The Terrorist Attack in New Zealand

Here is Brenton Tarrant’s manifesto. He comes off as a living repository of /pol/ memes.

Personally, I think we need to punish the enablers of Far Right terrorism. Well past time the hateful anti-Semite PewDiePie was kicked off YouTube and Putler got more sanctions.

EDIT 2019.03.18: Seems there is a concerned campaign to get the manifesto and video off the Internet. Moreover, according to New Zealand police, sharing the video could get you more jail time than Brenton Tarrant will get for killing any one of those Muslims.


Mussolini Did Nothing Wrong

Every so often some Berlusconi Bro praises Mussolini to some extent or another and invites a flurry of condemnation from the handshakeworthy set. This has just happened with Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament. And then, of course, there was Matteo Salvini’s approving quotation of the Italian dictator last year.

From what I can figure out, though, he really didn’t do anything wrong – at least not substantially more so than any other countries at the time.

  • A grand total of nine people were executed for political crimes during his entire rule from 1922-1943. These were handed out exclusively for murder and political terror.
    • For comparison, that’s around SIX orders of magnitude lower than for the USSR [~700,000 political executions firmly established; probably around a million overall]. Over those twenty years, evil Italian fascists executed someone about once every three years; heroic Soviets executed someone once every 15 minutes.
    • This is in the context of frequent assassination attempts against Mussolini (e.g. five in 1926 alone).
    • It’s also comparable to the rate of politicized executions in the Western democracies, e.g. Sacco and Vanzetti (1927) would doubtless qualify.
  • There were 4,500 people convicted of political crimes in Fascist Italy.
    • This compares to 4 million people convicted of political crimes in the Soviet Gulag from 1921-1953. Difference of three orders of magnitude.
    • Conditions in Italy were incomparably better. Gramsci wrote his books from a comfortable jail. The leader of the Italian Communists, Amadeo Bordiga, was sent into exile for three years, and was left in peace after his release. Reality is, Fascist Italy was a much nicer and safer place even for Communists than many actual Communist regimes.
    • The Western democracies did not imprison crimethinkers in any significant numbers, so Italy was worse in this respect. But the chasm between it and the Nazis/Soviets, vs. between the West, was much narrower.
  • But what about the Jews?
    • While they did just fine under the early Fascist regime, they started getting kicked out from areas like journalism and academia from the late 1930s, largely under Nazi pressure.
    • This is regrettable, but not even in the same universe as Nazi Germany itself; or for that matter the Soviet Union, where the old bourgeois and aristocracy – “former people” – were not just barred from areas like higher education (in favor of – yes – Jews*), but actively persecuted and eventually murdered. And even in the West, it is well known that were plenty of both formal and informal barriers to Jewish upwards mobility erected by America’s then WASP elites.
    • The Italian military under Mussolini specifically prevented Germans from deporting Jews in their zones of control in foreign countries such as France and Croatia, to say nothing of Italy itself. Deportations did not begin until the overthrow of Mussolini and Italy’s partial occupation by Nazi Germany.
  • Territorial aggression: Yes, Italy got greedy. But snapping up rival countries’ territories was fair game by the standards of 1930s Europe, including on the part of otherwise “fluffy” countries such as Poland that took full advantage of Czechoslovakia’s dismemberment in 1938.
  • Fascist Italy’s biggest actual crime – which, ironically, basically everyone ignores – may have been Yekatit 12, the extermination of about 20,000 of the Ethiopian intelligentsia after the attempted assassination of the head of the Italian occupation forces.
    • This is basically a week’s work for Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union.
    • About a year’s work for Franco’s Spain, for that matter.
    • Comparable in magnitude to the Kenyan civilian casualties from the British suppression of the Mau Mau Uprising in the 1950s.

A German would have to be a psychopath to apologize for Hitler. A Russian would have to be not just a psychopath, but a cuckolded retard, to apologize for Lenin or Stalin.

A Spaniard can apologize for Franco, given the alternatives on offer, but it should come with many caveats. He did kill many, many more people than Mussolini, though most of this was in the context of a brutal civil war. Francoist Spain’s main saving grace and retrospective PR salvation with respect to Fascist Italy was that it did not end up allying with Hitler.

However, Italians have no particular need to be ashamed of Mussolini. Even if the claim that he made the trains run on time is an urban legend.

  • Yury Slezkine in The Jewish Century (2004): “The art historian A. Anisimov wrote to a colleague in Prague (in November 1923), “Out of 100 applicants to Moscow University, 78 are Jews; thus, if the Russian university is now in Prague, the Jewish one is in Moscow.” The father of a student about to be “purged” for alien origins wrote to a friend or relative in Serbia: “Pavel and his friends are awaiting their fate. But it’s clear that only the Jerusalem academics and the Communists, Party members generally, are going to stay.” And according to the wife of a Leningrad University professor, “in all the institutions, only workers and Israelites are admitted; the life of the intelligentsia is very hard.”

US College Admissions Scandal is Reminiscent of Russian Realities

In my 2011 series comparing life in the US, Britain, and Russia, I wrote the following about university admissions:

Overall, university admissions are probably the most meritocratic in the UK. In Russia, though the system is supposed to be meritocratic, it is skewed by corruption, for it is not unknown for applicants to bribe admissions staff at the more prestigious universities, and certainly the children of oligarchs or powerful politicians – no matter their intellectual aptitude – experience few problems in getting into schools like Moscow State University or MGIMO. However, direct bribes have become more difficult in recent years, due to the national standardization of the exam system. The US is in between. Though direct corruption is as unheard of as in the UK, the system itself is rigged in favor of the rich and influential. The most egregious example of this is the open discrimination in favor of legacies, the children of former alumni of the university. The more your parents “donate” to the alma mater, the better their children’s chances of getting in. This reminds me of a Simpsons episode where the nuclear power tycoon Mr. Burns takes out his checkbook to negotiate a place in Harvard for his ne’er-do-well son Larry.

Man: Well, frankly, test scores like Larry’s would call for a very generous contribution. For example, a score of 400 would require a donation of new football uniforms, 300, a new dormitory, and in Larry’s case, we would need an international airport.
Woman: Yale could use an international airport, Mr. Burns.
Burns: Are you mad? I’m not made of airports!

This would be considered pretty repellent by Europeans (and most Americans too), but is only counted as corruption by the former. There are two other major examples of discrimination in university admissions to US colleges. First, good athletes – primarily American football players, rowers, and lacrosse players – are much more likely to get in with poor grades, as they bring their university money and recognition (this is also common in Oxbridge, UK, for rowers). Second, there is positive discrimination* based on race: due to their poorer academic performance in schools, African-Americans** and Hispanics have an easier time getting in on poor grades than whites or Asians. (Jews have a great time of it. Though they have the highest grades of any ethnicity, they are counted as whites for the purpose of university admissions.)

This is the sort of quid pro quo that got President Kushner into Harvard.

However, if the recent news are anything to go by, the US system has degraded closer to Russia’s level, in which the former sheen of legality has been replaced by outright bribery and outsider test-taking.

Riddell took SAT and ACT exams for students between 2012 and this past February, according to a criminal complaint.

He was paid $10,000 per test, prosecutors said.

It wasn’t immediately clear, in charging documents, exactly how many tests Riddell took, but prosecutors are seeking to recover almost $450,000 forfeiture from the former college tennis player.


On Tuesday, the Justice Department announced the indictments of dozens of wealthy parents, including the Emmy-winning actress Felicity Huffman, for employing various forms of bribery and fraud to get their kids into highly selective schools. Some of them allegedly paid college coaches, including at Yale and Stanford, to lie and say that their children were special recruits for sports that the kids didn’t even play. Others allegedly paid exam administrators to let someone smarter take tests for their children. Millions of dollars changed hands.

Now I am not saying that Russia and the US are comparable, because they are not. Prevalence is certainly much greater in Russia. And American violations actually lead to criminal investigations (which you can’t exactly do in Russia, where the rot starts at the very top; e.g., Putin’s “PhD” is plagiarized).

Still, this does seem to indicate a sort of gradual convergence in institutional quality and social/moral mores, as whatever it was that made the West special – its rule of law, or historic selection for prosocial traits, or whatever else it is – continue breaking down.

I suppose one benefit is that more such cases will help reveal modern academia for the empty, useless, non-human capital increasing, pure signalling enterprise it is so far as 90% of the population is concerned.

Flying Has Become Far Safer

The Boeing 737 Max’s current failure rate of ~1% of all airframes in the mere three years it has been flying commercially is, obviously, astoundingly bad. But it’s worth noting that this comes on the back of astounding improvements in air safety over the past century.

According to Steven Pinker’s data in Enlightenment Now, it is 100x safer (!) to fly today than it was in the 1970s.

This has happened even as flights have become far more affordable. Inflation-adjusted price of LA-NY flights in the 1970s was around $1,500. Today – $200 (even if there’s no blackjack, hookers, and leg room these days).

Bad Investment

Book Density & IQ

Found this convenient summary table of the amount of books people had in their adolescence based on the PIAAC surveys.

Sikora, Joanna, M. D. R. Evans, and Jonathan Kelley. 2019. “Scholarly Culture: How Books in Adolescence Enhance Adult Literacy, Numeracy and Technology Skills in 31 Societies.” Social Science Research 77 (January): 1–15.

The Scandinavians are highest at around ~200 books; Anglos, Germanics, and Slavs tend to have ~150; strangely, Japanese and Koreans – only ~100 (Singapore especially is an outlier at just 52); the Meds around 80. Lowest is Turkey at just 27, joint second is Chile at 52; also the lowest IQ countries in this sample.

Heiner Rindermann in Cognitive Capitalism:

The number of books is the third best parental indicator of children’s intelligence (rBo = .25; Section 3.4.5) and at the international level the correlation is very high with cognitive ability (rBo = .70; Table 10.5) – much higher than any attribute of instruction or schools. The average number of books at home can be used as a proxy of national cognitive ability. Looking at the numbers taken from student assessment studies (see Appendix and Table A.3) the average for Latin America at home is 28 books, in Brazil 34 books, approximately a quarter to a third compared to Britain with 102 or Scandinavia with 111 books.

See also Steve Sailer’s commentary on (the paucity of) books in Mexico.

That said, I expect these correlations to start collapsing soon, if they haven’t already, as the most developed/higher IQ countries start shifting to e-books amongst the younger generations.

Tracking China’s Naval Power

It is pretty evident that Chinese naval power is growing by leaps and bounds, with a lot of qualitative literature about it:

There have been fewer articles looking at the quantitative side of things, though NextBigFuture does point out that PLAN is slated to overtake USN in warship numbers by 2030.

However, a more accurate measure of relative naval power is warship tonnage.

Now ironically, while there are plenty of these figures for the buildup to both the World Wars – at least they are commonly cited in history books – I have been much less successful at finding analogous tallies for modern navies.

For the post-1990 era, this is the best I have been able to find:

Crisher, Brian Benjamin, and Mark Souva. 2014. “Power at Sea: A Naval Power Dataset, 1865–2011.International Interactions 40 (4): 602–29.

So as of 2010, China was at around 16% of the US level: 429,000 tons to 2,765,000 tons.

But it has been picking up pace since then. When your GDP doubles every eight years or so, it’s not long before you begin to see explosive growth even keeping the share of military spending constant.

According to these graphics from the IISS, in 2012-14, China constructed as many ships as the US, and twice as many in 2015-2017 (in terms of tonnage).

Note that since the US Navy is so much bigger, as well as much older on average, it will also be losing much more tonnage in terms of depreciation every year. In other words, while the US would have been standing still during this time in terms of gross tonnage, China would have added most of the ~625,000 tons it inducted during 2012-2017 to its aggregate total.

Considering a further 50,000 (?) tons of production 2011, plus whatever the figure is for 2018, we can safely conclude that Chinese warship tonnage should now be solidly above 1,000,000 tons and approaching 40% of the US level.

It would also mean that China has gone from rough naval parity with Russia around 2010 to exceeding it twice over, while also becoming much newer and more modern.

If it continues at this pace – increasing production by a mere 33% relative to 2015-17, and then leveling off at one million tons every six years – this will further double PLAN tonnage to 2 million tons by ~2024, and enable it to overtake the USN as early as the late 2020s. (Perhaps Trump’s recent boost to military spending will stave it off to 2030… big difference).

This happens to be even earlier than the original date of ~2040 that I estimated for US-Chinese naval convergence (though those estimates were not based on tonnage, but factors such as cumulative naval spending minus depreciation, and technology).

But whether the crossover point will be closer to 2030 or 2040 isn’t really all that germane. The USN is spread out all over the world; PLAN can concentrate off the Chinese seaboard, within range of its fighters, missiles, and air defense assets both on the coasts and on its artificial islands. I think that so far as any conflict over Taiwan or the Spratly Islands is concerned, we could be looking at emerging Chinese dominance as early as the mid-2020s.

No wonder that Bannon was talking about how there needs to be a war with China within the next 5 years, or 10 at the maximum. There’s not much time left for US naval dominance in the West Pacific.

Russia’s Uber Gets Better

There are a number of transport network companies [TNC] operating in Russia – apart from Uber, there is also the more popular Yandex.Taxi, as well as the taxi hailing Gett and a few others. These companies are a vast improvement from the days of the old gypsy cabs, many of them illegally run by Caucasian mafias, who would – and unfortunately, still do – harass incoming tourists at Sheremetyevo Airport.

[Pro tip: Never deal with them. Getting a Yandex.Taxi to any destination will cost you 2-3x cheaper.]

That said, standards still fall a bit short of what I believe to be standard in the West (though I can’t really compare as I only used Uber perhaps half a dozen times in the US and London):

  • I had two drivers doze off at the wheel (both times driving home from an airport in Moscow);
  • One driver didn’t have a seatbelt in the back seat (Novgorod);
  • Another driver chatted with his girlfriend for half the journey from the airport, without using a hands free kit (also in Moscow).

This is why the new updates are a very good idea:

Instead of holding out your hand and flagging down a random driver, as the Soviet-era system used to work, market leader Yandex.Taxi is making big efforts to increase the trust of riders in its cars. Innovations being introduced now mean passengers will now be able to see a high-resolution picture of their drivers on the app prior to boarding the car. Besides the car model, the number of rides given, and their rating, passengers will now be able to see the compliments that the driver has received from previous customers.

While this is good news for customers, Yandex.Taxi drivers might feel even more pressured. Their ranking, determined by customer feedback, determines pay. In a survey I conducted among Yandex drivers, some were concerned about the pressure during work, where customer behaviour was one of the most impactful factors. The newly introduced compliment section adds to existing pressure, because drivers feel obliged to do even more ‘socialising’ to continue to gain ratings, and thus orders, from Yandex.Taxi. The system uses a points system that favours the drivers with higher scores, who are sent more customers.

Obviously, Klemens Witte – the SJW author of this tripe – begs to differ. In reality, most normal, reasonable people would be perfectly happy to give a driver their five stars so long as their vehicles and driving meet some decent, minimal level of safety and comfort.

Usually, I give my drivers 5 stars and a 10% tip. However, I gave the sleepers 1 star for endangering my life and those of others, 3 stars to no seatbelt guy, and 2 stars to phone guy).

Another issue is that of ethnic discrimination. Many of the drivers are immigrants from Central Asia and the Caucuses, for whom driving a taxi is more lucrative and easier work than construction and labour jobs that many of their compatriots are forced to take. One of Yandex.Taxi’s competitors has installed a function that makes it possible to only chose drivers of ‘Slavic appearance’, which leads to the question of whether high-resolution pictures will lead to increased racial discrimination in choosing drivers.

“Forced”? For a start, they can always stay in their own countries if they hate it in Russia so much.

Moreover, there’s another problem. Immigrant Yandex.Taxi drivers have perverse incentives to drive/earn as much as they can before going back to Dagestan, Tajikistan, etc., so in the apparent absence of tough punishments, they work for way too long. Both my drivers who dozed off were Caucasians (phone guy & no seatbelt guy were Russians). A better ratings system will punish such dangerous misbehavior and get them off the streets and into some other, less responsible profession.

Most of the interviewed drivers had been working as platform drivers for a short time. Many state that they do not know how long they will work with Yandex, indicating that Yandex has a high turnover of drivers. This phenomenon is well documented in relation to Uber, where many drivers leave during their first year and the retention rate has actually dropped to 4%. High-turnover rates may imply that drivers don’t see Yandex as a long-term opportunity, which could put the sustainability of this business model in question. …

However, driver complaints differ from Western contemporaries in that they don’t tend to mention the benefits of an employee-friendly framework like sick leave, further training, permanent employment, or parental leave. Given the realities of the Russian labour market, drivers didn’t even think of those benefits as an option.

Like, who the hell anywhere considers TNC companies as something they do for training of all things? Sick leave? Permanent employment? Parental leave? WTF?

The whole point of Uber, Yandex.Taxi, etc. so far as employees are concerned is that this is a good way for unskilled but disciplined workers to make reasonable amounts of money quickly, fairly, anytime they want, no boss looking over your shoulder, doing what many people like anyway (driving). And collectivists such as Klemens Witte want to undo all that and go back to the days of the unaccountable taxi mafia.

Fortunately, the taxi mafia is pretty weak in Russia, unlike in many of the countries that have banned or are planning to ban Uber and other TNCs*. They are objectively superior to taxis, and SWPL Russians do not want to go back to the days of being driven by shady gypsy cabs. Ratings systems will continue to get optimized, competition and quality will continue to go up, and the Wittes of the world will be left screeching autistically in the wilderness.

  • I hear Romania is about to do it, which will make it into a dump so far as tourism are concerned.

Open Thread 70

Great to see Daniel Chieh check in, however briefly.

RIP Guillaume Faye. I haven’t read any of his books, but I really dig the aesthetics associated with his work. FWIW, I think Solar Imperialist has the best archeofuturism imagery on Twitter today. ***


More notable posts since the last Open Thread in case you missed any of them.




  • Adrian Pecotic: Whoever Predicts the Future Will Win the AI Arms Race. Compares approaches of three leading Powers:
    • China going for all out strategic level AI.
    • Russia opting only for military AI, while decisions left to the generals; this is a function of its relative technological weakness.
    • USA is in the middle, with generals to be advised by AI, but strategic level decisions left to politicians.
  • Trump: “Wacky Nut Job @AnnCoulter, who still hasn’t figured out that, despite all odds and an entire Democrat Party of Far Left Radicals against me (not to mention certain Republicans who are sadly unwilling to fight), I am winning on the Border. Major sections of Wall are being built…
  • *powerful comment* Vishnugupta on what happened during the recent India vs. Pakistan skirmish
  • *powerful comment* Jon0815 on why the US seems to be more comfortable threatening China with war wrt Russia
  • Is Orban perhaps a bit too obsessed with Soros?
  • Audacious Epigone: Millennial Dems likeliest to unfriend over political arguments
  • Top Chinese officials plagiarised university theses.
  • It will be interesting to observe China turn from anti-natalism to pro-natalism at stunning speeds.
  • *powerful comment* Thorfinnsson on the US officer corps
  • Carl Zha on the “most beautiful bookstore” in Chongqing

Science & Culture

Powerful Takes

Globalism’s Scapegoat

Yeah, it’s The Guardian. Whatever. The consistent and global nature in the rise in populist rhetoric over the past decade is self-evident.

This means that the forces driving these trends should be global as well.

I think it really boils down to three big things:

(1) The Internet was first adopted by educated, higher IQ young people – all factors associated with greater liberalism. Then the less well-educated and lower IQ started joining, with their greater populist sympathies. This broke the “centrist” hold of the TV channels; since most people are conformists, they tend to cluster on ideologically aligned platforms (“enclave extremism“). One of the most significant results was the appearance of huge populist constituencies; in the West, these have been predominantly right-wing ones, as the Left became similarly radicalized and retreated into identity politics.

(2) Specific to the developed world: Poorer-educated, lower-IQ blue collar workers were the hardest hit by globalization; while the transnational oligarchs and the developing world (esp. China) benefited tremendously, and the Western middle classes also did quite well for themselves (budget airlines! Uber! Airbnb!), the Fishtowns saw minimal material gains and outright social regress.

(3) Specific to the developing world: The more religious and populist minded peasants have been flooding into the cities, replacing their higher IQ and more Europeanized, but low fertility old elites. With old school Marxism discredited, and globalist SJWism not yet having made major inroads, various flavors of populist-nationalism and/or religious revival are the natural result of this.

Put in these terms, the rise of populism seems inevitable in hindsight.

Of course it represents a challenge to the old order, especially in the West where neoliberal elites are strongly entrenched. But they couldn’t exactly blame the highest achievements and symbols of their civilization – the global Internet and economic globalization – for it. So you need to blame something or someone else.

That would leave China and Russia as the most feasible alternative culprits.

But China is far too central to the smooth running of globalism, so Russia it was fated to be so long as it didn’t fully fall into the Western orbit.