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May. 30th, 2016

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(no subject)

"In 1968 our parents' generation burned everything down. Because fire is cool. Kids these days are imitating their parents, as kids do. But they're flicking their lighters on a pile of ashes. Sometimes they will get a cinder or two to glow for a moment. Whatever pleasure this produces, it's now objectively less fun than actually constructing something new." — Mencius Moldbug

Apr. 28th, 2016

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Minarchism beyond Anarchism

I decided that after all, I was a minarchist and not an anarchist. Let me explain.

A bigger government is where the proclaimed rulers have greater power, where public force is more positively correlated with their will, at their disposal to impose a less restricted subset of their commands, whims and desires on a wider set of topics and resources — compared to another (form of) government. A smaller government is that other comparative (form of) government where the proclaimed rulers have less power, where public force is less positively aligned with their will, and their cannot rely on it as much to impose it upon others, etc. A minimal government is thus such that there is no strictly lesser government — any comparable government is greater. A minarchist is a proponent of minimal government.

Now, anarchy is where the proclaimed rulers have no power at all, where public force is totally uncorrelated with their will, where they cannot use force to impose it upon anyone, etc. Proclaimed rulers are just laughed at, or ignored — they are ridiculous clowns whom no one takes seriously, except maybe a psychiatrist they pay to listen to them solemnly, and a few bored village idiots who aren't watched closely enough by their busy tutors. On my good days, I'm an anarchist, a proponent of anarchy.

But every time I hear a politician, I feel more like a minarchist. What's the difference? Well, in a true minimal state, rulers are not just ignored and laughed at, with public force uncorrelated to their will; rather, public force is negatively correlated to their will, and maximally so. In other words: all their belongings are forcefully taken away from them, and surrendered to their worst enemies, or dispersed to whichever charities are most outrageous to them; then they are put to death by being subjected to whatever is most horrific to them personally (just as in 1984's Room 101). Indeed, there is nothing more that a ruler can give than what he possesses, including his life, no way that things can go further against his will. And so this is truly minimal government, and that's what I support as a minarchist: fully dispossessing and horrifically putting to death anyone who claims to govern others.

When I feel optimistic I'm an anarchist and believe that the world will be fine without the need for violence. When I feel pessimistic I'm a minarchist and I understand that those who want to rule others will not be stopped by anything but extreme prejudice. Trying to establish a government is high treason against society, to be treated as such (and every government is foreign before it's established, and domestic after it is).

PS: My friend Charles summarizes: "Less than 0 government is negative government. The active criminalization of government."

Apr. 18th, 2016

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Le vase de Soissons, ou l'Anti-Magna Carta

Pour voir à quel point l'étatisme est ancré dans les traditions françaises, à l'opposé des traditions anglo-saxonnes, il suffit de regarder le mythe fondateur de la monarchie française qui elle-même fonde la France et son État: le vase de Soissons, tel qu'enseigné de tout temps à l'école à tous les enfants. Il est à l'opposé même du mythe fondateur des libertés anglo-saxonnes, la Magna Carta.

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Mar. 2nd, 2016

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23 Deadly Stab Wounds

Jesus famously said "Render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar". I'll argue that he meant 23 Deadly Stab Wounds — and yet that he wasn't advocating violence.

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Feb. 23rd, 2016

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Les tas recrutent des sicaires costumés

Sur les murs du métro, l'armée française recrute — mais quel homme digne d'être un soldat rejoindra l'armée française? Cette armée est au service du MAL: une république sans valeur et sans honneur, qui a toujours trahi tous ceux qu'elle avait juré de protéger, qui ne doit son existence que comme régime fantoche installé par les socialistes américains et noyauté par les communistes russes, avec sursaut en prime de fierté nationaliste mal placée dans la trahison des colonies.

Certes, une minorité dont la tradition familiale est liée à l'armée y ira peut-être honorablement, quoiqu'erronément, par atavisme. Ils iront grandir les rangs des cadres moyens de l'armée: assez sérieux pour être officiers, trop honnêtes pour s'élever au-dessus des politiciens aux dents longues. Mais l'armée attirera surtout des petits fonctionnaires ne cherchant que les avantages et prêts à déserter au moindre risque, des imbéciles qui ne comprennent pas dans quoi et pour qui ils s'engagent, des techniciens du meurtre de masse sur commande, des mercenaires sans foi ni loi, des sadiques assoiffés de sang, et des salauds prêts à tout pour gravir les échelles du pouvoir. Les tas (de parasites) recrutent l'armée qu'ils méritent.

Le traître de Gaulle n'engendrera qu'engeance pire encore. La Fwance décivilisée n'aura pas son Pinochet. Son Chavez, peut-être, en attendant son Abd al-Rahman. CPEMF.

Jan. 23rd, 2016

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NYC Opera Renaissance: Tosca

As usual, he gets it "come il Conte Palmieri"; he knows knows it's fake fake, but he wants to see her happy, to hear her happy. One last time. And as usual, I cry all along, at each and every one of the carefully paced arias, in this emotional rollercoaster of an Opera. It has everything: love and hate, lust and jealousy, honor and betrayal, lofty fraternity and mortal enmity, victory and defeat, misplaced idealism and too well placed opportunism, lofty art and crass superstition, integrity and corruption, etc. But it also has all the sins and crimes, from gluttony to rape, from perjury and bribery to suicide and murder, from torture to blasphemy. It is the individual against the State. It is all that and much more. It is Tosca.

Congratulations to the NYC Opera Renaissance. A tremendous success. I rate it 95%. Act I was perfectly played, though maybe Tosca's voice wasn't at her top yet, possibly hampered by this really excellently rendered jealousy. Caravadossi knew to be above the jealousy and superstition without being patronizing; he loved Tosca warts and all. Scarpia was a delicious villain, and his minions also played well. Act II and III were great, and the singing wonderful. The direction didn't sport the many tricks of other productions I've seen, but had some clever ones of its own, such as the well done fighting attempts by Caravadossi, or Spoletta concluding right at Tosca's face "Come Palmieri". As usual my biggest gripe is with direction that in some songs just doesn't make sense. Scarpia should be either impatient with lust or reveling with power when Tosca pleads to God then to him; he shouldn't be merely bored on the sofa. And Caravadossi should be holding Tosca's hands and trying to keep her close to him when they meet for the last time and sing about these hands against, he shouldn't be staying at a safe distance — indeed she might be blind to the situation and feel like playing on stage and dancing around, but oh not him, though he won't want to show and worry her — perfect opportunity for a lot of acting with body language.

I heartily recommend. Will go again if I can. E Rido Ancor!

Dec. 28th, 2015

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Conscious Cybernaut

I don't design myself. I evolve from countless interactions, of which the conscious mind is but the emerged part, that neither designs nor builds itself nor the rest of me. At best, it might steer me towards improvement - but the direction it steers won't be improvement if it is blind of who I am, where I am, what are the obstacles, what are my assets, and what maintenance is required.

The rationalist hubris of total design is often blindness that cripples the actual use of reason. On the opposite, denial of the importance design in steering is the rejection of reason and groveling in mere animality. Be yourself today. Fully.

Dec. 27th, 2015

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From Up on Poppy Hill

"From Up on Poppy Hill" proves that 2011 was a great year for Japanese (and world) cinema. Animation is used to show what just can't be shown with live action movies: the past. No need for choreographed violence, or for fantastic plots riddled with holes. A simple story well told without gimmicks. Lofty aspirations without grandiosity. Delicate sentiments without affectation. Nostalgia without blindness to the future. Local roots with a universal message. History without propaganda. A film like that relates us to our span in time and space. The opposite of what America does (at Hollywood). Note: 9/10

Nov. 17th, 2015

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Lettre à la France (Anonyme réactionnaire)

Voici la traduction de l'anglais par mes soins d'une lettre ouverte, anonyme, mais nettement dans la lignée réactionnaire de Mencius Moldbug. Cette lettre est complètement folle, mais sa folie a l'avantage d'être aux antipodes de la Folie Française ultra-socialiste, et je trouve cela fort raffraîchissant. Cette traduction ne signifie bien sûr pas approbation, loin de là; je ne vois dans ce manifeste aucun point sur lequel je n'aie rien à redire. J'ai dans le passé longuement expliqué mes différends intellectuels avec Moldbug, et ils restent les mêmes. Quant à une version libérale du changement de régime, pour comparer, il y en a une sur mon blog, signée Roman Perdeanu — vous pouvez-voir les différences entre ce que le liquidateur y fait ou n'y fait pas — et dans ce second cas laisse les citoyens autant libres de le faire que responsables civilement du résultat.

Lettre à la France


Chère France, ici l'Amérique.

Salut, la France, nous sommes désolés de ces sottises qui viennent d'arriver.

En fait, nous sommes doublement désolés. De toute évidence, la cause ultime en est le gouvernement collaborationniste communiste que nous vous avons infligé depuis '45. Les communistes ont importé les Arabes; les Arabes ont fait ce qu'ils ont fait. Nous regrettons d'avoir à énoncer une évidence, mais voilà la vie sous le communisme pour vous.

Nous faisons ce que nous pouvons à propos de nos propres communistes. Ce qui pour l'instant n'est pas grand-chose. Mais pourquoi nous attendre? Est-ce que Walesa a attendu Soljenitsyne? Quoi, est-ce qu'Obama va vous envahir? Comme Brejnev? Croyez-moi, Obama n'est pas Brejnev.

Hé, la France! Ne laissez pas passer une crise sans en tirer parti! Voici un autre secret de l'Amérique: toujours et partout, il n'y a pas de victoire graduelle ou relative pour la Droite. Il n'y a qu'une victoire absolue en une seule étape. Attrapez la vague! Il vous faut surfer; vous ne pouvez pas vous contenter de pagayer. Attrapez la vague que vous pourrez, ou continuez à mourir.

La Gauche, dont la mission est la destruction, peut prendre tout le temps qu'elle veut pour abattre la civilisation. Elle peut même tolérer de brèves rémissions. Elle joue avec une nation comme un chat avec une souris. Mais la Droite, dont la mission est la préservation, la restauration, la création, doit travailler de manière cohérente en une seule étape.

Il y a un modèle de laser appelé laser femtoseconde. Pour un millionième de milliardième de seconde, il est plus brillant que le soleil. Si vous agissez politiquement sur la base de la raison et de la réalité, plutôt que de l'instinct et de l'émotion, vous n'allumez pas un incendie; vous construisez un laser femtoseconde.

Le dernier chapitre du chef-d'œuvre de de Maistre explique le processus de la contre-révolution pratique plus ou moins parfaitement. En théorie, étant des Français et non pas des barbares, vous n'avez rien à apprendre de nous. Mais puisque votre État est un satellite de l'Amérique, nous connaissons peut-être votre ennemi mieux que vous ne le connaissez.

Quoi qu'il en soit, voici mon manifeste simple pour un changement pratique de régime. Dans un monde idéal, un million de Français se réunissent à Paris et obtiennent le respect de ces exigences, à peu près maintenant. Ce n'est pas un monde idéal et cela n'arrivera pas — mais ne devrait-on pas savoir où nous voulons aller? Primo: La Cinquième République a échoué et est abolie. Tout pouvoir d'État est transféré à une Nouvelle République Française dirigée par l'armée, sous la supervision de Mme Le Pen. Tout le pouvoir au Front National! Il n'y a pas besoin d'attendre une élection. Lénine a-t-il attendu une élection?

Secundo: Les Quatrième et Cinquième Républiques sont déclarées Cinquième et Sixième. La vraie Quatrième est Vichy. Tous les régimes totalitaires du XXe siècle, le régime fasciste (Quatrième), satellite allemand, et le marxiste (Cinquième / Sixième), satellite américain, sont déclarés également criminels et traîtres à la patrie. Collaborer avec Londres, Berlin, Washington ou Moscou, c'est le même délit.

Tertio: La France est fermée pour reconstruction. Ses frontières sont closes et resteront closes indéfiniment. Tous les étrangers, y compris les diplomates, sont soit déportés soit internés. Les Français bloqués à l'étranger, y compris des diplomates, sont soit rapatriés soit expatriés. Ces mesures ne prendront fin que lorsque la France sera une fois de plus une nation, et pas une province du Mondaméricain.

Quarto: Les véritables frontières ne concernent pas que les seules migrations. La souveraineté politique est également compromise par la dépendance financière, commerciale et intellectuelle. Puisque la France d'aujourd'hui est un patient atteint de cancer et que seul un isolement strict peut la sauver, tous ces liens doivent être rompus. Une France future, forte et saine pourra les restaurer.

Tous les titres français détenus hors de France sont annulés. Tout le commerce extérieur est réglé en or à un point d'entrée unique. Aucun produit manufacturé n'est importé. Toutes les liaisons Internet sont coupées. Seule la Nouvelle République achemine les paquets hors de France, seulement à Washington, et pour seulement trois objectifs: offrir des produits français à la vente; acheter des minéraux stratégiques; et négocier les questions planétaires réels tels que les droits sur l'océan, la contamination atmosphérique, la protection des oiseaux migrateurs et de la défense contre les astéroïdes.

Quinto: À cause des actes criminels du régime communiste, qui visait à s'établir au pouvoir de façon permanente en important un nouveau peuple, la possession d'un passeport français délivré par la sixième République n'est pas une preuve de la nationalité française. Toute personne titulaire d'un passeport français, mais sans quatre grands-parents nés en France, doit présenter une nouvelle demande de citoyenneté à la Nouvelle République Française.

Les demandes sont évaluées par la police. Toute personne à la fois assimilée et civilisée, sans égard à sa race, est acceptée. Tous les demandeurs restants sont déportés, ou internés si le Mondaméricain refuse de les accueillir. L'internement est pas une punition et n'en deviendra pas une, mais la France est une nation souveraine et personne ne la colonise.

Sexto: La Nouvelle France n'est pas seulement dirigée par le Front national et l'armée, mais gouvernée par eux. La France a de la chance; une fois que les colons sont expulsés, elle n'a pas d'ennemis qui possèdent la force à la fois morale et physique de l'attaquer. Puisqu'elle n'a pas de besoin militaire pour son armée, elle peut l'utiliser pour la tâche beaucoup plus importante de la restauration de la nation.

Tous les fonctionnaires de la sixième République sont présumés communistes jusqu'à preuve de leur patriotisme, et sont mis à la retraite à taux plein. Pour commencer, le nouveau gouvernement est entièrement composé d'anciens officiers militaires. Lorsqu'il est nécessaire de recruter, toute expérience dans le secteur officiel ou para-officiel, les forces de sécurité exceptées, est une disqualification inconditionnelle. En cas de doute, le processus de dénazification utilisé en Allemagne en 1945 est un bon guide.

Septimo: La France est une nation catholique et ne peut pas être restaurée sans l'aide de l'Église. Malheureusement, cette institution aussi a été envahie par les communistes. La Fraternité Saint-Pie X est le successeur légal de l'Église catholique française. Tous les prêtres affiliés à l'Église du Nouvel Ordre sont présumés communistes jusqu'à preuve du contraire, et purgés comme les fonctionnaires.

L'Église a pleine autorité sur tous les établissements d'enseignement de la maternelle à l'université; elle gagne la propriété de toutes les entreprises de médias et d'édition existantes. La liberté d'expression ne sera pas violée; les communistes peuvent rester communistes et continuer à essayer de colporter leurs produits toxiques, aux adultes en tout cas. Mais aucun organe de pouvoir conquis par le communisme ne peut survivre à sa chute.

Octavo: Toutes les institutions philanthropiques, les ONG, les fondations, etc., sont transférées à l'État pour liquidation. De plus, la source d'énergie ultime de ces institutions pernicieuses, l'oligarchie financière du XXe siècle, ne peut pas être autorisée à survivre.

Beaucoup de Français riches ont acquis leur argent honnêtement, même sous le régime corrompu des traîtres. Beaucoup l'ont mal acquis. Sans enquêter sur les affaires du passé, la richesse personnelle des riches doit être déclarée et plafonnée au maximum nécessaire pour assurer une vie de luxe. Les actifs au-dessus de ce plafond, mérités ou non, sont échangés contre des titres de noblesse. Les voleurs et les traîtres seront soulagés de s'échapper par ce petit sacrifice; les hommes d'affaires honnêtes et patriotes comprendront sa nécessité.

Nono: Tous les secrets d'État, à l'exception des plans militaires, sont descellés. En utilisant ces documents, et toutes les sources vivantes encore disponibles, la Nouvelle République va parrainer l'ouvrage de la plus grande qualité portant sur l'histoire de la France au XXe siècle, un document de référence entièrement indépendant, patriotique et catholique sans complexe, qui ne sera contaminé par aucun biais, ni fasciste, ni communiste.

Decimo: la France doit être restaurée culturellement, architecturalement, et industriellement. Tous les bâtiments construits en France, d'un caractère moderniste, communiste, islamiques ou autrement non-français, seront démolis et/ou remplacés dans un style historique français.

Selon un degré compatible avec l'offre réelle de main-d'œuvre, la production industrielle de nourriture et de vêtements est interdite. Puisque la Nouvelle République a mis à la retraite l'ensemble du gouvernement, beaucoup de Français auront besoin de travail. La seule source envisageable de la demande de travail est la production artisanale sur les modèles pré-industriels; l'honneur et l'épanouissement ne peuvent être trouvés que dans des tâches égales au potentiel humain du travailleur. Tout le monde peut être un maçon ou charpentier; Personne ne devrait être condamné à vivre comme un robot industriel du XIXe siècle.

Undecimo: La Nouvelle République Française est un régime temporaire visant à guérir la France, pas à la gouverner éternellement. Sa dernière tâche est de concevoir son propre remplacement permanent, presque certainement par une monarchie absolue héréditaire dans la grande tradition française. Bien sûr, il n'y a pas un Français sur mille aujourd'hui qui comprendrait ou soutiendrait ce plan. Pourtant, la moitié de la France, au moins, voit le même problème.

Ce qui vous retient, chère France, est l'illusion que vous avez un remède plus facile, plus simple, plus indolore. La France a le cancer. Elle sait, même, qu'elle a le cancer. Je prescris une chimiothérapie; mais pourquoi pas de l'aspirine? L'aspirine n'a pas bon goût, alors elle doit sûrement aider.

Pourquoi ne pas tout simplement réélire Sarkozy, avec son Karcher? Peut-être l'utilisera-t-il cette fois? Il va certainement promettre de le faire. Et puis pourquoi toute cette dictature militaire? Ne pourrions-nous élire Marine, à l'issue d'une élection constitutionnelle normale? Elle promet d'expulser les terroristes. Elle doit avoir une liste. Bien sûr, ils vont faire appel à Bruxelles, alors il va y avoir beaucoup de questions juridiques à résoudre…

Hélas, la vérité est que la France est accro au communisme, comme un alcoolique à l'alcool. Ce matin, elle a une sacrée gueule de bois. Elle promet de cesser de boire. Eh bien, elle va certainement boire moins… France, je suis désolé. Il faut un sevrage brutal. Plus une seule goutte! Dans votre cœur, France, vous savez quoi faire. Et vous en avez peur. N'avons-nous pas tous peur du changement?

Aug. 15th, 2015

eyes black and white

Why I didn't create that song I wrote

I spent the other day yet again fixing bugs in the accompaniment for the song I authored on a famous poem by William Ernest Henley, Invictus. Clearly, no one else wrote that exact song before me; and so it's mine. Or is it? Frankly, I just wrote down a song already implicit in the poem I was putting to music. And I'll prove this claim by analyzing in detail the start of the song.

Now let's consider the rhythm of the first verse. The words "Out of the night that covers me" already have the rhythm and stress pattern: the syllables "out", "night", "co" and "me" are stressed; the other syllables are unstressed. Generally, the stressed monosyllables are longer than the unstressed syllables, but in the two-syllable word "cover", the stressed "co" is short and the unstressed "ver" is long, whereas the unstressed "that" should remain longer than the "of the" and "co". Let's use the simplest grid for rhythm, a 4/4 bar, and fit the stressed notes to the stressed beats, first and third. We can do it simply by using a crotchet for the longer syllables and a quaver for the shorter ones, except that we'd have to stretch the "ver" of cover for "me" to fall on the beat; actually, it sounds rude, whiny and pretentious to say "me" on the beat, so let's not stretch that "ver", and introduce a syncopation, which also gives more life to the poem. There, the rhythm was totally determined by factors outside my control.

Did I at least choose the melody and/or harmony? Not at all. The topic is gloomy, so it obviously calls for a minor key; let's arbitrarily pick G minor so I can sing it — it also has only few alterations (two flats) on the key signature, and happens to be quite playable on guitar (I didn't play any guitar at the time I wrote the song, but common influences from musical history had already shaped both my mind and the guitar); you can of course transpose to your key of choice, and it will remain the same song, so only really matters the fact that it's minor, and that's imposed by the mood of the poem. The first verse is an introductory verse, and it is building up a tension, so it obviously has to be in ascending tones. Since it doesn't end the sentence, the verse shall end up in suspension; the simplest way to achieve that is to end with a dominant chord. We also want to state the tonality, with a tonic chord somewhere, and since we end with the dominant, it's simplest to state the tonic as the first chord. So our stressed syllables will see an upward progression from tonic to dominant. There are four stressed notes; first is a tonic (G), last is a dominant (D); in an ascending progression, it is natural to fit a subdominant (C) between the two, for it has the next simplest chord. The simplest progression would be tonic, mediant, subdominant, dominant, where underlying the mediant would be a repeat the tonic chord; but since we're building tension, we have to do something more than this simplest progression; so we do the next simplest progression: tonic, subdominant, leading tone to the dominant, dominant; not only is it the next simplest, but the leading tone in itself contains tension that we seek. Since we're building up tension, let's also change the mood on the last chord, and make it major while the tonic and subdominant chords were minor; considering the meaning of the poem, it also makes sense to give a brighter color to the word "me" than to the other words and use a major chord. (Actually, in the poem we're adapting itself, the word "me" is deliberately ending the first verse, precisely for this effect, that we're translating to music.)

Now for the short notes: they could be anything that isn't dissonant, but better remain low to provide greater contrast to the upward progression of the stressed notes; and the simplest solution is to just repeat the tonic, G. However, since we have two short notes right after the initial tonic, we can make the first of them the mediant while still on the tonic chord, and it fits perfectly both with the upward progression of sounds and with the fact that the stressed notes set the chord. As for which chord underlies the leading-note-to-the-dominant, we find that a E flat minor seventh, which is just one note half a tone away from the previous chord of C minor seventh, is the simplest solution. Tada! The constraints natural in the text and in western music completely wrote the first verse for us, including every single note, its pitch and duration, and for each note the underlying chord. Of course, I didn't have to explicitly think about these constraints when I wrote the song — the melody and its implicit harmony just "fell into place", because I've internalized these constraints, and this is indeed the simplest solution, by far.

I could go on with the rest of this song: the next three verses have their rhythm decided likewise. A repetition of the melodic pattern of verses one-two in verses three-four is the natural expectation, with one-two ending on a dominant and three-four on a tonic. Verse two (and four) need their melodic line to be descending to use the tension previously built. Their first note needs to be above the last note of the first verse, to use its trampoline; it also needs to start with a tonic chord. However, for variety as well as to allow for the three note variant in verse two, it's better to start on a mediant from which you can go to the tonic (via the supertonic as a transient note), rather than starting from a tonic and have nowhere down to go within the chord. Filling the melody with stressed notes that are different from the (notional canonical chord) bass line also makes for a nice response to the previous verse where the stressed notes in melody were mostly the same as the bass. The words "Pit" also suggests going lower than what is simplest (F♯), and even lower than what is natural (B♭ instead of B), in another interesting interaction between word meaning and pitch (I don't even know how to name the resulting chord, because the natural B is also present; or maybe it's actually a C♯ in an G chord with major seventh and augmented eleventh? does it matter?). Similarly, "pole to pole" suggests going up and down around the "equator" of the tonic, while following the general downward pitch progression of the sentence. I could go on and on, but I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to figure out all the reasons why this song is indeed the simplest solution to the problem of putting this poem to music. Of course, the idea of music scores as puzzles isn't new: Johann Sebastian Bach and his contemporaries famously wrote the scores of some canons and fugues as puzzles to be completed from scant indications: a theme is stated at the beginning, with indications on what symmetries and transformations to use to fill the blanks with modified copies of the theme, and seasoned baroque musicians would be able to reconstitute the entire piece.

Now, consider the set of rules and constraints, some hard, some soft, some formal, some informal, some purely musical, some related to the syntax of English, some related to the meaning of the words, according to which these solution is simplest; together they constitute a sense of aesthetics, that I am indeed bringing on the table. Of course, I probably invented not one single of these rules: I inferred them from a large body of extant western music that I've been exposed to, and the small amount of codified theory that I actually learned. In this sense, the fact that I developed my sense of aesthetics from cultural precedent only illustrates how all creative work is derivative. Still, I've been exposed to a different set of music pieces and music theories than any other person, this set of rules is less unambiguous than those followed by Bach, and wherever there are soft or ambiguous rules or constraints, I probably give them slightly different relative weights and different interpretations than other musicians would; and there are probably many rules I am altogether unaware whereas each other musician might also have additional or missing rules compared to mine. Thus, this sense of aesthetics still constitute a personal, though marginal, input of mine, to the "creation" of the song — as does the will to work at composing a song, and to work on this poem rather than another one: this song would have remained a mere potential if I hadn't cared to make it a reality. My input, small as it might be, was thus nevertheless existential for this song.

My ultimate point is that, inasmuch as I "invented" the song, this "invention" does not at all fit the modern mythology of artistic creation ex nihilo of something that didn't exist, and does completely fit the etymological meaning of "invention", to find: finding something at your feet, coming by something that already exists and that you notice, being first to discover an eternal truth, etc. There is of course merit in going where no one has dared or cared to venture before, or in noticing what no one noticed or cared to notice before though it was in front of their lying eyes; but it is not at all the merit of creating what didn't exist before, it is the merit (and demerit) of being me and having traveled, inside and out, all the way to where I've been — what I've created is myself. And the implications in terms of law, politics, economics and ethics are very different. But that will be the topic for a different essay.

Jul. 8th, 2015

eyes black and white

What is the International Community™? Part 2

"What is the Matrix? Control."

This essay was originally written by Daniel A. Nagy and published on his Facebook page on July 7th, 2015. It is the second part in a series. The first part is available here: http://fare.livejournal.com/184653.html. Both parts were originally published on facebook: Part 1, Part 2.

In that first part, I have discussed the so-called "independent media", the seeming conspiracy of mass-media workers, especially, but not exclusively journalists, in creating and perpetuating a virtual reality by biased reporting and analysis, serving the interests of the International Community™. I have argued, that there is no need for these people to actually conspire or to be in the service or the pay of some shadowy background power; they are merely following their own perceived interests and their own thirst for power and status.

In this second part, I am going to discuss another very important institution of power and its nexus with Independent Media™:

Student Activists™ and Community Engagement

As the cynical proverb goes, those who get through higher education by studying are doomed to get through life by working. However, there are plenty of other things one can do at university, some of them commonly denoted by the nebulous term "community engagement", ranging from participating in university-based organizations like the Student Union to doing volunteer work for various organizations in the non-profit sector, community organizing and direct political action.

It is "community engagement" where the most power-thirsty and politically ambitious among the students get the opportunity to network with all the right people. It is in these institutions, where they get their first real-life experiences of the workings of power, politics and corruption.

While all political and religious movements worth their salt do their best to gain a foothold at campuses, the International Community™'s grip on the better universities around the world seems inescapable. Conversely, whenever some other politicised group manages to gain the kind of pervasive influence on a campus typically enjoyed by the International Community™, such as introducing entire fields of studies with a political agenda, directly influencing salaries and scolarships and so on, the school immediately sinks in all academic rankings, starts losing out on the best students and faculty. It becomes little more than a training ground for the next generation of its political masters and a propaganda outlet masquerading as an institution of higher learning. Its real scientific output dwindles.

Not so with the International Community™! The fact that a university offers advanced degree programs in subjects like "gender studies" or "international relations" or "political science" does not, by any means, reduce the value of its physics, history or law degrees. The fact that its students are regularly doing the footwork for political campaigns and revolutions (both at home and abroad) is surprisingly reconcilable with academic excellence, albeit typically achieved by a very different part of the student body (with the exception of the aforementioned politically charged subjects). So, who are these foot soldiers of the International Community™ and what motivates them?

At first, just like in the case of media, it seems like a vast conspiracy. Surely, these agents are planted by some shadowy organization? Well, if you state that much in public, you are only going to make a fool of yourself. They all went through the regular recruitment process, and even if there were some strange irregularities (that actually happens more often than people are willing to admit), there is usually no third party to them; just the prospective student and school officials. Now, there might be some institutionalized "irregularities", such as formal or informal minority quotas and other preferences that might have helped these students get in, and you would surely find the International Community™ throwing its full weight behind these policies, but again, no shadowy puppet masters are pulling the strings, everything happens quite transparently, in broad daylight, so to speak.

Student activists are primarily motivated by an unsatiable thirst for power. It is regarded as the stepping stone to positions of greater power, such as journalism, diplomacy, politics and academic administration. The funding keeping these people from accidentally doing something productive in case they get hungry comes from a variety of sources; some of it is scholarships and stipends from other branches of the International Community™, but relying primarily on such direct payments would make the link too obvious. A far more common way of keeping activists paid is by pretending that the usual side shows of their activism, such as journalism, photography or art are worth paying for. For example, instead of paying them directly for participation in demonstrations and for bringing in more people, they are going to get paid for the pictures they take and the articles they write about the event, so that they, too, can believe that they are doing all the footwork of political activism out of pure and noble conviction. However, they do not need to take one minute off their activism to put bread on their plate. The quality of their journalistic or artistic output is not very relevant at this stage.

As we can see, there is no mysterious secret conspiracy here: news organizations (a.k.a. Independent Media™) has both the means and the motivation to recruit willing students for doing activist footwork for protecting and spreading the political system that keeps them enormously powerful. Ambitious students, on their part, constitute both a talent pool for future recruitment and a rich source of cheap labor.

In our next installment, we will look at why and how university faculty are not only tolerating but often encouraging such parasitic activities on campus. Again, without puppet-masters, entirely out of their own self-interest.

Apr. 26th, 2015

eyes black and white

What is the International Community™? Part 1

This essay was originally written by Daniel A. Nagy and published his Facebook page on December 11th, 2014. See also: Part 2.

"What is the Matrix? Control."

One essential element of the existing world order is a mysterious, yet very powerful entity commonly referred to as the "international community". To the uninitiated, it might look like some vast conspiracy and quite a few people believe that it is one. To the rest, these people are nuts, believing in weird conspiracy theories. Yet another set of people noticed, that the truth value of most statements does not change if "international community" is replaced by "U. S. State Department" or vice versa. From this, they conclude that it is simply a different name for American diplomacy. They also, quite justifiably, end up as targets of mockery when agents of the International Community™ accused of being on the payroll of the U. S. State Department very obviously aren't.

Yet, the role of the International Community™ in the modern world order cannot be overstated. Its most visible activity is enforcing "democratic values" around the world and crushing those that deviate from them with all its military and financial might, if necessary. Left to their own devices, democracies very often deviate from these "democratic values". For example, majorities, given the opportunity, have no qualms about taking advantage of minorities, and in general, fascism is a known failure mode of democracy to which it easily and quickly evolves with the strong support of the (often overwhelming) majority of voters. There are quite a few policies that are consistently unpopular with voters, yet democratic leaders are at pains to enact them nonetheless, often at substantial political costs to themselves and substantial economic cost to their subjects. It is very tempting to get some extra popularity and prosperity by deviating from the Democratic Norms™. The International Community™ is there to reign in those deviants. It is the ultimate arbiter of all disputes, its decisions are enforced without appeal and no government or other organization can measure up to its military and financial might.

The International Community™ is often accused of hypocrisy, for having friends and allies that can get away with flouting any and all Democratic Norms™. However, these relationships, with very few exceptions, do not last long; it can turn on its erstwhile friends and allies at the slightest display of wavering loyalty and it does.

In this series of essays, I would like to explain my understanding of what the International Community™ is, how its seemingly inconsistent and downright crazy decisions are made and who are the people "behind" it. At this point, I would also like to acknowledge the inspiration by one Mencius Moldbug, with whom I disagree on almost everything else. I believe that the International Community™ is composed of individuals and their institutions all acting in line with their individually perceived interests, without actually conspiring with one another. They are mostly motivated by lust for power, fear, greed and missionary zeal, all reinforced by an unshakable faith in their own superiority and entitlement. They sow destruction, misery and death. In each installment, I will discuss one institution of power of the International Community™. Here's the first one:

Journalists and the Independent Media™

The Freedom of Press™ is one of the core Democratic Values™. What it means in practice is that journalists enjoy immense power and privilege in the existing world order. They can violate anyone's privacy without consequences, for example. They are above the law for mere mortals or even mere governments in many other ways, too. Enemies of the International Community™ are mistaken in thinking that all they should do is outbidding the International Community™ in order to get journalists as loyal as those serving it. No matter how much outlets like RT pay their journalists to push the agenda of their government, they will have defections and miss top talent; because the journalists of the International Community™ push their own agenda, not that of the U.S. State Department (with which it often coincides for reasons discussed in a later essay) or any other government or business interest. No matter how much the king is paying to the journalist in money and privilege, the journalist will still desire to swap places with the king and be the one controlling the King's fate, not the other way around. This is why buying or creating "alternative" media outlets to counter the influence of the International Community™ in the media is a futile enterprise doomed to failure. If you set out to counter the propaganda of the International Community™, there is no journalist on whom you can count. If you do, you will end up with an inferior product and painful defections.

As any person in the position of power, journalists are, of course, corrupt. Since they have near-absolute power, they are very corrupt, in fact, but also very expensive. This might seem like a weakness, and indeed it is possible to destroy individual journalists by unmasking their corruption, but that may prove very difficult, expensive and dangerous.

The true and ultimate weakness of journalism is that it is entirely unnecessary and useless in the age of the internet. They do not do anything useful for anyone but themselves and their powerful friends. If you want to learn about something, there is no reason anymore to read or listen to journalists, because much better (more accurate, more reliable, etc.) sources of information abound. The best strategy for freeing yourself and the world is to ignore them out of power.

All that is not to say that you should hate journalists and that they are useless, evil people. Sure, as long as they work as journalists, they are useless and what they do is evil, but that is something that they can change and there is no reason for not helping them. Their skills are quite useful and valuable in a wide range of entirely peaceful and productive endeavors ranging from entertainment to marketing. Political journalism — hopefully — has no future, but these people — hopefully — do.

Apr. 25th, 2015

eyes black and white

Randroid detection

How to recognize randroids with no intellectual integrity: at some point, they repeat the talking point that Atlas Shrugged is "the second most influential book of all time after the Bible" — which when you dig is based on the single data point of one dubious poll by the Library of Congress decades ago in which randroids somehow self-selected as a plurality of minority responders (and sometimes a second self-selected poll from a random internet site). But guess what, more people in the USA actually claim to follow the Book of Mormon or the Quran than have ever read Atlas Shrugged, much less agreed with its philosophy. And these Mormons and Muslims actually put their money where their mouth is and pay weekly or yearly dues, whereas the "sales" figures for Atlas Shrugged are copiously inflated by a large number of copies bought by the Ayn Rand Institute itself, that end up given away and likely never read. If we are to count artificial "sales" like that, Dianetics ranks higher. Then again, outside the USA, the numbers are even less flattering for the randroids. So much for "second most influential book" bullshit.

Randroids ought to be ashamed to repeat such obvious lies that do not for a single moment impress a single listener. Miss Rand would certainly be ashamed of them: SHE had more intellectual integrity than to believe and repeat baseless propaganda — she even ran away from her country of birth so as not to have to repeat such. And she would never be caught alive resorting to Argumentum ad Populum.

Fuck randroids. They are just as despicable as antirandroids who repeat stupid talking points condemning Rand based on the opposite of what she said, wrote and stood for.

Apr. 13th, 2015

eyes black and white

Common Lisp as a Scripting Language, 2015 edition

The first computer I used had about 2KB of RAM. The other day, I compiled a 2KB Common Lisp script into a 16MB executable to get its startup (and total execution) time down from 2s to subjectively instantaneous — and that didn't bother me the least, for my current computer has 8GB of working memory and over 100GB of persistent memory. But it did bother me that it didn't bother me, for 16MB was also the memory on the first computer in which I felt I wasn't RAM-starved: I could run an X server, an Emacs editor and a shell terminal simultaneously without swapping! Now an entire comfortable software development universe could be casually wasted over a stupid optimization — that I have to care about because software systems still suck. And to imagine that before sentientkind reaches its malthusian future, code bumming will have become a popular activity again...

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Mar. 19th, 2015

eyes black and white

Orderly liquidation of the so-called "State" / Liquidation ordonnée du dit « État »

This text, signed Roman Perdeanu, was intended for publication in «Libres!!!» opus 3; but as said the project was relegated until further notice to a drawer, it instead ends up published on my blog.


Ce texte, signé Roman Perdeanu, était destiné à «Libres!!!» opus 3; mais comme ledit projet a été relégué jusqu'à nouvel ordre dans un tiroir, il se retrouve à paraître sur mon blogue. Aussi sur Contrepoints.

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Feb. 17th, 2015

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En France Soviétique, on envoie déjà les dissidents en Psikhushka!

Je fus abasourdi d'apprendre il y a quelques jours, grâce à Jean Robin d'Enquête et Débat, les détails de la terrifiante persécution dont a été victime notre ami, mon ami, Jean-Louis Caccomo: interné de force dans un asile psychiatrique, à l'instigation de son communiste de bureaucrate-en-chef, pour des motifs politiques, de façon aussi illégale que complètement injustifiée; là-bas, maltraité comme moins qu'un homme, voué à être enfermé à vie par une cabale de monstres, et par un coup de chance (toute relative), libéré par un médecin honnête auquel il avait été envoyé pour recevoir des électrochocs — et une fois libéré, devant faire face aux mêmes criminels qui essaient de le piéger à nouveau. Et à peu près sans aucune chance qu'on lui rende jamais justice.

L'affaire est si énorme que les bras m'en tombent. Relisez-donc le paragraphe précédent. Lentement. Une seconde fois. Prenez la mesure de l'horreur de la situation. Imaginez un homme innocent et sain d'esprit, initialement déprimé, mis en prison, drogué, traité comme un chien, moqué quotidiennement, dont chaque réaction révoltée, chaque tentative désespérée de faire valoir sa personnalité, est considérée comme preuve de plus qu'il est fou voire dangereux, cependant que chaque fois qu'au contraire il sombre dans le découragement et se laisse faire il est confirmé comme cliniquement déprimé — dans les deux cas, condamné à vie dans cet enfer carcéral qui ne dit pas son nom, sans rédemption possible car sans crime à racheter, sans guérison possible car sans mal à guérir, sans espoir. Il y a là proprement de quoi devenir fou. Et c'était bien le but.

Maintenant, comprenez les implications. Réalisez la nature de nos ennemis, et l'impudence de leur pouvoir criminel. Moi qui ai d'habitude l'emphase facile, les mots me manquent pour exprimer ma révulsion. Et quel est mon étonnement et ma déception de voir que cette affaire n'embrase pas, sinon les médias officiels aux bottes, sinon la blogosphère francophone abrutie de propagande, du moins les cercles libéraux. Comment d'aucuns prétendent-ils n'en pas savoir assez pour s'indigner? Les faits ne sont-ils pas abominablement clairs?

Selon la loi Française, et plus encore pour nous libéraux, il est tout à fait injustifié d'interner de force quiconque, sauf si non seulement la personne n'est pas saine d'esprit, mais encore et surtout, elle représente un danger immédiat pour la sécurité d'autrui, ou pour la sienne propre — et encore, pour un libéral, le suicide est tout à fait légitime, et ne justifie un internement forcé que si la pulsion suicidaire est aussi irrationnelle que passagère, et donc présumée être à l'opposé de ce que la personne veut vraiment. Jean-Louis Caccomo était-il donc déprimé? On le serait à moins, après avoir fait face simultanément à un divorce, à la perte de la garde ses enfants, à un revers de carrière due à une cabale politique, et à un environnement de travail quotidien où de nombreux de vos collègues y compris vos "supérieurs" hiérarchiques vous veulent manifestement un mal pire que la mort. Mais la déprime, qu'elle soit ou ne soit pas fondée, n'est pas une raison suffisante pour interner qui que ce soit contre son gré.

En effet, un trouble psychologique en tant que tel ne suffit absolument pas à justifier un internement forcé — ou alors c'est la très grande majorité des êtres humains qu'il faudrait enfermer (et parfois, la planète ressemble assez à un asile à ciel ouvert en effet). Presque tous les êtres humains pourraient bénéficier d'une aide psychologique, mais le prix élevé d'un suivi efficace (quand il l'est) ne le justifie pas sauf dans les cas marginaux: rares sont les gens à la fois assez fous pour que de tels soins vaillent la peine et assez sains pour s'en apercevoir, pouvoir se les offrir, et sauter le pas. Donc, Jean-Louis Caccomo avait sans doute ses démons, ses faiblesses, ses défauts et aurait pu bénéficier comme tant parmi nous de soutiens psychologiques — mais ce n'est pas du tout ce dont il est question! Il est question d'interner quelqu'un de force, contre son gré, de lui faire subir un grand nombre d'outrages, qui sont tout à fait impropres à guérir quiconque, bien au contraire, et que seul peut justifier un danger que présente la personne à autrui, ou dans certains cas à elle-même.

Aussi, Jean-Louis Caccomo était-il un danger pour autrui? Absolument pas. À aucun moment. Le prétexte employé par ses bourreaux était qu'un étudiant "déséquilibré" sur le même campus avait commis un meurtre récemment. Quel rapport? Strictement aucun. Jean-Louis Caccomo faisait-il partie d'un même groupe d'assassins? Que nenni. Son cas ressemblait-il en rien à celui de l'étudiant meurtrier? Aucun rapport — juste un vil prétexte pris par ses ennemis politiques pour l'interner, au nom d'un soi-disant "principe de précaution" qui nie la responsabilité individuelle des coupables autant que la liberté individuelle des innocents, qui nie toutes les précautions, qui nie tous les principes — qui n'est en fait que prétexte totalitaire aux décisions arbitraires des puissants.

Jean-Louis Caccomo était-il suicidaire? L'idée du suicide avait sans doute pu le traverser, malheureux qu'il était; mais avait-il jamais fait une tentative sérieuse en ce sens? non, rien qui vaille d'être interné pendant des années. Non seulement il était vivant et en bonne santé physique quand il fut interné, mais ce n'est absolument pas à l'occasion d'une tentative de suicide manquée que Jean-Louis Caccomo a été interné: il s'est tranquillement présenté à ce qu'il croyait être une formalité administrative mais était en fait un piège, à l'instigation du petit chef que la bureaucratie socialiste nationale lui infligeait. Au moment où il fut interné, déprimé qu'il était, il n'était pas donc suicidaire; ce dont il avait besoin, c'était du réconfort de ses amis ou du soutien d'un thérapeute; certainement pas des mauvais traitements de geôliers en blouse blanche. Cela est d'autant plus important que puisqu'il n'était pas un danger pour autrui, c'est dans son propre intérêt et cet intérêt seul qu'il aurait éventuellement pu être interné — or l'internement dont il a été l'objet, dans des conditions épouvantables, s'est fait à l'opposé total de ses intérêts.

Scandale, non moins terrible: un adulte responsable innocent possède seul le droit de décider s'il veut un traitement ou pas. S'il est reconnu juridiquement incapable ou irresponsable, alors ce droit revient à son tuteur légal, et à nul autre — certainement pas à un tiers, fût-il un "supérieur" hiérarchique, le président ou le pape — et surtout pas à un ennemi personnel. En l'absence de jugement de cour, et en cas d'urgence, alors le conjoint, le père, la mère, ou à défaut le parent le plus proche, peut temporairement et dans l'urgence tenir lieu de tuteur; mais cela doit rester temporaire jusqu'à un jugement de cour informé par l'opinion d'experts indépendants mette un malheureux dans les mains d'un tuteur; et ce tuteur sera soumis à de sévères contraintes quant au respect des intérêts de son pupille. Or, rien de tout cela n'est arrivé: aucun tuteur régulier ni aucun membre de la famille n'a pris l'initiative d'un internement, mais bien un ennemi personnel; aucun jugement de cour n'a établi d'incapacité, et pour cause aucune cour n'a été réunie; aucune expertise indépendante n'a eu lieu — l'internement a même été signé par un médecin complice qui n'a même pas vu Jean-Louis en consultation!

Troisième scandale, plus horrifique encore: Tout cela n'a pas eu lieu seulement par erreur, incompétence, ou désaffectation des institutions concernées — quoiqu'erreur, incompétence et désaffectation aient été présentes — mais par une volonté délibérée de nuire à tous les niveaux. Tout cela ne s'est pas seulement fait dans l'ignorance et l'insouciance des intérêts de l'interné, mais contre ses intérêts, de façon aussi malveillante que préméditée. On ne piège pas quelqu'un dans un asile psychiatrique pour son bien; on ne signe pas légèrement un arrêt d'internement indéfini pour le bien du "patient" quand on n'a pas d'abord tout fait pour s'assurer que c'est le dernier recours; on ne maltraite pas quotidiennement un interné par amour; on ne traite pas une personne d'élucubrateur quand on ne sait rien de son passé; on ne drogue pas à fond une personne plusieurs fois par jour pour ensuite conclure qu'elle n'est pas dans son état normal et reconduire de jour en jour, de semaine en semaine, de mois en mois, d'année en année, son internement.

Dernier scandale, qui devrait donner à réfléchir à tous les libéraux en particulier, mais en fait à tous ceux qui osent penser par eux-mêmes et ne pas être en tout d'accord avec ceux qui sont plus puissants qu'eux: en France socialiste aujourd'hui, comme en Russie socialiste naguère, les socialistes au pouvoir veulent et peuvent mettre en prison les dissidents qui refusent de "penser" comme eux. Car ne nous le cachons pas: ses opinions politiques furent une raison majeure pour laquelle Jean-Louis Caccomo a été poursuivi par tant de haine criminelle. La simple jalousie de ses succès n'était pas suffisante pour le traiter comme moins qu'humain. L'inimitié personnelle seule n'est pas assez pour expliquer le passage à l'acte de ses bourreaux. La calomnie selon laquelle ses opinions à l'encontre de la pensée unique nationale socialiste relevaient du dérangement mental, furent une ratiocination essentielle à cette agression innommable, dans le cas de Jean-Louis Caccomo comme dans celui des dissidents russes que les pouvoirs soviétiques déjà envoyaient en psikhushka pour y recevoir drogues, coups et violences, et électro-chocs, sans parler des humiliations, du manque d'hygiène, et autres effroyables conditions de vie carcérales — où Jean-Louis Caccomo a perdu ses ongles et ses dents!

Car vous aussi, lecteurs, êtes dans le colimateur de ces ennemis politiques sans scrupules. Alors qu'ils n'ont jamais assez d'excuses pour se montrer cléments envers les criminels violents de droit commun, "socialement proches", alors que la lie de la terre quand elle se lance dans la barbarie fanatique est excusée parce que prétendument "opprimée", les communistes vouent à la destruction complète, par une répression sans aucune pitié tous les "ennemis de classe" qui osent se dresser contre leur pouvoir totalitaire. Et si vous n'êtes pas une larve totalement dénuée d'intégrité, si vous n'êtes pas un complice actif de leur oppression, cela vous inclut vous aussi comme cible, dès que vous oserez lever la tête plutôt que de vous laisser écraser.

Je suis Jean-Louis Caccomo. Nous sommes tous Jean-Louis Caccomo. Nous tous sommes les ennemis désignés des bureaucrates de l'éducation nationale socialiste et de tout l'État d'ordures qui les soudoit. Vous aurez beau vouloir vous désintéresser du socialisme, le socialisme s'intéresse à vous. Vous pouvez ne désirer que vivre en paix, les socialistes vous ont déclaré la guerre, à vous ainsi qu'à tout ce qui fait la civilisation. Honte à vous si vous ne savez pas reconnaître vos ennemis mortels, et placez vos espoirs sur le secours que l'un d'entre eux vous apporterait peut-être contre l'autre.

Jan. 26th, 2015

eyes black and white

Programming on valium

Google AutoValue: what in Lisp would take a few hundred lines max in Java is over 10000 lines not counting many, many libraries. Just WOW!

Thus, Java has macros too, it's just that they are 10 to 100 times more programmer-intensive than Lisp macros. I feel like I'm back in the dark ages.

Even for "normal" programming without new macros, a program I wrote both in Java and in Clojure was about 4 times bigger in Java (and that's despite using AutoValue). I also took ten times longer to write and debug the Java program (despite having written the Clojure program before, so no hard thinking whatsoever needed), with a frustrating edit-compile-run cycle many orders of magnitude slower. Part of the difference is my being much more experienced in Lisp than in Java, but even accounting for that, Java is slower to develop with.

The Java code is also much harder to read, because you have to wade through a lot of bureaucracy — each line does less, and so may be slightly faster to read, yet takes no less time to write, debug, modify, test, because of all the details that need be just right. Yet you must read and write more Java, and it's therefore harder to get the big picture, because there is less information available by screenful (or mindful) and much more noise. The limitation on available information is not just per screenful but also per file, and you find you have to jump constantly through so many files in addition to classes within a file; this is a lot of pain, even after accounting for the programming environments that alleviate the pain somewhat. Thus the very slight micro-level advantage of Java in readability per line is actually a big macro-level handicap in overall program readability.

Lack of both type aliasing and retroactive implementation of interfaces also means that type abstraction, while possible with generics and interfaces (themselves very verbose, though no more than the rest of the language), will require explicit wrappers with an immense amount of boilerplate, if not reimplementation. This strongly encourages programmers to eschew type abstraction, leading to more code explosion and much decreased maintainability.

Also, because function definition is so syntactically cumbersome in Java, programs tend to rely instead on big functions with a lot of side-effects, which yields spaghetti code that is very hard to read, understand, debug, test or modify — as compared to writing small conceptually simple functions that you compose into larger ones, as you would in a functional programming language.

The lack of tuple types is also a big factor against functional programming in Java: you'll need to declare a lot of extra classes or interfaces as bureaucracy just because you want a couple functions to pass and return a few values together (some people instead use side-effects for that — yuck). You could use a generic pair, but that leads to horrible types with many<layers<of<angle,brackets>>> which is very hard to read or write, and doesn't scale to larger tuples; of course, the need to declare types everywhere instead of having them inferred by the compiler means that even with tuples of arbitrary size, you'll need to spell out long unwieldy types more often that you'd like. Ignorants complain about the number of parentheses in Lisp, but just because of the size increase, there are a lot more parentheses in my Java program than in my Lisp program, and if we are to include all curly, angle and square brackets, that will be another many-fold increase.

Java 8 makes the syntax for functional programs slightly easier, and AutoValue makes it slightly less painful to bundle values together, but even with these improvements, Java remains extremely verbose.

The standard library is horrible, with side-effects everywhere, and a relatively poor set of primitives. This leads to the ugly habit of having to resort to "friend" classes with lots of static methods, which leads to a very different style of invocation and forces more bureaucratic wrapping to give things a unified interface. The lack of either CLOS-style generic functions or Clojure-type protocols mean you can't add decent interfaces to existing data-structures after the fact, making inter-operation with other people's code harder, whether you decide to adopt your own data-structure library (e.g. a pure functional one) or just try to extend existing ones. Lack of multiple inheritance also means you have to repetitively repeat a lot of boilerplate that could have been shared with a common mixin (aka trait class).

All in all, Java is just as heavily bureaucratic as I expected. It was developed by bureaucrats for bureaucrats, mediocre people who think they are productive when they have written a lot of code for a small result, when better tools allow better people to write a small amount of code for a big result. By analogy with programming languages said to be a variant of something "on steroids", I'd say that Java is a semi-decent programming language on valium. As to what template is sedated, I'd say a mutt of Pascal and Smalltalk. But at least it's semi-decent, and you can see that a lot intelligent people who understand programming language design and implementation have worked on it and tried to improve upon the joke of a language that Java was initially. Despite the bureaucracy, the sheer amount of talent thrown at the language has resulted in something that manages to not be bad.

This hard work by clever people makes Java so much better than Python, an attractive nuisance with lots of cool features that lead you into a death by a thousand cuts of small bad decisions that amplify each other. Superficially, Python looks like a crippled Lisp without macros and with a nice toy object system — but despite a lot of very cool features and a syntax that you can tell was spent a lot of time on (yet still ended up with many bad choices), Python was obviously written by someone who doesn't have a remote clue about semantics, resulting in a lot of pitfalls for programmers to avoid (there again with side-effects galore), and an intrinsically slow implementation that requires a lot of compile-time cleverness and runtime bureaucracy to improve upon.

In conclusion, I'd say that Java is a uniformly mediocre language that will drag you down with bureaucracy, which makes it rank well above a lot of overall bad languages like Python — but that's a very low bar.

Does this rampant mediocrity affect all industries? I'm convinced it does — it's not like these industries are fielded by better people than the software industry. Therefore it's an ever renewed wonder to me to see that the world keeps turning, that civilization endures. "A common man marvels at uncommon things; a wise man marvels at the commonplace." — Confucius

Jan. 24th, 2015

eyes black and white

Moral failings of the "libertarian" left

Ryan Calhoun asks me why I call C4SS's post about the Brad Spangler affair disgusting. The context: Brad co-founded the organization 8 years ago, and was its original Director until 2011 or 2012; he stopped being active since 2012 (though he did occasionally handle information system administration issues). For some time now, he openly assumed his taste for underage women; yesterday though, he publicly admitted to sexually molesting a ~10 year old girl under his care over ten years ago. My answer to the C4SS statement follows:

[What makes your post disgusting?] Making exaggerated displays of insincere outrage. Failing to take responsibility, by censoring his articles from your site rather than amending them with a note. Taking the opportunity to be self-serving instead of apologetic and attempting a callous political recuperation of a private crime. Making a [public] display of "charity", as pathetic as miserable. [I'd now add: not caring the least about the victim, or about libertarian principles of justice, instead whining about the effect on [your] image, and bullshitting at length about [your obsession,] identity politics. It's all "me, me, me!"] In general, writing for effect [rather] than for truth. But typical of C4SS in each and every one of these aspects, so I suppose it's par for the course.

Yet, since you're asking for details, I must acknowledge that this is not the worst thing I've seen. C4SS is misguided, but still basically honest — at least no more dishonest with others than they are with themselves, and less dishonest with themselves than the majority, I suppose. Still quite a mediocre standard.

What I further do not expect you to ever, ever attempt, is a reflection on what defects in Brad's personality made him both a criminal and someone attracted to your ideas, and how you can help address those defects in those who are attracted to your ideas for the same reason — and in the ideas that they have influenced you into adopting.

Since you're unlikely to come up with a valid answer, let me tell you the intellectual failings of the left, libertarian as they may lean: the denial of individual responsibility; the desire to think what pleases [] others rather than [what] is true; making everything a political question instead of defusing politics [i.e. conflict]. These defects can be found in everyone, including myself — but the left (including the "libertarian" left) amplifies (and sometimes celebrates) these defects rather than attempts to correct them. Shame on you.

Of course Ryan C and George G thereafter accuse me of trying to make a political point out of a [private] tragedy, never mind that the bottom of their own post, more than half of it, is a cut-and-paste piece of [leftist] political propaganda, even without arguing about the rest. George G even tries to ridicule me for making a "connection between left libertarianism and pedophilia", when the connection I make is between left "libertarianism" and blaming society for the crimes committed by individuals. Despicable fools.

Note that I previously responded to Spangler's left "libertarian" ideas (so far as I can tell shared by C4SS) on my blog: Thou shalt not steal, not even from the State, and Why you should NOT care about Israel and Palestine. His crime as such certainly does not invalidate the arguments he either repeated or contributed, but it does cast a doubt on them and invites those who fell for them to carefully reexamine them. And of course, the "libertarian" left is vastly nicer, more rational and less criminal than the left that isn't even libertarian at all. But that's a low, low bar.

Regarding the crime scandal itself, I'll say that the lynch mobs that revel in calls for violence with much fake outrage make me sympathize with the poor wreck — just like the (actually violent) socialist censors in France managed to make me sympathize with right-wing anti-abortionist nuts or an idiot islamic humorist, all of them peaceful if misguided (and fantasizing about acquiring the State's impunity to not at all peacefully enact their favorite policies). You won't see me agitating pitchforks, here or anywhere. Brad Spangler is no present threat to anyone but himself (that I know of), and therefore no legitimate target for violent police action (though quite legitimate object of ostracism). What this rapist deserves is whatever his victim wants to inflict upon him... nothing more, nothing less — OK, something less if she demands too much, but nothing more: Justice is (or should be) a private affair. My thoughts thus go to the poor girl, whom he identified, and whose life has been crushed a second time, this time all too publicly; she won't be able to get any compensation whatsoever from a man now promised to government cages at taxpayers' expense. As George Donnelly remarked, by making a public display of his crime and appealing for state police action against himself, Spangler yesterday not only betrayed his victim a second time, in addition to having raped her ten years ago, he also betrayed the beliefs he still claims to hold in a stateless justice system. For the political establishment has my complete trust to not-so-swiftly and much-onerously serve total injustice.

As to those who emitted doubts that Brad's admission of guilt was real, my answer was and is: Actually, his Facebook account was hacked by a special unit of the NSA, then the FBI abducted him, to be rendered in Guantanamo under a fake identity, all that because his activism was the #1 threat to national security, far beyond anyone else that the shadowy Washington conspiracies haven't thus silenced yet... not.

Update: Among the C4SS organizers, at least Tom Knapp shows some decency in dissociating himself from most of the official C4SS statement. In the comments to his post, he gives a pretty reasonable explanations for the behavior of C4SS, that would have usefully featured in their official statement. But he seems isolated in the organization. Instead, the way the affair is handled by Carson & al. is despicable. Interesting how these leftists act with a mix of collective guilt and self indulgence — because they won't fully recognize individual responsibility.

Second update: Not only was the admitted child rape case confirmed by the victim, there are rumors of more victims having now spoken up. I fear that I was wrong presuming he's no present danger — then he needs to be put away from society, at his own expenses. I'm told there are small towns where sex-offenders congregate. Assuming he didn't do enough wrong to forfeit his right to live, he could live there with a location device and be a danger no more. Give him all the child porn he needs to not go on a rampage (punish those who made such porn if real, of course), and shoot him dead if he's ever found roaming free anywhere near children or away from authorized zones. Maybe then he can be a productive member of society again, and most of his disposable income can be transferred to his victims as damage payment. Or then again, maybe he can't be trusted to do right, or he did enough wrong to enough victims that his life is forfeited.

eyes black and white

Histoire Africaine

Je ne me souviens plus d'où je tiens cette blague mais tous mes amis africains ou africanophiles s'accordent à en confirmer la vérisimilitude, et suspectent qu'elle est basée sur une histoire réelle, à peine épicée.

C'est l'histoire d'un jeune politicien africain idéaliste, qui vient en stage en France. Là, il est pris sous l'aile d'un parlementaire spécialiste dans les infrastructures publiques. Un jour, le député invite son protégé dans une de ses villas, une grande maison fort jolie en haut d'une colline, avec vue imprenable sur la Riviera (sur un terrain précédemment déclaré inconstructible, acheté à vil prix à l'ancien propriétaire au nom de la femme du député, puis reclassé comme constructible, quelle chance). Notre jeune idéaliste, né dans la brousse, s'émerveille de tout ce confort paisible et spacieux. Il demande à son mentor:

— Comment, vous qui vous sacrifiez pour le bien public, même avec vos indemnités d'élu et en investissant au mieux, avez-vous pu vous permettre d'acheter une telle villa?
— Ah, mon jeune ami! Regarde bien tout en bas de la colline.
— Je ne vois rien. Juste la côte... des maisons... une autoroute...
— Aha! Eh bien figure-toi que cette autoroute a coûté plusieurs milliards.
— Oui; mais quel rapport?
— Tu sais bien que j'ai beaucoup de poids sur les dossiers autoroutiers. Cette villa, c'est ma commission sur l'autoroute que tu vois en bas.
— Oh!

Plusieurs années plus tard, le jeune africain est devenu lui aussi parlementaire influent et maintenant ministre des transports. Il reçoit son ancien mentor qui vient lui rendre visite. Et là, ce n'est pas juste dans une belle villa qu'il accueille son homologue, mais dans un palais magnifique, avec marbre, ors et diamants, servants et servantes.

— Monsieur le ministre, je suis ravi de voir que vous avez aussi bien réussi!
— C'est tout grâce à toi, mon ami qui m'a aidé à me lancer dans la politique.
— Mais je vous en prie. Cependant, je me demande: comment avez-vous fait, vous qui vivez dans un pays tellement plus pauvre que le mien, pour vous payer un tel palais tellement plus grand et plus beau que tous les miens réunis?
— Aha! Mais, cher maître, je n'ai fait qu'appliquer les leçons que tu m'as enseignées autrefois.
— Comment cela?
— Eh bien, te souviens-tu de l'autoroute pour construire laquelle ton gouvernement envoie des milliards à mon pays?
— Oui, bien sûr: c'était sur mon projet de loi, et vous savez bien que j'ai reçu ma petite rétro-commission, pour laquelle je vous suis d'ailleurs fort reconnaissant.
— Bon, alors, regarde en bas de la colline.
— Hum... j'ai beau regarder, je ne vois pas l'autoroute. Où est-elle?
— Mais mon ami, elle est tout autour de toi. Ce palais, c'est l'autoroute que tu ne vois pas en bas!

N'allez pas dire à un Africain que l'état (d'ordures) veut son bien, ou est la solution à quelque problème que ce soit. Il vous rira au nez. Du plus petit fonctionnaire au plus grand ministre, les hommes de l'état (d'immondice) sont tous des corrompus, hiérarchisés selon leur degré croissant de sociopathie. Le mythe de "l'état notre ami" est une fable pour occidentaux aisés, et pour victimes abruties par la propagande étatique omniprésente du berceau au cerceuil. L'état (de criminels) n'a jamais été que la pseudo-légitimation de la violence, et le désarmement par les bureaucrates des victimes de leur racket — qui se retrouvent sans défense face aux terroristes fanatiques aspirant à devenir calife à la place du président. Je laisserai donc à Doug Casey la morale de cette histoire: L'aide internationale peut être définie comme un transfert d'argent, des pauvres des pays riches vers les riches des pays pauvres.

Jan. 8th, 2015

eyes black and white


Si "la foi" c'est admettre à la fois qu'on ne sait pas grand'chose, et parmi ce pas grand'chose, la justification d'encore moins du reste de ce grand'chose — alors oui, il y a des tas croyances que j'ai que je ne saurais pas justifier, y compris des croyances indispensables à ma survie. Cette "foi" est non seulement utile mais nécessaire.

"Que la vie vaille d'être vécue est la plus nécessaire des hypothèses, et, si on refuse de la supposer, la plus impossible des conclusions." — George Santayana

Mais si la "foi", c'est au contraire, prétendre que cette ignorance est connaissance, que l'absence de justification est elle-même justification, que les croyances injustifiées ne sauraient être mises individuellement en question du fait que leur existence collective ne saurait l'être — alors loin d'être l'acceptation d'axiomes salvateurs, c'est au contraire la sclérose de l'esprit, la mort de la raison, le passage en fraude des croyances falsifiées, la protection des parasites mentaux contre les arguments censés les éliminer.

Pour reprendre un Raymond Devos d'autrefois: j'ai un foie, j'ai parfois les foies, j'ai foi en moi — des fois, à Foix — mais ma foi "La Foi", pfoua pour moi! (Non mais des fois!)

Dec. 28th, 2014

eyes black and white


"A washed-up actor who once played an iconic superhero must overcome his ego and family trouble as he mounts a Broadway play in a bid to reclaim his past glory" says the IMDB tagline. If in addition to that, I tell you that it sports a cluster of stars and is done in magical realist style with a continuous shot, you can probably fill in the blanks and write the movie yourself. It's formulaic as hell; it just remixes a lot of well-known tropes; it's yet another annoying movie by actors about actors. And still, in the end, it manages to be quite a good reasonably original movie. Script-writer, director, actors, cameramen, SFX engineers, and all crew members know what they are doing and they do it well, and bring about their own mix of the known elements. Just as importantly, they also know what they're not good at, and don't even try, thus sparing us the lame rationalizations or the patronizing propaganda present in so many other movies "with a message". Just relax, wear the shoes of Michael Keaton, and let the emotions flow through you (the medium is the massage). Quite a decent movie worth watching once, if not twice — but not more. Note: 7

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Dec. 24th, 2014

eyes black and white

Why surrender

Cantwell doesn't mince words, but he got the concepts right: violence breeds violence, and we should have no pity for dead criminals on either side of a gang war — only for innocent victims like Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, James Whitehead, and countless murdered by the killer smurfs as well as by gangsters in different garb.

Does that mean "we" should actively go after the costumed villains? No. First, there is no "we" — everyone's case is his own, of which he is the sole ultimate judge. Second, it is generally unwise to fight people who possess superior force; maybe you care about a particular criminal being dead more than you care to live, but that's not the case for most people, and that's alright. Third, the process of violence itself is toxic, and it's unclear at best how you can fuel it without making things worse. Finally, get your personal priorities straight: is killing a criminal the greatest good you can do on earth? Especially since in the absence of mass resistance that would be the last useful thing you do?

Note that their conspiracy to cage and/or kill anyone who'd try to hold any one of them accountable for victimizing the public is of course is how the gangsters informally organized in this weakly-coordinated distributed gang known as the Establishment stay in power. That's also why not only is there no "we", there will be no organization of "I"'s either as long as they can efficiently spy on the public and control communications.

Now even assuming you decide that your time has come anyway and you might as well go berserk against the established criminals, the pseudo-random distribution with which you choose your target says a lot about your morality and wisdom, or lack thereof. If you pick unprovoked two random low-level enforcers in the street rather than go after one known for his zeal in evil, one known to have killed (of which there are only a few), or even against the direct managers of these enforcers, you are quite unwise in your moral priorities, which is another way of saying that you're evil yourself. The going after small criminals as such doesn't make you evil — what does make you evil is wasting your huge potential for good. Also, the preferring them as targets over bigger criminals, whether by conscious choice or by lack of thought, is quite evil for its adverse selection effect, barring other circumstances such as self-defence, or their being in the way of a bigger target.

Yet if after careful consideration you find that present use of desperate force against the Establishment truly is the best contribution you can make to all you hold dear, then my last advice to a man who finds he will fight a man-eating tiger with a knife is: don't try to clip its claws, much less to unroot its teeth — go for the jugular or carotid, the main blood vessels through which the blood flows to and from the head (that might be something between the treasury and the "intelligence" apparatus).

As for me, I have much better things to do than going after low-ranking thugs in this army of evil. It is a fact (therefore something neither happy nor unhappy) that, often, surrender is the best policy. And whereas its capability for violence is an essential asset for the state, that it monopolizes, and that progress in warfare technology seems to only reinforce, its asset both the most important these days and the most susceptible to be thrown off balance by technological progress is the willingness of its victims to identify with it. And so I believe that the best contribution I can make on the topic is in engineering better memetic resistance against mental parasites.

Dec. 19th, 2014

eyes black and white

My Neighbor Totoro

Of course, "My Neighbor Totoro" is Véra's favorite movie: What other beautiful movie has a three year old as one of the two main protagonists, what more the one who drives the action (if not the main one unfolding it)? Obviously, she loves Totoro (though she gets upset everytime we draw her attention to the plush Totoro we bought her); but in the end, the "chat-bus" is her favorite monster. Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii! The movie will satisfy all children from 2 to 222 — even at the thousandth viewing (and there will be a lot of them). Note: 10

That's the first time I give a 10, and I do so without hesitation. Even Ratatouille only got a 9.5. No collection of clichés to both follow and disrupt and to artificially tie in a knot in the end (or fail to miserably all along), no too-clever-by-half ambiguity about whether the magic is real or not (it both unambiguously is and isn't — ¿por qué no los dos?), taking time to not rush things yet without dwelling on unnecessary events (the pictures accompanying the end music tell everything we might want to know about the rest of the story), no condescending propaganda for the author's favorite cause (but sincere nostalgia for a time lost, yet without hiding its hardships). Just a heartfelt story, delicately told, with beautiful animation and memorable original music fit to all the circumstances of the story. The opposite of what America does. Hats off to Hayao Miyazaki and Joe Hisaishi.

Dec. 5th, 2014

eyes black and white

Haters gonna hate

At a meeting organized by old objectivists, I got thinking about all those "liberals" (US word for socialists) who so hate Ayn Rand they can't even hear her name without becoming angry, much less articulate a truthful account of her ideas that they could rebuke. They can't even try to put themselves in her shoes, feel like her, rejoice at the things she celebrated, and despise the things she scorned, they can't embrace her biases, what her passion brought that was positive, they can't relate to the wounds that explain her failures. The brain damage is not even at the level of reason, that they may or may not have otherwise reached. It goes deeper. Above all, what these collectivists are missing is EMPATHY.

Funny how collectivists precisely claim to be the great empaths, who feel for the weak, the poor, etc., when in actuality, they totally lack empathy, and use some kind of empty pseudo-empathy for collective abstractions as a prop to fill the utter void in their ability to relate to other humans. And that's how Benjamin Constant was already remarking that their modus operandi was to sacrifice to the people as a collective the holocaust of the people as individuals. (Funny that back in the days, the "liberals" denoted individualists like Benjamin Constant who opposed the growth of the State, when nowadays in the US, it denotes collectivist partisans of the totalitarian State.)

Sure, Ayn Rand herself lacked empathy. Part of it probably comes from innate inclinations. Another part probably involves experiencing the midst of a totalitarian revolution where people denounce each other for profit — to the point that members of the formerly aristocratic families must become themselves the most rabid communists and send their relatives to die in dark prison cells or concentration camps least they themselves get sent to cold death. She probably witnessed enough of the darker part of the human heart everywhere to not want to empathize too much. Yet, though she might have had sociopathic tendencies, she was capable of great personal charity — like giving shelter and a job to people formerly sent to concentration camp by collectivist hero Roosevelt based on their ethnicity. And unlike the "altruistic" collectivist kind of sociopaths, she never argued for mass murder.

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Dec. 4th, 2014

eyes black and white

Name the country...

Acquaintances spread suggestive pictures with the question: "Name the country built on the genocide of one race and the enslavement of another". Why? But each and every single fucking one of them! Name one that isn't, I double dare you. (Granted, maybe Iceland and Färoë never saw genocide, only enslavement — how many other such countries can you count?) Don't you think your despicable country is special for that, you disgusting nationalistic bigot. Now stop blaming people you're jealous of for the sins of the ancestors of other people who happen to have the same skin color as they do, you racist prick. So, "your" ancestors, based on your racist skin color equation, have been slaves for hundreds of years? My, how lucky of them! Mine, like those of most of humanity, have been slaves for thousands of years. And yes, through forced or forcefully incentivized unions, I have my share of the masters' blood. And so have you. So step off your high heels, forsake your disgraceful philosophy of hate and envy, and instead of playing this game of collectivist blaming of innocent people for other people's sins, start embracing love, reason, and individual responsibility. To paraphrase Ennio Flaiano (substituting the R- word for the F- word), "Racists divide in two categories: the racists and the anti-racists".

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