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.

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