Evolutionary Psychology, Memes and the Origin of War

Somebody (possibly Henson himself) posted Evolutionary Psychology, Memes and the Origin of War over at Kuro5hin in 2006. I had no idea Kuro5hin still existed, and Henson’s paper could use some consideration of group selection, but anyway it’s a worthwhile and controversial read.

It seems to me that if Henson’s basic thesis is right, our current global political situation is not just eerily similar to that of the mid-1930s, it’s actually the same phenomenon – so we better get it under control.

The problem with privilege metaphors

It seems to me that we are all the recipients of unearned privilege. You were formed in the womb of your birth mother, to her great discomfort and inconvenience; and obviously nothing you did yourself made you worthy of this privilege – it was a gift, literally the gift of life itself, that you received for free. You had already been a freeloading moocher for nine months before you were even born!

But not every birth is equal. Recent research claims that poverty diminishes mental capacities from birth. It’s fairly clear that the richer your parents and community are, the more unearned privileges you will eventually enjoy – for example, the children of Barack Obama enjoy vastly more privilege than the children of impoverished Arkansas sharecroppers, or the children of impoverished Native Americans on the Res.

Right Wing radio pundits like to split common people along color lines by screaming of “black criminality” and “black on black violence”, but criminality and violence correlate far more with poverty and lack of opportunity than with any skin color. Left Wing bloggers like to split common people on color lines by screeching “white privilege” – as though privilege did not correlate with wealth, and as if there were no privileged people of color.

These talking heads, Right and Left, are of their own free will servile to the ruling class. The .001% of humanity whose titanic wealth makes them immune to law would prefer that the rest of us split on color lines, gender lines, religion, anything that will keep us from uniting. If we could put aside our differences, it might interfere with the continuing concentration of the Earth’s vast resources into fewer and fewer hands – or even reverse that trend.

know the dream

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. offered this country a different kind of vision.

The Deacons for Defense and Justice offered a righteous resistance to oppression, by any means necessary, including lethal violence. The Weather Underground declared bloody war on the US Government and capitalism. The Panthers fought for a vision of equality that endorsed a racially separated nation.

But Dr. King marched with whites, and Jews, and with people so mixed that there was no place for them in a world of stark color-lines. He gave us a vision of a country where people’s opportunities were governed by the content of their character, and not by the color of their skin.

Sadly, Dr. King’s heirs aren’t as admirable. Their insistence on standing as gatekeepers of his legacy means that I can’t make a copy of the “I have a dream” video and host it on my site here. But I can link to a transcript, and to a Youtube video that probably will get taken down.

Every American should listen to this speech today. I’ve heard it dozens of times, and that’s not enough.

Unexpected fairness from UK PM

British Prime Minister David Cameron on the BBC’s desire to exclude the British Green Party from televised debates: “[The BBC] can’t have some minor parties in and not other parties in”.

“The Greens have a member of parliament, they beat the Liberal Democrats in the last national election – the European Elections, so I don’t see how you can have UKIP and not the Greens. That is my very strong opinion.”

BBC political editor Nick Robinson claims the PM’s private view is “if we, the Conservatives, are to get hurt by the people to our right, UKIP, then Labour and the Liberal Democrats should get hurt by people to their left, the Green Party”.

Sounds to me like Robinson & the BBC are at least as guilty of manipulation as Cameron is. In any case, Cameron says he will not debate if the Greens are excluded. Good show, lad.

If you’re above the law, why bother hiding it?

Eric the Just says “when you play a rigged game, you get sloppy“.

In a well regulated free market, organizations tend to spring up, grow, and eventually fail, just like living organisms. They aren’t maintained in power by corrupt legislators so that they can become a leeching plague upon a nation’s citizenry. Barack Obama lost my vote on July 9, 2008, at 2:47 PM, when he (along with most of the Democratic Party) reneged on the promise that “telecom immunity is off the table”; for me, the infamous TARP bailout and Obama’s continual unfunded war-mongering has been just icing on the cake.

time to play whack-a-mole

Bev Harris of Black Box Voting has obtained and published source code to the Accenture voting software used in US elections!

Excerpt from Bev’s post:

Note that one of the service items reveals that it was tripling votes for “random” voters in the 2004 primary. Files I have obtained show that it doubled or tripled votes in the 2008 primary, and also in the May 2010 and Aug 2010 primaries in Tennessee. However: It is not random. It only appears to be random when voters are sorted by fields other than precinct/voter ID. In fact, it is doubling and tripling recorded votes in white Republican suburbs.

Everyone with any computer chops who has actually been studying this issue knows that vote-rigging has been on the rise in the US for quite some time. It’s always seemed pretty clear to me that vote fraud is not nationally co-ordinated – it’s happening all over the place, in individual districts, and both parties are involved. Basically, an eminently hackable voting machine with no audit trail is an attractive nuisance.

BBV is (so far) holding up under the load, and (so far) hasn’t been shut down by the authorities. I’m hoping for a repeat of the DeCSS whack-a-mole comedy. Download it and pass it on!

evan roth is speaking directly to the goon squad

Evan Roth is speaking up. check him out..

A long time ago, I went to vote, and due to my habit of voting for my mom as a write-in whenever the candidates all seem incompetent to me (my mom could TOTALLY do any job in state government) I kept crashing the voting machine.

I should add a caveat here; sometimes I just haven’t had the time to study the issues and really get to know the candidates for some particular job, like trash commissioner or protonothary. If I don’t know anything about any of the candidates, I don’t vote in that race at all – in Delaware, you can leave all the spaces blank and still push the big VOTE button, it essentially counts as “none of the above”. I only vote for my mom when all the candidates are dirtbags, idiots or tools, which happens surprisingly often.

Anyway, the voting machine I was using was broken, so that any time you tried to do a write-in it crashed. The third time I crashed it, I asked to use a different machine. The voting officials had interesting reactions; the middle aged white man wrung his hands and tried his ineffectual best to help, calling various authorities and begging for guidance, which they did not provide, but the elderly black lady informed me in no uncertain terms that I would not be allowed to touch any more of “her” voting machines, because I would likely break them too, and as far as she was concerned I had voted (even though the machine dumped core every time I pressed “VOTE”). She was quite ready to physically take me on, despite being twice my age and half my size. Elderly black ladies are the backbone of the local election system, really; even though she was wrong, I have to admire the fact that she really cared. It wasn’t just a paycheck to her, and she’d decided I was a threat to Democracy.

I appealed to the people standing in line, waiting to vote. A few of them had the guts to tell me to go to hell, and get out of their way, but most looked away and refused to get involved when I pointed out that I was being deprived of my constitutional right to vote because the machine was broken. They just wanted to get on with their lives, and I was an annoying distraction.

Not with a bang, but a whimper. Rock on, Evan Roth.