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Great weekend reads

To keep you busy and out of trouble this weekend.


  1. Fred
    Fred January 24, 2015 1:21 pm

    Im done voting for any of them,under any banner.

  2. Pat
    Pat January 25, 2015 1:25 am

    “And the one that always brings a smile to my face, “Now at last I understand my brother-in-law” (or grandmother, uncle, woman in my car pool, Congressman, etc.).”

    Ain’t it the truth! I could name a couple of people I know…

    I’ve read the first chapter (so far) of “The Authoritarians”, and it gives some good insight into the authoritarian personality, and those who believe in Authority. And it’s not just about conservatives!

  3. Anonymous
    Anonymous January 26, 2015 1:02 pm

    Wow, _The Authoritarians_ is a great book! Here are some thoughts as I’m starting to read it:

    I speculate that 1 in 100 persons is born a freethinker. Freethinker
    means they work out moral rules for themselves without automatically
    accepting the answers of the society around them. 100 years ago,
    freethinkers mostly became ‘Socialists’ and fought ‘Communism’ or
    ‘Fascism’. George Orwell and Pete Seeger are examples of these.
    However, their ‘Socialism’ wasn’t internally consistent, and today
    freethinkers mostly become libertarians.

    I speculate that freethinkers are born, not made, and humans cannot be
    converted to or from a freethinker; or if so the conversation rate is
    too small to matter.

    I speculate that the freethinker die roll is not influenced by the
    genetic freethinker-ness of their parents or the freethinker-ness of
    the social environment; or if so the influence rate is too small to
    matter. Other examples of a similar die roll in humans might be
    left/right handedness and homosexuality.

    I notice that freethinkers may concentrate themselves in a geographic
    reason by emigration. For example consider the “Free State” projects
    in New Hampshire and Montana, and the earlier free state project in
    North America starting in 1650. However, after concentrating, the
    freethinkers’ children are born 99/100 non-freethinker, increase in
    percentage, and recapture and reenslave their parents.

    I notice all of the geographic regions which seem to permanently have
    avoided strong authoritarianism are mountainous: Switzerland,
    Afghanistan, Scottish Highlands, American Appalachia, various mountain
    peoples in parts of Asia.

    I speculate that mountains remain free-er because that terrain has the
    highest cost to operate a military campaign in. When crime (stealing
    money at gunpoint aka taxation) doesn’t pay because it costs more to
    collect taxes than is received in taxes, rational people don’t become

    The mainstream political culture in America likes to call America
    “exceptional”. America was formed by immigration more than most other
    places; America is an averaging of European genetics and European
    political culture. The result of an averaging process is a reduction
    in exceptions, yes? So America is /less/ exceptional than most

    I speculate that what was exceptional about North America, why the
    industrial revolution took off here, is not the people but the
    geography. So much of early American territory remained free (for
    European white males) because the people density was so low, yet the
    geography was productive enough (forests and farmland unlike Middle
    Eastern deserts), collecting taxes didn’t pay because there was too
    much travel required for the tax collectors. The combination of
    freedom from parasitic taxes and regulations during productive
    individual work in a rich natural environment equals compound growth
    equals industrial revolution.

    If freethinker is a permanent minority for some unchangeable
    biological reason, then all attempts to convert a voting majority to
    libertarian are doomed. That can never work.

    What could work is the creation of a machine which creates new real
    estate, or mountains on existing flat real estate, or the equivalent
    effect on the cost of military campaigns. Creating new real estate
    means space exploration, all the frontier territory you could ever
    want is only 100 miles away, straight up. Cryptographic approaches to
    privacy in trade like Bitcoin and the various black market version of
    ebay could count as both creating new real estate, and erecting
    mountains on existing real estate. Creating mountain-equivalents on
    existing real estate could include filling the woods with drones to
    create an ‘enchanted forest’ where the very trees eat invaders.

  4. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau January 26, 2015 5:04 pm

    After starting “The Authoritarians”, I’m getting the feeling the problem is worse than I thought. But I suspect there is a lot of difference between thought and action. I have heard someone near and dear declare that “Those people should all be killed.” She may even wish that would happen. But would she vote for someone promising that result? Would she do it herself? I very much doubt it. People often mouth off, but they aren’t serious about it.

    There are also a lot of people who enjoy lying in these surveys. The experience of Margaret Mead comes to mind.

    So maybe it isn’t that bad after all. Of course in SHTF scenarios, for example when people are starving, all bets are off. That’s to be expected. But that is not what the author was writing about.

  5. Anonymous
    Anonymous January 27, 2015 3:06 pm

    But I suspect there is a lot of difference between thought and action. I have heard someone near and dear declare that “Those people should all be killed.” She may even wish that would happen. But would she vote for someone promising that result?

    The experimental data suggests “yes”:

    On August 19, 1934, 95% of the Germans who were registered to vote went to the polls and 90% (38 million) of adult German citizens voted to give Adolf Hitler complete and total authority to rule Germany as he saw fit. Only 4.25 million Germans voted against this transfer of power to a totalitarian regime.

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