Month: November 2016

No More Elections or Campaigns: Liquid Democracy

Liquid Democracy - Pirate Party wiki

Liquid Democracy – Pirate Party wiki

I’m watching friends develop ulcers and crack under the strain of anxiety related to the election today. The huge amount of time and money spent to manipulate voters to cast their vote for candidates and ballot measures, with most of the propaganda oversimplifying or outright lying to gin up outrage or hatred of others, is one of the least productive activities in our lives. Two sides at war in a not-quite-literal sense, not devasting cities and killing people, but dividing and coarsening the people’s understanding of what it is realistically possible for a good government to do and denigrating the good faith of the opposition.

There are better ways, enabled by the new zero-cost, high-bandwidth communications of the Internet.

Athenian-style direct democracy lives on in the New England town meeting. Ideally, direct democracy means a community comes together in one hall and decides important issues by discussing and voting on them directly, as in ancient Athens. But even small communities had trouble handling all of the complex issues that might come up and eventually had to elect representatives, allowing citizens to delegate their votes to one person they trusted to act in their stead. Direct democracy was not scalable, and democracy itself could be dangerous since majority rule needed to be restrained by individual rights. A majority could otherwise vote itself benefits and loot the treasury or persecute individuals.

The last chapter of P. J. O’Rourke’s Parliament of Whores colorfully describes the problem of today’s New England town meeting form of government. A developer has proposed a golf course and condo complex, and town residents are voting on a sewer issue that can prevent it. The future residents, of course, have no say in the vote:

It was at this moment, in the middle of the Blatherboro sewer debate, that I achieved enlightenment about government, I had a dominion epiphany, I reached regime satori. The whole town meeting was suddenly illuminated by the pure, strong radiance of truth (a considerable improvement over the fluorescent tubes).

It wasn’t mere disillusionment that I experienced. Government isn’t a good way to solve problems; I already knew that. And I’d been to Washington and seen for myself that government is concerned mostly with self-perpetuation and is subject to fantastic ideas about its own capabilities, I understood that government is wasteful of the nation’s resources, immune to common sense and subject to pressure from every half-organized bouquet of assholes, I had observed, in person, government solemnity in debate of ridiculous issues and frivolity in execution of serious duties. I was fully aware that government is distrustful of and disrespectful toward average Americans while being easily gulled by Americans with money, influence or fame. What I hadn’t realized was government is morally wrong.

The whole idea of our government is this: If enough people get together and act in concert, they can take something and not pay for it. And here, in small-town New Hampshire, in this veritable world’s capital of probity, we were about to commit just such a theft. If we could collect sufficient votes in favor of special town meetings about sewers, we could make a golf course and condominium complex disappear for free. We were going to use our suffrage to steal a fellow citizen’s property rights. We weren’t even going to take the manly risk of holding him up at gunpoint.

Not that there’s anything wrong with our limiting growth. If we Blatherboro residents don’t want a golf course and condominium complex, we can go buy that land and not build them. Of course, to buy the land, we’d have to borrow money from the bank, and to pay the bank loan, we’d have to do something profitable with the land, something like — build a golf course and condominium complex. Well, at least that would be constructive.

We would be adding something — if only golf — to the sum of civilization’s accomplishments. Better to build a golf course right through the middle of Redwood National Park and condominiums on top of the Lincoln Memorial than to sit in council gorging on the liberties of others, gobbling their material substance, eating freedom.

What we were trying to do with our legislation in the Blatherboro Town Meeting was wanton, cheap and greedy — a sluttish thing. This should come as no surprise. Authority has always attracted the lowest elements in the human race. All through history mankind has been bullied by scum. Those who lord it over their fellows and toss commands in every direction and would boss the grass in the meadow about which way to bend in the wind are the most depraved kind of prostitutes. They will submit to any indignity, perform any vile act, do anything to achieve power. The worst offsloughings of the planet are the ingredients of sovereignty. Every government is a parliament of whores.

The trouble is, in a democracy the whores are us.

Now we have C-SPAN, and in theory we could all be watching the legislative debates and voting on the laws directly. We’re kidding ourselves if we think most of our legislators understand in detail the bills they vote on — see Nancy Pelosi’s “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it….” comment about the ACA. But even if we had the time to make ourselves expert and the bills weren’t abominations of complexity and special-interest obfuscation, literally no citizen could follow all issues and vote on all bills in an informed way. This cannot work unless the law is shrunk to a reasonable size, and it would do little to rein in the Administrative State (the agencies that now legislate by issuing ever-increasing volumes of regulations and enforce them nearly free of Congressional and court oversight), which is now beyond the control even of well-meaning executive appointees.

One problem is our House Representatives and how we elect them. Their districts now have an average of over 700,000 residents, and no one can campaign personally enough to give each citizen a direct sense of them. So TV and advertising became critical, which required big money, which requires a coalition of party and big donors to have a chance of unseating an incumbent — which is why so few are unseated. The Senate is even worse, with a big state like California having 30 million people to sway. Since the 17th Amendment (which changed election to the Senate from a state legislative vote to a popular vote), senators have ceased to represent their state’s government and now have a nearly independent power base, which makes a sitting senator even harder to dislodge.

In parliamentary-style systems, the legislature selects the executive from among the members — so parties form to support a large enough majority to select the executive and pass the legislation the government desires. The government often chooses when an election will be held, and the timetable is usually short. Since it’s the members of parliament that choose the executive, the question of who that will be is not directly on the ballot, so the party takes responsibility for choosing the member that will lead them most effectively. Until recently this did not make a large difference, but it has become more noticeable lately that the US government, with its more complex structure and greater division of powers, is less able to actively do anything — including reforming the administrative state, which has taken on a life of its own that threatens to strangle freedom and economic growth. In the US, a party that controls the presidency, the House, and the Senate still finds senators and House committee leaders that have veto power over changes, and the senate filibuster makes a law written to resist change, like the ACA, almost impossible to roll back when it proves problematic — a minority of senators or the president can block repeal. If the election of 2010 had taken place in a parliamentary system, the Republicans would have taken control of the executive branch and been able to repeal the ACA before major damage had been done.

There have been proposals to return to a modified form of direct democracy which would have elements of representative government, notably “liquid democracy.” In my future-history Substrate Wars series, the student rebels who had invented quantum superweapons and forced the world’s governments to cede control of security to them discussed how they might implement liquid democracy:

“So to get back to the central discussion. Who makes the law for our judges and AIs? How do the people control their universal government, which might start with the people in this room, but grow to include ten billion people over a thousand planets?”

“What we have now seems to work well,” Prof. Wilson observed drily.

“Because,” Ben said, “we all agree on most things, and we want the same outcomes, and we’re too busy to worry about someone else’s job. But that won’t last, and we’ll have major disagreements, where one faction wants one thing while another thinks the opposite is better. And we need a way to efficiently decide such disputes. Back on Earth, democracies elected representatives who traveled to large halls to discuss and vote on laws. We will have the universal Net, which can guarantee who you are and what your authority is, and a way of including anyone interested in the debates on any law. You can participate and vote on the Net.”

“So we were talking about ‘liquid democracy’…” Justin said, raising his eyebrows.

“Liquid democracy, also called delegative democracy. This is the new type of democratic-republican system we are looking at. The basic idea is that every citizen has a vote on every law or issue, but for practical reasons they delegate their vote to a representative, who bundles together all the votes delegated to him or her and casts them as they think best. The key difference between this and republican systems we are used to is that there is no fixed term for a representative, and citizens can take their proxy back at any time to give to another representative, or to vote themselves directly. Thus ‘liquid’ — citizens can react to what their representative is doing, even down to revoking their proxy during a speech on the issue that sways them. Citizens who want to participate in every issue can; most people will give their proxy to a representative they trust and only occasionally consider switching. Participation in debate and the writing of legislation would have to be limited to a practical number of representatives who hold the most proxies, but a citizen would be free to watch the process and communicate ideas to their representative.

“Proxies can be limited or full. For example, I might delegate my vote on defense matters to Samantha, who is hard-headed enough to impress me as a wise choice for that, while giving my proxy for research funding to Steve, because he’ll always be better at that. There’s no pre-election period where a government can suck up to voters and spend money unwisely to get elected, then act as they wish for years after. The people can intervene quickly if they don’t like the way things are going.”

“Who chooses the executive, and what about those bureaucracies?” Prof. Wilson asked.

“The executive would be elected by the representatives, and have to work to keep their confidence, as in a Parliamentary system. We are intending the powers of the executive be limited this time — in the unlikely event of a war with an outside power, there would of course be emergency needs. But the huge bureaucracies for defense, agriculture, education, tax collection, and all that would all be unnecessary. A dispersed, connected, and footloose people with replicators won’t need assistance surviving, and no external enemies exist that we know of. The executive government may never need to be more than a few dozen people.”

No one has yet implemented a true liquid democracy for a real government. The Wikipedia entry on delegative democracy further describes the idea:

Crucial to the understanding of delegate democracy is the theory’s view of the meaning of “representative democracy.” Representative democracy is seen as a form of governance whereby a single winner is determined for a predefined jurisdiction, with a change of delegation only occurring after the preset term length (or in some instances by a forced recall election if popular support warrants it). The possibility usually exists within representation that the “recalled” candidate can win the subsequent electoral challenge.

This is contrasted with most forms of governance referred to as “delegative.” Delegates may not, but usually do, have specific limits on their ‘term’ as delegates, nor do they represent specific jurisdictions. Some key differences include:

• Optionality of term lengths.
• Possibility for direct participation.
• The delegate’s power is decided in some measure by the voluntary association of members rather than an electoral victory in a predefined jurisdiction. (See also: Single Transferable Vote.)
• Delegates remain re-callable at any time and in any proportion.
• Often, the voters have the authority to refuse observance of a policy by way of popular referendum overriding delegate decisions or through nonobservance from the concerned members. This is not usually the case in representative democracy.
• Possibility exists for differentiation between delegates in terms of what form of voting the member has delegated to them. For example: “you are my delegate on matters of national security and farm subsidies.”

Google has ongoing research into the topic, since their Hangouts have much of the technology needed to make this work — secure identity with encrypted communication and group meeting capabilities. Google did an experiment using as an example the critically important decision of what should be on the lunch menu. They have also issued a good video lecture on the concepts:

More interesting discussion of liquid democracy can be found in this Marginal Revolution post.

Here’s an open-source software project for implenting similar systems: LiquidFeedback. The German Pirate Party has been experimenting with the system to bring together its large membership to discuss and decide its policies, a form of direct feedback that has helped ithe party to grow rapidly to become an electoral force.

Here’s another discussion of the technologies needed to make this work safely in an environment of state-supported hackers: Liquid Democracy and Emerging Governance Models. At the very least, the identity and secure communications issues have to be solved, and a citizen’s view of their proxy status always available, yet secure from others. These are soluble problems, but not by the government programming mentality that brought us current voting machines.

One day we may be able to both vote on and help write legislation in areas we are expert in, while ceding most decisions to trusted representatives whose proxy to vote on our behalf is revocable at any time. No more gigantic omnibus spending bills that ensure spending never gets cut. No more election campaigns, lowest-common-denominator party hacks, or trickery designed to sway your vote past that one golden moment when you could have said no….

And that still does not solve the issue of who selects the judges who might determine when a new law infringes basic constitutional rights. The Supreme Courts which have deferred to Congress and agency regulation, rarely turning back the overreaches that have become increasingly common (see again the ACA!) are a big part of today’s problem with expanding government.

Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations,  available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. 

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.


For more reading goodness:

Death by HR: Biased HR Degree Programs Create Biased HR Bureaucracies
Death by HR: Pink Collar Ghettos, Publishing and HR
Death by HR: Who Staffs HR Departments? Mostly Women…
Death by HR: The Great Enrichment to the Great Slackening
Death by HR: Good-Enough Cogs vs Best Employees
Death by HR: EEOC Incompetence and the Coming Idiocracy
The Justice is Too Damn High! – Gawker, the High Cost of Litigation, and the Weapon Shops of Isher
Regulation Strangling Innovation: Planes, Trains, and Hyperloop
Captain America and Progressive Infantilization
The Great Progressive Stagnation vs. Dynamism
FDA Wants More Lung Cancer
Corrupt Feedback Loops: Public Employee Unions
Unrealistic Expectations: Liberal Arts Woman and Amazon Men
Stable is Boring? “Psychology Today” Article on Bad Boyfriends
Gaming and Science Fiction: Social Justice Warriors Strike Again

“Death by HR” – High Tech Threatened by Social Justice Activists

Fantasy Gains from Inclusion (Intel Corporation)

Fantasy Gains from Inclusion (Intel Corporation)

But pressure to hire more minorities and women in tech has existed at least since Jesse Jackson’s first run at it in 1999.[1] Why is resistance crumbling almost twenty years later?

First, today’s high tech is more software than hardware, with a new generation of executives more willing to appease the activists. Most people in the industry want to be sure women and minorities are fairly treated and feel welcomed, and the networked activists can quickly trash your public image if you cross them. So appeasing donations and lip service are the most common responses by today’s execs.

Another new factor is the hardcore third-wave feminists and “critical race theory”-trained products of academia that are making activism their life’s work. Many college students are adopting the victim culture and identities as protectors of the weak—women, plus transgender and all the other flavors of other. These newer, mostly upper-class-academic activists are besieging the older engineer-dominated companies as well as the new software giants. The culture wars, where activists infiltrate one cultural area after another then try to demonize and expel any conservatives that remain, have reached the gates of high tech.

“Gamergate” was a skirmish in the culture war; computer gaming companies with corrupt relationships to game-reviewing magazines and sites came under fire from gamers, and a full-scale battle between social justice activists and gamers who wanted their games built for fun and not political correctness began. There were well-publicized nasty trolling tactics on all sides (though the activists had more friends in the media to promote their story), and at one point the gamergaters persuaded many advertisers to cancel ads in the offending publications. Intel cancelled some of their ad support, then was subjected to activist attacks. To defuse the issue, Intel pledged $300 million to activist groups.[2] Shortly thereafter, Intel cancelled its sponsorship of the (merit-based) Science Talent Search and cut budgets in research and administration by… $300 million.[3]

Online swarming now results in censorship of speech disagreeing with these activists. One article was withdrawn by Forbes online after activist swarming because it denied that diversity in high tech was a problem. This was an instance of kafkatrapping, a mechanism for repressing all contrary thought by labelling anyone who speaks it as racist, sexist, or homophobic — your denial of base motives for disagreement with the activist point of view means you are what you deny, and your speech is hate speech to be suppressed.[4] Badthink must be stamped out so that Goodthink will prevail. The article in question was so extreme:

Repeat after me: there is no “diversity crisis” in Silicon Valley. None. In fact, there is no crisis at all in Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley is doing absolutely gangbusters. Apple has $200 billion in cash reserves and equivalents—and a market valuation of about $630 billion. Amazing. Facebook now garners a billion daily users. This is a nearly unfathomable number. Google is worth nearly $450 billion and has $70 billion in cash on hand.

This is not a crisis. Silicon Valley is swimming in money and in success. Uber is valued at around $50 billion. Companies like Airbnb are remaking travel and lodging. Intel is moving forward into the global Internet of Things market. South Korea’s Samsung just opened a giant R&D facility in the heart of Silicon Valley. Google and Facebook are working to connect the entire world. Netflix is re-making how we consume entertainment.

Silicon Valley is home to the next phase of the global auto industry. Fintech and biotech are transforming banking and medicine. The success of Silicon Valley is not due to diversity—or to any bias. Rather, to brilliance, hard work, risk taking, big ideas and money.

Want to be part of this? Great! Follow the example of the millions who came before you. Their parents made school a priority. They took math and science classes, and did their homework every night. They practiced ACT tests over and over. They enrolled in good schools… They took computer programming, engineering, chemistry—hard subjects that demand hard work. They then left their home, their family, their community, and moved to Silicon Valley. They worked hard, staying late night after night. They didn’t blog, they didn’t let their skills go stale, they didn’t blame others when not everything worked out exactly as hoped….

From all over the world, from Brazil and Canada, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Norway, Egypt, fellow humans come to Silicon Valley to work, create, succeed. And they do. Silicon Valley is extremely diverse.

Of course, the iPhone wasn’t created because of diversity. Nor was Google. Nor Facebook, nor the computer chip, nor the touchscreen. They were created because a small band of super-smart people who worked very hard to create something better than existed before….

Silicon Valley doesn’t just create greatness, it’s probably the most open, welcoming, meritocratic-based region on the planet. Anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that disproportionately more Chinese, Indians, and LGBQT succeed in Silicon Valley than just about any place in America. Guess what? Everyone earned their job because of their big brains and ability to contribute.

Is that you? Then come here! It’s an amazingly inclusive place.

But be sure to bring your computer science degree, your engineering degree, your proven set of accomplishments. Be sure you are prepared to sacrifice “fun” for long hours and hard work. Offer proof of how well you did in school, in math, in physics. These matter dearly as they are fundamental to what makes Silicon Valley succeed.

Silicon Valley is not perfect. It’s certainly no utopia. But if you aren’t able to make it here, it’s almost certainly not because of any bias. Rather, on your refusal to put in the hard work in the hard classes, and to accept all the failures that happen before you achieve any amazing success….[5]

The coiner of the term kafkatrapping, Eric S. Raymond, was a pioneer in open-source development, where widely-dispersed programmers working together build a software project which is free to use, change, or incorporate into larger systems. One of the earliest and most famous of such projects was Linux, an open-source version of Unix originated by Linus Torvalds. Open-source projects have been infiltrated by online activists and “codes of conduct” that let them expel less politically-sensitive participants have been added. Linus himself was threatened by the activists.[6]

Another example of the activist entryists’ pressure tactics from Raymond’s blog (emphasis added):

The hacker culture, and STEM in general, are under ideological attack. Recently I blogged a safety warning that according to a source I consider reliable, a “women in tech” pressure group has made multiple efforts to set Linus Torvalds up for a sexual assault accusation. I interpreted this as an attempt to beat the hacker culture into political pliability, and advised anyone in a leadership position to beware of similar attempts.

Now comes Roberto Rosario of the Django Software Foundation. Django is a web development framework that is a flourishing and well-respected part of the ecology around the of the Python language. On October 29th 2015 he reported that someone posting as ‘djangoconcardiff’ opened an issue against pull request #176 on ‘awesome-django’, addressing it to Rosario. This was the first paragraph.

Hi, great project!! I have one observation and a suggestion. I noticed that you have rejected some pull requests to add some good django libraries and that the people submitting thsoe pull requests are POCs (People of Colour). As a suggestion I recommend adopting the Contributor Code of Conduct ( to ensure everyone’s contributions are accepted regarless [sic] of their sex, sexual orientation, skin color, religion, height, place of origin, etc. etc. etc. As a white straight male and lead of this trending repository, your adoption of this Code of Conduct will send a loud and clear message that inclusion is a primary objective of the Django community and of the software development community in general. D.

The slippery, Newspeak-like quality of djangoconcardiff’s “suggestion” makes it hard to pin down from the text itself whether he/she is merely stumping for inclusiveness or insinuating that rejection of pull requests by “persons of color” is itself evidence of racism and thoughtcrime.

But, if you think you’re reading that ‘djangoconcardiff’ considers acceptance of pull requests putatively from “persons of color” to be politically mandatory, a look at the Contributor Covenant he/she advocates will do nothing to dissuade you. Paragraph 2 denounces the “pervasive cult of meritocracy”. [Update: The explicit language has since been removed. The intention rather obviously remains]

It is clear that djangoconcardiff and the author of the Covenant (self-described transgender feminist Coraline Ada Ehmke) want to replace the “cult of meritocracy” with something else. And equally clear that what they want to replace it with is racial and sexual identity politics.

Rosario tagged his Twitter report “Social Justice in action!” He knows who these people are: SJWs, “Social Justice Warriors”. And, unless you have been living under a rock, so do you. These are the people – the political and doctrinal tendency, united if in no other way by an elaborate shared jargon and a seething hatred of [the]“white straight male”, who recently hounded Nobel laureate Tim Hunt out of his job with a fraudulent accusation of sexist remarks.

I’m not going to analyze SJW ideology here except to point out, again, why the hacker culture must consider anyone who holds it an enemy. This is because we must be a cult of meritocracy. We must constantly demand merit – performance, intelligence, dedication, and technical excellence – of ourselves and each other.

Now that the Internet—the hacker culture’s creation!—is everywhere, and civilization is increasingly software-dependent, we have a duty, the duty I wrote about in Holding Up The Sky. The invisible gears have to turn. The shared software infrastructure of civilization has to work, or economies will seize up and people will die. And for large sections of that infrastructure, it’s on us—us!—to keep it working. Because nobody else is going to step up.

We dare not give less than our best. If we fall away from meritocracy—if we allow the SJWs to remake us as they wish, into a hell-pit of competitive grievance-mongering and political favoritism for the designated victim group of the week—we will betray not only what is best in our own traditions but the entire civilization that we serve.

This isn’t about women in tech, or minorities in tech, or gays in tech. The hacker culture’s norm about inclusion is clear: anybody who can pull the freight is welcome, and twitching about things like skin color or shape of genitalia or what thing you like to stick into what thing is beyond wrong into silly. This is about whether we will allow “diversity” issues to be used as wedges to fracture our community, degrade the quality of our work, and draw us away from our duty.

When hackers fail our own standards of meritocracy, as we sometimes do, it’s up to us to fix it from within our own tradition: judge by the work alone, you are what you do, shut up and show us the code. A movement whose favored tools include the rage mob, the dox, and faked incidents of bigotry is not morally competent to judge us or instruct us.

I have been participating in and running open-source projects for a quarter-century. In all that time I never had to know or care whether my fellow contributors were white, black, male, female, straight, gay, or from the planet Mars, only whether their code was good. The SJWs want to make me care; they want to make all of us obsess about this, to the point of having quotas and struggle sessions and what amounts to political officers threatening us if we are insufficiently “diverse”.

Think I’m exaggerating? Read the whole djangoconcardiff thread. What’s there is totalitarianism in miniature: ideology is everything, merit counts for nothing against the suppression of thoughtcrime, and politics is conducted by naked intimidation against any who refuse to conform. Near the end of the conversation djangoconcardiff threatens to denounce Rosario to the board of the Django Software Foundation in the confused, illiterate, vicious idiom of an orc or a stormtrooper.

It has been suggested that djangoconcardiff might be a troll emulating an SJW, and we should thus take him less seriously. The problem with this idea is that no SJW disclaimed him–more generally, that “Social Justice” has reached a sort of Poe’s Law singularity at which the behavior of trolls and true believers becomes indistinguishable even to each other, and has the same emergent effects.

In the future, the hacker whose community standing the SJWs threaten could be you. The SJWs talk ‘diversity’ but like all totalitarians they measure success only by total ideological surrender – repeating their duckspeak, denouncing others for insufficient political correctness, loving Big Brother. Not being a straight white male won’t save you either – Roberto Rosario is an Afro-Hispanic Puerto Rican.

We must cast these would-be totalitarians out–refuse to admit them on any level except by evaluating on pure technical merit whatever code patches they submit. We must refuse to let them judge us, and learn to recognize their thought-stopping jargon and kafkatraps as a clue that there is no point in arguing with them and the only sane course is to disengage. We can’t fix what’s broken about the SJWs; we can, and must, refuse to let them break us.[7]

Raymond’s post is the distilled essence of commitment to engineering excellence and equal opportunity. His opponents are the people trying to tear down standards and replace them with identity politics, tribalists who don’t understand how to make the pie but want to get pieces for their friends.

Victim culture identity politics is a US-centric movement promoting narrower and narrower minorities as victims. The earlier Jesse Jackson-style affirmative action movement was supposed to get blacks and women into higher-paying, powerful positions in tech — but most tech companies are worldwide in scope and hiring, and it makes little sense for them to represent local population distributions. Silicon Valley is much more top-heavy with Asians than with white males:

[Most articles on tech diversity say] the biggest tech companies in Silicon Valley are overwhelmingly white and male. While blacks and Latinos comprise 28 percent of the US workforce, they make up just 6 percent of Twitter’s total US workforce and six percent of Facebook employees.

Of course this is just a lie. Very few people would say a workforce that is 50 to 60 percent white, true of both Google and Microsoft, is “overwhelmingly white.” In fact, it’s less non-Hispanic white than the US labor force as a whole. I’ve linked to statistics in this very piece. They take about 10 seconds of browsing search queries to understand this.

But you don’t need to know statistics. Eat at a Google cafeteria. Or walk around the streets of Cupertino. There is no way that one can characterize Silicon Valley as overwhelmingly white with a straight face. Silicon Valley is quite diverse. The diversity just happens to represent the half of the human race with origins in the swath of territory between India and then east and north up to Korea.

The diversity problem isn’t about lack of diversity. It is about the right kind of diversity for a particular socio-political narrative. That’s fine, but I really wish there wasn’t this tendency to lie about the major obstacle here: people of Asian origin are 5% of the American work force, but north of 30% in much of the Valley. If you want more underrepresented minorities hiring fewer of these people would certainly help. In particular the inflow of numerous international talent coming from India and China could be staunched by changes to immigration law.

But these are international companies. Though they genuflect to diversity in the American sense (blacks and Latinos), ultimately they’ll engage in nominal symbolic tokenism while they continue on with business, with an increasingly ethnically Asian workforce and and increasingly Asian economic focus. Meanwhile, the press will continue to present a false caricature of a white workforce because that’s a lot more of a palatable bogeyman than Asian Americans and international tech migrants, and the liberal reading public seems to prefer the false narrative to engaging with reality.[8]

Money and power are being created by disciplined, organized hard work in one of the few US-based growth industries left, the connected computers that make up the Internet and allow cellphone apps to do the world’s business. Political parasites are trying very hard to gain entry and position themselves to feed from the resources others generated. While it may seem harmless to throw activists a bone—and Silicon Valley really does want more excellent minorities and women!—feeding the activists only lets them gather more allies to return to demand more. And when they gain power, all of us lose.

[1] “Jesse’s New Target: Silicon Valley,” by Roger O Crockett, Bloomberg, July 11, 1999.
[2] “Intel pledges $300 million to improve diversity in tech,” by Andrew Cunningham, January 6, 2015.
[3] “Intel plans job cuts across the company, internal memo says,” by Mike Rogoway, The Oregonian, June 4, 2015.
[4] “Kafkatrapping,” by Eric Raymond, Armed and Dangerous, July 18, 2010. ““Your refusal to acknowledge that you are guilty of {sin, racism, sexism, homophobia, oppression…} confirms that you are guilty of {sin, racism, sexism, homophobia, oppression…}.”
[5] “There Is No Diversity Crisis in Tech,” by Brian Hall, censored at Forbes online but republished by, October 7, 2015.
[6] “From kafkatrap to honeytrap,” by Eric Raymond, Armed and Dangerous, November 3, 2015.
[7] “Why Hackers Must Eject the SJWs,” by Eric S. Raymond, Armed and Dangerous, November 13, 2015.
[8] “Silicon Valley Has an Asian-people Problem,” by Razib Khan, The Unz Review, February 6, 2016.

Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations,  available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. 

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.


More reading on other topics:

The Great Progressive Stagnation vs. Dynamism
Death by HR: How Affirmative Action is Crippling America
Death by HR: The End of Merit in Civil Service
Corrupt Feedback Loops: Public Employee Unions
Death by HR: History and Practice of Affirmative Action and the EEOC
Civil Service: Woodrow Wilson’s Progressive Dream
Bootleggers and Baptists
Corrupt Feedback Loops: Justice Dept. Extortion
Corrupt Feedback Loops, Goldman Sachs: More Justice Dept. Extortion
Death by HR: The Birth and Evolution of the HR Department
Death by HR: The Simple Model of Project Labor

On Affirmative Action and Social Policy:

Affirmative Action: Chinese, Indian-Origin Citizens in Malaysia Oppressed
Affirmative Action: Caste Reservation in India
Diversity Hires: Pressure on High Tech<a
Title IX Totalitarianism is Gender-Neutral
Public Schools in Poor Districts: For Control Not Education
Real-Life “Hunger Games”: Soft Oppression Destroys the Poor
The Social Decay of Black Neighborhoods (And Yours!)
Child Welfare Ideas: Every Child Gets a Government Guardian!
“Income Inequality” Propaganda is Just Disguised Materialism

Right Wing, Liberal, Conservative…? Political Orientation Labels

Political junkies will be familiar with the Political Compass test, which adds Authoritarian/Libertarian to the standard Right/Left two-dimensional scale. On this test I come down in the Right-Libertarian quadrant:

Political Compass chart

Political Compass chart

Which isn’t too surprising, since I tend to be a classical liberal: believing a self-organizing society of free markets and few laws works better for everyone in the long run. So it’s always a bit shocking when someone thinks I’m “right wing,” a label which has come to include anyone who dissents from Progressive orthodoxy and who expresses any doubts that bringing the best and brightest to power and passing laws to eliminate Bad Behavior will bring Utopia.

The best way to look at this is as modes of thought, all of which can be useful in the appropriate situation. None is always and everywhere correct. And those who inhabit one or two modes at all times are the least likely to make good policy decisions. Authoritarians are almost incapable of understanding that telling other people what to do and how to behave correctly almost never works to accomplish the intended goal of increasing Goodness as they define it, but often does encourage hypocrisy, lawlessness, black markets, and dependency which damage the natural governors of social life — reputation and community enforcement of good behaviors.

Going over the labels and what they mean:

Progressive: The idea of Progress is to leave old and incorrect thinking behind, and replace it with updated, more correct thought and behavior. A Progressive believes they are helping the Arrow of History by pushing along societal progress at a faster rate by using government force to change behavior; some elite of scientists and thinkers will guide the ignorant masses through law and social workers toward a better society. Progressives gave us eugenics, Prohibition of alcohol and drugs, homogenized public schools designed to indoctrinate the population with Progressive teachings, and US entry into WWI and a succession of alliances and wars since. More recently, they are responsible for Obamacare / ACA health insurance, which heavily taxed the small number of younger and middle and upper-class purchasers of individual policies to help subsidize the older, poorer, and sicker, but ended up in a death spiral of higher prices and falling enrollments. Other “make someone else behave correctly” ideas of theirs include plastic bag bans, high soda taxes, gun control, and complex green energy subsidies that are hurting lower-income power consumers. Progressives often correctly identify problems but then fail to understand why passing a law or regulation to ameliorate the problem will simply cause more and worse problems elsewhere while reducing the population’s autonomy and accountability.

Conservative: Conservatives tend to be uncomfortable with change and afraid of loss while having trouble imagining the good that comes with change. Conservative thinking should always be a part of policy discussions; the Chesterton’s Fence analogy suggests no proposed change to a complex system should be evaluated without understanding how the existing system evolved to reach that point. Excessive conservatism leads to stagnation, and defense of the indefensible, as Southern conservatives defended slavery and today’s Democratic party defends public school unions.

Right and Left Wing: These labels date back to the French revolutionary era, where the Assembly sorted itself by support for King and status quo on the right, and revolution and change on the left. The Political Compass test uses this dimension to indicate support for less or more control of individual economic decisions, which is far simpler than its normal use to indicate a raft of associations: the Right Wing with religious belief, smaller government, support for military and law enforcement spending, and less regulation of business, while the Left Wing supports larger government, smaller militaries, less religion, and greater collective control of economic decisions.

Liberal: The root is Latin for free, and this term once applied to those who believed in maximizing individual decisionmaking capacity. Early Liberals opposed the Corn Laws (restrictions on food imports) of Britain, which increased food prices to the poor while benefitting the remaining landed gentry. The liberal tends to examine the justification for each law that interferes with freedom. Conservatives of that era believed the laws should reinforce their moral beliefs and penalize bad behavior, even when the behavior did not effect them directly. “Setting the tone,” religious principles were enshrined in law. Liberals saw this as a fundamental error, but the current usage of the term in the US is for authoritarian Progressives who are closer to the Conservatives of two centuries ago, supporting a moralistic view of law that would use it to penalize immoral thoughts — but now the targets are racism and sexism instead of illicit sex and pleasurable activities.

Radical: This came from the Latin radix, the root. Radicals aimed to get at the root causes of inequality, and the term came to be associated with extremism — to be radical was the opposite of conservative, pushing to tear out the fences of tradition and precedent to achieve a just society. In the sense that policy changes should be based on addressing not the superficial symptoms but their root causes, I am a radical.

So I’m far from “right wing” — but I do reject Progressive principles, and think trying to micromanage other people’s behavior to satisfy my ideas of what is proper or desirable is itself morally wrong. If I can personally persuade someone to stop behaving in a manner that endangers themselves or others, I will; but I will not give power to paid bureaucrats to manage behaviors which aren’t directly injuring people. It is none of my business if there’s a whorehouse operating out of earshot, or people wasting energy, or wealthy people spending vast sums on luxury yachts. I do not know enough to decide these matters for someone else, and I choose not to be governed by a democratic tyranny that gives the dumbest 51% of the population the ability to control what I decide to do for myself. The Founding Fathers were quite rightly afraid of an unrestrained democracy, and added the Bill of Rights to make sure there were guardrails hoping to prevent the corrupt feedback loop we are now suffering under. The permanent and unaccountable Administrative State (built by Progressives) has taken control of education, the media, and government, making it nearly impossible to reform through elections — unless the people see that as the primary problem of this age, and rise up to change it by electing enough radicals to tear down the structure that supports it — the graduated income tax, the funded bureaucrats and academics, the protected oligopolies created by regulation like media cartels and medical care, and the public employee unions that make it impossible to punish malfeasance. This is a radical position, based on conservative appreciation for free markets and natural social relations based on mutually-beneficial exchange, voluntary social cooperation and charity, and freedom of religious belief and practice. Those who do not tolerate others’ beliefs and try to control behaviors that don’t directly harm them should have no power to compel others, and a government that is allowed to mold the population’s beliefs to suit its increasing power is to be resisted.

“Death by HR” – IndieReader Review: “Skillfully written… to plant seeds of doubt among HR devotees”

Indie Reader Approved

Indie Reader Approved

The first reviewing service review is in. Indiereader says:

IR Rating 5.0 out of 5.0IR Rating

 IR Verdict: Skillfully written and meticulously edited at an advanced reading level, this politically incorrect study does a great job using facts and figures to reinforce the author’s thesis, or at least to plant seeds of doubt among HR devotees.

Approaching his subject from historical, political, social, and economic perspectives, author Jeb Kinnison makes a strong case against Human Resources and its enforcement of Affirmative Action (AA), an outgrowth of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Convinced the only way to protect America’s future and preserve competitiveness in the marketplace and in the global community is to hire on merit alone, Kennison uses charts, graphs, citations, and historical events to prove his points….

Focusing mostly on labor regulations and how government intrusion damages productivity, he examines specific hiring and employment practices of companies such as Google. According to the author, companies working under AA regulations assume the cog model, which drawing from a deep pool of job candidates can meet the minimum competence requirements and then further select to meet diversity goals. “These will typically not be the best candidates for the particular position and team environment, but team managers are not given a choice.”

Though mainly about U.S. hiring practices, the book explores foreign lands as well, citing studies in India, Malaysia, and Nigeria. Wherever the location, however, the author comes to the same conclusion. “A bright future doesn’t come with thousands of pages of laws and regulations dating back to the last century and designed to hold a tottering status quo in place.” Instead, he writes that the success of a county and its people comes from individual striving, strong growth companies, new technologies, and people free to choose their destinies.

Skillfully written and meticulously edited at an advanced reading level, this politically incorrect study does a great job using facts and figures to reinforce the author’s thesis, or at least to plant seeds of doubt among HR devotees. Up-to-the-minute analysis in the final chapters looks at controversial subjects including universal health care, the science of stereotypes, [and] the culture of victimhood, among many other hot topics. For readers who want to seriously delve into the problems with Human Resources, this is the book for you.

DEATH BY HR: HOW AFFIRMATIVE ACTION CRIPPLES ORGANIZATIONS is a well-researched, thought-provoking, articulately expressed book sure to inspire controversy and evoke strong emotions in readers, whether they agree with the author about the described workplace injustices, or whether they disagree with his right-leaning, conservative conclusions.

~Carol Michaels for IndieReader

“Right-leaning”? Not really, though we’ve reached the late-stage decay where any dissent from the Establishment progressive consensus is labelled “right wing.” I should do a post about how lack of background historical knowledge has led us to this point.

I was wary of a review site that costs a bit less than Kirkus and checked to be sure they weren’t just churning out positive reviews. As you can see from a look through their reviews, they’re not afraid to low-rate books that deserve it.

Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations, available now in Kindle and as a sumptuous trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. 

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.

More reading:

Death by HR: Progressive Dirigisme Takes Over the US
Death by HR: Affirmative Action and Hiring
Death by HR Introduction: HR Pushes Damaging Regulations Into the Enterprise
Election 2016: Clinton vs Trump vs ?
A Clinton Christmas Carol
John Podesta Nagged to Complete Diversity Training
“Death by HR” – High Tech Under Diversity Pressure
Death by HR – Ban the Box, Credit Scores, Current Salaries: The Road to Hiring Blind