Wolf

Abattoir

Libertarian cow : Abattoirs were originally for the treatment of sick cows not the wholesale slaughter for meat they have become.
Libertarian human : Governments were originally for the protection of the people not the corrupt special interests.
Wolf

Seeing Like A State

Seeing Like A State
by James C Scott
This is probably the most important anarchist work of the decade. Even though Scott is not an anarchist and defends some level of state action he nevertheless provides anarchists with vast quantities of intellectual ammunition. His central idea is that, a particular world-view which he calls 'high modernist' is responsible for many atrocities of the 20th century.
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Wolf

Empires of the Silk Road

Excellent presentation of an obscure area of history and demographics. Probably not for people who don't already have a moderate knowledge of the peripheral civilisations he mentions e.g. Roman, Arabic, Chinese. The importance of the Central Asian trading zone has been obscured since it was bypassed by the European oceanic trade starting with Portuguese voyages to Asia. This led to a dramatic decline in the volume and wealth of trade in Central Asia. The decline was completed by the partition of Central Asia between Russia and China. The Central Asians are now viewed as merely barbaric herders with no real economy or culture of their own.
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Wolf

Silk Road to Ruin

In Empires of the Silk Road the author maintains that the internal economic collapse of the Roman Empire not only allowed the 'barbarian' invasions but caused them indirectly. Since the Eurasian tribes depended on trade with the Romans, the failure of the Roman economy led to a failure of the tribal economies also. This gave them an incentive to uproot and invade Roman territory at the exact time Rome was weak. Since it already seems likely that Roman economic collapse was caused by the centralisation and militarisation of the economy by Imperial decrees, it follows that this economic mismanagement in the name of military strength caused military disaster too.
Riffing on this we can speculate that the collapse of the US economy will not cause the Mexicans to leave as some anti-immigrant thinkers wish. In fact Mexico's economy might collapse even further than America's and cause more Mexicans to flood in. Since the south of border area is already awash with armed bands due to the war on drugs there will be plenty of guns to attack US officials attempting to stem this tide. The neo-cons will finally have a nice little war close to home. Naturally this will lead to paranoid claims that the Spanish wish to destroy our English freedoms and the only solution is to nuke Mexico City and Madrid.
Wolf

Jews and the tragedy of universalism

esr has really lost the plot again. Certainly Jews are over-represented in movements attempting to dissolve ethno-tribal bonds. It is understandable since those bonds were usually an obstacle to their own participation in society. However, the Jews who were most involved in these activities never seem to be trying to exempt Jews from this assimilation. esr seems to imagine some sneaky Jews preaching secular philosophy and then secretly living as religious Jews at home and despising gentiles. This is a very common allegation against Jewish intellectuals but the evidence is totally lacking.
esr is always willing to break taboos which is often good. In some cases he falls in love with his own train of thought and forgets to look for evidence.
Wolf

Suppression of Science Within Science