On Fermi’s Paradox


We keep asking ourselves whether we are indeed alone in the universe. There is a simple answer to this question, first posed by Enrico Fermi. Consider the following simple calculation:

Filter % #
Stars 300,000,000,000
Rocky Planets 0.1667% 500,000,000
Liquid Water 10.0000% 50,000,000
Sinple Life 1.0000% 500,000
Complex Life 1.0000% 5,000
Pre-Industrial Intelligence 1.0000% 50
Industrial Intelligence 1.0000% 1

If we apply reasonable assumptions to the filter of development of intelligent life, and even if we ignore the probability of this life’s destruction in the fullness of time, and even if we ignore the fact that life can develop and decline throughout the life of the galaxy, far outside of our own time horizon, we still arrive at the conclsion that in our galaxy there is only one technologically-advanced life form: us.

Update: Perhaps in 1500 years the numbers will look different.

On welfare and its discontents 


It behooves class warriors of every stripe to bear in mind the lessons we have learned from the great post-war European experiment in redistribution. 

European nations, lately mostly excepting the United Kingdom, accepting the socialistic premise that benefits to economic players are essentially zero-sum, enshrined a grand bargain that protects the privileges and lion’s share of returns of the established elites at the cost of sharing a set portion of their pie with the working class. The ugly underside of this agreement, since the old working class is no longer so incentivized, is the need for an immigrant underclass to bear the brunt of undesirable work and the greatest economic uncertainty and pain. 

The old working class, thus bought off, has predictably become mostly politically quiescent. It remains to be seen how the rising tensions with the mostly Islamic new underclass are going to play out over the coming decades, but the indications are, today, not too encouraging. 

On American foreign policy delusions


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Constituency Delusion Reality
Liberal isolationists They will love us if we are nice to them They will never love us
Liberal interventionists They will love us if we kill their enemies They will never love us
Neoconservatives They will be grateful if we kill their enemies They will never be grateful
Conservative isolationists They will leave us alone if we leave them alone They want what we have
The Pentagon Total war is finished, so we’ll just hit them with drones Limited wars can never be won
Obama We can’t beat them, so let’s join them Strong enemies are worse than weak ones
Tea Party Israel is our friend through thick and thin States do not have friends

On governmental evil

The key difference in attitude to goverment between Republicans and Democrats appears to be related to the specific agency in question. Democrats consider the economic planning and regulatory apparatus to be benign and military and security arms as being inherently evil. Republicans, by contrast, think the opposite, unless of course the security apparatus is being directed by a Democrat

On formations of elites


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No sooner than we have declared the dearth of new elite formation, we are presented with evidence to the contrary. Time will tell whether the just-leave-me-be streak of libertarianism is anything but a pastime for eccentric billionaires or whether we are for an age of rule by the no-longer-Aspergers over the long haul.

On labor and elites



After closing the last post it occurs to us that a new elite did arise in the West after World Wars – namely the labor elite, whose rise was largely unopposed in the States because the economic pie there was expanding so rapidly due to the Marshall Plan and the prostration of the rest of the nation’s trading partners, and unopposed in Europe because of the prostration of the old elites as a result of the exigencies of war. Since the 1970s, what with the economic landscape returning to the long-run normal of stagnation, labor has increasingly come in conflict with the other major economic elite – the business, with the result that labor has been slowly giving ground in sectors least hampered by top-down regulation.

On revolutions and unravelings


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Towards a theory of societal change and conflict: it can be argued that internal revolutions happen when new elites arise and gain power enough to challenge old ones. A corollary to this would be that revolutions such as these succeed when the old elites are weakened by war, insolvency or famine.

Despite the vaguely Marxist class-struggle overtones, such theory may yet hold merit, as evidenced by a good number of examples – to wit: the rise of generals and plebeian tribunes in the Roman Republic that led to civil war and ultimately to Octavian; the rise of mercantile elites in late-medieval Europe that led to toppling of lately-bankrupt French and English monarchies; the rise of the intellectual elites in the 19th century that led ultimately to Marxist revolutions in war-ravaged Russia and her neighbors.

Today, at least in the United States, no new elites appear to be rising, and even though ranks of old elites continue burgeoning, this theory would not advance an argument for pending revolution – unless, that is, the recent rise of technological entrepreneurs represents in fact emergence of a new and qualitatively different libertarian elite.