Bloody Shovel 3

We will drown and nobody shall save us

Posts tagged as: china

Chinese pr0n and the triumph of Capitalism.

Once upon a time the Communist regimes prohibited jazz, rock&roll, action movies and all other Western amenities, as proofs of the decadence of bourgeois and visible signs of the coming fall of Capitalism.

Then came porn. And of course commies saw its as confirmation of the moral decay of Capitalism.

Today we see all that with the scorn of victors. We laugh at how retrograde those regimes were, even as they are still cherished by all progressives. Yeah, yet another one of leftism's contradictions.

Lately, on the reactionsphere/altright blogosphere, whatever you call it, there is this meme about the old Orthodox world being the last bastion of social conservatism, of the West being the real revolutionaries, while the commies were fighting for Christendom. Well, the funny thing is today Russia has more abortions than births, Hungary is the Mecca of European porn, Prague has more hookers than secretaries, and fellas like Pierre Woodman go around screwing underage Slavic virgins all around. So much for Communist family values.

After the iron curtain fell, the next area to come to Civilization (i.e. American mores) was China. I happen to have lived there, speak the language f...

The Chinese 99%

In my last post I talked about how lame porn is creeping everywhere in China. The point being about why has this happened in China, where an ostensibly authoritarian and social conservatism regimes rules the country. Porn in China is more pervasive and quite more lame than even in Japan, which has a huge porn industry.

This post took a lot of time to write, as I struggled to narrow down the focus. Of course the causes of the collapse of traditional morals in China are many. Economic collapse, communism, foreign influence, lack of religion, capitalism, corruption, feminism, you name it. But to make it simple I'll write about the most inmediate cause. And I think its about class struggle, Roissy style.

Of course Chinese entertainment is tacky and raunchy, with naked babes and celebrity gossip all over the place. The biggest show in Chinese TV is 非诚勿扰, (literally don't disturb if not sincere), where hot chicks line up in hope to grabbing a rich guy to date, marry, and parasite forever.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DegKuPO5Hmc]

Trashy happen all over the world, but what is understood as the entertainment of the lower classes in the West, is literally everywhere in China. Which, using basic logic, just means the chinese lower classes are all over the place.

The mystery of the conversion of the Chinese Communist Party to capitalism is actually no mystery at all. They just adopted Crony Capitalism, American banksta style, but made sure ...

Evil Empire conquers Australia

Its a wonder that some people still say with a straight face that America is not an empire. Or that the Democrats are pacifist.

Well breaking news: America is setting a garrison in Darwin, Australia. Of course China is mightly pissed.

Well I have a question. Australia's economy is booming, the country has a relatively young population and no demographic problems.

Can't Australia defend itself? Why is Australia leasing their own land to the US? The official line is that is so the US can police SEA shipping lines. Well I don't think Australia ships their stuff through the Malacca strait, and anyway shouldn't Australia strive to develop their own army to, you know, defend itself? Is Australia a sovereign country? Or a US/joo conspiracy/globalist outpost. Figure out the answer by yourselves. I know mine.

You know something is seriously fucked up when a guy who received a goddamn Nobel Peace Prize goes abroad to set a garrison in a foreign land 10k miles from home, totally unprovoked. How is this different from Crassus building an army in Syria to prepare to attack the Parthians? How leftists deal with the cognitive dissonance is beyond me.  Of course even conservatives agree with this. Support the troops! right?

Well if anyone honestly thinks China is more of a threat to us than the US is, please grab a gun and shoot yourself. Last time I checked China wasn't Continue Reading →

Another win for authoritarian government

I use to talk a lot with my good friend Slitty eye about just how vulgar China has become recently. China used to be a rigid class society, and the gentry, landlords et al. upper classes were educated, sophisticated people. When capitalism came the gentry came to adopt upper class English manners, took on commerce, novel writing, and so on. The 30s were sort of the golden age for this fusion culture, and it gave us some very good literature.

But today? Hah. You probably couldn't tell apart Chinese TV from MTV or any other American crap. Its all full of dating shows, sensationalistic sentimental stories, American-idol clones, cheap porn and all other modern vulgarities. I blogged about it, thinking that modernity's equalizing force is too strong that even China's politburo couldn't stop it.

Well I was wrong. Turns out the CCP is cracking down on vulgarity. TV entertainment shows on all major 34 channels will be cut a whopping 67%, their place taken by news programmes or something wholesome. They even forbid the use of Hong Kong and Taiwanese starlets! Out with those Americanized fags and sluts.

I found the original text of the regulation, and I love it.

To avoid an excessive focus on entertainment, and to stop ...

Platters of loose sand

Shanghai Airlines just announced that from New Years on, it will start to make its announcements in Shanghainese, then Mandarin and English, in its flights to Shanghai. Original news link here.

They are doing this allegedly to "give native Shanghai people the feeling of getting back home". Shanghai's topolect is utterly unintelligible to anyone not in the immediate vicinity; and China had been imposing the standard language, Mandarin, with quite a lot of force for some time. So this is big news.

I have a complicated relation with nation-states. I find it very funny when Americans talk about the 'American nation', and go on talking about foreign nations as if they were natural beings. In Europe too, the official line that the State is simply the nation organizing itself for the benefit of its members, remains mainstream.

But of course all that is a huge pile of bullshit. Even in America, Yankees and Southerners are hardly one people. Its no coincidence that the modern White nationalist blogs are disproportionately Californian; as in California, just recently colonized, the various ethnics sort of merged in a pan-white identity, strengthened by contrast with the increasing invasion of Mexicans. So today ...

Rothschilds desperate with China

The Economist just opened a new exclusive section for  China, taking China out of their Asian. So China is the new focus country of The Economist, besides the US. Here they explain why the interest: they will use the section to argue for political reform.

Read the whole thing, it's the most disingenuous piece of journalism ever. I'll take some representative quotes:

 But our interest in China lies also in its politics: it is governed by a system that is out of step with global norms.

So dissidents such as Yu Jie, who alleges he was tortured by security agents and has just left China for America, are harassed. Yet that reflex will make the party’s job harder. It needs instead to master the art of letting go.

for China’s rise to continue, the model cannot remain the same. That’s because China, and the world, are changing.

Freeing up the financial system would give consumers more spending power and improve the allocation of capital.

freedom to organise can help, not hinder, the country’s economic rise. Labour unions help industrial peace by discouraging wildcat strikes. Pressure groups can keep a check on corruption. Temples, monasteries, churches and mosques can give prosperous Chinese a motive to help provide welfare. Religious and cultural organisations can offer people meaning to life beyond the insatiable hunger for rapid economic growth.

No...

On Kindness

Professor Charlton writes that our society is very nice.

Modern society exceeds all previous societies in terms of its kindness - it is the least-cruel society ever. Naturally - if we focus on this single virtue to the neglect of all other virtues and sins, then we can regard ourselves as more virtuous than anybody else.

It caught my attention, not only because its rare to read Professor Charlton praising any aspect of modern society, but because it reminded me of a quote by the late Aldous Huxley, who said:

It's rather embarrassing to have given one's entire life to pondering the human predicament and to find that in the end one has little more to say than, 'Try to be a little kinder.'

As much as I admire Huxley, I thought he was being too clever there. He never thought about kindness when he was young, and admired beauty and boldness. He only thought of it when he grew old, and needed people to be kind to him.

But the concept of modern society as kind especially reminds me of the last chapter in Kenneth Clark's Civilisation series, which I blogged about a while ago. He talks among other things of the birth of kindness as a social value:

It's an almost incredible fact, tha...

Jihadis are amateurs; or ethnocentrism done right

I always heard about those Muslim suicide bombers, and the boring MSM outrage about those "poor" and "desperate" souls who kill themselves for the cause. How can that happen? The act of killing oneself is thought to be so alien, so extreme, so utterly incomprehensible that the common causes the western commentariat comes up with are evil white colonialism or its modern descendant, evil Zionism. The assumption is that something as unfathomably bad as suicide bombing can only be caused by the supreme evil, the trascendental victimiser: white people. What else can it be?

Letting aside the fact that suicide bombers end up killing and victimising way more people besides themselves, in the end Liberalism is the cult of autonomy, and suicide just doesn't make sense. It's arguably a worse evil to forsake one's autonomy and kill oneself, than just kill random people. Killing others is a choice, an act of the will, so it's not that bad in the end. It's just "tragic". Killing one's own will though, that is sheer madness. That's beyond evil. It's sacrilege.

For others like me whose brains aren't tainted by liberal memetic retardation, suicide bombing makes a lot of sense. This people get to go to heaven! And they get 72 virgins all for them!! And they die by explosion, in the act, with little pain involved. If you believe in the stuff, it's a hell of a deal. So I'm not surprised at all by suicide jihadis. I'm surprised there's not more of them. Then again people are peo...

Nice unintended consequences

My last post on Nick Land's bionic catharsis of reactionary politics was received with a healthy dose of skepticism. After all it there is a very thick moral wall against tampering with human nature. How would it be done? Who would fund it? What would the government do about sucha  project?

But it seems that the gears of history have started moving.

The American director of the World Swimming Coaches Association is insinuating that China might be genetically modifying their athletes to win olympic medals. That's right, people are so pissed at Chinese swimmer girls' performance that Chinese are accused of inventing a whole new dimension of cheating. Most people laughed it off, but think about it.

It is common knowledge that many technological advances are owed to warfare, as nations in war squeeze their brains to seek some advantage over their enemies. Sports are also commonly understood as a form of ritualised warfare, where people can satisfy their desire for competition and combat without shedding blood. And we also know that Chinese are famous for taking ritual very seriously, Confucianism being basically about rituals in all social situations.

Following this line of reasoning, it doesn't seem implausible at all that the new era of huma...

Affirmative Action in 1910

I think one of the most important contributions that the reactionary blogosphere has done is disproving the common conservative myth that things in the West only started to go awry after the 1960s. While it is true that the counter-culture destroyed traditional religion and ethnic loyalty and brought anti-racism, feminism and welfare transfers, none of that came from a vacuum. The Left has been around a very long time.

The more you read the more it seems that the powers that be have been leftist forever. I owe to Jim Donald the great insight that imperialism was a leftist phenomenon, as opposed to the earlier colonialists. Imperialism happened when the Left nationalised the colonialists' property, and introduced enlightened rule by state bureaucracy where ad-hoc arrangements had prevailed. Over time, as always imperialism became the status quo, a.k.a. the right, and the sanctimony rat-race advanced making anti-imperialism the new leftist cause. But don't let that deceive you.

Imperialism was opposed as the evil mechanism of oppression and exploitation of foreign nations. Which partly was, because it's the only way of making a profit out of the dominion of lands very far from home. That's how the colonies started, but the shift into state led imperialism didn't make them more profitable. The Left isn't about making money, it's about losing it.

See this test...

Stuff White People do

The Chinese in their ancestral wisdom, have proverbs for every single situation. In fact one of the hardest parts of learning the language is their reliance on idioms, which tend to be verbatim quotes of classical works. 3000 years of writing in the same language means there's a vast pool of wise insight and sharp wit to choose from, but the old language isn't intelligible as such, so you have to memorise the idioms by rote. Once you do though, you literally have a comeback for everything.

It's so much part of the culture, that the tradition doesn't only rely on classical texts. Chinese are prone to make up idioms in the vernacular just as often. There is one I particularly like, which describes people who do pointless stuff. Some time ago Xi Jinping, the recently declared big boss in China, had these words to say:

有些吃饱了没事干的外国人,对中国指手划脚.

This was translated by the South China Morning Post as: "Some foreigners with full bellies and nothing better to do engage in finger-pointing at us". The translation is quite literal, and pretty good as it is. The point on this sentence is "full bellies and nothing better to do". This is the standard way of describing people who do something pointless out of what it's assumed is too much leisure. As any beginner learner of Chinese knows, full bellies in China used to be a very uncommon sight, to the point that people...

On Attrition

I wasn't really planning on making a series on Chinese proverbs. But it happens that every time I start writing a post I can think up of a proper Chinese expression to introduce it. Such is the vastness of the language.

何苦?

This is not a proverb actually, but it is an idiomatic expression inherited from the Classical Chinese. Word-by-word it means "what bitter". Which is pretty ungrammatical. But Asian languages in general have quite flexible grammars, and Chinese more so. The expression usually translates as "why bother?", "why make things so hard"? Bitter is the Chinese word for hardship, hence Coolies 苦力 "bitter force".

It is a very frequently used expression, because Chinese have this habit of making things harder than they need to be.  For all the talk about HBD having its future in the practical-minded Asian countries, East Asia is very much about effort. At least since Confucius, the key to success in China has been relentless self-improvement. There's two kinds of humans, "small people" 小人 and Gentlemen 君子. They key to being a Gentlemen is having a good education. Fast-forward 2500 years and you have the Banzai-charges of Japanese army troops against the mechanised Soviet batallions in Khalkhin Gol. They lost, and didn't learn from it. This year there was a report on some US advisors to the Japanese army saying that their performance sucks because of a lack of fatigue management...

Why China isn't our hope

Seeing that the Cathedral has led the West into hopeless decadence, where women work while men clean, kids order while parents obey, foreigners rule while natives submit, deviancy is cherished while normalcy is derided. Yes, we are in deep shit.

But wait!, some say. Nature abhors a vacuum. The West is fucked, but someone will take our place and set things right. That's what evolution does. While the West is busy giving billions to gangsta rappers, fag designers and bastards on welfare, the Chinese are working hard, stoically building their industry, thriftily saving their money to invest in the long term. Oh Yes, the Chinese are the real deal. They've been for long, right? 5000 years. Their thrift and industry will bury us, and inherit the earth.

Well, hold your horses. I know the pictures of all those dark, muscular peasants building those awesome skyscrapers climbing bamboo scaffolds without helmets makes for an impressive picture. Way more wholesome than the white working class fatsoes parading their 200lbs bags of blub in Walmart to buy some more light beer. But that's not the whole story.

You can understand a lot of a country by looking at their celebrities. They represent what a country values in their people, what the nation regards as the people to respect and imitate. This is particularly true in China, where the media is state-owned and strictly controlled in a top-down fashion, not a loose coordination like the West. The celebrities that mak...

Yellow Peril

They say that the internet and modern capitalism in general is producing so much stimuli that humans all around are becoming numb, developing tolerance towards normal things, and craving ever stronger stimuli. I admit it happens to me. The blogosphere has made me too numb to read normal sources of news. I am no longer satisfied with The Economist, or the Telegraph, or Instapundit. No, I need Moldbug, I need Steve Sailer, I need controversy.

And for Chinese news, I need Global Times. But the Chinese version. That's hardcore. Those are the ones pushing daily editorials saying "If Japan keeps pushing us we will bomb their asses". Or "The Great Leader of North Korea renews their strong-as-iron friendship with the Chinese People." Global Times is kickass, doesn't pull their punches. It's like reading newspapers from 1942. And it's state run, so you know it's not some keyboard fighter, some yellow War Nerd. No, its director Hu Xijin is a smart, thoughtful man, who just happens to want the best for his country.

He just scares the shit out of me every once in a while. I was just reading their editorial on the War in Mali, which China has approved. It says in the article that China has 2000 nationals living in Mali.

Wait a minute. 2000 Chinese? In Mali? Are you fucking kidding? China has more merchants...

She really just said that

A while ago I had the mother of all chats with Nick Land in our local classy bar in Shanghai.

It felt like we just reached the singularity just by ourselves. Might have been the whisky though. Yeah it probably was that.

Perhaps because I'm shy, but I tend to overcompensate the awkwardness of meeting strangers by talking too much. And the usual reaction to someone who just doesn't shut up is agreeing and letting me talk. I guess it's also me being the junior partner, i.e. I talk more mundane stuff that he can relate to. It's easier for the conversation to go on by me talking about China, than not Nick Land talking about Deleuze and Gattari, or the nature of time.

Still today we had a pretty even-handed debate, on tribalism and the singularity and expat life and all that. We actually reach several end points where no further debate was possible. When you start talking on macroeconomics you know there's little real data to throw around, and although speculating with scotch is fun, it's seldom productive.

There's tons of posts to be written to elaborate all we talked about, but it was all quite abstract and can wait really.

He did ask me to write about one of our most salient disagreements, which is about the political theory of Moldbug, i.e. Neocameralism. Or Formalism, or whatever.

Now I was a late comer to the Moldbug party, and forgive me if I'm wrong, but the idea of Neocameralism is to abolish democratic politics, and actually polit...

Witch hunts, East and West.

It seems the US is immersed in yet another witch hunt against a heretic troublemaker who dares contradict the foundational dogma of the Cathedral. I'm more surprised by the balls of the man who made a dissertation on Mexican IQ on freaking Harvard, than in the totally predictable crackdown when his views came out in the news. Of all the stupid, irrational, me-too denunciations that have denounced Richwine all around the media, the one that caught my eye the most was the one from Will Wilkinson in the Economist. I thought of making a thorough fisk of the piece, but it's all over the place already, and I doubt I could say anything that anyone doesn't know.

I'll try to be original and talk of something else. While the US was busy depriving Jason Richwine of his livelihood, something much bigger was going on in Japan. A which hunt of larger scale, and larger consequences that what any naive researcher might do in Cathedral HQ. Right now Japan is in one of the most important times in their history. Anyone who reads the news might have noticed that Japan is all over the news, with its new central bank governor, massive currency printing, Abenomics as Keynesianism done right and all that. It Continue Reading →

The rightist singularity

Statistics is what you use when you don't know what's really going on, so you're reduced to see patterns in data. It is useful, but it's not an ideal situation. Ideally you want to know exactly what mechanism is producing that data.

But of course data is in many cases infinitely divisible, and you can always go more micro in searching for causes. You want to know why society is changing so you do sociology, then you want to know the mental processes of the individuals so you do psychology, then you want to know what the neurons are doing so you do neuroscience, then you want to know what the neurons are all about so you do biochemistry, then you want to know how electrons move so you do physics, then you go into quantum physics, and then you realize that you still don't understand why engineer schools have so few women. Must be evil spirits.

To avoid the reduction treadmill humans use labels, or what we call names. Most names are quite accurate, some cause more problems than what they tried to fix. Say the political labels, 'left' and 'right'. We all know that they were just a convenient shorthand for the physical location of the different factions on the France National Assembly in 1789. The naming was very arbitrary, and nobody before the time had thought of studying politics through such a simplistic framework, yet it has become one of the most productive frameworks in the history of mankind. As it happens, in almost all human polities, before and after 1...

Ghosts and Diplomacy

WRM cheers on the newly found intimacy between USG and Japan. Kerry and Hagel, State and the Pentagon are both now in Japan, where they have signed... something. WRM sees this as proof that USG is putting its weight behind Japan, joining forces against China. And that's a good thing. Say what you will about WRM, he knows what he likes, he makes it clear, and he says it all over again as many times as he can find excuses for. Pension reform, automation, fuck China, defend Israel, he's not a single-issue guy, he-s a 5-issue guy. Which doesn't mean he really has a clue.

I found his article quite surprising, because just yesterday I read in the Japanese press this other article about Kerry and Hagel made a flower offering at the memorial to the unnamed soldier in Chidorigafuchi. Now this is big news for several reasons. First of all no one has ever gone to Chidorigafuchi in decades. It's a small, inconspicuous place inside the Imperial palace. It was only built in 1959, and the government has given it little attention.

And that's because Japan already has an official place to pray for the war dead. And that's Yasukuni shrine. Built in 1869, year of the Restoration, with the explicit purpose of be...

Globalization

I'm still reading Christopher Beckwith's book.

The guy is still as nuts as I remembered him. Just a little example: back in Ancient China, around 300 BC there was a foreign people living in the Tarim Basin, which the Chinese called 月氏. There are good reasons to think those people were the Tocharians, an Indo-European offshoot. These characters are pronounced in MSM (Modern Standard Mandarin) as Yuezhi (sort of /yoo-eh-jrr/ in American English).

Of course the modern pronunciation has nothing to do with the ancient one. As of now we are fairly confident of how Chinese sounded around 700 AD, the Tang Dynasty days, and those characters were pronounced as /ngwat ji/. Well of course there are 1000 years of difference between 700 AD and 300 BC. But Mr. Beckwith insists that the first character, /ngwat/, was pronounced /Tokwar/. Well, 1000 years is a lot of time, but phonetic change does follow some rules, and it's seldom, not to say never, that radical. Not to say it's purely impossible. But then Beckwith comes up with another theory of his. Any student of European history knows of Attila and his Huns, called Hunni (singular Hunnus, probably pronunced as Hunno at the time).  Well it happens that in Ancient China, more or less at the same time frame as the Yuezhi, there was a tribe of steppe dwellers on the northern frontier called the 匈奴. These characters are pronounced in MSM as Xiongnu, which doesn't ring a bell. But in 700 AD Chinese they were pronounced as Hion...

Bitcoin and modern government

So Bitcoin has reached one thousand dollars, and suddenly everyone out there is freaking out. Early adopters rejoice, crazy bullshit marketers change their minds, smug bullshit marketers don't, tenured bullshit marketers keep their options open. Everybody's onto it.

It seems that the sudden spike owes a lot to the sudden increase of Chinese people buying into Bitcoin, with Bitcoin China having become the biggest exchange worldwide as of now. Why did this happen? Bitcoin certainly is a godsend for Chinese people who like to save money, but are victims of rampant inflation, and have nowhere to stash their savings beyond real estate, which has fueled a really insane housing bubble, with whole million-strong cities made of crappy apartments being built just to absorb the demand for storage of value. Bitcoin solves the problem and it is also easily transferable, which is also a godsend for China where capital controls make moving money abroad a real hassle.

One, which is prone to think of modern government as a rapacious Leviathan who uses its tremendous power to prey upon their citizens as matter of instinct, would think that the Chinese government must hate Bitcoin and everything it stan...

High Level Entitlement Trap

I wrote recently about the High Level Equilibrium Trap in which China had fallen to in the modern era. Point was that Chinese labor and infrastructure was just efficient enough so that developing new machinery was never worth the trouble. Not to say they didn't invent machines, but they never caught on, in a similar fashion to Classical Europe which we know was full of cool gadgets which the Graeco-Romans just couldn't be bothered to use. Accumulation of capital makes less sense when you're banging Thracian slaves in your Tuscan villa since puberty.

A famous anecdote is that China had automatic spinning wheels for hemp already in the 14th century, but after the introduction of cotton it fell into disuse. The funny thing is that instead of trying to develop something similar for cotton fibers, they just went back to hand spinning and never bothered automatic a process that had been automated for centuries. They just didn't bother. Or in modern parlance, the incentives just weren't there. Also see this story about why firearms never went mainstream in China: their bows were good enough.

This piece of history is universally acknowledged as a bad thing, as machines are good, more productive, and the inability to develop machines is a bad thing, a very bad thing as the subsequent history of China shows. People...

New Year is local

A female relative called from Europe to wish me a Happy New Year.

F: "What do you do out there for New Year's Eve?"

S: "Buckwheat noodles."

F: "Oh. And then? Any party after count down?"

S: "Not really. Actually no count down at all."

F: "How can you not do count down!"

S: "Count downs come from the European custom of having churches in every town with huge bells to mark the time. No churches here, so no bells. They didn't even have clocks until recently."

F: "That's sad."

S: "Actually tomorrow is the big day here. Fancy food, visit to the temple to pray for good fortune, visiting relatives, etc. What will you do tomorrow."

F: "Oh we'll all be horribly hangover unable to move."

S: "That's sad."

One of the hardest intellectual challenges of living abroad is learning to do cultural relativism right. Probably cultural relativism started with actually knowledgeable explorers paying attention and being reasonable about what they learned: that different peoples do things in different ways, and sometimes there's no particularly superior way. Which should be obvious. But bizarrely the idea was appropriated by the sanctimonious left as a way to stick it to their domestic rivals. Of course they deprived it of all nuance. But it shows how their brains are wired that talking about different cultures, when the context is not signaling ones enlightened tolerance in contrast to the nasty nativists, leftist just default ...

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?...

Monarchy and Monarchs

After all the praise that my Monarchy post got, I started to suspect that people hadn't really got the point. And while I am quite proud of it as a piece of storytelling, I wasn't praising monarchy as a system or anything like that. My suspicion was confirmed when Habsburgian transhumanist monarchist Michael Anissimov linked to the post in Twitter. Well if he liked it I'm sure I didn't make my point clear.

The point of the story was that the Japanese monarchy is a sham, and has been so for 13/14 of its history. Actual imperial rule lasted, at most, 100 years, after which it was co-opted by the Fujiwaras, the Heikes, the Genjis, and so on. The fact that the Imperial family was never actually deposed Chinese style has more to do with the ineptitude of the early shoguns and sheer inertia later.

Now one might make the point that even if the official monarchy was a sham, to the extent that the shoguns exerted personal rule they were running a monarchy themselves. Which is quite true. What's amusing is that the pattern of takeover of political power by the father in law not only happened to the Emperor himself, many shoguns also fell into it. So the Emperor loses actual rule to the Genji shogun, who is himself a puppet of his Hojo father in law. This puppetry chain never went further than two links though. But anyway, yes of course the shoguns were monarchs too, and the Tokugawas run a very real monarchy for 250 years.

What...

Tradition

So the slowest year on record for this blog is over. If you think this is just the beginning of the decline, you might be right. I'm not blogging as frequently as I used to, and there are good reasons for that. One being my recently started family. Another being that my comment threads aren't as rewarding as they used to. Another that I'm going through a reverse Dunning-Kruger effect: the more I know the less I think I know. It's starting to get harder to write a post that I can be proud of, and I just don't have the time or energy to do the necessary research to write really good posts.

This may just be me being too hard to myself; substandard content doesn't seem to bother a lot of bloggers out there, even fairly famous ones with academic careers. I should probably just loosen up and just go on writing, maybe on a fixed schedule. Thing is I'm very bad at fixed schedules; my brain just doesn't do self-discipline. My ego always pairs up with my id. Or I'm just very bad at fooling myself, which might not be a bad thing.

I can do monthly though, if only to avoid gaps in the archive list in the right sidebar. So here goes a light post for December 2014.

A lot gets written around about religion, the importance of tradition, rituals, all that. There's the old debate on whether religion is either something you believe in, or something you do. These are likely to be different things. Religion is often treated as a gestalt, but that is fallacious. Religion is ...

Explain this

On 5 August 1968, Mao received the Pakistani foreign minister Mian Arshad Hussain, who brought with him a basket of golden mangoes as gifts for the Chairman. Instead of eating the mangoes, Mao [who hated sweets] decided to give them to the Capital Worker and Peasant Mao Zedong Thought Propaganda Team … that had earlier been sent to the Qinghua University in Beijing to rein in the rival Red Guard gangs. Two days later, on 7 August, the People’s Daily, the official news organ of the Communist Party-state, carried a report on the mango gift that included the following extra-long headline in extra-large font: ‘The greatest concern, the greatest trust, the greatest support, the greatest encouragement; our great leader Chairman Mao’s heart is always linked with the hearts of the masses; Chairman Mao gave the precious gifts given by a foreign friend to the Capital Worker and Peasant Mao Zedong Thought Propaganda Team’.

Mao gave the mangoes to Wang Dongxing, who divided them up, distributing one mango each to a number of leading factories in Beijing, including Beijing Textile Factory, where I was then living. The workers at the factory held a huge ceremony, rich in the recitation of Mao’s words, to welcome the arrival of the mango, then sealed the fruit in wax, hoping to preserve it for posterity. The mangoes became sacred relics, objects of veneration. The wax-covered fruit was placed on an altar in the factory auditorium, and workers lined up to file ...

Explaining the Cultural Revolution: signalling arms races as bad fiat currency

This is going to be a long post.

The idea of Chinese people worshipping wax mangoes because some Pakistani minister didn't have time to have a proper gift made for his visit to China is indeed quite startling. Of course some people will instantly run into the old stereotype of those perfid Orientals slaves, who have been forever worshipping their tyrants as Gods on Earth. But that's bullshit. The Chinese have always been a fairly unruly bunch, and the Emperor was never worshipped as a God, unlike the Roman Emperors of our humanistic West.

And the Chinese aren't stupid either, they've always been one of the major civilizations on Earth, often world leader in wealth, scholarship and technology. They have the longest unbroken literary tradition; not having undergone a dark age, it's amazing how many ancient books are still extant in China.

So why did this intelligent, civilized people fall so low as to worship a rotten Pakistani mango? Politics, that's why. They are humans and so are vulnerable to politics. And modern politics can get very, very ugly.

I'll quote liberally from the original post by Marquez:

The idea of a “cult of personality” is in some ways a peculiarly modern one. Practices of “leader worship” were of course not unknown in the past; one might almost say that they were basical...

The purpose of absurdity

Ron Unz had an interesting comment at Sailer's blog a while ago:

Actually, another suspicion I’ve often had is that much of that massively-promoted total nonsense like transexualism and Gay Marriage is meant to flush out and expose potential troublemakers potentially lurking within ranks of the elite before they can rise high enough to become a serious problem. In support of this hypothesis, the leading purge victims are usually found within the fields of popular culture, entertainment, celebrity, and the media, which constitute a crucial chokepoint in controlling our society. It’s obviously much easier and safer to detect and purge a future Mel Gibson while he’s just a rising young actor than after he’s spent a dozen years as Hollywood’s #1 star.

the reason the King walks down the street naked in his imaginary suit is to draw out and catch those people unwilling to say they see what isn’t there.

In an actual historical example, the Emperor Caligula appointed his favorite horse to the highest official government position in the Roman State. How better to break the spirit of potentially disloyal Senators and military commanders, and determine which of them might have independent thoughts.

Well put. But personally what struck me is that he had to come up with this by his own. A very intelligent man in his 50s had to personally realize this. When...

Giving the handle

My last posts were very well received. I guess there's a market for the intersection between Chinese history and Ron Unz, so here's another one.

Steve Sailer writes:

As you may have noticed, Ron has this wacky theory that a surprising percentage of our political leaders have, shall we say, compromising incidents in their past. He even speculates that perhaps having something to hide from the public might make a rising politico more attractive to those who make it their business to decide which of the ambitious to help climb the greasy pole of political power.

And he just had a new post on what he's named the Unz Suspicion.

Mr. Unz is very right to suspect that much. But again Unz had to use all his powers of insight to come up with his idea. Which given his upbringing is quite impressive. And yet this has been common wisdom in China for thousands of years. A 10 year old in Kaifeng could have told you as much in 1034.

There's plenty of examples of great leaders of bureaucratic factions, imperial prime ministers who purposefully surrounded themselves with crooks in order to be able to crack down on any defector with ease. It may sound counterintuitive, but the group is much stronger if everybody is a crook with something to hide.

None of this is surprising...

Trade and Peace

People used to ask me if there's any libertarian movement in East Asia. And there really isn't. Nothing. The very concept is very foreign to them. It hardly registers at all. Try to explain it to a random native and odds are they won't even get what you're trying to say.

The whole concept is so bizarre that I promptly forgot about the whole thing after living her for some time. I used to be a Mises.org reading teenager, and I have to thank my Asian hosts for making it so hard to parse the ideology that I also lost interest myself.

Now I guess there's many theories about why is that the case; besides the obvious one that libertarianism is retarded, and the burden of proof is in Westerners to explain why they came up with that strange idea that the people would be free without the state. Whatever that means. I guess I'll put up my own theory: Asians are not into theology. They're into history. These are exceptions of course (the weird shenanigans of Neoconfucianism), but in general the study of history has been much more prestigious and pervasive than arcane discussions about social metaphysics.

And of course history is but a compendium of anecdotes about why libertarianism makes no sense. So let me show a very short and illustrative one.

Gengis Khan founded the Mongol Empire, and its Chinese branch, what became the Yuan Dynasty, left a lot of historical records about the great Mongol enterprise. These dynastic histories, especially when they conce...

Male culture

So I'm reading the Water Margin (Shui Hu Zhuan 水滸傳). Written in the 15th century, it's the most famous vernacular novel in Chinese history, together with the Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

Well, I'm not actually reading it (it's long). I'm watching the 2011 TV show. Which is long too, but very neat. The Water Margin is the story of 108 men. Good men, strong, noble, virile men who are wrongly abused by the governmenet, and thus rescind their loyalty to the state, and run to the hills to form bands of bandits to fight for their manly honor. The story is based on the Song Dynasty, particularly the reign of the infamous Huizong (1082-1135), who was so fucking awful he deserves a post for himself. The novel is fiction, often very, very wild fiction; but it is loosely based in actual events on the era. There's an earlier novel about evil bandits in the mountains doing evil things. The Water Margin tripled the characters, and made them into good, noble men. It also sold like crazy, becoming the second most famous novel in the world, while it's more truthful predecessor was forgotten for 900 years.

The Song Dynasty gets a lot of good publicity for being wealthy, commercial and urbane. Indeed the Chinese economy boomed like it never would until well into the 19th century. The Song state also solved the problem of military warlords running petty kingdoms in their domains; the exam system became the only path into officialdom, and the strengt...

Communism Appreciation Post

WSJ protests that China bans egg-freezing for single women.

Note the big frontal picture of the beautiful but barren Xu Jinglei. While she wasted her fertile years into fornicating her way into the top of Chinese showbusiness, apparently he got 9 eggs frozen in the US, for... you know, for when Mr. Right appeared. Well she's 41 now.

Under Chinese law she could only have 1 child anyway. Which she could have dumped on her parents like everybody else does in China. But no, she was... busy. With her... career. Of course.

Well the Communist rulers of China have enough sense to discourage this sort of harmful feminism. Egg freezing is only available for cases of womb disease. You are not to play with your reproductive system. If you must, if you insist in being irresponsible and rubbing your irresponsiblity on everybody else, well, go to the US. And get reported on US newspapers, they trade on everything bad. Sure, you'll have your pretty face on the front page. But you will still be a barren, leftover woman.

Men doing their own thing

Basically means doing steroids and denying that those have any bad effect.

You'll remember a post I did a while ago on the Chinese classical novel, the Water Margin. That's a 14th century novel, thought to be based on the peasant rebellions that overthrew the Mongol Yuan Dynasty in China in the 1350s. So that's 665 years ago. The novel is a historical novel of a previous rebellion in the 1110s. Rebellions are of course stories of men, and the Water Margin is an epic story of 108 men who are forced to leave society by evil men, and thus go up the mountain to do their own thing. To this day, when a man says "fuck it" and leaves polite society to do his own thing, in Chinese you say he is "forced to climb to mount Liang", which is the hideout of the rebels in the Water Margin.

So what did these great bros do up at Liangshan? Bully each other into a signaling spiral of binge drinking, binge eating, pointless fighting and destruction of normal family life. And completely disregard for women. The only women in the novel are bros too, women fighers who can beat 100 men while handling huge spears on horseback. Those are cool. Other women are hoes, and hoes are not cool. The sheer nonsense and sometimes pure evil that the novel describes as being the honorable and manly thing to do is just amazing. One of the stories that amazed me the most was how 秦明 Qin Ming joined the gang.

Oh sorry, I forgot that Chinese names just don...

Choices

I hadn't thought about it, but my last post on Whites converting to Islam has a somewhat similar theme to a very famous episode in Chinese history. It's been a while since I write another Chinese history tale, and this is one of my favorites. So let's talk about Wu Sangui 吳三桂.

The year is 1644. The Ming Dynasty is in ruins. It is actually in ruins; a peasant rebellion led by a man called Li Zicheng 李自成 has been ravishing the country for a decade, conquering and utterly destroying much of the central and western areas of the country. The rebel leader had already conquered the largest city in the west, Xi'an 西安, and had proclaimed himself as the king of the Shun 順 Dynasty. The Shun army raced from Xi'An up through the province of Shanxi 山西, where most of the cities openly surrendered to him without bloodshed. In no time he crossed the western passes close to Beijing, and on May 26, the capital fell. The emperor of the Ming Dynasty stabbed his wives and daughters with his own hand, and then hanged himself on a nearby hill.

A resistance had formed in the south, where several imperial princes were proclaimed as emperors in different provinces. The north though was completely in control of the rebels of the Shun Dynasty. They felt safe, and spent 10 days sacking Beijing, raping the wives and daughters of the mandarins and merchants, and torturing them to extort untold quantities of gold and silver. Then one advisor to the rebel army came with news: we haven't comp...

Baby socialism

WAR IS PEACE

SLAVERY IS FREEDOM

IGNORANCE IS KNOWLEDGE

DIVERSITY IS...

Inquisition, for the most part. The corporate PR racket sells that diversity is a strength because having different people in your organization gets you different points of view, and that results in better input for discussions and thus better decision-taking. Which is exactly how it doesn't work in practice. Racial diversity is welcome so long as everyone is strictly progressive, and USG has been busy promoting ideological uniformity across its whole empire. In recent years who basically can't get a job if you are caught dissenting with the most trivial progressive dogma. As Trotsky had it, in capitalism those who don't work shan't eat; under communism those who don't obey shan't eat.

The argument itself is true, though. Actual diversity does bring different points of view, which can often be interesting. But that requires actual ideological independence. The ideological landscape in the West is completely owned by USG, and one can hardly found any original ideas that differ even slightly from the progressive platform. But far away in East Asia, people can afford to think for themselves. And they do, for the most part, producing actually interesting ideas. If there's an argument for learning exotic languages, this is it. This blog is proof of that.

The talk of the street these weeks in Japan is a proposal for reforming pre-primary school, and making not only kinde...

The Informed Position on Tibet

Years ago I used to read a lot View from the Right, the blog of Lawrence Auster. Auster was a very peculiar guy. A Jew convert to Christianity, chanting the joys of social conservatism when being single (and most likely gay), he spent half his time criticizing progressive ideology, and half his time criticizing fellow critics of progressive ideology. His criticism was vivid, sharp and often accurate. Some of his criticism of rightist pundits was very good (Auster's law of race relations is brilliant and more relevant than ever), in many ways anticipating what today is called cuckservatism. Much of his material wasn't that good though, especially his awkward attacks of Steve Sailer for not defending Israel. The best part of his blog was how often he updated it (I was bored at college and appreciated the entertainment), and the comments by Jim Kalb. I wonder what Auster would've thought of Trump.

Auster was also quite obviously a man of the right, but he wasn't part of anything. He wasn't a paleocon, he wasn't a white nationalist. He was his own man. Being your own man is underappreciated. See this blog. It started as a neoreaction blog. At times I wrote quite actively about the "movement". Then the Eternal September happened and hordes of retards fell into neoreaction, driving the level of discussion down to the left half of the bell curve. Is this still a neoreaction blog?

See, I studied linguistics, and this sort of questions always interested me t...

The Law

A while ago I wrote some posts on the classical Chinese novel, the 14th century Water Margin 水滸傳. The Water Margin is the story of 108 outlaws, in the original 英雄好漢, which literally translates as hero 英雄 yīngxióng and ... 好漢 hǎohàn is very hard to translate. 好 means good, that one's easy, but 漢 means, well, Han, the Han Dynasty, the Han race we know today. It also means man, today normally expressed as 漢子 hànzi. But not just man, that's 男 nán. A 漢 is a real man, a strong, manly man, respected by his peers. You call someone a 漢子 hànzi as a compliment, to mean he's a real man. Add 好 to that, and you have a good+real man. I'd translate it as dude, for lack of a better fit, and also because it fits with the whole LARPing atmosphere of the men in the Water Margin.

They're just a bunch of outlaws, some with good reason, fleeing from the injustice of tyrannical government, some who lost their families to evil but connected people. Others though are just punks and hooligans; small time robbers, mountain bandits, drunkards, smugglers, that kind of people. That they spend the time calling each other great heroes is quite hilarious. Still, China has a long tradition of vagrancy and men doing their own thing, i.e. learning martial arts and forming gangs of bandits. Not everyone could pass the mandarin exam, you know. And those mandarins in the government didn't have the resources to police the whole country, so there was a...

The Song Golden Age

People are asking for more Chinese history. I agree. Chinese history is great. It's long, it's well documented, and it's documented in explicitly moralistic terms. Chinese thought has been always focused in how to achieve good governance, and histories are written as to contain parables of what good government is, and what bad government leads to. The most valued history book in China, the Zizhi Tongjian 資治通鑒, written by Sima Guang in 1084, again explicitly states that it is to be an aid for emperors and mandarins to achieve good governance. Good government leads to nice things. Bad government leads to death and misery. That's all Chinese intellectuals have ever cared about. I think it's a good priority to have.

Sima Guang was a brilliant scholar, and it's a huge pity that he finished his book just before the best story in Chinese history happened. The Jingkang Incident of 1127. Oh man, that's such a great, great story. There should be more books about it. It's perhaps the most compelling story in the history of mankind. It's just so unbelievably simple, yet dramatic. It's so good it seems fiction. But no fiction is this good. Anyway, let me tell you this story. It'll probably take several parts.

So again, the time is the Song Dynasty, 960-1279. If you've been reading my posts on the Water Margin, you have some minimum background.  The Song Dynasty was under many accounts the most wealthy and successful of all Chinese dynasties. Not to date...

The distribution of power

Another Chinese story.

Royal absolutism was invented by Shang Yang in the Chinese state of Qin, 360 BC. Of course absolute rulers had existed before, in the Middle East obviously you had plenty of god-kings; but Shang Yang's governance was recognizably modern. It was planned on secular terms, it had a central bureaucracy, and it explicitly took power from the nobility in order to strengthen the authority of the central government. The way it was framed is that the King deserves to have all the power, that's why he's the king; and that the king having all the power will result in more Order and better government, as the people will have no power to resist and create Chaos. Later Chinese political thought changed a lot: Confucianism was explicitly against Shang Yang's ideas (what came to be known as Legalism). In fact one could think of Confucianism as the revolt of the upper middle class against the centralizing legalists. A sort of English or French revolution dynamic. Happens they lost; Confucianism only somewhat won in a very, very diluted way 300 later under emperor Wu of Han.

But the idea that the power of the Ruler should be absolute absolutely carried the day in Chinese political thought. That contrasts a lot with the Western tradition which since the Greeks is obsessed with Tyranny and Despotism and basically makes it hell to run a cohesive government. Power has to be shared or else Tyranny! Much of that was the spillover from the propaganda war on th...

The Song Dynasty's Decline

So we left the story at Song Huizong. Huizong was as I wrote a consummate artist and a famous bon vivant. He knew how to enjoy himself. That means he generally wasn't interested in politics. Politics is generally very boring, pushing paper around, taking decisions about stuff you know nothing about. However Huizong was very willing to do politics if the topic at hand was interesting enough; interesting enough for such a consummate artist, that is.

There is one topic he did like to discuss, which was war. Artists tend to like war. The glory of fighting, thousands of men armed to the teeth and killing each other in mass pitched battles. There's something aesthetically very striking about that and artists across the world tend to be very attracted to it. Huizong was no exception, he was very much into war.

The thing is the Song dynasty had been founded explicitly as a peaceful state. The Song founder had decided the army was more trouble than it was worth, so he instituted a meritocratic bureaucracy and let it run the state more or less unimpeded for 100 years. That results in unprecedented prosperity, the reign of the 4th emperor Renzong being regarded as the historical peak of Chinese government. That produced its own set of problems, though. While you may not be interested in war, war is interested in you. While the Khitans in the Northeast were quite honorable, the Tanguts caught notice that the Song had no army to speak of, so they starte...

The Song Dynasty's Fall

So let's continue the rise and fall of the Song Dynasty. Let me digress a bit and let me talk about the capital of the Song.

1xarprc1

The borders of this map are contemporary China, but look at the topography. The Song Dynasty's capital was in Kaifeng. Kaifeng is probably the most retardedly located capital of all 3,000 years of Chinese history. Up until the Song, the capital of China had been alternating between Xi'an and Luoyang. Xi'an is in the Wei river valley, which is fairly narrow and easily defended if you control the mountain passes that surround the valley. Luoyang is just east of the mountains from Xi'an, in the North China plain proper, surrounded by mountains and a large river. Southern Dynasties had their capital at Nanjing, which is just south of the Yangtze river which is huge and completely impassable without a navy. And of course Beijing has been the capital for long due to its strategic location at the northern edge of the central plains.

But Kaifeng? It's in the middle of the damn plain! It has no natural defenses whatsoever. The only reason the Song capital is there is because the warlord who destroyed the Tang Dynasty 100 years later had his base there. Kaifeng is close to Jiangnan, the Nanjing-Shanghai area which is by far the wealthiest of the country, and the Grand Canal goes through there, so Kaifeng...

The Song Dynasty's Surrender

So we left as the Jurchens conquer the Song capital of Kaifeng, empty the city of all its valuables, butcher most of the population, taking around 100,000 people as slaves. Among them the whole imperial family, 5,000 people in all, plus all their servants. The wives, mothers, sisters and daughters of the emperor and all the nobility were taken as wives, concubines, or put to work as whores in the Jurchen official brothel. Those who made it alive to the Jurchen homeland, that is. Many died on their way.

Once the Jurchen destroyed the city of Kaifeng, they grabbed one Song minister, Zhang Bangchang, gave him some of the imperial regalia they had grabbed from the Song palace, and put him as emperor of the Great Chu. Zhang was supposed to set a court at Nanjing and rule as the puppet of the Jurchens, who annexed all land north of the Yellow River, but left most Chinese territory to this puppet court. The Jurchens had no intention of ruling China at all. They had invaded to punish the Song court for its treachery and to extract some booty to share between the Jurchen generals. They achieved those goals, and then some. Setting a government in China and finding a way to rule the peasants sounded like a lot of trouble, trouble the Jurchens weren't interested in taking at all. The destruction of the Song Dynasty had also erased all public order in north China. Gangs of bandits roamed the countryside, killing landlords, public officials, Jurchen detachments and anything the...

The Bow of the King of Chu

Google openly praises leftist terrorist supporters, Obama forces schools across the US to allow transexuals to choose the toilets they use. The West is fucked up. Yes, I know. The mission of this blog has been to explain in plain language why the Left exists, why it's so crazy, and why it gets even crazier over time.

Part of that mission is to find similar instances of crazy political ideas in non-Western cultures. Sir John Glubb spent some time in the Arab world, and he seemed to have the same interests, so he produced a very interesting account on political madness in the Abassid empire, which looked fairly similar to contemporary leftism. I live in East Asia, and so I write a lot about East Asian history. I may end up making some money by selling my readers a fancy book with some stories. In the meanwhile, let me share another interesting anecdote.

The most fertile era of Chinese intellectual culture coincided with what came to be called the Axial Age. In China is the era between 550 BC and 200 BC, more or less. That's the era of the Hundred Schools of thought. China was divided in many kingdoms, who each wanted a piece of each other. It was if anything more violent and chaotic that Classical Greece, which had similar dynamics; division, constant warfare, and amazing intellectual life.

Continue Reading →

Names

This has been going around. Guess I should say something. I really don't know how to comment on that pile of nonsense. I might as well let the sages do it for me.

子路曰:「衛君待子而為政,子將奚先?」

子曰:「必也正名乎!」

子路曰:「有是哉,子之迂也!奚其正?」

子曰:「野哉,由也!君子於其所不知,蓋闕如也。名不正,則言不順;言不順,則事不成;事不成,則禮樂不興;禮樂不興,則刑罰不中;刑罰不中,則民無所錯手足。故君子名之必可言也,言之必可行也。

Confucius and his disciples were gathered at the master's house. One of his disciples, Zilu, asks the master.

Zilu: The Duke of Wei has asked for your opinion in how to rule his realm. He'll call you for an audience any time. What will be the first thing you tell him?

Confucius: Oh, that he must fix the names.

Zilu: What? That? Oh come on, master, what does that even mean. "Fix the names". I don't get it.

Confucius: Shut up, you stupid brat, and listen. It is like this. If the names aren't correct, what you speak becomes nonsense. If you speak nonsense, you can't get things done. If you don't get things done, you can't get the rituals to work. If the rituals don't work, the law isn't applied as it should. If the law isn't applied as it should, the people can't make a productive living. When a ruler names something, he must be able to make sense when talking about it. And when talking about it, he must be able to do what he means.

My translation. Philo...

Correct Naming

Master Xun (荀子 Xunzi):

夫民易一以道,而不可與共故。故明君臨之以埶,道之以道,申之以命,章之以論,禁之以刑。故民之化道也如神,辨埶惡用矣哉!今聖王沒,天下亂,姦言起,君子無埶以臨之,無刑以禁之,故辨說也。實不喻,然後命,命不喻,然後期,期不喻,然後說,說不喻,然後辨。故期命辨說也者,用之大文也,而王業之始也。名聞而實喻,名之用也。累而成文,名之麗也。用麗俱得,謂之知名。名也者,所以期累實也。辭也者,兼異實之名以論一意也。辨說也者,不異實名以喻動靜之道也。期命也者,辨說之用也。辨說也者,心之象道也。心也者,道之工宰也。道也者,治之經理也。心合於道,說合於心,辭合於說。正名而期,質請而喻,辨異而不過,推類而不悖。聽則合文,辨則盡故。以正道而辨姦,猶引繩以持曲直。是故邪說不能亂,百家無所竄。有兼聽之明,而無矜奮之容;有兼覆之厚,而無伐德之色。說行則天下正,說不行則白道而冥窮。是聖人之辨說也。詩曰:「顒顒卬卬,如珪如璋,令聞令望,豈弟君子,四方為綱。」此之謂也。

Which translates as:

The people can easily be unified by means of the Way, but one should not try to share one’s reasons with them. Hence, the enlightened lord controls them with his power, guides them with the Way, moves them with his orders, arrays them with his judgments, and restrains them with his punishments. Thus, his people’s transformation by the Way is spirit-like [i.e. religious]. What need has he for demonstrations and persuasions? Nowadays the sage kings have all passed away, the whole world is in chaos, and depraved teachings are arising. The gentleman has no power to control people, no punishments to restrain them, and so he engages in demonstrations and persuasions.

When objects are not understood, then one engages in naming. When the naming is not understood, then one tries to procure agreement. When the agreement is not understood, then one engages in persuasion. When the persuasion is not understood, then one engages in d...

The Great Ming Emperor Admonishes his Troops about Women

So some people are saying I'm just some rootless cosmopolitan who speaks Chinese. How can I be alt-right?

此言差矣. It doesn't work like that. I have insight precisely because I've been around, and I've read around. Let me prove my alt-right bona-fides by quoting Zhu Yuanzhang, the great founder of the Ming Dynasty, the Empire of Brightness.

Zhu Yuanzhang is the greatest rags-to-riches story in the history of mankind. He was some minor son of a landless peasant, born during the period of Mongol rule in China. Mongol government in China was quite horrible; infrastructure decayed, bandits were everywhere, and all manner of natural disasters happened all the time. One of those disasters killed our hero's whole family. Starvation. Every single one of them. Our hero had to go to the closest Buddhist temple to beg for some food; and all he got was an old wooden pan, and an order to beat the crap out of the temple and beg some food outside. Which he did for years. Beg for food. Around the country. For years. Until he met some band of bandits. Heaven had it so that his best childhood friend was a bandit chief; so he soon joined them. Our hero then slowly but steadily climbed the bandit meritocracy ladder; next thing you know he is leading the best rebel army in China, expels the Mongols to the steppe and reunifies All Under Heaven.

There's something to say for the tradition, the slow accumulation of knowledge in society. But some things just don't require an educa...

The Strong Do What They Can

This pic has been doing the rounds in the Chinese Internet. It's a parking sign in a mosque in Gansu province, Western China. There's a lot of muslims there, about a million, 3% or so of the province population. There used to be quite a lot more, until they rebelled in the 1860s. Then Zuo Zongtang and his army came and massacred every muslim he could find.

55f6f027ly1fbsjsbii0jj20qo0zk13e

Those days are long gone, though, and muslims are quite assertive in China today. Back to the sign. It's just a run-of-the-mill sign, telling people who go to park inside the mosque what they have to do. Drive slowly, follow directions from the staff, pay the ticket, watch your valuables, you know. Now take a look at rule 3. in the second section. It says:

凡装有易燃易爆,剧毒污染性物品的车辆,特别是凡有女人的车辆不得驶入寺内,否则后果自负

"All cars who are carrying flammable, explosive or toxic products, especially all cars which are carrying women, cannot drive into the mosque. Else they will face the consequences."

Doesn't say which consequences. But it can't be very good. I kinda like the "especially". Like bombs and poison is bad, man. But be especially careful about bringing women! That's even worse! That's just trolling. And...

The White Left

So this article is doing the rounds. Chinese netizens have synthetized a very powerful compound which has the Cathedral in complete terror. What is it? The word 白左, the White Left. This means that some people in China understand that progressivism is a foreign conspiracy against the Chinese nation. And they see this is in overt racial terms. It's not "Western left". It's the "White left".

Now, don't get too excited. Nick Land is excited.  But he lives in Shanghai. And he just found out about this. Which means it's not anything mainstream going on in China. I found the word in my Twitter feed about the time of Merkel's boner, when she decided to bring 1 million hostile men into Europe.

The Chinese in Europe were livid. And for good reason. The Chinese went through a lot of hoops to get legal residence in Europe. The Muslims just got in for free. The Chinese are law-abiding and industrious. The Muslims are lazy and prone to crime. The Chinese live in low-rent areas where the Muslims flock to, and they assault the local Chinese all the time, while the police do nothing.

Now the Chinese have long had their problems with western style progressivism. There's lots of Chinese living in the West, many go ba...

One Belt One Road

So the Chinese government just had a huge party in Beijing, attended by 100 or so heads of government, where they announced the launching of the One Belt One Road initiative. They even had cute videos in English like this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0lJc3PMNIg

But still, nobody has any idea what this is all about. And the reason is that Chinese public PR is utterly retarded. It just doesn't work. China's government has absolutely no way of reaching the hearts and minds of white people.

Part of it is racial hostility. Yellow men just aren't cool. I hate saying this, I've lived half my life among them, and personally I like them very much. But I gotta say the truth. They just aren't cool. Not even physically. They're not small, the average Chinese is probably taller than the average Italian by now. But they're skinny and awkward and just not very alpha. You just can't fight average T levels. There's plenty of cool guys in the right edge of the distribution, but alas. China will never be cool. Not even Japan is cool. Look at Cool Japan and other government initiatives. Only Anime and other stuff geared to 13 year olds is cool, because the Japanese never grow out of that age, as McArthur famously said. And the Koreans are basically prostituting their teenage girls all across the world for cheap (Korean dramas and K-pop shows are sold really cheap to get access) just in order to spite Japan getting more Western attention.

So now that I've establ...

First Lady

Incidentally, this is China's First Lady, Peng Liyuan. I suggest you lower a bit the volume. The song is intense.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2YYTqgrMyY

Doing it wrong 

https://twitter.com/rafferty_tom/status/882499670848675840

A 10% cap would be reasonable. Alas China is no stranger to wasteful signaling spirals. Here's hoping they put a stop to the education bubble madness. 

Liu Xiaobo

Liu Xiaobo is dead. Who the hell is Liu Xiaobo?

A pyschopathic status maximizer from Northeast China. Or may I say a high-IQ status-greedy sociopath. Or a shameless self-promoter taking money from USG to undermine his own nation?

Or in one word: an activist. Liu Xiaobo was a student activist from the 1980s. The 1980s were a very delicate time in China. Mao was dead. Deng Xiaoping had opened up the country. The old order was shattered; and when a country is in disorder, the status-hunters smell weakness. They saw blood. And so they started agitating. Writing articles on how backward China was. How utterly rotten and corrupt and just smelly it was, compared to the utopia in the West. Western governments obviously encouraged the agitation. They gave money and resources. This agitation culminated in the 1989 Tiananmen protests. Liu Xiaobo was there, showing his teeth, ready to destroy the government and take their place. To gain the supreme status he knew he deserved. Everybody thought that the government would fall, and a new state would have to be built on Western standards. A new state led by themselves, of course.

bphvyh6ccaax8xt

But no, that didn't happen. The little old man had a pair, and he sent the tanks. Most of the psychopathic status maximizers fled. But Liu Xiaobo didn't. The guy isn't just some run of t...

Moving right

https://twitter.com/adam_ni/status/892239324514627584

Context here is that Han Chinese are 45% of the population there but only 22% of births. Modern people find it bothersome to raise families when living surrounded by hostile Muslims.

The Chinese at least understand the problem.

When Power wants something

So there's been another Islamic terrorist attack, this time in Spain. A dozen dead. This time though, funnily, the terrorists didn't kill themselves. They're still on the loose. Apparently the main actor is a 17 year old Moroccan. Even if they catch him, as a minor he'll probably get a slap in the wrist and some community service.

After Charlottesville, people should have noticed that when Power wants something, it gets it. It will take any means necessary, put any resources needed to achieve it. If the Power in the West wanted to get rid of Islamic terrorism, it could do it.

As an example, China wants to get rid of Islamic terrorism. Pretty damn strongly. So what do they do?

Xinjiang Authorities Convert Uyghur Mosques Into Propaganda Centers

 

I just love this picture. The huge banner on the mosque says: Love the Party, Love the Country. On a mosque. In rural Kashgar. Which is 100% Uyghur. Look at it again. "Love the party". They don't say that back in China proper. In Beijing you would get laughed at for being so in your face. But the Uyghurs must take it.

This of course is enforced ...

Bucolic Japan

https://twitter.com/DissidentRight/status/900387460978532354

I'm guessing that Mr. Derbyshire's Chinese in-laws have been extremely mean to him; else I don't quite get his hostility towards his children's motherland. He should be happy that they'll get to choose to live in the world hegemon no matter what happens during this century. But no, he keeps criticizing the empire.

To his credit, he criticizes the other, as of now foremost empire, the USA. I guess it's this small-town conservatism thing. This dream of ethnically homogeneous, small countries, tied by very strict but widely shared cultural norms, and ruled through direct citizenship participation. Yes, it's kinda nice. There's this bucolic flavor to it; and if we look at revealed preferences, people all over the world pay big bucks to visit those kind of places (Switzerland, northern Italy) every year. To the point, tourists visiting Japan is a booming industry, with over 20 million visitors last year.

But as nice as homogeneous, peaceful towns/countries are; the logic of history doesn't care. Northern Italy was this collection of small sovereign city states. Then they consolidated into a few states ruled by the biggest cities, Milan, Venice. Then Napoleon came with his steamroller and it all went to hell. The fact that Switzerland still exists has all to do with it being a bunch of (back then) unproductive real estate freezing up in the Alps, and not due to its superior government.

Anyway...

Choose your side

https://twitter.com/JEPomfret/status/902584060156903424

And people ask me why I cheer for China being a great power who can stand against the US.

ETA: I see that the poster isn't translated in the fake news peace, so I'll do it here.

做一个好主妇,

To be a good wife

好母亲

A good mother

是女人最大的本事

Is a women's most important skill

为什么非得削尖了脑筋,

Why must you squeeze your brain

累吐了血

Work until you're so tired you cough up blood

跟男人争资源,

Why must you compete for resources with men,

抢地盘呀?

Take away their turf?

Well said. Why indeed? Who the hell enjoys working?

Not that China is putting all the weight of the state behind traditional marriage. Plenty of feminism out there, both in private and public areas. But it's getting better. And the more evil baizuo like John Pomfret signal their disapproval, the more China will want to stick it to whitey by going back to Confucian marriage.

Which remember, had *unlimited polygamy*. And women couldn't cut their hair. Way better than Islam, people. And they can drink and eat pork. If it only got some more traction.

 

Fighting the bad fight

The United States is the world empire since, at least, 1991. There's no question about that. This hegemony has started to crumble in recent years. First, China refused to surrender to the Western-supported students in Tiananmen square, in 1989. Then Russia fell, some thought for good, but since 1999 Putin rebuilt the Russian state and its sovereignty, leading to very tense relations with USG. China also waivered between accommodation to the USG led order, signing all those UN human rights treaties. But since Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, China has been in open confrontation to the American led world order.

It is no surprise that Vladimir Putin has a lot of fans in the West, as the internal enemies of USG, or its state church, the Cathedral as we call it, follow the ancient logic that your enemy's enemy is a pretty good guy. The specifics don't matter. There's plenty to dislike about Putin and his regime. But he's one of the few enemies of the world empire that USG wants to impose on Earth, and for that he deserves our respect. That he goes the extra length of opposing the very things we object about American rule, e.g. gender ideology, is the icing on the cake, changing mere respect into gratitude, even admiration. I agree with this idea, and I'm very glad Vladimir Putin exists.

Putin gets a lot of fans also because, well, he's white. He looks like us, and comes from a fairly similar cultural background. China doesn't get many fans. Most of the same peop...

State and Church

I say we need a new religion; the Western State doesn't agree with me. They have their own, thank you.

China has its own too, and doesn't want a new one. What it wants is to dismantle the old ones. Which is pretty much what the West has been doing. We have freedom of religion. All churches can do what they want as long as they're progressive. Like the model-T. China finally figured out how that works. And so...

https://twitter.com/globaltimesnews/status/905689026421702656

Context is China just passed new regulations about religion (in English here). The new regulations call for all religions in China (the 5 legally recognized) must do more to adapt to society and obey the government. Take proactive measures against extremism. Extremism being of course a relative term.

I want something. You want something. Say you draw a line, at one end it's what I want, at the other end it's what you want. If you accommodate to what I want, well you stop being you. If you try to do what you want but not too hard, then you're a moderate. If you try very hard to do what you want and don't care about what I want, then you're an extremist. Quite literally so.

tong_xin_great_mosque_ning_xia_china2Continue Reading →

Choose your side, 2

Here's one side:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLk2aSBrR6U

 

Here's the other side:

https://twitter.com/adrianzenz/status/923076695262924801

 

(here's part 1)

Tales from the patriarchy

The way of properly learning a language is to do what languages are made for: use it. Ideally, live your usual life, do whatever it is you like doing, and just try to find a way to insert that language you're learning into your daily routine. So if, say, you like movies, and you're learning Persian, well, stop watching Hollywood crap and go pick up some Persian movies.

I get asked about books on Chinese history, and I tend not to know what to say. I haven't read a lot of Chinese history books in English. Certainly not any general ones. I read China in World History by Adshead after Steve Sailer recommended it. It's a fascinating book, not very accurate, but a fun read for beginners, so I do recommend it too. Generally speaking most English books on China are pretty bad, and badly written. With the exception of Frederick Wakeman's, which are awesome.

What I often do to read up on Chinese history is watch a historical TV show, then stop anytime something bugs me and go check out the primary sources out there in Wikisource. If the thing is interesting I check out 知乎, China's much improved version of Quora, where they have detailed explanations and book recommendations. If the topic is interesting enough I get the (Chinese-language) book.

There's a recent TV show in China about 司馬懿 Sima Yi, one of the most important leaders of the Three Kingdoms p...

China doesn't care about your opinion

Well, the news is out: Xi Jinping has become dictator of China for life. He's the new Mao, a totalitarian ogre who will destroy human rights across the world.

Or so would the Western media have it. But that's why you're here reading my blog, of course, because you want a better take. Well this is mine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWBw7mFTIGY

What just happened? Well, the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee, the de-jure highest power of the land, made by 205 members, has proposed a series of changes to China's constitution. Amongst them are the abolition of term limits for the 主席 President and 副主席 Vicepresident. Previously, since 1982, there was a limit of two consecutive terms for both offices.

What do the president and vice president of China do? The offices have no power. The constitutions, and any other law, give them no power. None at all. They are completely ceremonial.

So what's the point? That's a good question. China has a weird double structure, where the party and state are distinct entities, but have completely mirror structures. For every province, city and county, there is a government, with its governors and mayors and vice governors and vice-mayors. And then there's a Communist Party committee for the same province city or county, with a secretary general. The secretary general calls the shots. The mayor isn't an entirely ceremonial office, but it is comp...

Mistakes happen for a reason

So the news from last week were how China changed the constitution and abolished term limits in the only thing that had term limits; the presidency. This was followed by the USG propaganda apparatus (AKA the press) going into fits of panic. “We got China wrong”, they say. It took China changing its constitution without American permission for Americans to notice that they got China wrong.

What did they get wrong? China was dirt-poor in 1980. Really, really poor. It would have likely remained quite poor if USG hadn’t decided to open trade relations with China, having them join WTO and all that. The theory, now stated openly, was that economic growth would eventually lead to the formation of a middle class, and that middle class would then agitate for democracy; a democratic China would naturally be a jolly good thing, aligned with USG’s interests (also known as “Western values”).

I don’t quite see how that last line follows. Democratic politics doesn’t correlate with “Western values” well at all. Look at Turkey or Iran. What does correlate with Western values is proximity of US military bases: that correlates pretty damn close. It also happens that proximity of US military bases correlates to some degree with democratic politics. But the causality starts with US tanks, not with democr...

Black Swans of Common Knowledge

As I write this, the news are coming out that the 12 boys trapped in 4km inside a cave in northern Thailand have been rescued, after having trapped in a cold, damp and pitch black cave for 10 long days until they were discovered, and another tense week when nobody really knew how to get them out. The rescue operation has been smooth, amazingly so.

The whole thing has been like a perfect movie. The setting is completely absurd. What were the boys doing there? Apparently the coach (apparently it's a soccer team) had a habit of taking the early teen boys hiking and exploring and doing boy-scouts kind of stuff. Which is fine; but why on earth did he get into 4 damn kilometres into an unexplored cave in the beginning of the raining season? What was he thinking? In some other place or time the coach would have been left to rot inside, and his whole family beat to death. In Japan today he would probably have to kill himself after he and his whole family are completely ostracized. The Japanese are quite amazed at how nice the Thais have been in general.

But again, like in a movie, the setting is not important. The drama afterward is, and this cave-rescue story has had all the necessary elements. The long search, eventually finding the kids. The kids being in good health, because their mysterious coach has taught them meditation (to 13 year old boys? come on). The international teams coming in, all rushing to find a solution. Discussing for several days what to do, ...

Patriarchal Sexual Law

We live in a world of sexual license. Sexual freedom we could say. You can sleep with whoever you want and neither state authorities, nor most people, will interfere with your sexual life. You can even engage in the most unnatural, disgusting and disease-inducing activities; but criminal law just has nothing against you.

This alone is a sign that the patriarchy doesn't exist anymore. Patriarchies are systems in which all women belong to a man; the husband after marriage, the father before that, or the head of the household if she's a servant of some sort. Women have this uncanny ability to make men want to have sex with them, and at the same time prefer to have exclusivity in that matter. Not to mention the potential for disease or childbirth. So naturally their legal guardians had to take care that women, i.e. their property, was not captured by other men to have sex with them without proper compensation. As such, law regulating sex in the pre-modern period where every bit as complicated, and as harsh, as laws regulating finance and property in our day.

Imperial Chinese law on marriage is a lot of fun, but most interesting are their laws on fornication. Fornication belonged to criminal law, ever since the very first complete legal code on compiled during the early Tang Dynasty in 624, which has remained to us as the 唐律疏義 tánglü shūyì. More importantly, rape was understood as fornication + force, a more serious crime but nothing really different. Th...

China's CRISPR babies might have wasted our last chance

Yesterday I woke up to this piece of news:

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/612458/exclusive-chinese-scientists-are-creating-crispr-babies/

Chinese Scientists are Creating CRISPR Babies.

Hilarity ensued. This guy, Hè Jiànkuí 贺建奎, professor at China's Southern University of Science and Technology, with good, manly posture, was bringing the future to our time.

I was feeling weird already. But then this other bombshell happens.

https://www.apnews.com/4997bb7aa36c45449b488e19ac83e86d

Babies are already born! Twin girls, Lulu and Nana. Which are quite standard names for Chinese girls today, even though that sort of name would've sound like prostitutes 50 years ago. But I digress.

The mad scientist who had created the first CRISPR babies out of the blue, in secret, just like that! Had set up a Youtube channel where, in lousy English, he explained his whole project. Look at him here. His posture is not so good in the videos.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyNHpMoPkIg

His procedure involved knocking down the CCR5 gene, supposedly giving immunity to AIDS. The guy went out of his way to denounce the use of gene editing (he branded his procedure as "gene surgery". I'm just this doctor doing surgery, you see) for purposes of improving IQ. "That should be ban...

Tiananmen

It's been 30 years this week since the famous riots in Beijing. I refuse to give any attention to an incident which was of little consequence, which nobody in China knows about, and to the extent they know about it nobody but a small number of dieharders (i.e. the people rioting back then and their families) gives a shit about.

If the Western press won't shut up about something, odds are is all a pig pile of fake news, of official propaganda which has been concocted up at some upper level and been issued hierarchically to the Cathedral press so everybody toes the official message. That applies to things like #Metoo, to the idea of "Russian interference" in the 2016 American election, the goddamn Rohingya, and yes, the stories of the "Tiananmen massacre".

So I won't add my blog to that message volume. Which is what they want, of course. Attention. To occupy mental space and crowd out other ideas, so the fake news gets around. Don't give it to them.

That said, some people do ask me what Tiananmen was about. Short answer: nobody knows, they won't tell, everybody is lying. Long answer: probably an internal coup attempt by a pro-Western faction of the CPC (led by premier Zhao Ziyang) with some Western intelligence support; a coup attempt which perhaps was aided by other factions inside China which disliked Deng Xiaoping and just wanted to take advantage of the disorder to drag him down.

<...

Hong Kong and the Perils of Nativism

There's an old saying, that Paris would be lovely without the Parisians. I don't actually agree with that. They can be a bit arrogant, sure, but on the whole I find Parisian men quite civil and Parisian women classy and sexy. So I hope they stay.

There is one place though where that saying absolutely fits. Hong Kong. HK is a very cool city. It is a first world city built on a landscape of high tropical mountains, and you can see how the force of modern industry has made humans conquer the environment, fitting skyscrapers into the mountain bedrock and open-air escalators to reach them with ease.

https://twitter.com/CarlZha/status/1165490546883715074

Hong Kong also produced Hong Kong cinema, one

of the few non Anglo film industries with a distinctive style and which aims to

entertain and not preach to the viewers. There's also Hong Kong music, which...

well, no, that's pretty bad. On the other hand Hong Kong has, in my view, one

the best food industries in the world, or at least had until 5 years ago when

mainland China started to up its game. All in all, Hong Kong is a great place.

I used to go often and enjoy every visit

But that doesn't mean it has a great people. Oh no. Hong Kong is indeed a cool city...

Coronachan

People have been asking for a blog post on the coronavirus crisis, and I've demurred. Mostly because I have little facts to add. I'm no virologist, no epidemiologist, I basically know nothing useful about the virus, and I'm not in the business of making up shit or speculating for clicks. I try to offer insight in this blog and I really have no insight about viruses.

Is the virus man-made? I don't know. Is it just the flu? I don't know. Did China release it on purpose? I don't know. Was it made by Americans to fuck with China? I don't know. Is bat soup that good? I don't know! I'd say I'm sorry that I'll never get to try it at this point but nah, I've had the chance but never tried it. I'm high-openness but not that high. I've never even tried cat meat. Or bugs. Or pangolin! Oh pangolin. That I wouldn't have minded trying. Friend tells me it's pretty good.

What I can write about is the all sorts of realizations I've had over this already 3 months of global crisis. And I'd say by far the most salient thing that's struck me is the sheer amount of bullshit going around. People literally making up shit all the time and peddling on Twitter, on Reddit, on WhatsApp, everywhere there's an audience.

And sure, some of that is Hasbar...

Cold War 2 Propaganda

So it seems that hostility to China is now official American policy. Redgov, i.e. the Military Industrial Complex has been pushing it for quite a while, and for good reason: they want war, or at least a plausible threat of war so they can get bigger budgets and waste more money so they can embezzle their cut and invest it in things like Theranos. That's their job. And it happens that the narrow pecuniary interests of the Military Industrial Complex now fit very well with the electoral interests of the Republican Party. Trump wanted to run on the economy and the stock market, but Corona-chan has completely wrecked it. The strategy now is "It's all China's fault, let's make them pay". Again, lame, but understandable.

All in all it's been a while since these two sides of Redgov, the Military and the Republican party have interests so tightly aligned. As a result we've been having a massive onslaught of Pentagon-led propaganda this last year, and man, is it lame and stupid. The left really is better at this stuff. The left is not only smarter (on average, it attracts social strivers and smart people want status), it's also more motivated, and the internal competition is way higher. I've blogged before about how retarded Chinese propaganda tends to be due to a lack of market incentives: you could say the same about official right wing propaganda in the West. It's all for the boys, to fill up the resume. Not that promotion depends on anything bu...

The Father of Taiwan

Lee Tenghui is dead. 97 years old. I won't wish he rest in peace, as his life was dedicated to making peace harder on earth. He was the man who single handedly prevented Taiwan from reuniting with China, thus prolonging the life of the American Empire in Asia for a good 3 decades. Of course I exaggerate, but only a little. The man really was a force of nature. Readers of historiography might now that there's a factional battle among historians, between the proponents of the "Great Man theory" which says historical change is driven by extraordinary men and their raw energy and ambition; and it's opposite, what you could call the "naturalist theory", that history is driven by larger forces such as modes of production or religion or whatnot, and individuals don't really matter that much.

Large ideological battles are of course always bullshit; they are driven by factionalism, status infighting inside the guild in order to capture monopoly rents and vanquish your factional enemies. I'm not an academic historian, hence not a member of the guild, so I won't give fuel to any faux dichotomy. Obviously history is both influenced by overarching forces and the actions of extraordinary man. The same way wars are generally determined by fundamental factors such as production and manpower, yet some decisive battles are very close and pretty much decided by random chance.

Well Lee Tenghui was a most extraordinary man, a man who for decades did what very few human...