Number 398

…remember that German fascism was born out of a Romantic revolt against industrialization that philosophically mirrored aspects of transcendentalism. The difference is that while Thoreau sought to separate himself from modernity, (Al) Gore seeks to translate his Romantic animosity into a governing program.

The Nomenclature Of US Political Factions

As you know, this newsletter avoids the political terms Left, Right, Liberal, Conservative, Radical, Socialist. There is some method in that madness. Clearly, there are ideologically distinct groups that compete for control of the government and financial communities in the USA, but their popular names often obscure more than they reveal. In a not terribly successful effort to focus on fundamental political concepts, NTG refers to “Progressives” and “Wingnuts”, using quotes to imply strongly that both terms are dishonest.

That is just a modest beginning. In fact the truth is more completely revealed by labeling people “individualists” and “collectivists”. Now the attempt is made to argue that some political systems repress individualism and impose group values inhumanely, all in the interests of “fairness”, “equality”, and “justice”. Yes, terms are increasingly abused as well as employed, and too often in the interests of imposing reforms from above. The Liberty of the individual is usually the first victim of “progressivism”.

Accordingly, many collectivists can also properly be called fascists, as that pejorative is defined by Jonah Goldberg in his fine book,Liberal Fascism (reviewed here).

This taxonomy has a few benefits, but it often lacks detail — it tends to “lump” political schools, rather than “split” them into precisely-defined classes. After all, if there is (as this newsletter has implied) such a thing as collectivist Utopianism, is there no individualist Utopianism? Well, no — but the case for that contention has not yet been made.

Those who wish to be taxonomically definitive and remain intellectually honest should examine this post. It is an insightful attempt to apply helpful labels to schools of thought that often engage in chaotic and sophistical disputes, and it’s recommended.

Book Review: Bitcoin, Puzzle And Lethal Threat

Digital Gold: Bitcoin And The Inside Story Of The Misfits And Millionaires Trying To Reinvent Money, By Nathaniel Popper; ISBN 978-0-06-236249-0.

If you want to understand Bitcoin or get involved in it, this is the wrong book to buy.

The reason: Popper is exclusively fascinated by innovators who labor to realize notions of private, virtually instantaneous, secure economic transactions that ignore governments, regulators, “banksters”, and other authoritarians. The cast of characters in this book is accordingly colorful.

As Bitcoin unfolded, a number of libertarians and outlaws jockeyed for position within the ad hoc group creating and handling the digital currency. Many of the foundational efforts failed either partially or completely, and there are some interesting stories to be told. But…how, exactly, does Bitcoin work? The facts Popper provides remain obscured by higher mathematics and the mystical argot of “coders”. This reviewer struggled to understand — and failed. Obviously the author intended to write a history, not a handbook.

It is easy to understand why governments hate the Bitcoin concept, however. Overweening authoritarians and obscenely greedy financial specialists are threatened by digital currency because it would deprive them of both power and wealth. Ultimately, Bitcoin’s biggest impact on those parasites will be the prudential adoption of some Bitcoin-related computational procedures that can speed the transfer of funds from one big bank to another.

That said, know that the libertarian great hope — Bitcoin’s replacement of fiat money — is astonishingly stupid.

Yes, stupid, and worse. It’s very dangerous. Consider:

To his credit, Popper notes a threat presented by digital currency: it enables perfect, inviolable anonymity. If using currency like Bitcoin, kidnappers, extortionists, vandals, computer crackers and some of the most vile criminals imaginable will be beyond the reach of justice. The reason: literally nothing can possibly be done to discover the identity or location of an individual to whom you have transferred Bitcoins. That means a threat to kill your spouse if you do not pay up…could not be investigated at all by the police. Your only recourse (other than flight) would be to advertise a bounty on the unknown villain’s head.

Popper seems to feel that scenario is alarmist exaggeration.

The characters described in this book are not harmless visionaries. They are incautious fantasts.

Links Courtesy Of The Tramp Abroad

Europe’s migration paralysis is summed up in a short editorial by Joschka Fisher.

If cow farts are the “…largest source of methane from human-related activities, and are the third largest source of methane in the USA…” contributing to the so-called greenhouse gas effect, then why don’t we just reduce the number of cattle? Humans consume way too much meat anyhow.

Will Bitcoin survive the next year? Maybe not: this is the looming problem that might kill Bitcoin. — Here is more Bitcoin lore.

MIT’s 2015 list of thirty-five innovators under thirty-five years old includes three women from Turkey:

Canan Dağdeviren designed and built a device to screen for skin cancer.

Gözde Durmuş invented a simple, fast method for detecting when a bacterial cell has responded to an antibiotic; the cost is less than $1.00.

Duygu Kayman developed a mobile-phone application called Hayal Ortağım (My Dream Partner) that makes daily activities easier for the visually impaired.

Ordinary Links

What in the world is “greenhouse gas pollution”? Well, it’s a term employed in cultic propaganda. Hardcore Warmers hope to recruit you by leading you to believe that your help is needed in the rescue of iconic wildlife. For the consequential facts, see “Carbon Dioxide…”here.

This brief post makes several high-voltage points regarding science (do click on the links — such as this one). The results of attempts to replicate the findings of other researchers challenge the public’s faith in the inerrancy of science. Yes, the rigorous pursuit of truth is extraordinarily difficult — and can easily lead the most brilliant minds into trendy confabulation. Consider the cocaine-enhanced mythology generated by Sigmund Freud, and remember this prediction: Fred Hoyle will be vindicated.

A multiple murder and the suicide of the murderer have provoked idiotic reactions. Here is the correct response.

Is gravity instantaneous, and where does the earth’s gravity stop? The answers are to be found here, and if you believe them, you will commit an act of faith. It’s turtles, all the way down….

Here you have more information and opinion on anthropogenic global warming. Of course this newsletter must continue its assault on the absurd Gore-Hansen cult, but you are not required to participate.

Without using the word “Kelo”, Rand Paul reminds of the abomination — and links its horrid rationale to The Donald.

Keeping up with the high fliers: here’s a report on legal recreational marijuana in the US state of Colorado. The next rational steps would be (a) the release of everyone who is incarcerated solely for cultivation/possession/sale/use of the drug, and (b) expungement of each inmate’s arrest record, but….

“When Bernie Sanders, President Obama, or the New York Times editorial page advocate big government, it’s usually on the premise that big government is needed to protect the powerless. But look carefully, and the pattern becomes clearer. When big government oppresses the powerless, the Left is equally likely to defend big government.” Source. (To this newsletter, “Left” means collectivists.) Do read the entire commentary.

The world press agonizes over the death of a lion — but not everyone is that ethically unbalanced.

Given the legality of same-sex marriage in the USA, is this really inevitable? No, because the choice of all human societies is to observe incest regulations, though of course violations do occur. True polygamy, which is another matter entirely, is a remote possibility, but more “open” marriages and non-marital partnerships are far more likely.

Was Her Nibs, the heiress to the throne, acting properly? You are the judge.

A question for US taxpayers: all right, how do you propose to pay for this?

This newsletter’s editor was temporarily disabled by laughter on viewing this brief video.

Cosmology and cosmogony attempt to provide the story of simply everything. The result is a theory that is the best explanation science can think of — and it could be totally wrong. This pretty good documentary introduces the subject. Is there a better theory? Ask the folks at The Thunderbolts Project, who are amused by all the precedented confusion.

Commentary such as this is useless in the debate over the validity of anthropogenic global warming. The comments in the linked message build slowly to their conclusions, the facts are not foremost, and the author has (incorrectly) assumed that his elegant essay will be read and pondered by those who oppose his conclusions. Preaching to the choir is often wasted energy, but if you are going to do it, the best strategy is to state facts that can be understood, remembered, and repeated. Finally: give your reader graphs.

UFOs: here’s a talk that some folks will find disturbing. (It lasts over ninety minutes, so it’s only for enthusiasts.) It was presented in July of 2006, but was not available on You Tube until May of 2015. If half of it is true, so is the other half….

Related: the military-industrial complex is coming under more pressure to disclose the facts. (The linked forty-five minute video is worth your time. For more information, see this book.)

As you know, according to “… ‘lepton universality’, which assumes that leptons are treated equally by all fundamental forces, the decay to the tau lepton and the muon should both happen at the same rate, once corrected for their mass difference.” Well, of course. But what if it does not happen that way? Holy Leaping Leptons, Batman! The Standard Model is no longer the absolute and proven paradigm by which physics explains simply everydamnedthing…that can’t be good! Exactly. Hold on, the ride is getting bumpy….(More heresy here.)

Common sense on US immigration policy. Recommended.

“Wingnuts” try to laugh off one of Hillary’s rare performances before some reporters. The comedy is nervous and cringe-inducing…after all, this is about the presidency, isn’t it?

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