I know I’m supposed to hate the Chinese for their killing of two million Americans, or whatever the totally fake China Virus estimate from Neil Ferguson’s crystal ball was, but truth be told I don’t. I know I’m supposed to believe the narrative about this or that bio lab and be ready to cheer on drastic action. Also, I’m supposed to hate Beijing for what they are doing in Hong Kong and insist upon war. That attack on that special city, I’m opinionated about. Hong Kong has enjoyed freedoms that the rest of us could only dream of. In the 1950s, while technocrats in the West were just starting to make a whole slew of fake science out of monitoring people, John Cowperthwaite was hard at work preventing the collection of statistics in
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I know I’m supposed to believe the narrative about this or that bio lab and be ready to cheer on drastic action.
Also, I’m supposed to hate Beijing for what they are doing in Hong Kong and insist upon war. That attack on that special city, I’m opinionated about. Hong Kong has enjoyed freedoms that the rest of us could only dream of. In the 1950s, while technocrats in the West were just starting to make a whole slew of fake science out of monitoring people, John Cowperthwaite was hard at work preventing the collection of statistics in Hong Kong.
Statistics — what an ugly word — the data of the state. How much better off the world would be if more people refused to cooperate in such a toxic study and sought to simply live their lives. Knowledge in the hands of the state will be used as a weapon in the hands of the state.
If I knew much about the American biological weapons program and the Chinese biological weapons program, I’m sure I’d be the first to have some kind of self-righteous opinion about the whole thing. But what I know is my own life and my own interaction with Chinese people.
Isn’t that more important than whatever statistics get published in the back of the technocrats’ bible that we call the Economist or by the Office of Management and Budget? I really like pretty much every Chinese person I’ve ever met.
This week I needed a lightbulb in one of these awful American cities that is still on lockdown. It’s the 128th day. So I made a quick trip to the store to grab an incandescent lightbulb since I’m quite partial to their warm color spectrum and not too bothered by the fact that the packaging claims they cost me $4,000 more than a compact fluorescent light over the course of a year, or some other Ferguson-esque hyperbole.
The secret in moments like this is to divide everything a western expert says by 1,000 on the low end and 1,000,000 on the high end and you are likely to get far more accurate readings.
Overestimation bias is real. No one wants to hear about the 5-inch bluegill you caught. No one wants to hear about the 400 cases of mad cow disease that accurate models of the disease would predict. But a study that tells the story of blood on the street or the 84-foot man-eating fish you caught, that might turn heads. “If it bleeds, it leads,” is no longer limited to being the motto of cynical newsroom editors. It is the motto of Royal College epidemiologists too.
In their paper “US studies may overestimate effect sizes in softer research,” (2013) Fanelli and Ioannidis write:
“Science is a struggle for truth against methodological, psychological, and sociological obstacles. Increasing efforts are devoted to studying unconscious and conscious biases in research and publication, because these represent a threat for human health, economic resources, and scientific progress.”
Eager to get my incandescent lightbulb, I allotted about ten minutes for the process and walked into my local hardware store.
The hardware store had a wall of lightbulbs, not a single one useful to me. There was a 25 watt incandescent bulb (too dim), a 200 watt incandescent bulb (too hot), and incandescent orange flood lamps (Orange Man bad). Everything else were those sickly green colored CFL or LEDs, which are turning into quite nice lightbulbs compared to what they once were, but are still not that wonderful warm glow of a kaolin clay lined, tungsten filament, argon filled incandescent.
The hardware store was out of stock, and they weren’t expecting anymore. Incandescent bulbs had been banned since January 1, 2020, under Gavin Newsom (not Chinese) I soon learned, as part of sweeping executive action across the country that began federally in the awful Bush 43 (not Chinese) administration in 2007.
You know that president, the one who inherited what was called “Pax Americana” from the war monger Bill Clinton (not Chinese) and his warmonger Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (not Chinese), the one who started a giant Middle East nightmare with the aid of Donald Rumsfeld (not Chinese), Dick Cheney (not Chinese), Richard Perle (not Chinese), Paul Wolfowitz (not Chinese), Douglas Feith (not Chinese), Scooter Libby (not Chinese), Condoleezza Rice (not Chinese), Karl Rove (not Chinese), Bill Kristol (not Chinese), Charles Krauthammer (not Chinese), Colin Powell (not Chinese), Sean Hannity (not Chinese), Brett Stevens (not Chinese), John McCain (not Chinese), Lindsey Graham (not Chinese), Chuck Schumer (not Chinese), and Joe Lieberman (not Chinese) after campaigning on what was effectively non-intervention, led the most concentrated grand curtailing of US liberty during peacetime since FDR (not Chinese) — FDR being the worst of the bunch since Lincoln (not Chinese) — that president who was replaced by Barack Obama (not Chinese), the one who continued his wars and led the biggest slaughter of people of color by any US President ever and who was himself succeeded in an America first backlash by President Trump (not Chinese), who has not ended the awful Bush-Obama wars, and has overseen the implementation of corona communism, overshadowing all prior peacetime restrictions on American liberty.
“Oh well,” I thought, as I stood in the lightbulb aisle, “I’ll just get them off Amazon. Amazon has everything I really need anyway. Should have done that to begin with and saved myself the trip.”
Despite some valid criticism against the company, Amazon is so good at what it does, and brings so much human happiness to so many people. A quick search on my phone turned up my favorite incandescent bulbs at Amazon in under 15 seconds.
I decided on buying two boxes of those.
Thanks to Amazon, this trip, even after a hiccup, was really only going to be a ten-minute trip after all.
I hit the “Buy Now!” button and Voila!
I breathed a sigh of relief, grateful for that moment decades ago when Jeff Bezos took the chance of making his vision for the future into a reality.
Then a special screen popped up.
“Sorry this item can’t be shipped to your selected address,” it read.
Amazon wouldn’t ship incandescent lightbulbs to California. They are too illegal.
Sucks to you Amazon!
Hardware store won’t sell it.
Amazon won’t sell it.
I’ve worked in the 11-year-old Bitcoin industry for 7 years. I wrote the Bitcoin Manifesto. Skirting silly restrictions is commonplace for anyone who has watched that industry develop. I know better than most how the free market segment of the interwebs will happily provide for me in a moment like this, so it occurred to me that I could order the contraband lightbulbs from the so called “dark web.” I could even use Monero to make the purchase even harder for anyone to trace back to me.
The contrasts between the difficulty in buying a contraband lightbulb and buying a substance that will actually cause harm are phenomenal.
The local Four Seasons hotel this spring was shuttered by the government and then when it was left with no other way of making money, it was rented out to the government. On Saturday, two days prior, one of the homeless men now staying in the Four Seasons, care of the taxpayer, overdosed on heroin. Paramedics rushed him out the door of the once very upscale hotel and to the safety of a hospital. Heroin can be purchased with ease in this city.
Downtown even offers “The Three Block Guarantee.” There is someone at any given moment with a needle dangling out of their arm in broad daylight within three blocks. If I turn on the police scanner, the most common call I hear is for people overdosing.
All that I can do here, but purchasing an incandescent lightbulb, that’s forbidden.
Yeah. That makes sense.
It makes sense when you realize Americans just aren’t serious about very much. Vast parts of the country have turned into a total joke. When you value your own life and the lives of others, this is not how you interact with reality. When you don’t take life seriously, you end up exactly here.
A culture that teaches their children to anthropomorphize Mickey Mouse because “that’s cute,” lets a screen (TV, movie, or other) babysit their pride and joy and the future of humanity because that’s the easy and popular thing to do, is a culture that raises the baby boomers and makes a child’s relationship with reality near impossible. Parents become a child’s worst enemy as they raise them to adulthood with minds of mush. Project the trajectory of that aberrant vector globally and over two to three generations and who can be surprised when 3,000 abortions a day is meaningless, but puppy mills are front page news.
Yes. Of course, we shut down an economy that was the pinnacle of economic advancement over the entire course of world history because of a bad flu season. Yes of course everyone is hiding their hard won individuality, represented in their faces, behind face masks and suddenly ignoring their healthy immune systems which have protected them their entire lives. Yes, of course everyone is hiding at home. Because Americans have become a frivolous people. Expect nothing but the most frivolous of behavior from frivolous people.
Hardware store doesn’t have it.
Amazon doesn’t have it.
I guess the dark web it is.
I opened my Tor browser and then it occurred to me that there might be a Chinese website that would ship incandescent lightbulbs to me. I wouldn’t even need the dark web.
Though we constantly hear about how unfree the Chinese are, Chinese entrepreneurs have basked in the gray market and black market business opportunities of the internet that uncowed Americans once happily provided alongside service with a smile. I reflected on several wonderful Chinese vendors I knew online.
Then it occurred to me that there might be an “in real life” Chinese person in this metropolis that would dare carry incandescent lightbulbs, unlike these compliant California-born who run the hardware store.
At that moment, one of the Karens working at the store got on the employee intercom. A man had been spotted in aisle seven without a face mask on. Attention, a man had been spotted in aisle seven without a face mask on.
I was in aisle seven.
In less than a minute, three employees descended upon me and broke social distancing to tell me that I was in violation of the face mask order, one of whom was not wearing a face mask.
What a fiasco this trip had turned into.
I walked to a Chinese store I knew. On the way, I reflected on a few Cantonese phrases. Cantonese, not Mandarin. The Chinese people who speak Cantonese had been around awhile. They tend not to care for the communists. They may not have come from Hong Kong, but they often have an intimate understanding of the affairs of Hong Kong.
The Chinese people who speak Mandarin tend to be newcomers, they tend to like the communists. Marxists in America would prefer these distinctions be swept under the rug. Marxists tend to hate easy-to-study control groups, in which ethnically identical populations can be compared next to each other with little difference beyond the political systems they live under: Hong Kong (largely free economy to date) and Mainland China (lots of capitalist aspects with considerable oppression) are a great example.
American collectivists and Chinese collectivists alike need this example to go away. They need the statue of Hong Kong torn down. Every day it stands, it offers the most potent ridicule to Marxism.
Seemingly in contrast, neo-conservatives and global interventionists of all parties stand ready to “protect freedom” in Hong Kong, a view that this observer finds insincere, as he witnessed how poorly they protected freedom in places such as the United States, Iraq, and Libya. American collectivists are united in their general support of proposals that will spell the end of Hong Kong as we know it, with some minor disagreement on specific tactics.
Pronounced and public examples like Hong Kong v. Mainland make it hard for Marxists to parade around their moldy old racist chestnut and try to feed it to people. What the Marxists offer is pure racism: white people have privilege (that’s biological determinism, of which racism is a sub-segment), and black people are inevitably oppressed by white people (more biological determinism).
And then I turned the corner, walked into the store, and there it was, a wall of incandescent lightbulbs. Communism outside these walls, free markets within.
I bet the Chinese husband and wife who own the store never said to themselves “Let’s leave friends, family, language, and culture behind in our ancestral lands and let’s move to America where we can be treated like crap by the government, start over from scratch, and own a store that can be an island of free market ideals of trade, peace, and prosperity in the midst of the growing morass that is American communism.” No, they probably never said that. But that’s what it is.
In under a minute I was able to have my incandescent lightbulb in hand.
No one said a thing about a face mask.
And one of the ladies working brought me a shopping basket to invite me to stay and shop awhile.
I love the Chinese.
Most Americans don’t have a clue how much of their freedom they are throwing away through little acts like wearing a face mask, acceding to the racism and lies that BLM needs believed for its Marxist revolt to succeed, letting their toilets be low-flush, letting their lightbulbs be mercury-filled, government-enforced, migraine-inducing pieces of crap, letting their gasoline canisters be safety versions, letting their cars be safety versions, letting their lives be riskless and bubble wrapped safety versions.
It’s the niggling little strictures of life that make this death by a thousand paper cuts so much more awful than any death caused by taking courageous risk.
How the diminutive Lilliputians of Jonathan Swift’s parable occupy themselves with the trivial, and how brutally oppressive and mighty that collective is in their net effect. The petty bureaucrat, the compliant Karen, the cowering Ken are no different.
America in 2020 is the height of frivolity. And the frivolous have enforcement authority. Steer clear of the frivolous. It could rub off on you. If you must interact with the Lilliputians, not wearing a face mask matters because it is you exempting yourself from the frivolity. It is you insisting you won’t let your life be run by the compliant, cruel, and frivolous.
How the man standing across from me at the cash register accepting a dollar bill in exchange for a lightbulb is denying all of that — not in word, but in his action as a human.
With that, he speaks most loudly of his values.
I love the Chinese, and the less English they know, the better they seem to be at caring about doing business and not caring about the rest.
Their American born kids are usually hopeless. But that’s a matter for another day.