Be the America Hong Kong thinks you are

I think this is my favorite Internet meme ever.

Yeah, Hong Kong, we actually have a problem with Communist oppression here, too. Notably in our universities, but metastasizing through pop culture and social media censorship too. They haven’t totally captured the machinery of state yet, but they’re working on that Long March all too effectively.

And you are absolutely right when you say you need a Second-Amendment-equivalent civil rights guarantee. Our Communists hate that liberty as much as yours do – actually, noticing who is gung-ho for gun confiscation is one of the more reliable ways to unmask Communist tools.

We need to be the America you think we are, too. Some of us are still trying.

295 thoughts on “Be the America Hong Kong thinks you are

  1. Pingback:

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  2. I wouldn’t want to start a war with China over Hong Kong, but I would like to see a rescue operation. Maybe just quietly arrange for a boat or plane to take the dissidents to Taiwan, which will probably need plenty of troops to defend itself Real Soon Now.

    It might even inspire a Muslim-country operation to liberate the Uighurs from the re-education camps and ship them to one of the Turkestan countries. Which would be beneficial no matter which side wins, if only because it will drive a wedge between Iran and China.

    • > Maybe just quietly arrange for a boat or plane to take the dissidents to Taiwan

      Some of the HK protests have had turnouts measured in millions.

      I don’t think there’s any way to move that many people quietly.

      • Try importing millions of US flag waving Hong Kongers and you’ll find out real fast how much of a farce the left’s belief in open immigration really is.

    • >I wouldn’t want to start a war with China over Hong Kong

      I wouldn’t either. But there is a lot the U.S. can do short of war, especially by applying economic pressure where the Chinese system is fragile. Trump’s trade war is not directed at helping the HK protesters, but it is having that effect. Jawboning U.S. companies to cut China out of their supply chains is also good.

      I’d like to see a public ultimatum that the day Chinese troops roll into HK is the day the U.S. extends formal diplomatic recognition to Taiwan.

      Covertly shipping the protesters a whole bunch of small arms would be a good idea too. Not because I want them to be used, but in order to change Beijing’s risk estimates.

      • If Trump is President when the CCP “regularizes” HK’s status, I’m pretty sure he’d recognize Taiwan in a heartbeat. See moving the Embassy to Israel to Jerusalem.

  3. As someone said, the 2020 choice is going to come down to “Trump or socialism.” I will be doing my part as a keyboard warrior.

    Trump is pressing China hard, after many years of US weakness, but nobody wants war. The best result would be for Trump to win but in a way that leaves China with face. The Chinese know they are on thin ice in many ways. Already $1 billion a day is said to be leaving HK. Companies are starting to shift production to nearby countries that don’t like China. Any bad move by China would be a PR disaster. Their economy is fragile and distorted due to a weird hybrid communist/capitalist nature that creates lots of corruption, fraud, and inefficiency. If they crack down on Hong Kong, they become villains in the eyes of the world and lose lots of business. Trump’s North Korean diplomacy is part of this, intended to break NK free of its Chinese slave/puppet status. I think Trump’s got the upper hand here.

    • China created North Korea, and they’ve supported it ever since. The problem is, it not only didn’t gain China anything in the long term, the Norks have been an outright embarrassment for decades. And their leader is a few cans short of a six-pack and has missiles and nuclear weapons.

      They don’t want any part of North Korea now, but the “satellite state” thing is too complicated to unravel quickly. And no matter what any treaty papers say, the world is still going to think of the Norks as China’s attack dog for a long time to come.

      • North Korea is Stalin’s baby, left on the doorstep of China. Macarthur remarked he was going march to Beijing and kick the commies out. Needless to say the Chinese believed him, afterall, he had a reputation for doing what he said. Once the Chinese troops crossed the border, the Soviet advisors disappeared. The Chinese were stuck with North Korea, a creation of an allied agreement prior to the termination of WWII, and the Soviets avoided direct conflict with the US.

  4. Point of order. Noticing who is gung-ho for gun confiscation is one of the more reliable ways to unmask a complete tool of any stripe.

    • >I think Jim’s take on this is far more realistic:

      Oh. So he’s not just a disgusting racist, he fellates dictators too. I feel soiled having read that.

    • What frosts me about the whole thing is that Jim misses an important point. The negotiations which left Hong Kong semi-independent were between the U.K. and the Mainland Chinese. Something was missing from that picture 30 years ago, and it’s still missing now – what did/do the people of Hong Kong want? Essentially, Jim is saying that the incompetent people of Hong Kong should obey their betters!

      • >Essentially, Jim is saying that the incompetent people of Hong Kong should obey their betters!

        Yeah, imagine that. He sounds exactly like an American “liberal”.

        • I was thinking he sounded more like a British Conservative of a hundred years ago, but it’s a bad look either way.

          • >I was thinking he sounded more like a British Conservative of a hundred years ago, but it’s a bad look either way.

            Aaand, what do British conservatives of a century ago have in common with American gentry liberals today? That’s right – a combination of contempt for the yeomanry with a conviction of their own moral superiority that is as invincible as it is unjustified.

            No wonder they sound interchangeable.

            • Do you know what else they have in common? An ineffective opposition that endlessly “debates” them instead of telling them to fuck off and die (fucking off optional).

              An example of this is the way the NR type of conservatives always say that the Left doesn’t preach what they practice. Number one, this is not that clever a phrase; and number two, they DO preach what they practice. Jeffrey Epstein could give examples if he were still alive.

              • >And compare the state of England before and after the old British conservatives lost power

                Granted, it wasn’t a positive change. But all that demonstrates is that British conservatives were, despite their unmerited arrogance, a bit more clueful and historically aware than today’s American gentry liberals.

                *snrk*

                Dude, it’s not like clearing that bar is difficult.

                • I will argue that after the Great War the existing crop of ruling elites had zero standing to remain in power.

                  • Yeah, I’ve often thought that WWI was, in a certain sense, Britain’s historical equivalent to the French Revolution. Before the war, Britain was a democracy, but it was essentially a democracy run by the aristocracy. Afterward the aristocracy had lost its legitimacy in the popular mind.

        • Except, oh, I don’t know, the First and Second Opium Wars, the Chinese Civil War, and the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong during World War II. Not to mention the way the British got everyone in Hong Kong and mainland China hooked on opium. Sure. The last couple of centuries were a blast and the industrialization and Westernization of the place totally makes up for it all, amiright?

          • Hong Kong was protected from the numerous internal Chinese wars, not to mention the cultural Revolution, and was generally more prosperous and more free than Britain itself, which is a mighty good performance. If it was not protected from the Japanese, neither was China.

      • > Essentially, Jim is saying that the incompetent people of Hong Kong should obey their betters!

        People in mainland China are far more free than white people in America or England, https://blog.jim.com/economics/analysis-of-a-chinese-video/ and people in Hong Kong more free than people in mainland China.

        If they started voting, they would soon vote away their freedom as we have.

        There is a reason why the man who funds 8Chan chooses to live in a country whose president employs death squads.

  5. Firearms seizure enthusiasts attack the old common law right of self-defense, not just the 2nd Amendment. Note that Brits who posses sharp objects are now outside the statutes.

  6. A tiny fraction of China’s population controls all the major levers of power in the country (powers of arrest, legal adjudication, imprisonment, and military force-of-arms). Plus, they now control an internet-based memetic arsenal that both indoctrinates and coerces social behavior modification via repetitive narrative messaging and reward/punishment feedback. The weak-minded get morphed into sheeple and the renegade independent thinkers get ostracized, relocated to detention camps, or mass murdered as necessary. And you can’t remain at the top of the power pyramid without being utterly ruthless. The essential significance of Hong Kong is that it is a potential foreshadowing of the future of the USA.

    • > Plus, they now control an internet-based memetic arsenal that both
      > indoctrinates and coerces social behavior modification via repetitive
      > narrative messaging and reward/punishment feedback.

      And who helped them build this?

    • > they now control an internet-based memetic arsenal that both indoctrinates and coerces social behavior modification via repetitive narrative messaging and reward/punishment feedback.

      The level of brainwashing and propaganda encountered in Chinese materials is mild stuff compared to what you encounter in the west.

      Again, I recommend https://blog.jim.com/economics/analysis-of-a-chinese-video/

      In China you can talk about the crimes of Mao on the internet, provided you say “red guard” and not “Mao”. In America, you cannot talk about the dysfunction of women in the male sphere, https://blog.jim.com/economics/the-disastrous-effects-of-females-in-power/ and even less than enthusiastic praise as for example Google’s James Damore, will get you in trouble.

      People in China routinely say stuff on the internet critical of the party, within certain well known limits. You cannot say the equivalent in America about women, blacks, gays, or transexuals.

      The equivalent to a Chinese saying that “the red guard” was tyrannical and wrecked the Chinese economy would be a James Damore saying that there are very few white women capable of performing as engineers at an acceptable level.
      Everyone knows it, no one can say it. James Damore did not, and cannot, say it.

      Similarly, no one seem to notice what happens to corporations with women in the top management..

  7. Some of the most patriotic and liberty-loving people I’ve met are those who have immigrated to the US from very-communist nations. They came here to get away from that and they don’t want to have it here.

    I’d like to round up *our* communists and unceremoniously dump them in China. All of the Hollywood twits, all of the university leftoids, and nearly all of the SJWs running things in Silicon Valley. They hate America and they don’t deserve to be here.

  8. And you are absolutely right when you say you need a Second-Amendment-equivalent civil rights guarantee. Our Communists hate that liberty as much as yours do – actually, noticing who is gung-ho for gun confiscation is one of the more reliable ways to unmask Communist tools.

    As if on queue, I read the other day that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors declared the National Rifle Association a domestic terrorist organization.

    This will no doubt be tempered by the real dissatisfaction a lot of gun rights advocates have for the NRA, but meanwhile, I’m worried that the NRA’s educational infrastructure will take a hit. (While the NRA-ILA’s war chest gets a boost from outraged members, I imagine.)

    The SFBoS seems to mainly want to do this in order to make it easier to seize guns under existing law.

    One good note I learned from all this is that Gun Owners of America is a lot larger than I thought – roughly 2 million members to NRA’s 5.

    I also wonder how gun rights advocates on the left will react. There seem to be a lot of them.

    • This is mainly a matter of throwing red meat to their base, not trying to affect policy. It’s akin to a Republican candidate who doesn’t regularly attend church clearing his throat and saying “Of course I believe that abortion is genocide.”

      The declaration has no legal force and nobody with even a passing knowledge of the law is going to take it seriously. Should someone get arrested on that basis, the lawsuit will be… “interesting” – and not in a good way – for the City of San Francisco. Politically speaking, it’s also a very bad idea. I don’t read many pro-gun sites, but I’m guessing the propagandists on the right are smiling at the thought of how many Democrats they can club with San Francisco’s silly statement.

      • >This is mainly a matter of throwing red meat to their base,

        You’re not wrong. The problem is that William O’Blivion is not entirely wrong either.

        What SF did is just silly posturing in isolation, but it shifts the Overton window just slightly towards a place where hard eliminationist rhetoric against NRA members becomes first acceptable in polite society, then acted upon.

        Since you’re Jewish, maybe you’ll get it if you consider the following possible utterance by a city council: “The Anti-Defamation League is a terrorist organization.” If you heard that, would your risk estimate for visiting the city not change even a little?

        • “The Anti-Defamation League is a terrorist organization.” If you heard that, would your risk estimate for visiting the city not change even a little?

          Maybe a little tiny bit, but I think we’ll need to see whether there’s any kind of bandwagon effect forming. South Africa became a pariah state one city council at a time, so it can definitely happen, but I think it’s more likely to be dismissed as the silliness it is.

          Given American politics, I don’t think gun-grabbing is a good answer to mass shootings or left/right wing terror, but if another solution isn’t found it might just happen. The real problem is that we’ve become frightened of each other, and most of us have not learned to override our fear circuit when we hear the propaganda which is meant to divide us.

          • The real problem is that we’ve become frightened of each other

            “…for the true god of all was now the impotent What Can I Do and his dull brother What We Did Yesterday and his ugly and vicious sister Get Them Before They Get Us.”

          • > I think we’ll need to see whether there’s any kind of bandwagon effect forming

            There is definitely bandwagon forming on twitter for the extermination of white males in flyover country.

            To the best of my knowledge, any place and time where exterminationist rhetoric is received with state and social approval, extermination follows.

            For several decades we have seen “Hate yourself” propaganda directed at whites and males. This is now transforming into “hate whites” propaganda.

            It is not really high intensity yet, the way propaganda for gays and for feral women intruding in the male sphere is high intensity, but it is growing, and no pushback against it is permitted.

            Whereas in China, people can and do complain about party corruption all the time, short of directly complaining about corruption in the top leadership.

  9. So the effectiveness of small arms in an American context seems fairly obvious to me, but it is not obvious to me how that would help in Hong Kong.

    Whenever people on the left argue “What good would your AR-15 be against a nuke/tank/Apache attack helicopter?” the obvious answer is three-fold:

    1) The U.S. government would be loathe to deploy such indiscriminate weapons against it’s own citizens (especially nukes).
    2) The folks who would resist the government would likely be able to commandeer such heavy arms for themselves or disable them, as the resisters would include many people who operate and maintain such arms.
    3) The deployment of heavy arms requires a general infrastructure and logistics that would be disrupted in a civil war

    In other words, it seems to me that the effectiveness of small arms in the hands of rebels against an oppressive government with heavy arms relies in large degree on the oppressive government’s inability to deploy such heavy arms.

    Given that Hong Kong is still a somewhat distinct cultural and political entity, and given that the CCP is much less humane, I seems more likely to me that heavy arms would be effectively (horrifically) used against the people of Hong Kong. Do you disagree?

    • >heavy arms would be effectively (horrifically) used against the people of Hong Kong. Do you disagree?

      Yes. HK isn’t a random Chinese interior province where they can slaughter everybody with almost no repercussions. Beijing’s political/economic objectives require them to take it, hold it, and demonstrate control with its population and institutions intact. Otherwise foreign investment and HK’s continued usefulness as an entrepot go poof. And that’s before we get to the serious international consequences, which only begin with the peaceful reabsorption of Taiwan becoming impossible.

      This means that if the PLA goes in, they can’t use bombs or artillery; they’re going to have to conduct a block-by-block police action. This sort of thing is notoriously tricky in urban areas full of angry natives. The natives don’t need heavy weapons to chew up the occupation force; continual harassment with small arms will do very nicely.

      • I’ve heard whispers that the interior is starting to wonder the obvious question: “Why can’t we have the nice stuff that Hong Kong has?”

        If that is true – and I don’t know how it could be false – then The Party is holding a time bomb in their hands.

        • >“Why can’t we have the nice stuff that Hong Kong has?”

          I’ve seen reports that Chinese from outside of HK have been crossing it to join the protests.

        • I’ve heard whispers that the interior is starting to wonder … I don’t know how it could be false

          The news & social media are still really tightly controlled; the general perception on the mainland is that Hong Kong is akin to a dystopia – fancy buildings and nice stuff, but overrun by lawless mobs with secret foreign allegiances. The US itself is an enormous violent gangland where decent people’s attempts to enact laws to curb gun violence are obstructed by profiteers and criminal syndicates.

          My sources for this are a pair of Chinese nationals (one a green-card holder, the other on some kind of multi-year professional visa) that have gone home to visit in the last few months. Their families are very worried about their safety while they’re here.

            • Canadian media is locked down as hard as Chinese media (and the US MSM, come to that): not by governmental control, but by control of the hard left that runs it.

              • Well Canada also has its infamous “Human Rights Tribunals” (how’s that for a name strait out of Orwell), that bring up any reported questioning political correctness on charges of human rights abuse.

                • The fun part is that they dispense with your “human right” to a fair trial as part of the deal.

        • As a guy who studies Chinese, and hangs out quite a bit on Chinese servers, I can tell you that there’s also a large body of Chinese who completely support the police and see the protesters as a bunch of lawless thugs. Some are more inclined to say its because Hong Kong’s system is different that it invites this type of “anarchy’, and that therefore the worst thing that could happen to China would be the implementation of those “nice things”. The Chinese aren’t as homogenous or democratic as people think, there’s a whole bevy of political opinions, running all the way from supporting true democracy to benevolent fascism to a proper dictatorship.

      • I think that’s a very fair point, though I think it does hinge on two variables:

        1) How much a victory by Hong Kong threatens China’s own internal stability
        2) How willing foreign nations are to follow through with “serious international consequences” (leaving aside the natural economic consequences, which would be inevitable).

        I admit that I’m not well enough educated in foreign affairs to assess the value of either of those variables. Of course, it’s not so much a matter of what we think those risks are, but what the Chinese leadership feels those risks are.

        • >Of course, it’s not so much a matter of what we think those risks are, but what the Chinese leadership feels those risks are.

          So that’s interesting. You motivated me to compare “what those consequences look like when I’m thinking like a neutral geopolitical analyst” with “what do they look like if I’m doing my damnedest to think like a Communist immersed in Chinese history”.

          And something interesting came out. For one thing, the risk of unrest in the provinces if the HKers aren’t firmly repressed got a lot more prominent in the second frame, for both Chinese-historical and Marxist reasons. So that pushes for sending in the tanks.

          On the other hand, the prospect of Taiwan declaring formal independence and gaining full diplomatic recognition from the U.S. and its allies…in the first frame that looks annoying to Beijing but basically a recognition of post-1949 reality. But in the second frame it looks like an utter disaster.

          Because realistically the Chinese can’t do fuck-all about ROC if it decides to scuttle the One-China fiction. Even if the rest of the world allowed them a free hand, they don’t have the sealift capacity to take the island – the PLA is a damn big and damn well-equipped army that can realistically only project force places it can walk to.

          So if Taipei says it’s not playing anymore, what are they going to do? The only effective demonstration of force Beijing could make would be to throw nukes – and become an international pariah with no friends outside of a handful of corrupt Third-World shitholes and all its trade relationships crashing. Without coal and steel imports things get real ugly real fast.

          So Taiwan slips out of potential grasp. Which is a massive loss of face, and in Chinese historical terms a strong indication that this dynasty has lost the Mandate of Heaven. That is a pretty good reason to not send in the tanks, to temporize hoping some other solution presents itself.

          • > So that’s interesting. You motivated me to compare “what those consequences look like when I’m thinking like a neutral geopolitical analyst” with “what do they look like if I’m doing my damnedest to think like a Communist immersed in Chinese history”.

            What I was hoping for :).

            > Even if the rest of the world allowed them a free hand, they don’t have the sealift capacity to take the island – the PLA is a damn big and damn well-equipped army that can realistically only project force places it can walk to.

            I was forgetting that Taiwan is an absolute fortress. Taking it with troops probably isn’t a possibility. What about blockade, though?

            > So if Taipei says it’s not playing anymore, what are they going to do? The only effective demonstration of force Beijing could make would be to throw nukes – and become an international pariah with no friends outside of a handful of corrupt Third-World shitholes and all its trade relationships crashing. Without coal and steel imports things get real ugly real fast.

            I’m quite sure that the CCP will want to continue growing it’s wealth, and any strategy which threatens that is likely going to be very distasteful. However, they are Communists. I would not put it past them to sacrifice economic well-being for the sake of ideological objectives (one could argue that it’s an essential feature of Communism).

            • >What about blockade, though?

              Huge risk of war with the U.S. Not just because of our mutual-defense obligation with Taiwan but because as the hegemonic sea power of the age we can’t allow anyone to screw with freedom of navigation. We’d lose too much face.

              Note that that is not necessarily what an American will think, but it is what a Chinese grand strategist will think…I think. :-)

              >I would not put it past them to sacrifice economic well-being for the sake of ideological objectives

              That’s not the only risk on the table. If Chinese living standards collapse because they can’t do export-led growth any more, that’s definitely the Mandate of Heaven up the spout. On the historical pattern the likely result would be a pretty swift lapse into the kind of regional warlordism that is normal in China between unifying dynasties. And believe you me, that possibility is at the top of any Chinese statesman’s list of oh-shits.

              • > Note that that is not necessarily what an American will think, but it is what a Chinese grand strategist will think…I think. :-)

                hah! fair enough.

                So bringing it back around to the original issue: would Hong Kong be better off with armed citizens? Let’s go over the alternatives at a high level.

                The first fork in the road is whether the Chinese government will be able to suppress HK through police action. If yes, then obviously their objectives are achieved and everyone moves on.

                If they fail, that leads us to the second fork: are the Chinese able to save face and retain nominal control while allowing HK to maintain some liberty, or will it be a clear victory for HK (and a clear shame for China)?

                If it is a clear shame for China, that leads us to the final fork: will China accept the loss or resort to more extreme measures to save face and preserve the Mandate of Heaven?

                For the first fork, it seems pretty clear that an armed citizenry would help HK resist police action.

                However, for the second fork, if HK does succeed at resisting, then it seems more likely that a face saving solution will be reached if HK protesters use peaceful means and do not have guns. If HK successfully thwarted the PLA with force of arms then it’s hard to imagine that China could still pretend they are in charge.

                Whether China would do anything drastic at that point has less to do with whether HK was armed, as it does with the wider consequences of such an action (both economic and political). In this thread you’ve made a sound argument that the Chinese would not take more drastic actions because it would put their own stability at far greater risk. Essentially, if HK were to successfully rebel, the most likely risk for China is there would be a bit more insurrection on the mainland, but nothing they couldn’t deal with through harsh domestic measures. If they tried retake HK with heavy arms they risk losing any claim to Taiwan most That leads us to the final fork: would China do something drastic? all foreign trade.

                So in sum:

                – If HK is unarmed: the most likely outcome is successful police action, with the smaller possibility that they succeed in their objectives but in a way that allows China to save face.

                – If HK is armed: the most likely outcome is a clear victory for HK that weakens China’s position, yet not so much that they would be willing to do something more drastic.

                Does that sound right?

              • How high is Chinese regional warlordism on the oh-shit lists of foreign statesmen? I suspect its very high on the US Government’s oh-shit list, but I also wonder if it should be.

                • >How high is Chinese regional warlordism on the oh-shit lists of foreign statesmen? I suspect its very high on the US Government’s oh-shit list, but I also wonder if it should be.

                  I don’t even know the answer to the first question…

            • Thinking further…

              >Taking [Taiwan] with troops probably isn’t a possibility.

              Oh, I think it could be done if they had the sealift capacity and a free hand. It would be horrifically bloody but thanks to the combination of their one-child policy and a cultural preference for sons, the Communists have a lot of excess males to dispose of. And zero reluctance to use human-wave tactics if they need to.

              But their problem isn’t just getting the troops there, it’s keeping the U.S. Navy out of the fight – otherwise carrier air and subs will sink their nice shiny invasion fleet. At minimum they have to make anywhere within airstrike range unsafe for our carrier groups to be. Which is not even close to easy; yeah, they’re known to be plowing a lot of money into hypersonic shipkiller missiles, but you can’t target ships precisely enough with long-range sensors, especially not when they’re doing fast random zigzags.

              My one and only SF sale was about the Chinese pulling an ace out of their sleeve – skysweeper lasers on their escorts to take out carrier air on approach. But a couple years later it’s beginning to look like by the time China can build the sealift fleet the U.S. Navy might be able to do the job with very-long-range railguns and drones.

              (Why do I think we can target-designate effectively for the railguns while the Chinese can’t for the missiles? Because the invasion fleet wouldn’t have the luxury of running evasive patterns in open ocean; it has to go inshore to drop off troops. The moment it comes over a land-based observer’s horizon a hard rain is going to fall.)

              • Why can’t a railgun projectile do a last second correction? We had 155 mm artillery rounds that could do that for decades.

                • >Why can’t a railgun projectile do a last second correction?

                  Maybe it will be able to – at which point the box that the Chinese are in will get smaller.

              • > It would be horrifically bloody but thanks to the combination of their one-child policy and a cultural preference for sons, the Communists have a lot of excess males to dispose of. And zero reluctance to use human-wave tactics if they need to.

                Ah, the same downsides as polygamy without the perks of harems.

                > At minimum they have to make anywhere within airstrike range unsafe for our carrier groups to be. Which is not even close to easy; yeah, they’re known to be plowing a lot of money into hypersonic shipkiller missiles, but you can’t target ships precisely enough with long-range sensors, especially not when they’re doing fast random zigzags.

                Some of the recent stories I’ve read about accidents during fleet maneuvers makes me…less than fully confident our Navy could dodge those missiles without crashing into each other. I’m not saying we wouldn’t win, but the cost will be higher.

                • And utterly defenseless against even 1950s-era missiles without area air defense escorts and/or extensive ECM support.

                  They’re also not optimized for rapid onload or offload of men and materiel, which would give them a relatively long period in port where it’s clear what they’re doing, and, on the offload end, are quite vulnerable to being hit with even something as simple as mortars and towed artillery.

                  Once you’ve secured a beachhead and the seas en route, then it’s a plausible option.

                • There is some distance away from the shore after which the attacker’s vessel start getting engaged by the defender’s artillery fire. The more time the attacker’s vessels spend in that zone, the more time the defender has to sink them.

                  Taking a Maerk EEE into a hot landing zone at 23 knots seems like a recipe for disaster. Those ships are big, but it’s not going to take a lot of 155mm rounds landing on target to sink one, and an M109 has nearly an hour to get those hits in.

                • >What about PRC using their merchant container fleet for sealift? Short ride to Taiwan…

                  Jade Nekotenshi nailed it.

                  I’d say I did a lot of research on this for my SF story, except most of it was done well before the story because I’m a wargamer and military-history buff. :-)

          • So that’s interesting. You motivated me to compare “what those consequences look like when I’m thinking like a neutral geopolitical analyst” with “what do they look like if I’m doing my damnedest to think like a Communist immersed in Chinese history”.

            You are not a “neutral geopolitical analyst” and you seem to have engaged in a lot of wishful thinking about the outcome of a geopolitical confrontation between China and the US. It would almost certainly go in favor of the Chinese, at least initially, while the US leadership learns the hard way that the military needs to be run based on combat effectiveness, not political correctness, and then scrambles to rebuild the losses suffered while learning that lesson. Assuming it can, our military building efficiency is not what it used to be, witness the debacle of cost and schedule overruns that is the join strike fighter, or the fact that the air force has been reduced to salvaging spare parts from the Smithsonian to keep its planes flying.

            And that’s assuming the leadership actually learns from its mistakes. There are a lot of people who would rather loose to China than abandon political correctness, and I don’t see them going away unless China does something stupid like nuke SF.

            • >It would almost certainly go in favor of the Chinese, at least initially

              Tactically, yes. We might lose a hyper-expensive carrier group or two learning that it was dumbshit to concentrate too much combat power on one slowly-moving platform. Still a real risk, though I’m less worried about the odds on it than I used to be before I understood some of the technical problems.

              But World War II went in favor of the Germans and Japanese, initially, too. Didn’t change the fact that strategically they were fucked from the word go. Under best-case assumptions about their ability to sustain a war effort, neither could form an achievable set of war aims. They could win battles, do a lot of damage, look like they were progressing towards something; what they had no hope of was actually exiting the wars they started in a better position than they began with.

              Some of the smarter people in the Japanese military are known to have figured what a hole they were in; if any of their German counterparts did, it’s not on record. And probably none of them did; inability to form a coherent politico-military grand strategy has been a chronic German problem ever since the emergence of Prussian military hegemony 150 years ago.

              The failure of Japanese grand strategy between the Battle of Tsushima in 1905 and their final defeat 40 years later deserves particular attention because the Chinese have some of the same problems the Japanese couldn’t solve. In particular, oil imported over vulnerable sea lanes is or was a jugular vein for both economies.

              As with the Japanese, one of the Chinese aims in any great-power war would have to be securing a supply of oil against U.S. or other hostile interdiction. They will fail at this for the same reason the Japanese did – geography.

              • But World War II went in favor of the Germans and Japanese, initially, too. Didn’t change the fact that strategically they were fucked from the word go.

                China’s GDP as a percentage of US GDP is much higher than those of the axis powers combined.

                Under best-case assumptions about their ability to sustain a war effort, neither could form an achievable set of war aims.

                How about, inflict sufficient casualties on the Americans that their internal divisions cause their will to fight to disintegrate. Seriously, people here have been talking about ACW 2.0.

                Also, what would the USA’s war aims be? A land invasion of the Chinese mainland?

                • >China’s GDP as a percentage of US GDP is much higher than those of the axis powers combined.

                  Good, noticing that is smarter than over-focusing on how the U.S. is likely to screw up the first few engagements. It’s at least relevant to grand strategy. But it doesn’t solve their geographic-box problem, and it doesn’t prevent a future U.S. president from pulling the plug on Chinese-held T-Bonds and instantly flushing their over-leveraged economy down the crapper.

                  >How about, inflict sufficient casualties on the Americans that their internal divisions cause their will to fight to disintegrate.

                  That’s not a war aim. That’s a (grand) tactic, almost certainly only achievable at the cost of a trade crash that would tank the Chinese economy even if their T-bill holdings didn’t turn into toilet paper.

                  (If it’s actually achievable at all. There’s no history of war casualties per se breaking American will, as opposed to public perception that the war leaders don’t know how to win – which can certainly do it.)

                  To formulate a war aim you have to be able to define a path to a stable set of postwar political and economic relationships that is (a) achievable with the amount of blood and treasure you can spend to get there, and (b) leaves you stronger and wealthier (or at least safer) than you were before.

                  So, what even remotely plausible outcome gives the Chinese leadership a better chance of dying in bed than being fully integrated into peaceful global trade? Right now they only have to worry about a Straits of Malacca blockade cutting off their oil if they stir up shit. If the U.S. is no longer a global hegemon, their threat picture gets worse, not better. Indian regional ambitions would very likely be a bigger problem than U.S. hegemony ever was! And they have lots of reasons to not push the Japanese to ever desire more than a token military again.

                  Remember that in this case, territorial gains of any strategic significance are flatly ruled out by geography. If they break Taiwan and HK all they have is rubble, not resources – and a chronic police problem forever, most likely. There just isn’t any equivalent of subjugating France and then claiming Lebensraum to the east for the Chinese.

                  >Also, what would the USA’s war aims be? A land invasion of the Chinese mainland?

                  Again: this is a grand tactic, not a war aim. A war aim would be more like “Delegitimize and depose the Communist regime, replacing it with a less ambitious one that no longer threatens its neighbors or American hegemony.” We’ve succeeded at this sort of thing before.

                  That said, I think even the idiots in our present establishment aren’t quite stupid enough to invade China to get that done. Why bother when we can easily contain them, crash their economy, and watch the country collapse into a welter of contending successor states that are no real threat to anybody but each other? Remember, the PLA can’t go anywhere interesting, and the warlord armies it would fragment into won’t be able to either.

                  The geographic box China is in is super-helpful to a low-cost containment policy. We have no worries analogous to Soviet shock armies blitzing across the North German plain, not in this case.

                  • >(If it’s actually achievable at all.

                    IDK. If we are *just* talking blockades and the like, the way to defeat the U.S. has been known for some time, namely to turn the pages of the NY Times into the central front of the war.

                    Russia had amazing success with this strategy using only a few thousand(!) dollars worth of FB ads. What could a nation state do with real money?

                    • Nobody, I repeat, Nobody voted for Trump because of FB ads from Russia.

                      Take that despicable lie and stuff it where the sun don’t shine!!

                    • Sorry I wan’t clear. IMHO, Russia fueled an amazing amount of dissent in the U.S. (e.g., the #Resistance and #NeverTrump movements). Quite cheaply at that.

                      Also imho, propaganda will a key variable in all modern conflict, particularly something like a long-term seige/blockade. It affects both our willingness to-fight and willingness of other countries to honor/assist the blockade.

                  • The USN doesn’t have to put a single CVBG in harms way to utterly fuck the Chinese.

                    We can blockade China without entering their combat envelope.

                    All the gee-whiz anti-carrier weapons people talk about need to have inside the horizon sensor platforms for terminal guidance. (Even if they ARE nuclear-tipped, do you REALLY want to be the country that nukes a couple thousand americans? Because the retaliatory strike for THAT will come from silos in North Dakota, or from an Ohio-class. Assuming you get your nuke close enough without terminal guidance, because if you don’t, you STILL nuked americans without killing a carrier)

                  • >How about, inflict sufficient casualties on the Americans that their internal divisions cause their will to fight to disintegrate.

                    That’s not a war aim. That’s a (grand) tactic, almost certainly only achievable at the cost of a trade crash that would tank the Chinese economy

                    Why? You seem to be making the Keynesian argument that their economy will crash without Americans to sell their stuff to. Well, the Keynesian rebuttal is that they’ll just retool their production to supply their military.

                    • >Well, the Keynesian rebuttal is that they’ll just retool their production to supply their military.

                      At which point they’re no longer bringing in dollars to buy the oil, coal and steel they need. And they need it in huge volumes; in oil, for example, China is internally the world’s 4th-largest producer and they still have to import 47% of their demand. They might have a month or two of slack in the strategic reserve, but you can bet the PLA will fight like rabid wolverines to keep control of it rather than letting it be released into the civilian economy.

                      If you know enough history (and I suspect you do) you should start seeing the parallels to Japan’s strategic failure here.

                  • (If it’s actually achievable at all. There’s no history of war casualties per se breaking American will, as opposed to public perception that the war leaders don’t know how to win – which can certainly do it.)

                    Since you’ve given me that segue:

                    Do you still think the Iraq War was a good idea? I was a supporter at the time; I didn’t even stop supporting it when the casualties increased, since I don’t believe in bugging out like that. However, seeing the biggest boosters of the war show their true lack of character in the past few years have led me to have second thoughts.

                    • >Do you still think the Iraq War was a good idea?

                      It accomplished the main objective, which was to focus the jihadi terror network on fighting a conventional war against U.S. troops on the other side of the planet rather than running terror operations in the U.S. ISIS then obligingly fixed a target in place so it could be almost completely destroyed by conventional military action. All they have left is memetic subversion, which is not good but way better than the alliance of organized terrorism with rogue states we were facing on 9/11.

                      So yes, I’d call the flypaper strategy (within which the Iraq war was a major operation) a success. Even though some aspects of it were seriously botched.

                  • > There’s no history of war casualties per se breaking American will

                    Wasn’t this part of the problem with the Vietnam war, coupled with the news media’s incessant focus on the stats involved?

                    • >Wasn’t this part of the problem with the Vietnam war, coupled with the news media’s incessant focus on the stats involved?

                      From 1969 on I was paying attention, and it did not seem that casualty reports were moving public opinion seriously. They weren’t even significant in anti-war propaganda of the time. Indeed, the Left of that time positively welcomed American casualties and notoriously spat on returning soldiers.

      • It seems to me that, even if it did give Beijing control of Hong Kong, a block-by-block police action comprehensive enough to put down the protests would necessarily destroy the institutions that make the city a major entrepot and financial center … and, therefore, would inspire the same reactions from foreigners that sending in the tanks and artillery would. After all, what the protestors are demanding is just the preservation of those same institutions.

        So the PRC is in a cleft stick. There is no military strategy that gets it what it wants; any use of force has economic and diplomatic repercussions that will throw China into civil war. But if they yield to the protestors’ demands – by, say, guaranteeing the Basic Law not just to 2047, but in perpetuity – the dissidents in other provinces will start imitating the HK playbook, and civil war becomes significantly more likely…

        • >a block-by-block police action comprehensive enough to put down the protests would necessarily destroy the institutions that make the city a major entrepot and financial center

          I’m not going to agree with “necessarily”. In theory, a precisely measured use of force might do it. But the leadership has to be aware how easily the attempt could go wrong. This is one of those cases where they could have a policy of relative restraint, give all the right orders, and one overzealous junior officer could cause a massacre that they’d never live down.

    • Whenever people on the left argue “What good would your AR-15 be against a nuke/tank/Apache attack helicopter?” the obvious answer is three-fold:

      1) The U.S. government would be loathe to deploy such indiscriminate weapons against it’s own citizens (especially nukes).

      Nukes, yes. As for the rest see “Branch Davidians”

      2) The folks who would resist the government would likely be able to commandeer such heavy arms for themselves or disable them, as the resisters would include many people who operate and maintain such arms.

      It would be fairly easy–once you co-opt the higher levels of the military–to create the kinds of units where the members of certain units of specific types–are from the same parts of the country and are more-or-less reliable. Remember, the left basically owns the education system right now and most people are utterly clueless about where the limits of Federal power are *supposed* to stop. So you build a light infantry and MP companies of coastal Californians and deploy them to Oklahoma.

      Note that the tanks used in Tiananmen Square were crewed by people from a different province.

      3) The deployment of heavy arms requires a general infrastructure and logistics that would be disrupted in a civil war

      That has minimal impact on the military. Modern warfare is basically all about comprising infrastructure, so successful militaries have procedures in place to deal with that.

      The proper answer to “What good would your AR-15 be against a nuke/tank/Apache attack helicopter?” is “We don’t have to attack the machine, we have to attack the power structure that *directs* the machine.”

      • A war on US soil would be a very different experience for our military than previous overseas engagements. Previously, they took for granted the security of military production lines, general commerce (Food transport, fuel, power) and the welfare of their families. Located a continent away from the war zone, they were all undisturbed. During a conflict within the US this would dramatically change. An AR would be quite adequate as a weapon to rapidly disrupt those assets.

        • Yup, this is essentially what I meant.

          @William O’Blivion

          > The proper answer to “What good would your AR-15 be against a nuke/tank/Apache attack helicopter?” is “We don’t have to attack the machine, we have to attack the power structure that *directs* the machine.”

          I agree, but I’m not sure how your suggested response differs from what I or jfre are saying? Perhaps I am missing something, care to elaborate?

          • You are talking about attacking infrastructure.

            I’m talking about attacking the root of the problem.

            • Ah, yes. Sic semper tyrannis and all that. The general point is the light arms still have strategic value.

            • Embrace the healing power of ‘and’.

              Disrupting certain types of imports to certain urban centers fits both.

      • > Nukes, yes. As for the rest see “Branch Davidians”

        The Branch Davidians (and other examples like MOVE) represent radical fringe movements that are very much outside of the cultural mainstream. If the people the government are pursuing fit the archetype of “middle Americans just trying to live their life” then the governmental response is likely going to be much more measured.

        Take the Bundy standoff. I’m not even going to get into whether Bundy and his supporters were in the right, but when they pointed their guns at federal agents, the federal government did not deploy their NUTAAHs (NUkes/Tanks/Apache Attack Helicopters). Instead, they yielded and returned Bundy’s cattle.

        Again, my point isn’t about the legitimacy of the Bundy cause, merely to provide an example of the U.S. government choosing not to escalate against armed resistance from its citizens.

        • The media is currently attempting to “other” the shit out of everyone to the left of Lenin.

          San Francisco just labelled me and about 7 million OTHER Americans terrorists.

          Once the shooting starts we’ll be fair game for tanks and helicopters.

          • > San Francisco just labelled me and about 7 million OTHER Americans terrorists.

            That move was… bizarre. I actually know of tech companies in Silicon Valley that have employees (some quite high up) who are NRA members. I’m not saying it’s common, but I suspect that it’s more common over there than the politicians realize.

            Also, it’s so laughable because NRA members are probably some of the most law abiding, community building people in our country. And in terms of their connection to mass shootings, it’s far more likely that an NRA member would try to stop a mass shooter than to be a mass shooter (to say nothing of the NRA’s official stance on such issues).

          • Once the shooting starts we’ll be fair game for tanks and helicopters.

            You’re being counseled by your fears. Can you really imagine anyone in the military treating San Francisco’s not-lawfully-binding proclamation as Federal law? That’s just silly. It’s like when Clinton was elected and he took everyone’s bibles and guns. Wait! He didn’t. And neither did Obama! Are you a child who believes every stupid lie you’re told?

            • No one here is thinking that this resolution is going to result in San Francisco SWAT capturing or killing every NRA member in the city.

              What we have here is a rather forceful attempt to shift the Overton Window by means of a (largely) symbolic statement. Consider what would happen if the Federal government officially declared that the NRA and all 5 million of it’s members to be domestic terrorists.

            • To say that neither Clinton nor Obama are enemies of the Second Amendment is disingenuous.

              Clinton banned “assault” rifles while he was in office. He didn’t do more because of the dear Electoral price he paid for that ban.

              Obama didn’t ban guns, either, but he nonetheless took what little steps he could at the time. Hence, Operation Fast and Furious, attempts to require institutions to withhold funds to gun manufacturers and sellers, and so forth.

              Really, the only reason why Clinton and Obama didn’t do more, was because thy knew that the Electorate would push back. It wasn’t from lack of desire.

        • It’s also worth noting what Bundy did to break the law. He refused to pay his grazing fees to the Bureau of Land Management, in excess of one million dollars, then pointed guns at Federal Agents who had come to impound the cattle who’d been illegally grazing on Federal Land for more than twenty years.

          And they didn’t take his guns!

          Think about that for a minute! And this was during the Obama administration. So if you think the Feds are going to do any gun-grabbing, this is a pretty strong counter-example.

          • In the end, the Bundys won in court, too, because of outrageous behavior on the part of the Feds. I;d say it was jury nullification, but IIRC the judge was pretty pissed off at the federal agents as well.

            • But that was in Oregon a couple years later. The original instance of Bundys drawing on Federal agents happened in 2014. Bundy lost in court for years about the issue of cattle grazing near their lands in Nevada.

              • No, it was their Nevada ranch issues
                https://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-bundy-mistrial-2018-story.html

                It started four years ago, when Cliven Bundy and his sons refused to pay federal grazing fees and stared down government agents in an armed standoff outside their Nevada ranch.
                [Judge] Navarro rebuked federal prosecutors — using the words “flagrant” and “reckless” to describe how they withheld evidence from the defense — before saying “that the universal sense of justice has been violated” and dismissing the charges.

                Twice last year, Las Vegas juries acquitted or deadlocked on felony charges against Bundy supporters. Then Ammon and Ryan Bundy each beat federal felony charges in a case stemming from a 41-day standoff in 2016 at an Oregon wildlife preserve.

                • Yes, that’s what I said. I was always referring to 2014, (though the jury’s reaction to the 2016 standoff in Oregon was definitely significant, though I think the big issue ended up being the utter scorn that was headed their way. Instead of being treated as a rightwing revolutionary vanguard, people sent them barrels of dildos – you’ll notice they haven’t done it again.)

                  • From the “what he did” standpoint, Obama signed one of the most effectively pro-gun legislations (opening national park land and Corps of Engieers land to carry) that any president in my lifetime has done.

                    Executive action, maybe not great, but his administration took a couple of opportunities to NOT set off ACW II as well.

          • > It’s also worth noting what Bundy did to break the law. He refused to pay his grazing fees to the Bureau of Land Management, in excess of one million dollars, then pointed guns at Federal Agents who had come to impound the cattle who’d been illegally grazing on Federal Land for more than twenty years.

            Yup. Other people have pointed out times where the government has resorted to extreme methods, and it’s important to think about why they chose not to here.

            I think that part of the reason has to do with the nature Bundy’s initial crime: he wasn’t actually harming fellow civilians (at least not in any palpable way). The Branch Davidians by contrast were engaged in child sex abuse, and MOVE was causing problems for their neighbors (they also reneged on a deal they made with the police, and killed a few officers).

            It’s also worth pointing out that (IIRC) the local Sheriff was the one who deescalated the situation. No doubt he was (at least in part) aware that if he let things get out of hand there was no way he would win another election as Sheriff.

            In my limited reading on the subject, it does seem that Bundy was in violation of the law, and I don’t particularly buy his legal reasoning. However, it also seems to be the case that, in the trials against the Bundy’s, the judge or jury has not be especially pleased with the Feds. It may be that the 2nd Amendment isn’t just for a full on revolution, but is also useful on the smaller scale, for resisting the petty tyrannies of bureaucrats.

            > And they didn’t take his guns!

            > Think about that for a minute! And this was during the Obama administration. So if you think the Feds are going to do any gun-grabbing, this is a pretty strong counter-example.

            Indeed!

            And yet gun-grabbing is indisputably a goal of the Left. So long as the Left exists in it’s current form in the U.S. it seems reasonable that at some point an attempt will be made. I don’t think there is anything especially alarmist making that observation.

            • >the Branch Davidians by contrast were engaged in child sex abuse

              I’ve never seen any actual evidence of this. It’s such an obvious play to demonize them that I am deeply skeptical.

              • Interesting. What are your thoughts in general about the willingness by the U.S. government to use heavy arms against citizens (with light arms)?

                • >Interesting. What are your thoughts in general about the willingness by the U.S. government to use heavy arms against citizens (with light arms)?

                  It would be quite difficult to get our military to do this, I think. Our officer class takes its oath to the Constitution, not the government, and takes that oath very seriously. They know they’re subordinate to civilian political authority, but they’re also trained to recognize illegal orders and refuse them.

                  I think most officers would refuse to participate even in a firearms-confiscation sweep, let alone use of heavy weapons on rioting civilians. It would require armed insurrection to reverse that.

                  LEOs in the civilian government aren’t nearly so restrained. Which makes it a good thing they mostly don’t have the heavy weapons.

                  • Our officer class takes its oath to the Constitution, not the government, and takes that oath very seriously.

                    Is that still true? The Obama administration forced a lot of Generals into retirement so it could fill the upper echelons with its style of people. The immediate effect was people who wouldn’t object to compromising military effectiveness in the name of political correctness, but it might effect willingness to fire on civilians as well.

                    • >The immediate effect was people who wouldn’t object to compromising military effectiveness in the name of political correctness, but it might effect willingness to fire on civilians as well.

                      I think it would take longer than two administrations to change that. The value positions that ought to prevent it are baked deep into the U.S.’s military culture. You’d have to change doctrine and the way officers are trained, not just install pliable people at the top.

    • Hong Kong will be suppressed with overwhelming force in the end. China would rather have a barren rock than a nest of rebels; and by doing so they serve notice to Taiwan that they will be nuked rather than be allowed to separate.

      The downsides are, what, the rest of the world calls them mean names?

      (This is my opinion, but based on statements by americans and australians I know who lived in Hong Kong and/or China. China will NOT let “Chinese territory” go “free,” period, endfile.

      • >The downsides are, what, the rest of the world calls them mean names?

        See my reply to Iliamander. These Communists may be evil but they’re not stupid – in fact they average brighter than us roundeyes. When you crash the trade relationships of a country where you have critical dependencies on resource imports and political stability depends on export-led growth, your regime is unlikely to long survive.

        Actually the U.S. could crash the Chinese economy with the stroke of a pen. Care to think through what would happen if El Trumpo announced that the Treasury would no longer redeem Chinese-held T-bonds? Do a little digging and you’ll find out why the possibility has to scare their leadership utterly shitless.

        • Continuing the geostrategy subthread…

          So the Chinese have a problem. They’re dependent on maritime trade, both for critical imports and because if they can’t export their growth engine seizes up and they can no longer buy domestic political peace. Do not suppose they are unaware of this; what they want to avoid is anyone else integrating this dependency into their calculations.

          The classical solution to this problem (and I mean classical, as in feeding the Roman plebs with grain ships from Egypt) is to go empire-building. Yeah, good luck with that. As I’ve pointed out before, the Chinese are boxed in by geography. South and west of them are the Himalayas and their northern extension into the Tian Shan and Altai mountains. North of them is Siberia – basically uninhabitable without food imports. East is the Pacific Ocean.

          Their army can only go where it can walk, and it can’t walk to anywhere that solves their resource problems – the mountains are too high and the ocean too big, not a cute little lake like the Med. They’d need to dominate faraway places like Australia (coal and steel) and the Persian Gulf (oil) to meet their needs. The late-breaking news is they’re even developing a dependency on African grain and American pork…

          This is why nuking Taiwan would be suicidal. All the U.S. Navy would have to do is interdict the Straits of Malacca against China-bound oil tankers in response and it’s game over. Well, OK, they could declare war on the U.S., but winning would be as bad as losing because their banks are floating on huge piles of T-bonds and any version of the U.S. unable to maintain a naval blockade would be unable to redeem those even if it didn’t refuse to.

          The deeper you look, the worse it gets for Chinese imperialism, grand-strategically speaking. They have a lot of raw power they can’t actually use because no matter where they aim the gun it ends up pointing at their own head.

          • I agree with all your points. I’ve said elsewhere that a single 688 boat on-station could close the straits of Malacca and put paid to all Chinese Imperialism. (Or if we want to be more obvious, a wing of maritime strike aircraft at Diego Garcia).

            But history is full of examples of nations that have cut their throats to spite their face. And if Trump is NOT in office when the tanks roll into HK, I don’t trust the US Government to act appropriately.

            Minor point, the PLA can walk into Siberia, no? If so, would we care even if they didn’t stop till they hit the Urals? The russians *could* nuke them, but I gotta wonder how much of an effective nuclear power Russia really is any more.

            • Playing nuclear brinkmanship with the soft and weenie Americans is risky enough, because if there’s an exchange, China loses: the country is wrecked by nukes and that’s a loss, or America is wrecked by nukes and there’s no export market for China and that’s a loss, or both countries are wrecked and that’s a loss. But America might back down, so it’s only risky.

              Russians are not soft and appreciate having a reputation for ruthlessness. So playing nuclear brinkmanship with the Russians is really risky, because they will probably not back down, and receiving a bunch of SRBMs at terminal velocity does not help China’s geostrategic position.

              Russia’s an effective enough nuclear power to be a deterrent to Chinese adventurism. It’s much safer for China to rent Siberia and wait for the Russians to drink themselves into irrelevance, which is already beginning to happen. But the fact the China might be able to get out of Eric’s geostrategic box in two or three decades isn’t much help for the crisis happening now.

            • The problem with conquering Siberia is that then you have Siberia. You need lots of food and lots of machines to make Siberia worthwhile as a colony, and conquering Siberia would have knock-on effects that would limit the available supply.

        • Can we do that Constitutionally, though? See this article at Cornell’s Legal Information Institute: once the government has borrowed the money, which is what T-bills do, it cannot change the terms of repayment.

          There’s also a reputational risk here. T-bills are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. By unilaterally abrogating them, we destroy that credit, which at minimum drives borrowing costs a lot higher. No matter what the Modern Monetary Theory kooks say, we can’t just print money to pay off the resulting increase in cost of debt.

          That’s the kind of thing The Donald would do: big, splashy, and something that can’t be ignored. I’m not so sure it wouldn’t hurt us as much or more than it would hurt the Chinese.

          • >Can we do that Constitutionally, though?

            There’s lots of precedent for things that are “unconstitutional” in peacetime being done in a state of war. If I were the President I could justify this one quite easily. What better shield against a nuclear attack could we ask for than China’s knowledge that if they damage us badly enough to win the war, their prospects that the decision to reassume that debt is even possible would effectively vanish?

            >There’s also a reputational risk here. T-bills are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. By unilaterally abrogating them, we destroy that credit, which at minimum drives borrowing costs a lot higher.

            Very true. But doesn’t seem like a large cost for winning what might otherwise have become a nuclear war without firing a shot.

            • >By unilaterally abrogating [T-Bills], we destroy that credit, which at minimum drives borrowing costs a lot higher.

              I’ve been thinking about this more and I think I need to take back my “Very true”. I’m remembering an article I read in the Economist some years back that started out by talking about the then-latest Argentine debt crisis and the default they bailed out of it with, then put it in context with other sovereign defaults.

              According to that article, whether and how severely a government gets punished with higher future interest rates is very dependent on investor perception of why they defaulted. Countries that do it as a move in domestic politics get slammed; genuine hardship cases don’t. It’s not a rule, as it turns out, that default makes your debt toxic forever.

              I remember thinking at the time that motive can give you a way of estimating both the upside potential and the volatility of future sovereign debt from the same issuer. If you look at it that way, the pattern of who gets slammed and who gets forgiven starts to make sense.

              So I’m now going to say that the U.S. might not be punished for using debt as a weapon against a Great Power adversary. If investors interpret the new policy as “It’s safe to hold U.S. debt unless your country is dumbshit enough to start a war with the U.S.,” there may be no repercussions at all, or even positive ones.

              Helps that T-Bills are denominated in the world’s reserve currency. Helps that everyone expects their price to have low long-term volatility relative to most other places you can park your wealth. These are attractive features that would help pull investors towards a narrow view of any targeted default.

              • I think the US could *probably* get away with disavowing bonds owed to China if they massacre HK; if framed as an “econoic sanctions” move.

                • I’m not so sure. Treasury bonds are tradeable (possibly even negotiable). So, you’d have to extend the rule to any bonds ever held by China and Chinese entities.

                  And then, you’d have to convince everyone that those rules would extend pass cessation of hostilities. Otherwise, it’s just an arbitrage opportunity.

                  • I assume that bonds are numbered. If all bonds that were purchased by China become non-negotiable, who would be crazy enough to buy them?

                    • >who would be crazy enough to buy them?

                      Everyone who thinks they can get a return. Either via the inevitable peace treaty or governmental laziness/indifference. For example, people have been routing around the U.S. embargo on Cuba for decades.

              • >> “So I’m now going to say that the U.S. might not be punished for using debt as a weapon against a Great Power adversary.”

                Defaulting on our debt to China means more money in the till to pay everyone else back. As long as our other creditors don’t think we’ll default on THEM they might even cheer the idea.

                P.S. – It looks like ibiblio is still having problems. My first (and now second (and now third, etc.)) attempt to post this failed.

        • > what would happen if El Trumpo announced that the Treasury would no longer redeem Chinese-held T-bonds?

          Would that extend to bonds previously held by PRC but subsequently sold to someone else? Because either they’d be able to sell those bonds to someone allowed to redeem them, or the Treasury would never be able to sell bonds outside the US again without paying a ridiculously high interest rate as an insurance premium against such shenanigans.

          • >Because either they’d be able to sell those bonds to someone allowed to redeem them

            At what discount? Game this out – I sure did.

            The repudiation gets issued, Chinese banks go looking to dump untold hundreds of billions on the bond market, buyers say “Sure, we’ll take them…at two cents on the dollar. Oh, you don’t like that price? Too bad for you!”

            This would probably be terminal even if the banks were sound. Most of them aren’t; the Chinese financial system is awash in nonperforming loans fueled by property speculation. You’ve read about “ghost cities” full of gleaming modern buildings and no people? Hel-lo there!

            This is also why the high figures for Chinese economic growth are a illusion. A significant percentage of Chinese economic activity is building these white elephants that are basically nothing but a way to extract soft loans from the banks. Developers take a profit, corrupt officials get payoffs…and there’s no way those loans will ever be redeemed. Even when the corporations on the hook for them don’t fold, there’s no market for the overcapacity.

            Beijing looks the other way because it’s rightly terrified of what will happen when the music stops. To acknowledge the scale of the problem would trigger a run on the banks and a financial collapse. So instead they do “anti-corruption” drives in an effort to shut down the loan-extraction machine so the problem at least won’t get any worse.

            If the U.S. repudiates Chinese-held T-bills most of the reserves these bad banks are holding go poof. The music stops. All fall down.

            • >If the U.S. repudiates Chinese-held T-bills most of the reserves these bad banks are holding go poof.

              Note: Any serious external shock would take down these banks. This is one reason Beijing just blinked, withdrawing the extradition law that caused the HK demonstations. They desperately need macroeconomic stability until they get this problem cleaned up, and they need to do it on the sly.

  10. We should not forget that the token Republican supporter of Hillary Clinton, Brent Scowcroft, actually TOASTED the Communist dictators for massacring their own people.

    I am increasingly convinced that the Left is planning genocide in this country as well. Look at the grin O’Rourke gets on his face every time he talks about confiscating guns.

    At some point, those of us who love liberty are going to have to take action to rid ourselves of these evil tyrants.

    • “At some point, those of us who love liberty are going to have to take action to rid ourselves of these evil tyrants.”

      This is inherent in the very basis of the Second Amendment, and it implies a duty on us all: those of us who take the Second Amendment, in all its implications, seriously, have a duty to decide for ourselves at what point do we take our firearms in hand and go hunting tyrants.

      And no, I don’t have a clear, bright line, myself.

    • The rhetoric is overheated on both sides, but I rate our chances of getting mass state killings in America very low.

      Both sides in contemporary American politics are operating from what I believe is an wrong premise: that Americans value the rule of law over ideology, so if one side could just get on top, the other team will be appropriately subjugated and go along whether they like it or not. I don’t think this has ever been generally true of Americans, except for a few influential decades post-WWII where it was kind-of true; the source of the present misunderstanding.

      Here’s what I think will happen: the Left will eventually attain cultural and political supremacy at the national level. All their pet legislation will be passed. And the reaction will be… Americans just ignoring or routing around it all. Cases in point: alcohol and drug prohibition, and near total non-compliance with gun registration laws in places like New York, Connecticut, and California. See also: Mexico.

    • I am increasingly convinced that the Left is planning genocide in this country as well. Look at the grin O’Rourke gets on his face every time he talks about confiscating guns.

      Once again, nonsense right out of the fever swamps. Look how much trouble they had, even during the Obama administration, in merely getting the FBI to admit that right-wing terrorists might be as bad as left-wing terrorists. And you think a similar administration is going to engage in “genocide?” That’s errant nonsense.

      • >And you think a similar administration is going to engage in “genocide?” That’s errant nonsense.

        I wish it were.

        I’m not in the kind of panic mode Ken is. But I’m troubled. I hear a commentator on CNN saying white men “ought to be destroyed” and not being immediately fired. I hear a left-wing U.S. Representative spewing anti-Semitic hatred and not even being censured by her party. I see videos of Antifa assaulting and beating people for carrying American flags. And I know the American Left is running doctrinal software designed by people who did run genocides.

        This doesn’t add up to imminent mass violence, not yet. The problem is that that kind of pathology ramps up exponentially, like the semi-joking description of how bankruptcy happens: “very gradually, then all at once”. The interval between “That’s not trivial any more” and Condition Red can be so short that you blink, miss it and then you die because you were caught unprepared.

        I’ve read some vivid accounts of 19th-century pogroms in the Russian Empire that drive this point home brutally well. So when someone like Ken starts uttering what you call “fever-swamp” rhetoric…it’s not that I think he’s right, I do judge he’s overreacting to conditions right now.

        But I’ve studied those pogroms and the Nazi Revolution and many episodes of Communist terror; I notice that we do seem to be in recognizable pre-genocide conditions and that if the ramp-up doesn’t stop I might die through not noticing soon enough that the pile is going critical. It is entirely possible that Ken’s sense of the danger level is better-attuned than mine.

        • I wouldn’t necessarily say that my sense of danger is better than yours. It’s just that I’m familiar with the kind of people that comprise our domestic enemies.

          One big problem I have with right-wing commentary is that it always acts as if it’s arguing with people who themselves are arguing in good faith. That is almost never the case on the Left. I could probably count all the Leftists who believe the things they say on one hand.

          What the Right needs is not Lincoln/Douglas type arguments. We instead need to use the argument known on the Left as deconstruction. IOW, don’t say, “X is wrong and here’s why”; instead say “X is lying because of these malicious and selfish motives.”

          To give an example, it’s not hard to understand Robert O’Rourke’s real background that causes him to want to hurt and kill conservatives. He was in a grunge rock band, which is almost always associated with hard-left politics; but his motivations for hard-left politics are indicated by his Mary Sue fiction about murdering children. When you have hard-left politics + hatred of children, you have, in all probability, an abortion enthusiast who came into leftism by way of abortion, not the other way around. And the reason for his love of abortion is clear, based on his membership in a rock band: clearly, he regularly used abortions as a means of keeping his groupies regularly sucked clean and ready for reuse.

          So basically, I’ve established that RFO thinks a woman’s place is in a nightclub stall, naked, aborted all clean, and ready for reuse. This also explains his lust for civil war; he fears that if the heartland are not either wiped out or at least forced into mandatory abortions, they will vote away his right to force his mistresses into abortions.

          So see, I just destroyed a Democrat candidate for president. I can do the same for the others.

          • The leftists I know argue in good faith, but not in the most psychologically healthy way. They love to diagnose mental issues in their opponents, but often have huge issues themselves. E.g., lots of them are angry about their fathers. I found this piece to be quite insightful: Sad Radicals by Conor Barnes.

        • There are a couple of factors that put the upper bound on when, if ever, this particular plume of swamp gas will ignite. First, recognize that the Democratic Party primarily exists to do the bidding of China and Mexico at this point, and Mexico itself is often used as a puppet by China. Second, look at Chinese demographics. They’re looking down the barrel of a major demographic crunch like Japan and Russia, which will be accompanied by an implosion of available military manpower. If they’re going to do something in the next century, it’s going to have to be by 2025 or so. This is why they can’t wait out Trump – assuming he wins reelection (and old Bloody Eyeball Biden seems to indicate that will be the case), they have about eleven months after his successor is inaugurated in order to secure their entire imperial expansion. Expect Chinese election meddling to ramp up through 2020, and tariffs to get ratcheted up in turn. If those tariffs go from 30% to 51% we’re going to see the complete collapse of the Chinese economy without a shot fired, and I think Xi knows that.

          • >If those tariffs go from 30% to 51% we’re going to see the complete collapse of the Chinese economy without a shot fired, and I think Xi knows that.

            Most of that was pretty sound, so why did you muck it up with tinfoil-hat crap about the Dems being run by the Mexicans and Chinese? That is silly for a bunch of reasons. One is that the Mexicans and Chinese have diametrically opposed interests; they’re competing to be the U.S.’s factory district. Another is that the Mexicans don’t have anything the Democrats want enough to make them dance except illegal immigrants to vote-farm, and Mexico is enough of a shithole that the Dems get those for free.

            That said, yes, the Chinese do have a demographic timing problem, and high enough tariffs probably would crash their economy, and you are almost certainly correct that Xi knows this. I focused on the T-Bill weapon because it’s less likely to damage the U.S. than the backblast from a tariff cannon.

            With a very little luck, the Chinese will be unable to build an effective blue-water navy before the manpower crunch hits. One reason I see this as a strong possibility is that fleet carrier operations is a difficult art that relies on huge masses of field experience and experiments. If the U.S. were starting from where the PLAN is today there’s no way we could get to the competence level of a first-string navy by 2025, and the Chinese system is much less flexible (in part for political reasons).

            Actually, I can’t figure out why the Chinese are building carriers at all. They don’t need oceanic power projection the way the U.S. does – don’t have any real strategic use for it. What they need is (1) to be able to make the waters inside the first island chain a no-go-zone for anybody else’s navy, and (2) the ability to disrupt an interdiction of the Straits of Malacca. There are less expensive ways to do both jobs; in their shoes I’d actually be building a lot of attack submarines.

            Who knows? Maybe they think they need carriers to strut like a first-rank naval power. Fine if that’s the way they want to boogie, but experience tells; if they ever go toe-to-toe with a US CBG I think they will will get an education that is short, rapid, and terminal.

            • Actually, I can’t figure out why the Chinese are building carriers at all. They don’t need oceanic power projection the way the U.S. does – don’t have any real strategic use for it.

              I think you answered this question yourself in a previous post. Obviously they intend to conquer Taiwan.

              • Carriers aren’t necessary for that. All of Taiwan is well within range of land-based aircraft from the mainland.

                If China wanted to conquer Taiwan, they’d be building amphibs, not carriers.

              • >I think you answered this question yourself in a previous post. Obviously they intend to conquer Taiwan.

                They don’t need oceanic power projection to do that. They control a shoreline within easy airstrike range.

            • The Chinese aren’t building carriers worth the name. No nuke plants, naval stealth jets, or catapults makes them third rate by default. Japan’s carriers, newly converted from “helicopter destroyers” and filled with shiny new F-35Bs, will be more than a match for them, let alone a US CVN.

              > One is that the Mexicans and Chinese have diametrically opposed interests; they’re competing to be the U.S.’s factory district.

              So long as NAFTA is in place (as in so long as the House of Representatives can block putting the new USMCA up for a floor vote) those goals are aligned. China has made major inroads to the US market by trans-shipping and doing final assembly in Canada or Mexico. Under current NAFTA rules, those can count as “Made in Mexico” or “Made in Canada” and thus evade tariffs. Under USMCA not so much, thanks to tightened rules of origination (~75% iirc). You really think that all those fancy new Ford truck engines were being made from raw steel on up in *Mexico*? Pull the other one, it’s got bells on it.

              > Another is that the Mexicans don’t have anything the Democrats want enough to make them dance except illegal immigrants to vote-farm, and Mexico is enough of a shithole that the Dems get those for free.

              The Democrats are literally campaigning in Mexico. Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke was the first, but he will not be the last.

              https://townhall.com/tipsheet/bethbaumann/2019/06/30/huh-beto-is-running-for-president-of-the-united-statesbut-hes-campaigning-in-mexico-n2549231

            • The Chinese are building Carriers as a game of Face.

              The Great Powers have Carriers, therefore China must have Carriers to be a Great Power.

              The same thing happened in the late 19th century with the Chinese Navy. I have little doubt that the current PLAN would prove any more effective than China’s 19th century Navies, for much the same reason (domestic politics prevented the various detachments from supporting each other when combat actually occurred, because each detachment was under the control of a rival Mandarin).

          • >So what’s your prediction of where things go from here, ESR?

            Magic 8-Ball says: Cannot predict now.

            There are several conditional assertions I feel reasonably sure of, but the preconditions have sensitive dependence on the brain activity of some people in the Chinese leadership. My powers, though awesome, do not extend to reading them from here.

              • >I was responding to your comment about pre-genocide conditions in the US. Where do you think that stuff is going?

                Well, let’s see…

                The ideological frame for mass violence against anyone defined as a “white supremacist” or “racist” or even “AGW denier” is in place. Eliminationist rhetoric against whites, males, and Republicans now passes without censure in the public square, while social-media censorship of the opposition is rapidly headed towards full lockdown. Doxing, ragemobbing, and SWATting are routine. Antifa and Redneck Riot equivalents of the Sturmabteilung are normalizing street violence against anyone who even dares show an American flag. Calls for civility and respect have been equated with apologism for slavery. Civilian-firearm confiscation is the unanimous position of the Democratic candidates polling above 1%, most of whom are also all in for the “Green New Deal” transformation to repressive enviro-socialist control of the economy.

                Many of those most awake to the threat have been suckered into misidentifying it. No, this is not an anti-white surge, it’s a pro-totalitarian surge. Racializing the opposition to it actually feeds the identity politics that the totalitarians have adopted as their principal vector of infection.

                Much depends on whether the Gramscians can fully capture the government. They can’t get to full genocide without controlling the military. Which still seems unlikely, but if anyone had predicted the level of pathologization we’re now at before around 2014 I would have said they were crazy.

                • Doxing, ragemobbing, and SWATting are routine.

                  And being enshrined into law all over the place. Something something 80%….

                  Civilian-firearm confiscation is the unanimous position of the Democratic candidates polling above 1%

                  People keep insisting that this is a clever Overton window moving strategy to make slightly less crazy gun control proposals seem reasonable. I keep having to explain that that can only work if a candidate were proposing something less crazy.

                  Many of those most awake to the threat have been suckered into misidentifying it.

                  One of the great strengths of seizing control of the education system is that you can force your enemies into a position where they go into Reversed Stupidity mode. Essentially most of your opposition becomes controlled opposition, with no need for a command and control system that can be exposed or hi-jacked.

                • Which still seems unlikely, but if anyone had predicted the level of pathologization we’re now at before around 2014 I would have said they were crazy.

                  Would you be willing to admit that the above is evidence that you don’t fully understand the underlying dynamics.

                  In particular I would say your wrong about the following:

                  Many of those most awake to the threat have been suckered into misidentifying it. No, this is not an anti-white surge, it’s a pro-totalitarian surge.

                  In fact it is both anti-white and pro-totalitarian.

                  If you want understand what’s going on, you can start by paying attention to the people who predicted it rather than going into SJW mode and dismissing them as “disgusting racists“.

                  • >Would you be willing to admit that the above is evidence that you don’t fully understand the underlying dynamics.

                    No, because I have understood what the Gramscians were doing for much longer than that.

                    My error was that I underestimated how much damage they were capable of doing outside the asylums universities. Until Brendan Eich got scalped.

                    • My error was that I underestimated how much damage they were capable of doing outside the asylums universities. Until Brendan Eich got scalped. My error was that I underestimated how much damage they were capable of doing outside the asylums universities. Until Brendan Eich got scalped.

                      Aren’t you a tribal elder of the open source community? So what does it say that you missed the Gramscian damage/SJW convergence happening right under your nose?

                    • >Aren’t you a tribal elder of the open source community? So what does it say that you missed the Gramscian damage/SJW convergence happening right under your nose?

                      It just means I can’t be everywhere. I do have to spend most of my time writing actual code, you know.

                • Pretty sure it would have been worse, sooner, had Clinton won.

                  They’ve spent a *great* deal of time and energy trying to get the reins of power back by any means possible. Without that distraction…..

                  • And they have made it abundantly clear that when they do get that power back they intend to make the icky deplorables pay.

                    We are quickly running out of pathways that do not involve significant loss of life. A second term for Trump where the gloves come off and he completely smashes their infrastructure looks like one of the least bloody options at this point.

                • >The ideological frame for mass violence against anyone defined as a “racist” is in place.
                  > [Jim]’s a disgusting racist

                  It’s hard making friends on the internet huh.

                  • >It’s hard making friends on the internet huh.

                    Yes, note the part where I don’t advocate violence against racists, on anyone else with odious opinions. So I can affirm both “Jim is a disgusting racist” and “using violence against him because he commits what you consider thoughtcrime would be wrong” at the same time.

                    See? That wasn’t so hard after all.

                    • Yes, note the part where I don’t advocate violence against racists

                      Right, you just call everyone to your right “racists” and let the SJW’s provide the violence.

                    • >Right, you just call everyone to your right “racists” and let the SJW’s provide the violence.

                      What an absolutely idiotic thing to say! Most of the people “to my right” are not racists by any stretch o f the imagination, and I wouldn’t dream of accusing them. There are several examples who are regulars here. Go ahead, ask Jay Maynard if I’ve ever called him a racist. I’ve never called you one, either.

                    • Exactly what Eugine says.

                      I mean, I get it. It’s throwing up your hands and saying: ‘I’m not the racist, Jim is! It’s not me you’re after, it’s Jim!’

                      Which, considering that Jim’s identity is anonymous while your face is plastered all over the internet, is a very sensible strategy. Unfortunately for you, we are reaching the point where leftists no longer care. You’re a white male programmer: you’re a disgusting racist, like it or not.

                    • >I mean, I get it. It’s throwing up your hands and saying: ‘I’m not the racist, Jim is! It’s not me you’re after, it’s Jim!’

                      As if I’d bother with such posturing. I know the Red Guards already think I’m a racist, and I have no illusions that I can change that evaluation however false I think it is.

                    • If you’d understand how the Red Guard works, you’d understand that ‘racist’ has zero informational value. It’s bad code. Its only purpose is for the Red Guard to point at people and say: ‘evil, must be destroyed.’

                      So, by using Red Guard terminology, by calling Jim a racist (I wonder what specific comments by Jim you find racist?), you show you care a lot more about the Red Guard’s opinions than you admit.

                    • >you show you care a lot more about the Red Guard’s opinions than you admit.

                      That’s idiotic. I don’t accept their definition of the term “racist”. I mean something very specific when I use it, which I’ve written about on this blog and which you disqualify yourself by not knowing.

                      I will ignore all further comments from you until you catch a clue about this. You can demonstrate that you have caught a clue by quoting my definition of “racism” and showing that (a) you understand it, and (b) you can say something coherent about how it relates to imprecise folk usage.

                    • You’re free to use your own idiosyncratic definition of racism. Just don’t expect anyone else to care.

                    • I’ll leave one final thought.

                      It is of course a brilliant stratagem to, somewhere on your blog, have redefined the word racism to mean something entirely different from how everybody else uses it!

                      In fact, you might not be aware of this, but I have done something similar: somewhere on my blog, I have redefined the word ‘cuck’ to in fact mean ‘Ultimate Master of Linguistics’.

                      So, when I call you a cuck, rest assured that it’s a compliment!

                    • alf said “I’ll leave one final thought”, and I read on, and didn’t see one.

                      Maybe alf got distracted.

                    • Go ahead, ask Jay Maynard if I’ve ever called him a racist.

                      You mean that cuck who insists he’s a conservative to your libertarian despite agreeing with you or being to your left on every controversial issue.

                    • Eugene, I’m intrigued. You are the first person (at least the first I know of) to call me a cuck. Care to back that up with hard facts? Or are you just trying to slime Eric with me as your paintbrush?

                    • @Jay Maynard

                      Sorry but you’ve already demonstrated your your willingness to argue that true is false, white is black, or a man is a woman if that is what your leftist overlords demand. All while insisting you are a conservative.

                    • No, just pointing out your past behavior and extrapolating your likely future behavior, i.e., even more cucking, based on that.

                    • >No, just pointing out your past behavior and extrapolating your likely future behavior, i.e., even more cucking, based on that.

                      What the hell has gotten into you, Eugene? You used to be mordantly funny and cynically perceptive – I liked having you around. This is both nasty and stupid, it’s like your brain has curdled or something. It’s disappointing.

                      Sigh. You know where the door is. Don’t let it hit you in the ass on your way out.

                    • …just a fancy way of saying I’ve pissed you off good.

                      But just because I don’t hew to the exact conservative line in every single case does not make me a cuck or a RINO.

                    • But just because I don’t hew to the exact conservative line in every single case does not make me a cuck or a RINO.

                      So, if you claim to be a conservative, what do you believe in actually conserving?

          • You didn’t ask me, but here’s my prediction for the US. We’re not headed for genocide, but by November 2020 scores of millions of leftists in the US (and around the world) will be suffering massive upset and cognitive dissonance when Trump gets reelected easily. I’m convinced that he’s been planning his revenge on the people who tried to frame him as a Russian agent, and much of that will happen over the coming year, ensuring his reelection. Numerous big-name Democrats, up to and including Obama, Biden, and Hillary, will have their reputations destroyed, and possibly be indicted. The MSM will also take a beating, as their complicity is exposed. E.g. CNN’s ex-Obama commenters like Brennan, Clapper, and McCabe are in this up to their necks. Trump has them as dead to rights for illegal domestic spying and other crimes, and they know it. Hence much of their desperation and hysterics since 2016.

            So to me, one important task is to follow Sun Tsu and give the enemy a “golden bridge” to retreat across. We don’t want them to fight like cornered animals. I think the way to do that is to encourage local experiments in leftism. Instead of trying to change the Constitution and the country, the left should focus on changing San Francisco and Chicago and wherever else they have power. Subsidiarity! Federalism! Controlled experiments! Just prove your ideas on a small scale before we scale them up.

            Of course, the trick is that, as most readers here will know, their leftist ideas will fail. Meanwhile, libertarian and conservative ideas can be tried, and will more often succeed. If we can shift politics out of the centralized “all or nothing” mindset into an experimental, decentralized one, we can avoid not just civil war but settle a lot of political arguments.

            • Numerous big-name Democrats, up to and including Obama, Biden, and Hillary, will have their reputations destroyed

              How? As Steve Sailer likes to point out merely publicly exposing their maleficence isn’t enough to get their supporters to notice, much less pay attention, care, or even believe it.

              • Reports from Inspectors General and federal indictments can’t be ignored when Trump tweets about them and makes statements at rallies. He will pound them on this.

                • I wouldn’t count on inspectors general. They are just internal reviewers; as such, their main job is to protect the institution. Occasionally, they’ll scapegoat someone to do that, but nothing more.

                  If you want an honest accounting, you’ll need someone more adversarial.

                  • IG reports make for top-notch evidence in criminal proceedings. Horowitz is no fan of Obama. He had to go to court over the way Obama hobbled all IGs.

                    The best way to protect an institution is to fix it. Identify and purge the corrupt/incompetent elements and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Barr and Durham are there for that. I’m sure they will nail the people who did illegal domestic spying, tried to fix a Presidential election, and seditiously plotted against a sitting President. It’s Watergate x100. All Trump has to do is expose the truth. That will disgrace his enemies, uphold the law, exonerate himself, look great to voters, shatter the Democrats, and win him reelection and the House back. Then he’s got four more years. Why the heck would he not want all of that? It’s 100% justifiable, legal, ethical, self-serving, perfect revenge, on an epic scale. He’ll shift the political landscape and become a hero. That’s the game I think he’s really playing, underneath all the trolling and the deceptive “impulsive, thin-skinned, almost out of control” persona he cultivates for his enemies.

                    I’m surprised more people haven’t figured this out. It’s a synthesis of the views of Scott Adams, Brian Cates, Thomas Wictor, Jeff Carlson, and a few others. When Adams said Trump will change our view of reality, I think that’s what he meant. Trump’s running a multi-year sting operation, which fits with the evidence that Trump has been an FBI informant since the 1980s, if not earlier.

                    (Or Trump will lose in 2020 and I’ll be proven to be deluded. Make your bets.)

                    • PapayaSF wrote:
                      I’m sure they will nail the people who did illegal domestic spying, tried to fix a Presidential election, and seditiously plotted against a sitting President. It’s Watergate x100.

                      And when those people go to jail, the media will report it as “Trump systematically imprisoning his political enemies” and continue to shove the “Trump as Dictator” narrative down the throats of the public.

                    • (Replying to Jeff L.)

                      And this is the same group of people that that would in the next breath say that nobody should have guns; that anyone who’d think he’d have to take up arms against a tyrannical government systematically imprisoning its enemies is especially crazy and dangerous and must be disarmed first. That doesn’t happen in America, and besides, a rifle would do no good against tanks and planes, anyway.

                      The cognitive dissonance will be delicious. Hell, it’s already delicious.

                      I suspect that a few more people may wake up to the fact that the news media sells FUD first; that any telling of what’s happening in the world is only an incidental thing, absent its full original context in service to the FUD-selliing.

            • I never cared for Sun Tzu. Too logical, not enough common sense. Clausewitz was much better.

              Clausewitz, IIRC, pointed out that trying to win without losses–Sun Tzu’s ideal–would, in practice, cause a general to be afraid to attack. War is a bloody and imperfect thing. Sun Tzu was McClellan, Clausewitz was Grant.

              • True, Sun Tzu is not a Grant sort. He is more subtle. Minimizing casualties is not the same thing as being afraid to attack. Much of what he recommends is deception, which can be a sort of camouflage and also a sort of persuasion, lessons that can be applied in business. Hence the title of “The Art of the Deal.”

        • I just don’t know how to respond to this one except to say that both you and Ken have lost me completely. Imagining the modern Democratic party, which can’t even get it together to start impeachment proceedings against Trump, suddenly going all Pol-Pot…

          It’s like trying to imagine a jellyfish climbing Mt. Everest. Just not going to happen.

          • It’s like a cockroach: it’s not what they do is so bad, it’s what they fall into and fuck up.

          • >Imagining the modern Democratic party, which can’t even get it together to start impeachment proceedings against Trump, suddenly going all Pol-Pot…

            As Ken says: “They are trying to move the Overton Window in ways that put me and people I love in the kill zone.”

            Generally speaking, when people with aspirations to political power say in public that my kind should be exterminated, I think it is foolish and dangerous not to take them at their word, and begin counterplanning well before they have the capability.

          • >Imagining the modern Democratic party, which can’t even get it together to start impeachment proceedings against Trump, suddenly going all Pol-Pot…

            There’s another point to be made here.

            I don’t fear the Democratic Party.

            I fear the thing that uses the Democratic Party as one of its masks.

            That would be the same thing that beat up Andy Ngo in Portland, that broke Rand Paul’s ribs on his lawn, and that shot Steve Scalise on a softball field during a thwarted attempt to mass-murder Republican lawmakers.

            • “I fear the thing that uses the Democratic Party as one of its masks.”

              Stalin’s ghost?

              Sigh.

              • >Stalin’s ghost?

                “Ghost” isn’t a good term. Nor is the slightly fancier “egregore”. Both imply a kind of volition and consciousness it doesn’t have. It’s just a successful replicator evolving under selection, a kind of disease against which we have only weak defenses. Part of what makes it hard to fight is that there’s not any familiar language to describe it. We’re not used to things that behave like evangelical religions but have zero supernatural-belief content.

                Better: Stalin’s designer religion. Stalin’s mind virus. Stalin’s memetic weapon. Stalin’s Berserker, for people who know their classic SF. Except it wasn’t Stalin himself who created and launched this machine, it was the Active Measures departments of his security and propaganda apparat. As with a virus, it’s recognizable only by the consistency in what it does to the people it infects and the Marxist DNA in its payload.

                One of the symptoms of late-stage infection is totalitarianizing violence against unbelievers, just as with structurally similar religions.

                • >> “Part of what makes it hard to fight is that there’s not any familiar language to describe it. We’re not used to things that behave like evangelical religions but have zero supernatural-belief content.”

                  Okay, then why don’t we just name it so we have a starting point?

                  For something that rolls off the tongue fairly easily, is faintly mocking and and which the average person might get, I’ll throw out “seculigion” (secular + religion) as a first attempt. “Dogmania” (dogma + mania) and “ideomania” (ideology + mania) also occur, although I don;t think they work quite as well.

                  • [sigh]

                    Still having trouble loading and posting, only now I get taken to a generic-looking ibiblio page with the message “Sorry, the page you requested is missing or no longer on ibiblio.”

                    My comment got through even though I got taken there after hitting post, but I didn’t get the normal 5-minute window to edit. Otherwise I would have replaced that semi-colon in “don;t.”

                  • >Okay, then why don’t we just name it so we have a starting point?

                    “Seculigion” and “dogmania” sound very awkward to me, but I like “ideomania” a lot. That rolls trippingly off the tongue.

                    This may stimulate a blog post on how to distinguish ideomania from related concepts, notably religion.

                    • >> “This may stimulate a blog post on how to distinguish ideomania from related concepts, notably religion.”

                      That was the main reason I thought “seculigion” worked better, as the other two weren’t so clearly aimed at secular beliefs. That said, I’m no expert in rhetoric or word-smithing so I’m willing to defer on this one. Also, I can see how a general term focused on how bad ideas (religious or secular) spread and inspire such zealotry could be much more useful overall.

                      I’ll look forward to that post if you decide to write it.

                • The word you’re looking for is fideism: “a system of philosophy or an attitude of mind, which, denying the power of unaided human reason to reach certitude, affirms that the fundamental act of human knowledge consists in an act of faith, and the supreme criterion of certitude is authority.”

                  The exact beliefs that the authority demands are irrelevant; Marxism and modern leftism (its degenerate offspring) are fully fideist and atheistic at once. It’s the subjection of reason to authority that leads to war against infidels.

                • “It” does want to be fed, but if we’re talking in spiritual terms, you might consider how little it cares about which ideology does the killing.

                  But “reds under the bed” is not an effective way of communicating to anyone who’s actually looked at the damage communism does. That cat is out of the bag now, and smart people assume that everyone else knows it. When you start talking “reds under the bed” what I hear is “Wow. Eric didn’t notice all the rest of the people and their very negative re-evaluation of communism.”

                  At this point you’re the guy who sees someone talking about how we should ‘pass a law against predatory lending,’ or something similar, and your response is to call them a Commie. This bypasses the last forty years in which we all noticed what happened in Cambodia during the 1970s, or the economic miracle that is Cuba (/snark) or that the (geographically) largest country in the world couldn’t feed itself… At this point the “danger” of Communism is about the same as the “danger” of a guy saying, “I’ve got this bridge in Brooklyn, would you like to invest?”

                  Everyone knows it’s a con. But you haven’t figured out that everyone knows Communism is a con, so you’re standing on your soapbox screaming about Stalin, while the rest of us just want to pass a law against predatory lending, but otherwise keep capitalism intact.

                  • >At this point the “danger” of Communism is about the same as the “danger” of a guy saying, “I’ve got this bridge in Brooklyn, would you like to invest?”

                    Sure. Which is why social media remains completely open to all dissenting viewpoints. And it’s unthinkable that any major newspaper would publish a polemic arguing that the entire history of the U.S. is explained by slavery and attempts to preserve it. If you proposed a Democratic platform that amounted to “tax everything you don’t ban”, the Democrats would laugh at it. And nobody’s coming to take our guns – no serious politician would dream of trifling with the Second Amendment, let alone applying police-state tactics to do it.

                    Oh, wait. That’s from the timeline where a huge percentage of our overclass is not infected with Stalin’s ideomania. Never mind.

                    • Sure, there’s a ton of toxic waste and unexploded ordinance from the last memetic war, and it can be found everywhere, with origins from both sides. (All sides?) You got a big dose of the one which reads “Every social change after 1939 comes from the USSR.”

                      Or to put it a little more vividly, I sometimes imagine you wearing a dress, sitting in front of a stained-glass window and saying, Could it be… Stalin?

                    • >You got a big dose of the one which reads “Every social change after 1939 comes from the USSR.”

                      No, that’s too moronic even for a cultural conservative to believe, let alone me. The Soviets had nothing to do with (picking three of the top of my head) the Pill, the consequences of mass automobile ownership, or the Internet.

                    • I’d have to give you those, but dude, when it comes to communism you’re very much like Dana Carvey’s Church Lady. Start with the understanding that everyone who isn’t very stupid has long since given up on Marx and go from there.

                    • >Start with the understanding that everyone who isn’t very stupid has long since given up on Marx and go from there.

                      Jeeezus H. Keerist. Have you read anything coming out of American humanities academia in the last thirty years? Do the terms “World Systems theory”, “Critical Race Theory” or “Critical Legal Studies” mean anything to you? Know anything about the “inward turn” in cultural anthropology? Literary deconstructionism? Black-armband history?

                      Given up on Marx? These people are saturated in Marxist theory. It’s no accident that the Gramscian infection is nearest to total in the universities.

      • Whom should we believe: you, or all the people we’ve heard telling us how much they hate us for years on end?

        It’s not the least bit rational to dismiss as immaterial the draconian daydreams of folks who don’t bother to hide their hate for us. I don’t care if what they’re doing is just mental masturbation, not that I believe it is. If they thought they could get away with it, they would already have done it. It doesn’t matter, for example, that Beta O’Dork doesn’t have the chance of a floral dress in Hell at the presidency. The fantasy is so dangerous and the obscenity so flagrant that we cannot dismiss it as harmless. They are trying to move the Overton Window in ways that put me and people I love in the kill zone. Rationally, the only possible response is to get off the X and counter-attack through the ambush.

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  12. I agree with most of what Eric wrote above about China’s possible alternatives, and I think he’s right in every substantial fashion about what China shouldn’t/won’t/can’t do.

    What’s most interesting to me is the possible real-world economic consequences. Let’s imagine that China rolls into Hong Kong, not with heavy weapons, but with the strongest-possible crowd control – rubber bullets, tear gas, nets, etc. wielded by a dozen brigades of soldiers bent on occupation and subjugation… what happens then?

    At that point you don’t get military consequences, but you do get economic consequences, and at the very least China will find that other countries are boycotting Chinese products, both as governmental and personal decisions, and that suddenly it’s a lot harder to get a shipment through customs, move money around, and so on.

    So the minimum possible consequence is a recession, and the most likely consequences is a really bad recession with very little scope for recovery, as China will have lost a lot of it’s “nice-guy” credit, (Not that such credit is deserved; expect a lot more discussion of Uighurs/concentration camps and similar issues.) Companies like Apple, who are very sensitive to the “nice guy” issue will move manufacturing out of China, and Trump, sensing weakness, will certainly add another layer of tariffs.

    So in awareness of this, how does everyone think China solve the problem of Hong Kong? It seems to me that China is very worried over it’s possible internal weaknesses, and that China is currently on the wrong side of the Authoritarian/Permissive divide. But are they self-aware enough to understand that relaxing their grip might do a lot towards fixing the problem? Are the currently capable of devising some kind of diplomatic/non-authoritarian solution? I’d be really interested in everyone’s opinion.

    • Companies like Apple, who are very sensitive to the “nice guy” issue will move manufacturing out of China

      What planet have you been living on? Being sensitive to the “nice guy” issue means making some SJW noises and maybe deplatforming some “fascists” as an SJ offset when prompted. Moving manufacturing isn’t something you do overnight and by the time the night is over the news cycle has moved to something else.

  13. Ok, here’s my take on the China issue:

    Far from being a threat to China, the Hong Kong squabble is a huge opportunity for them. There is literally no downside.
    1. If they go in, and they will, and the economy doesn’t collapse, they can gloat at the US that it had failed.

    2, If the economy does collapse, it brings down the US economy with it. If this happens before November 2020, Trump is defeated for reelection; if it happens afterward, he is a lame duck like Bush in his second term. Either way, we get a far-left government in the next six years that will effectively be a Chinese satellite like North Korea (and very similar to NK in other ways as well).

    I can’t see China’s government falling just because of a depression. They had the Great Leap Forward, for God’s sake, and THAT didn’t cause the Mao regime to collapse.

    There’s this myth that America is this powerful nation. We’re “powerful” in the sense that France was powerful in 1939, or Persia was powerful when Philip was building a Macedonian army. Our president has no real power; the real powers, aka the Deep State, are active traitors; and so are the vast majority of young men of the age best to serve in combat. Our military is well-trained, yes, but shrinking rapidly as young men realize that joining it means living life as a pariah after your discharge.

    • Yeah, none of that is correct. China’s economy collapsing isn’t going to bring the US down, we have plenty of other places to buy cheap labor from. Furthermore, if the collapse of the Chinese economy is due to US sanctions enacted because of China’s crushing of Hong Kong, Trump can play any economic pain the US does feel as the necessary price to stand up to tyranny. That gets him 20% of the middle of the electorate easily.

      As for the idea that veterans are pariahs, that will need a couple of decades on the compost pile before I’d use it for fertilizer.

      • I’m not saying that veterans SHOULD be pariahs. I’m saying that they have been made into pariahs by the Millennial generation’s virtually unanimous hatred and loathing of them. I’m sure that many people in their 50’s still revere the military. I’m also pretty sure that 18-year-olds don’t stay for years in Third World hellholes, with terrorists trying to kill them (and often succeeding), so that they can marry 50-year-old women when they get out.

        • Millennial generation’s virtually unanimous hatred and loathing of them.

          Something so universal that I have never heard of it. I’m inclined to agree with Gauch that you are full of it.

        • Yeah I’m gonna concur with Ian here. I don’t see it from where I’m at. I’m a millennial myself, and can name friends (also millennials) who are active or retired military, and others whom respect them for it. Are you sure you’re not bitching about Gen Z instead of Gen Y? Or perhaps prone to a sampling bias that leaves you only ever seeing Leftists, who’s loathing for veterans has been a thing for generations now?

          • Gen Z

            It won’t be them. Gen Z is rebelling against the establishment…. which is the radical left.

            Or perhaps prone to a sampling bias that leaves you only ever seeing Leftists, who’s loathing for veterans has been a thing for generations now?

            A lot of what Ken says fits if we assume that he lives in some third world city on one of the coasts.

          • You haven’t been paying attention to tweeter have you. There’s a lot of anti-military sentiment, including from Gen Z members of the Trump coalition who see the military as just another part of the establishment deep state.

              • Here is an examples from Darren J. Beattie from this week repeating standard leftist accusations against defense contracters:

                link

                Then Raytheon and Boeing lobbyists and executives get to buy bigger houses—that’s what then.

                • Those are defense *contractors*, and having worked for Raytheon in Iraq and other places I wouldn’t cross the street to piss on them if their brains were on fire.

                  • Also, the reaction to the firing of Bolton. Or do you also buy into the whole Code Pink “evil warmonger” line?

                    • I hope you didn’t sprain your back or anything after moving those goalposts at a dead sprint. I’d say to stretch, but you are clearly quite proficient at that already.

  14. esr, this site is really broken. I saw your response on the last post about cert flakiness, but what I’m seeing goes beyond any TLS issues I’ve ever seen. And I’ve been going to http://esr.ibiblio.org/ anyway, not the https counterpart. Many times, I get a 200 response with 0 bytes of data. Other times, things will partially load. Sometimes a different WordPress theme appears. It’s bizarre.

    • >esr, this site is really broken.

      Yes, apparently all the other WordPress sites hosted there are seeing the same thing.

      The good news is the site admins always fix these things eventually. The bad news is that I am not aware that any of my bug reports have ever sped the process up.

      • I wouldn’t be surprised if significant chunks of the path between ibiblio and the browser are filthy with Tencent and Alibaba money, or are actively being attacked by parties receiving said money. In 2019 the net interprets wrongthink as noise and actively filters it.

        • >In 2019 the net interprets wrongthink as noise and actively filters it.

          The net doesn’t. Centralized social media does. The censorship is taking place at OSI level 7, not level 2.

          • You would’ve been correct before the Christchurch shooting. Cloudflare changed the rules of engagement. The infrastructure required to host a web site and keep it online is now political. If the providers upstream from you don’t like the message you’re transmitting, they may cut you off — and failure to adequately censor counts as transmission.

            • >You would’ve been correct before the Christchurch shooting. Cloudflare changed the rules of engagement.

              Cloudflare is not “the net”. They’re just one CDN. There are others.

            • ibiblio itself would be more likely to boot esr. Even before Christchurch, a former admin wanted ESR off of here, but didn’t get that wish.

              That said, I suspect this blog is flying under UNC’s radar. ESR, what’s your backup plan if you get the boot?

  15. The extradition bill has been withdrawn, so now Beijing is saying there’s no more reason for protests. Clearly they are both backing down, hoping to stop the protests, and setting the stage for a crackdown if protests continue.

    • >The extradition bill has been withdrawn, so now Beijing is saying there’s no more reason for protests.

      There are, of course, lots more reasons.

      Nevertheless, I hope the protests do cease – only to resume the next time the Communists push for more control. Right now, the fact that the protesters succeeded in facing down Beijing is something the rest of China needs time to absorb.

      • Of course there are many reasons, and I agree that it would be best for the protestors to declare victory and stop the protests for now. Better a small victory than a big defeat.

  16. Note for anyone who might be wondering about my assertion that the Chinese financial system is awash in bad debts: Read The Economist. They’ve been deep-covering this issue for years.

    And – duh! – Donald Trump is a real estate developer. He knows what those ghost cities mean. He knows how exposed the Chinese are.

    Interesting…

    • Not to mention the appalling standards (or lack thereof) of construction in China.
      Billions invested – a great deal of it regular folks money (hoping for retirement investment payout down the line) – and the buildings are crumbling in front of our eyes. Money utterly wasted & lost.
      The government and some corrupt developers make out like bandits, of course.
      Keep your investment dollars as far from China as possible. It is an immoral and profoundly corrupt nation.

  17. [Reply to above] Jeff L. wrote:

    And when those people go to jail, the media will report it as “Trump systematically imprisoning his political enemies” and continue to shove the “Trump as Dictator” narrative down the throats of the public.

    They will try, but I don’t think defending corrupt and convicted officials who spied on Americans, tried to fix an election, and tried to overthrow an elected President is going to play well. Very bad optics. It will look desperate, especially combined with Democratic Party favoritism towards illegal aliens and criminals in general. Trump has them boxed in, and they know it. It’s just a matter of time before the trap is sprung publicly and the general public notices.

    • Unfortunately, many in the general public get 100% of their news from CNN and MSNBC, and sincerely believe that FOX is lying when they report what’s really happening. Those are the people I worry about, and there is a disturbingly high number of them. The ones I know are otherwise very intelligent people, they just refuse to see. If the media has been able to fool that many smart people for this long, the dimmer bulbs out there don’t stand a chance of seeing the truth.

      • I think the elites are more susceptible to not effectively relating to the idea of fairness than common folk are.

  18. ESR: Recently the Grsecurity people got into another kerfuffle with the kernel team over some security fix. This reminds one that they are still violating the GPL blatantly and openly (by adding a “no redistribution or else” clause), what is your opinion on all this? When Bruce Perens pointed this out two years ago he was sued. The violations continue, and the linux copyright holders don’t dare utter a word against it, nor file suit.

    https://lkml.org/lkml/2019/9/9/4

    Subject: Why isn’t Grsecurity being sued for its long standing GPL violations?

    Hi, RMS and Bruce Perens;

    I noticed that recently Grsecurity’s Brad Spengler (who sued you, Bruce,
    for speaking the truth), decided to “Flex” and basically advertise while
    chastising the linux community:

    news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20874470

    Another poster then pointed out the history of Grsecurity’s copyright
    violations (as a derivative work that is restricting redistribution),
    but said he didn’t want to say to much, because he didn’t want to get
    sued. He referenced your good write-up on the situation:
    perens.com/2017/06/28/warning-grsecurity-potential-contributory-infringement-risk-for-customers/

    (Which has not changed)

    Why isn’t Grsecurity being sued for it’s copyright violations? They’ve
    been going on for years now. Clearly their scheme works: it can be shown
    to a court both the attempt to restrict redistribution was tendered (the
    agreement) and that said attempt has been successful.

    Also isn’t Open Source Security simply an alter-ego of Brad Spengler?
    Him being the only employee? Couldn’t the corporate veil be pierced and
    he be found personally liable for any damages?

  19. >“Seculigion” and “dogmania” sound very awkward to me, but I like “ideomania” a lot. That rolls trippingly off the tongue.

    “Ideomania” is a good term if we do need a new, single-word term. But I’d prefer a phrase of two existing words, if practical.

    We already have “civic religion,” and if the objection to calling socialism a religion is that it lacks supernatural-belief content, then how does socialism have any less supernatural-belief content than the American Civic Religion?

    • >We already have “civic religion,” and if the objection to calling socialism a religion is that it lacks supernatural-belief content, then how does socialism have any less supernatural-belief content than the American Civic Religion?

      There’s actually two different traits at issue here. One is presence or lack of supernatural content. The other is whether the belief system has the traits of evangelism and chiliasm.

      The American civic religion has neither. Marxism doesn’t have supernaturalism but does have evangelism/chiliasm. I think the latter trait is more important in understanding the success of its memetic-weapon variant and the toxicity thereof, which is why I like the term – ideomania – that points to those traits.

      • Neither evangelism (a requirement to preach the doctrine and win converts to it) nor chiliasm (a belief in a future earthly paradise) actually captures the aspect that makes a doctrine toxic. I could argue that the American “civic religion” actually has been evangelist a number of times, and even chiliast on occasion; but it isn’t toxic in the way Marxism is.

        Despite the religious association, fideism is the correct term for the concept you’re talking about. It’s logically independent from theism (or any other beliefs regarding the supernatural), as is clear not just from Marxism, which has the first and not the second, but from Orthodox Judaism, which has the second and not the first.

        The main fault IMO with “ideomania” is that, like “homophobia”, it presumes that those who believe in the concept are intellectually and morally defective, thus not worth taking seriously. As this sort of dismissal by nomenclature is an important tactic of the Left (and fideists in general) I don’t think it wise to import it into your analytic vocabulary.

        • >The main fault IMO with “ideomania” is that, like “homophobia”, it presumes that those who believe in the concept are intellectually and morally defective, thus not worth taking seriously. As this sort of dismissal by nomenclature is an important tactic of the Left (and fideists in general) I don’t think it wise to import it into your analytic vocabulary.

          Conclusion doesn’t follow from premise. I’m quite willing to Alinsky the hell out of the Left if that’s what it takes to break the hold of the ideomania. I’m like Trump that way, though he’s far batter at it than I am. See also: kafkatrap.

          • >> “I’m quite willing to Alinsky the hell out of the Left if that’s what it takes to break the hold of the ideomania.”

            I’m not entirely sure what door I’ve opened here, but I already know I like it. :P

      • Not sure if this affects your plans, ESR, but a little searching shows that I’m not the first person to ever come up with the word. The major online dictionaries don’t seem to have it but it did turn up in a couple of places.

        Here it’s defined as “obsession with an idea”: https://www.monalica.com/w/ideomania-441

        And here it’s defined as “excessive interest or love for ideas”: http://www.schoollead.in/mania-words-in-english/

        Ideophilia seems like it would be a better fit for these, though.

      • >> “There’s actually two different traits at issue here. One is presence or lack of supernatural content. The other is whether the belief system has the traits of evangelism and chiliasm.”

        ESR,

        I’ve been thinking about this and I’m not sure we should use these as defining traits for the concept. While the ideomanias we’re having the most trouble with right now (socialism, communism and Islam) do have these properties, they may not be universal.

        Regarding evangelism, there are other ways a bad idea can be adopted. For instance, a rebellious teenager may accept it because his parents believe the opposite.

        Regarding chiliasm, there are seductive ideas that don’t involve bringing about utopia but can still lead people to violence. For instance, “the world owes me something so I’ll just take it.”

        Should we define it along the lines of “ideologies that are both seductive and tend to lead to acts of aggression,” with the understanding that we’re mainly focused on a subset right now? Or do you think your way works better?

        • >Should we define it along the lines of “ideologies that are both seductive and tend to lead to acts of aggression,” with the understanding that we’re mainly focused on a subset right now?

          That is an interesting proposal and I will meditate on it as I prepare to post on the topic.

        • Other issue. Is Socialism really as free of supernatural as it claims to be?

          Why did Marx’s claim of forecasting from a mathematical model based on alleged historical data have credibility for those initial cohorts of Marxist socialists? ESR’s explanation of the credibility of the ‘mathematician as shaman divining Truth’ during the period has long seemed the answer.

          Consider economics, history, etc as ways of mapping the territory of an unknowable black box labeled ‘human society’ onto a space that a single human mind can comprehend. These imperfect maps are abstractions we use to aid decision making. But our decisions change the future state of the box, and odd crowd behavior can have sudden, unexpected alterations in the observed system dynamics. The preference cascade with the fall of Romanian communism, for example, was decisions based off of information that probably wasn’t being collected and analyzed more broadly than the individual level.

          If socialism is mysticism, it is a mysticism that looks at certain abstract mappings, concludes that they are the territory and whole dynamics of the territory, and seeks symbolic manipulation of the map in order to change the territory. There are a number of socialist behaviors that make sense as this sort of ritual.

  20. Stallman has been known to be pro-pedo for years now, and to have said/done all sorts of gross things for as long as he’s been around. He has… more than a touch of the tism which explains, but does not excuse, his behavior. Though honestly, you can’t drive him out of the FSF for the same reason why you can’t drive Linus out of Linux: He IS the FSF.

  21. Update https://boards.4channel.org/g/thread/72722126

    Vice News has picked up on the story, with a deliberately misleading headline https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/9ke3ke/famed-computer-scientist-richard-stallman-described-epstein-victims-as-entirely-willing

    This rag too if you’ve heard of it https://www.dailydot.com/irl/mit-richard-stallman-epstein-email/

    @Jeff Read :
    There are tales (and photos) of RMS having grown-up groupies but never heard of any rumors of that sort of thing… Minsky, who RMS was defending was the one in an actual position to have access. I don’t know whether RMS was ever more than merely obnoxious.

    Of course the SJW swarm doesn’t care about those details. They have chosen a target and are attempting to freeze and isolate it, and thirsty to take any other scalps they can. This attack was probably pre-planned (if quickly executed) as well.

    • I said RMS was pro-pedo, not that he was a pedo. His bizarre stance on “consensual pedophilia” was known about for years.

    • >There are tales (and photos) of RMS having grown-up groupies

      Can confirm. I wouldn’t, except that in present circumstances the myth that RMS is an unmitigated disaster with women could stand to be dispelled. He’s only an, er, mitigated disaster. Terrible skillz but he does have charismatic moments that can draw in a certain sort of geekgirl.

      There is even a small set of women who have been both RMS groupies and ESR groupies. OK, the reunion could be held in a phonebooth, but it is neither empty nor a singleton. Feel free to be amused or appalled by this.

      It is because that intersection set exists that I know there’s no malice in him. If he went over a line it was through cluelessness, not aggression.

      • The social justice types currently circulating this story around seem wholly incapable of appreciating the irony of the sign (“Richard Stallman, Knight for Justice… And Hot Ladies”) on his door. Granted, they have had their sense of humor surgically removed to eliminate anything that might inhibit their aggression toward white-supremacist-capitalist-patriarchy, but still.

  22. Given up on Marx? These people are saturated in Marxist theory. It’s no accident that the Gramscian infection is nearest to total in the universities.

    Any Marxist will tell you that the current preoccupation with identity politics has bugger all to do with real, actual Marxism. Marx saw all human action as fundamentally economic in nature, history as a succession of class struggles, and the structure and organization of a society determined entirely by its mode of production. SJWs have relatively little to say about class (outside of “the poor” as yet another marginalized group) and do not have anywhere near the command of understanding of the economic forces at play that a person who follows Marx has.

    And this is where you say: “B-but… Frankfurt School! Cultural Marxism!”

    And this is where we say that “cultural Marxism” is literal Nazi propaganda: the Nazi party used the doctrine of Kulturbolschewismus (“cultural bolshevism”) to explain away anti-Nazi sentiment as a sinister Frankfurt School (read: Jewish) conspiracy. By accusing anyone who opposes American capitalism of being part of, or used by, a similar conspiracy you are literally mindlessly repeating Nazi anti-Semitic tactical memes. At the very least you are failing to account for the fact that lots of people, independent of any Soviet memeplex, have discovered quite on their own that free markets don’t solve everything, and that mixed economies do much better than laissez-faire economies on key metrics like life expectancy, education level, level of overall happiness, and even social mobility.

    • One of the most annoying habits of the left is to simply deny the existence of embarrassing things. “Only whites can be racist.” “There’s no such thing as ‘political correctness,’ it’s just good manners.” “It’s just a stereotype that immigrants bring crime and diseases.” “The USSR wasn’t real communism.” And now we’re told that the self-proclaimed Marxists of the Frankfurt School, who focused on culture, weren’t really “cultural Marxists.” It’s just “Nazi propaganda.” That will come as a shock to Stuart Jeffries, author of Grand Hotel Abyss: The Lives of the Frankfurt School, which I recommend. (I don’t recommend The Devil’s Pleasure Palace: The Cult of Critical Theory and the Subversion of the West by Michael Walsh.)

    • >Any Marxist will tell you that the current preoccupation with identity politics has bugger all to do with real, actual Marxism.

      That’a quite correct. But the memetic weapon wasn’t designed to spread Marxism. It was designed to reduce the ability of the main enemy to resist the spread of Marxism. A subtle but important difference!

  23. (replying to Eugene Nier because the existing column is too narrow)

    Basically, Eugene, what I believe is that personal freedoms (including those disfavored by social conservatives) should be respected and expanded, while the economy should be left alone to percolate along driven by its engines, corporations large and small, unfettered by government interference to the maximum extent possible. I also believe in secure borders, with rigorous immigration enforcement, and a strong national defense.

    I consider myself a conservative with libertarian leanings. I think the full libertarian program cannot be made to work in the real world. Now, whether you think I’m a cuck or not, that’s what I think I am.

    • Yes, I’ve seen enough of your comments to know what your positions are.

      So can you actually answer the question I asked before: You claim to be a conservative, what do you actually believe in conserving?

        • Which is why they have been steadily ceding ground to the left (of which the SJWs are merely the latest incarnation) for decades. This is precisely what the word cuck was coined to describe.

          • All right, Mr. Arbiter of What It Means to be Conservative, just what do you think needs conserving?

            • Civilization, and all the traditions, institutions, and Chesterton’s fences necessary to maintain and transmit it to the next generation.

              The problem with libertine libertarians, such as yourself, is that they assume a society of rational agents, homo economicus, and expect the creation of new humans and their transformation into rational agents to just sort of magically take care of itself even as they undermine the institution traditionally responsible for it, namely marriage and the family. Instead it got outsourced to government schools and we ended up with snowflakes and SJWs.

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