Happy Ent

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About Happy Ent

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    Godfather of the Weirwoods
  • Birthday 07/01/1968

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  1. Thank you, that was a good suggestion. (Shipping costs twice the book. Ah, well.) US order placed, German order cancelled. The things we do for love.
  2. … and if I order from amazon.com now, the expected delivery date is 24 Aug – 14 Sep. This was supposed to be my summer holiday indulgence. Some corruption begs not the cloth but the knife.
  3. FOR FUCK’S SAKE! Now they have changed the delivery date from today to 22 Aug—1 Sep. HOW I HATE THIS WORLD!
  4. amazon.de still has not shipped! I see their skin charred and blacked, blasted by damnation.
  5. Shooting in Munich

    Good observations, o4. Here’s an accessible introduction to Putnam’s results. Boston Globe (2007) To read more, start with the relevant Wikipedia articles. It’s all good stuff, and quite illuminating. (Also because he Changed. His. Mind. I have a lot of respect for people who do that.) One more detail: affluence of a society is not an indicator that everything is fine. That’s exactly the globalist dogma that I hoped we had rid ourselves of now. For instance, the US is very affluent, but it’s still very unclear to what extend the original population has benefitted from this. Was it in their interest? Putting instead the focus on the state (as the “recipient” of the blessings of global capitalism) is exactly Platonic thinking: as if the State was the interesting entity that we need to support. It’s not. The people are. (At least that’s what I think, and this is exactly where people can fruitfully disagree. The regressive Left, for instance, puts the state first. As do laissez-faire capitalists or EU-style globalist utopians. I disagree with all of them, but their opinion is of course valid.)
  6. Shooting in Munich

    I would put that even more strongly (as I did above): We have faith in choice. The word faith is carefully chosen, just as in Popper’s adage that we have faith in reason. There is no argument for either, and very little evidence. But it’s useful (or, to use another word, optimistic) to frame these things as choice and reason. It makes you a better person, it helps you make decisions, it puts responsibility on you, and it is intrinsically linked to the value system of the open society. Note that faith in choice is the very opposite of some of the strongest movements against the open society. Nihilism, marxism, etc. Entire political movements (not all of them evil or mistaken) are based on ideas that societies are helpless playthings for stronger forces that they can’t control.
  7. Shooting in Munich

    I assume you refer to Robert D. Putnam’s work? Yes, I was very depressed by this as well.
  8. Shooting in Munich

    But I think even this analysis is useful and optimistic. School shootings because of X are inevitable consequences of (1) the open society (absence of surveillance), and (2) X (for some perfectly innocuous X such as romantic rejection). We accept these bad consequences and understand them as downsides of (1) and (2), because we think (1) and (2) have very high value for our society. It’s exactly like cars (they have value for us, but they also have downsides). Do note that these are real choices. In the US, there is (3) access to guns, which is also seen as a value. (I reject that choice.) (3) also as known downsides, which the US chooses to balance against the upsides. Migration from Middle Eastern and North African muslims also has inevitable bad consequences. It is a choice for a society to say, no: we put so much value on Y (say, deontological ethics, or good humous) that we accept the downsides. Society is getting increasingly well informed about these issues; for instance, many Europeans only now understand the downsides of living with many Middle Easterners and North African muslims. (Of these downsides, violence in the public sphere is one, but I am much more worried about the conservative values and the welfare state – I am a leftie and a social progressive more than I am a security-fetishist.) We now need to engage in a constructive debate where we evaluate the many upsides of multiculturalism (I don’t have the time to enumerate them) against these downsides. This is a choice, which we as a society can make. We do that by debating this in the public sphere, just as the US is very good at debating the utility of (3) in the public sphere. We Europeans have to reach that level of discourse.
  9. Shooting in Munich

    I have no opinion on that. (I also don’t know a good definition of terror attack, for that matter.) I think one can usefully talk about the effects of such incidents on society, but I have never been very enlightened by the other direction (i.e., which effects society has on such incidents). I would be surprised if the German discourse is not shaken by 4 large-scale murder attempts in one week perpetrated by actors with roots in the middle east. For some people, motivation seems to be important; for me it really isn’t. (Or rather: I’m much more worried by those attacks that are not explained by islamic radicalisation. The latter I would have some hope of rooting out with a sufficiently immoral, totalitarian, Stalinesque de-islamisation (which I would oppose) . But attacks that are entirely explained by socio-economical of psychological factors? How do you “solve” those?)
  10. Shooting in Munich

    I agree with all of that, but I’m losing track of where this thread is going. To get back on track, a Syrian asylum-seeker killed 1 and wounded 5 others with a machete yesterday, and another Syrian (whose application was rejected a year ago) blew himself up outside an open air concert (that he seems to have been unable to enter), wounding 12. Like others in this thread, I assume that a few week from now we will stop reporting or talking about such incidents and treat them like traffic accidents instead: unpleasant but unavoidable consequences of the way we have chosen to organise our societies. The Israelisation of Europe (in the sense of ubiquitous surveillance and security) is a fact. (I love both Israel and the US, but used to view their levels of security as an indicator of something being wrong.)
  11. Shooting in Munich

    No, I don’t find it accidental. (I don’t quite agree with the number 150, and would include mini-Enlightenments like Athens and the Florence of the Medici. But that’s for a different thread.) A recent book I read about cultural societal trends in the light of population genetics is A Troublesome Inheritance by N. Wade. There will probably be much more data coming from that front that brings evidence from cultural history, genetics, etc. to a table hitherto dominated by somewhat boring just-so stories. Exciting times for intellectual omnivores! But even though I am fascinated by these explanations, they are no excuse. The (blind) faith in reason must be paired with a blind faith in choice. Societies can choose this model or that. There may be exogenic, economical, geographical, historical, genetic, etc. reasons that explain why these choices are harder or easier for some populations. But that can never be an excuse. Explanations aren’t excuses (though they can inform politics.) Societies have choices. In Europe, we have chosen currently to embark in the direction of the dystopia that EB sketches above. Totalitarianism as a reaction to internal strife brought about by a crazy cocktail of neoliberal globalist economic politics and idiotic immigration policies. These were very bad choices. But bad choices are inevitable, every society makes them. It is on us to make sure that we recover from these choices in an orderly, decent fashion. Wir schaffen das!
  12. Shooting in Munich

    I am completely aware of that. US muslims are a beacon of hope, and I think you analysis of the effects is correct. (In particular, there is no indication of any kind of integration policy, which is the unpleasant mirage currently haunting the European discourse. Instead, harmonious co-existence is ensured by utterly heartless selection. We Europeans have a hard time understanding this.) If in any of the above I have made claims of the type “All muslims think X” or “Muslims essentially think X” I apologise. (I’ve checked what I wrote and find only the opposite – almost comical instance on averages and trends. If you can help me improve some of my formulations I’d be grateful. But communication is a two-player game, and the onus is on me.) It is clear to me that I hold neither of those positions (which are just plain stupid), so I find this caveat trivial and unnecessary.
  13. Shooting in Munich

    I’ve lost interest in that kind of discourse over the years—I’m learning nothing from it, and I’ve become too old to get anything out of winning debates. It also deflects discourse to an endless bickering about sources. Ah, sigh. Muslims seem to be perfectly happy with following muslim values. These values, I hope you and I agree, are entirely vile and despicable and socially regressive. There are plenty of surveys, all pointing in the same direction. The Pew institute has released many of them over the years. For you in the UK, the Gatestone institute is a good source to read up on the UK muslim population. These surveys differ, as do their results, but they are all blood-chilling. For instance, the 2016 Gatestone poll on British Muslims regarding if homosexuality should be illegal 50% of Muslims 55+ think that homosexuality should be illegal, 54% of Muslims 45-54, 55% of Muslims 35-44, 65% of Muslims 25-34, 71% of Muslims 16-24. These are mostly about social issues (treatment of women, sexual deviants, jews), where muslims on average present a value system that is very far from mine, and puts them on the extreme right end of any political spectrum. They are by far the most important source of conservative values in Western countries today. But Muslim values on constitutional issues (free speech, rule of law, etc.) are on a different planet altogether. As I said, I view the evidence from various sources around the world is largely consistent I think I can say that I’ve never seen a signal of the sort “significant numbers of Muslims share the ideals of the open society.” I’d be very eager to see any contrary evidence. (I read people like Maajid Nawaz and would be very happy if the gloomy picture he paints is wrong.)
  14. Shooting in Munich

    Correct. I try to avoid that line of in/outgroup thinking (and probably often fail.) In this matter, I’m very far from social essentialism, and I completely and utterly reject identity politics, which (to me) is the clearest and vilest form of social essentialism. You correctly identity essentialism as one of the most important aspects of closed-society-thinking. Instead, I’m an optimist: people can change their minds. For instance, lots of Europeans can support the closed society, in fact Europe has had some of the most instructive historical examples in the 20th century, and even today a good part of modern Western thought is entirely “closed”. There is nothing essentially European to the open society, Europeans are as prone as anybody to the Spell of Plato. But many have changed their minds, and some parts of the West have been able to build very good institutions in those windows of constitutional sanity. Similarly, muslims can change their mind. (I hope they do. But currently, the evidence does not support this hope. But that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.) As can everybody else under the Spell. The regressive left, for instance, for whom I have the same hope as for the followers of islam.
  15. Shooting in Munich

    I don’t think the EU is particularly tribal. My problems with the EU have more to do with Platonic arrogance of the ruling elite, the constitutional focus on the wrong question (namely, “who should rule”), latent totalitarianism (value education of the citizenship), and, most damningly, the absence of correction mechanisms (no accountable European government that can be de-elected for its inevitable failures).