Bloody Shovel 3

We will drown and nobody shall save us

Posts tagged as: bureaucracy

on Ethics

It used to baffle me that universities have such a thing as an Ethics department. I had read enough philosophy during high school to know that ethics is just one aspect of philosophy, and the hardest one to get any consensus. I also was under the Humean spell, namely that you can't drive an 'ought' from an 'is'. The fact is the only societal ethics that work are those enforced under the power of religious coercion; you make up some shit and kill people who don't agree with it.

So I wondered: what are those Ethics majors doing? Well I still don't know. The guys doing Ethics were mostly creepy dorks who I, desperate to get some poon back then, couldn't afford to befriend. Still after some time I did get some appreciation for Ethics studies. The fact is ethic problems are huge conundrums against which the basic logic we use in our everyday lives seems quite useless indeed. The old aspiration of objective morality reveals its impossibility when asked the old switch dilemma: push the button and one person dies, don't push it and 5 die. What is one to do? And why? Those puzzles are fun.

What's more fun is that there's some people who get paid for making up solutions for those puzzles. And as I was saying, those solutions are not based on any sound logic, because ethics doesn't work that way. Ethics works by making up convoluted and unfalsifiable shit, throw it somewhere and see what sticks. Guys like this do the throwing:

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Bureaucracy

Isegoria linked to an interview of Frank Herbert, author of the Dune series. I don't need to explain how great the books are, and how amazing a writer Frank Herbert is. You could feel that the man is Darkly Enlightened just by reading his fiction, in the same way you can feel that Isaac Asimov is an establishment technocrat when reading Foundation. This interview confirms my feeling.

JMS: In the Dune books, you seem to question a number of other cultural assumptions.  One of them is the belief that the establishment of a democracy necessarily addresses all of humankind's problems and needs.

HERBERT:  One of the things I noticed as a reporter -- I was a journalist longer than I've been on this side of the table -- is that in all the marching in the streets in the '60s, the people who were shouting "Power to -the People" didn't mean power to the people.  They meant "power to me and I'll tell the people what to do."  When you questioned them it was confirmed at every turn.

This channels Foseti very nicely:

I don't think there's a fucking bit of difference between a bureaucracy that is instituted by a democratic regime, a state; socialist regime, a communist regime or a capitalist regime.  Take a look at us right now.  We ...

The Chinese Bureaucracy, 1

Don't believe the hype: learning Chinese is hard. Very hard. It's not for every one. Pronunciation is hard, grammar isn't as easy as often said, characters are insane,  and every city has its own dialect or outright different language which makes it very hard to understand anything unless people actually want you to understand.

And what makes it harder of all is that there's just so little interesting content in Mandarin. I know people who learned German to read Schopenhauer. Schopenhauer himself is said to have learned Spanish in his old age to be able to read Calderón de la Barca's plays. Manga and videogames have motivated many to learn Japanese.

But what do you learn Mandarin with? Mandarin prose itself is quite recent, with 18th century Dream of the Red Chamber becoming an unofficial standard, which saw an explosion of creativity in the Republican era. But the Communists killed that movement right after assuming power in 1949, so the only decent literature in Mandarin is all compressed in about 30 years. Taiwan and Hong Kong have not picked up the slack, so decent content in Mandarin pretty much died. And it can barely be said to have recovered by now, even after 30 years of opening.

I eventually found my killer app (TV soap operas and Wang Shuo), and through them developed a deep appreciation towards the Beijing dialect. It has a bad rep with Chinese intellectuals for having a Manchu superstrate and being a language of idle vagrants and swindlers...

Chinese Bureaucracy, 2

So in talking about how all states end up surrendering real power to the permanent bureaucracy, I thought it interesting to look at the example of China, which has the oldest and most well structured permanent bureaucracy of all. The previous post was on how the Chinese Empire started as a mostly hands-off affair where the Emperors let most daily decisions of government to their ministers, but little by little they assumed more power, until by the Ming Dynasty they assumed personal rule.

Next clip is about the lower levels of government. Who got to be a bureaucrat?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gl4ryLN8PyE

In Ancient China, if you wanted to enter the state bureaucracy, well at the beginning it was all hereditary succession. Which in common parlance means, dragon breeds dragon, phoenix breeds phoenix, and the children of rats dig holes. So that's how it was, the position was inherited every generation. The ruler was like that, and all officials were also like that. Get to the Spring and Autumn period, especially in the Qin state, they had this incentive system to motivate the commoners. If you tilled your land well, you could become an official. At war, those who killed more people could become officials. Those who cut the head of an enemy in the battlefield, would rise one level in the bureaucracy by every head they cut. One head, one level up. Another head, anot...

Chinese Monarchy

The international Jewish conspiracy asks for more lectures from Yuan Tengfei, and more they shall have.

I started this series with the lecture on Chancellors, and followed with bureaucrats, because I thought it interesting to show how different the dynamics in China were from the West. China is *the* monarchy, they've had deified supreme emperors ruling over tens and hundreds of millions for millennia. Compared to that the monarchies of Europe are pretty much a sham. The Roman Emperors kept their pretenses of being Republican officers for centuries, until the Empire wasn't even in Rome and didn't even speak Latin. Later Medieval and Modern monarchs all had to constantly fight and appease their nobles, only to get their head axed, and those fortunate enough to win that battle would soon lose power to the bourgeoisie.

And that's another funny one, municipal corporations with autonomy rights against the court.  The first Chinese to study European history must have scratched their head hard about that. Nothing of the sort ever existed in China. Nobles weren't much of a problem even back in the First Empire, and when the Han Dynasty founder, Liu Bang did give noble rights to his brothers, it didn't take much for his successors to kill them all and stop the experiment. And so the landholding nobility was never an important polit...

Chinese Monarchy, 2

So we've seen that in the eternal conflict between the Chinese Emperor and his Bureaucracy, slowly the Emperor took power from the bureaucrats and into his own hands. As a result the Emperors ended up being extremely busy, having to handle all imperial business by themselves.

But the Chinese Emperors had quite extensive harems, and many of them sired dozens of children. All of which was necessary for the continuity of the dynasty of course. So what happened with all those Imperial Princes? Did the Monarch use his family to control the bureaucrats? Did he enlist their help to run the business of government? Let's see Yuan Tengfei's take on the issue:

[I translate 王 as prince, following common practice. For more details see Wikipedia.]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Do_rnR09T_c

Princes are Miserable

In Ancient China, the Emperor is boss. So the princes must be second in command. In today's soap operas, it's sorta the same way. If an actor can't get to play an emperor, well he can get to play a prince and enjoy it. All those Imperial Princes, very cool.

But being a Prince was actually quite miserable. First I must correct an idea that most people have. Who get to be prince? In my classes I always asked my students: who gets to receive the title of Prince? And they always say: "the Emperor's relatives". Wrong. His uncle-in law can? His sister's son?...

Pork and hamsters

Steve Sailer has been posting on the NYC universal pre-K, which is the stereotypical stupid progressive policy, which everybody knows it doesn't make any real sense. But progressives arguments are those of faith, faith who nobody (besides us) dares contradict, lest the demons of HBD appear and Hitler returns to Earth to execute the Gay Holocaust. Or something.

I could go on repeating all the arguments against spending public resources on trying to make stupid toddlers stop being stupid, but Sailer has done that very well already. Of course the question remains, are NYC public officials really that stupid? Or so devote to their progressive faith? Well perhaps they are but that can't be the whole story. Religion is a powerful force in human society, but a skeptical attitude towards the real power of religion in peoples motives has always done me good. A commenter in Sailer's post expresses my attitude very nicely:

Universal Pre-K is nothing but a pork project. They use it to create jobs and contracts to reward their friends. The politicians who argue that universal Pre-K will bring about racial equality do not care in the least if that claim is true.

The stuff about racial equality is equivalent to the low-pitched grunting noises that gorillas make when they don't want other gorillas messing with their food.

"Don't mess with my pork or I'll call you a racist an...

Brussels

Dozens of killed in multiple terrorist bombings in Brussels. Under the very nose of the EU headquarters.

The common response of European politicians has been that they are "united", in "solidarity" with Belgium, and "defending the values of democracy and freedom".

Think about it. What does "united" mean here? Who is united, and for what purpose? What about this solidarity? And what does democracy and freedom have to do with Muslim terrorism?

Was there a danger of European nations not being united and in solidarity with each other? How would it look like if they weren't? Could, Italy, say, or Poland, claim solidarity with the terrorists and say Belgium deserve it? That they're happy Brussels got bombed? That's absurd. It's just not in the realm of possibility. European nations of course dislike Muslim terrorism and everybody feels sympathy with Belgians.

The only way that those statements by European politicians is to understand them in political partisan terms. European politicians aren't speaking for their countries. They are speaking for themselves, and their parties. "United" means that they, as politicians, stay united with their friends in Brussels, their fellow politicians and bureaucrats. They stand united with their friends against their enemies, the far-right. "Solidarity" means they feel bad about their fellow Belgian politicians, and will keep on fighting the far-right so that the far-right can't take advantage of their reasonable prop...