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AvatarComments by Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner*

On “Under the banner of Romney

Roger is correct, in labeling The Black Value System as outlined above as a form of trialism.

But before rushing to denounce it, lets consider for a moment that tribalism can be positive in some settings and applications. Oftentimes immigrant groups, and outsiders are able to "bootstrap" themselves by banding together and forming  a tribe, a network of resources. In most cases it is harmless to the larger society, and beneficial to the minority members.

I write this as I sit only a few blocks from Los Angeles' jewelry district, which is run mostly by Jewish East European immigrants, and Broadway Street, where all the merchants are Mexican. Both communities are marked by the sort of tribal code outlined in the Black Value System. Except it is unwritten, a sort of quiet unspoken network of friendships and support.

How different is it, really, from the network of old school ties and fraternities and business and country club connections that Mitt Romney and Barack Obama both share? Those networks aren't as naked and clumsily worded as the Black Value System, but they are probably much more effective at closing the social circle to outsiders.

Tribalism by the dominant society an be vicious, and oppressive to those who aren't a part of it; but for those who are excluded, tribalism can sometimes be helpful.



Mitt's dad would get my vote. Seemed like a decent character.

His son...deficient in that department.

Being a racist would actually raise Mitt's level of character, by giving form to what is ineffable vapor.


I keep getting called a Pratt, even though I am not Mormon.


On “Depicting Christians

"Dear Jesus, save me from your followers!"

On “Under the banner of Romney

From what I have been able to determine, Romney doesn't seem to have any beliefs whatsoever, save What It Takes To Become President.

On “Idiots and Maniacs

McCardle and Reihan write as if the criticism of consumerism and status are a recent phenomenon, as if nothing had been written on this topic until some whiny college students began criticising their $1500 mixers.

That St. Francis! He's so high and mighty, denigrating the one measure of high-visibility achievement—income—that clerics don’t do very well on!

On “Winnowing The Long List

Kasich’s polls are even [42-42] and Nikki Haley will not be indicted.

A ringing endorsement!

On “Characters And Records: Defining The President In 2012

Of course he is a centrist, barely indistinguishable from the Clinton he competed against. But because he is the First Black President, everyone, liberals as well as conservatives, are convinced that under that calm veneer there lurks a radical Black Panther.

Which explains the wailing and angst from the left, and the frothing paranoia by the NRA ("He hasn't done anything to take away our guns- which is proof that he wants to take away our guns!"); it explains birtherism, the Whitey tape, the terrorist fist jab, FEMA camps, death panels, all of the ooga booga ravings which are just barely contained by the Republican establishment.

For all these people the outward appearance of a mild mannered centrist establishment Democrat is impossible to accept; so he, "mysterious".

Which is actually the most charitable interpretation.


I am  Birther-Curious (Yellow)

On “Intellectual Property: Abstract vs. Natural Right, Part V: The Conclusioning

Our “Justice” system has little to do with “justice” and should rightly be spelled “Just Us”.

Um, this line  is a direct lift from the signs and slogans created by and exclusively for, Occupy, and the 99% Movement.

Our attorneys will be in touch.


Isn't IP meant to be useful to society?

Instead of asking who is harmed, isn't it amore relevant yardstick  to ask of what benefit it is to society to use taxpayer capital and power to protect IP?


I often think of that movie "About A Boy" where the premise is that the Hugh Grant character is a wastrel, having never had to work a day in his life because his father composed a novelty Christmas tune back in the 1960's or something and the royalties from that one single have been enough to provide for two generations of wealth.

For me it highlights the absurdity of the "jackpot" mentality of the entertainment business; the assumption that artists SHOULD be able to grow insanely wealthy off nothing more than a single hit song, or movie.

The digital revolution brought out that absurdity- for most people, once the "cost" of duplicating a piece of music fell to about zero, the idea that each copy is somehow "worth" anything more than the 99c that Itunes charged was nonsense.

For most people, the concept of "fairness" requires some sort of nexus between effort and reward; the idea that a laborer is entitled to a days wage seems reasonable to most people, but the idea idea that a composer/ artist/ athlete should be able to retire and never work again because of a single effort, strikes most people as ridiculous; so the idea that we should construct an elaborate set of laws and regulations that ensure that outcome is unsupportable to most people.


James is correct in that "most people"( meaning the majorities who assent to laws and elect politicians), see markets and economies and intellectual property rights as all tools that are outcome-measured.

In other words, we construct these things in order to bring about outcomes that most of us view as "fair" or "just", and when they don't, we change them.

IP is just such a construct- it never existed until "we" decided that it was beneficial to the economy to reward inventors and authors with the right to monetary reward for their endeavors. Meaning if "we" decide it is a hindrance rather than a help, I can imagine where it is modified or dispensed with.

On “Strawmen Tell No Tales: The Sophistry of Victor Davis Hanson

If a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged, a liberal is a conservative who has been arrested.


The crew here resembles children biting at VDH’s ankles. 

Mrs. Hanson- is that you again?

On “Can We At Least All Agree that John Derbyshire is Racist?

The design of gated communities IS inconducive to forming trust and community. A lot of documentation of this has been done by the New Urbanism school of urban design.

For example, most gated communities feature houses that face away from the street, without front porches; have minimum 6 foot high block walls around thebackyards, preventing neighbors from chance encounters with each other; feature sidewalk-less streets, or 4 lane boulevards that are lined with block walls; feature a 24 foot wide garage door facing the street, with the rest of the house tucked hidden behind the garage.

In other words, the constant theme of these communities is withdrawal from the community, of inward escape to a private experience where contact and interaction with neighbors is minimized.

I think it is ironic that Nicole Brown Simpson was brutally murdered on her front doorstep, while her neighbors- only yards away- watched tv, oblivious.

Had this happened in Compton I am sure it would be recorded as a prime example of the horrific moral decay of Those People in Those Neighborhoods. However, it happened in Brentwood, so it was seen as a remarkable oddity.



Actually, safety isn't a matter of which state you live in- its more linked to what micro-community you circulate in. Most crime is committed against close family and associates of criminals. Assaults against total strangers are actually pretty rare.

In other words, even in very high crime neighborhoods, you are pretty safe if you associate with law abiding and trusted friends. And ironically, the security measures taken by many suburbanites- of "hardening the target" i.e., walled communities, elaborate electronic surveillance and alarm systems- all work against building the sort of trusting and mutually defensive community that deters crime.

On “Role Reversals

"... the party out of power always benefits from scaring people. Look at the Bush years."

Maybe its a bit early here on the West Coast and my coffee has not kicked in, but you were being sarcastic, right?

On “Can We At Least All Agree that John Derbyshire is Racist?

Isn't the "deontological right thing" the entire reason for NR's existance?

On “Draft Protests

Criticism of the draft as being an abridgement of freedom is true, but misses a larger point, that war itself inevitably leads to an abridgement of freedom.

Wars are always expensive, and lead to non-productive spending. As as the saying goes, to spend is to tax.

And the security needs of a state at war lead, again inevitably, to the need for greater surveillance and control of the people and the economy.



While it is true that as a 51 year old desk jockey I am not ever going to be conscripted for anything.

However my 21 year old son would be, and the prospect to me, and millions of other mothers and fathers, of seeing our beloved children being sent off to fight for a dubious cause would galvanize the voting bloc that votes and participates in the process far more effectively than college students themselves.

I am not ready to endorse conscription, but the idea that we should all have skin in the game is a valid one.

As it stands now, there isn't anyone in the ruling class or the voting class that supports them who has made even the tiniest bit of sacrifice towards the "war effort".

On “Can We At Least All Agree that John Derbyshire is Racist?

I like this version of racism and tribal fearmongering:

"I'm not racist myself, but I am ony thinking of the safety of CHILDREN. "




I know it isn't PC to say this, but its true.

The majority of pedophiles are middle aged white men.

I caution my son to avoid contact with middle aged white men. Which is particularly challenging, as you can tell from my gravatar.


I wonder- what is the per-capita percentage of murder and violent crimes, broken down by gender?

Income level?



I just want to know if I am safer in among the liberal coastal college educated elite, or the Real Americans.


“For the record, I find my colleague John Derbyshire’s piece fundamentally indefensible and offensive. I wish he hadn’t written it. publicly what should only be said privately.

I suspect this is really what he meant.

*Comment archive for non-registered commenters assembled by email address as provided.