02 Jun 2022

My Talk at Orlando

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51 Responses to “My Talk at Orlando”

  1. skylien says:

    hey Bob,

    I got another questions since it really is getting interesting due to the Feds increasing interest rates, it also means they are starting to pay out significant amounts as Interest On Reserves held at the FED. As described here:


    How are those interest payments entered on the Feds balance sheet actually?

    I mean, if they increase the money supply the “normal” way, then they are buying a treasury, and on side of the balance sheet you have the treasury and on the other the money given out for it.

    But what is on the other side of the balance sheet in case of money given out as Interest On Reserves?

  2. skylien says:

    Also they are pushing up the interest rate by decreasing or slowing the increase of the money supply.

    Yet that means this higher interest rate makes them INCREASE the money supply via IOR more than they actually want.

    So obviously there as an interest rate ceiling at which the intentional decrease (or slowing) of the money supply (growth) is canceled out by the payment on IOR. Sounds like we apporaching a positiv feedback…

    • random person says:

      Hello skylien, sorry for falling out of contact for awhile. I’ve been distracted by tradingview charts and getting into arguments with ableists, poor-hating bigots, and pro-eugenics lunatics. For the purpose of what I am talking about, the term “pro-eugenics lunatics” refers to people who want to physically attack and/or kill disabled people and/or the poor and/or certain other disempowered peoples, not to people who favor less extreme forms of eugenics.

      I realize this has very little to do with what you are talking about with interest rates and money supplies, but I really really don’t like pro-eugenics lunatics and I remember you agreed with me about that.

      Getting into arguments with ableists and poor-hating bigots is a path towards getting the pro-eugenics lunatics to show their colors, because they usually won’t come out and reveal themselves right away.

      I’m kinda creeped out at the moment, because about 10 years ago, it seemed to me that roughly 80% of the pro-eugenics lunatics were in the Republican party… these days, it seems roughly 97% of them are in the Democrat party. Those numbers are based on my intuition; I haven’t actually done a poll, and it would be hard to do a poll because a lot pro-eugenics lunatics hide their opinions until you press them on topics like disabilities and poverty for quite awhile. This is creepy, because most US citizens and residents tend to assume that, between the two main parties in the USA, Democrats are the more left wing, but if the Democrat party is attracting the vast majority of the pro-eugenics lunatics, then it would seem to me that the Democrat party is currently the radical right wing party, in the sense of being “most likely to suddenly start a genocide”, even though they appear to be left wing on topics such as gay marriage. (As far as foreign policy goes, both parties are far right wing, due to the bombing of third world countries by both parties, which is why I never vote for either in national elections.)

      What’s worse, the pro-eugenics lunatics seem more extreme than they did about 10 years ago. 10 years ago, it seemed like most of the pro-eugenics lunatics (roughly two-thirds) really only hated disabled and poor people who were on welfare, and only about a third were hateful enough to additionally hate those not on welfare. These days, it seems most of the pro-eugenics lunatics hate anyone who is not able to earn at least minimum wage for 40 hours per week or more, and consider self-employed people earning subminimum wage and/or people working for only like 5 hours per week to be effectively unemployed.

      E.g., I learned from my previous encounters with pro-eugenics lunatics to emphasize, for example, that many houseless people do in fact work, and that at even greater number would work if it weren’t for all the zoning regulations, licensing laws, etc. I also try to point out that the zoning regulations, licensing laws, etc., are a major barrier to disabled people who might want to start their own businesses, and that disabled people often do better in self-employment, because it can help empower them to accommodate their own disabilities. The less extreme pro-eugenics lunatics seemed more persuaded by such arguments, and not terribly inclined to want to kill off people like day laborers and buskers. But lately, the more extreme ones seem more common, scream at me to shut up when I talk about how most houseless people do at least some work, and tell me that I’m crazy to suggest the legalization of homegrown neighborhoods (aka slums).

      I’ve been promoting homegrown neighborhoods, aka slums, lately, because I have noticed that a lot of houseless people dream of building their own homes, and apparently, India has a lower per capita rate of houselessness in the USA precisely because they tolerate would-be houseless people building their own neighborhoods, aka slums. I am convinced that slum clearances in the USA, which apparently go back at least as far as the Wagner-Steagall Housing Act of 1937, are a major cause of houselessness in the USA. Furthermore, I am convinced that the public housing established by that act to supposedly replace homegrown neighborhoods, aka slums, is inferior not only in quantity, but also in quality, and responsible for trapping many people in poverty.

      E.g., in homegrown neighborhoods aka slums, people place a high priority on including things that will allow them to build a better future — space for gardens, livestock, shops, and mini factories. E.g., a common architectural style in the Dharavi slum of Mumbai, India, is to place shops on the ground floor of the housing. By prioritizing such things, slums are apparently able to upgrade to the quality of regular housing in about 20-40 years, if sufficiently left alone and not torn down.

      Public housing, on the other hand, tends to get worse over time, as rents (even when subsidized) are not high enough to cover both maintenance and profit margins for the landlords, tenants don’t have much incentive to improve a place they could be evicted from at any time, and tenants aren’t allowed to stay if their income gets too high, incentivizing people to remain in poverty. I don’t know what the intent of public housing was, but if you look at the effects, it sure does seem to serve the purposes of the eugenics movement, and modern pro-eugenics lunatics (along with ableists and poor-hating bigots who may or may not be pro-eugenics lunatics in hiding) are apparently defending the public housing system and calling me crazy for supporting slums aka homegrown neighborhoods.

      I really don’t like pro-eugenics lunatics.

      • random person says:

        Of interest:

        Dr. Waller Examines the US’s Risk for Genocide

      • Tel says:

        I’m kinda creeped out at the moment, because about 10 years ago, it seemed to me that roughly 80% of the pro-eugenics lunatics were in the Republican party… these days, it seems roughly 97% of them are in the Democrat party.

        There’s more than you realize.

        I was recently reading about Svante Arrhenius … the guy who started the whole CO2 will cause Global Warming and his plan was that the climate of North Europe would steadily improve thanks to coal burning.

        Turns out he got involved with scientific racial purity, which eventually resulted in a long era of eugenic sterilizations in Sweden. This roughly coincided with the rise of the Swedish Social Democratic Worker’s Party (started out Marxist and gradually became more of a labor union-oriented socialist welfare-state party). The main laws regarding compulsory sterilization were passed after Arrhenius had died already … he was only involved in the initial concepts … but a bunch of other academics lent a lot of scientific credibility to the program, even though Arrhenius himself was mostly skilled in physics and chemistry and not so strong on genetic biology.


        There was a strong link between the ideas of socialism, big government welfare state, central planning, equality and racial purity.

        It was only a long time later in the 1970’s that the Swedish people finally turned away from central planning and decided to go for more of a free market. The 1970’s were the height of power for the Social Democrats, and also an economic crisis that made the people understand that the whole thing was ready to fail.

        They have changed a lot since the 1970’s … Freedom House gave them 100% freedom score in 2021, while Heritage gave them a freedom score of 77.9 and that’s still pretty good. Over the last 30 years, that’s been trending upwards, meaning it was down in the low 60’s back when Heritage started their index.

        • random person says:

          From the Liberty Nation article you linked, “When confronting them with the disasters of democratic socialism in Venezuela and other hellholes, they always say that wasn’t real socialism.”

          There will always be debates over what real socialism is, for the same reason there will always be debates about what real Christianity is. For some people real Christianity is strict Tolstoyan pacifism, for others, real Christianity is the Spanish Inquisition, for others, real Christianity might me one of any number of denominations. These debates are of great importance to people who self-identify as Christians; for non-Christians, it’s probably of more use to figure out what Christianity means to the individual Christian speaker in question, rather than get involved in the debate.

          But I digress from the main topic of conversation.

          I think the pro-eugenics lunatics hide inside of other political parties, trying to shift policy subtly in the direction of eugenics without any anti-eugenics people noticing, until poor-hating and hatred of disabled people gain enough popularity that they feel comfortable coming out of hiding.

          A lot of times, these other political parties (which the pro-eugenics lunatics may hide inside of and attempt to take over) have good arguments against eugenics, if they pay attention to their own histories. E.g., a socialist who knows the history of socialist philosophy should blame the structural problems of capitalism, not genetics. A libertarian, if I understand your philosophy well enough to make this statement, ought to blame lack of free market policies, not genetics. An anti-racism activist (of which there seem to be many in the Democrat party) ought to blame structural racism and related structural issues, not genetics. An anti-high taxes person (of which there seem to be many in the Republican party) ought to blame high taxes, not genetics. I don’t know if I’m expressing this well, my point is that there are a lot of possible societal problems to blame rather than blaming genetics, and that if people paid more attention to the histories of their own philosophies, they’d be better equipped to counter the arguments of pro-eugenics lunatics. (At least when pro-eugenics lunatics actually bother making actual arguments, rather than just screaming at you to shut up and telling you that you deserve to die, possibly in violent ways, or whatever. Because, let’s face it, a lot of pro-eugenics lunatics aren’t terribly coherent people capable of crafting actual arguments.)

          But for some reason, people start thinking that the structural problems of society have been fixed (even though they haven’t), and that, because society is (in their view) such a great place with so much opportunity for everyone, if anyone is struggling, it must be their own fault, and from there they start thinking of eugenics and killing the poor (particularly, the extreme poor, e.g. houseless people) and the disabled.

          I don’t think I did a good job replying to all the points you made, but in my defense, it’s late at night and I’m exhausted, so I’ll try to do better sometime in the next few days.

        • random person says:

          Comments on the documentary (just the first 30ish minutes for now, because it’s late at night, so the rest will have to wait for later):

          Widespread understanding of how to make a nonviolent revolution work is relatively recent in human history. Prior to Gandhi, I think people who believed nonviolent revolution could work were pretty rare. Even after Ghandi, I think it took quite awhile for a lot of people to realize that Ghandi’s results could be replicated and even improved upon. I think a lot of folks still haven’t gotten the memo. I don’t favor violent revolution, but I do acknowledge that it’s fairly normal human nature to be willing to resort to violence when people feel oppressed enough and don’t see any other options. That doesn’t make it good that the Swedish Social Democrats promoted violent revolution, but it does mean that I’m not really surprised.

          Blaming all sorts of problems on what the racists call “misgenation” (intermarriage between people of different races — and not necessarily modern definitions of races, but at least, as they saw races back then) used to be pretty widespread in the thought of culturally European peoples. Weston A Price is notable for debunking some of that stuff, and showing that some of the problems being blamed on misgenation were actually caused by diet, but I think a lot of folks ignored his work, and modern dentistry is still suffering for it. (See Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A Price, available from the Australian Gutenberg Project.)

          Some of the stuff about black people not allegedly not being able to manage their own land in Africa — that stuff was pretty thoroughly debunked by Edmund Dene Morel and Emile Vandervelde, at least with respect to the Congo. I guess that gets back to what it is to be a real socialist. Some of the disagreements between various people who self-identify as socialists are quite as vehement as the Spanish Inquisition (which was mostly perpetrated by Catholics against Protestants). Note, for example, that many of the people sent to the gulags under Stalin were socialists, or at any rate self-identified as such.

          The Swedish Social Democrats, at least based on the documentary you linked, seemed very concerned with national issues. In contrast, Karl Marx, Edmund Dene Morel, and Emile Vandervelde were all very concerned with international issues, including opposition to colonialism. I don’t think any of them would pass a modern anti-racism test, but then most Europeans from their time periods wouldn’t. Incidentally, William Lloyd Garrison, a noted abolitionist of his time period, has also been found to be a racist, when judged by modern standards (but still quite anti-racist when compared to others from his time and culture). I think it’s important to remember the contributions of human rights advocates of past decades, but also, not feel that we must be bound by their failings. But anyway, with all their imperfections, I would still judge Marx, Morel, and Vandervelde to be much better socialists than these Swedish Social Democrats. One of the things I don’t get from the documentary is: why did the Social Democrats (during the time period in question) self-identify as socialists at all? What did they do to advance the cause of worker’s rights? Also, what percentage of the party was taken over by the pro-eugenics crowd? It sounds like it was a high percentage, but it would still be useful to know how much dissent there was within the party.

          One of the things Emile Vandervelde was noted for was travelling to the Congo to defend two missionaries from the USA, in a libel trial, in his capacity as a lawyer. One of the missionaries was a black man who had written a particularly vehement critique on the effect of the rubber terror on the Kuba people, and because of that article, published in an annual newsletter by the American Presbyterians, there was a libel lawsuit. (I think libel law should be abolished, by the way. Human rights abusers have a long history of using libel lawsuits to try to silence human rights defenders.) Vandervelde ws alerted to the situation by Edmund Dene Morel, by telegraph, and Vandervelde went to the Congo to defend the missionaries pro bono. As Vandervelde prepared to leave Belgium, he was criticized for travelling all the way to Africa to defend a pair of foreigners, to which he allegedly replied, “No man is a stranger in a court of justice.” According to one of the missionaries, “His speech was a marvel of eloquence, invincible logic, burning sarcasm, and pathetic appeal for justice to be done not only for us Missionaries but especially for the native peoples. He held the audience in the Courtroom spell-bound for over two hours.”

          Again, I very much doubt either Morel or Vandervelde could pass a modern anti-racism test… but I don’t think travelling to the Congo to defend two missionaries, one of them a black man, in a libel suit, after one of said missionaries had accused European companies of perpetrating acts of terror and forced labor against an African tribe… I don’t think that’s the act of a pro-eugenics lunatic.

          The Social Democrats, or at least many of them, during the time period in question (in the documentary you linked) were apparently pro-eugenics… but, I guess what I am trying to get at, is that I don’t think they were following in the footsteps of Marx, Morel, and Vandervelde. They were headed in the totally different direction.

          The documentary also mentions, around 30 minutes in, that the Social Democrats of Sweden tried to repress reporting on Nazi atrocities… which was the opposite of what Morel had done. Edmund Dene Morel lived in an earlier time period, but in Morel’s time period, there was King Leopold II. Edmund Dene Morel, who founded the Congo Reform Association, basically lead the charge to publish as much information about King Leopold II’s atrocities as he could. Vandervelde also played a role in exposing his own government’s atrocities.

        • random person says:

          Tel wrote,

          There was a strong link between the ideas of socialism, big government welfare state, central planning, equality and racial purity.

          Socialism means different things to different people, just as Christianity means different things to different people.

          But let’s talk about big government welfare state and central planning, and how those link to eugenics. There’s a connection there, though I’m still trying to work it out.

          Alright, so I mentioned I have been advocating in favor of homegrown neighborhoods, aka slums, lately, yes?

          So, a typical leftist objection — like, a real leftist, not some poor-hating bigot masquerading as a leftist — is that I’m setting the standards too low, that slums are not nice enough, people deserve better, and we can give them better. This might be true if society really, truly wanted to band together to help the poor. The problem is, we don’t live in such a society. In order to get public housing / voucher legislation passed, proponents of public housing will inevitably need to compromise with people who don’t want too many taxpayer dollars to be spent helping the poor, the result of which is housing that is inferior in both quantity and quality to homegrown neighborhoods, aka slums. Oh, and, usually stuff doesn’t seem to get pass in our political system unless it benefits major corporations (I think the word libertarians use for them is “cronies”), so a lot of the tax money that is spent benefits these corporations (cronies, if you want to call them that), rather than the poor, further reducing the quantity and quality of housing provided.

          So, basically, what happens is that more money is spent on an inferior solution, but in terms of quantity and quality. But because homegrown neighborhoods aka slums are basically outlawed, the poor accept the inferior substitute of public housing and vouchers anyway. Well, many of them do; some fall through the cracks and wind up houseless instead.

          Meanwhile, many taxpayers grow resentful. Rather than see the poor as victims of an injustice (the outlawing of homegrown neighborhoods aka slums), doing the best they can in a bad situation, many taxpayers see the poor as lazy, or perhaps just genetically inferior, parasites taking advantage of the poor taxpayers. If the resentment grows enough, it can result in further restriction on the availability of public housing and vouchers, work requirements, income limits, accusations of malingering, etc, (I believe Marxist literature sometimes refers to this as “disciplining the poor”), or, in extreme cases, outright eugenics, which might manifest as forced sterilizations or in more extreme cases outright murder.

          Or at least, this is my theory so far.

          • Tel says:


            By surprising coincidence Delingpole has also jumped onto the topic … must be a trend or something.

            • random person says:

              I think it’s most likely that Delingpole is also interested, is because ever since 2020, certain political elements (in the US, these people are known as Democrats; I’m sure they’re probably called other things elsewhere) have been going full-blown creepazoid. For a more international perspective, simply substitute “Democrats” with “lockdown supporters”.

              Pre-2020, Democrats had a reputation for caring more about the poor than the Republicans. This reputation wasn’t terribly well-earned — social programs sponsored by the Democrats didn’t work very well, and the USA had a higher rate of houselessness per capita than India, but at least, most of the poor-hating rhetoric seemed to be coming from people in the Republican party (and, unfortunately, a bit out of the Libertarian party as well, but mostly it came from members of the Republican party).

              In 2020, that changed. Democrats still maintained “caring about the poor” as part of their self-image, but houseless people I spoke too weren’t buying it, and frequently referred to lockdown policies as “stay home until you lose your home”, and in other negative ways. If you talk to Democrats, they’ll still be like, “look at all the legislation expanding access to housing vouchers we’re passing, obviously we care about the poor more than the Republicans”, and refuse to listen to criticism.

              However, although I met a number of people who lost housing as the result of the lockdowns (some from lockdown-related economic pressure, some from lockdown-induced domestic violence), none of them said anything about being able to get a housing voucher. I gathered there was a rather long waitlist for housing vouchers / public housing, and that a lot of people simply didn’t want to deal with the paperwork etc. There were also concerns about the quality of public housing / housing that accepts vouchers, particularly from people who get sick from things like pesticide residues and VOCs in paints and carpeting. More people told me that their dream was to find somewhere they could build their own home and be left alone, than that their dream was to get a housing voucher / into public housing.

              Additionally, the Democrats not only shut down stores where houseless people often used the restroom, they also removed portable restrooms from parks frequently by houseless people, and shut down public water fountains, supposedly to enforce social distancing. This didn’t do so much to enforce social distancing as it did to increase stream pollution from open defecation, as well as increase dehydration, though fortunately some of the churches left their outdoor fountains open, mitigating the dehydration issue somewhat.

              However, some Republicans set up public restrooms next to a booth they set up to get people to sign a petition to protest the lockdown. Poor-hating comments from the Republicans suddenly decreased during 2020, and Republicans (as well as libertarians) started pointing out the ill effects of lockdowns on the houseless.

              At the same time as poor-hating comments from the Republicans decreased, poor-hating comments from the Democrats increased. A number of houseless people recalled being yelled at by Democrats (or presumed Democrats) for not social distancing enough, not wearing mask even when outdoors, or simply for not staying in their non-existent homes. Buskers were screamed at to “get a job”, so I guess said screamers don’t think playing music in exchange for tips counts as a job.

            • random person says:

              Something in the Delingpole episode you linked reminded me of another scandal I came across recently.

              As a disclaimer, these people are not normal environmentalists. Normal environmentalists are quite pro-human life, if not necessarily when it comes to fetuses (because there’s a lot of disagreement over at what stage of development a growing human lifeform becomes a person), then at least when it comes to people who are already born. So, for example, normal environmentalists might point out that mangroves protect coastlines from hurricanes and other tropic storms, so, cutting down mangroves endangers human life by removing the hurricane protection. (Or, honestly, most environmentalists might not be educated on the topic of mangroves, but at least they should be able to point out that water pollution endangers human life, since humans need clean water for good health.) So, anyway, a normal environmentalists should want to talk a lot about the ways that humans are dependent on a healthy environment for healthy life.

              But there’s another branch of people who self-identify as environmentalists, who have about as much in common with normal environmentalists as Spanish Inquisitors have with Protestants. (That is to say, not much.) And these people, who often self-identify as “deep greens” and classify normal environmentalists as “bright greens”, basically hate humanity for harming the environment, and the more extreme ones are apparently willing to murder people to protect the environment.

              So people Robert Flummerfelt is talking about is these so called “deep greens”, not normal environmentalists.

              Exposed: ‘Wildlife Conservation’ Groups Fuel Violence Against Congolese, w/ Robert Flummerfelt

              A someone less extreme so-called “deep green”, who is responsible for bringing a lot of people into the movement in question, is Derrick Jensen. To my knowledge, Derrick Jensen hasn’t advocated outright murder, but outright murder would seem to be the logical conclusion of his philosophy.

              I checked out Derrick Jensen’s stuff, and even aside from our value differences, his views on agriculture are about 7,000 years out of date.

              You can read his outdated views on agriculture here. He’s kinda the opposite of John Locke, in some ways. Whereas John Locke argued that everything humans do to the land is inherently good, Derrick Jensen basically argues that everything humans do to the land is inherently bad. (Honestly, both extremes scare me. I don’t want to tell people not to grow food, but I don’t think it’s wrong to ask people to please minimize their water pollution as much as possible. Or at least clean up the water pollution, so that we can have safe water to use for things like drinking and showering.)

              derrickjensen [dot] org/myth-of-human-supremacy/agriculture-is-inherently-destructive/

              Anyway, one of the claims Jensen makes is that agriculture causes erosion. Which, for many forms of agriculture, is true. Except he’s not just arguing that many forms of agriculture are destructive, he’s arguing that agriculture is inherently destructive. Which is why it’s worth pointing out that biochar, a 7,000 year old agricultural technology (as confirmed by carbon dating by archaeologists), helps improve erosion resistance.

              Derrick Jensen also makes the claim that, “I guess my question would be, if the entire history of agriculture— six thousand years of destroying every biome it has touched—doesn’t constitute “reason to believe” that agriculture is inherently destructive, what, precisely, would constitute evidence?”

              I would argue that this claim is also 7,000 years out of date, and the reason is this: even to the extent that agriculture may destroy one biome, it can also replace that biome with a new biome. That certainly seems to be what happens with biochar – the old biome may be destroyed, but a new one is created. If biochar helps to create a new biome, I don’t think Jensen’s claim that agriculture destroys “every biome it has touched”.

              So, for example, here’s an alternative viewpoint,
              “In his book, Charles Mann provides new archeological evidence that shows that the first nation tribes were a “keystone species” one that “affects the survival and abundance of many other species”. They did not have steel and they did not have domesticated animals. Instead they used fire to build soil fertility. They burned the prairie to kill the woody shrubs and trees that were competing with the grass. The char that was left, increased nutrient holding capacity. That increased soil fertility and the grass came back even stronger than before. So it wasn’t just a bunch of wild fires. It was fire management.”

              char-grow [dot] com/the-other-terra-preta-story

              The char in question is what is called “biochar”.

              Anyway, as I said, Jensen and I have different values, so maybe he thinks it’s unethical to destroy one biome and replace it with another. But that’s not what he wrote. He wrote that agriculture destroys all biomes, not that it has the potential to replace biomes with other biomes.

              I asked one of Jensen’s supporters if they thought cyanobacteria were evil for causing the Great Oxygenation Event about 2.7 billion years ago, or if cyanobacteria would have been evil if they knew what they were doing. The cyanobacteria caused the extinction of many many species of anaerobic bacteria, but they created environmental conditions allowing for oxygen and carbon dioxide based lifeforms to evolve. So, if Jensen and his supporters are going to judge humanity for modifying environmental conditions to be more suitable for some lifeforms and less suitable for others, shouldn’t cyanobacteria of 2.7 billion be judged by the same standards? Or at least, shouldn’t they say that they would judge cyanobacteria by the same standards, if cyanobacteria were capable of understanding what they were doing?

              Certainly, I can understand arguments that, being humans, it’s against our own interests to modify the environment in ways that make the environmental less suitable for humanity. But the Jensen supporter seemed to want to discuss interspecies ethics, and the effect that humans have on other species, so I thought the cyanobacteria question was relevant.

              The Jensen supporter wouldn’t answer the question. They accused me of gamesmanship and just trying to win the argument.

              • random person says:

                Speaking of Jensen… first, a disclaimer, I think the Jensen supporter I was talking to might have been more extreme than Jensen himself… I guess that’s part of the problem with these doomy types. Sometimes it’s like they’re in competition to out doom-and-gloom each other.

                But if you want to see an environmental documentary that’s not all doom-and-gloomy, Ice on Fire is a good one. Less about indigenous people than I would like. But it does cover a lot of stuff about carbon negative technologies (that is, stuff that helps get carbon out of the atmosphere), including biochar. It covers stuff besides biochar, too, but anyway, here’s a link.


        • random person says:

          Study on pro-eugenics lunatics in action.

          “Rough sleepers face high levels of abuse by public, study finds: Homeless people report being kicked in the head, sexually assaulted, having bedding set on fire and being urinated on”

          “Street sleepers told researchers the abuse tended to be random, mainly from strangers who were often in gangs or drunken groups. They reported being kicked in the head, having their sleeping bag burned, being urinated on, having stones thrown at them, and being called “dirty scumbag and scrounger”.”

      • Tel says:

        Another self appointed population control expert … H. G. Wells: science fiction writer, Fabian socialist, and deep believer in central planning.


        At the utmost seven broad principles may be stated as defining the Open Conspiracy and holding it together. And it is possible even of these, one, the seventh, may be, if not too restrictive, at least unnecessary. To the writer it seems unavoidable because it is so intimately associated with that continual dying out of tradition upon which our hopes for an unencumbered and expanding human future rest.

        (1) The complete assertion, practical as well as theoretical, of the provisional nature of existing governments and of our acquiescence in them;

        (2) The resolve to minimize by all available means the conflicts of these governments, their militant use of individuals and property, and their interferences with the establishment of a world economic system;

        (3) The determination to replace private, local or national ownership of at least credit, transport, and staple production by a responsible world directorate serving the common ends of the race;

        (4) The practical recognition of the necessity for world biological controls, for example, of population and disease;

        (5) The support of a minimum standard of individual freedom and welfare in the world; and

        (6) The supreme duty of subordinating the personal career to the creation of a world directorate capable of these tasks and to the general advancement of human knowledge, capacity, and power;

        (7) The admission therewith that our immortality is conditional and lies in the race and not in our individual selves.

        He carries on about the need for one world government, population control, central planned economies where all the critical components are controlled by the “world directorate” that serves “the race” and not any individual.

        His justification is that this totalitarian dictatorship will end war, and perhaps it would end war as we know it … but the replacement would be endless internal war of the governing class against the underlings, given that there has never been a ruler who could be trusted with governance of the entire Earth, and there never will be.

        It falls right into the eternal socialist falsehood, “We will just get some real smart people to run this place” … by which they always mean themselves. After that, it’s easy enough get yourself believing in the noble cause, and therefore all possible actions are justified. Go break some eggs, boys!

        It is remarkably similar to the way UN and NATO type people talk today, believing themselves to be the smartest, most honorable, and thoroughly enlightened people in the room.

        • random person says:

          Tel wrote,

          It falls right into the eternal socialist falsehood, “We will just get some real smart people to run this place”

          George Orwell, author of 1984, was a socialist. Quote from George Orwell,

          Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it. It seems to me nonsense, in a period like our own, to think that one can avoid writing of such subjects. Everyone writes of them in one guise or another. It is simply a question of which side one takes and what approach one follows. And the more one is conscious of one’s political bias, the more chance one has of acting politically without sacrificing one’s aesthetic and intellectual integrity.


          I think you’re mixing up socialism with advocates of technocracy. Socialism is about workers rights, as feminism is about women’s rights. People who think the allegedly smart people should rule believe in technocracy, or, if you want to use a more old-fashioned term, perhaps aristocracy. Maybe there’s some overlap (worker’s rights advocates who believe that technocracy is somehow the best way to safeguard worker’s rights), but not exactly the same thing.

        • random person says:

          Unless H.G. Wells intended to achieve number 4 on that list of goals exclusively by means of voluntary birth control (condoms and whatnot), it would seem to contradict number 5.

          I suppose one would have to read further to see how he attempted to resolve the apparent contradiction within his own head at least, or if he attempted to resolve it at all.

          • random person says:

            Okay, reading further,

            H.G. Wells, from the Gutenberg link you provided,

            There is no strong instinctive desire for multitudinous offspring, as such, in the feminine make-up. The reproductive impulses operate indirectly. Nature ensures a pressure of population through passions and instincts that, given sufficient knowledge, intelligence, and freedom on the part of women, can be satisfactorily gratified and tranquillized, if need be, without the production of numerous children. Very slight adjustments in social and economic arrangements will, in a world of clear available knowledge and straightforward practice in these matters, supply sufficient inducement or discouragement to affect the general birth rate or the birth rate of specific types as the directive sense of the community may consider desirable. So long as the majority of human beings are begotten involuntarily in lust and ignorance so long does man remain like any other animal under the moulding pressure of competition for subsistence. Social and political processes change entirely in their character when we recognize the possibility and practicability of this fundamental revolution in human biology.

            H.G. Wells seems to be suggesting that population control should be achieved by means of granting freedom and education to women. This is somewhat disturbing, since women’s rights ought to be an end in and of itself, not merely a means to population control.

            Another thing that’s disturbing about this, is that even if a population control advocate starts out by advocating women’s rights (which is something that ought to be done for it’s own sake, not for population control reasons), they might progress to more extreme methods if they don’t feel like advances in women’s rights sufficiently control the population, or if pushback from misogynists makes achieving women’s rights victories tactically unachievable.

            Furthermore, he also seems to be suggesting that rape, or at least some form of involuntary sex, is (or was, at the time he wrote this) the normal method of human reproduction. Which is possible, but difficult to prove. In cultures where the idea is impressed upon women that it is their duty to have intercourse with their husbands (who may have been chosen for them in arranged marriages), whether they are in the mood or not, whether they like their husband at all or not, etc etc, how would one tell the difference between genuinely consensual intercourse, “duty” intercourse where the women genuinely believes it is her duty to engage in intercourse even if it hurts her, and truly involuntary intercourse where the women doesn’t bother to speak up and say no because she knows no one will listen to her anyway? (Or, for that matter, cases where the women did say no, but no one listened so there’s no record of the no.) Or should intercourse a woman engages in, even if it hurts her, out of perceived “duty” be counted as involuntary, even if rape might be too strong a word in such situations? Would women who believe they have such a duty appreciate their devotion being labelled as “involuntary”?

        • random person says:

          Okay, so, these are Well’s words, not mine, but he basically tell you that not only is he not a Marxist, he really doesn’t think much about Marx at all.

          But the academic economists, and still more so Marx and his followers, refuse to deal with these fundamentals, and, with a stupid pose of sound practical wisdom, insist on opening up their case with an uncritical acceptance of the common antagonism of employers and employed and a long rigmarole about profits and wages. Ownership and expropriated labour are only one set of many possible sets of economic method.

          Wells apparently rejects Marx’s idea that the expropriation of the peasants from the land (which might take many forms — in extreme cases, forced labor, in lesser cases, simply denying people access to adequate land for self-employment) is the root problem with capitalism. Admittedly, he doesn’t discuss it in great enough detail that we can be sure that he even read and comprehended Marx’s argument on the topic. He may have skimmed, or read some summary (possibly written by a third party), or only read Marx’s earlier works (i.e. not Das Kapital).

          This sentence reveals Well’s ignorance of socialist philosophy and history more than anything else,

          Marxism lost the world when it went to Moscow and took over the traditions of Tsarism as Christianity lost the world when it went to Rome and took over the traditions of Caesar.

          Okay, so, Marx died in 1883, several decades before the so-called “Russian Revolution” (more accurately, a coup — there was at least some attempt at revolution, but it was subverted by a coup) of 1917. So, Marx, being dead, was unable to comment on or participate in the events happening in Russia during that time frame. At most, the participants could claim Marx as an inspiration, but the view of quite a number of socialists of the time, including Emile Vandervelde, was that Lenin subverted the teachings of Marx. Emile Vandervelde was one of the activists who protested against the brutality of King Leopold II and Belgium against the Congo, as I have previously mentioned. Additionally, Emile Vandervelde, in his capacity as a lawyer, travelled to Lenin’s Russia to defend certain socialist-revolutionists who were being persecuted by Lenin.

          The anti-Lenin socialists published a book about it, “The Twelve who are to die : the trial of the socialists-revolutionists in Moscow”:

          Since it’s generally agreed that Stalin was worse than Lenin, we can assume that the objections these socialists made to Lenin would apply to Stalin as well, in even stronger terms.

          Anyway, here’s a quote from page 8 of that book. This passage was written by Karl Kautsky.

          The Bolsheviki maintain that their policy constitutes the only genuine application of Marxism, that it constitutes a strict application of the principles of the class struggle. But the oppression and persecution of workingmen, belonging to another current of Socialist thought, and for no other reason than that these workers prefer to interpret Socialism in a manner different from the Bolsheviki, is in sharp contradiction with these class-struggle principles. We, Marxian Social-Democrats, in common with nearly all other Socialists, stand for democracy and for the right of unrestricted political propaganda for all political parties.

          Karl Kautsky is basically implying here that the Bolsheviki were socialists only in the sense that they self-identified as such, but that by oppression and persecuting working people without good cause and oppressing free speech and democracy, they were betraying socialist principles. “Unrestricted political propaganda” here means free speech, or at least free speech within the context of politics. This was published in 1922, and the term “propaganda” didn’t have the same negative connotation back then that it has now.

          Also, here’s a quote from Susanna Solomonovna Pechuro, the only surviving member of an anti-Stalin group of 6 students (three were shot, two died in labor camps or afterwards), as quoted by Adam Hochschield in “The Unquiet Ghost: Russian Remember Stalin”.

          In a civilized society, what we accomplished would be regarded as a trifle. What did we manage to do? Practically nothing. We issued two leaflets. We developed a program. The program said that in Russia we did not have a dictatorship of the proletariat—instead, we had a Bonapartist regime headed by a dictator. The program said that there were two imperialist systems that had divided the world into spheres of influence. That there was serfdom—although it was called collective farming. That all the officially proclaimed principles were being carried out in reverse. And that all this should be fought against.

          The 6 students studied Marx and other relevant literature, and concluded that Stalin’s regime was Bonapartist, not Marxist.

          So, to summarize, Emile Vandervelde, Karl Kautsky, and many other socialists in 1922 agreed that Lenin and the Bolsheviki were not socialists (except in so far as they self-identified as such), and had betrayed socialist principles. And then a group of 6 students living under Stalin studied Marx and concluded that Stalin’s regime was Bonapartist, not Marxist. Also, if you read Das Kapital, you can see that Lenin and Stalin and their regimes did many things that Marx regarded as exploitative, including expropriate peasants from the land. In summary, Lenin and Stalin and the Bolsheviki were not Marxists, except possibly in their own heads, and H.G. Wells should have known that if he had been more familiar with socialist history.

  3. guest says:

    I like that you pointed out that the ruble wasn’t actually backed by gold. Some people were thinking of acquiring rubles, and I was telling them that Russia will just print the ruble like the US is printing FRNs, and that you need to hold gold and silver. (Also, we need to attempt to engage in price discovery for gold and silver if it’s going to be used as money – you can’t just hold it, you have to attempt to spend some of it to see what it buys you in terms of goods and services and not in terms of FRNs.)

    Here is a nice complement to your talk, where Mark Thornton was talking about the monetary inflation that was being diverted from consumer prices into IOR, financial instruments, art, etc:

    So Where’s the Inflation? Tom Woods Talks to Mark Thornton
    youtube [dot] com/watch?v=n0RusrwYsRE
    [From April of 2013]

  4. random person says:

    To: Tel

    Going back to the subject of welfare and eugenics (and lesser degrees of hatred of the poor and disabled… it’s kinda hard to tell for sure that someone is definitely a pro-eugenics lunatic and not just some other type of poor/disabled hater until they do something really over the top, like suggest flame-torching tent cities. Which have recently seem someone do. Someone suggested “solving” tent cities with flame throwers.)

    One thing that is really confusing to me is that the same people who seem to have the most hatred for the poor and disabled these days are also like, “Look, we care about the poor and disabled, because we vote Democrat, and Democrats fund lots of social programs,” before they return to poor basing and disabled bashing. Like, even the most extreme ones, the ones are are like, “Let’s go sneak peanuts in the food of people with peanut allergy, because survival of the fittest”. (Not an exact quote, but they said similar stuff advocating and threatening violence that was that extreme. Well, actually, “survival of the fittest” is an exact quote.)

    Like, I don’t get it. If they hate the disabled and poor so much that they would advocate deliberately sneaking life-threatening allergies into people’s food, or attacking tent cities with flame throwers, why would they want to fund social programs?

    On some level — a level that makes me feel like throwing up, but still – on some level, I understand the people who hate paying high taxes, and, in seeking a scapegoat, they blame the poor and the disabled (or at least, the ones who accept welfare) for their high taxes, and subsequently advocate for violence against the poor and the disabled. I think their thinking is flawed, not only for the obvious ethical reasons, but also because, there are so many laws against people taking care of themselves by doing things like building their own homes and starting their own businesses (maybe just gardens, but whatever) out of said homes, that I don’t really think it’s people’s fault if they feel they have to turn to welfare. Plus, a lot of welfare recipients paid into it at an earlier time in their life, and since the US military budget is so big, it’s likely that what they are getting out of welfare is higher than what they paid in. And yes, there are some people with lifelong disabilities (severe enough to prevent workforce participation), or who become severely disabled at a young age, but even then, if you look at the family level, the family probably paid more in taxes than what they are getting back in welfare for their disabled family member. But, I understand some people are too stupid and judgmental to think through all that, and instead just blame the disabled and the poor who accept welfare for their high taxes, and subsequently become hateful and start advocating eugenics.

    The thing is, the “I don’t want to pay taxes to support the poor and disabled” part of the pro-eugenics movement… they were a significant problem 10 years ago, but the ones today are something else. Why are the same people who are advocating literal violence against the poor and disabled, also bragging about how much they care just because they vote Democrat, and Democrats are allegedly to thank for the welfare spending?

    Do they think of welfare as some sort of hit list? An easy way to keep track of and identify the people they feel are deserving of being violently attacked just for being poor and/or disabled? Are they conscious of the side effects of welfare (e.g. how the availability of welfare, however limited, makes people less likely to demand potentially better solutions, e.g. letting people build their own homes)? (Since India, which tolerates people building their own homes, has a lower rate per capita of houselessness than the USA, in spite of having a lower GDP per capita and very little welfare spending, I rate letting people build their own homes as a potentially better solution than Section 8 housing.) And if they are conscious of the side effects of welfare, why would they pretend that voting for welfare is evidence that they care, especially at the same time as they actively fight against potentially better solutions like making it legal for folks to build their own housing?

    And what’s their motive? If it’s not dissatisfaction with high taxes, if they are actually willing to spend tax money… for, what exactly? … where is their hatred of the poor and disabled coming from? It’s almost as if they just hate everyone who can’t achieve some specific material standard of living, but why? What’s it to them if other people want to live in crowded brick buildings with stores on the ground floors, or live peanut-free lives?

    Like, they seem as stupid and nonsensical as people who hate other people just for having different taste in music. Like… what the hell?

    • random person says:

      Maybe it has something to do with involuntary commitment? Involuntary commitment, and similar atrocities, sometimes get funding from Medicaid and Medicare. Not sure what it has to do with Section 8 housing though.

      If someone ran amok in the street, grabbing citizens because he disapproved of their behavior, locked them up in a house and submitted them to mind-altering drugs or the brutal torture of electric shock in efforts to change or nullify this behavior, there would be a public outcry. The perpetrator would be charged with assault and mayhem and locked up for many years.

      But because the perpetrator is a psychiatrist and the brutal acts he commits are obscured through tangled terms such as “mental health care” or the patient’s “right to treatment,” the systemic social and mental crippling of millions of people each year is ignored. In this Wonderland, the innocent patient is locked up; the perpetrator of abuse is allowed to roam free to repeat his crime.

      When any psychiatrist has full legal power to cause your involuntary physical detention by force (kidnapping), subject you to physical pain and mental stress (torture), leave you permanently mentally damaged (cruel and unusual punishment), with or without proving to your peers that you are a danger to yourself or have committed a crime (due process of law, trial by jury) then, by definition, a totalitarian state exists.

      Because of their ubiquity and far-reaching powers, involuntary commitment laws lay a truly concrete foundation for totalitarianism. And they are not, it must be stressed, a threat of what might be, but a present danger—representing America’s gaping breach in the otherwise admirable wall of individual Constitutional rights.


      Maybe advocating violence against the poor and disabled at the same time as they vote to give money to the poor and disabled is some kinda control obsession.

      A metaphor that comes to mind is a violent and financially abusive husband or boyfriend (or wife or girlfriend or other person, whatever) who prohibits their wife or girlfriend (or husband or boyfriend or other person, whatever) from getting a job, or from getting a job that is not up to whatever standards he sets, but then gives the wife or girlfriend (or other person) money, but uses the money as a means of control. Like, on the one hand, the abuser prevents the wife or girlfriend (or other person) from being financially independent, or at least makes it more difficult, and on the other hand, the abuser gives the wife or girlfriend financial support, but not out of the goodness of his (or her) heart, but as a means of control.

      But usually the abuser gets something out of this — for example, they may exploit the victim sexually, for domestic labor, and as a human punching bag. So what are the poor-hating, disabled-hating Democrats (not all Democrats, of course, but the ones spewing vitriol at the poor and disabled, including, in extreme cases, advocating and or threatening violence against the poor and disabled) get out of making the poor and disabled to some degree dependent on welfare. Welfare has a lot of rules, but what do they get out of it?

      I’ve noticed that the poor-hating Democrats seem to hate tent city dwellers and slum dwellers even more than they hate section 8 voucher users, which again is consistent with not being motivated by a desire for lower taxes. Though they hate the section 8 voucher users too, just to a lesser degree it seems. I watched someone using a flame thrower on tent cities, but not on section 8 housing… but they still had a lot of insults for section 8 voucher users, and kept insisting they were lazy and needed to get a job, even though data indicates that most section 8 voucher users between the ages of 18 and 65 have jobs.

      Definitely control freak personalities, but the motivations are unclear. And it’s not like the sort of person who advocates torching tent cities is the sort of person to calmly explain the reasoning behind their political beliefs.

      Going back to the abusive boyfriend / husband (or other person) metaphor, maybe it has something to do with shame. If an abused woman (or man) leaves her abusive boyfriend / husband (or other person) to go live in a tent city, the abusive boyfriend / husband (or other person) might feel insulted by this, that her actions demonstrated that she’d rather live in a tent city than be with him, and rather than think, “What did I do that was so bad that my girlfriend or wife (or other person) would rather live in a tent city than be with me?”, he (or she) gets mad at her (or him) for the insult. But even if the abused woman (or man) stays, he still has a litany of complaints about how she’s not providing for him enough sexually / doing housework / whatever his other demands are.

      Do you think I’m getting close to understanding the psychology of the poor-hating and disabled-hating Democrats (disclaimer: not all Democrats, just the ones spewing vitriol against the poor and disabled), including the pro-eugenics lunatics among them? Do you think it’s something like the psychology of violent and financially abusive boyfriend or husband or other person, except somehow scaled up to the cultural level, instead of on the intimate partner level?

      • random person says:

        Sorry, typo correction:

        I watched someone using a flame thrower on tent cities, but not on section 8 housing

        was supposed to be:

        I watched someone ADVOCATE using a flame thrower on tent cities, but not on section 8 housing

        Sorry, that one word “advocate” kinda changes the meaning significantly, so sorry for forgetting to type it the first time.

        • random person says:

          Although the people I was talking to were (most likely) just talking, there are people in the world who can and do take action based on their anti-poor hatred.

          “5,000 families protest slum razing: One died during forced eviction ”


          It’s from India.

          Apparently, as of 2010, some slums in India (those settled before 1995) were considered “legal”, and some (settled later) were considered “illegal”. I’m not familiar with the intricacies of Indian law on the subject, I’m just looking at the article and it says, “Additional collector Dhananjay Sawalkar defended the demolition saying people were given notice. He said the slum residents were illegal squatters who had settled after the 1995 cut-off date for regularization of slums.”

          Anyway, understandably, it’s a point of political contention in India, “Singh said cut-offs for slum regularization are undemocratic because the poor have a right to live and earn in a city. “The Rajiv Awas Yojana does not discriminate between declared and undeclared slums,” he added.”

          Most people, if you asked them, would probably say they are against murder, but different people have different ideas about what sorts of killings count as murders.

          From my perspective, the right not to be murdered implies the right to take up space on some habitable part of the planet, and to perform life-sustaining activities of some sort, such as building shelters from the elements, gardening, cooking, etc. I’m guessing the people protesting against slum demolition would agree with me.

          But what of the people razing the slums? What logic allows them to simply label people performing life-sustaining activities as “illegal squatters” and demolish their homes?

          The article does not discuss what happened to the slum dwellers in question after their homes were demolished. Probably some rebuilt elsewhere… but they would have had to start from scratch. The work they put into building and improving the demolished slum would have been lost. Like, imagine someone came along and stole 20 years of life savings, not just what was in the bank, but all stuff you bought in that time period (including your home, if you bought your home), and just expected you to start from scratch. Probably some were too elderly to start again. Like, some of those people, who were evicted, were probably old folks, who should have been allowed to enjoy what they built for themselves when they were younger.

          And, some probably died, because they were unsuccessful at starting over.

          Most people, if you ask them, will not say they are pro-murder, but how can people advocate for and perform slum clearances and see themselves as anything other than pro-murder? It’s almost like they think it doesn’t count as murder if the person is too poor to live a supposedly “legitimate” lifestyle (in the eyes of the pro-eugenics lunatic).

  5. random person says:

    Comment regarding public perceptions of inflation:

    So, within the first 3 or 4 minutes of the video, Bob Murphy discusses how, so far as his own observation extend, the public is generally unaware that inflation is linked to increased money supply.

    I wonder if anyone has conducted a poll. I’ve noticed that when I am talking to people who exist somewhere outside of the narrow Democrat-Republican opinion range (Democrats and Republicans being the two main parties in the United States), they seem more likely to be aware that increased money printing has something to do with inflation than the sort of people who are solidly loyal to the Democrat or Republican parties.

    Watching debates between Democrat and Republican loyalists is really weird these days. Like, a Democrat seems more likely to agree with the statement, “gay people should be allowed to get married,”, but a Republican seems more likely to agree with the statement, “gay youth who are kicked out of their homes by their families and subsequently become houseless should be allowed to build their own homes.” Except the latter topic is almost never discussed.

    And then, watching abortion debates between Democrats and Republicans… well, according to the polls, most US citizens are moderates on the topic of abortion, but it seems the only people you hear actually debate the topic publicly these days are extremists — Republicans saying that abortion is murder even in the first week of pregnancy, and Democrats saying abortion should be allowed even in the ninth month and insisting that anyone who disagrees with them views women as property. Except the some of the same Democrats who insist that anyone who disagrees with them about abortion rights must view women as property also say extremely cruel things about domestic violence survivors, such as, “There are no victims, only volunteers.”

    Going back to the topic of public perception of the causes of inflation… I think it has something to do with people who are loyalists to one of the two main political parties, versus people who are less inclined to get caught up in all that weirdness.

  6. Tel says:

    Way off topic now.


    I’m not commenting on the details because I don’t know the case well enough.

    However, it reminds me of something I heard from a random person.

    • Tel says:

      Sorry I linked to the old part of the story … more recently there was a civil claim for compensation, which probably can’t be paid.


      Anyway, it’s an interesting question, on the topic of “for profit” legal judgements, and whether buying a judge is the same conceptual thing as buying a sandwich.

      • random person says:

        Tel wrote,

        Anyway, it’s an interesting question, on the topic of “for profit” legal judgements, and whether buying a judge is the same conceptual thing as buying a sandwich.

        Neither making a sandwich nor giving a sandwich to another person is inherently evil, so, there’s no reason why paying/trading/bartering/gift exchanging with someone to make a sandwich and give it to you should be inherently evil either. (However, it is possible there could be issues, e.g. if the tomatoes in the sandwich were harvested with forced labor. However, it is entirely possible to make a sandwich without any forced labor.)

        On the other hand, kidnapping innocent children and holding them captive in prison (and, quite possibly, torturing or otherwise abusing them while in there, in addition to the abuse inherent to being kidnapped and held captive) is inherently evil, and paying/trading with someone to do something inherently evil is also evil. (“Innocent” in this context simply means, “innocent enough to not deserve to be in prison”, not necessarily some divine standard of perfect innocence.)

        I think you probably agree with me, but I feel blunt.

        • random person says:

          Clarification: The judge would have had command responsibility for the kidnapping and holding captive of innocent children.

          • Tel says:

            Hmmm … would that imply that buying a judge is kind of OK, but the consequences of that purchase are not OK, and it’s entirely the other guy’s fault?

            I dunno.

            If you pay someone money to do the wrong thing, that kind of means you are making him do it. At the very least it would imply encouraging him to do it … which is much the same reason why you wouldn’t want to buy a product that was based on human suffering … and yet we all buy products where we don’t entirely know all the bits that went into it.

            Yes, ultimately the person who does the deed is the one responsible … but many things in life are connected to other things … it’s actually a hard problem to know exactly what led to any given outcome.

            • random person says:

              The command responsibility of the judge does not negate the responsibility of the guys paying the judge to take the immoral actions.

              Okay, think about it like a military structure.

              A general orders a captain to arrange for the bombing of a refugee camp. Based on the orders of the general, the captain then orders those under his command to bomb the refugee camp.

              The captain has command responsibility for the bombing. But, so does the general. You could prosecute whichever you could get inside your courtroom (if you had a courtroom). Both of them, even.

              I think the companies who hired the judge are like the general, and the judge is like the captain. Except we’re talking about the kidnap, holding captive, and possible torture of innocent children, not the bombing of a refugee camp.

              Under command responsibility legal doctrine, the commander must, at the very least, be aware that those under his command are taking illegal actions, and fail to discipline them. If there’s evidence that he in fact ordered the illegal acts, that definitely falls under command responsibility.

              This would be difficult to prove in the case of many consumers buying products made with forced labor, since many consumers aren’t aware of the fact that the products were made with forced labor. That doesn’t make it okay, but it does fall outside the concept of command responsibility.

              System is flawed. Consumers need more info in order to make ethically informed choices.

              But the people who bought the judge knew what they were doing. I mean… that would need to be proven in court, for them to be prosecuted, but I believe that it should be proven, so that they can be prosecuted.

      • random person says:

        Okay, so, I spent enough time reading about this to work myself into a good rage, so I can give you the sort of emotional response you were probably expecting from me.

        Mark Ciavarella, Robert Mericle, and whomever else was responsible for this travesty are clearly addicted to reveling in depravity! They have no morals, no consciences, no honor, no basic senses of human decency!

        Mericle in particular got off far too light! Mericle should have been charged and convicted of multiple counts of solicitation to commit kidnapping, assault and battery, and torture! And, under international law, maybe with command responsibility too! Not merely with “failure to disclose a felony”, which is apparently a much milder offense.


        And also, torture-induced suicide should be considered a form of murder, with the torturer counted as a murderer. I think that falls under the term “felony murder”? (A felony murder is when someone dies as a side effect of someone committing a felony.) Since Ciavarella and Mericle both committed felonies, and several of their victims died of suicide because of Ciavarella’s and Mericle’s felonies, that makes them felony murderers!

        This whole thing reveals the violence inherent to the for-profit prison system! As long as putting people in prison is a profitable venture for some people (and I don’t just mean paying living wages to the builders and guards, I mean the sort of profit that gives certain people enough money to make paying bribes seem like a sound business idea), scandals like this will continue to happen, and children and other people who are innocent enough to not deserve prison will continue to be kidnapped, abused, and tortured because depraved lunatics like Ciavarella and Mericle just want money and have no morals!

    • random person says:

      Yeah, I have talked about similar stuff.

      Will definitely look into this creepazoid Mark Ciavarella in more detail when I’m more awake.

  7. random person says:

    On the topic of welfare and eugenics.

    The Liberal founder of the welfare state, William Beveridge, wrote in 1906 that men “who through general defects” are unemployable should suffer “complete and permanent loss of all citizen rights – including not only the franchise but civil freedom and fatherhood”.


    Further research is required on William Beveridge.

    I don’t think simply abolishing welfare (while leaving the rest of US or similar society unchanged) would fix the problem. In a way, welfare functions as a targeted tax refund for people suffering from disabilities that caused them to be deemed “unemployable”. Even if the specific individuals in question aren’t paying much in taxes, a) they may have paid significant taxes earlier in life, and effectively be collecting disability insurance now, from an insurance program they were required to pay into, b) even in the case of the lifelong severely disabled, it might still be a tax refund if you look on the family or community level (in so far as taxes make it more difficult for families and communities to support their disabled members by other means).

    Taxes aside, there’s also a lot of laws and regulations that raise the bar of employability. E.g., in India, one can apparently be a barber just by sitting on the side of the street with one’s tools. In the USA, one has to be licensed, and then go to work in an expensive commercial storefront. Essentially, people who might be considered employable within the relatively deregulated environment of a slum in India, might not be considered employable in the far more regulation-heavy USA. Thus, employability isn’t merely a medical or genetic issue, it’s also a social and legal issue.

    So, even if simply abolishing welfare (without implementing other changes) wouldn’t fix the problem in the thinking of people like William Beveridge, the fact that they jump to the conclusion that welfare is the solution to supporting disabled members of society, rather than other alternatives, reveals something about their psychology.

    I don’t think India has this problem? In India, the bar for being “employable” is a lot lower, because there is much less restriction on self-employment. Cost of living is in the slums is also very low. Further research required.

    • random person says:

      Here’s an article I found while searching for further information about William Beveridge.


      Given the association of so many of its founding fathers with the dismal pseudo- science of eugenics, perhaps we should not be surprised that our welfare system has ended up preferring safety nets to trampolines, or that it prefers simply to warehouse the poor rather than give people who have fallen on hard times a chance to take responsibility for their own lives. Eugenics infected its adherents with a deeply pessimistic view of the poor, branding them as irredeemably genetically second-rate, and this view has cast a long shadow over social policy assumptions.

      This reminds me of how research has apparently shown that some of the world’s most effective anti-poverty programs actually focus on giving the poor either livestock (goats are apparently particularly effective, at least in areas sufficiently rural to have space for goats) or money to start their own businesses.

      Which is kind of the exact opposite of how welfare works in the USA and similar countries, where the poor are asked to become dependent on regular monthly handouts (or daily handouts, in the case of soup kitchens), lose eligibility if they earn too much income, and anyone who wants to escape is told to “get a job” (from a third-party, not make their own job).

    • Tel says:

      It’s a difficult question who owns the general ambiance of a neighborhood. It’s an ephemeral thing that everyone knows about but no one can see exactly … you can’t take a photo of it, but you can take a photo that captures a glimpse of it.

      I genuinely don’t want street vendors and panhandlers right outside my house, and I would not expect most of the other people in my street to want that either. On the other hand … I don’t claim to speak for everyone, and it makes sense that there should be plenty of options open for people to try and get ahead as best as they can, regardless of circumstance. Probably the best you can do is have regulations settled at the local level, and as you have mentioned before, that will very likely lead to slum type neighborhoods at least in some areas. Should I be upset about a slum that is one mile down the road? How about two miles? Or five miles? Out of site and out of mind is one way to look at it.

      The language has been under attack for a long while … but “welfare” used to mean something different, now it means “wealth transfer”. I am forced to pay in order to compensate the people who might have been doing panhandling outside my house. Of course, once you have to pay for the absence of some activity, what you find is many, many people come along who also demand payment for not doing whatever it is they can get paid to not do. This is the reason why the “Coase Theorem” is a load of rubbish … sad that the commies can see this a mile away, but the smarty capitalists are still confused.

      Coase himself started in the area of regulating radio transmission … the way it works is that everyone cannot transmit on the same channel because the result is all the transmissions mess up the other transmissions and no one wins. What government does to solve this, is regulate who gets to transmit (usually based on buying the spectrum) and government sends goons around to beat up anyone doing what hasn’t been approved. Now the “Coase Theorem” says that it’s equally good if the people who want to use the spectrum must pay everyone not to transmit (presuming transaction fees are low enough, which in the modern electronic world they certainly are) and yet if you think about it … once it becomes known that free money is available getting paid to people who refrain from an activity, you find suddenly a lot of extra people come along, wanting to also be refraining and getting free money. Strangely Coase never had an answer to that.

      Do you see what I’m getting at?

      • random person says:

        Tel wrote,

        I genuinely don’t want street vendors and panhandlers right outside my house, and I would not expect most of the other people in my street to want that either. On the other hand … I don’t claim to speak for everyone, and it makes sense that there should be plenty of options open for people to try and get ahead as best as they can, regardless of circumstance.

        Supposing you lost your job. Not your fault, but there was a big lay off. And, suppose there have been a lot of layoffs lately, so it’s not easy to find another job.

        Would you like the freedom to be able to open a shop in your own living room, or maybe a stall in your front yard, so that you can continue to be able to support yourself and your family financially? Not that that’s your only option… there are many ways you might try to continue to support yourself and your family financially… but do you want that option to be one of the options on your list?

        What if it’s not you, what if it’s your neighbor who loses his job, and can’t find another? Do you want him to be allowed to open a shop in his living room, or perhaps a stall in his front yard, so that he can be able to continue to financially support himself and his family?

        What if it’s your son or daughter, or your neighbor’s son or daughter, and he or she has never had a job before, but can’t find one, and wants to explore other income-earning opportunities, such as opening a stall in his parents’ front yard, or maybe in some more public location if his or her parents don’t give permission?

        Ambience is all well and good until someone can’t afford to put food on the table, or pay off their rent or their mortgage or their property taxes, or pay their medical bills, or one of any number of other necessities.

        What if it’s a neighbor who recently became blind, and it’s just really far easier for him to run a stall in his front yard rather than figure out how to safely commute out of the neighborhood and find an employer who doesn’t mind having a blind employee?

        And there is a certain convenience to having shops and restaurants close to your house, rather than a long drive away. Zoning regulations, pushing apart residential and commercial districts, are arguably a major factor driving water and air pollution from oil and gas drilling, increasing energy demand and costs, subsidizing the automobile industry, etc.

      • random person says:

        Tel wrote,

        Do you see what I’m getting at?

        At a guess: that not everyone currently on welfare (as in currently exists in countries like the USA and Australia) would otherwise be engaged in activities deemed undesirable, if they were not being paid to refrain from those activities, but, because the welfare is available, a lot of people want it, and because a lot of people want it, this leads to resentment among the people paying taxes?

        That might not have been what you meant. It could just be that’s where my mind was going, because I’m trying to analyze the psychology of the people who hate the poor and the disabled.

        I also don’t think that’s a complete picture, in any case.

        According to an estimate from 2003, one sixth of the world’s population (and half the world’s urban population) resides in slums. It could be higher by now.


        Countries like the USA and Australia pay a high price for prohibiting slums. For one thing, there’s the massive amount of tax money spent on slum alternatives, e.g. section 8 housing vouchers (in the USA), welfare, etc. For another thing, there’s the fact that the USA apparently has a higher rate of houselessness per capita than India, so the massive amount of tax money being spent apparently does a worse job of preventing houselessness than slums do. And then there’s the fact that public housing tends to get worse in quality over time, as housing developers are incentivized to spend very little to build it properly and often fail to maintain it properly, and tenants naturally have far less motive to upgrade rental property, which they could be evicted from, than they would something more under their control. Plus, even with section 8 housing vouchers, public housing still costs the tenant a much greater percent of their income than slum housing would cost, and that’s money that can’t be spent upgrading the tenant’s life in other ways. Oh, and if the tenant’s income increases too much, they could lose their voucher. Also, section 8 housing can be disastrous for disabled residents, since landlords often fail to place a high priority in building and maintaining accessible housing, especially for the types of disabilities that receive less legal recognition. (E.g., some people are houseless because they get sick from things like VOCs found in paint and carpets and can’t find affordable rentals without those VOCs.)

        Slums, on the other hand, are part of the natural evolution of cities and communities. If you look at history, they say things like, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Go to museums, and sometimes you’ll see little plaques talking about how neighborhoods now considered historic once lacked features such as plumbing.

        Those who study slums say they take 20-40 years of being left alone to gradually improve in quality to a regular neighborhood. (See the documentary “Slums: Cities of Tomorrow”, available for free on Youtube.) They say it wasn’t always that fast, but people have been picking up the pace of their upgrades in recent history. A major feature of slums enabling these upgrades is space for income-earning activities such as: shops, mini-factories, gardens, and livestock. The shops and mini-factories are apparently frequently located inside the homes. In other words, they take a much more pro-active approach to income-earning, rather than the more passive approach common in US culture (looking for someone else to give on permission to earn a living, i.e. looking for a job).

        • random person says:

          After sleeping on it a bit — I don’t think the intended beneficiaries of welfare are the only people grabbing the money being spent on welfare. A lot also goes to welfare workers, and I’ve noticed that some welfare workers really, really hate the people they’re supposed to be helping.

          This article says it that houseless shelters spend anywhere from $27 to $60 per night to shelter one houseless person for one night.


          At $27 per night, two houseless people could share a Motel 6 room together, and have more privacy, a lower risk of being assaulted, and generally a better experience. At $60 per night, a houseless person could get a Motel 6 room all to himself or herself.

          And apparently some houseless shelters spend even more.

          Annual operating costs at the Schraeder shelter are $4.7 million, or $65,277 per bed. For perspective, that’s nearly two and a half times the average annual rent in the City of Los Angeles. It works out to $5,440 per month. That’s how much it costs to rent a 1,500 square foot, two bedroom new construction apartment four blocks from the beach in Venice.

          allaspectreport [dot] com/2019/12/03/l-a-politicians-arent-serious-about-solving-the-homeless-crisis-cost-of-venice-beach-bridge-housing-proves-it/

          $65,277 per year for a bed in a houseless shelter? Somehow, I doubt the actual houseless person is actually the primary beneficiary of that money. A lot of that money is probably going to staff and contractors.

          And on top of that, sexual abuse perpetrated by staff members is a problem in many houseless shelters. Shelter residents may put up with it due to police threatening to arrest houseless people to sleep on the streets. I’ve also heard of some cases where the shelter staff sexually abuse houseless women with children, and threaten to report them to Child Protective Services if they leave the shelter to escape the abuse.

          action [dot] aclu [dot] org/cs-shelters
          aclu [dot] org/press-releases/lawsuit-sexual-harassment-inhumane-conditions-oc-homeless-shelters

          Stuff like that — the ridiculous costs, the abuse — is why some people are saying it would be cheaper to just give houseless people homes. But giving people homes en masse is also likely to be unsustainable, especially considering there’s a constant stream of people entering houselessness because they are fleeing domestic violence, family violence, or simply can’t afford housing anymore due to job loss or medical bills or whatever reason. And offering the housing might encourage even more people to flee. Even if we assume the people fleeing have legitimate reason — e.g. domestic violence — it’s not hard to suppose that the threshold of domestic violence a person might be willing to put up with is likely to be lower if they know they can get a free home to flee too, rather than having to put up with houselessness. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, except that all those homes could be very expensive, especially if they all have to be up to building codes.

          Allowing people to build their own homes is a more cost effective solution. True, not everyone has the necessary skills and ability, but, if people were allowed to build their own homes, presumably, some would also be willing to share said homes with their less capable (in terms of house-building) neighbors, or build homes for said neighbors.

          • Tel says:

            After sleeping on it a bit — I don’t think the intended beneficiaries of welfare are the only people grabbing the money being spent on welfare. A lot also goes to welfare workers, and I’ve noticed that some welfare workers really, really hate the people they’re supposed to be helping.

            I’m not claiming to be an expert but I had some experience with a friend who was involved in that industry. Kind of unfortunate outcome … he was a weird guy, had trouble finding peace in a difficult world and spent time living as a Buddhist monk in Thailand … eventually ended up working caring for severly intellectually disabled people in Australia. So the government provides most of the money, and it gets disbursed via a complex system,.with some public entities and some private contractors … don’t expect me to give fine details of the process. Well it’s always hard to tell who is genuine in this world but IMHO this guy was pretty genuine in his commitment to do the job well, and I think he really cared for those people. He was also a stickler for precise accounting on expenses and procedural stuff, and showed willingness to call out co-workers who were a bit sloppy with exactly what money was spent where (if you know what I mean) … this made him a bit unpopular in circles of his peers.

            You can probably guess … with me talking in past tense … this did not end well. Strange anonymous accusations would turn up, my friend was suspended from work … they never actually found any wrongdoing, but soon after he returned to work new accusations would come along. He was not a guy who dealt well with stress (few people do) and he took it all deeply to heart. As the saying goes … the process is the punishment.

            He died of cancer … younger than typical for that type of disease and although there is no direct causal connection, you would have to think the stress didn’t help. He owned a cheery brightly coloured set of cups and saucers and dinnerware, which was nothing fancy but for one reason and another it ended up at my daughter’s house … seemed a shame to throw it out and she happened to have a use for the stuff … no one else wanted it at the time.

            I wasn’t directly involved in any of this … I didn’ t hear the while story either but somehow I felt injustice had been done. Good people who are uncompromising about their principles often get sacrificed in this kind of industry and the toughest and most cunning survive. If you believe in the Theory of Evolution, then it isn’t about goodness, it’s only about being the last man standing. Then again, if you believe in God, then presumably we are being tested and you get a score out of 100 at the end … extra points for self-sacrifice? I have no idea … none of my second-hand experience would attract me towards doing that job.

            • random person says:

              Your story is interesting, and also not surprising. There are good people in the world (I mean good in the relative sense, not in the sense of being 100% morally pure), and also not good people routinely gang up on the good people. (I recognize things may be complicated. E.g., someone might be a good person in some contexts, and a bad person in other contexts.)

              But also, even assuming that a welfare worker doesn’t engage in any sort of embezzlement, they are still generally being paid a living wage, which means that in least some sense, they are benefitting from the continuation of the problems. (And, if they do embezzle, they they get even more benefit.)

              I might remember incorrectly, but I think David Leyonhjelm pointed this out some years back? I don’t normally pay much attention to David Leyonhjelm, he says a lot of offensive stuff, but I have this vague memory (which might be incorrect, human memory is fallible) of him pointing out workers who help the houseless have an incentive not to solve the problem, since if they did, they’d be out of a job. I think when I originally read it, I didn’t think much of it, because I didn’t see how houselessness could be ended as long as the causes of houselessness (domestic violence, unemployment, low wages, etc) were still in effect. But also, that was years ago, before I researched slums, which are a potential solution, in so far as they demonstrate that would-be houseless people can actually build housing fairly quickly and cheaply, when allowed to do so. Anyway, his words (or my recollection of them, which may not be accurate) came back to be recently when I encountered someone claiming to be a former welfare worker who clearly despised houseless people.

              Also, I can’t find anything to confirm that I remember David Leyonhjelm’s words correctly. Maybe it was something he said on Twitter years ago? Or possibly, I mixed him up with someone else?

              Anyway, there’s a guy here who ran the numbers, and found that even looking at the world’s most effective anti-poverty programs (the ones based on the assumption that poor people are actually capable of managing livestock and/or other business ventures, if given a bit of help), the value achieved per dollar spent could be greatly increased by spending less on supervision. Or in other words, spending less on wages for welfare workers, and more on direct giving to the poor themselves.


              Today I have a post in the WashPo’s Monkey Cage on programs that give livestock or cash plus training and other services, such as supervision and advising. Some recent studies, including one of mine, say these are cost effective programs that pay for themselves many times over.

              True. And this is a big deal. But my post shows it could take decades. Always read the small print:

              * Two to three years after the livestock or cash, all but one of these programs are raising the incomes of the poorest households by $71 to $202 a year. Since a dollar goes much further in poor countries, that’s actually $250 to $500 a year in purchasing power. that’s big.

              *Unfortunately several of the programs cost one, two or even three thousand dollars per person, mainly because of heavy supervision time and other staff expenses.

              * This means that, even with the high payoffs every year, the average livestock-plus program will take 18 years or more to break even. That’s not a number I have seen in the news coverage or calls for scaling up these programs.

              * But the lower cost programs (including livestock-plus in India and cash-plus in Uganda) are paying off in three to five years. And their impacts are still high.

              * Half the expenses are for supervision. What if we dropped this paternalism? If benefits fall by less than half, then the program breaks even much sooner.

              * We tried this in Uganda. Compared to cash and training with expensive supervision, cash and training alone had almost identical effects on consumption after a year. Some businesses were more likely to stay open, and profits were a tiny bit higher. But it’s hard to believe supervision passes a cost-benefit test.

              The message is clear: charities need to shift the burden of proof to high cost components such as supervision and training. We need to be laser focused on how many years for a program to break even. If three years is possible, why accept 20?

              • random person says:

                Not what I was looking for (I was trying to cross-reference David Leyonhjelm and homeless on Google), but still worth making a note of.


                It illustrates the brokenness of the foster care system by citing a comedian who says he got a “PhD in getting raped” in the foster care system.

                Thought: Society is too paternalistic towards children, and frequently gives child abusers extraordinary power to abuse. Children who speak out about abuse are frequently disbelieved, or, even if they are believed, at risk of being moved into a possibly even worse situation.

                This reminds me of a book about child sl*very, and the difficulty of defining child sl*very within the context of a culture in which children are routinely denied freedom, but also noting that being able to define what child sl*very is would seem to be relevant to defining sl*very more broadly.

                The book is titled, “Child Sl*very before and after Emancipation An Argument for Child-Centered Sl*very Studies”. It has multiple authors, but was edited by Anna Mae Duane.

            • random person says:

              He died of cancer … younger than typical for that type of disease and although there is no direct causal connection, you would have to think the stress didn’t help.

              There are a number of alleged physiological mechanisms by which emotional stress poor stress leads to poor physical health. I’m not an expert (though it seems obvious that there is indeed a link), but one I was hearing about recently was limbic system injury.

              In any case, I guess this is far too late to help your friend, but if you are for any reason worried about getting cancer, it’s possible this Ted talk could help.


            • random person says:

              Tel wrote,

              He owned a cheery brightly coloured set of cups and saucers and dinnerware, which was nothing fancy but for one reason and another it ended up at my daughter’s house … seemed a shame to throw it out and she happened to have a use for the stuff … no one else wanted it at the time.

              Good plan. I don’t think I would feel comfortable throwing out a deceased friends’ brightly coloured dinnerware either.

  8. random person says:


    Does anyone know of a well written counter argument to the “violent threats are just legally protected hyperbole” crowd?

    Then again, people who believe that “violent threats are just legally protected hyperbole” might be too incapable of logical reasoning to understand a counter argument, no matter how well written.

  9. random person says:

    Another thing:

    I didn’t actually follow the Amber Heard / Jonny Depp case while it was happening, but since it has happened, it seems very difficult to speak up on the topic of domestic violence without being called “Amber Heard” or “as bad as Amber Heard” or “worse than Amber Heard”.

    Anyway, apparently, some very significant evidence that could have exonerated Amber Heard was excluded from the trail by the raging misogynist pro-domestic-violence judge.

    They could not present evidence in Heard’s favor that the judge, Penney Azcarate, ruled out as hearsay, including testimony from seven medical professionals that Heard had reported contemporaneous episodes of abuse to them and a series of text messages from one of Depp’s employees, Stephen Deuters, in which Deuters appears to acknowledge that Depp physically harmed Heard on an airplane. (“When I told him he kicked you, he cried.”)


    Oddly, most of the people calling me stuff like that seem to be Democrats. Even though Democrats claim to be the pro-women’s-rights party. Also, one of the people who kept calling me “Amber Heard” also threatened me with violence four or five times. And a bunch of their Democrat friends thought it was perfectly fine for them to threaten me with violence, and some Republicans sent me some nice messages about the important of free speech. This seems really backwards from how things were maybe 10 years ago, when Democrats were more likely to be against domestic violence, and Republicans were more likely to send the threats of violence (at least in my personal experience).

    And these same Democrats who seem determined to verbally attack people for speaking out about domestic violence (and other violent injustices) also seem perfectly happy to accuse pro-lifers of misogyny. I mostly stay out of the the pro-life/pro-choice abortion debates, mostly just because I have a lot of cognitive dissonance on the subject, but watching pro-domestic-violence lunatics who think that people should be silenced from speaking out about domestic violence by means of defamation lawsuits and threats of more violence, accuse a pro-lifer of being a misogynist, is really dystopian. Like, they think it’s perfectly okay to strangle a woman to the point she loses consciousness, then threaten her with defamation lawsuits and more violence to silence her from talking about it, but it’s not okay for someone to believe that killing an unborn baby might be murder?

    I think a substantial portion of the Democrat party has really gone off the deep end.

  10. random person says:

    To: Tel

    Tel wrote,

    The language has been under attack for a long while … but “welfare” used to mean something different, now it means “wealth transfer”.

    This reminds me about a wealthy Chinese philanthropist named Chen Guangbiao who wanted to hand out hundred dollar bills to houseless people in the US, but was talked out of it by alleged “welfare” workers.

    I remember reading about it in more detail in the past, but this is what I could find for now,

    “I was told that American homeless people like to buy alcohol and drugs,” he tells me. “So I respected that advice and gave all of the money to a homeless shelter instead.”

    bbc [dot] com/news/business-29471356

    Okay, so, some problems with this:

    * There are some houseless people who like buying alcohol and drugs. But it’s not like all of them do that. “Most research shows that around 1/3 of people who are homeless have problems with alcohol and/or drugs, and around 2/3 of these people have lifetime histories of drug or alcohol use disorders.” ( businessinsider [dot] com/two-thirds-homeless-recipients-basic-income-program-housing-ubi-poverty-2022-2 ) So, because an estimated 1/3 of houseless people have currently have issues with alcohol and/or drugs, should we assume the remaining 2/3rds, about half of whom have probably *never* had issues with alcohol and/or drugs, are incapable of managing money responsibly?

    * Even the ones that do buy alcohol and drugs, it may only be a small portion of their overall budget. I remember, one time, I handed a houseless guy a $20 bill. He spent about $2 on cigarettes, and the remaining $18 on gasoline for his car. I may not approve of the cigarette purchase, but I’m not so paternalistic that I’m going to refuse to ever give money to a houseless person again.

    * Some are victims of domestic violence (or family violence, or other types of violence) who may actually be fleeing from a violent alcohol or drug user (or violent drug-free person), and yet somehow, our society doesn’t seem concerned about giving money to violent people who do have homes. I don’t recall anyone ever being refused a paycheck, or a social security payment, for beating or even strangling their wife and/or fiancé and/or girlfriend and/or boyfriend and/or children and/or other person.

    * Other things houseless people spend money on include: camping supplies (tents, sleeping bags, camping stoves, etc), food, hotel rooms (especially in winter), medical care (many houseless people are sick and/or disabled), fuel and car repairs, crafting supplies so they can make and sell jewelry or whatever, and so on. When we are too terrified to give money to houseless people, we not only prevent them from spending the would-be gift on alcohol and drugs, but also on things that could substantially improve or save their lives.

    * Houseless people who do use alcohol and drugs often use them for the same sorts of reasons that many wealthier people see therapists and psychologists and/or buy psychiatric medications and/or see doctors and/or buy painkillers and/or go on vacations — and, in many cases, their PTSD is more severe than said wealthier people. Studies have shown that a good social support network is key to mitigating the effects of PTSD, and houseless people often lack that. Many were brutally abused, physically and/or sexually, as children and/or as adults. Houseless people may also be self-medicating for painful conditions like cancer that they can’t afford to treat by more conventional means.

    * Some houseless shelters may spend the money much worse than even drug using houseless people do. Reports of houseless shelter staff sexually or otherwise abusing houseless people are common. ( See for example: latimes [dot] com/homeless-housing/story/2020-12-10/orange-county-homeless-shelters-sued-over-allegedly ) Houseless people may be threatened by violent police to make them go into abusive shelters, and houseless people with children may be threatened that if they try to leave the shelter where they are being sexually assaulted, child protective services may be called to take their children away. In South Korea, there was once a rampant scam of houseless shelters, including one called “Brother’s Home”, who kidnapped people (some of whom weren’t even houseless) in order to collect money from the government and donors for “sheltering” them, tortured them, sexually abused them, and subjected them to forced labor.

    * Even if a houseless shelter isn’t practicing rampant abuse, they still have a lot of overhead — money spent on staff, etc. The houseless shelter system isn’t cheap. I mentioned this already elsewhere on this page, page search for “This article says it that houseless shelters spend anywhere from $27 to $60 per night to shelter one houseless person for one night”

    * In San Francisco, there was a “basic income” experiment. Nine of the fourteen participants receiving the experimental basic income were houseless at the beginning of the experiment. Within 6 months, six of them had secured housing. Relative to the shelter system, those aren’t bad numbers. ( businessinsider [dot] com/two-thirds-homeless-recipients-basic-income-program-housing-ubi-poverty-2022-2 )

    * The most successful anti-poverty programs in the world involve giving people either livestock (which, as a prerequisite, requires that they have sufficient access to land to have somewhere for the livestock to graze or whatever), or money to start businesses. Furthermore, said anti-poverty programs are actually able to help more people per dollar spent if they spend less on supervision costs. See “The biggest barrier to ending poverty is… our paternalism?” by Chris Blattman https://chrisblattman.com/blog/2015/07/06/the-biggest-barrier-to-ending-poverty-is-our-paternalism/

    I think when so-called welfare workers (or shelter workers, or outreach workers, or whatever they call themselves these days) tell people like Chen Guangbiao not to give money to houseless people directly, they are doing more harm than good. Sure, not everyone will use the money wisely, but there are plenty that will. And it’s not like homeless shelters are particularly responsible at spending money either.

    I think this paternalism of which Chris Blattman speaks is rooted in the idea of eugenics that there is something fundamentally wrong with poor people — the idea that poverty is caused not by ill fortune and systemic oppression, but by genetic flaws.

  11. random person says:

    More on the topic of slums

    An account of a resident from Seattle’s Hooverville.


    One thing of interest:

    A big percentage of the men have built pushcarts, using two discarded automobile wheels, no tires, and any sort of a rod for an axle. They push these carts about through the alleys of the business section of Seattle, collecting waste materials, mostly paper, which is sorted and baled and sold to the salvage concerns, thus realizing a little each day. Others have made row boats, and fish in the waters of Elliot Bay for a living. Some catch a few fish each day that are sold in Seattle’s market, and others fish for driftwood, which is towed to the beach and sawed up into firewood and sold to fuel companies. There are a few of the men who ply their trades in a small way, such as boat building, shoe repairing, etc. None of the men realize very much money from such enterprises, but they can at least hold their heads up and say, “I am not on relief.”

    The “putting forth” of such schemes of self help as I have just mentioned is the reason the relief authorities are able to show such a low rate of relief recipients in this place. One thing we are proud of; there has never been more than one-third of us on relief at any one time.

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