Wednesday, May 8, 2019

I am the rare pro-lifer who opposes abortion in the case of rape.

I am the rare pro-lifer who opposes abortion even in the case of rape. For me it is about principle, I am not allowed to kill someone for being incredibly inconvenient to me or for reminding me of a person or event that has done terrible harm to me.

I also oppose abortion in the case of parents or a mother who is incredibly poor.

I am sure you would not suggest we kill living children in poverty, or that we sterilize the poor so they cannot have any children. The poverty of the modern world is nothing compared to the poverty just twenty years ago, which is nothing compared to the poverty of a few centuries ago.

As global populations have expanded, we have found more resources and become more efficient, with more minds finding solutions to problems, in voluntarism (capitalism).

For every human being that has ever lived, life is full of pain and suffering. But what is the purpose of our ability to feel both, except to keep us alive a little longer?

I want every human being to have what chance it can to live a fulfilled life. I know my life, behind the curtain of appearances, has been full of suffering, like all lives are, but I have meaning in my suffering. And that has made all the difference in my life.

There are people who believe all life is is pain and suffering and that it is therefore better not to have lived than to feel pain. They are called anti-natalists.

They have some fascinating arguments. I recently read one such argument as presented in Quillette. Ultimately, they argue for the eradication of all life in as painless a manner as is possible, as they deem pain, rather than death, to be evil.

I believe pain is a good, as it keeps us from death, longer. e.g. I will not stare at the sun as it would hurt my eyes, and thus, I am not blind.

Eugenics, and the sterilisation of the poor are both also recent events in the West. The poor and the stupid were prevented from having children, or sterilized when they came to hospital to give birth.

The argument was that it was good for society as a whole and would prevent there being more people suffering at the bottom rungs of society. I don't believe that was the effect of sterilisation.

I think many poor people were denied the thing which makes life worthwhile, meaning, by not being able to be parents. Having responsibility for the welfare of another fills life with deep meaning.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

The criticism of Jordan Peterson and Slavoj Zizek, of their debate, is unfounded.

I find the criticism of both Jordan B Peterson and Slavoj Zizek to be unwarranted.

They had a good and enlightening discussion that benefitted everyone. I suspect the alleged former fans didn't know much of either before losing their appreciation of either figure.

Peterson has deep and systematic understanding of communism.

Communism is also not limited to the communist manifesto, which he had read before, and read again in detail before debating Zizek.

Marx wrote a lot more than it, and most of what he wrote, Peterson has a good grasp of.

Zizek prefers works of Marx other than the communist manifesto. Even when I studied him in University, he was not a true communist. He likes some of Marx, and those parts he discusses are actually parts Jordan Peterson has a grasp of, while disagreeing.

I am very impressed with Jordan Peterson's performance in the debate with Slavoj Zizek, and think those who are now attacking him or Zizek over the debate need to re-evaluate their thinking and their fickleness. Displaying fickleness isn't attractive as a trait.

Like those who recently felt the need to disown Stefan Molyneux and claimed his positions had changed (untrue), the rush of new former Jordan B Peterson fans leave me with the impression they had never read a word he has written, nor watched his lectures at all. Virtue signalling.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

The billion euros raised to rebuild Notre Dame would not in any way be better spent 'uplifting the poor'!

I am seeing posts from people who are upset billionaires are donating to restore the incalculable treasure that is Notre Dame. It shows both a complete ignorance of the laws of economics and of there being more to life than food, drink and shelter.

Firstly, this is not money the billionaires were going to donate to charity, they are likely giving up a jet or superyacht to donate. Many of the said billionaires and the like do also donate to charity.

But as study after study has found, throwing money at the poor doesn't solve their poverty, and the same goes for poor nations. Visit a lottery winner five years down the line, and they are as poor as the day they bought the ticket. Visit a hobo who was given 100 000 dollars as part of a documentary experiment, and he has spent it all and is on the street again.

By the same standard, people who inherit a fortune, but not the attitudes which gained it, quickly lose it. Wealth is not some absolute thing, people who don't constantly create wealth don't stay wealthy.

There are ways to end poverty, such as deregulation, getting rid of minimum wages, promoting nuclear families and strengthening marriages and the private health and education sectors. The wealthiest nations got that way by economic freedom (in the real, international sense of the word, not the illiterate garbage treated as such in South Africa). China and India brought almost a billion people out of extreme poverty in just a few decades, by introducing limited capitalism.

And, finally, anyone who thinks all life is about is avoiding poverty and suffering, has a life not worth living. Life is about transcendent meaning, celebration of beauty, and the art and production that can touch a soul. People go to Notre Dame in the millions, in turn contributing to the ability of the French to feed themselves, because seeing the Cathedral can change an entire life's course.

If you want to donate to charity, do so, with the realisation of how incredibly corrupt most NGOs are, and that you probably aren't actually lifting anyone out of poverty. However, don't feel upset with people restoring a symbol of one of the things which helped the first world become the land of milk and honey it is today.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The exodus of the professional class, and of the rich, all quietly leaving South Africa, has begun

What a lot of legal professionals might not yet understand is that tertiary industries like ours rely heavily on the primary and secondary sectors of the economy to survive. The primary sector is on life support and every day more likely to collapse. The secondary sector of the economy relies upon the primary sector of the economy to survive. The tertiary sector relies on both.

Over the last few years, running a law firm has become more expensive, and, as an industry, our services have often become more of a grudge purchase for clients, a necessary luxury fewer can afford. Many lawyers don't increase their fees with inflation anymore, knowing their clients just can't afford to pay more. But the collapse of each sector becomes more likely as each month fades into the next.

Eskom is keeping the lights on the same way many of you do when the lights go off, with diesel. A lot of us rely on government, whether deeds or masters' offices or courts for much of our livelihood. These rely on some degree of regular power supply.

Then there is the Legal Practice Act which might be regulating industry to death. The plan has also been announced by the powers that be to change the mandate of the Reserve Bank so it can print more money, affecting supply of cash in an economy without enough demand, thus causing further inflation, what Ayn Rand called theft (of citizens' income and savings) by remote control. The state, also, has plans to introduce prescribed assets, forcing pension funds to effectively make loans to it and SOEs which no one else will make. South Africa's government is three trillion in debt and is borrowing two billion rand a day to keep the cogs of state machinery turning. The sands of the hour glass are running ever faster out.

Whether our electricity prices which are at twice international norms, breaking infrastructure, taxation well beyond the Laffer curve, on the verge of collapse water treatment, industry, or the economy itself, something is likely to give. South Africa has the worst in-out investment ratio of any non-tax-haven. South Africans, per the statistics, are moving everything they can offshore, while foreigners just aren't investing in the economy.

Surveys and statistics, as well as anecdotal evidence all find our professional class is leaving our shores. Doctors say they will not stay if NHI passes, but the state continues on with it, and so many are leaving anyway, taking their essential skills with them. A lot of the attorneys I know are leaving, they just haven't announced it officially yet. Many top law firm partners and directors, and advocates are getting jobs as legal secretaries and paralegals overseas. Engineers, per media reports, are leaving the country, due to threats at gunpoint by RET forums at construction sites.

Both Price's Law and the Pareto Principle teach us, from economics, that a tiny proportion of people produce most of what is created in an economy. The ratio is incredibly skewed, with so few hyper-productive individuals creating most of a nation's wealth. This is reflected especially starkly in South Africa where just a few hundred thousand taxpayers pay the vast majority of the tax revenue of the country. When an economy hits an iceberg, those who have means are the first to put on their life jackets and jump to somewhere safer.

A disproportionate percentage of South Africans are employed by the state, and so many survive off of social grants. Yet more survive due to doing business with the state, its employees, and with recipients of social grants. As the private sector loses its most productive citizens, its revenue shrinks, and so does collectable tax. South Africa is so far beyond the Laffer curve, that any further taxation will just shrink tax revenue. As the state's debt and responsibilities continue to increase, the bedrock of private industry it sustains itself upon is heaving under a weight which could soon collapse it.

South Africans as a people have always been robust, and its attorneys have been as well.

Those of us still in the industry are still making enough to make our careers worthwhile.

However, we are sitting on a national timebomb, or rather are within a grid of dozens of bombs. Which will go off first is uncertain, but any one could set off the rest.

Your three to five year plan should probably be open to the possibility of getting your affairs in order, saving up, updating your CV, and considering closing up shop and emigrating to more certain climes, if need be.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Do environmental factors like poor education invalidate IQ?

Do environmental factors like poor education invalidate IQ?

This misunderstands why IQ matters. IQ has been correlated with longer life spans, higher earnings, ability to survive battle, lower chances of being a victim or perpetrator of crime, better ability to make money with investments, and overall higher wellbeing.

International tests and available data suggest we have a low average IQ as a nation, but they also show a very bad track record with academic performance - the average student does not pass senior year in high school.

The IQ scores still matter, because of the correlation with success in life. There are jobs people with poor learning abilities thrive in, but those are the very jobs the state is trying to eliminate.

Whether you want to call it poor academic performance (Poor Crystallised IQ) or poor IQ (Dynamic IQ), the fact remains, we either need to learn how to teach South Africans to learn and adapt better, or we need to allow the economy to produce jobs which those not inclined to academic ability, or abstraction, can thrive in.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Registering an Ante-Nuptial Contract with the Johannesburg Deeds Office

Registering an Ante-Nuptial Contract with the Johannesburg Deeds Office

A client has appeared before you, a notary public. You drafted an ante nuptial contract, which they and their spouse-to-be, and two witnesses signed in front of you; they, you, and the witnesses, initialling the bottom right of each page in black ink, and all signing in the right spot on the last page. You signed, your signature appearing in a spot: below Quod Attestor and above Before me Notary Public, and placed your stamp by it, as well.

As you already have an account with the Deeds Office, having climbed up to the 26th floor of Marble Towers, and given in the requisite documents and forms to finance, and having gone through to data collection for them to record your signature and details as a notary, I will not note that process in this piece.

You opened your protocol register (a rather expensive book which can be bought at some Waltons stores, and other stores online or elsewhere) and filled out the number of the deed, the date of your clients signing it before you, that it was an ANC, the names of the parties, and then other details you deem pertinent, under comments, and then you stored all important documents in your protocol (likely a lever arch file with non-leaching plastic flip folder style pre-punched paper sheaths in it, so no important document gets punched), which is locked away safely, along with your protocol register. The deed number in your protocol register, either starting from 1 each year or from 1 in total, corresponds to the protocol number you then enter on the ANC itself.

When the registered ANC is back from the deeds office, the first signed original is what you still keep in the protocol register, this and not the registered ANC is deemed the original. In fact, it is a signed copy of the original and not the original itself which is to be lodged at the deeds office.

It is time to lodge and register your client's ANC with the Deeds Office, on the 26th floor of Marble Towers.

Before you jump in your car, and drive to the centre of town, you need to do a few other things first. You need to get a green cover for your ANC to be placed in. On the top left corner you should have your firm name and number, and a telephone number, or your firm stamp. The rest of the front and back sides of the cover should have standard required fields and typing on them, at the right places. You should be able to buy a hundred customized green covers from specialist stationers for about five hundred rand, including delivery.

Fill out your reference number, so they know what to put in any communications to you for that ANC. By code, next to 1, say H, and put the name of the first party, a forward slash, and the name of the second party, under name of parties, under firm number, put your firm number as assigned by the Deeds Office (and emailed to you by them) when you set up your account, and under batch, say 1. Under linking, in both boxes say 1. ANCs never tend to need linking.

On the front of your ANC itself, staple on a blank sheet of A4 paper, and put your firm number on the top left of this.

You will then need to put your ANC into its own green cover.

Your cover still needs a barcode, so the deeds office can charge you for the whole thing. You need to bring with a signed letter on your firm's letterhead, signed by a director, partner, or sole proprietor of your firm. Its heading should be along the lines of 'Representatives to apply for and collect barcodes at deeds office'. The signatory should set out who they are, and their position in the firm, and state that they authorise a specific person, stating that person's full names per their government issued Identity Document and Identity Number and that they specifically authorise them to apply for and collect barcodes from the deeds office. This should be handed in at the office where barcodes are allocated, and the representative doing so must present their government issued Identity Document when collecting such. You will probably get at least a sheet with a few dozen barcodes on it. You will need to sign, and they will record which barcodes have been given to you. You don't pay anything for barcodes until they have been used for registering a document.

You place the first barcode in the set on the bottom right of the front end of your filled out green cover. For notarial work you are unlikely to need to write anything on the back cover, which should merely have the standard writing etc on it. Nothing is written on the cover on its inside, where the ANC will be placed.

Take the cover, ANC within, to the lodgement counter. They will take the cover, ANC inside, and stamp it, enter it in their system, and take it from you.

Within about 5 business days from then, if all goes well, the deed will have gone through two examiners, and be placed in your pigeon hole, having been placed into prep. You can do a deeds office tracking at the same place you got the barcodes for about R 13.00, to see where your ANC is in the process. You will need to know what the barcode number is.

Once your ANC has entered prep, it is vital you execute it within 5 days of it entering prep. So, take it to the preparation desk, and ask for permission to execute the deed there, handing it over. Otherwise, the deed will lapse and won't be registered. They will not allow you to execute on the same day as asking to execute, unless there are some special circumstances and permission granted to you. It can be a good idea to set it down for execution for the next working day.

On the execution day, sometime before 10h30, you go in, go up to floor 26 in Marble Towers, as always, and go through to preparation to get your ANC, they having authorised your execution for that day. You then go through to a small computer, where you take out your pen and fill in the date next to date on the green cover, and sign to the right of that. They scan the barcode on the ANC, and take it from you.

Within about 2 days, it may be scanned in. Within 5 working days of your executing it, if you go in, and go to the distribution desk and ask if there is anything for firm (your firm number), they should be able to give you your ANC, which they will have stapled into its cover.

Take the ANC, bring it back to your office. Scan it in for your client after you undo the staple that holds it in its cover. A notary must keep an original of every deed executed before him, in his protocol. However, practice here seems to differ at times. It is the signed original which the notary is to keep in his protocol, the registered copy from the deeds office can be given to the client.

The cover will have stamps for lodgement, execution, for each of the two examiners and their groups, its scan, and a dated stamp from the registrar of deeds on the front. On the back there may be a stamp saying 'Final Black Book' and a date.

Inside, the ANC will have a stamp stating the fee the deeds office charged you (likely R319.00), a stamp saying 'registered' with a signature and a date, and a stamp with an H and Johannesburg on it, and the H number of the year (e.g. 111111/2018) on it. Your A4 sheet should also be in the cover, likely at the back.

You will later need to pay the deeds office for each ANC you register there with them.

For the clients, a letter to be handed to their marriage officer will need to be drafted before they wed, which can be any time after they sign the ANC before you as notary.

If something is wrong or right, the best way to find out is by going into the deeds office, and checking your pigeon hole and doing deeds office tracking. You don't tend to find out how things are going with your matter otherwise.

Nothing in this piece should be relied upon as legal advice. For that, make an appointment with your attorney.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Cause and Effect, an illogical idea, at the beginning of the universe

Poem by Marc Evan Aupiais

Tick Tock. The clock did stop.
Cause. Effect. Until the start.
A big bang, or a tiny grain of sand.
It matters not.

Go far enough back, there must always be a cause.
Something, a start, to continue to, dominoes, cause and effect.
But take infinity, call it X.
What happened before X.
What was the first cause of effect.
For something must have caused it too,
But nothing can have, there must be a first,
And this is it.

What is logic? Cause and effect.
To be logical, the foundation must be firm, it must be sound,
And that foundation must cause an effect, the specific effect, it must follow.

And yet, the entire universe is a non sequitur. It does not follow.
And neither science: cause and effect, can explain an effect without a cause,
And nor can magic: for magic is mechanical in its thinking, the precursor to science, it believed that one act, whether ritual or effective, certainly would cause another.

And whether a big bang, steady state, multiverse, or ever repeating loop, something must have brought it into being. A first knock upon the movement, the cause and effect we call time, for without energy, entropy would break the clock, even one in a circular loop. Without some outside cause for its effect, some source, all movement would stop.

What else is left? For time is cause and effect?
But then something not bound by time, must have had an effect. For, what caused X, what caused the first slight or great movement of time? The clock stops, for by its logic we know not its cause, the cause of logic, or time, of before and after, of cause and effect.

Either that, or logic, the patterns we observe as absolute, is neither universal, nor much but a precursor, like magic.
For the very first cause, logically, could not be an effect.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Don't kill your message, as a messenger.

Don't kill your message, as a messenger.

He stood at the pulpit, above the altar, bright light reflecting off his head. His hands moved in an ornate dance as he spoke, like a cricketer practising bowling, or a rather camp drag queen in a pantomime. His voice relayed a great exaggerated excitement, as he shouted into a dead-still microphone, which somehow withstood the figurative spell of his hands and shouty tone.

The priest speaking to the thousand parishioner captive audience at tonight's Roman Catholic mass, at the church I attend, for me, displayed everything I avoid doing when public speaking.

Shouting alienates your audience, and causes a fight and flight response in them - they are unlikely to remember what you said, and high frequency changes in tone and passionate hand movements distract from your message and pretty soon begin to annoy an audience when you have to present to them for any real length of time: just ask parents forced to watch children's shows.

When I was still a teenager, I remember reading a book where an aircraft was in quite a bit of trouble. The air traffic controller communicating with the person flying the plane was portrayed as having an unnaturally calm and steady voice. Emergency line operators often adopt something similar. So do attorneys and advocates who regularly frequent the courts: they have a clear, crisp voice, nearing as close to non-accented speech as they can achieve, with a mouth achieving sounds in a firm but relaxed manner.

When I was doing Practical Legal Training after university, I remember sitting through the speech of a similarly passionate, or perhaps faux passionate speaker, who shouted her way through her presentation to the class, gradually turning off almost every member of her audience, with an aggression that was not assertive. The lecturer praised her boldness and passion, while the audience was captive, but not captured or captivated.

Something you learn when often speaking before people is to throw your voice, and amplify its sound without engaging in the growling tone of voice that is the essence of shouting. A good speaker gains volume, without aggression, and passion, without force. They allow their voice and message to resonate in hearts and minds, and calmly draw their audience in, as though they were speaking to each in attendance, person to person.

The large parish I attend on Sundays rotates different priests relatively often, and I often enjoy ruthlessly judging them. A similar advantageous game is to observe politicians before parliament, such as Prime Minister's Questions in the British House of Commons.

A lot can also be gained from watching the process and proceedings before court. You can often guess the seniority of advocates by how they present. The longer they have been at the game, the softer spoken, and yet firmer in what they say, they become. A lawyer in their element will present with good volume, a magical calm, and a crisp and clear voice which is easy on the ears, even when speaking for hours at a time. The power of their words is in their argument, and they tend to feel no need to growl along with it. Many a public speaker could learn much from court attorneys and advocates in this regard.

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