Friday, 19 July 2019

Thoughts on the system - 32

There’s no way to describe the system, the organism. Its vocabulary is grossly underwhelming. The following rough thoughts are an attempt to outline the unoutlineable:
  • Progressivism destroys creativity and innovation, which is why movies are remakes and music hasn't evolved in 20 years.
  • If you replace the word "fascist" with "Extreme Catholic" you don’t have to change anything else. And if you replace "communist" with "Extreme Protestant" you also need not change anything else. It's all just Christianity.
  • Humans don’t have bodies, we are bodies.
  • I am very lucky to have lived in the last days of a world that came the closest to emancipation from religion as any time in history. But that world is quickly disappearing into a Long Night.
  • The barbarians are not at the gate, they are well inside the walls. And who let them in? The religious.
  • You don’t have to control her, you just have to let her know that she doesn’t control you.
  • Politics in the current year is not about policy. It is all about refighting all the social struggles you fought and lost so humiliatingly in high school but this time you get to win and make the cool kids pay.
  • The key misstep in Western history was not taking the invention of the joint-stock company and applying it to the nation-state.
  • Accepting responsibility is a right of passage into manhood, there is no equivalent for women.
  • If you smack a child, all you are proving is that you can’t outsmart a child. This would not happen if you paid closer attention to the path that led the child to the transgression. In other words, a good parent does not need to beat their child.
  • What killed my religion was realising that prayer is just forcing your mind to think about something deeply.
  • People are afraid of beauty because it highlights ugliness.
  • What other people think of you is none of your business.
  • The reason culture is falling apart is that we get our media from different places. How can you maintain a culture when 50% of the videos I watch on YouTube no one else watches? The only reason we had a coherent culture was due to broadcast television.
  • "Judeo-Christian" values are really American WASP values. The Puritans were a Judaised (scapegoat) form of Christianity.
  • Of course US infrastructure is falling apart, the Department of Defence no longer needs to maintain it for moving troops between the two sides of the continent.
  • People fabricate hate crimes because Christianity says it’s better to be a victim than a hero.
  • All advice is good advice, you just have to be ready to take it.
  • We are at the point where women believe they should be exempt from the social rules that govern men simply because women have a vagina.
  • Controlling your emotions is not the same as being emotionless.
  • Nothing is more damaging to a person than thinking work is something we are forced to do, rather than an essential human ingredient. There’s a difference between work and a job.
  • The goal is the sale, always move toward it. Don’t try to pretend like there is no intent.
  • Men want to know what women want, the thing is, women also want to know what they want.
  • Everyone thinks they’re the exception, but rules don’t care.
  • Women don’t actually know if you’re sexy, but if you act like you’re sexy then through the atemporal logic of female narcissism, you will be sexy.
  • There’s a clear correlation between being ugly and being politically progressive, it's a desperate attempt to not exist in the present.
  • Commit to a lifestyle, not a girl.
  • Usury is covetousness as a system.
  • The problem with feminism is that too few women had to die to get equality. In a world where power comes from the scapegoat mechanism, that’s a big deal.
  • Socialism is the disease contracted by countries that get sick by usury-based capitalism.
  • There are a lot of males in the world, but not a lot of men.
  • You can’t have diversity without an overarching idea or hegemonic concept to bind society. Without a metaphysics, society defaults to visual shortcuts like skin colour.
  • Women are so solipsistic that in order to compliment a woman you have to insult men.
  • When institutions of order are taken over by revolutionaries, revolution is taught as order.
  • Everyone knows Jews control the porn industry. But that’s not a true statement because not everyone knows this.
  • As WWII showed, it’s only called democracy when the progressives win.
  • Las Vegas is a city version of the scapegoat. Better one city focus on bending to the passions than for the entire country to collapse.
  • It's hard not to notice how similar real life is to movies, even the bad things. Movies are clearly a rehearsal for what the directors and financiers want to happen in reality, such that real life is conducted by movies. The activity is in the required direction.
  • A revolution is not fought for ideals. Revolutionaries fight for more concrete things like food, housing, women or to relieve oppression. No one is willing to die for an abstraction.
  • The media no longer holds the powerful to account but holds victims up and oppressors down, and the definition of each is determined by the individual journalist herself based on her university training indoctrination. Today, journalists wouldn’t know power if it slapped them in the face. A neat trick as real power hides in plain sight.
  • Being informed is not impressive, far better to come up with an abstract idea of your own. Even if you only have one of those in your life.
  • Narcissism is so communist. You really believe your job as a truck driver is as valuable as an experienced CEO?
  • Those who call themselves "X-American," like African-American, are part of the plan. That game is the quintessential imperial project: the default assumption is that being American is a universal ideal. Global voting comes next.
  • For many women, "freedom" is a consumerist fantasy of having a world of plenty rather than the responsibility to become fully human.
  • In counterinsurgency, fighters always aim to change minds. To win minds the population must rationally believe the occupier is better. This often requires force. Winning hearts treats the population as six-year-olds, yet hearts are the only things worth fighting for.
  • The problem is not income inequality but what people spend money on. The idea that people should be paid more or that money should be spread more fairly is a trick. It leads to ever-greater consumption and the system wins.
  • How do you make a narcissist? You remove the mirrors. When no one says what they mean or what they see, then society itself becomes narcissistic.
  • We live in a rarefied world in the West. Cambodia and Rwanda is the world. We can blame Stalin and Pol Pot for atrocities, but it keeps happening. This is us.
  • Anarchists say, “If I can’t have it, no one can! Burn it to the ground!” But don’t they see? Why do they desire the thing? Why are they resentful if they can’t get it? They let the system tell them what to want and have failed to learn how to want.
  • It’s not about where the lines are drawn but about who draws the lines. Sure, the status quo is not suitable, but who gets to control what progress looks like? That is the question.
  • Progressives aren’t looking for an enemy in the neo-Nazi myth or the white supremacy lie. They are looking for a sacrifice. The mimetic rivalry is building. The single victim mechanism is being prepared for use again. Pray this does not occur.
  • Women are more valuable than men, but men are better humans.
  • Not all Jews undermine social morals, but most people undermining morals are Jews.
  • Having power over yourself means choosing to desire things your body truly, and uniquely, desires.
  • The only reason you need a government is to protect you from other governments.
  • But don’t you, Mr Homeless Dude, feel like a burden on society? You can't honestly feel like everyone who isn’t homeless is more of a burden than you?
  • Truth has seven levels.
  • It's ironic that if immigration into Western counties continues at present rates, the only white people who will remain are the Jews.
  • Sodomy is about as far away from nature as you can get.
  • The sheep don’t need the shepherd, the shepherd needs the sheep.
  • We do not live in a "simulation," what you are feeling is the simulacrum created by the media.
  • If a girl orders a glass of wine as her first drink, you’re not getting laid that night.
  • Women are "sex-positive" in the same way alcoholics are "vodka-positive."
  • Have Jews become more Protestant or has Protestantism become more Jewish?
  • Data is only a proxy for experience. Do not mix the two.
  • The construction of a solid individual relies on a solid foundation, you can’t have one without the other. The question is: what will the foundation be, not whether there will be one.
  • Leaders do not rule countries, they are ruled by a complex set of interests and constraints.
  • Equality suggests a balanced capacity for both sexes to meet environmental and situational challenges to equal effect, which they can't.
  • Before you say "I want to stop drinking" you first must think it more important to say "I want to stop hurting people." The latter is for the good of others, the former is for yourself, with the byproduct of it being good for others. That’s why it fails.
  • The occupation of Iraq proves one thing: feminism is something victors impose on conquered nations to keep them subjugated once the troops pull out.
  • Pornography is empire.
  • If a nice, handsome man with a middle-class job can’t get a girl, then what will happen to the middle-class jobs?
  • Geofencing is an electromagnetic jail cell.
  • The best place to hide a conspiracy is within a conspiracy culture.
  • Jesus said if you deny Satan, he will flee. The destruction of the scapegoat is within our power.
  • If you want to get journalists to write about certain things, don’t ask the ones you have, just hire new journos who already believe in that thing.
  • The system depends on the smartphone and its data. What happens when the electricity turns off?
  • Who wants to see change? Everyone. Who wants to change? No one.
  • Would you know the difference between governments and chapters in a global syndicate?
  • You can’t "take my girl." Buddy, it’s just your turn.
  • Is it more accurate to blame the system for the things you do, or the things you do for the way the system has become?
  • When people say "there was nothing I could do" they admit only a lack of imagination.
  • It doesn’t matter who you vote for, the civil service always wins.
  • The greatest form of mind control is telling people what they want to hear. The key to power is figuring out what that is.
  • What’s so effective about labelling someone a Nazi is that it's impossible to become an ex-Nazi.
  • Texting a girl at night fulfils two of her major needs: drama and validation.

How many times have I said this?!?

Here's a link to brighten your day:

Sometimes it's nice to hear other people say it too, but it doesn't make it easier to swallow. Scott Adams understand two things (at least) about power: 1) information is control and 2) information without persuasion is useless. While everyone was distracted fighting over red vs blue, the global technology companies have been beavering away.

I've used the concept before on this blog, but it's worth replaying again. The moment I realised Google, Facebook, Twitter and others had taken power was when the phrase "social network" suddenly became "social media." We didn't really notice at the time, but I did, and I have consciously not used "social media" ever since to describe them. They do not deserve my blessing to have this designation. No one in society had this conversation. There was no social agreement that these companies could use that word. The concept of "media" is a trusted institution, set up to speak truth to power and at minimum aim to uncover and report the truth. Google et al was supposed to be a platform, not publisher. And yet, the companies took the name "media" without asking.

And if there is one thing I've tried to tell anyone who reads this stupid blog, it's that power can only be taken, it is never given. Now, look at this chart:

That's the crossover. It's the only chart that matters, and ironically Google was the machine that let me create it.

I want to point out one last thing before I lead into Scott Adams' thesis. What significance does December 2010 have on your mind? Cast your thoughts back. What pops up in your head?

Are you thinking of this?

This was the beginning of the so-called "Arab Spring," something the CIA still says, to this day, that it didn't and couldn't predict.

That feeling you're getting, those chills running down your spine, is the feeling of realising that you've been living through history in a daze. The last 10 years have seen a seismic shift in the way power flows. I've tried to document it here. While everyone fights and spends their precious energy on dumb things like civil rights, feminism, gender acceptance and egalitarianism, real history was playing out in halls and internet forums right behind the curtain, just away from your eyes. All those people you thought were unplugging or choosing not to participate in politics were quite seriously writing a new structure of society. You had no say in this structure. You have no power. But every move you make, every button and hyperlink you click, reinforces and builds that new power structure around you.

So in case you don't want to listen to what Mr Adams has to say, I'll transcribe it:
"Dr Epstein says millions of votes were changed by Google, and he's pretty confident about those estimates. I don't know how confident you can be about them, but Hillary won by 3 million poopular votes, although it wasn't enough to get her elected because the election is decided on the Electoral College. But do we believe Dr Epstein that Google manipulated between 2.6-10.4 million votes and changed them toward Hillary? One thing we can believe is that he was a big Hillary supporter, and still is. So the person saying Google rigged the election towards Hillary is a Hillary supporter which works toward his credibility. 
"What we don't have is other researchers checking his work or independent people finding the same thing. I don't think you can necessarily lead to the conclusion that he nailed the range, and I need to hear from more people. But it is very compatible with what I know about people and life. It does seem to me that Google could move that many votes. That doesn't mean it's true, but common sense and everything I know about how people work and how they are influenced by what they see would suggest this many votes could move. 
"Now, you might say 'oh, it's just a few million votes,' but that might represent the vast majority of people who were undecided. Google may have persuaded all the people who were undecided or a large percentage of them. Think about that. That's the whole game. That's not just tweeting things on the margin, that's the election. If you can move the undecideds - and according to this researcher, they did, and the did it intentionally and successfully - that's the whole election. The only thing that stopped it from being a deciding factor is that Trump was more strategic than people thought.  
"What's going to happen in 2020? Same thing, right? Do you see anything in place that would stop Google from doing the same thing? And do you think they will be better at it six years later? Hell yeah. Imagine Google with 4-6 years of experience manipulating votes, and now they can find out who changed their votes. I don't know if they have collected this information, but they would be wrong not to because it is collectable. Google could have the data to tell them how successful they were. Think about that. They might actually know, specifically, what people's minds they changed last time. Imagine them with that knowledge...
"The odds of them being more effective on the second go-around are 100% and be a lot better. What's the government going to do about it? As far as I can tell, nothing. Do you see anything happening? Peter Thiel recently made the same point. But common sense should tell you the same thing. It's pretty obvious that when you do a Google search, someone is deciding what you see, or the algorithm is, and that, of course, makes a big difference. The things that come to the top have more of an impact on your thinking. 
"So, I'm just going to call it right now. The republic is dead. That's it. The republic - the form of government created by the Founders that has successfully guided our civilisation for lo these few hundred years plus - is gone. It's not something that might go away, it already went away. We don't feel the pain of this so much because Trump got elected anyway. But there's only one of him. He will probably be elected again because he has such a strong game. The next president or candidates, whoever they are, it won't be up to them. At this point, Google decides who the president is. Maybe not this next time, but forever after that, it is just up to them. Even if Dr Epstein's numbers don't check out, you know Google can control the election if they want to. 
"Now, what could change that? The only thing that could change that is an American revolution. It worked once. Remember that old revolution when the patriots fought and took power away from the monarchy in England? Well, we just lost our republic accidentally, no one saw it coming. Some did but there weren't enough of us. So, it will require an actual revolution. This time, it won't be violence. This time we don't need to shoot anybody. This time the revolution needs to be a data revolution. There needs to be an uprising of the people against the authority, which is Google, and maybe some of the other social media companies to a lesser extent. 
"Trump's administration is the last vestige of the republic. Once he's gone, Google can't be touched. If Google can get to the other side of the administration and last him out, they will run the country forever. If the Trump administration puts in some kind of oversight - and I've suggested a special court that can look at the algorithm to ensure fair things are happening - if we don't do this, that's it. After the Trump administation, Google is your king."

I don't want to scare anybody but ... wait, why aren't you scared? Why are you still on the internet?


Thursday, 11 July 2019

Thoughts on the system - 31

There’s no way to describe the system, the organism. Its vocabulary is grossly underwhelming. The following rough thoughts are an attempt to outline the unoutlineable:
  • Wikipedia’s main utility is information laundering.
  • Ineptitude is the hallmark trait of modern progressive life.
  • Women will never let you love them in the way you want to love them.
  • Feminism requires immigration because it lowers the birthrate by removing women from motherhood.
  • Good men only wish for the praise from other good men.
  • The loser men are not trying to help women, they are trying to create a system in which they have a better chance of having sex with the hottest women.
  • What will "They," whoever they are, orchestrate next?
  • If women could play sport as well as men, there would be no need for all-women teams and competitions.
  • America dominates women’s soccer because nobody else cares.
  • When data reveals widespread patterns of behaviour in society, such as a paycheck cycle, then something in that society creates that behaviour.
  • Given how brutal the ageing process is for women, you’d think they would treat birthdays more as sombre occasions instead of celebrations.
  • Everyone knows something's wrong with them, they just don’t know what it is. Everyone wants confession or some cathartic narrative, the guilty especially. But everyone is guilty.
  • Misogyny is a disease you catch from women.
  • There is an ever-increasing amount of transactions paid for with government assistance. I wouldn’t be surprised if in the next 20 years 50% of GDP is due to the government buying its citizen’s own goods by proxy.
  • Power is not given, it is only taken. That should tell you everything you need to know about feminism.
  • Obsession is something lazy people use to describe dedicated people.
  • To come to your senses you first have to go out of your mind.
  • There is no objective media, it is all proxy battles.
  • Never date women who have pet rabbits.
  • Well behaved women seldom own cats.
  • Women are particularly concerned about rape because they are secretly suspicious their only worth is their sex.
  • In the next modern war, the citizen will immediately be locked off the internet as the military designates the bandwidth for itself.
  • The United States is the logical and extreme expression of British Protestant strategy.
  • Have you considered that humanitarian workers could actually be the bad guys?
  • A good beard is the padded bra of masculinity.
  • You can tell a lot about the health of a society by how many people cover their mouths when they cough/sneeze.
  • Men like nice women, but not vice versa.
  • "Controlling" is what girls say when you point out what they’re doing is slutty or stupid.
  • When guys were kids they didn’t want girls around because girls were tattletales and crybabies, some things never change.
  • You cannot satisfy those whose existence depends on being unsatisfied.
  • If everything can be boiled down to a question of rights, then power sits with the judicial system, not the politicians and certainly not you.
  • Self-love is good, but self-awareness is more important.
  • If women had a logo it would be a pair of empty hands.
  • You will not be asked to tolerate something which is good, the only question is who decides what is good.
  • Modern immigrants are like women. They have been let into a country and given power, but act like they took it.
  • I wonder, if it wasn’t taboo to deny the Holocaust, how many would believe it happened?
  • Democracy turns out to be one dollar one vote, rather than one person one vote.
  • As soon as you take the bible out of the church it becomes a revolutionary manifesto.
  • Mediocrity can’t beat experience.
  • Everyone acts selfishly all the time. At least hedonists are honest enough to live openly.
  • The problem with WWII in a nutshell: how does being the more efficient killer with the most destructive weapons settle any question of truth?
  • There is no person more dangerous than the tertiary-educated man with no prospects that he can use to show his worthiness.
  • If you are about to say the truth but first think of the consequences of saying it, then in that moment you no longer control your own brain.
  • Saying "I'm blessed" is narcissism, as if some higher power chose you.
  • Women cannot feel love for you without first feeling jealousy. Suspicion and jealousy create the most delicious cocktail a woman can experience.
  • Sex is everywhere. Due to advertising, you can’t even buy a sandwich without being aroused.
  • If one of your life principles is that other people can’t have their own principles, then the problem isn’t the other people, the problem is you.
  • Is there a God like there’s a tree or an apple? Is God a thing?
  • In protests, violence increases in direct proportion to the anonymity of the protesters and the police.
  • We all ask about the origin of evil, but no one asks where good came from.
  • The only way non-white and non-normal people can live together is by collectively scapegoating white and normal people. There is no reason for them to cooperate otherwise.
  • She didn’t reject you, she rejected your approach.
  • I’m starting to think the reason Trump won in 2016 is that the New York Times went behind a paywall in 2011. You can’t control the narrative from behind a paywall.
  • Not "I think therefore I am" but "I am seen therefore I am" is the premise of modern society.
  • The presumption of equalism is really the victory of the feminine imperative.
  • Conditioning works by making us assume things we think should be obvious to everyone, a set of default assumptions.
  • Just because you are the boss doesn’t mean you are a boss.
  • If a man tries to reach out for help he’s called a loser, if he bottles it up it’s called "toxic masculinity."
  • Change is neutral, it can lead to improvement or degeneration.
  • In law, there are only two things in the universe: person or property. You are one or the other.
  • If you’re obsessed with sex, then that’s all you’ll get.
  • Language is the determining source of ethnicity.
  • The caste system in India is a religious manifestation of usury, it is a hierarchy of creditors and debtors from which no one can escape.
  • Not only are you wrong, you are wrong in the most important way: pro-status quo.
  • Concepts can become a scapegoat; exhibit A: fake news.
  • In the scapegoat mechanism, being "born again" means discarding all your mimicked ideas and choosing your own thoughts.
  • A loser is a guy who lets his girl make his happiness.
  • It is easy to change people’s preferences, and what is a person but a bunch of preferences?
  • Your enemy is your choices.
  • Modern people live out narratives rather than authentic lives.
  • Fascism is the default system of democratic government. The idea is always for us to come together. The question is: who is "us"?
  • A woman will condemn a man for his weakness but expect understanding for hers.
  • Your predictability gives other people a sense of control.
  • Self-improvement is a state of being.
  • You can’t fall in love with a woman at first sight because all she's selling is her looks.
  • Philanthropy is the gateway to power because opening a door for someone means they owe you.
  • Even if you don't believe Jews are responsible for degeneracy, it is suspicious that they have been discussed in the same way for 2000 years by independent cultures.
  • In an age of feminism, the dog that didn’t bark is the almost complete lack of female inventors.
  • While you may not adhere to Christ, you certainly adhere to Christianity.
  • This entire society survives due to the blood of sacrifice, known as abortions.
  • What happens when the internet breaks in two, who controls the pipelines?
  • Do you hate Nazis because of their actions and ideas or because they lost a war?
  • In the last 100 years, we moved from human cultures in conflict with other cultures to a near total awareness of all existing cultures we find incredibly annoying, and now we hate everyone equally.
  • The modern woman wants to be loved like a traditional woman while being respected as a traditional man.
  • Immigration policy will go the way TV wants it to, the media controls the horizontal.
  • To say that more women in power means that men have less power assumes men haven't figured out how to use women to gain their own power.
  • Anyone who tells you we are living in the end times is wrong about pretty much everything.
  • Increasingly, the only same-race couples displayed on ads are homosexuals.
  • In a world full of opposites, one side must lose. Why should it be me?
  • Girls who code isn’t impressive, pretty girls who code would be impressive.
  • Do autistic kids really lack empathy, or do they just lack the practice? In other words, is calling it autism and treating it as such part of the reason it continues?
  • We are all looking for careers in a land where there aren’t any. We still think it’s 2006 because the impact of 2007 hasn’t fully altered the system yet.
  • Servility is the psychological motivation behind a mother telling her daughter to settle for a man, and a father telling his son to settle for a good job.
  • When you see a person on TV, the first question you should ask is: what does this person code for? What does the image make you assume? Or, said more accurately, what does the code not make you think?
  • If we wanted a government that told us the truth unconditionally, then we would vote that government into power.
  • The most dangerous thing about being smart is having more elaborate ways to bullshit yourself into thinking nonsense is correct.
  • Whether she is aware of it or not, every woman’s priority is love. Women were not designed to be alone.
  • If she’s not your biggest fan then she shouldn’t be your girlfriend.
  • You can build positive feedback loops or negative loops, either way you’re in a cycle and everyone is connected.
  • Resentment is weakness disguising itself as strength through hate. This is the story of Christianity.
  • Since love and hate are the same thing, what should we make of the call to ban hate speech but not love speech?

What is the real target?

There’s a placard going around that says: “If God hates gays, why do we keep winning?”

Good question, but it’s the sort of question that can only be asked by someone with a fundamental misunderstanding of how power works.

The Iron Rule of Tiresias is: You cannot be given power, it can only be taken. Leafing through the history books, I notice there was no homosexual versus heterosexual war. So, they aren't "winning" because they never "won" anything on the battlefield. Their existence in positions of ceremonial or procedural power (not actual power) depends entirely on heterosexuals giving them access, and that access can be taken away at any point.

The homosexuals and feminists and all the others know this to be true, deep down, which is why they constantly ramp up the rhetoric and anger. It distracts the heterosexuals and naturally powerful types of men from realising who truly holds the reins and convinces them to keep focusing on things like careers and earning money.

But it is painfully obvious that something has definitely changed in our society and the homosexuals appear to be proxies of driving this change. So, just who and what is the nature of this hidden faction to which homosexuals and feminists and others are aligned?

The answer is a group of people DID actually win a war (a major one) and as a result, it controls the default assumptions of modern society. This faction calls itself "progressivism," which is a loose term connecting a lot of people by an undirected (bottom-up) synopsis that can trace its roots back through Puritan Massachusetts, Roundhead England, Calvin and Luther. This faction won the Long War of 1914-1991 and is the most successful sect of Protestant Christianity extant today.

The homosexuals are proxies of this Christian sect. The sect hides in plain sight because it called itself “secular” and therefore isn’t subject to the laws of separating church and state. Secular Protestantism might sound like a contradiction in terms, but only to those who don’t understand Protestantism. And it will make even less sense to those who don't understand how power works: if you win, you get to write the rules.

The progressives' main enemy is Trinitarian Christianity (with its core in the hierarchical structures of Orthodox and Catholic Christianity, but also any Christian who still believes in an actual divine Trinity). Everything the Trinitarians accept, the progressives (Protestants) invert while remaining within the boundaries of broader Christianity, adhering to concepts like egalitarianism, freedom, world peace, tolerance and equity. The Puritans said you must become a member of the elect to be saved, which is precisely what progressives say too. The fight is over control of the Christian empire, and since WWII the progressives are in the lead. Sometimes, when they’re feeling especially powerful, they will call themselves Unitarians or Universalists, and claim they are “taking back Christianity.”

What makes progressives (Protestants) tough to fight is because a key part of their success is quite literally the use of the "leaderless resistance" model based on the doctrine of rejecting the Roman Catholic Church's idea that it is the one true church, believing instead in the invisible church which consists of all who profess faith in Jesus Christ. If all these people work with the synopsis, there is no need for a central authority and therefore nothing to attack.

In other words, the Protestant doctrine of the invisible church is the genesis and the foundation of communism and terrorism. You cannot get to Karl Marx or Osama bin Laden through the doctrines of the Catholic Church. There’s a reason why all marginally successful insurgent or terror groups eventually adopt the leaderless resistance model – because it works, and the Protestants proved it.

For this reason, if you don’t like “the gays” and want to reverse the madness of the homosexual vanguard (or whatever inversion of reality you're talking about) the correct target is Protestant Christianity. Every other target is a waste of energy. Why take an axe to the branches?

But the real question is: if the structure of the Catholic Church allowed for the development of Protestantism, of what use was this structure? We are in a moment of history where either we return to another bout in the Roundhead versus Cavalier battle of the last few centuries and slip into Nietzsche’s flat circle of never-ending madness, or we rethink the default model of society. Maybe this new model includes parts of doctrinal Christianity, maybe it doesn’t. But the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.

And boy oh boy, we must look insane to a Martian right now.

Thursday, 4 July 2019

The history behind the Hong Kong protests

Hong Kong's relationship with China is proceeding exactly as it must. As Thucydides said in the Median Dialogue: "You know as well as we do that right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must."

First, the protester’s audience is almost certainly the West. We’re supposed to look at Hong Kong and agree that nothing should change. The question is: what is it that shouldn’t change? Generally, Westerners think of Hong Kong as it was in the ‘80s and ‘90s "cyberpunk" popular culture when its streets and urban ecology became the source images for Hollywood’s Asian future capitalism.

Mamoru Oshii's "Ghost In The Shell" depiction of future cityscapes was based on Hong Kong (more than Tokyo, in his view). "Blade Runner" too, according to Ridley Scott. I believe the father of cyberpunk, William Gibson considers Hong Kong a major source for his worlds as well. Hong Kong offered a vision of a dynamically free hybrid society fueled by technological growth. Singapore just isn’t as fantastical, and Chinese boomtowns like Shenzhen under the Chinese Communist Party, much more tech-fueled in reality than both, still less. So what’s happening in Hong Kong then unconsciously becomes a crushing of those images for modern Western audiences.

It’s the kind of argument which says: "Those yellow (black, Muslim, whatever) people over there don't understand or care about democracy" seems to have worked for Hong Kong when it was part of the British Empire, but not now that it’s part of China. That’s very suspicious. The Chinese who moved to Hong Kong in the 19th century didn't know or care about democracy, but they did eventually rely on its fair judicial system and other civil liberties. A British dictatorship could keep those mostly intact, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) can’t. So the people have more to lose now. Also, by the '90s Hong Kongers did understand democracy and were looking forward to it and promises were made. It's hardly surprising they’re upset that those promises are being reneged on. Just as they would have been upset by continued British rule.

Remember, Kowloon Peninsula, excepting Kowloon Walled City, was leased in perpetuity to the British. The New Territories were leased for 99 years, which expired in 1997. However, both became increasingly integrated over the 20th Century, increasingly developed, and about half of Hong Kong's population lived there at the time of the handover. The British sensibly decided that a rump Hong Kong of only the island was non-viable because it contains less than 10% of the total land area, and as of today, only about 20% of the total population. And in any case, if push came to shove, China could have snatched it back whenever they felt like it, like India did with Goa.

It’s not exactly fair to blame the British for what’s going on, but I do think the British could have permitted wider democratic rights earlier, knowing full well that Hong Kong would be handed back eventually. If they had allowed a full and open franchise back in the ‘70s, it would have been nearly impossible for the Chinese to remove Hong Kongers’ right to vote in ‘97, and those democratic institutions would have been considerably stronger. In that scenario, while the sovereign would transfer from the Crown to Beijing, presumably far fewer powers would have transitioned. For instance, today, if Beijing couldn't stack the Legislative Council of Hong Kong with its own appointees, then Carrie Lam wouldn't be the Chief Executive, and Beijing wouldn't have a simple mechanism to exert control. I think this was a huge mistake on behalf of London.

I think the reason the British didn’t do this was out of fear that if they increased local autonomy before the transition China would use it as an excuse to invade. There was no way for the British to defend Hong Kong against a Chinese invasion. Hong Kong provided no real strategic or commercial benefit to the UK, especially after WWII, and the UK hung on to protect the local inhabitants. Thankfully, from looking at the example of Hong Kong the Chinese have now realised that communism doesn't work and started to transition China a market economy before ‘97 anyway, which, again, is why Hong Kongers are annoyed. But imagine if the takeover had happened at the height of Maoism.

To claim that the UK did not give Hong Kong democracy, while correct, misses the point that they didn't have to. The UK did not come to rule a Hong Kong that already existed. Instead, when British rule was first established, the population was tiny, around 7,000. That means that almost everyone in Hong Kong today is descended from predecessors who came to live in Hong Kong after it became a Crown colony. In other words, they made a conscious choice that life under British colonial rule – with no democracy – was preferable to life in "sovereign" China. To borrow a quote from Lenin, the people who moved to Hong Kong "voted with their feet".

And then, in ‘97, Hong Kong was transferred to China, not because the people of Hong Kong were consulted, but simply because at that point the UK had no choice but to concede. The handover took place over the heads of the people. So the lack of democracy under UK rule is completely irrelevant to the current situation. Had the British installed democracy in the years leading up to ‘97, it would simply be in the process of being extinguished today by the Chinese government.

Since the transition, a high percentage of the previous generation are immigrants from China trying to avoid the communists' rule. Hong Kong is not considered home for them, but it is a far better place than where they came from. They were not asking for democracy when they moved. All they wanted is to avoid the cultural revolution. Hong Kong has given them a place to live comfortably and make money. On the other hand, as far as I can tell by listening to their English interviews, most of the protesters are born and raised in the city, so it’s natural for them to want more say in what happens to their home city.

China’s view of Hong Kong has changed in 20 years too. In 1997, China's economy was 20x larger than Hong Kong's economy and today it is closer to 50x. Was Hong Kong's economy 2.5 times as important to China in 1997 than today? Hong Kong was still pretty trivial then to China as well. Hong Kong has become less important as a financial centre precisely because the Mainland has become freer (though still authoritarian by our standards), allowing Shanghai, Shenzhen, etc. to develop as alternative financial and business hubs. That’s why it’s not completely accurate to portray Hong Kong protestors as pro-freedom, many probably wish the Mainland were less free to block the competition in financial and business services. Kong Kongers’ complaints about China frequently shade over from legitimate criticism of the CCP to gripes about Mainland tourists, shoppers and investors.

Also, notice that there’s no unrest in Macau, which is in the same position as Hong Kong. Maybe that’s because the Mainland hasn’t legalised gambling, allowing Macau’s economy to remain one of the richest in the world. I bet there would be protests in Macau if the Mainland legalised gambling, but even then I wouldn’t call such protests pro-freedom. That would be competition, just like in Hong Kong. Maybe Hong Kongers are resentful that their economy grew slower relative to both the Mainland and Macau? Macau had a pro-communist government since the 1960s so its success doesn’t seem fit the standard narrative about how Hong Kong’s success is due to British institutions.
Hong Kong percentage of GDP in China's economy

On the other hand, Hong Kong is a "normal economy" whereas Macau has a bizarre economy with a heavily inflated GDP per capita that is not driven by local living standards. Macau is an extreme outlier by world standards, almost on the level of Qatar. The Macanese model probably does relate to a small population (7.8% the size of Hong Kong) following an extreme model of tourism and tax haven policies (which would be impossible with a high population, even if you wanted them, which you wouldn't if you care about the living standards of your people). The CCP is going easy on the Macanese because they don't "rock the boat."

It’s a bit strange that Hong Kongers decided to spend their legitimate protest energy now on countering China’s plans for extradition laws. All nation-states like to demonstrate power over individuals. Why should the CCP be any different? I’m not saying it’s right, just that China isn’t acting weird, it’s acting like a nation-state. Would the US tolerate a semi-independent US territory like Guam refusing to extradite people to the rest of the US? I suspect not. The CCP’s behaviour still fits the prevailing narrative: "Economic freedoms are fine but political freedoms are not. Do not question the rule of the Party."

But still, extradition is a weird hill for the democratists in Hong Kong to die on. Within 10 years people will be fleeing Hong Kong as China continues to push its own laws. The transnational elites care very little about Hong Kong, they’re only there for the banking. As things get more dicey and China-y, they’ll be the first to leave. Beijing doesn’t really care because China developed Shenzen to reduce the status and desirability of Hong Kong and today people discuss the up and downsides of living in Hong Kong versus Shenzen, something unthinkable in ‘97. The city-state was always unlikely to become the next Singapore, and China is determined it will never become the next Taiwan.

The lesson of Hong Kong is that, as with protectionism, (almost) everyone wants more rights and freedom for themselves and fewer rights and freedoms of others (which inevitably impinge on their own rights and freedoms). Of course, this could be solved by compromise. But since everyone is looking out for #1, there will be ongoing friction. Compromise is hard.

Which, I should add, is the thesis of Enter the Dragon. That’s your weekly dose of irony...