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Douglas Murray says it all

Things are as they normally are. We have been extremely lucky to have avoided revolution completely and great civil unrest since the 1960s. I could blog all day about BLM, defunding police, anarchists, the Democrats. What I observe is an anti-white anti-rational, anti-Enlightenment cultural and would-be political revolution. That is the part of the elephant that I can feel. It is against standards of any kind, the truth, the possibility of truth, the Enlightenment (viz David Hume). It is generated by malignant forces of the Left (because that is what they call themselves) against the rest of society, which they imagine to be on the brink of fascism. As I look around the principal fascist forces call themselves Antifa.

I think we are in a nearly desperate situation, but I think it can still be turned around. But we are in for a decade of increasing civil disorder, greater poverty, and stresses that will lead to war.

Douglas Murray captures my feelings exactly. We have had it so good for so long that we have tolerated fools and termites  in universities undermining the bases of intellectual and moral standards. By their fruits ye shall know them.

 

16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

 

 

 

George Gilder thinks that Google is run by delusional brilliant Marxists

George Gilder was right about a lot of really important things, including especially the future of the computer, the one that you now hold in your hand, called the smartphone. You have forgotten how revolutionary that prediction was in 1990 when he published “The Death of Television”. Some of you were not even born then, I suppose.

Now Gilder has published another significant book, predicting the demise of Google, or at least its dominance.

Gilder observes that by supplying things for free, Google avoids many problems that arise from payment, including the obligation to provide security, to a great extent. Worse, Google avoids the learning process that is acquired with capitalist transactions.

He considers that blockchain technologies will fix much of what is ailing in America. [In this I remain skeptical, but hopeful as well.]

“They [the Silicon Valley apostolate] have a business plan and solutions which are inappropriate to the human mind”. He sees the human mind as the essential source of value, and that Google and cloud-dependent technologies are over-centralized. “Blockchain is an answer to the cloud mind”.

The number of IPOs has been falling, the number of companies on the stock market has also been falling. Consistently with Peter Thiel’s thesis, we do not seem to be getting the innovation that we ought. According to Gilder, the invention of Etherium has halted this decline.

Consequently he takes issue with Ray Kurzweil,  the guy thinks we are approaching a singularity of machine intelligence. Says Gilder, “if you don’t understand consciousness, you don’t understand thinking. Thinking doesn’t produce consciousness, consciousness produces thinking. All these computer scientists are trying to explain away consciousness….To say, oh well, we don’t know what consciousness is, but our computers will compute so fast that it wont matter, that consciousness will emerge like one of their clouds, is I think, one their fundamental vanities of the [Silicon] Valley”.

“What I am against, as Bill Buckley used to call it, ‘immanentizing the eschaton‘; imagining some technology that you came up with last week will end the human adventure, that will subsume all our minds in the clouds, governed by eight giant companies in China and the US, with a few nerds in Israel contributing all the new ideas. This is the vision that I don’t think is going to prevail. I think the human adventure will continue after Google.”

Amen to that, brother.

At 79 years of age, George Gilder speaks as if he were suffering from some neurological ailment that I am not qualified or able to diagnose. Yet he remains a formidable thinker, a seer. I like him. He believes that in principle, machines cannot think, and I agree with him. He foresees the end of the dominance of the current masters of the universe, and how it may come about. He has addressed a vital issue of public interest in Life after Google. Curiously, paradoxically, Gilder reminds me of Timothy Leary, the acid apostle, by his great optimism, but unlike Leary George Gilder is grounded in a formidable mind

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The Google video of 2016: Guardian values and Pharisees

Sergei Brin, cofounder of Google

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRf9UxsM-NE

https://youtu.be/FRf9UxsM-NE

(Paranoid note: every other video I have loaded appears in full, but Google’s video of its own meeting appears only as a hyperlink).

 

 

“I certainly find this election deeply offensive” said Sergei Brin, co-founder of Google. “So many people don’t share the values we have”.

And it goes from there. Fear. Everyone is supposed to feel fear at the prospect of the Trump regime. Minorities are in danger and need to be stood up for. Women likewise. Liberal values are to be stood up for. Yet the same corporation endlessly touting its values fired James Damore in August 2017 for politely protesting the corporation’s bias towards preferential hiring of  women.

I have had experience with Google employees at several levels of seniority over the years, and I feel quite certain that the vast majority are leftist Democrats, which is not surprizing considering the San Francisco Bay area culture. But what bugs me – as the movie reveals – is the enormous self-vaunting, the endless prattling on about their “values”. This is a company whose core business is to sell advertizing. It guts previous business models and replaces them with its own. This is normal creative destruction, in the manner that Schumpeter spoke of. However painful, this is the stuff of economic progress. And talk to former newspaper people if you want to know what Google has wrought.

When the Vice President says that “this is a place where you can bring your whole self to work”, clearly she does not include conservatives (min 16:30)

“We all talk a lot about what it means to be Googley”, said CFO Ruth Porat. The endless blather about tolerance, respect and diversity grates when one compares it to the outrageous and actual treatment of Damore. More, the tone of the film is that the poor people of Google have endured something like the 1940 Blitz of London, or having been unhoused by a hurricane, and that they need reassurance and a group hug, and assurance tot the 10,000 or so working on visa that their visas will remain valid.

Values, values, values: it is irritating and faintly nauseating.

A few years ago the late Jane Jacobs published a marvellous concise book called Systems of Survival. It dealt with the differences in morality between what she called Guardian institutions – the church, the regiment, the academy – and commercial institutions.

If you hand a suitcase of cash to a businessman, that is right and proper, because you are exchanging cash for a private benefit. If you hand a suitcase of cash to a public official, that is a crime of corruption. Why? Her book seeks to answer the question. She also said that corruption occurs when a commercial corporation adopts Guardian values. Thus, the old telephone monopolies constantly appealed to their status as institutions serving the public, and they had a genuine public service ethos. They could afford the attitude because they were monopolies.

Google has Guardian values, but instead of public service being its goal, that is, actually doing something for the general public, it constantly propagandizes its membership/employees with the notion that it stands for superior values: tolerance, inclusion, and diversity being the modern conception of virtue. It thus succeeds in being smug, intolerant, exclusive, and as proud of itself as the Roman Church of centuries past.

Is Google morally bankrupt? Is that not too harsh? It all depends on whether you pay attention to anything Jesus said about Pharisees, about words without deeds. It is not what we put into our mouths that defiles us, but by what comes out of our mouths that defiles us.

In the case of Google I am prepared to argue that the company needs all the self-vaunting talk of values to disguise from itself and its staff that its real business is centralizing the control of information. In short, an illiberal idea being carried out by liberals prattling on about their superior values.

 

__________________________

Here is Joe Rogan talking to James Damore, and you will find out all you need to know about Google’s values:

 

 

 

George Friedman talks Trump, talks Bannon, talks Zeihan

In the following video, George Friedman tells why the expert class has been disgraced since the 2008 financial meltdown. In the end there will be nations, he says. The reign of the unelected and international experts is over. The order that existed in the 70 years since the Second World War is coming to an end.

Friedman is at pains to insist that the pain of the 2007 financial crash was distributed unevenly; the expert class made out like bandits, the working classes are unemployed and in an oxycodone death crisis. This is not sustainable. Hence Trump, Orban, the Italian political crisis, nationalist movements everywhere.

“The nation is back”, says Friedman.

I listened to some smooth-talking London-based millionaire bond trader yesterday tell me that Brexit will never happen, that the vote for it will mean nothing in the end. I refrained from saying he was the same sort of intelligent insider who thought a Trump victory would never happen. My impression is that the expert class has not learned a thing, but will have to be taught through some hard blows to their pocket books and to their self-esteem.

 

“Look at how your income is distributed (within a nation). That is you future”.-George Friedman

Inflating your way to survival

In the crash of 2008, and the subsequent measures to stave off a very real global crash of liquidity, certain measures were taken. These had the effect of saving the large banks and financial institutions, and the owning classes, worldwide. In the ensuing ten years, the elites took care of themselves very well. Anyone who had assets, gained; those who offered labour have had to live on no wage increases. So says Steve Bannon. Those with capital gained, while over half the US population cannot put $US400 to cover emergencies.

Socialism – the government covers your downside risk – for the rich, capitalism for the poor.

Start watching around 14:00 minutes. Prior to that is interesting but they are making irrelevant points. This is the best, most cogent, analysis of why Trump came to power. My left wing friends (I have a couple) would probably agree. The essential argument ends by 20:55 into the interview.

Bannon explicitly excludes Obama from any blame for this situation.

In my opinion, while the populist/nationalist movement appears radical, it is actually conservative in intention, trying to save the capitalist system from its current situation where, to repeat, there is socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor.

 

Good news: The Cold War may be over

As the media go hysterical over Trump and Putin meeting, it is important to ask yourself this question: who gains by making Russia the bogeyman? Instead of, say, Islamic terrorism, Islamic invasion of Europe, mass emigration from Africa or Mexico, or the advent of thinking machines, autonomous cars, and microbiological weapons? Eh?

As Spengler observes, Russia has always been governed by thugs, and on the scale of Stalin or Lenin, Putin’s long list of assassinations is less than the first 3 days following the  Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.

 

President Trump offended the entire political spectrum with a tweet this morning blaming the U.S. for poor relations with Russia. “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity,” the president said, and he is entirely correct. By this I do not mean to say that Russia is a beneficent actor in world affairs or that President Putin is an admirable world leader. Nonetheless, the president displayed both perspicacity and political courage when he pointed the finger at the United States for mismanaging the relationship with Russia.

The hysterical shouts of “treason! Munich! disgrace!” are a sure sign that the Party of Davos  is offended, and they are getting really scared that the changes they deplore keep on happening despite their shrill control of the mainstream media.

Something new is aborning, and like all births, it is messy, bloody, shitty and horrible to look at. But wipe off the baby and cut the umbilical cord, tie it up and tuck it in and you have a new baby. The birth of the new will look ghastly for a while but the process of replacing the Post World War 2 American Imperium with something else is underway. As Steve Bannon says, “we don’t want a European protectorate, we want a European alliance.”

Mostly we want to go on living as nations, and not as helots in service of the Davos crowd.

John Brennan, Obama’s CIA director, has not exactly adapted to the news.

John Brennan, who led U.S. intelligence under Barack Obama, wrote on Twitter: ‘Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors’. It was nothing short of treasonous.’

You may expect more of the same. Unless you realize that the world is changing before your eyes, and that the US Deep State in particular does not want to change its anti-Russian focus, nothing will make sense. As Orwell once noticed, it is hard enough to see what is in front of our eyes. It is not treason, it is the downgrading of the threat from a declining Russia to its actual proportions. In the meantime, beware of Russians bearing soccer balls, but not more than one should be wary of open borders, Davos thinking,  intersectionality and the decline of educational standards.

The last time I can remember an event so large was the fall of the Soviet Union, but the important fact is that this time the change is happening here.

Vladimir Putin gives Donald Trump a football from the 2018 World Cup in Russia during their press conference in Helsinki 

 

So where is your idolatry of the Supreme Court now, o ye Court Party?

Surely even the idolaters of the Supreme Court of Canada must be having some doubts this morning as to its  inerrancy. It was a classic case of “the way we make decisions is more important than the decisions we make.”

Not merely has the Supreme Court defended interprovincial trade barriers, with all their damaging effects on national wealth generation, and allowed them to be established on the flimsiest of grounds, but it has done so on the basis that the trial judge was a naughty boy for stepping out of judicial precedent to rule in favour of Comeau’s beer buying in the first place.

As the case summary reads:

Common law courts are bound by authoritative precedent. Subject to extraordinary exceptions, a lower court must apply the decisions of higher courts to the facts before it. A legal precedent may be revisited if new legal issues are raised as a consequence of significant developments in the law, or if there is a change in the circumstances or evidence that fundamentally shifts the parameters of the debate. Not only is the exception narrow, it is not a general invitation to reconsider binding authority on the basis of any type of evidence. For a binding precedent from a higher court to be cast aside, the new evidence must fundamentally shift how jurists understand the legal question at issue.

                    This high threshold was not met in this case. The trial judge relied on evidence presented by an historian whom he accepted as an expert. The trial judge accepted the expert’s description of the drafters’ motivations for including s. 121  in the Constitution Act, 1867 , and the expert’s opinion that those motivations drive how s. 121  is to be interpreted. Neither class of evidence constitutes evolving legislative and social facts or a comparable fundamental shift; the evidence is simply a description of historical information and one expert’s assessment of that information. The trial judge’s reliance on the expert’s opinion of the correct interpretation of s. 121  was erroneous. To depart from precedent on the basis of such opinion evidence is to cede the judge’s primary task to an expert. And to rely on such evidence to rebut stare decisis is to substitute one expert’s opinion on domestic law for that expressed by appellate courts in binding judgments. This would introduce the very instability in the law that the principle of stare decisis aims to avoid.

 

Thus for the Supremes the case turns on the use of a historian’s evidence of what the trade provisions of the constitution mean – though at the same time for the past decades the Court seems to bend over backward to listen to the tribal lore of groups of a few hundred Indians to block economic development. “To cede the judge’s primary task to an expert” is the fault which the Supreme Court declares the basis of validating the restrictive trade practices of the provinces that block economic development.

In short, the economic stultification of Canada is defended by a rule that arises internally from the legal profession’s forms of decision making.

So the issue does not turn on an appreciation of the role that provinces play in the blockage of economic development. The Comeau case does not turn on the issue at hand, which is intrerprovincial trade barriers, but on the Court’s concern that nothing be upset by lower court decisions, but hey!, when the Supreme Court invents law out of whole cloth, that is their right and duty.

 

Look at the test the Supreme Court sets out for interprovincial barriers.

….Restriction of cross‑border trade must be the primary purpose of the law, thereby excluding laws enacted for other purposes, such as laws that form rational parts of broader legislative schemes with purposes unrelated to impeding interprovincial trade.

The restriction must only form a rational part of “legislative schemes with purposes unrelated to impeding interprovicnial trade”.

  • This is a bad decision on its merits: it establishes that the flimsiest rationale will suffice to colour a protective scheme that interferes with trade within Canada;
  • It is economically illiterate: it fails to consider the multi-billion dollar question at the core of the issue: the economic  consequences for the Canadian economic union of the law and the courts interfering with economic development.

If ever there was a case of the Court seeing the mote in the other guy’s eye and ignoring the beam in its own, it was the Comeau decision. Let us inhibit economic development for stare decisis. Economic barriers 9- trade freedom 0. How’s that Supreme Court working for ya?

 

Facebook, free speech and control

 

 

Matt Taibbi

One of the most important take-aways from Tim Wu’s The Master Switch is that censorship is facilitated by control of the market. Speech control follows ownership concentration. He points out how the Catholic Legion of Decency gained control of movies in the 1930s because of the vertical integration between movie theatre chains and production studios. In Wu’s phrase, a Catholic priest was controlling movies produced by Jews for a majority Protestant nation. The Legion of Decency could attach itself successfully to the movie business because the control of it was already secured by the owners of the studios.

“It is industrial structure that determines the limits of free speech.”

“The trick is that a concentrated industry need not be censorial by nature in order for its structure to produce a chilling effect on the freedom of expression….The problem is that a “speech industry” – as we might term any information industry — once centralized, becomes an easy target for external independent actors with strong reasons of their own for limiting speech. And these reasons may have nothing to do with the industry per se.” (The Master Switch at pp 121-123)

This brings us to Matt Taibbi’s article in Rolling Stone on Facebook: Can we be saved from the Social Media Giant?

The article needs to be seen as a useful changing of the subject, from Russia and Trump, to Trump and Facebook, to Facebook itself. It also signals a change in the description of the Internet, from an information cornucopia to an “informational landscape… controlled more or less entirely by a pair of advanced spying operations, Google and Facebook – and Facebook especially”.

Taibbi says that, “in many ways the [current] Facebook controversy is a canard”, meaning that the issue is media control, pure and simple, not Trump, and not Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Facbook has 2.1 billion customers today and grows by 50 to 100 million users per quarter, with revenues of $40.7 billion in 2017.

After a great deal of sanctimonious drivel from Taibbi about how everyone is becoming imprisoned in their own information ghettos – when were we not?- he gets to the real point. The “fake news” issue  is only the outer manifestation of the targetting of viewers with information, which is  a wholly legal advertizing technique. Moreover, it is “what the product was designed for.”

“Simply by growing so large that his firm ended up standing between media publishers and media consumers, constantly creating rules about who saw what, Zuckerberg and Facebook have created a thing America has never had before: an entrenched de facto media regulator”.

Obviously this is not fully accurate: see the discussion above about movie censorship, which lasted from the 1930s  until the 1960s. But Taibbi is accurate when he says that Facebook and Google can sell eyeballs to advertizers with exquisite accuracy, with the result that the two of them garner 63.1% of digital advertizing revenues

The complaint of publishers is that 1) they can never learn how the Facebook algorithm works, which determines who sees what, and 2) they receive frequently changing information on how to optimize content to reach maximum attention.

Taibbi indulges in a lot of ‘de haut en bas‘ – condescending –  talk about how the press used to work better in the days of printing presses, and how the soiled masses insist on getting their own reality manifested in their choices of media. He writes from the point of view of a Democrat contemplating the frightfulness of the lower orders insisting on their right to receive the information they want, which is part of the reason why Trump now sits in the White House.

Nevertheless, there is justice in his conclusion that “a functioning free press just can’t co-exist with an unaccountable private regulator”.

His argument ends up resembling the argument about net neutrality, which applies to underlying physical carriers of signals – or not. In net neutrality regimes, such as Canada’s, there exists a regulator that determines whether a behaviour by a carrier amounts to unjust discrimination against a particular use or a group of users. “Neutrality” is not an absolute but a sliding scale of offences and permitted actions. Most important, there is a referee.

In the case of Facebook and Google, we are not dealing with a carrier, but with a software platform, and no law governs their behaviour towards publishers seeking to reach audiences through them. No one has assimilated software platforms to common carriers, yet. No one has to my knowledge proposed common carrier obligations for Facebook and Google. Moreover the US Federal Communications Commission has just removed net neutrality obligations from the carriers. Verizon and Comcast and the like can now squeeze content and viewers as they think best.

It is evident that the forces assembling against Google and Facebook will be coming from the political Left, and not only from conservatives concerned that these companies are running political cults.

My concern remains that, if the technical structure permits it, if there are points of control, these will be used to limit free discussion.