Archive for December, 2013

Handling China

Handle’s epic walk-through of Edward Luttwak on the rise of China is simply magnificent. If the Chinese foreign policy establishment doesn’t put it on a study list, the world is a more dangerous place than it needs to be. It says impressive things about Luttwak that his work is able to prompt commentary of such astounding quality. (Yes, it’s long, but you have to read it.)

As a Sinophile, and even (far more reservedly) a sympathizer with the post-Mao PRC regime, it’s disturbing to me how convincing I find this analysis. China really could blow itself up, along with a big chunk of the world’s sole truly dynamic region, by mis-playing its excellent foreign policy hand (in pretty much exactly the way Handle lays out). In particular, its ability to avoid the disastrous course of Germany’s rise is the most pressing question of the age, and the signs so far are not remotely encouraging. Having dug itself quite unnecessarily into a trap of increasingly embittered anti-China balancing, 2013 looks very clearly to have been the worst year since the beginning of Reform and Opening for Chinese geo-strategic decision making.

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December 20, 2013admin 46 Comments »
FILED UNDER :World
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T-Shirt slogans (#5)

Provided by Survivingbabel (on this thread):

the Demiurge is other people

December 19, 2013admin 10 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Arcane , Slogans
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Join the Dots

Walter Russell Mead muses on identitarian blood-letting.

First the sermon:

The eastern Congo and the African Great Lakes are remote places, and many people might wonder why Americans or the world at large should care much about what goes on there. The short answer is that the people who live there are made in God’s image as much as anybody else and they are infinitely dear to him, and to remain indifferent to the suffering of people there is to fail in our clear duty to our Creator and to some degree to betray our own humanity.

Then the analysis:

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December 19, 2013admin 19 Comments »
FILED UNDER :World
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The Red Pill

Morpheus: I imagine that right now, you’re feeling a bit like Alice. Hm? Tumbling down the rabbit hole?
Neo: You could say that.
Morpheus: I see it in your eyes. You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees because he is expecting to wake up. Ironically, that’s not far from the truth. Do you believe in fate, Neo?
Neo: No.
Morpheus: Why not?
Neo: Because I don’t like the idea that I’m not in control of my life.
Morpheus: I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I’m talking about?
Neo: The Matrix.
Morpheus: Do you want to know what it is?
Neo: Yes.
Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work… when you go to church… when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Morpheus: [leans in closer to Neo] That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch. A prison for your mind.
[pause]
Morpheus: Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. [Opens a pillbox, empties the contents into his palms, and outstretches his hands] This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill [opens his right hand, to reveal a translucent blue pill], the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill [opens his left hand, revealing a similarly translucent red pill], you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. [Neo reaches for the red pill] Remember: all I’m offering is the truth. Nothing more.

— That’s the Wachowski brothers version of Gnostic Platonism, and it gets everything almost exactly right. Plato’s Allegory of the Cave (in Book VII of The Republic) tells precisely the same story, but with a cheaper cast, inferior special effects, and less drugs. It’s not surprising that the Dark Enlightenment tends to stick with the re-make, as it goes Neo(reactionary).

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December 18, 2013admin 91 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Arcane , Horror , Philosophy
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Quote notes (#50)

Some painful comparisons at the Real Clear World blog:

China has officially joined the “Moon Landing Club,” which, until Saturday, was the exclusive domain of the United States and the former Soviet Union. China’s rover will now putter around, doing what such missions are typically designed to do: taking lots of pictures and analyzing lunar dirt, more scientifically referred to as regolith.

It may be tempting for Americans to think, “Been there, done that.” However, China is now envisioning the very same sort of ambitious megaprojects that the U.S. once dreamt of more than 50 years ago, when President John F. Kennedy urged America to “commit itself to achieving the goal … of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.” For instance, China hopes to mine the moon for natural resources and to use it as a staging ground for further space exploration, although some believe the former goal is unrealistic because the cost is likely to exceed the value of the materials.

Still, China’s wild-eyed aspirations are inspiring. It should make us yearn for the days when we, too, thought we could do anything. But those days now seem so long ago. Indeed, the latest Rasmussen poll finds that 52 percent of Americans think that our best days are behind us. What happened?

(This happened.)

ADDED: Glenn Reynolds on the potential for lunar property stakes (the 1967 Outer Space Treaty shouldn’t be much of a problem). “If, like me, you’d like to see a gold rush on the moon — or, at least, a Helium-3 rush — then a Chinese claim might be just the thing to get it started.”

December 17, 2013admin 23 Comments »
FILED UNDER :World
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In the Mouth of Madness

A prompt by @hugodoingthings to explore the spook-dense crypts of Roko’s Basilisk (which, inexplicably, has never latched before) led straight to this enthralling RationalWiki account. The whole article is  gripping, but the following short paragraphs stand out  for their extraordinary dramatic intensity:

Roko’s basilisk is notable for being completely banned from discussion on LessWrong, where any mention of it is deleted. Eliezer Yudkowsky, founder of LessWrong, considers the basilisk to not work, but will not explain why because he does not consider open discussion of the notion of acausal trade with possible superintelligences to be provably safe.

Silly over-extrapolations of local memes, jargon and concepts are posted to LessWrong quite a lot; almost all are just downvoted and ignored. But for this one, Yudkowsky reacted to it hugely, then doubled-down on his reaction. Thanks to the Streisand effect, discussion of the basilisk and the details of the affair soon spread outside of LessWrong. Indeed, it’s now discussed outside LessWrong frequently, almost anywhere that LessWrong is discussed at all. The entire affair constitutes a worked example of spectacular failure at community management and at controlling purportedly dangerous information.

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December 16, 2013admin 87 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Contagion , Horror , Templexity
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Sleigher

The enemies of Santa have no idea what they’re dealing with (via).

December 16, 2013admin 23 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Humor
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Abstract Horror (Note-1)

On twitter @SamoBurja has proposed the silence of the galaxy as an undeveloped horrorist topic. He’s right.

The absence of any signs of alien intelligence was first noted as a problem by Enrico Fermi in 1950. He found the gaping inconsistency between the apparent probability of widespread life in the cosmos and its obvious invisibility provocative to the point of paradox. “Where are they?” he asked. (Responses to this question, well represented in the Wikipedia references, have constituted a significant current of cosmological speculation.)

Among recent thinkers, Nick Bostrom has been especially dogged in pursuing the implications of the Fermi Paradox. Approaching the problem through systematic statistical ontology, he has shown that it suggests a ‘thing’ — a ‘Great Filter’ that at some stage winnows down potential galactic civilizations to negligible quantities. If this filtering does not happen early — due to astro-chemical impediments to the emergence of life — it has to apply later. Consistently, he considers any indications of abundant galactic life to be ominous in the extreme. A Late Great Filter would then still lie ahead (for us). Whatever it is, we would be on our approach to an encounter with it.

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December 14, 2013admin 55 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Cosmos , Horror
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White Out

According to the White Nationalist fraternity, the Dark Enlightenment tends to like civilized people even when they aren’t really white. I think that’s right (and Right), although — of course — it’s supposed to be a problem.

It’s certainly amusing that the only people who don’t think we’re Nazis are the Nazis. They recognize that “cognitive elitists” are inherently prone to race treachery — which could be pushed all the way out to species treachery (if I have anything to do with it). Optimize for intelligence isn’t any kind of key to racial solidarity, or solidarity of any other kind. Even HBD, they generally insist, isn’t them (it’s too attentive to PISA ratings and such). There are some seriously interesting controversies implicit in all this, although rage is likely to break them up before they get very far. It makes me realize that one thing I appreciate about the Neoreaction is its anger management, which is inextricable from its taste for irony (and probably also from its decadence).

At Amos & Gromar there’s some worthwhile comment, and commentators.

Boundaries should always be appreciated, whoever is drawing them.

December 13, 2013admin 28 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Discriminations
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Progress

Two centuries of US monetary stewardship charted @ ZH:

2Cmoney Click image to enlarge.

Red line is the CPI.
Blue line is the USD / Swiss Franc exchange rate.

December 13, 2013admin 18 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy
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