Friday, December 26, 2008

A long belated update

For various reasons, I wasn't updating this blog as often as I should have. Busy with my studies and all that. Also been stumbling across the weirdest stuff on the net that somehow jive a lot with what I've been learning.

For what's it's worth, I'm already well known as the resident skeptic and heretic in my Public Policy class. I'm quite openly anti-Obama, anti-socialist, anti-big government, HIV skeptic, global warming skeptic, economic Austrian, somewhat anti-democracy, and a whole host of other positions that normal, 'sane' people just will not accept.

Didn't hurt my grades one bit. I wish I could say I got straight As for all 5 of the modules I took, but I guess only 4 As would suffice(the last one was a B+).

And amazingly, I got onto the Dean's List. Plus another award. Heh.

Anyway, the days after the exams was spent preparing for the marathon, and caroling with the university choir. It's only now that I finally have some time to update this thing, and some time to properly frame my thoughts.

Over the past two months, I've come to a startling conclusion about the Public Policy course I'm taking. The most essential meta-context for the Masters I'm taking is this: we, the people in academia and the public sector, know better than the electorate what's good for them.

The politicians can promise whatever, but they have to convince us if they ever want anything to get done. We are the gatekeepers, the keyholders, the ones who actually decide. We can say, no, this ain't gonna work, or suggest, in our esteemed views, this is the best course of action.

I'm not saying it's right or wrong to let the electorate have an illusion of power. After all, a lot of people ARE pretty stupid, even in Singapore with its average IQ of 105 and a smart fraction of ~35%. And a lot of supposedly smart people have been fed bullshit for years, and in teaching, we know this as 'garbage in, garbage out'. No matter how smart a person is. For example, look at how many supposedly smart people voted for Obama.

Which brings us to policies, and the oft heated debates over them. To be honest, I have a very low opinion of Krugman who just won the Nobel prize. His contributions were essentially refinements on already well-developed theories. They're not wrong, but they don't really give us anything. And Krugman over the years has been losing his marbles. In more ways than one.

In fact, many of the talking heads discussing the current recession(maybe depression) are likely to be wrong. And I contend it is because they have yet to grasp the true nature of the world. Without accurate information on what you're handling, you can't even being to predict what your actions will bring about.

For example, say you're going to roast a duck. At the very least, you should know the condition of the duck you're using, right? What if the duck's already decaying? What if it's too old, and the meat too tough? So many analysts fail to grasp this important point: you have to know what you're dealing with, where you're starting from. Not doing this will only result in failed policies.

So over the past few months, I have been reading up on certain writers. There are a number I consider essential reading in order to understand the world as it is:

Spengler. He may be right, he may be wrong, but he makes you think. I consider his opinions on market capitalism especially telling. Markets are amoral, and if the people in the market want to go to hell, it'll provide the fastest way for them to get there. I'm an atheist, but even I can see the point.

Steve Sailor. Considered a racist by many on the net. But it's stupid to pretend everybody's starting with the same intelligence, and then have policies based on those premises. His analysis of the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the US is the best I've seen so far, placing the blame squarely on Shrub and his strategy of pandering to minorities who have no business owning homes in the first place.

Mencius Moldbug
. In some ways, this guy is the most extreme of all. He advocates the removal of democracy in favor of either monarchy or what he calls neo-camaralism - the corporate state. His views on the role of democracy and the public sector (the Cathedral) are damningly spot-on.

Mises blog. This is a group blog by the Austrian economists, who have been running around for years being ignored by the rest of the economists despite being right almost every time. The only thing I disagree with these guys on is their isolationist view and matters of defense.

Gene Expression. A better understanding of biology and how it affects socio-economic behaviour goes a long way in knowing what you're starting out with(the duck analogy again).

Meanwhile, I'll be busy with my textbook over the next few days, and catching up with some old friends. Have fun checking out the links. There's plenty of great stuff there.


Blogger xlbrl said...

Saw your post at Wretchard. It is good to be an AIDS skeptic, but it is better to be more skeptical still. Promiscuity, malnutrition, and disease are sidelines. Anal intercourse is the final delivery system, and no other.
The single contact infection rate for an infected needle or for transmission in HIV positive anal intercourse is identical--one in fifty.
Transmission through HIV positive vaginal intercourse is one in eleven thousand.
It is only the combination of promiscuity and anal intercourse that causes high rates of infection.

11:20 AM  

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