason, I’ve often been sneered at by persons who pretend to “higher standards.” While I can’t argue for my tastes – who can? – it’s often seemed to me that the devotees of those “higher standards” are more interested in elevating themselves over others than in what they claim to enjoy.

     The problems arise when the standard of enjoyment is displaced by airy notions about quality, an elusive thing impossible to define intensively or tabulate extensively. In part that arises from the presumptions and machinations of snobs: critics and cultural commentators who command the media heights. Snobs they are, nothing more. All snobs desire the same thing at base: to feel that they’re superior to others, as is demonstrated by their membership in an exclusive group.

     We may call this “Cool Kids Syndrome.” It’s founded on some persons’ desire to feel superior to others, and other persons’ irrational desire to enter their circle...often for no other reason than to prove that they can.

     In this connection, Nicki at The Liberty Zone provides some recollections:

     I was never invited to cool kid parties in middle school – you know those parties where everyone plays “spin the bottle” and hooks up with members of the opposite sex. I did go to some, but I felt awkward and weird, and when I invited kids in my class to my own birthday party, one person showed up, and embarrassed, I never wanted another party.

     I did find my voice, so to speak, in high school choir. I participated in concerts and plays. I loved the stage. But ultimately, we were choir and theater geeks, and my husband likes to remind me that I was the type of kid he would have beaten up in high school. I wasn’t a cheerleader. I didn’t play sports. I was a music geek, and I was expected to and did hang out with my own kind.

     Frankly, I like it that way.

     Even though I’ve begun this rant with observations about entertainments and enjoyments, it has a wider focus: the use of an arbitrary “exclusion” mechanism, reinforced by frequent expressions of disdain for “outsiders,” to assert superiority. It operates in virtually every setting in which people congregate. It’s especially obvious in the arts, but it also has applications to social groupings and politics.

     Politics in our era has become so noxious that I can hardly bear to write about it any longer. It’s become an unceasing carnival of contempt, in which those who hold conviction X feel perfectly free not merely to dismiss those who hold other convictions but to slander them mercilessly, for any value of X. The most prominent voices in the tumult are the ones casting characterological aspersions and accusations of evil intent. Rhetorical savagery is rampant; literal violence is not unknown.

     Since it should be clear to anyone with three functioning brain cells that one cannot defeat an idea with slander or violence, we must ask why anyone would adopt those tactics.

     I provided one answer in this piece. When confronted by disagreement, he who cannot allow that he could be wrong has no recourse but combat, whether in words or deeds. But there are other factors in play, which we’ll explore with a brief visit with some old friends.

     Smith won’t allow that he could be wrong for practical reasons: he’s “done a corner” in some Cause-based organization that provides him wealth, power, and social status. He might even know, intellectually, that his position has been refuted. The perquisites he derives from it outweigh any such consideration.

     Jones is inept at arguing for his politics, but he’s tied his sense of self-worth to it. Objections to his position constitute attacks on his self-esteem. Therefore, he cannot accept objections to that position. He’ll lash out accordingly.

     Cool Kids Syndrome becomes most important at the bottom of the intellectual pyramid: with Davis, whose politics he acquired from admired others, or adopted out of a desire for admission to some circle. He cannot argue, because he didn’t come to his politics through a rational process. But the social value of his politics to him demands that it be upheld. Failure to do so would result in losing his place among the Cool Kids.

     If your place among the Cool Kids matters more to you than your preferences, tastes, opinions, experience, reasoning, or status as an honest man, you’ll suppress all those things to maintain it. You’ll counter arguments against your espoused convictions with a fusillade of invective. That, in a nutshell, explains the greater part of the acrimony that afflicts public discourse today.

     I’ve spilled a lot of pixels recently on the “Sad Puppies” / “Puppy Kickers” contretemps in the somewhat insular world of science fiction and fantasy. If you haven’t read those pieces: principal reason for writing on the subject was that to my eyes is constitutes a perfect demonstration of the power-tropism of the Left: what Leftists will do to get power and to keep it. They’ve been unusually successful in the entertainment media, of which SF and fantasy are branches. Indeed, the contest over the Hugo Awards is so pure an example of Leftist viciousness in protecting acquired power that acquaintance with it should educate anyone, including persons entirely uninterested in SF and fantasy fiction, about the Left’s agenda and tactics.

     Leftists have a natural advantage in any power struggle. When the subject matter is as subjective as what constitutes high-quality storytelling, that advantage becomes decisive. They care more about winning than anyone else cares about the Hugo Awards, and they’d rather see the Hugo Award utterly destroyed as an emblem of good entertainment than allow their grip on those awards to slacken.

     Yet as Leftists go, the ones obsessed with the politicization of the Hugo Awards are very, very minor league. Some have attained a modicum of material reward and / or prestige. Others are emotionally committed to Leftist politics in a way inextricably intertwined with their self-worth. But for the great majority of them, what matters most to them is “being one of the Cool Kids:” i.e., being identified with the group in power.

     The Leftist clique that has dominated the Hugos will not be displaced by any other faction unless that faction is as obsessed with gaining power over them as are the members of the Leftist clique. But no such faction could possibly arise from persons who’ve come to the SF and fantasy genres out of love for imaginative entertainment.

     From this correlation of forces and the dynamics behind them, all non-rational struggles over power can be analyzed and the ultimate results deduced.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Quickies: The Significance Of Profit

     Ace quotes Thomas Sowell on the subject:

     While capitalism has a visible cost -- profit -- that does not exist under socialism, socialism has an invisible cost -- inefficiency -- that gets weeded out by losses and bankruptcy under capitalism. The fact that most goods are more widely affordable in a capitalist economy implies that profit is less costly than inefficiency. Put differently, profit is a price paid for efficiency.

     [From Basic Economics]

     It isn’t often that I’m moved to disagree with Sowell, truly one of the finest thinkers of the past fifty years, but the above strikes me as a fundamental error – indeed, an error so pernicious that it’s been used by capitalism’s enemies to attack capitalism morally.

     I would argue that in reality, what we call “profit” is really the wage we pay to reimburse individuals and institutions for:

  • Innovation;
  • Risk-taking;
  • Convenience;
  • Meeting an unmet demand;
  • Compliance with regulatory forces;

     ...and other aspects of the path that leads:

  • From product conception;
  • Through product creation;
  • Through product production;
  • Through product marketing;
  • Through product distribution;
  • Through product retailing;
  • Through product warranting and service.

     Each of those stages in the path from producer to consumer involves work: physical, mental, emotional, or some combination of the three. (Never doubt that last; the emotional cost of the risks a producer must take are almost never appreciated.) Unreimbursed labor will not be performed for long. That’s the true lesson of Mankind’s experiments with socialism.

     As for “efficiency,” there is no metric for it that two economists will agree on, because it involves subjective decisions at every stage of production, distribution, et cetera with which any argument must necessarily be equally subjective. But if “efficiency” cannot be measured, it is merely an opinion – and therefore cannot be “priced” in any inarguable way.

     The only “economists” who claim that “efficiency” is a valid yardstick for an economic system are socialists – and when pressed to define their terms, they invariably refuse, change the subject, or attack the questioner. Remember that the socialist attitude toward market competition is that to have two or more firms making “the same product” is inherently inefficient. Yet socialism fails at the fundamental task of any economic system: delivering goods and services in a quantity and quality and at a speed that pleases the eventual consumer.

     I could go on about this for many pages, but it’s a nice day, so I’ll spare you.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Disaster averted.

Scene: Lamar Municipal Airport, Lamar, Missouri.

Jake, the maintenance man: "Vic, I've got all the brushes and paint I need now. First thing tomorrow, I'm going to repaint the lines on the runway."

Victor, the mayor of Lamar: "Hold on, Jake. Let's not do that just yet. We've got to wait till we have Comprehensive National Transportation Reform first."

Jake: "Ouch! What was I thinking? Of course. There're the revival of the national passenger rail system and the replacement of our deteriorating interstate highways and bridges to consider as well. For a moment there, I was just going to go ahead and paint the runway."

Victor: "That was a close call, Jake. That's why I'm the mayor and you're the maintenance guy. Put the paint somewhere where it won't freeze in the winter."

Quickies: “If This Goes On”

     A number of bien-pensants have written to upbraid me for the nightmare scenario in this piece. They appear to assume that I actually hope for that outcome...which I don’t, as I made abundantly clear. I dislike the spilling of blood, especially innocent blood, and quite a lot of innocent blood would be spilled in the course of a forcible separation of the races.

     Interestingly and most appositely, a number of persons have commented negatively on Donald Trump’s insistence that the immigration and port-of-entry laws be enforced. Most notable among them has been the detestable Hillary Clinton, who compared Trump’s position to the Nazis’ method of rounding up European Jews and shipping them to concentration camps. In effect, Mrs. Clinton, perhaps the most dishonest figure ever to run for the presidency, is saying that those laws should not be enforced. Has anyone dared to ask her if she favors repealing them? If so, did he get a straight answer?

     “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” said Abraham Lincoln. The American house has become so internally divided – whites, blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, radfems, “sanctuary cities,” Occupy types, et alii -- that it’s questionable whether we share a single polity in any sense. The U.K., France, and the Scandinavian nations should serve as warnings about what happens when that trend reaches critical mass. Given the proliferation of black urban communities where there’s no law worth mentioning, and Hispanic and Muslim exclaves in various parts of our country, we should already have a sense for it.

     The reality of the human condition is that, just as we are not all equal, we are not infinitely miscible. Rudyard Kipling knew it:

The Stranger within my gate,
He may be true or kind,
But he does not talk my talk--
I cannot feel his mind.
I see the face and the eyes and the mouth,
But not the soul behind.

The men of my own stock,
They may do ill or well,
But they tell the lies I am wonted to,
They are used to the lies I tell;
And we do not need interpreters
When we go to buy or sell.

The Stranger within my gates,
He may be evil or good,
But I cannot tell what powers control--
What reasons sway his mood;
Nor when the Gods of his far-off land
Shall repossess his blood.

The men of my own stock,
Bitter bad they may be,
But, at least, they hear the things I hear,
And see the things I see;
And whatever I think of them and their likes
They think of the likes of me.

This was my father's belief
And this is also mine:
Let the corn be all one sheaf--
And the grapes be all one vine,
Ere our children's teeth are set on edge
By bitter bread and wine.

     Not everyone can become an American. Some can’t or won’t assimilate; others reject the gift as contrary to their agendas. If there is no reconciliation, there must be a separation: preferably a voluntary one, as an involuntary one would look no better than my dark imagining. If we continue to insist otherwise, blood will surely spill...just as it already has in the cases I’ve enumerated.


     CSO: I made fresh pico de gallo, if you’d like some.
     FWP: Naah. Sounds too much like some Argentinean soccer player.

     CSO: No, more like a character from the Looney Tunes.
     FWP: Oh, like Speedy Gonzales?
     CSO: Or Yosemite Sam.

     FWP: Wouldn’t it be neat if Looney Tunes heroes were to face off against Marvel Universe villains? Speedy Gonzales against Doctor Doom!
     CSO: Hmm...or maybe the Road Runner against Magneto!

     FWP: Now there’s a matchup I’d pay to see.
     CSO: So write to them.
     FWP: Yes, dear. Right after I finish my life-size model of the Taj Mahal.

     CSO: Hey! It was your idea.
     FWP: I have it from On High that not all my ideas are good ones.
     CSO: Who told you that?
     FWP: You did.
     CSO: Oh. Well, yeah.

Stop Trump hysteria.

Third in a series. There is desperation out there and the anti-Trump rhetoric is white hot:
  • Horrific venom spews from his mouth -- Janet Allon, AlterNet, 8/22/15.
  • Inspires horrors -- Janet Allon, AlterNet, 8/22/15.
  • Used provoking or reproachful words – Paul David Miller, The Federalist, 8/24/15.
  • Refused to apologize – Paul David Miller, The Federalist, 8/24/15.
  • Openly boasted in the Republican presidential debate in early August that “I have taken advantage of the laws of this country,” to further his business interests, which is a good description of fraud – Paul David Miller, The Federalist, 8/24/15.
  • Battled lawsuits from students at Trump University who have accused him of fraud – Paul David Miller, The Federalist, 8/24/15. The horror.
  • Openly spoke of purchasing influence with U.S. government officials with campaign contributions – Paul David Miller, The Federalist, 8/24/15. The horror.
  • Happily participated in a broken, corrupt system – Paul David Miller, The Federalist, 8/24/15.
  • "[T]urned cruelty and verbal abuse towards employees into a reality TV show, popularizing employer arrogance and coarsening the workplace" – Paul David Miller, The Federalist, 8/24/15 (link omitted).
  • "[R]epeatedly called all politicians 'stupid,' and president Obama 'incompetent'” – Paul David Miller, The Federalist, 8/24/15. Say that it is not so!
  • "[D]ismissed John McCain’s military service and mocked his five years’ of captivity in North Vietnam" – Paul David Miller, The Federalist, 8/24/15.
  • "[T]he walking embodiment of conduct unbecoming a gentleman. He violates this article every time he opens his mouth, especially when he speaks of women." – Paul David Miller, The Federalist, 8/24/15. Every darn time.
  • Military wouldn’t let him in – Paul David Miller, The Federalist, 8/24/15.
  • "If he were in ROTC, he wouldn’t graduate." – Paul David Miller, The Federalist, 8/24/15.
  • "No soldier would follow Trump into battle, and no officer would give him loyalty." – Paul David Miller, The Federalist, 8/24/15. Not one.
  • "[A] vulgar, crass, ungentlemanly frat boy who gleefully participates in, and perpetuates, the corruption and degeneracy of American politics." – Paul David Miller, The Federalist, 8/24/15.
  • "He coarsens public life, and he is unqualified to command the finest military in the world." – Paul David Miller, The Federalist, 8/24/15.
  • “This kind of [Trump] garbage only appeals to the hard core … while alienating the soft middle that we must win in order to take the presidency.” – U/I Iowa Republican quoted by Howard Kurtz, FoxNews, 8/24/15.
  • Trump’s bombastic style, and occasionally over-the-top pronouncements – Kurtz, FoxNews, 8/24/15.
  • Brags about buying and selling politicians – Rand Paul, Daily Caller, 8/23/15.
  • "A fake conservative, because he has been on every side of every issue in the last five years." – Rand Paul, Daily Caller, 8/23/15.
  • A fake, bully, empty suit – Rand Paul, Daily Caller, 8/23/15.
  • Off-color remarks about women and minorities – Justin Gest, Reuters, 8/24/15.
  • A "wrecking ball” – Lindsey Graham.
  • The Bouffant Bruiser – Philip Bump, Washington Post, 8/27/15.
  • Unelectable – Roger Ailes, Breitbart, 8/25/15.
  • Talks about China “the way Hitler used to talk about the Jews” – Bill Maher, Breitbart, 8/28/15 (Most Scurrilous Comment Award for August 2015).
Some insight into this anti-Trump hysteria:
Cuckservatives both here and in Western Europe have erected a cordon sanitaire around a more authentic Right. They continue to attack it as unacceptably populist or even “fascist” as they are doing now with Trump. They are joined by both major corporations and the entire force of the cultural Left who work together to vilify and marginalize those who don’t make the ideological cut.[1]
Donald Trump has single-handedly upset the applecart of official blather about immigration, the style of diction that Steve Sailer has called, quote, "comically mercenary fraud covered up by pious cant." The apples are rolling all over the street now, and the faithful minions of Chambers of Commerce racketeers, foreign governments, globalist bankers, and ethnic lobbyists are scurrying and squealing all over trying to get them back in the cart.[2]
[1]  "Jean Jaures And Donald Trump: A New Dissident Right Taking Shape In France And America?" By Paul Gottfried,, 8/22/15.
[2] "Ann Coulter vs. Bill Maher, Luis Gutierrez, Some Black Lady And A Bernie Sanders Rally Audience…Guess Who Won?..." By John Derbyshire,, 8/21/15.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Quickies: From The “I Wept That I Had No Shoes” Files

     Have you ever felt that you have troubles? Weights on your body, mind, or soul that test you to your breaking point? A near irrepressible need to cry out to all the world for relief, succor, or at least some sympathy?

     Most of us have, I’d warrant. Time was, we were supposed to be strong. We were supposed to remember always that there are people who’ve got it a lot worse. If you’re an American, that’s almost provably true.

     I was feeling sorry for myself over a particular problem of mine – no, you aren’t going to hear about it – just a couple of hours ago. Then I started chatting with a relatively recent friend, a lovely, intelligent, multitalented, exceedingly charitable and personable young woman still on the sweet side of forty.

     She’s been married for sixteen years.
     Her job causes her nearly constant pain.
     She goes “home” exhausted, six days a week.
     The quote marks are because “home” is her in-laws’ house.
     Another young couple lives there, too: six adults and two minor kids in a three-bedroom house.
     She has a young son – 7 years old -- whom she loves dearly.
     She gets no help caring for him from anyone.
     Her husband hates his job as a “music therapist.”
     He comes home full of bitterness and recriminations every night.
     Yet that’s the field he trained for, and he’s good for nothing else.
     He takes it out by spending recklessly; that’s why they live with his parents.
     And he’s refused for nearly a year to touch his beautiful, sweet natured, endlessly tolerant and forgiving wife – my friend.

     It got to be too much for her today. She had to talk to someone about it. I was the someone.

     I’ve heard things worse than that, of course. I’ve heard about episodes of marital brutality as bad as you can imagine. Yet I can’t help but be appalled that such injustice should be the lot of a sweet, dutiful, innocent young woman.

     I know, I know: Only she can solve her problems. Not that I wouldn’t love to lend a hand if it were possible.

     Thank God for all your blessings.
     Cherish those whom you love.
     Do your best to be kind.
     Find joy in each hour.
     And pray.

If This Goes On Part 2: Further Thoughts

     As I noted in the previous essay -- and yes, I did get a ton of email accusing me of everything from racism to genocidal inclinations – sometimes a “trend” is merely a mental construct. Such a construct arises from incomplete or selective vision. No one’s vision is complete, and quite likely everyone who’s ever lived or will live selects which developments he’ll deem significant and which ones he’ll elect to ignore.

     No less a thinker than Thomas Sowell has called our attention to the danger of extrapolating without plumbing causative agencies:

     [I]f the temperature has risen by 10 degrees since dawn today, an extrapolation will show that we will all be burned to a crisp before the end of the month, if this trend continues. Extrapolations are the last refuge of a groundless argument. In the real world everything depends on where we are now, at what rate we are moving, in what direction, and – most important of all – what is the specific nature of the process generating the numbers being extrapolated. [From The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy]

     Mark Twain made the same point in a more humorous fashion:

     In the space of one hundred and seventy-six years the Lower Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. That is an average of a trifle over one mile and a third per year. Therefore, any calm person, who is not blind or idiotic, can see that in the Old O├Âlitic Silurian Period, just a million years ago next November, the Lower Mississippi River was upwards of one million three hundred thousand miles long, and stuck out over the Gulf of Mexico like a fishing rod. And by the same token any person can see that seven hundred and forty-two years from now the Lower Mississippi will be only a mile and three quarters long, and Cairo and New Orleans will have joined their streets together, and be plodding comfortably along under a single mayor and a mutual board of aldermen. There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact. [From Life On The Mississippi]

     Thus, in extrapolating the rising tide of black violence and rejection of the constraints of the law, I might be ignoring important causative processes which would, if properly understood, invalidate my extrapolation to an all-out racial cleansing. So let’s spend a few words on possible countervailing processes to my nightmare scenario.

     Significant videos have been posted, in the wake of both the Ferguson and Baltimore rioting, that showed black women condemning the lawlessness of other blacks. One of those videos showed a mother figuratively dragging her son home after discovering his involvement in the chaos. Black figures of national standing have been reported as condemning all such race-based disorder. So persons such as the odious Louis Farrakhan and Al Sharpton don’t have the megaphone to themselves.

     Are the media scales balanced? I don’t think so. The Left’s beloved Narrative of racial oppression still commands the heights. Nevertheless it is important that we note that The Narrative is not without opposition.

     Many commentators have expounded on the seeming death of the rule of law – i.e., the concept that invalidates personal identity, wealth, and position as qualifiers to the legality of one’s deeds. If these commentators are reaching any audience other than the already-like-minded, they might have a salutary effect. However, it’s difficult to know whether that’s the case, even after a change in public opinion and attitudes can be detected.

     A rising fraction of Americans are opting to go armed when in public. More, a rising fraction of the states and major municipalities are easing their requirements and restrictions on doing so. Armed societies tend toward public order; the probable price for public lawlessness being obviously too high. Those regions that have made it easier to go armed have benefited markedly in reduced rates of crime of all sorts.

     That having been said, the largest of America’s cities retain their hostile laws and attitudes toward the armed citizen. However, the contrast those cities make with the more firearm-friendly municipalities could eventually have an effect on the laws of the former, to say nothing of the effect on the re-election prospects of anti-firearms-rights politicians.

     The immediate aftermath of the Trayvon Martin / George Zimmerman incident was marked by a decline in the acceptability of “neighborhood watch” arrangements. Apparently, the prospect of public denunciation and legal jeopardy merely for guarding one’s neighborhood deterred some Americans from participating in neighborhood self-protection agreements. However, while that decline was widely noted in the Main Stream Media, we haven’t heard about more recent trends in such things. My own district of Long Island, New York appears to have returned to its previous approval of the neighborhood watch...if, indeed, that approval ever declined at all.

     Finally, we have seen armed squads of the Oath Keepers patrolling districts where racially-based rioting has occurred. Despite the disapproval of the “authorities,” their presence appears to have exerted a calming influence on those districts...and a hefty fraction of the Oath Keepers seen on such patrols have been black. The effect on young black males, the most common perpetrators of race-based rioting, is difficult to estimate.

     Do the above influences and observable developments indicate that all will soon be well? I would say not. They strike me as being constructive but insufficient. It will take more than the countervailing words and actions we’ve seen to date, and there’s no guarantee that more will arrive.

     Localities with significant Negro populations, especially those in urban and semi-urban districts, would be well advised to beware. Current racial animosities and tensions suggest that it won’t take much to touch off riots such as those that have afflicted Baltimore and Ferguson. Moreover, we’ve had it demonstrated to us that the police aren’t guaranteed to act swiftly or decisively to quell an outbreak of mass violence. Much will depend on the political dynamics of the afflicted district, especially the alignments and characters of the persons in high office.

     No matter what might eventuate, it will always be the case that each of us is his first and most reliable defender...possibly the only one. It would be well to keep that in mind.

Signs of the times.

  • Pro-communist, pro-Muslim, undocumented, constitutionally-unqualified freak still president of the United States of America.[1]
  • Lesbian author gets papal blessing...[2]
  • Black homosexual loser kills two, injures one because of bruised ego, desire for revenge.[3]
  • Homo Fergusoniens riots flare over death of black thief one year ago.[4]
  • U.S. southern border still wide open to third-world invaders after 30+ years.[5]
  • British whites in the Superdome targeted for violence by blacks in 2005.[6]
  • Sydney, Australia Schools Becoming Anglo Ghettos.[7]
  • France Prepares for Mass Unrest, Radicalized Immigrants Taking Over Cities.[8]
  • "Black Lives Matter" blacks horrified by idea that white lives matter.[9]
  • Jorge Ramos: “Trump Offers Horror, A White Utopia Without Migrants.”[10]
  • Pope calls unbridled capitalism dung of the devil.[11]
  • Unbridled capitalism: Venezuela’s Food Shortages Trigger Long Lines, Hunger and Looting.[12]
  • Universal offering money for private security for theaters during the opening weekend for “Straight Outta Compton.”[13]
  • Farrakhan calls for 10,000 fearless black Koranic rataliators to "solve" problem of oppressor whites selling blacks killer hamburgers.[14]
  • PAPER: Urine in San Francisco streets corroding metal light poles...[15]

[1] Rumored.
[2] Drudge.
[5] Reports.
[6] Stuff Black People Don't Like .
[7] Gates of Vienna.
[8] Gates of Vienna.
[9] CNN.
[10] Gates of Vienna.
[11] CNN.
[12] Gates of Vienna.
[13] Taki's Magazine.
[14] Breitbart.
[15] Drudge.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

If This Goes On

     An early Robert A. Heinlein novella with the above title described an American theocracy that was eventually brought down in a violent revolution. I have no idea whether the young Heinlein was subject to influences that might have predisposed him to believe that such a future was probable. However, the Afterword to his collection Revolt in 2100, in which that novella appeared, suggests that he did think it plausible at least.

     No, that future didn’t arrive. Instead, the United States has turned in the opposite direction: secular and hedonistic. But Heinlein wasn’t the only writer to explore the idea of an American theocracy. Michael Flynn, whose work has often been compared with Heinlein’s, sketched such a future in his The Nanotech Chronicles. If he was guided by presentiments like Heinlein’s, he gave no indication of it.

     As usual, I’m sort of skirting my point here, so I’ll put it right out in the open:

Many trends are merely mental artifacts.

     One can “assemble” such a “trend” by choosing what to look at and what to ignore, which your detractors will call “cherry-picking” the news. However, the counterpoised effect is just as important:

Many who deny a trend simply refuse to see it.

     And inasmuch as some trends are pretty BLEEP!ing scary, the urge to take refuge in I-don’t-see-it denial can be very strong.

     The previous 250 words are prefatory. I see a trend in motion. It’s beginning to look to me like an avalanche. And I don’t like what it portends. But I’ll allow that I could be wrong; it’s the absolute requirement of intellectual honesty. In fact, I want to be wrong. So in reading what follows, please, Gentle Reader, do your best to:

  • Refrain from an emotional response;
  • Focus on the available data;
  • If you don’t see it, tell me so and why.

     We begin.

     The day had worn him down. His prior case, the fifty-seventh since he’d reached his desk that morning, had just been dragged weeping from the office, but he could not rest. He was behind his quota. The ships were already behind their sailing schedules. He had to plow onward.
     He pressed the button on his phone console that signaled to the pen outside that he was ready for his next case. The green indicator light over his office door went dark and the yellow one lit. Barely a minute had passed when the door opened and two husky guards brought him number fifty-eight. As they closed the door behind them, the yellow light above it was extinguished and the red one lit.
     This one was female. She looked aged beyond her natural count of years, though the stress of the upheavals could do that to anyone.
     The guards sat her none too gently in the restraint chair, secured her shackles to the chair’s hard points, and laid her paperwork on his desk before stepping back to line his office doorway. He reviewed the short description of her status and noted the contents of the check box. He’d seen it checked fifty-three times that day. This made fifty-four.
     She’ll have two options. No others.
     He steeled himself and faced her squarely. She seemed unable to meet his gaze.
     “Have you been informed about what happens here...” He glanced at her form again. Her given name was one of the trendy sort that he found too challenging to pronounce. “...Miss Jones?”
     She shook her head, but remained mute.
     “I’m your routing officer. You and I have the responsibility for determining the next stage of your life. I’m constrained by the law, but you will have a choice, though your choices are rather limited. The person who limited them was you.”
     He picked up the form and waved it at her. “Do you know what this paper says about you?”
     She sniffed and shook her head.
     “Were you given a chance to read it?”
     “Can’t read,” she said.
     “Then I’ll read it to you. ‘Miss Jones is 34 years old and a single mother of two sons. Son Tyrell was killed at age 18 during a police raid of a crack den. Son James was serving a life sentence for a gang-related murder when the Sterilization Orders came down. He was 16 at the time of his execution. Miss Jones has never been self-supporting. She tests positive for cocaine, syphilis, and hepatitis B.’”
     He looked directly into her eyes. “Do you deny any of that?”
     She would not answer.
     “Miss Jones, if I go by what’s on this paper, your future will not be a happy one. And I have to go by it unless you can convince me that what it says is not true.”
     “Can’t,” she said at last. “It’s right. Never got married. Got by on the welfare. My boys was bad asses. Baddest in the hood.” Her eyes rose to meet his at long last. They flashed in challenge. “Ain’t gonna cry over it. Any of it.”
     She thinks she’s hard. Maybe she is. She should hope so.
     “Miss Jones, if all this is true, then under the Separation Edicts, there are only two places you can go when you leave this room.” He rose and pointed toward his eastward window. Her gaze followed his gesture and lit on the giant ship that stood waiting in the harbor.
     “That,” he said, “is an exile ship. It’s one of your choices. If you choose it, it will take you to another continent, a place where you’ll be set free to live out your life as best you can. There are no whites there, no courts or prisons, and no welfare, either. And very little that you’d recognize from your life here in America.”
     She looked out at the giant vessel, plainly uncomprehending. Before the upheaval it had been a cargo carrier. On every trip it had ferried two hundred thousand tons of cargo in steel containers, each one filled with some item the residents of other lands valued, across the breadth of the Atlantic Ocean. Its holds had been refitted as row upon row of barred cells. Its next journey would convey ten thousand exiles to their new homeland. They would next see sunlight, if they saw it at all, when they debarked on the west coast of Africa, in the land that had once been called Liberia.
     Most of those exiles had been personally guilty of nothing. They’d merely abetted a race war. Some had promoted hatred of whites. Others, by their promiscuity and negligent parenting, had produced generation upon generation of parasites and violent predators. Still others had done nothing but subsist on the handouts of a too-generous society, indolently declining to add to its riches.
     Twenty-three of them had declined to board the ship.
     Far too many of them.
     “Are you willing to board that ship, Miss Jones?”
     She glowered at him sullenly. “Ain’t gettin’ on no ship.”
     “I see. Well, you do have another choice, but I can’t recommend it.” He nodded toward the door to the right of his desk. “It goes through that door.” He started to describe what took place on the other side of the door, stopped himself.
     It might be better if she didn’t know.
     “Would you like me to tell you about that second choice, Miss Jones?”
     She sneered and looked away. “Ain’t gettin’ on no ship.”
     “I need an answer, Miss Jones. Will you board, yes or no?”
     She shook her head.
     I suppose that’s good enough.
     He nodded to the guards. They released her shackles from the restraint chair and stepped back.
     “Then whenever you’re ready, just step through that door and close it behind you. You’ll be given instructions about what to do next.”
     She gave him one more contemptuous sneer and shuffled to the second door. The three men watched in silence as she stepped through it. As she closed it behind her, the green phase indicator above it went dark and the yellow one lit. A moment later the yellow gave way to red. The red light glowed for perhaps a minute before going out.
     “Sir?” one of the guards said. “Why didn’t you tell her?”
     He grimaced. “I thought it might be kinder this way.”
     The guard frowned. “Maybe.” He glanced out at the exile ship. “It sure as hell ain’t gonna be kind for them.” They stepped out the door through which they had entered.
     He lowered his face into his hands.
     I volunteered. I understood the necessity. I still do. But it’s harder than anything I’ve ever done.
     Colonel John MacKenzie had led troops into battle. His battalion had been the first into Monrovia, and had led its pacification. He’d killed men who’d been trying their best to kill him. He’d weathered it all and had come home to a wife who loved him unreservedly despite it all...who refused to let him doubt himself.
     The men I killed were armed. They went to war knowing the risks. Miss Jones wasn’t armed with anything worse than her attitude.
     He felt his tears rising again and sternly shoved them down.
     Those are for the men I led who died in honorable combat. Not for the Miss Joneses of the world. They brought this upon themselves even if they were too dull to know it.
     He pressed the button that would bring him number fifty-nine.

     MacKenzie reached his billet barely able to draw a breath. Estelle awaited him at the front door, as always. His condition was plain to her. She wrapped her arms around him and pressed him to her before he could step over the lintel.
     “I love you,” he muttered against her shoulder. Despite his efforts, a single deep sob escaped him.
     She stroked his hair and said nothing.
     Presently he said. “Mark Thorsten killed himself.”
     “I know,” she said. “I spent most of the day with Pam.” A pause. “She wasn’t surprised. She said...she said she saw it coming. John, will she be all right?”
     He looked at her in puzzlement. “Was she all right when you left her?”
     She frowned. “You know what I mean.”
     He grimaced. “I don’t know, Eppie. I hope so. If I hear anything to the contrary, I’ll...I don’t know. This is a first.”
     She nodded. “For all of us. How many today?”
     “A hundred twenty-six.”
     “How many...” Her voice caught briefly. “...for the other door?”
     “Forty-seven.” He shuddered. “I stopped telling them, Eppie. After the first twenty-three I just...stopped. I figured it would be kinder that way.”
     Her expression was as understanding and accepting as always. She nodded.
     “Would you like to, to get out for the evening?” he said. “We could go to—”
     She shook her head. “I’d rather stay home with you. Just in case know.”
     “Yes,” he said. “I know.”
     He took her hand, marveling afresh at the contrast between the lightness of her palm and the smooth jet of the opposite side. He brought that palm to his lips and kissed it tenderly.
     What a marvel. She knows what’s happening, and accepts it. She knows what I’ve been assigned to do, and accepts it. She doesn’t know why I and the others were chosen for this duty, yet she accepts it. She does know that except for having married me, she would be in that pen, awaiting her own disposition...and accepts it.
     “You’re my lifeline,” he said. “My tether to sanity in an insane time. Without you, I might do what Mark did.”
     She smiled sadly. “I know. It’s why you were chosen.”
     He peered at her. “Huh?”
     “Hadn’t you thought about it?” she said. “The Army has plenty of colonels. Some of them would enjoy doing what you do.” She stroked the sides of his face. “I’m the guarantee that you won’t...because you can’t.”
     “You do know,” he said wonderingly.
     “I always did, John. General Lapierre told me. Let’s have some dinner.”
     She took his hand and led him to their kitchen.

     Think it won’t happen, Gentle Reader? Think it can’t happen?

     I must disagree. It’s drawing nearer all the time. The indicators have never shone more garishly:

  • Trayvon Martin.
  • “Bryce Williams.”
  • Ferguson, Missouri.
  • Baltimore, Maryland.
  • The “knockout game.”
  • The New Black Panthers.
  • Black illegitimacy at 69%.
  • ”Flash mobs” of black teens.
  • Black racialists openly inciting violence against whites.
  • The many outbreaks of black-on-white violence chronicled by Colin Flaherty.
  • And the rising tide of sentiment among normally peaceable whites that we have had enough.

     If it happens, it will be horrible beyond measure. I don’t want it to happen. I fear it greatly. More people will die than have died in all of America’s wars together. But neither my fears nor anyone else’s will prevent it. Only a massive outbreak of good sense among American Negroes, most especially the willingness and determination to discipline their own and accept the verdicts of the judicial system when that discipline fails, can stave off the racial cleansing of the United States: the Separation Edicts and Sterilization Orders of the little story above.

     “Bryce Williams” described himself as a “powder keg.” His focus was wrong; it’s America that’s the powder keg. His murders seem to me to bring the match very close to the fuse. We can’t have much time or many chances left to avert the explosion.

     If I’m wrong, tell me I’m wrong...but tell me why. Convince me.

     And pray.

Mass deportation.

If a hundred people violate a just law, then the enforcement of the law against a hundred people is moral. Likewise, if a million people violate a just law, then the enforcement of the law against a million people is moral. And if eleven million people violate a just law, then the enforcement of the law against eleven million people is moral. Thus, if eleven million people (the most frequently cited number) are violating the United States' immigration laws, then the enforcement of the immigration laws, and the deportation of eleven million people, is moral.
"The Morality of Mass Deportation." By Paul Pauker, American Thinker, 8/24/15.


At the end of the day, ZIRP is really not even a monetary policy. In fact, it constitutes a giant, capricious transfer of income and wealth by an agency of the state
to borrowers and gamblers at the expense of savers and producers

Indeed, not a net dime of the massive $3.5 trillion of new liabilities created on the Fed’s balance sheet during that period ever escaped the canyons of Wall [Street].

* * * *

The truth is, the Fed’s endless blathering about its 2% inflation target is a colossal hoax. In the first place there is no evidence whatsoever that real output and wealth increase faster at 2.0% inflation than they do at 1.0%—-or at any inflation rate at all. In fact [notwithstanding?], the Fed’s claim that it is still well shy of achieving its inflation target is the overriding reason why it keeps shoving zero cost credit into the money market.

[Big snip discussing BLS fictitious construct called Owner’s Equivalent Rent (OER) to represent housing costs and showing that if "honest commercial data" are factored into the standard BLS "medicated" consumer price index a different inflation rate is evident.]

In short, it’s kind of hard to say that 45% inflation in 15 years is not enough. Yet the official CPI adjusted for an accurate housing inflation rate computes to 2.5% per annum.

* * * *

In truth, all of the Fed’s gumming about the so-called inflation shortfall is just ritual incantation. The real reason it doesn’t raise rates is that it fears that the first rate increase in nearly a decade will trigger a Wall Street hissy fit.
"Can Kickers United—–Why It’s Getting Downright Hazardous Out There." By David Stockman, 8/25/15.

Photo credits: The Smarter Wallet; Inbound Sales Network; Ghana Witch Doctor.

Oh yes we are.

That’s why the rest of the candidates should be scared. To get these crowds for Bush or Walker or Kasich, you would have to round up the people at gun point. Even then, you would
probably have to lock the gates to keep the people from fleeing the arena once the dreary dullard started talking. Those people at the Trump rally are not buying what the GOP is selling, even if they may not be sold on Trump as a candidate.[1]
The Z Man wrote a very good article about Trump and made a very good point about the "collapse of the middle," but even so he exhibits that "he's not a really serious candidate" condescension.

Is there any other candidate we DO agree with completely, for gosh sakes? And Trump is not a serious candidate but those other presidential wannabes ARE?!

How is it clear to every pundit but me that these other contenders

  1. are not mouthing platitudes and talking points,
  2. are not praying like hell that no one asks them a substantive question, and
  3. have a white paper in their back pockets on all major issues?

What's the Rubio (ineligible) position on Chinese currency manipulation? The Bush position on Agenda 21? The Kasich position on the Supreme Court's dishonest decision on Obamacare and sodomite "marriage"? The Graham position on voter ID? The Huckabee position on the undeclared war on Syria and demonization of Vladimir Putin? The Paul position on the Court's dishonest expansion of the Commerce Clause and Congress's complicity therein? The Cruz (ineligible) position on the incompatibility of Islam's death penalty for apostasy with the Constitution and with the oath of naturalization?

I like Kathleen's comment on this same article:

I’ve always said that Shrillary wasn’t going to be the nominee. Glad everyone’s catching up with me. So both parties are in chaos now. Good. Shoving Leftist big-government policies and open-border cultural suicide immigration down our collective throats has not had the desired reaction for the ruling class. Excuse us Great Unwashed peons as we vomit up this forced feeding. And that’s why Trump is popular. He’s a giant FU to the establishment wing of both parties.
Yes, indeed. That is what he is and may he live long and prosper.

Fisk all the other mealy-mouthed candidates who would turn white as a ghost at the mention of the words "deport them all!"

[1] "Something’s Happening Here." By The Z Man, 8/22/15.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Hugos 2015: Further Thoughts

     Well, that didn’t take long. But anyway...

     No doubt my Gentle Readers have noticed that three of the pieces linked in the post below are about the 2015 Hugo Awards and the huge foofaurauw that’s surrounded them for some weeks. The contretemps has concluded with a shameful display of petty spite as the “social justice warriors” banded together to ensure that no work, writer, or editor on the Sad Puppies’ nominations list would receive a Hugo. To this end, “No Award” dominated an unprecedented five categories – those categories in which all the nominees appeared on the Sad Puppies’ slate. Moreover, this year’s award winners have all been marked with an asterisk.

     In any other field in which notable accomplishments are celebrated, the asterisk means “There is something tainted or irregular about this award.” To the best of my knowledge, the first time the asterisk was applied to a major-league sport’s record book, it was to draw attention to Roger Maris’s not having broken Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record within 154 games – that is, the number of games Ruth had to hit his record 60 homers in 1927. And in point of fact, when 154 games had elapsed, Maris had only smacked 59 round-trippers.

     I was appalled. What about all the other changes to the game of baseball? There’d been quite a few since 1927, including changes to the balk rule and to what the pitcher is allowed to do to the ball before throwing it. The ball itself had been somewhat redesigned. Ball manufacture was far more regular than previously. Field maintenance had set new standards. New fields had sprung up, and the fences of older ones had been moved. Both pitchers and hitters were larger and better conditioned 34 years after Ruth set his record. The use of relievers had blossomed, whereas in 1927 the starting pitcher almost always finished the game.

     But no: Whereas all those other changes were discounted, the 154-game threshold was apparently considered paramount.

     The 2015 Hugos were asterisked on the presumption that “the unusual volume of votes” – well over 4000 in several categories – should somehow be distinguished from earlier years, when perhaps a thousand votes would be totaled. How could this be interpreted in any fashion but one: that the “insiders,” furious at having had their own tactic of “slate nominations” used by others, were determined to attach a mark of shame to 2015?

     Sarah Hoyt calls this “burning down the field in order to save it.” And indeed, that’s what the SJWs’ tactic has done. Henceforward, only someone entirely new to the science fiction genre will not know that the Hugos are awarded not on the basis of quality or accomplishment, but only to those works and practitioners that exhibit political correctness.

     Having not paid much attention to the Hugos for the past couple of decades, I only felt the precursor temblors to this eruption relatively recently. At any rate, it confirmed a thesis I’ve maintained for many years now:

Organizations are magnets for those who want power over others.


They who desire power above all other things will eventually get it.
After they have it, they’ll do whatever it takes to ensure that it cannot be taken from them.

     And so it is.

     What’s particularly poignant about this is that the speculative genres – science fiction and fantasy – are attracting growing patronage. In aggregate, those genres sell better than others, which has resulted in a new openness among publishing houses to SF and fantasy submissions. Writers eager to get a foot in Pub World’s door, who in previous years would not have considered SF or fantasy, have set their hands to such work. The effects on the field have been various, but overall lovers of speculative fiction can at least be pleased that their favorite genres have become “respectable.”

     I became a patron of the speculative genres as a young teen. I thrilled to the works of James Blish, Eric Frank Russell, Robert A. Heinlein, Robert Silverberg, Larry Niven, and the incomparable Jack Vance. My reading habit, already fairly firmly established, approached the magnitude of an addiction. Few events loomed as large on my horizon as the approach of a new issue of Analog or The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

     It disturbed me, even then, to have some ignoramus dismiss F&SF as “for children” or “not serious.” What constitutes serious fiction for adults? I would ask. The usual response was nonspecific, for a reason I had yet to learn: then as now, most adults do not read books.

     It’s been quipped that the true definition of “a classic” in fiction is “a book that everyone wants to have read, but that no one wants to read.” There is much truth to this.

     The speculative genres had been dismissed for decades as “for children” and “not serious” specifically because they require imagination: the ability to immerse oneself in a story major elements of which are not present in our mundane surroundings. This has given rise to the epithet “escapist.” While the notion that many aficionados of F&SF read those genres to escape the humdrum is not unfounded, the larger point – that readers of fiction primarily want to be entertained by a good story well told – is effaced. But good stories well told are uncommon these days, as is every other sort of originality. Worse, one can ruin the best story by larding it over with “message writing:” typically the insertion of unrelenting political polemics.

     Such polemics are the besetting vice of the social-justice crowd.

     Time passes. Young folks grow older. Their obligations multiply, their bills mount, and the road goes ever onward. I’ve known many changes over the years. Among them was the discovery, back in the mid-Nineties, that most F&SF published by conventional houses had become overbearingly polemic in nature. It was getting harder and harder to find material I enjoyed reading. Horror of horrors, my propensity for finishing any book I started lapsed as I found that in many a novel I’d purchased in all innocence, the author had penned a political tract rather than a good, involving story. All too often I found myself echoing an old Dorothy Parker review: “This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly, but rather hurled with great force.”

     In part, it was the fruit of the F&SF explosion of those years. It was also the fruit of my habit of purchasing just about any book that said Hugo Award or Nebula Award on its cover. The invasion of the awards mechanisms by left-wing polemicists had already penetrated deep into both.

     We learn slowly, but we learn. I learned to eschew the award winners – to be guided principally by word-of-mouth from other aficionados, and similar unofficial indications of quality. I have no doubt that many other readers have resolved to do the same. Should present trends continue, the effect would eventually invalidate the Hugo and Nebula as guideposts to high-quality F&SF. Those trophies would still make nice mantelpiece decor items, but they would lose all power to attract readers to the books so “honored.”

     Perhaps that’s what the social-justice warriors really want. Their dog-in-the-manger behavior at the 2015 Worldcon could be interpreted that way...but I’m not convinced that their motives are that innocent. We can see from the parallel “GamerGate” controversy that they regard fun as an illegitimate reason for doing anything.

     Their worlds are not ones I care to visit.

This Retirement Thing Is More Complicated Than I Thought

     The day promises to be extremely busy – never fear, it’s mostly good stuff, or at least necessary stuff – so just in case I don’t get back to the keyboard before the morrow, have some links to worthwhile rants on several subjects:

     ...and for those of you who’ve expressed curiosity about how we live here at the Fortress of Crankitude, here are a few snapshots:

     First, our family dining room, where all the really interesting discussions take place:

     Here’s a shot of two of our more influential members doing some pre-dinner “lobbying:”

     We’re so locally notorious that the C.S.O. routinely goes “stealth shopping.” One day she hadn’t had quite enough sleep:

     Zoe, despite her youth, has already taken an interest in sports:

     Finally, when we just have to get away from it all, we retire to our retreat in the country:

     Back later, I hope.

Modern socialism.

The deliberate policies of Western leaders to destroy their own countries by means of lunatic mass immigration in aid of "multiculturalism" are astonishing. Nothing like it has ever been seen.

Tiberge has an interesting take on this as a comment to a 2011 article on Dominique Strauss-Kahn's adventure in New York. She makes the point that Diana West makes in her book American Betrayal, namely, that socialism and communism are deeply entrenched in the West and they rule.

We are a long way from Burkean conservatism in the U.S. and the ruling class is 100% in favor of the constitutional destruction and statist transformation that have been the hallmark characteristics of the last 70 years:



Since at least the 60's/70's that politicians have been promising to halt immigration! POLITICIANS ARE COHORTS OF CAPITALISTS! CAPISTALISTS WANT MASS IMMIGRATION TO SCREW PEOPLE'S SALARIES, ETC.


@ anonymous

Everything you say is doubly true of Socialists. Today, there is no national capitalism, geared to the enrichment of a nation. It is global capitalism, dependent on vast waves of immigrants moving around, taking jobs and welfare subsidies, and, through the weapons of anti-racist policies and political correctness, driving fear into the hearts of anyone who criticizes them. If you don't like immigrants, you are a racist.

The authentic nationalists/patriots/traditionalists are now relegated to a lepers' colony. Socialist capitalism is prevailing and DSK is a good example.

Capitalism, in and of itself, is not connected to a political ideology, but in earlier times, Socialists took an anti-capitalist stand in the name of equality of distribution of wealth. But now that has changed. It is the Socialists who hold the power to distribute wealth. In order to survive they have to silence and disable the older order, based on individual effort and private enterprise.

Socialist policies are not necessarily evil when they are geared to the needs of a specific nation, provided there is enough free enterprise, freedom of speech and personal motivation to self-improvement. But when they are geared to the destruction of that nation and to population replacement, then they become evil.

There are of course many on the "Right" who also participating in this dismantling of the older order because they want cheap labor. In view of the general civilizational crisis, I cannot regard these people as authentic conservatives or even as capitalists in the older sense. They are "libertarians" in the sense of "greed is good."

Comments on "A Statue for Steven Lane?" By Tiberge, Gallia Watch, 5/20/11.

The diseased West.

The most relevant question is why one government after another has chosen to spend Swedish taxpayers' money on citizens of other countries. While Swedish students take a plunge in the PISA tests, 60% of the welfare benefits go to immigrants who make up about 15% of the population. Healthcare and other social services are deteriorating, according to many Swedes, while violence is exponentially increasing. When more and more Swedes feel that they are being badly treated in their own country, the politicians have created a powder keg ready to explode at any minute.
"The IKEA Murders: Sweden in Crisis." By Ingrid Carlqvist, The Gatestone Institute, 8/23/15 (links omitted).

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

For The Lonely Young Men Among Us...

     An engineer explains it all for you:

     Be warned!

Betting On Longshots: An Investing Approach For The Prudent And Humble

     Everybody knows what a longshot investment is, right? A proposition with a poor probability of paying off, but which would pay off big if it were to pay off at all, right? So betting on longshots is the opposite of “playing the odds,” at least as traditionally understood, right? It’s just a way to go broke dreaming of riches you’ll never collect, right? Right?

     Wrong. At least, not always and everywhere right. And I shall tell you why.

     He who plays the odds – i.e, who places his bets on the most likely result of some process – is grist for the mill of the odds-makers. His bets are the stabilizing ballast for the field, for two reasons:

  1. There will always be more of his sort of bet than any other sort, and often more than all the others taken together.
  2. His bets are, on average, the largest ones made on the process.

     Thus, the play-the-odds bettors are the ones most important in determining the odds, and thus the payoffs, for all the possible outcomes. For any process with a strong element of chance involved, the total payoffs the process will offer will sum to no more than the total of all the bets.

     It is thus a natural consequence that the play-the-odds bettor will, on average, lose money.

     These observations are germane to many different betting scenarios, including the decision to commit money to the equities markets. In those markets, the odds-makers are the financial gurus, with emphasis on the popular ones. No one watches those commentators more closely than the short-term pseudo-investor we call the speculator.

     Speculation differs from investment in that it largely disregards the fundamentals of the equities involved. That is, it bears little or no relation to what the involved companies are doing while the speculators’ bets mature. It’s almost entirely based on the speculator’s anticipation of what other investors and speculators are likely to do, and the effect that aggregate behavior will have on the prices of the relevant equities. To be a successful speculator, therefore, requires more knowledge about the behavior of investors and speculators than about the activities of publicly traded corporations.

     Needless to say, a successful speculator is about as likely to share his knowledge of such matters as I am to convert to Scientology. His is that rare sort of knowledge whose value diminishes as it’s shared.

     Some years ago, when the markets were hot, hot, hot and seemingly everyone in America was eager to “get in on the action,” financial gurus were thick on the ground, vending their advice to anyone who’d listen. Many Americans learned the hard way that under such circumstances, becoming part of the herd that follows such advice is a great way to walk right off a cliff. The great speculators know it. They knew it then, too.

     Which is why respecting the value of longshots is so important to the man who can’t fly.

     In the investment market, a longshot is deemed such not because its odds of paying off are absolutely, objectively low, but because market behavior has a time-horizon associated with it: i.e., the time interval between one’s investment and an acceptable positive return. That horizon varies from investor to investor, but each of us has one. For example, I wouldn’t bet on an equity whose payoff date is likely to arrive fifty years in the future; given my age, such a payoff would have no value to me. I want a payoff within my usable lifespan: probably no more than ten years from the present day. But I’m a long-range investor; a speculator’s time-horizon will be much, much nearer: typically within two months or less.

     That difference in time-horizons distinguishes the “speculator’s longshot” from an equity for the investor with “staying power.” Many an equity is a “speculator’s longshot,” in that it has little chance of paying off acceptably within a speculator’s time-horizon – and speculators are uniquely sensitive to transaction and opportunity costs, which set a greatest lower bound beneath acceptable returns. But among such equities are some that will appeal to the long-range investor, who’s willing to wait longer than the speculator for a return.

     Therein lies the psychological difference between investors and speculators. It also hints at how to “bet the longshots” in a fashion that has a good chance of reaping strong positive gains.

     If you’re new to equities investment, two preparatory steps are mandatory:

  • Decide how much you can risk comfortably; i.e, without endangering your ability to meet your responsibilities acceptably. We’ll call this amount $P.
  • Decide on your personal time-horizon, which we’ll call T years. T should be no less than three, and probably no more than ten.

     Once those steps are behind you, you can think rationally about investing. The next steps are:

  1. Select a small group of publicly traded companies. Make them ones about which you have a reasonable prospect of learning a great deal.
  2. Study the hell out of each company – its fundamentals, its behavior over the past T years, and any announced plans. Disregard with prejudice any that speculators have targeted over that interval.
  3. Determine whether the popular financial gurus consider any of your selected stocks worthy of discussion: if they do, pass it by; if they don’t, it might be worthy of a bet.
  4. Decide for yourself whether any of those equities offer the prospect of adequate returns over the next T years.
  5. Do not share your knowledge or decisions with anyone, including your spouse or Significant Other. (No, don’t share it with me, either.)

     Once you’ve assembled a small – no more than ten – group of equities that you believe will pay off within T years, you’re ready to partition your $P among them. This is a matter of “feel” rather than analytical rigor. Some people will prefer to bet slightly more heavily on the stocks with potentially larger payoffs; others will simply divide $P by the number of stocks under discussion, allocating evenly to all. In either case, you can be assured that you’ve created a portfolio that short-termers and speculators would dismiss, which is the single most important consideration.

     Now comes the hardest part: Lock ‘em up. Keep your eyes on your selections, but your hands off them, until one or more stocks delivers the desired return. When one does, sell it and put the money in the bank. When T years have elapsed, liquidate everything you still hold. If you want to “play again,” that’s the time to do so.

     What I’ve outlined is similar to the “value” approach to investing, albeit more explicitly herd-averse. It’s how you bet on what others would consider longshots. It doesn’t guarantee success, but it limits your exposure and armors you against the anxiety that short-termers and speculators feel during significant market fluctuations. More, it exploits a bit of knowledge that short-termers don’t use:

     Time is the most powerful force in finance. Get it on your side.

     Of course, the most important element of the above investing strategy is the avoidance of a short-term mentality. It’s that mentality that leads to classifying many stocks as longshots.

     Douglas Casey, whose intelligence and expertise I respect, adopts a different approach in his Crisis Investing For the Rest of the ‘90s. Casey suggests picking ten stocks, each of which has at least a 1-in-10 chance of at least a tenfold return on investment over the course of a typical business cycle (2.5 to 5 years). While Casey’s approach has considerable merit, very few of us have enough access to knowledge about even one company to predict a tenfold increase in its value with 10% confidence. If you do, may God bless and keep you...and your stock selections, too.

     Note that Casey and others of sound judgment are equally adamant about not following the herd over the cliff. The herd is the speculator’s lunch. A speculator plays off the predictability of the herd, which flows from the popularity of the popular financial gurus. He times his moves to buy and sell before it gets fully into motion. Don’t be one of his appetizers.

     Finally, you might be asking “why this subject today?” Given the fluctuations in the market these past few days, what else would you think is on most people’s minds? The presidential campaign? Get serious!


FWP: Say, maybe we should host one of these.
CSO: Are you sure the town would let us?

FWP: The hell with the town. They’re popular. And it would reduce our overload of books.
CSO: But it encourages people to put books in, too!

FWP: Well, yeah, but...
CSO: Besides, the way things are trending, we’d come home one day to find a family of Salvadorans in it.

FWP: I hadn’t considered that.
CSO: Do they sell one with an integrated security system?
FWP: I’ll check it out.

What the far left stands for.

Have to wonder if Progressives are the biggest racists in history. They kill urban jobs through
overregulation and demanding economically unfeasible minimum wage hikes; they bring in millions of illegal immigrants to take jobs and drive wages down; they seemingly can't abort enough black babies; and they wage war on the police so that the cops are no longer able or willing to do their jobs, which of course leads to more black on black violence. Take a drive through your local ghetto: THAT is the result of decades of Progressive policies.
~ Comment by Hillarious! on "Some DPD Officers Say Unfair Discipline, Stress Partly Behind Slower Response." By J.D. Miles, CBSDFW.COM, 8/24/15.

Gold standard for Latino immigration enforcement.

San Antonio, Venezuela

The Reuters caption for this photo reads:

A woman stands in front of the ruins of houses of people who do not possess proper documentation to live in Venezuela, which have been demolished by Venezuelan officials, at San Antonio in Tachira state, Venezuela, August 24, 2015. Venezuela has stepped up deportations of Colombians, in some cases separating children from their parents, since President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of two border crossings last week, Colombia's migration office said on Monday.[1]
Let's see:
  • Demolish homes of illegal immigrants? Check.
  • Stepped up deportations? Check.
  • Separate children of illegals from parents? Check.
  • Border closure? Check.
Turning our wistful gaze north then, is it safe to say that if the U.S. government did this (absurd thought), 100% of all faculty lounges in every university in the country would be a scene of hysterical outrage? Palestinian pastries would be clenched into a soggy mass and spilled half-caff lattes would be beside every chair.

There would be pandemonium and murderous rage at the offices of the RNC, the DNC, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, La Raza, the ACLU, the National Lawyers Guild, the ADL, the SPLC, MEChA, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, and Google. FoxNews and the Wall Street Journal would implode in a paroxysm of helpless rage. National Review would split a gut. Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Newt Gingrich, and Paul Ryan would sob hysterically.

Adelson, Soros, and the Koch brothers would wonder what happened to the bribes they paid to all the politicians to keep our borders wide open. Had Gelbaum's bribe to the Sierra Club been a waste of good money?

Did their checks bounce?!

[1] Photo gallery. By Carlos Eduardo Ramirez, Reuters, 8/24/15.