Monday, October 16, 2017

Mermaid CCCLV

Sunday, October 15, 2017

模倣子 The Ownership of a Human Being

It's long bothered me the odd distinctions made in American politics between "conservative" and "liberal" and also the two (and effectively only) US political parties, i.e., the "Republican Party" (1), and the "Democratic Party." (2)  The r-party is touted as "conservative" and the d-party as "liberal." Often the reverse is true, or simply something bizarre and unrelated. "Conservative" effectively means "opposing change," or accepting change only gradually, and after it's been proven that the change will not upset the apple cart.

In US politics, it's very often the case that the r-party have implemented enormous changes, often overnight, with far-reaching social consequences. Examples include the prohibition of marijuana and other drugs from the 1920s to the present and Ronald Reagan's increase in military spending which tool the US National Debt over the one trillion dollar mark and it's been skyrocketing ever since, the Tax Reform Act of 1986 (42), among others. If you're looking for cautious change over long timeframes, don't look to the US r-party.

The d-party are better examples of conservatism, oftentimes, but not so much. In the classic juxtaposition between the Tories and the Whigs, where one is jingoist, royalist, industrialist, and the other is pro-labor, anti-war, and so forth, it's difficult to place the two American parties. The d-party are long on rhetoric, but don't seem to actually get much done in terms of rolling back excesses such as the War on Drugs or keeping the country out of wars and so forth.

Hatred of Women (and Children)
Women's Rights seems to be a hot topic in US politics throughout the 20th Century, and continues to be so to this day. Voting rights, right to own property, to work, and so on, which did not exist, or at least not in any practical sense, have been secured, but many problems remain. (3) One might be tempted to set a lot of this to one side, at least nowadays, since it all seems to have become highly polarized, politicized, and there seems to be little further progress towards women's liberation. Is the enterprise of women's liberation complete in the United States? Probably not. What else remains? Is the current organized movement making any headway on this, or are they even heading in the right direction?

At this point we start to hear the standard narrative that the r-party hates women and women's rights, and are trying to take away their reproductive freedoms and so forth, and that the d-party are valiantly opposing this. The assumption would appear to be that oppressing women is somehow a "conservative" value or priority, and so, of course, the "liberation" of women (whatever that means) is necessarily a "liberal" (or "Whiggian") value or priority.

It may be a conservative value to oppress women, but I don't think so, not per se. There are societies throughout history where women have been socially and economically and politically and legally equal to men (4). I would like to assume that is what the US women's movement aims for, but I'm not so sure. I think there may be a more relevant and more telling distinction between the r-party and d-party which may be drawn. As with the Tories and the Whigs, the r-party tends to exhibit their expression of this property more strongly and clearly, while the d-party less so, because, like the Whigs, are trying to push for "the opposite of what those other guys want," which tends to come across as "fuzzy."

Ultimately all systems are conservative in nature, otherwise they tend to fly apart in an explosion of chaos. This is a fundamental principle of Memetics. It's less about which system is more or less conservative, and more about which systems have more or less sophisticated (and useful) rules for changing things, and how widely these may be applied. The US Constitution and tradition of State and Federal government allows for enormous flexibility in terms of immediate and sweeping change, because the important aspects of the memetic system, i.e., the body of memes of the American people, remain unchanged, and part of that memetic system is to tolerate, and be able to talk about, a great deal of change in a lot of areas. Other systems of government, tribal, monarchial, less stable or well-structured democracies, or what-have-you, can very quickly bind up in the face of many kinds of change. Nevertheless, at the core of it all is some kind of consevative system.

Individualism vs. Collectivism
This is, I feel, the important distinction, and distinct from conservative-liberal. Indeed, we can talk about "political n-spaces" where certain properties are "orthogonal." I would argue that individual-collective and conservative-liberal (less conservative) are orthogonal values. Imagine if we grab these two "axes" of the political n-space. First, I should point out the idea that if an ideological quantity is pushed to an extreme, it eventually comes around to the other extreme. I can perhaps point this out with this new quantity of individual-collective.

Let's say, as I might argue, that a fundamental, perhaps the fundamental distinction between the r-party and the d-party is an individualistic versus a collectivist watershed. Conservatism and so forth perhaps do not distinguish the two parties in any useful way (5), but let's see if "ind-col" does.

The individualist has total freedom of action, so long as he doesn't injure others or their property (6). I guess you could put it all down to the Communist adage, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." The Soviet Union under Leonid Brezhnev apparently changed this part of the Constitution to read "From each according to his ability, to each according to his work." (7) In the ideal individualist worldview, none of this matters. The individualist does what he wants, if anybody hurts him, he complains to the police, or he does nothing. But what if he's murderered? There's a thought. More on that later.

What is the collectivist position? As with the Tory-Whig dichotomy, the collectivist position is less clearly stated than the individualist one. The problem is rather like the principle of a Group Insurance Policy, or indeed, any insurance policy. I pay in to allay the risk that if the thing insured against happens to me, I'll be paid for it, and the cost is that I have to pay part of what happens to the poor schmuck to whom it really happens. We're still in individualist zone here, though, since everybody in the game can either afford to pay his share, or to shoulder the burden alone and stay out of the game. What if some people can't afford to pay their share? How is that share determined, anyway?

Do I have the right to have what I have? To keep what I have, regardless of what happens to me, outside of crimes against me or my possesions? If I get sick, do I have the right to be made well? Do I have the right to have as many children as I want (8) and to have them fed, clothed, and housed...properly? Wait a moment. How many children? Any at all? What does "proper" mean? What is the ethical basis for me having a nicer home or car or better health or what-have-you than my neighbor, or him than me? In the individualist worldview, the basis is really about luck, or, as some would have it, how well and how much you work for it.

We can start to see a problem emerging with women. Women produce children, these children consume resources. Women are disproportionately burdened. Children can in principle produce value, but this may be limited by "child labor laws." Women may be able to get large amounts of resources from men, but things like prostitution and "lewdness" may be prohibited as well. As always, women's rights shines an interesting light on these sorts of discussions.

Individualism and the Problem of Murder
One problem with murder is that the police (the govenment) must take the initiative in pursuing the crime. In other crimes, there is a complaining victim who's self, family, or property have been ill-used by a third party, who set the process in motion, or don't, for whom laws or mores offer recourse, or don't. With murder there is no choice. The government must be the one who sets the process in motion. Yes, we could talk about vigilantism, but there may be cases where there is no surviving family or otherwise interested parties. If one is willing to accept that the weak (houses) or unattached individuals are at the absolute mercy of the more powerful, ruthless, or well-armed, this problem may go away, but experience suggests that there would be non-stop civil war at at levels, sometimes perhaps resembling the Wars of the Roses.

Again, not a pretty picture. There are those that would maintain that preventing this sort of thing is the sole purpose for government (31), i.e., curtailing internacine conflict (30) by establishing and enforcing a universal system of justice.

Individualism and the Problem of Indigency
Until rather recently (post-WWII), even the more "advanced" societies of the world would effectively let you die in the street if you didn't/couldn't work and pay your share (9). This is ethically consistent with the individualism worldview. However, you wind up with a constant state of crimes committed by people who choose to steal a living rather than earn it by working, women and children begging on the street, poor people with (treatable) diseases dying on the street or working while ill, the crippled and mentally ill who do not have families to care for them living on the street, and families who could otherwise get on well enough crushed by fairly trivial misfortune (32).

Not a pretty picture.

Even if one is, shall we say, cold-hearted, the individualist has to pay a number of monetary costs for his freedom. People who are starved and/or envious and caught stealing or rioting or vandalizing must be arrested, tried (or not...?), put into prison or to death. Prisons cost money. Police forces, private or...gasp!...public, cost money. Whether you treat it as an insurance model, or an individually born expense (private sucurity forces, etc.), you see the beginnings of the creation of a "public servant class." (33)

Individualism and the Problem of Women
Women are something of a special case in the individualist worldview. They produce minor children, and at least some of these must somehow be raised. If children are not somehow raised by their mothers, or in some kind of nutritionally and educationally supportive environment, they will not survive to become productive members of society. If we accept that if a major, if not the major enterprise of human beings, indeed, any other animal, is to reproduce and procreate the next generation, then any valid economic philosophy must give this primacy.

What does the individualist creed do? One approach is that a woman (10) must always belong to some kind of "house" or "tribe" or "family" and is exchanged from one to another. One duty of the house of origin is to care for its womenfolk and to see that they are well-placed when it comes to marriage (11), and the duty of the welcoming house is to do the same, and to take responsibility for the dependent children.

Another approach, which seems the simpler and more reasonable, beside the point for the moment, is that an individual woman be responsible for her own children, in other words, that she needn't be bound to any "house" or other such group.

The point is that somebody has to be responsible for minor children, either the mothers themselves, alone, or some group, presumably involving men as well, and presumably the men responsible, legally at least, for the births of the children in question. At this point we can start to see, despite the "every man for himself" ideal of the individualist philosophy, we start to have laws and responsibilities involving men and/or women owning dependent children, and men and women owning each other (12).

At this point we have governments to enforce these property rights, and to deal with the dependent children. Either or both activities may make for a very pretty picture. On one extreme, we have examples of "marital infidelity" being punished by death, and vagrant children being imprisoned, enslaved, left to die in the streets, or put to death. Today in the US we have divorce courts, foster care, child protective services, etc., and these are possibly less cruel, and almost certainly more expensive than ever. A somewhat glib commentary, but it's not a pretty situation, no matter how you slice it.

In the individualist world, at least somebody takes responsibility for the children, even if they fail at it and everyone suffers. There can at least be efforts to curb birthrates (13) to keep within means and such, and take care of one's own children (14), feed them, educate them, etc. When it doesn't work, it can get ugly, but in the ideal picture, it's clear how it all works and who's to do what. Whether women are primarily dedicated to child care or to economic production or some combination is an "individual" choice (15).

If we posit that the r-party is the party that leans more towards individualism, that could explain why they seem to be so "anti-woman," opposing birth control, abortion, not supporting child care, maternal leave, lactation support at work, and so forth. One could make the argument, perhaps harshly, that all of those things represent costs and burdens which the individual should pay for herself. If one is going to have children, or have sex that could lead to children, it's unfair to make others pay for them. Whether these pregnancies are deliberate or accidental, they represent a lack of personal responsibility, one which should not be foisted onto others. The collectivist camp, perhaps embodied by the d-party, might begin with the point that unintended pregnancies are a cost that could and should be avoided, and that society should pay, but then it seems to grow from there.

All of these kinds of questions are difficult  and painful to try to come to grips with. What does deliberately depriving women of the power to control their own fertility have to do with individualism? It seems like it should favor and promote the opposite. Perhaps there is some twisted logic akin to the granting of "drivers' licenses" where the withdrawal of this "privilege" (22,24) is often seen as sufficient punishment, even for killing or nearly killing another, or causing grievous harm to property, etc. When you think about this, it's very odd indeed. The receipt of a "license" to do something one has a right to do anyway (25) does not make the withdrawal of same into a punishment of any kind. This makes sense with regard to drivers' licenses (and even business or professional licenses (26)), and this otherwise sensible logic might be applicable, in the individualist philosophy, to things like birth control, i.e., that the existence of birth control grants license to have irresponsible sex and unwanted children, but when these tragedies eventuate, the individuals involved are not held responsible if they used birth control, and only held responsible if they did not.

Again, not a pretty picture. One could argue that the individualist worldview sees a slippery slope towards paying irresponsible people for having unwanted children (44). Even the slightest nod toward collectivism in this very important area represents a nudge towards the slide. This is not a question of conservatism so much as individualism versus collectivism, which I suggest could be the defining difference between the r-party and the d-party, i.e., not a question of "The Right Wing" versus "The Left Wing" or tories versus whigs.

Collectivism and the Problem of Women
I don't give a lot of credibility to the idea of poor women in a "socialist" health care and benefits system having more and more children in order to collect more money from the system and somehow even "get rich" from it (44). It's probably a racist, sexist, classist narrative cooked up by political and religious bottom-feeders to manufacture scapegoats. We don't really need to give it any credence to explore this topic.

Having said that, the collectivist camp has a problem with where women fit in. In the individualist world, you take care of your own kids, whether you're the mother, or the mother has attached other persons to help. If the children commit crimes, you are responsible. If they are to be educated and fed, you have to provide the resources. That is what "minor child" means -- they are not expected by society to do such things for themselves. One asks them "where's your mummy?" or "where's your daddy?" which are things one never asks an adult. One says "why don't you get a job and buy your own food/clothers/car/house?" or "You're under arrest!" with no regards to who the person's parents are. That's what "minor" or "age of innocence" means.

In the collectivist world, there is the idea that human beings have certain basic rights to have their needs met. These needs could be anything (16), but for the sake of a simple argument, let's say shelter, food, education, and medical care (43) for oneself and one's dependent children (18). Since everybody is guaranteed the same minimums, men and women are effectively the same, except that women can have babies (17). Women now produce children who have the right to all of the aforementioned basic benefits. There is no marginal cost to the mother, and certainly not to her lovers, so there's nothing to motivate her to have fewer or more (19) children. The problem we usually worry about is having "too many" children. If they're unwanted and misbehave, no one takes responsility, if they don't actually learn anything in school no one cares, and the schools must be expanded to accomodate unmotivated students. If they become wards of the state by death or neglect, those involved may not care, either. Obviously adding more people clogs the medical, food production, and infrastructure, but that's true even if few of the children are miscreants.

So what's the problem? Things might seem a bit muddy at this point. You could say that people taking more than their share will sink the whole system. You could say that having "too many kids" is an example of taking more than your share, too, but what's "your share?" How many "shares" are out there? One could argue that this must be decided, i.e., what is the "entitlement" of each citizen in terms of whatever's on the menu, e.g., education, food, housing, public health (43), infrastructure, and other services...but is even this necessary and sufficient? Does even a more deliberate approach (34) guarantee success, and is this even provable?

Once you start setting numbers and limits, it's hard to avoid the conclusion of an appeal to forced sterilization (36,37).

Productivity and Power Laws
A computer science professor of mine claimed that the average number of lines of working code produced in the software industry per programmer (at least in the late 1980s) was 1.4 lines per week. Of course, that's abysmal. He also noted that there are programmers out there who can produce 20,000 lines of working code in a single weekend. This is probably generally true, i.e., that some people are tens of thousands of times more productive and efficient than others.

What that means in the individualist world is that there are people who can start enterprises which make billions and can employ thousands of people for living wages (20). Most of these hypothetical employed people would be incapable of starting or running an enterprise that makes any money, a few could support themselves and perhaps a few others through their own independent efforts.

It's not altogether clear that the power law of productivity is an automatic slam-dunk for the individualist philosophy, however. It might be beggaring questions to make monetarist, Keynesian, or Galbraithian arguments at this point. But how we pay for it all is a very valid question.

It seems clear that whatever collectivist model we choose would have to take into account that some people are able to produce more wealth, more resources, run things more efficiently, even thousands of times more, than others. Furthermore, one could ask why people work in the first place, i.e., for enjoyment, for rewards, just to survive, or for something else.

"Guaranteed Minimum Income"
This is one idea that comes up in talks of collectivism -- everybody has an guaranteed level of income, nobody has to be thrown out on the street if they don't have a job, or can't make a living. It's unclear if this is even the motivation, i.e., if it's just a selling point or to address the problem of people being afraid of economic uncertainty. Would people act in a "freer" or "more innovative" way if they knew they'd have something to fall back on. Such agglomerative arguments are suspect, however.

One argument might be that there's a group of people, perhaps around ten percent, who are chronically unemployed, underemployed, have low earnings, and/or move from low-paying job to low-paying job. They may also tend to acquire a lot of low-quality debt. The cost to society, so to speak, is more to keep these people, to allow these people to stay in this condition, to pursue the kind of work they do, to commute to and fro, to maintain the housing needed, to take out high-interest short-term loans, than it is to just give them the kind of living they're trying to maintain anyway.

It might appear that individualism is something that is maintained for it's own sake, almost like a moral certainty, and it is easy to measure whether that is true, while collectivism seeks to create an environment that favors the "common good," which is something difficult to measure and perhaps also expensive and difficult or impossible to acheive.

The Problem of Information and Control
One practical distinction between individualism and collectivism is that people, effectively, must be told what to do, or rather, that the government has to know about them, and tell them what to do based upon that knowledge. One implication is that there has to be a government large enough to collect and manage all this information, with the resources to enforce its edicts, and to supply the apartments and public schools and hospitals and such and to run them.

The individualist view would say that none of that would be needed, and maybe it's true.

Coming Full Circle

My original objective was to show how the individualist-collectivist axis is actually a circle, namely that  the extremes of the two directions end up meeting, becoming effectively the same thing. My idea was that the extreme of collectivism is that the govenment, the central authority, the public servant group, knows so much about every individual that each person can effectively do exactly what he wants, the system becomes more and more tailored to each individuals needs, abilities, and disabilites (23). Conservatism versus "liberalism" or non-conservatism is independent of this. One can be highly individualist and still be highly conservative or highly non-conservative, i.e., allowing a great deal of social change while still maintaining a high degree of individualism.

One can perhaps model the collection of all of these ideological continuæ as exiting somewhere on the surface of a hypertoroïd, with two dimesions, individualism-collectivism, and conservatism-non-conservatism being two circular dimensions on a two-dimesional "doughnut" taken from that hypertoroid.

This shows how a political system may be conservative and individualist or non-conservative and individualist, i.e., how these may be unrelated quantities. In practice, the ideological n-space may be "crumpled" in certain regions, and one example may be individualist-collectivist versus "respect/disrespect privacy," or "high-privacy-low-privacy." In other words, if one becomes increasingly collectivist, one may unavoidably also become less privacy-oriented, i.e., the government or the public in general (29). In other words, the n-space becomes "crumpled," around areas of high or low values of such quantities, or the "volume" of the hypertoroid continuum is smaller than at other sets of coordinates. There are fewer configuration possibilities.

Collectivism and Privacy
The assumption is that if "the government" or even "the (city) council" is to provide free support for all citizens (37), they need data as to how much that is, and who exactly are the ones needing it (38). Presumably increases along the collectivist axis of the ideological hypertoriod (n-space) shrink the amount of latitude along the privacy axis. However, even if a political system is highly individualist, it's no guarantee that one's privacy be relatively low. One could contrast the US and, say, France or some other country where in the former, journalists have no qualms about hiding microphones around or taking photos through windows, sneaking in or just bringing cameras to executions, and so on, and no one raises a stink, while in other countries, although such practices are equally doäble, are not done out of a sense of decency and respect for basic rights, or perhaps through "better" laws.

Anyway, what might the two dimensions of individualist-collectivist versus high-low privacy look like on their own two-dimensional "sub-toroid"?

Here we see how the amount of possible privacy, and the maximum available, shrink as one continues along the individualist-collectivist continuum towards increasing collectivism. Also, we see how there is no guarantee or higher privacy in a highly individualist regime -- it merely becomes possible to have higher privacy, e.g., where the government and society in general may know very little about the private affairs (financial or otherwise) of the typical individual. However, in the earlier journalistic example, this may well not be the case at all.

One can imagine that things like racism versus hetero/homogeneity are simlarly coupled and traverse crumpled regions of the hypertoroid.

I hoped to plant a seed of doubt as to whether the two American parties (and parties elsewhere) differ less on the dimension of "conservatism" (40) than on the individualism-collectivism continuum. This can explain much more clearly their otherwise bizarre behaviors and points that they seem to fight about, with women's rights being an interesting example.

Furthermore, I introduce the idea of the ideological hypertoroidal n-space, wherein the dimension of "conservatism" is orthogonal to individualism-conservatism, and probably to a great many more that the memespace surrounding this term tends (wrongly) to convolve. I hope this can lead to clearer thinking about politics in particular and ideology in general and shed some light on what is "possible" or "impossible" politically, based upon readily identifiable parameters.

(1) a.k.a., the "G.O.P." or the "Grand Old Party," so called since its inception with the campaign of Abraham Lincoln in 1856. Ironic marketing ploy, given that the so-called "Democratic Party," I believe, hails back to the British Whig party (as opposed to the Tory party) and may have even been so called at the start of the United States.

(2) Hereinafter I'll refer to them as the "r-party" and the "d-party."

(3) I have been planning to write about this, specifically, about "The Problem of the Legions," and internalized oppression, and so forth. Apparently I have not done so yet.

(4) Apparently 16th Century Holland/Belgium is one such example.

(5) I want to look at another quantity or axis, "privacy," later on. We may find that it does not in fact distinguish the r-party from the d-party very well, or very consistently, either.

(6) US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, "My right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins."

(7) So apprently the Soviet Union had a Constitution, constitutional law, and it actually governed the country. Oh, yes, and by the way, they finally officially gave up on a fundamental principle of Communism.

(8) Whether the children themselves were the original goal or not...! Actually, this leads to a very serious and relevant point to bring up later.

(9) George Orwell observed in Down and Out in Paris and London that there are very few female hobos. This may have changed in the US post-Reagan, but Orwell's insight was that a woman can always find some man to marry in order to escape abject poverty and homelessness. Simone de Beauvoir termed this "the female escape hatch."

(10) This actually applies almost equally well to men, too, by the way. A man who does not belong to some kind of "house," as either a member or a head of it, is a kind of ro-nin samurai 浪人侍, who has no master to serve, no work, also no power, or value to society or anybody else.

(11) Males of a house enjoy no such consideration. They must prove their worth, leave to start houses of their own, and attract their own wives to form good connections with other (better) houses.

(12) A man being "owned" by a woman because he got her pregnant has some sense to it, as does the idea that a woman "owned" by a man agrees to only have children by him, if he agrees to take care of her and the children. In either case, one could imagine a woman "owning" multiple men and vice versa.

(13) Some might think this ironic, given the r-party's reputation for curtailing birth control and reproductive rights. For one, it might not be so one-sided, and in any case we'll get to that.

(14) And even the children of others, with one's own weath, should one so desire for whatever reason.

(15) Social mores may push things one way or another, but that's beside the point of this discussion.

(16) such as the right to have at least two upscale German automobiles, go to college for as long as one likes, eat food of a certain fanciness and quality, have the most advanced medical equipment and techniques available if wanted for any reason as well as heroic efforts made to save life and limb, etc.

(17) This has the potential of increasing health care costs for women since babies involve additional medical attention. A very credible argument is made that childbirth is far, far overmedicalized in the US. Even in other industrialized nations, pregnancy is seen as much less an illness in need of massive medical intervention. For simplicity's sake, let's set this aside for the moment.

(18) who ultimately become adults, and they get the same benefits regardless, so it makes no difference.

(19) The birthrate in Japan, for example, has fallen far below replacement rate, perhaps as low as 1.1. Other Western democracies have the same issue, declining birthrates leading to declining populations. The US only barely stays ahead (around 2.2?) largely due to high levels of immigration.

(20) A thousand people getting paid fifty thousand a year is half a billion dollars, for instance.

(21) whether these are "real" or not, and the determination of that is yet another burden on the system

(22) Bryan Smith, the man who very nearly killed author Stephen King by running him over with his van (23), leaps to mind.

(23) by the way, Byran Smith died last month at age 43 of non-motor-related causes.

(24) and in the US a license to drive is called a privilege, but in fact in many if not most places, it is a necessity for having a normal life.

(25) by the individualist camp's viewpoint, since one is liable to the police for any complaining victim, and killing another also brings police attention, there is no need for licensure. If one is responsible for one's own actions (or the actions of dependent children) and one undertakes these actions irresponsibly or recklessly, one is more liable in the eyes of society and the courts, e.g., by being underinsured, etc.

(26) the individualist would argue that granting of a license does not make one "more qualified" (27) and the cost of review of qualifications is an undue burden (28).

(27) unless said license only involved a "swearing or afirming" that one is qualified to the courts or other.

(28) the justification for organizations such as OSHA is an interesting special case, among many others, of "compromises" or "middle ground" between individualism and collectivism.

(29) one example may be credit reporting agencies. they maintain a huge amount of information about people, all people, including addresses, family relationships, and so forth

(30) often merely based on the competition between men for access to women, c.f., the example of Pitcairne Island after the landing of the Bounty mutineers, i.e., the men all killed one another literally to the last man.

(31) The other is the registration of births, which is one of the overarching topics of this essay.

(32) There is also the phenomenon of the exodus of masses of such marginalized persons to regions where the weather is less cruel to those living out-of-doors and/or where charitable support is more generous, to say nothing of those otherwise able to work perigrinating to where employment is available (or theft more lightly punished), including legal and illegal immigration (no doubt a separate topic altogether).

(33) which individualists would dub "parasitic," or even "cancerous," and depending upon the implementation of such, perhaps not altogether wrongly.

(34) historically in the US, a "pork barrel" (35) approach has been the norm. In the 1980s, the r-party put forward legislation to at least tie new entitlements, etc., to a specific tax-based revenue stream, rather than just handing out more money without concern as to whence it was to come. A sort of rear guard individualist stopgap, as it were.

(35) Pork barrel refers to circa eighteenth century enormous barrels of cured pork, which, when the top was broken open, people would come around and take some, without concern to who got how much, or when the barrel would be emptied, since it was so plentiful. US political terms such as "pork barrel legislation/spending" or even just "pork" refer to this kind of reckless spending and appropriation that drives up deficits since there's no clear idea of where the money is coming from or when it will run out.

(36) Or, as the Mao and post-Mao Chinese example, as well as dozens if not hundreds of other cultures (one could even argue 'all cultures'), infanticide, often informal. To make a loose quote (from I think, Churchill), in eighteenth and nineteenth century London, when a poor woman handed her unwanted infant through the window of a foundling home, she might as well have been putting it directly into an oven, given it's chances of survival.

(37) When you start talking about forced sterilization, racism and classism (and genocide) rear their ugly heads, as I'll try to touch on in the racially heterogenous vs. homogeneous societies, their relationship in the ideological hypertoroid, and the coupling of hypertorioidal n-space dimensions around such quantities as (possible) collectivism, heterogeneity, privacy, racism, classism, etc., and the "crumpling" of the n-space around the intersections of some of these quantities.

(38) or even just cut-rate support for those who "need it" (39)

(39) "according to his need" could be an even more burdensome and open-ended proposition, and perhaps a primary motivation for the "guaranteed minimum income." Even still, what to do with those whose "need" exceeds what's been decided? Is "what's needed for most" still a solution? Can this be decided?

(40) indeed, while the r-party is often referred to as the "conservative" party (as is the "Conservative Party" in Britain and elsewhere), and the d-party as the rather muddier "liberal"  (or whatever) party, as often as not the reverse is true. So-called "conservative" leaders seem to be the ones getting us into wars, breaking up strikes and unions, making sweeping changes to government departments, ministries, budgets, while the so-called "liberal" or "progressive" parties seldom manage to implement their ideas overnight (41), and are instead characterized by a dogged, ploding enterprise of plugging the odd hole and chink here and there, and working to consolidate the legal and budgetary system, and make it conform bit by bit to ethical ideals.

(41) the Bolsheviks being perhaps a stand-out counterexample.

(42) described as "the largest land re-allocation in human history"

(43) an interesting example is a subtle and perhaps not well known part of Japanese public health care: the nin-gen dokku 人間ドック or as I like to refer to it, the "human dry-dock." Effectively every (cheap) test known to medical science is run against every citizen every year. It's relatively cheap due to economies of scale, low-stress for the doctors and nurses who simply process the mostly healthy people through by the thousands, huge specialist labs that test blood, urine, feces, illnesses are caught early when treatment is easier and cheaper, or when simple lifestyle changes can reverse the problems. Best of all for those concerned with budgetary issues, the cost is simply calculated by population multiplied by the cost of each test, i.e., fixed and easy to regulate.

(44) The cliché and fanciful idea of the "welfare mother" again.

漫画 Does "Chunking" Help?

← Manga Index — This whole vignette

Mermaid awesome

Gotta learn to draw these two!

Mermaid CCCLIV

got to practice drawing her!!

Friday, October 13, 2017

漫画 Put the Deck in Order

← Manga Index — This whole vignette → 

Mermaid CCCLII

What is this zombie Ariel thing? I guess a ton of people love Ariel and  are into zombies, so I guess it's pretty inevitable.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

漫画 Bad Japanese

← Comic Index — Rough version of this vignette

Solidarity with Charlie-Hebdo!


A thousand apologies for the delays and problems getting these out. I misscheduled a few things. I will get a manga out in a few minutes as well -- sorry for the shortfall on those, too!


Friday, October 6, 2017


Not sure how I feel about this one. Have we got the red-haired Ariel getting the chop again?