Saturday, 23 February 2013

Weekend Linkage


Thursday, 21 February 2013

We Lost Another One...

Ponyboy bids us a fond farewell:
Yeah I'm shutting things down.Not sure if any of you noticed, I doubt it, but the twitter account was first to go.  I think I needed to delete something related to this whole "Ponyboy persona" to see how it felt before I deleted the big one.I'm the type of person when I make a decision, I've made it.  I don't waver, and I am typically anxious to act on it to move on to my next task rather than dwell on the decision. It's my personality I guess.So let me explain myself...See I fucked up.  I never should have let this go on as long as I did, and now it has become the undoing of the blog which I have enjoyed so much.See when I started this blog, I was in a different head space.  I needed the secrecy of the blog, otherwise it would have completely defeated the purpose of having it.  It was a cathartic outlet, like a journal of sorts.Well, I haven't really needed that secrecy since Summer.  But because I enjoy it so much I have kept doing it, while keeping the Mrs in the dark, and that's not right.
I only recently started reading Ponyboy's blog, and I found his take on things (and on banging his wife) to be immensely amusing and occasionally thought-provoking. I'm sorry to see him go. He's been a great contributor to the Manosphere and we need more like him.

Good luck to you, friend. Hope things work out the way you want them to and that you and the missus share many happy years together.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Of Loss and Purpose

Loss is often necessary for a man to confront his shortcomings, and to find his true purpose in life. I experienced just such a loss today, and it is forcing me to ask hard questions of myself and my achievements, such as they are, thus far in life. The answers are not pleasant.

My former protege came to me today and told me that she is leaving us, and soon. I took the news like a punch to the gut; she had been happy with the way things were going for her, and she showed and continues to show immense potential. But, an opportunity came up that she could not refuse, and when I realised that her intentions were good and her motives were genuine, I backed her decision unconditionally. The fact is, she will be far better off where she is going than she will ever be where she is today. In her place, I would have made the exact same choice, and I would have stood by it. Yet, her departure creates a professional and in some ways very personal void that cannot really be filled. All of that knowledge, potential, and skill is moving on. Our loss is certainly someone else's gain.


The reality is that I am soon to lose a colleague, a confidante, and a friend.


It is at times of personal loss that a man is forced to ask difficult questions of himself, his achievements, his very reason for being. I have certainly been doing my share of that of late.

At one level, I have achieved much to be proud of. I now lead a highly motivated, highly skilled team that I personally built and trained. I have designed solutions to problems that no one else could, during a time of severe crisis. I have salvaged businesses that others had all but written off. I have driven change and innovation in ways that no one could have foreseen. I have achieved all of this through hard work, persistence, blind stubbornness, and a dogged refusal to let problems go unsolved- all at immense personal cost. There is much to be proud of in that record.

In a wider context, though, all of these achievements seem hollow. It goes without saying that in a large organisation, all of the good that a man can do is quickly lost when he leaves through the sheer weight of bureaucracy. The reality is that the changes I have implemented will not affect more than a few dozen, perhaps a few hundred people. What I have done will not stand the test of time. And that, ultimately, is what I want: immortality.

Thus far, I have failed.

In the legend of Achilles, when it came time for legendary hero to decide whether to set sail for Troy, his mother Thetis relayed to him the momentous prophecy of his fate. Either he could stay in Thessaly, and live a long, happy, and quiet life, and die of old age and be forgotten, or he could sail to Troy, and become the greatest warrior and hero of all time, but die young and in a blaze of immortal glory. The details were left to the Fates, but the outcome was certain either way. That is the choice that every man faces: whether to strive towards fleeting glory, or to be content with mediocrity.

That message is precisely what was hammered home today with brutal and stunning clarity. The older I get, the less time I have to find and fulfill my ultimate purpose on this Earth, to achieve immortality.

My friend's decision to leave has reinforced this fact. While her true purpose in life is almost surely not going to be that of a high-flying corporate sales representative- for I have some idea of the cost that this exacts, particularly on women- I do believe that she is one step closer to achieving that purpose. I know that working for a large corporation is never going to achieve my true end in life; the route that a corporate drone's existence once offered to a comfortable life and retirement is gone, destroyed by years and decades of corporate malfeasance and government corruption at every level. I know that starting my own business, as I have long wanted to do, is fraught with risk, but I would rather take those risks than waste the rest of my life following some damn fool regulator's orders.

I do not fully understand what my true purpose is. I do not know what the Lord intends for me; I do not even know for certain that He exists, or if He even cares (I choose to believe that He does, on both counts- that is the very definition of faith). I do know, however, that the Lord would not intend for me to waste my life in meaningless and trivial pursuits. I do know that He intended His children to flourish and multiply, to use His gifts to the best of their abilities. And I believe that He would not want me to waste my life on pursuits that are secondary to what I already know is my true reason for being- to solve problems. What I do not yet know is how to create the specific circumstances that will allow me to spend my life solving difficult problems. All I know is that I was put on this Earth for a reason, and that I am running out of time to find that reason.

And that, ultimately, is all that any of us can do- to live our lives to the best of our ability, to make the most use possible of the time that is given to us, to be the best that we can be and to use the gifts that we are given.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Let's Play "Spot the Douchebag"

Actually, in this case, it's more like "Spot the One Guy Who Actually Did Something Good For His Country":

Yep, you guessed it- it's Andrew Jackson. The one guy who actually looks unhappy at what all of his successors have done.

Feminism and Economics

The two don't seem to work well together:
The reason "gender equality" stalled is because it is an economic impossibility.  The reason the average hours worked is so much higher than in the more "sexist" 1960s is because primarily there are more women in the workforce.  While immigration too plays a role here, the only significant effect native women have when they enter the labor force in greater numbers is to depress the price of labor.  Unlike immigrants, they don't bring in new consumption to help mitigate their wage-depressing effects; the reason real hourly wages peaked in 1973 and have been falling ever since is because that was the year that the number of men younger than 20 and older than 65 leaving the labor force was surpassed by educated, middle-class women entering it.

One-third of working class women have always worked.  The change brought by feminism is that now middle class and upper middle class married women work as well.  And the more women that work, the more women have to work and the less time women who don't work will have with their husbands who support them, because an INCREASE in the SUPPLY of labor necessitates a DECREASE in the PRICE of labor, demand remaining constant.

And to make matters worse, demand does not remain constant, but actually declines, because a woman who works is statistically much less likely to eventually become a wife and mother, and even when she does, she becomes one several years later and has fewer children.
Vox, as usual, hits a home run with this one. I cannot add much to the excellent economic and logical analysis that he has written here. All I can do is contribute my own observations based on what I've seen over the years.

Vox is absolutely right that adding women to the workforce will depress the wage rate for labour while working fewer hours. It's something I observe all the time in my own workplace. I'm privileged to work with very smart and very capable women (there aren't many of them, but they do exist). The fact is, however, that they do not work anything like the hours that the men do. Even my former protege would happily go home whenever I told her to take off- I would routinely tell her to get lost, since I could close the books myself and there was no point in having her staying for no good reason, and she would never protest. Contrast this with one of my male colleagues, who when he joined the team insisted on staying in every bit as late as I did to close the books, and even now stays after I do to ensure that everything is closed properly. The reality is that having women in the workplace both reduces the wages of everyone, by pushing down the price of labour through an increase in supply, and actualy reduces the demand for labour overall and over time by removing the fecundity necessary to keep a domestic labour force expanding.

As for this absurd belief that women are somehow paid less than men, analysis after analysis has shown that the wage gap is now a complete myth. Once you adjust for the fact that women take maternity leave, work fewer hours, and work less strenuous jobs than men do, they basically earn the same wages as men. The wage gap isn't 23 cents per hour- it's more like 4-7 cents per hour, at most. And these days, that wage gap is beginning to work in reverse, as men retire earlier or are laid off faster; women are now out-earning men in a variety of fields at an earlier age.

Vox also observes that feminism, and the insistence on wage equality with absolutely no sound logical basis whatsoever for the same, has resulted in a completely predictable unsustainable future for entitlement systems like Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid. Both of these gigantic vote-buying schemes were setup on extremely dubious actuarial grounds. President Roosevelt (the really crazy one) created Social Security purely to stop "any damn politician" from repealing his "achievements" as the father of the modern nanny state. President Johnson created Medicare and Medicaid as a vote-buying exercise during his "War on Poverty". And those systems are now more bankrupt than ever, in part because they were predicated on the (absurd) belief that population growth would hold steady, life expectancies for men and women would stay roughly the same, and taxes could increase at will to cover any shortfall.

Just a few (huge) problems with this logic: all of it is predicated on the idea that men do not respond to incentives. Sadly for government bureaucrats, we do. When confronted with the reality that women earn more than we do for working fewer hours and having less overall ability (I will readily admit that I'm generalising here- like I said, I've worked with a handful of truly exceptional women in my time), and given the massive and increasing taxes that we all face as part of our daily realities in the working world, men will increasingly choose to opt out of the system and reduce their workloads. Hell, I'm looking at my pay cheque and seeing its value dwindling rapidly, no matter how hard I work or how many hours I put in- I don't get paid one dime in overtime, so it doesn't matter whether I work 40 hours or 70 hours a week, and you can be sure that I will be taking that into account over the next year as I decide how best to use my time.

Vox's advice to women has always been: get married young, seek to build civilisation instead of destroying it. He is on Team Civilisation, like me. My advice to young women is similar. While I applaud hard work and initiative, the reality is that if you are an attractive and intelligent young woman today, you are going to be far better off raising a family and building a future for your people than by working 50 hours a week as a corporate drone, or working for the government (as many women do, because it offers greater job security). And, girls, look on the bright side- if you are indeed attractive, intelligent, and interesting to talk to- again, like my former trainee grad- you hold serious value in the sexual market place. Use that value to find yourself a good man, and bear him good children.

A Father to His Son

I really do wish that my own father had taken the time to explain things like this, in plain and simple fashion, to me at the same age:
If you find yourself attracted to a woman who declares herself a feminist at any point, seriously think of finding the door for her as quickly as possible.  The only exception here is if you find yourself with what I’d call a soft feminist.  She’s interested, as all fair-minded people should be, and as I’m sure you are, in equal pay and equal opportunity and equal treatment on any and all issues.  On the other hand, if there is anything more than this, where, for example, there is a show or expression of “attitude” toward men, then run from the woman, and as fast you can.  She’s going to be more fxxxing trouble down the line than you can possibly imagine, and it’s a guarantee that at this point in history it’s not the kind of trouble any man of sound mind wants to deal with.  Unfortunately, the West is now full of such women, and they are nothing but serious trouble, huge trouble in fact. Put differently, if you fxxx up, in their eyes, even a little, and even over something trivial, you could be looking at jail time.  And I don’t mean this metaphorically.  You are now living in a time in which things like sexual harassment and a woman feeling “uncomfortable” and even her imagining that you physically or mentally abused her at the very moment that you are literally in the wilds of Borneo catching butterflies will get you arrested.  If you think I’m exaggerating, then I suggest we talk at length, and I will give you a hundred first-hand stories, and not a one of them will be an exaggeration or one of my fictions.  So, women who want to talk about having to live in a “paternalistic society,” and talk of “men the oppressor,” and who peddle horseshit about one in four women in universities being “sexually assaulted”—these kinds of women are literally dangerous to your mental health, your financial health, and your physically health.  My advice to anyone your age, and my age too for that matter, is: Stay the fxxx away from these women.  They’re just plain toxic.  In the workplace.  In grocery stores where once upon a merry time it was a great place to find a pickup fxxx for the night.  At parties whether they are only serving tea.  And most of all don’t find yourself in any kind of a relationship with women who have been indoctrinated in women’s studies programs by man-hating women, the scum of scum in America today.  Don’t even go near these university indoctrinated women for a dick-satisfying one-night fling; they have the power, literally, to come back to you six months or a year later and formally charge you with rape, for the sole reason that one morning they missed their period and had too much to drink and remembered that the one night they screamed and scratched in ecstasy and wanted more you only gave them one instead of two kisses upon getting out of bed to leave.  Anything remotely like the filing of a formal rape charge and you are fxxxed big time.
Go read the whole thing. And if you're a father, read it to your son when he comes of age and becomes a man. You'll be doing him a huge favour.

His Palantir Might Need Cleaning

VDH looks into his normally spotless crystal ball and sees a silver lining:
There are reasons for pessimism about the world in general and America in particular, which is more divided politically than at any period since the turbulent 1960s—torn apart by fresh arguments over the Second Amendment, the debt, the federalization of health care, and proposed amnesty for illegal aliens. Still, the general despair does not mean that there are not reasons for optimism, especially when we compare our lot with that of other countries. The United States still enjoys the most robust demography of the major Western industrial nations. Its Constitution ensures a political stability not found elsewhere. There is no danger of political dissolution of the sort that the European Union faces. We have been spared the riots and turbulence of Greece.
...
Despite high labor costs, overregulation, and increasing taxation, American tech companies profit from an informal and meritocratic culture that rewards talent more than it relies on hierarchies of birth, class, and tribe so common abroad. While American public school education is in crisis, and although the humanities have been politicized on our college campuses, American math, science, engineering, and professional schools in business and medicine still remain preeminent. That explains why in a recent Times Higher Education ranking of world universities, eight of the top ten institutions were American. California alone had more universities—Berkeley, Cal Tech, Stanford, and UCLA—among the top fifteen ranked campuses than any single nation except the United States as a whole. 
Bouts of collective pessimism are common in America, and the current episode of collective depression is understandable given our mounting debt and unsustainable entitlements. But we should remember one thing. In the past, when we feared seemingly great rising powers—from the dynamic Germany of the 1930s, to the Soviet juggernaut of the 1950s that put a man into space, to the supposedly unstoppable Japan, Inc. paradigm of the 1980s, to the much admired post-national European Union collective of the 1990s— all such rivals eventually imploded or sputtered. America, meanwhile,  recouped and regained its preeminence in peace and war.
Victor Davis Hanson is a great historian. His insights into California's future (Mexifornia) was brilliant. His classic work on warfare in ancient Greece (The Western Way of War) is, as far as I'm concerned, required reading for any student of history. In this case, however, I really do think he's looking at the world through rose-tinted glasses.

America has only been spared the riots of Greece because it still has control over its own currency, which allows it to devalue at will. Its social cohesion is decreasing by the day as its border states become battlegrounds between Mexican cartels and what remains of the law enforcement infrastructure.  The demographic changes that turned what should have been a slam-dunk election victory for Republicans into a farcical defeat will eventually split this country apart- Vox Day has predicted that this will happen as soon as 2033, and I'm not about to bet against that man. America's spending is mind-boggling; there is no sense of accountability or responsibility in government and there has not been for decades. This country's biofuels program is a gigantic waste of time, money, and valuable land . While America has certainly done well to exploit the natural riches of the Bakken formation, and its hydrofracking innovations have caused natural gas prices to collapse (to the definite benefit of consumers), it's only a matter of time before the idiot liberals who run this country will seek to cripple that industry as well. The higher education industry is in a massive bubble right now, and I'm just waiting for its collapse to show the world that the universities of this nation are peddling vastly overpriced degrees in an industry heavily shielded by government from internal and external competition.

I have great respect for Dr. Hanson's take on things. His erudition and skill as a scholar is second to none. In this area, though, I must disagree with his unduly optimistic take on the future and agree instead with Vox's rather more nihilistic view. The one area where I do agree with VDH is that the future is not necessarily all that bleak. Even if the USA does, as I expect, break apart into three or four disparate groups of states united largely by political ideology- one socialist, one capitalist, and one neither here nor there- that dissolution will present opportunities as well as challenges. The part of the country that chooses to honour the Constitution will be the bit of the country that true lovers of freedom will want to live in, and where businesses will want to be.

The Welfare State and Islam

The reality of Islam is that it is a political ideology first and a religion second. When you remove the political component of Islam, and de-fang its core ideology of expansion through warfare, Islam becomes pretty much harmless, exactly as Islamophile and counter-insurgency expert (and young convert to Islam) Christian Snouck Hurgronje documented.

However, when you give Islam political power, do not then be surprised when its ugliest aspects come to the fore:
A controversial Muslim cleric who lives off benefits is urging his followers to also sponge off UK taxpayers by claiming their 'Jihadseeker's allowance'.
Anjem Choudary, who in the past has planned to disrupt the minute's silence on Remembrance Sunday, also openly mocked hard-working Britons, calling them 'slaves'.

The Sun newspaper secretly filmed him saying Islam will overrun Europe, David Cameron and Barack Obama should be killed and calling the Queen 'ugly'.

The father-of-four takes home more than £25,000 a year in benefits and lives in a £320,000 house in Leytonstone, East London.
He told a crowd of around 30 fanatics: 'People will say, 'Ah, but you are not working'. But the normal situation is for you to take money from the kuffar (non-Muslim).

'So we take Jihadseeker's Allowance. You need to get support.'
In another video a grinning Choudary is recorded telling his disciples that it is justifiable to take money from non-believers.
He said: 'The normal situation is to take money from the kuffar. You work, give us the money, Allahu Akhbar (God is great).
I am continually astounded by the willful blindness of those who continue to claim that Islam is somehow a "religion of peace" and that is core message has been "hijacked" by "extremists". Islam is not a religion, it is a political ideology. Islam is not peaceful, warfare against unbelievers is an absolutely integral part of its worldview. There is no such thing as "extremist" Islam, there is only Islam; claiming otherwise is like claiming that the death of Christ on the cross was just a politically motivated murder and not the ultimate sacrifice to bring redemption to untold billions.

This particular episode is just the latest in a long string of evidence that in a rational world would show the world exactly what Islam's core ideology entails. Under Islamic law, Muslims cannot be taxed (go look it up), which is why taxes are levied on kafir (unbelievers), and which is also why an Islamic state has to be in permanent expansion mode (again, go look it up). What Anjem Choudhary is advocating is not extreme, it's part of what makes Islamic law what it is. When you combine a welfare state with a large population of Islamic immigrants, you have the perfect recipe for disaster. Islamists do not consider welfare to be a temporary means of supporting themselves until they find productive work. They consider it lawful and just tribute from unbelievers to the shahid (witnesses) of Allah's laws. Bottom line: political influence and Islam do not mix well.

I know this better than most. I lived in Indonesia for the better part of a decade, in a very moderate part of the country (which has since turned rather more hardline; it's funny how deposing an iron-fisted secular dictator tends to do that). The Muslims that I knew there were perfectly decent, ordinary people- but their religion was kept in check by being forced out of the political process. When you combine a welfare state with political influence and mass Islamic immigration, the mix becomes toxic to the host nation very quickly. Britain is only now discovering this. Sweden and Holland are pretty much lost cases now. American cities like Detroit and Minneapolis are getting there, fast.

[I suppose at some point I should try to distinguish between Muslims who emigrate in order to make better lives for themselves and those who seek to export their virulent ideology, but the fact remains that Islam is what it is. If you know individual Muslims, you probably find them to be perfectly normal people who just want to be left alone, and that is for the most part true. I guess the best guiding rule is, "do not judge Islam by Muslims you know, and vice versa".]

Immigration is Not the Answer

As one of the world's most open economies is beginning to discover:
Singapore may well serve as a case study for what happens when leaders try to offset slowing economic growth with immigration and increased birth rates. There are lessons that Japan or Italy would do well to study. All of it is turning into a political liability for Lee, the son ofLee Kuan Yew, who is regarded as the father of modern Singapore.
The erosion in his party’s popularity is accelerating after the release Jan. 29 of a white paper that contained the 6.9 million figure, which it calls a projection, not a goal. Lee Hsien Loong has since said the number of people will be “significantly” lower than the report suggests. Will Singaporeans buy that?
“The new population policy is anti-Singaporean and it threatens our existence and livelihoods,” says Gilbert Goh, 51, an advocate for unemployed citizens and an organizer of a protest planned for this week.
Sadly, some of the rants one reads in the media and online veer toward xenophobia. If Singaporeans are so livid, they should stop supporting Lee’s party. After all, isn’t the government, by seeking to import more human capital, telling its own people that they lack the skills to compete? Anyone who doubts Singapore is serious only has to look at accelerating efforts to reclaim land from the sea for development, giving the city the room for population growth.
The real question, as public angst rises, is whether the opposition is justified. Former United Nations demographer Joseph Chamie says it is. To Chamie, the view that it’s almost always better to have more and more people is the human equivalent of what Bernard Madoff did with money, something he calls “Ponzi demography.”
The human-pyramid scheme works like this: Population growth, either through births or immigration, boosts demand for goods and services, increases borrowing, boosts tax revenue and adds to corporate profits. Everything seems grand and leaders take a bow. It’s a bubble, though, and it eventually bursts when population growth stalls. Incomes top out, high debt crushes consumption and investment, the need for public assistance rises, environmental degradation increases and angry people take to the streets.
That didn't take as long as I expected. Singapore, as I've stated before, is my favourite place on Earth. I have a long history with that island nation. I have family ties to it. I love going back there. And I can verify every single word of that Bloomberg article.

Singapore's government basically tried immigrating their way out of their population problem. Singaporeans weren't having babies, due in no small part to the one-child policies put in place during the first 30 years of the country's history. And now they're beginning to realise that this is a spectacularly stupid idea.

Whenever I go back to Singapore, I have a hard time recognising the place. The entire island is basically one giant construction site these days. While I love to see the progress and the growth, I know full well that a lot of that growth is artificial. The influx of foreigners into Singapore has not been a net boon for the island. The values that created Singapore are not shared by those foreigners- an outcome that anyone living in America's Southern states could have told you all about. The things that make Singapore special- an open economy, low taxes, a great environment for doing business, a hyper-efficient public infrastructure- will be degraded and destroyed by the deliberate strategy on the part of the government to grow their way out of their problem using shortcuts.

This is a lesson that America needs to learn also, and fast. Counting on Hispanic and Islamic immigrants to grow your way out of trouble is a fool's gambit. It's not going to work, and the end result will be a divided country where the Constitution will mean even less than the paper it's printed on.

Bang Your Head!!! IRON MAIDEN EDITION

Let's get one thing straight. IRON MAIDEN is the greatest band of all time. End of discussion. There is NO argument permitted, at all, ever, on this subject.

With that in mind, here is a selection of the most eminently headbangable MAIDEN songs- and believe me, it's extremely difficult to narrow it down to just 5 (videos down the bottom):

  1. "Where Eagles Dare" from Piece of Mind
  2. "Aces High" from Powerslave
  3. "Out of the Silent Planet" from Brave New World
  4. "Run to the Hills" from The Number of the Beast
  5. "The Talisman" from The Final Frontier





Music Review: Straight Out of Hell by HELLOWEEN

Power metal is a much-maligned sub-genre of heavy metal; it's known for being ridiculously over-the-top, full of swords-and-sorcery themes, and cheesier than a Swiss fondue. This is unfortunate, because the progenitors of the genre are true innovators, legends in their own time; the legion of imitators that they spawned, however, managed to reduce the genre down to a self-parody. Bands like GAMMA RAY, RUNNING WILD, and of course the legendary HELLOWEEN are still more than capable of showing all of the undeniably talented younger bands- CRYONIC TEMPLE, POWER QUEST, RHAPSODY OF FIRE, FREEDOM CALL, and so many others- how it's done.

So it is with HELLOWEEN'S newest album, 2013's "Straight Out of Hell". This band has certainly seen its share of ups and downs. After creating the blueprint that everyone else would follow in the 1980s, they spent the first half of the 90s making a complete hash of things. It wasn't until 1995 that they began to get back on track. Eighteen years later, they're back where they have always belonged- at the top of the pile, joyfully and effortlessly showing everyone else how it's done. The only other band that has this kind of influence and history is GAMMA RAY, and that's because GAMMA RAY is headed by the great-granddaddy of power metal, the legendary Kai Hansen himself.

The new HELLOWEEN album has thirteen tracks of pure power metal badassery (15 if you got the limited edition, which I did). And I'm delighted to say that there isn't a single bad track on the entire album. This album is far more consistent and enjoyable than the previous two, which were solid but not brilliant. This one, however, is their best album since "Keeper Pt 3". It's a full hour of power metal genius. This band sounds revitalised, happy, and full of energy, and it really shows in the music.

Things kick off with a needle-sharp hook that starts up the track, "Nabatea", which is both catchy as hell and rather interesting lyrically, referencing the history of the ancient kingdom of Petra. I'm not exactly sure whether that history is accurate, but hey, it's heavy metal, it's all good fun. "World of War"  is just pure speed, showing off everything we all love HELLOWEEN for- power, precision, instrumental skill, and vocal histrionics. "Live Now" is one of those power metal anthems that HELLOWEEN does better than anyone else- think "Power" from The Time of the Oath and you've got the idea. "Far From the Stars" is, again, just pure power metal joy.

Then we get into the first truly brilliant track off the album- "Burning Sun". This song is one of the best that HELLOWEEN has ever written. It's about a lunatic who "just wants to be a spaceship and steer the ship to the Sun". The trend continues with "Waiting for the Thunder", a powerful melody-driven track with some real lyrical genius in it and phenomenal mid-paced drumming. The track "Hold Me in Your Arms" is one that only this band could pull off; most power metal bands make their ballads completely sappy and stupid, but these guys somehow manage to prevent these songs from descending into mawkish absurdity. The quirky humour that HELLOWEEN are known for makes itself felt in "Wanna Be God", which is not only hilarious but catchy as f***. They successfully manage to avoid the silliness that tripped them up on albums like Pink Bubbles Go Ape and Chameleon

And then we get to the title track, which is flat-out genius. It's mid-paced, lyrically brilliant, full of great melodies, and so catchy that the CDC will probably quarantine it at some point. This track, along with "Burning Sun" and the next track, "Asshole" (which is truly hilarious), is one that I cannot wait to hear live.

After this uninterrupted run of epic quality, we get to the tail end of the album where things get a little bit more mature. "Years" has lyrics that sound like they were written by a bona fide Red Pill addict. "Make Fire Catch the Fly" is a darker-sounding track that probably wouldn't have been out of place on "The Dark Ride" album. The album (or at least, the standard edition) ends with "Church Breaks Down", which is one of the more political (and frankly historically inaccurate) tracks that the band has written- basically about how the Church retards scientific progress in the name of God. This is pure nonsense, as anyone who actually knows anything about the Church would be able to tell you, but then my impression of songwriter/guitarist Sascha Gerstner is that he's a bit of a liberal, so it's not surprising.

Overall, the best songs are the ones written by the veteran songwriters of the band- Andi Deris, Michael Weikath, and of course Marcus Grosskopf, who wrote the entire title track and did a phenomenal job with it. If you got the limited edition, he also did a fantastic job with "Another Shot of Life", another great mid-paced metal anthem that I cannot wait to hear played live. And things are nicely rounded out by a killer Hammond-organ-inflected version of "Burning Sun", dedicated to the late, great Jon Lord.

I cannot recommend this album highly enough. I loved the last two albums, but they just didn't grab me half as quickly or as easily as this album did. It's a true return to form for one of the legends of this genre, and I'm seriously looking forward to the Hellish Rock tour later this year, when HELLOWEEN hits the road with GAMMA RAY for the second time in 5 years.

Verdict: 5/5, pure unadulterated genius

KILLER KUTS:

  • Nabatea
  • Burning Sun
  • Waiting for the Thunder
  • Wanna Be God
  • Straight Out of Hell
  • Years

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Weekend Linkage



Happy long weekend- thank the Lord for otherwise pointless holidays like President's Day.

Book Review: Domestic Enemies: The Reconquista by Matthew Bracken

As noted previously, I read Matthew Bracken's first foray into dramatic fiction with some interest, and found his first book to be full of interesting ideas but flawed in its execution. I picked up his second book expecting rather more of the same, but was quite pleasantly surprised when I discovered that many of the problems with his first book have been largely resolved in Domestic Enemies: The Reconquista.

The book's premise is interesting to begin with. It starts off five years after the events of EFAD, and the United States of America are hardly even recognisable as such. The country is suffering from a massive economic depression, caused by the bursting of a huge derivatives bubble which has destroyed virtually every major bank and required the Federal Reserve to backstop the entire country with fiat money built on nothing more than thin air. Hyperinflation inevitably follows, with gold rising to over $75,000/oz in the old greenback currency. The Fed craps the Zimbabwe Solution out of its ass and proceeds to wipe it off with the Constitution, enforcing a new "blue buck" currency that exchanges the old greenbacks at a rate of 10 to 1. Meanwhile, down south, the results of decades of virtually untrammeled immigration have come to a head. Mexican immigrants and agitators are seeking to recreate some mythical land called "Aztlan", populated by La Raza and governed in accordance with the very best traditions of Marxism-Leninism.

(Does any of this sound like what we're going through now?)

Into this rather bleak future comes Ranya Bardiwell, the heroine of the first book, escaping from a detention centre where she was held for five years after giving birth to her son. She goes on a single-minded quest to get her son back, and the book follows her adventures throughout the state of New Mexico- sorry, Nueva Mexico- as she meets a rather interesting cast of characters along the way. The book alternates between various points of view, too- an antagonist from the first book survives to make his return here, and the adoptive father of Ranya's son, Brian, gets a fair amount of time as a point-of-view character as well.

This book doesn't try to paint things in shades of grey, which suits me just fine. The protagonists are portrayed as intelligent, resourceful men and women who are trying to stay alive and safe in spite of a government that seeks to strip them of every liberty, while being pitted against a massive invasion and revolution taking place in America's southern states. The antagonists are portrayed as midwitted egalitarians, rakishly devious, or even as outright thugs. The character of Ramos Basilios, for instance, is depicted as a sort of New Mexican Che Guevara- and anyone who knows what a coward and psychopathic butcher the real Che Guevara was, can appreciate the comparison.

Bracken doesn't pull any punches with his writing, either. His take on government workers is even more hostile than my own. The prison warder at Ranya's detention facility, for instance, is a lesbian who uses sexual favours to get her way with women at the facility. The first prison guard you encounter sounds like the kind of poorly educated, ebonics-spewing lowlife that you find at your average DMV facility. The new regional Director of Homeland Security is nothing better than an intelligent thug, and a massive hypocrite at that. One particularly graphic scene roughly in the middle of the book, in which one antagonist basically engages in a homosexual act with a perfect example of what Lenin once called a "useful idiot", nearly made me puke. (Which would have been a bit of a problem, given that I was waiting for a train at the time.)

What I like best about this book is its view of the future. It's a bleak one, make no mistake. This country is going to hell in a handbasket, and Bracken clearly sees the same future that I do. The book spends a lot less time going through personal character histories and a lot more time building a realistic, believable environment that is very similar to what people like me think is going to happen in the US in the not-too-distant future. The writing has been tightened up considerably. The Lara Croft-like attributes that I found rather absurd for a 21-year-old kid in the first book are gone. In their place we see a driven, determined, and frankly rather more interesting 26-year-old woman. There is more precision to the language, and more emphasis on making the story believable as well as entertaining.

Overall, this is a vastly improved effort compared to his previous book. I've just started on the third book in the trilogy, Domestic Enemies and Traitors, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing what Bracken can do with that material.

Verdict: 4.2/5; not quite perfect but a huge improvement over the previous book

Why Anarchocapitalism Cannot Work

(Note: This post was written in two parts with about 9 hours of extremely necessary sleep in between them, so if it seems a little disjointed or the publication time doesn't jive with events described, it's not your imagination.)

God's Teeth, but I do love eating Paleo. One of the absolute best things about it is the weekly "cheat meal" on Saturdays, which allows a hopeless wino like me to eat whatever the hell I feel like- and, more importantly, drink as much of God's Blood and God's Spirit as I want without feeling the least bit guilty about it. For whatever reason, I seem to be quite productive when pleasantly buzzed on several glasses of wine, beer, and God-blessed Scotch, too, which is why I wanted to put pen to paper (so to speak) regarding a topic that's been on my mind for some time now.

As anyone who has been keeping up with these posts can surmise by now, I hate government. I hate what it stands for. I hate what it does to people. I hate the methods it uses to exercise its power. I hate its very existence. Yet, I have never quite been able to bring myself to accept the idea of a land without government; to me, government is a foul but often necessary evil that has to be endured but kept strongly confined. This may, at first, seem like an utter contradiction in terms- how can one truly despise the existence of government and yet simultaneously accept that existence? The only real way to answer that question is to investigate whether a world without government of any kind is possible.

On the surface of it, the answer should be "yes". Examples abound of "spontaneous order", a concept that is very probably as old as civilisation itself. When rid of the rotten and corrupting hand of government, befouling all it touches, free people are more than capable of deciding for themselves how best to allocate their own time and resources to achieve ends that are as beneficial as possible to themselves. Empirical studies on this subject have found that in settings as diverse as maximum-security prisons, WWII POW camps, roads without traffic lights, and the Wild West (which was actually more peaceful and better ordered than most big cities of the time), people were able to adjudicate among themselves and establish a sort of spontaneous order that required no outside intervention or influence in order to effect a stable form of economic order that matched supply of goods and services with demand for the same.

There is a lot to like about the concept of anarchocapitalism. Probably the very best book on the subject is one that I've been reading on and off for some time now- Democracy: The God that Failed, by the brilliant Prof. Hans-Herman Hoppe. In this book, via a series of interconnected essays and discussions on the nature and responsibilities of government vis-a-vis the maintenance of economic order, Prof. Hoppe builds a logically valid and (almost entirely) sound case for the minimisation and dispersion of government insofar as possible to the individual level. The basic idea of anarchocapitalism is that there is no state- i.e. no real government, no central authority, with every man a fully responsible and autonomous individual.

If this idea could work, then it would be truly wonderful to see in practise. Think about it for a moment. Every man would be quite legitimately able to own firearms. There would be no income tax whatsoever. Fiat money would be an absurdity, with gold, silver, or some other legitimately useful substance used for sound currency. People would band together for their own mutual interest and defence, forming communities as and when necessary, unmolested by the hand of government to do as they please and to live their lives happily free from unwanted outside interference. Perhaps the finest example I have ever seen of this idea put into concrete terms comes from a brilliant web-comic (now very sadly defunct) called "Escape from Terra". [If you have the time, I strongly recommend that you spend a few days reading from the very first strip on down to the last, for it will really open your eyes to the possibilities available to an anarchocapitalist society. It's a comic for thinkers.]

It all sounds truly brilliant- a society founded on the Non-Aggression Principle, dedicated to the idea that Man is sovereign over himself and himself alone, that accepts and understands the indisputable fact that no man, power, or body can fully organise and manage any economy or set of decisions (a concept beautifully illustrated by Leonard Read's outstanding essay, "I, Pencil").

Unfortunately, there are a few problems with this concept in practise that make anarchocapitalism at best a distant dream.

First, and foremost, is the fact that an anarchocapitalist society is a Lake Wobegon society- a place in which everyone is above average. As far as I can tell, in order for anarchocapitalism to work, everyone in the society would have to have a minimum IQ of at least 120. The reason for this is simple: the stupid and mentally infirm cannot be counted upon to look after themselves, and those of no better than average intelligence will always and inevitably seek to take from those who have more than they do, through whatever means of force (whether legitimate or not) are available to them. They will do this because they have not the wit, wisdom, or intelligence to understand that the property of others is sacrosanct and cannot be infringed; they will always fall prey to the siren song of "fairness". This has been borne out throughout history, repeatedly, and the lessons of the past tell us very clearly that the weak and the stupid will inevitably overwhelm the rest of us through sheer force of numbers. There are very good historical and cultural reasons why an AnCap society would never work in large parts of Asia. Or South America. Or Africa, come to think of it. The AnCap way works very very well when applied to a very specific period in time and a very specific people- a deeply religious, highly productive, industrious people with a tradition of individual liberty in their very bones, such as the colonists who came to God's Country and built America upon its lands.

Second, an anarchocapitalist society can only work with a largely homogeneous people. Anarchocapitalism and nation-states cannot coexist- the very concept of a nation-state makes no sense whatsoever in an anarchocapitalist society. However, people do have collective identities to which we attach ourselves, and quite strongly at that; all of us identify very closely with a certain set of collective values, whether they be values of a family, a religion, or a nation. If the people who hold those values are largely homogeneous, and remain that way for an extended period of time, then a non-existent state is not only possible, but probable. The moment you introduce immigrants, with their often complicated historical and parochial baggage added to the mix, things become very complicated very quickly. This is precisely what happened in the USA during the 150 years after the Revolution. The Founders of this country were descended from English and Dutch Protestants- God-fearing men who were simply trying to reclaim the rights that they viewed as being theirs from birth simply by virtue of being citizens of the British Empire. When Scandinavian and German immigrants came to this country, bringing with them a love of statist solutions to individual problems, that beautiful dream began to transform during the Progressive Era. And today, with basically untrammeled immigration between Mexico and the USA- and you people aren't importing the Mexican elite, who are basically indistinguishable from modern white Spaniards- your country is rapidly going the way of ancient Rome and will almost surely collapse entirely with the span of a single generation.

Third, anarchocapitalism works if and only if property rights are absolutely maintained. If property rights are not maintained- if, for instance, someone decides to break the Non-Aggression Axiom simply by virtue of having bigger guns and more ammunition than you have- then the entire basis for an AnCap society simply falls apart. And property rights can be maintained only if all obey the Non-Aggression Principle to the absolute letter. The moment anyone deviates from the NAP, even for a short time, the entire basis for an AnCap society falls apart. The best theoretical demonstration for this comes from game theory, during multi-period games like the Repeated Prisoner's Dilemma, in which the optimal strategy may actually be for one party to break with the one-shot strategy of mutual cooperation in favour of the short-term strategy of non-cooperation, depending on the punishments and "trigger strategies" involved. (It's complicated, go look it up.)

Fourth, as indicated above, anarchocapitalism cannot work with nation-states. The two are mutex. Anarchocapitalism entails complete freedom of trade, movement, and action- the very things that nation-states exist to prevent. And it is by no means certain that complete free trade is an unrestricted good. Vox Day's criticism of the Ricardian analysis of free trade can be found in The Return of the Great Depression, and it is an excellent rebuttal to the idea that unlimited free trade, and unlimited movement between lands, is also an unlimited boon. The evidence of free trade tells us that it is most suited for small, open, trade-based economies with limited natural resources (like Singapore or Hong Kong), and rather less suitable for countries like the USA or China. As long as the concept of a nation-state exists- and it will do so as long as humanity divides itself along racial, ideological, spiritual, and/or economic lines- the core elements of an AnCap society will never be practical.

Fifth, some legal foundation has to exist for a society to function. It is all very well to claim in grand fashion that natural rights are all that are needed for a man to be happy- and, if one were to strictly obey the Commandments of God and the restrictions of the rights to life, liberty, and property, he would be a happy and contented man. The problem comes in the details. If you have a contract of employment with your employer, who upholds the legality of that contract? If you have a rental agreement with your landlord, who enforces those provisions? If you buy a home from a bank, does the bank have the right to storm your house and repossess it by force when you fall behind on the mortgage payments? This is why we have government- to apply a universal standard of contractual rights that are established between the people and their State, with the people being the ultimate arbiters and defenders of those contractual rights. Where you have gone horribly wrong is in letting your government write its own laws, beholden to nothing and no one, pretending that democracy is somehow different from outright mob rule.

As a paleolibertarian, I have great respect for the idea of anarchocapitalism. I could discuss the idea and its merits for hours. The reality is, though, that AnCap will almost surely never be implemented on any meaningful scale. The reason is given right there in your own Declaration of Independence:
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
Within that beautiful document of timeless wisdom, this one sentence tells you all you need to know about the nature of ordinary men. The hard fact is that most people don't care enough about their freedoms to fight for them. It is unrealistic to expect that an AnCap society is going to be built upon such men and women. Never forget that "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty". In an AnCap society, every last man, woman, and child would be needed to hold the line against those who will inevitably come to take those freedoms. How many people do you know who would be willing to pay that price?

Anarchocapitalism is a beautiful idea. I would like few things better than to see it implemented successfully in real life. But experience and human nature tell us that such a society would be short-lived at best.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Ten Lessons Learned from Pistol Shooting

Just got back from a day-long basic handgun course. It's colder than a witch's tit outside, and it's actually going to get worse (somehow) over the next couple of days, so I figure I might as well blog while my brain is still defrosted.

Taking up pistol shooting has taught me quite a few interesting things- among them, that while I am at least somewhat competent with a semiautomatic pistol like a Glock 9mm with a .22 conversion kit, or a Springfield Armoury 1911 (great handgun, by the way), I suck at shooting with a revolver and that I need a lot of practise if I'm to get good at this. (Which I fully intend to be.) It also taught me a few other lessons that I think are worth noting down:

  1. It's all about safety. Shooting begins and ends with good behaviour and safe handling of weaponry at all times. When you pick up a gun, you are handling something with lethal potential. It is your responsibility to use it carefully and intelligently. If you are not capable of understanding this, don't bother learning how to defend yourself, because you're going to be completely useless to those of us who do want to learn how to do this properly. Just line up with the rest of the sheeple and wait for your government to escort you to your assigned re-education camp.
  2. Shooting in real life is nothing like shooting in video games. Yeah, I know, this should be so obvious that I shouldn't even have to spell it out. I'm sure that if Tam were to read this, she'd laugh her shapely arse off at what I'm writing. But it's a fact that the youth of today are conditioned to think that shooting at stuff for real is a lot like shooting at stuff in video games. In real life, you have to deal with the weight of the gun, the movement of the target, the recoil and the way your body anticipates that recoil (and messes up your shot as a result), crosswinds, the (lovely) stink of gunpowder, and other people around you. Oh, and you don't have a targeting reticule in your HUD, and your bullets don't have hitscan properties. Bottom line: learning how to shoot well is difficult, challenging, and totally bloody well worth it.
  3. What you see in movies and on television is completely wrong. How many movies have you seen where the good guy shoots about a thousand bullets in the space of ten minutes? The reality is very different. Guns get very hot, very quickly, especially when fired in full-auto mode. If you were to fire a loaded assault rifle on full auto for more than a few minutes, the gun would get so hot that the barrel would melt. I surrender to no one in my love of the HALO franchise, but I know now that those drawn-out skirmishes with Covenant Grunts and Elites and Flood that chew through 600 rounds of ammo in the space of 20min are complete fiction and will never really happen. And forget about those pitched battles in the "Gears of War" games against Grubs and Lambent Locust; it doesn't matter how realistic the "cover" system is in those games, you're still going to get your ass handed to you if you did that in a real live gunfight.
  4. Pretty much everything society has ever taught you about guns is wrong. Especially if you grew up in a "right-thinking", "progressive" milieu like I did. Not all guns are equally deadly. Not all guns are equally accurate. Not all ammunition is the same. Take a .22 round, for instance. That calibre of round is actually pretty harmless, overall- except in the hands of a skilled and talented assassin or sharpshooter. The round is so small that at a range of greater than, say, 20m, you would need to pull off a headshot every time in order to achieve full lethality- though you can do a lot of tissue damage if you hit someone in the right place with such a round. There is also the difference between a .45 and a 9mm round. The former is slower in flight, but delivers much more kinetic energy. The latter is just about the same diameter, but travels much faster and yet delivers far less stopping power. Even if you don't like guns, there is no reason to think that they are all the same, because they just aren't. Inform and educate yourself, and then criticise guns and those who own them. Otherwise, you're just another leftist dolt with more opinions than brains.
  5. If you are trained well and carefully, there is no reason to fear the gun in your hand. If you maintain your weapon well, exercise safety best practises every time you step out onto the line, and maintain awareness of yourself and your surroundings, your gun is nothing more than a well-functioning instrument. There is only a finite number of things that can go wrong with it. If you are careful and restrained in your use of that tool, you will have a lot of fun and you will have learned a very useful and important life skill. Do not be afraid of your weapon, but respect it. Accept its limitations and your own. Work within them. Understand your gun, take care of it, and honour it. That respect and honour will be returned to you on the range.
  6. Women should learn how to shoot, it's good for them. And for the rest of us too. The class I was in today had 5 women in it, and they had a very good time. (No young women, sadly; in fact I was the youngest person there.) Women also should not be afraid of the bigger-calibre weapons; most women would in fact be able to handle a 9mm 1911 or a .38 revolver without too many problems. The recoil is just a mechanical property of the gun; don't be afraid of it, learn to work with it and get used to it.
  7. The laws concerning handguns in certain parts of this country are positively insane. The state that I live in is among the top 5 in the country in terms of its utter antipathy towards private and legal ownership of weapons. It's not as bad as Taxachusetts, Lord be praised, but it's still pretty rough. Obtaining and keeping a firearm here is unbelievably complicated, as it is throughout most of New England. (It is a source of no small irony and absurdity that the part of the country that spawned the Revolution, is now the most hostile to the very freedoms that the Founders sought to protect.) It was truly bewildering to hear the number of hoops one has to jump through simply to enjoy and exercise the God-given right of self-defence, and everything that entails.
  8. Learning how to use a gun is getting more and more difficult. With very, very few exceptions, politicians are morons. They don't understand guns, they never will, and they will always seek to take them away from you because they don't understand them. (They're doing the exact same thing to my industry via regulation right now- they don't understand exotic derivatives and so they're trying to regulate them away, but in the process they're destroying the very industry they sought to protect.) The cost of ammo right now is skyrocketing (there are actual shortages in parts of the country), and police departments everywhere are inundated with all of the new requests for concealed carry and weapons permits. While I am pleased to see that some Americans have suddenly found renewed faith in their Second Amendment rights, I am also rather irritated by the fact that they're only now discovering that they ought to be worried, and are doing so very little to stop these bastards from stripping them of their rights. After all, you people just re-elected a narcissistic, lazy, whining socialist back into the highest office in the land, despite people like me telling you what a horrible idea that was.
  9. Shooting is not just a diversion or a pastime, it's a valuable life skill that EVERY man should learn. I don't care if you've lived your entire life in an effete suburban community surrounded by rich liberals up in Nyack, NY. (I drove there once. Hilarious place- it's like Mecca on a postcard for SWPL liberals.) If you want to be good at being a man, being able to defend yourself is absolutely critical. You don't have to necessarily be marksman-rated with pistols and rifles, and you don't have to take your Winchester out every hunting season for deer, but you should at least be able to hold a gun without fear, hit something that you're aiming at, and consider buying yourself a handgun or rifle. I only came to this country a few years ago, and I really wish I'd learned this stuff much earlier in life.
  10. You Americans really don't know how good you've got it, even now. I come from a country where even the concept of individual self-defence is something that most people simply don't understand. My family lives in a country where you cannot own private firearms, at all, unless you buy them and keep them at a licensed gun club (of which there are maybe two in the entire country of 5 million people), and the government tells you when you can use your own legally purchased property. I live in an area where the nearest police station is minutes away and people think, for whatever weird reason, that the police are more or less on their side. All of this leads my liberal family and friends to believe that guns are a barbaric relic of a forgotten time, that civilisation has moved beyond such anachronisms. I'm here to tell you that if you fall into the trap of thinking the same way, you have no one to blame but yourself when the day inevitably comes that your government strips you of whatever few rights you have left. In this country, at least there's still a debate about gun rights. In most parts of the world, there isn't even that much- Guns Are Wrong And Evil And That's The End Of It, as far as most people are concerned. Don't sacrifice your few remaining freedoms in the name of expediency or charity. Don't destroy what your fathers left you.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

The "Joys" of London

Charlie Bushmeister from The Single Dude's Guide took a trip to London and was rather underwhelmed:
On my last trip to London I had a small apartment off of Brick Lane, in the Shoreditch neighborhood, which is Ground Zero for London hipsterism. Arriving by taxi on a Friday night at around last call, the street was a total chaos of sloppy drunks, with no cops to deal with the street fights and girls peeing in the street. Occasionally someone would think it was a good idea to rock the cab side to side as we waited for room in the street to inch forward.
Why are the English such a bunch of obnoxious sloppy drunks? In all my years of traveling I have seen more embarrassing and annoying drunk behavior from English people than of all the other drunks of the world combined, excepting the honorable-mention-worthy contribution of the Aussies. The men are well known for their drunk soccer hooliganism and stag parties, but an under appreciated percentage of bad English drunks are in fact the girls, who have no problem getting super drunk, screeching at each other, having emotional meltdowns, and squatting in the streets. These girls, when drunk, make even the American girls look classy in comparison.
Undeterred by the trip in the taxi, I went out the following night to sample the local nightlife. There, I found the following scene: packed bars with expensive drinks, slime on the floors, very few hot chicks, and sketchy African/Middle Eastern/Paki/Bangladeshi dudes lurking in the shadows everywhere.
The English girls there were pretty disgraceful – fat, badly dressed, not pretty, and possessing some real attitudes of superiority. It was really hard to even get the time of day from one of them. On the rare occasion that I did manage to engage one in conversation, it felt like quite an accomplishment, until I realized that I would never have even looked twice at her when I was in Bulgaria. Quite simply, London girls have their claws out and are not worth the effort, at the bars at least.
Not that I blame them for having their claws out in a scene like that, however. The male to female ratio is quite high in London bars, and a high percentage of the males are sketchy looking foreign dudes who all stand together on the outside of the circle without talking and stare hungrily at the girls. They really look like a pack of wolves ready to pounce on a lone sheep that strayed too far from the herd.
That was another thing I noticed on this trip to London: the percentage of actual English people there is quite small. Certainly English is not the the most common language heard on the street these days. Indians, Pakis, Banglis, Africans, even French and Spanish have been coming to London lately to try to find economic opportunity. That Mohammed is now the number one name for boys in the UK really becomes apparent just by taking a brief stroll down the street. As a result, there are a lot of poor immigrants and not much community cohesion. This is why there were those riots in 2011 in London and other British cities, and there will surely be more to come. With all the poor people and such income inequality in London, the city is a powder keg and one of the last places I would want to be trapped in the event of the breakdown of the social order.
London is dangerous even when people aren’t rioting and causing sales of baseball bats and riot gear to skyrocket 6000% on Amazon.com. The UK has the highest violent crime rate on the EU and that rate is also worse than the supposed “super dangerous” South Africa.
As I've mentioned before, I lived in London for a few years during my time in university. And I had a pretty good time while I was there. For those who love history, walking, and beautiful summer weather, or rocking out to the world's greatest heavy metal bands, there is no place anywhere on Earth that can rival London.

Here's the weird thing, though- Charlie is absolutely correct.

The malaise that afflicts the entire Western world- the disease that we call modern multiculturalism- has landed with a particularly severe effect in London. What Charlie describes is a summary of everything that you will see on a trip anywhere outside the really posh bits of London- the tourist attractions and the wealthy parts of town, basically. I spent a lot of my time cycling through London- one of the world's best cities for doing precisely that- and I vividly remember the radical differences between wealthy bastions of white privilege, like Kensington and Bayswater and Islington, and crapholes like Hackney and Brixton. London is increasingly being divided into racial and ethnic swamps. The City area, near Docklands and Bankside, is still a very nice place to be, but during my last visit about 4 years ago, I was surprised and even shocked to see just how racially divided the city had become.

The globalist elites will insist that there is nothing wrong with this, that a "melting pot" can work despite centuries of evidence that it does not. They insist that untrammeled immigration, often from third-world East European nations or from Islamic nations bent on exporting pan-Islamisation, is an undeniable boon to the world. It is not, and only now are the ordinary people of Britain waking up and realising this. Large parts of London, such as Marble Arch (if I remember it correctly) and large sections of the Southwest are becoming rather like the banlieues of Paris- heavily Islamised, populated by Pakistani immigrants, who are every bit as insular and parochial in London as they ever were in their own country, who marry only within their own clans and who have no desire whatsoever to assimilate into mainstream British society.

I also found his comment about London clubs to be rather striking. I personally have always hated the club scene. You wouldn't find me within 100 feet of most clubs, ever. And the place where I picked up this aversion was in fact London. The one time I ever went to a club, in nearly 3 years of living there, was on a birthday with a female friend of mine (with whom I have since dropped all contact, for various complicated reasons). I did not enjoy the experience at all. It was exactly as Charlie paints it- lots of sketchy-looking guys of Eastern or African origin, and lots of ugly girls with a sprinkling of reasonably attractive women.

His comment about English women is particularly striking. The archetypical "English Rose" is rapidly disappearing. The women that I remember best from my time there- long before I understood the first damned thing about women, which is why I failed so completely and so miserably with them- were all of Eastern European, German, Asian, or Indian extraction. English women were generally non-entities during my time there; they just couldn't compete in looks, elegance, or feminine qualities. And I'm most amused to discover that indeed, they still can't.

He's also dead to rights about the cost. The fact is, London is an extremely expensive city. I'm going to be there in a few months for a long-overdue trip to see some dear old friends, and I'm already cringing at the cost. If you have money to spare, it's not too horrible, but if you don't, it's a city to avoid. I enjoyed my time there, overall, but that's because I occupied my time with walking, cycling, and studying, rather than going out clubbing every night. Because I was there on someone else's dime, I hated spending money, so I never took advantage of half of the attractions that London has to offer, which meant that I enjoyed my time there rather less than I would have if I could have done whatever I wanted without thought of the consequences.

If you are of university age and want to study somewhere where you will really enjoy yourself, spend your first year in London- and then leave for somewhere saner and cheaper. I spent my first two years in university housing, which was great- very cheap, very convenient, and very easy. The moment I had to leave and live on my own, though- Time of Suckage. Everything was expensive, even basic groceries like milk and bread, and even if you save money by cooking on your own (and I did a lot of that), you'll still end up paying through the nose for the ability to do so.

If, however, you are looking for a place to live and work, then London is not the place to be. It's absurdly expensive and tax rates are truly ridiculous; the top tax rate is near 50%, and that's before you add on the 17.5% VAT and the exorbitant cost of living. Better to go somewhere in Eastern Europe or Asia, where the cost of living is low, the women are beautiful, and the tax rates are sane (or at least, less insane- as far as I'm concerned, the only acceptable income tax rate is zero).

Bottom line: pay heed to Charlie's warnings, and understand that London is no longer the great city it once was. Decades of multiculturalist, feminist stupidity have rendered it an expensive, dangerous, and complicated city that most men should avoid spending too much time dealing with.