Posts Tagged ‘insurance’

Subsequent Generations of Immigrants Turn To Terrorism, Proving Diversity and Assimilation Wrong

Saturday, August 26th, 2017

People invent lore to justify what they believe is convenient. This means that all of our reasoning as a society is backward, because it is people using the reasons they claim that they did things, in order to argue for what they want next.

In the post-Irish mythos of America, different groups from all over the world come here to a “melting pot” where they lose their original identity and become generic Americans because we have brought them the Bible, taught them capitalism, and indoctrinated them in the ideology of human universalism, or equality.

Europe has followed the American lead, but as seems to be happening here, things are not turning out well for the diversity narrative as cultural confusion leads second-generation immigrants to become terrorists because of the disorientation wracked by diversity:

“An estimated 60 percent of those who espouse violent jihadism in Europe are second-generation Muslims who have lost their connection with their country of origin and have failed to integrate into Western societies,” Roy says.

They are subject to a “process of deculturation” that leaves them ignorant of and detached from both the European society and the one of their origins. The result, Roy argues, is a dangerous “identity vacuum” in which “violent extremism thrives.”

Giving up a native culture means to go from someone with a place in the world to someone who must adopt a foreign nation and who must signify status through income only, having given up the values system of their homelands and having replaced it with what is effectively an ideology of anarchy.

This cultural erasure is responsible for the radicalization of second generations of immigrants, who find that they cannot become members of the founding group of the nation because that group was biologically different from their own, and at the same time, they have been made into merely economic units, which deprives them of any context, leading to the atomized lifestyle which creates both libertinism and radicalism.

In other words, even if we pretend that people can exist without a culture, they need one, and our attempts at “assimilation” and “integration” simply deprive them of their inherent nation and fail to replace it with something more compelling:

To call America a melting pot is hostile to marginalized groups because, according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, multiculturalists “reject the ideal of the ‘melting pot’ in which members of minority groups are expected to assimilate into the dominant culture in favor of an ideal in which members of minority groups can maintain their distinctive collective identities and practices.” Multiculturalism pervades liberal thinking in our time. As a result, assimilation is “a concept many on the left currently hate,” Beinart writes.

To assimilate is to make oneself, or be made by others, similar to those others, a process that necessarily means becoming dissimilar from the people the immigrant left behind in his native land. The melting-pot metaphor implies that the assimilated will modify the culture they are assimilated to, rendering it as American as pizza pie. But that isn’t good enough. For the zealous multiculturalist, assimilation demands “that the marginalized conform to the identities of their oppressors,” to quote the Stanford Encyclopedia again, which “looks suspiciously like the erasure of socially subordinate identities rather than their genuine incorporation into the polity.”

Note that applying the logic of multiculturalism to the case of immigration requires positing that immigrants are dominated, oppressed, and subordinated.

First generation immigrants generally do not care about cultural loss because they do not perceive they have lost it; born abroad, they still have that identity and the memory of living among their people, thus easily gravitate toward immigrant groups and family in the new nation. Their children however, having grown up as attendees of a market rather than participants in a cultural identity.

Even more important, they lose out on the social trust that exists in non-diverse societies, and so have no sense of unity with others in their host nation:

Government, Roger Scruton argues, “requires a ‘we,’ a prepolitical loyalty that causes neighbors…to treat each other as fellow citizens.” Without the “legacy of social trust” derived from this sense of belonging to a highly specific subset of mankind, political stability is impossible.

No one was thinking of that when immigration programs were designed because those programs were created to fund the entitlements payments which had to go to the huge generation of people born from 1944-1964, a.k.a. the “Baby Boomers” or “Me Generation.” In Europe, the immigrants were intended as a tax base to pay for Boomer retirement:

But, Krieger added, one of the big caveats here is the effect that immigrants have on pension or retirement systems, which constitute a huge chunk of the public budget in many countries. Pension systems are typically pay-as-you-go programs, which means everyone currently working gets taxed and that money immediately goes to current retirees. Immigrants tend to have a tremendously positive impact on the pension system, he said. In fact, their arrival triggers what “pension economists usually call an ‘introductory gift.’ If you find a job, you start paying contributions and all these contributions—because it’s a pay-as-you-go system—go directly to the retirees.” That can swiftly shore up government finances in countries with an aging population, which describes most of Europe. Plus, “There’s been research showing that even if the people are net beneficiaries of the pension system [i.e. if, by the time these immigrants grow old, the state has committed to larger pension payouts], even then it would have a positive effect on pay-as-you-go simply because they will have children who become contributors, and immigrants tend to have more children than natives.” In Germany, said Krieger, that kind of effect on the pension system “is a factor of three or four compared to all the other benefits.”

In America, a similar rationale was advanced in that immigrant payments into social security were anticipated to fund retirement programs so that existing citizens could exit the workforce and still receive benefits:

Stephen Goss, chief actuary for the Social Security Administration, told the Daily Beast, “Even as it stands under current policy, unauthorized immigrants contribute positively to the financing of social security not only in terms of their own contributions, but in the succeeding generations when they have children on our soil that are citizens from day one.”

…“The biggest problem we have with social security is there are fewer Americans to pay into the system to support people who are currently retired or about to retire,” says Ornstein, “so the more people working and paying into the system is better for everybody.”

Henry Aaron, an expert on social security at the Brookings Institution, says that looking ahead 75 years into the future, the legalization of some five million immigrants by executive order would be “like a boost in population—and a higher population is typically good for the (social security) trust fund. It’s equal to an increase in net migration, and when people enter the system, and that group is young and working, that’s positive.”

When all you look at is economics, this makes sense. If you look at multiple silos of social benefits and detriments, it becomes clear that what is happening with immigration is merely cost-shifting, namely putting money into retirement programs while taking it out of other areas of the economy, including the benefits which most immigrants rely on.

At that point, it is hardly surprising that the children of immigrants — realizing that they are essentially part of a large retirement insurance scam created by democratic governments — become indifferent to life, and thus radicalize. Immigration benefits no one, and assimilation destroys identity, further increasing the misery necessary for successful suicidal terrorist recruitment.

EpiPen, The Religion of Progress and The Price of Delusion

Monday, August 29th, 2016


Modern Amerika is a paradise for the rent-seeker. The rent-seeker looks for practitioners of the solipsistic fallacy. The rent-seeker seeks these self-centered individuals and picks them off. Health care is where the rent-seeker grows positively sleek at the buffet of solipsistic folly. Health care is where the delusional Amerikan tendency to brand anything they want as a right reaches a peak.

People will piously speak of their faith in Progress with regards to health care in a way that befuddles those of us not so deluded. Meghan McArdle writes of these poor, benighted snake-handles of Progressivism below.

‘The health of Americans should not be a profit center. Health care is a right. Full stop.’ That comes from the Twitter feed of personal finance writer Helaine Olen.

Now Helaine’s proclamation sounds reassuring if your five-year-old girl is running a fever of 102. It makes a certain relieving sense if you’ve just learned your elderly mom has stage three stomach cancer. This sentiment only repels me when I step back from my personal angst and pain over various medical maladies. Words have meanings and the meanings of these words come freighted with unintended consequences that can prove ungodly.

If Barack I declares something a God-breathed right, then United States Marines are expected to willingly die any time we Amerikans aren’t getting enough of our right. If that right is to an unlimited supply of unobtainium, then it properly isn’t a very bright idea to visit your recruiter and volunteer for Paris Island. When that particular right cannot even be objectively surmised in specific terms, it might as well involve unicorns, pixies and a pot full of unobtainium at the end of a cheery, imaginary rainbow.

Healthcare isn’t the most specifiable right. The requirement varies with every diverse individual. The general intellectual concept of health care as a right involves equality of outcome absent any similarity in initial case-by-case baseline. None of us need a single day at Med School to comprehend that not even Dr. Ben Carson can offer you that deal.

But there is always some guy who will tell you he can. This Gnosticism is the devil’s opportunity. Old Scratch just has to tuck that pair of horns under a snappy fedora and find somewhere to stash the cloven hooves and tail. Then he’s right in the front door doing business with Faustus.

It was the Robin Cook novel Coma that featured a villainous physician describing America’s hospitals as the cathedrals of our age. When people collaborate to build a cathedral1 the project seeks to venerate an ideal. The object of veneration here is deified progress. Progress so unstoppable, so ineffable, so complete that the veil of death is torn down and all the crazy superstitions are debunked. To logically and scientifically conquer death is to ascend. It is to kill God in a manner Nietzsche could never have foretold or even imagined.

Immortality, like Faustus’ deal with Mephistopheles comes at a price. It’s a price we don’t like paying, but reality collects. When we borrow against reality’s good graces via delusion, it sends over Carmine “The Spider” Baggadonutz to collect. “The Spider” in our healthcare fanstasyland is the rent-seeker pharamceutical firm. These guys see the dirty end of health care and see it the way all practical professionals see their field of employment.

They see it as a cutt-throat game of poker. When money goes down on the table, they are commissioned by their shareholders with a mandate. That mandate is to seize that money by any means available. In some cases, they carry this waghaltery out with a cheerily obscene elan.

And if you are put off by Martin Shkreli mansplaining this sort of things, Mylan CEO Heather Bresch shows us how it feels to have your wallet handi-vacced with a more feminine touch. She has seized upon her firm’s EpiPen monopoly and totally turned the screw allergy patients.

The drug has risen in price to around $600 from about $100 in 2009, according to medical literature and GoodRx, which lists drug prices at various pharmacies. But Bresch made no apologies for such pricing: ‘I am running a business,’ she told The New York Times. ‘I am a for-profit business. I am not hiding from that.’

Heather Bresch and Martin Shkreli just went in harder and did more damage. This has been an ongoing trend in the pharmaceutical industry at least since 2007. This slide from a presentation I did at work a couple of years back draws on research done by Bloomberg News and puts it in perspective contra the rate of inflation imagined by The US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Drug Prices2

Reality dictates that healthcare consists of a complex bundle of varying goods and services. It will vary as each of us varies as a human being. The outcomes will vary. The prices will vary. The requirements will vary. There is no intelligible process by which we can guarantee it to every citizen as a fundamental right. This belief is delusional.

Every delusion has its price. That price of delusion currently manifests in the cost of prescription pharmaceuticals. Heather Bresch and Martin Shkreli make handy Immanuel Goldsteins for Amerika’s INGSOC, yet neither is the root cause of expensive, inefficient American Healthcare. That is the price for sinful, foolish belief in the heresy of Deified Progress that pervades much of our declining Republic.

1 Apologies to Moldbug, but I speak of the actual physical edifice in this piece…

2016: Why capitalism is in the crosshairs

Saturday, February 6th, 2016


As an old almost forgotten adage goes, “The truth hides in plain sight.” This means that most human activities are dedicated to hiding truth because it offends us personally, at an emotional level, and since it is in plain sight that common sense must be obscured. We must become magicians and snake oil salesman, distracting the audience with the waving of the hand while the other hand slyly hides the prize.

So it is in politics where in 2016, it is suddenly popular to bash capitalism again. This, as the world’s leading socialist state in Venezuela implodes, socialist Europe goes broke and cannot lead itself, and even our socialist-style social programs here in America have driven us to a $19 trillion debt. Of all the things to blame, it would seem that capitalism would come dead last!

And yet, that is why it is blamed: the crowd needs a scapegoat. It cannot admit to itself that not only are its social programs mere gimmes disguised as altruism, but that they have failed to do anything of real impact except make the problem worse. Our social programs take most of our taxes, and most of that is taken from the middle class, which is why the middle class is eroding while the underclass grows.

That shows us the intersection between typical human political thinking and typical human individualism. Individualism says that the world is there for the individual, and implies that nothing changes since the time the individual first encountered it. Try this with older generations: you will note they are stranded in 1965 in their minds because that is when they came into the world. Typical human political thinking is that since “everyone must get along,” you can use those who are succeeding to bolster those who are not, and then — problem solved! Except, of course, that viewpoint looks at the wrong problem.

The real problem is not that some are starving; it is that their society does not provide wealth that they could take advantage of. Robin Hood programs take income from where it generates more income and distribute it to where it goes to dead-end uses because its spending is exclusively at the consumer level, and the lowest level of consumer activity at that. The reason nature concentrates resources is so that they can have more effect; dispersing them lessens that effect. This is why socialism and welfare states are paths to death.

And yet these programs are popular. Why? Me, me, me: people think in terms of themselves and they like the safety implied by welfare and socialism. “I cannot fail, because I will be subsidized,” the thinking goes. Even more, they delight in the thought of taking from the people who did make it big and giving to the rest. Punish those bastards for making us all look bad. They forget that in the meantime they set up giant bureaucracies and dump money onto clueless people who spend it badly, enriching all the wrong people in the process.

Capitalism on the other hand does not deserve an -ism at all because it is business, pure and simple. The only difference between capitalism and communism is accountability. Under capitalism, the individual makes financial decisions and reaps reward or failure. Under socialism, the group absorbs both loss and gain. It is like decision insurance and as in insurance, only the owl-eyed bureaucrat makes out like a bandit. Then because the entire system is risk-averse, no one makes decisive actions, and so entropy takes it to the cleaners.

Our current fad for blaming capitalism — popular among both inveterate leftist Boomers like Jerry Garcia Bernie Sanders and clueless products of public television Millennials — is to avoid blaming what we should blame. Yes, we should blame our socialist drift which has driven the West into debt and trashed its public institutions. But even more, as a society we are unable to make any good decisions. We are risk-averse there too. And what kind of insurance do we have there? Oh yes: democracy, or the system where no one person is accountable.

The leader is elected, but he is held in check by laws and the representatives. They can in turn blame the opposition party. And the voters can blame each other. The problem is that decisions are not made, but assessed. If enough people vote for something, it is adopted and everyone can blame everyone else. The scapegoat mania spreads. And so in the West, we have a rotting infrastructure: it is unpopular to demand spending on anything but bennies. Both USA and EU are awash in third-world refugees who secretly (or in some cases, not so secretly) resent us and want to destroy us: it is unpopular to cut anyone out, to violate any individual’s human/civil rights. And so it is that the same risk aversion that destroyed the Soviet Union has taken hold here.

The real culprit in 2016 is democracy, or emocracy as we might call it because it consists of people making decisions with their emotions instead of reality-based thinking, and yet we cannot blame it because it is popular because it hands out the bennies. So what can we blame that has a small audience of supporters, so as to remain popular? Why, capitalism of course; in theory only the rich support it, and they are few. See, Romans, the day is saved; we have found the witch and we can burn it. Nonetheless doubts remain.

I first encountered these doubts when I saw the results of first British socialism and next Euro-socialism. In the UK, people talked about how they had adopted the new ways, which seemed suspiciously like a productized form of what their Communism enemies were doing. At first, this hybrid between the socialist welfare state and union dominance of production seemed pleasant. Then I saw the expensive rotting council slums, the industry which could not make a working car, the massive bureaucratic shutdowns. When I went to mainland Europe, I was at first pleased with how the state supported students, the elderly and the poor until I saw the cost. Everything was expensive and any change was nearly impossible because of red tape. No, I thought, I prefer the frontier mentality of America where we expect next to nothing from government and pay accordingly. That has its own problems, but the solution is not to go toward this European socialist model.

Humanity is its own worse enemy. The perpetually popular ideas are risk-averse ones that spread that risk to the group and in the process, remove accountability from the decision makers. Trade unions, welfare states, socialism itself and mandatory insurance all fall into this area. The perpetually unpopular ideas are the ones which place the burden on the individual and favor the individuals who do right, because these make people aware of their risk of failure. The fear spreads like a plague. Once it has taken over, people will do anything but blame the cause.

As a result, humanity has come down to a vital decision point in the West. Do we stop the risk-averse madness and start taking responsibility, or do we continue beating the dead horse of these failed policies in the hope that someday they will magically start working? Common sense says one thing, and mass popularity — democracy — says another. One comfort is that either way, these may be our last elections and so the problem will solve itself, one way or another.

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