The whine of the game widow

Especially considering that it’s not an actual male holiday like Madden Day or something:

Something momentous took place in The World of Men this week, something that those living in The World of Women – that is, largely, The Real World – may yet be unaware of. At midnight on Monday, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 went on sale. Should you be a reader of the female persuasion your reaction is likely to be mystification followed by the dawning realisation that this accounts for your partner’s having since gone AWOL….

Modern Warfare 2 allows participants to play the part of soldiers facing a series of combat scenarios, and is so bloodthirsty that it includes a couple of “checkpoints” where those without the stomach can opt out. It comes with an 18-certificate, however an army of forsaken women will argue that it should also carry a relationship health warning.

I have to admit, I’ve never understood how women, who apparently spend considerably more time in front of the television on average than men, can possibly complain about the male preference for electronic games. Let’s face it, you had better be one scintillating conversationalist and/or contortionist if you seriously expect to compete with CoD. Now, I do occasionally fear for the fate of the human race when talking to younger gamers who genuinely don’t seem to understand that real flesh-and-blood women could at least occasionally be preferable to porn and PS/3; at least back in the Golden Age, game geeks realized that they were compensating for missing out on something.

Anyhow, whatever, on to more important matters. Let’s say, for example, you’re playing CoD on the PC. And let’s say you have a mouse that just happens to have a joystick on the side. Do you prefer to assign WASD there for the movement? Or, do you leave that up to your left hand and assign Lie Down, Crouch, Stand Up, and Reload to the joystick? I’ve been playing both ways and I think I find the latter to be more efficient, but I was wondering what the other CoDers here might think.

The man who predicted the Great Depression

Mises finally gets his rightful due from the Wall Street Journal:

“Theorie des Geldes” did not become the playbook for policy makers. The 1920s were marked by the brave new era of the Federal Reserve system promoting inflationary credit expansion and with it permanent prosperity. The nerve of this Doubting-Thomas, perma-bear, crazy Kraut! Sadly, poor Ludwig was very nearly alone in warning of the collapse to come from this credit expansion. In mid-1929, he stubbornly turned down a lucrative job offer from the Viennese bank Kreditanstalt, much to the annoyance of his fiancée, proclaiming “A great crash is coming, and I don’t want my name in any way connected with it.”

We all know what happened next. Pretty much right out of Mises’s script, overleveraged banks (including Kreditanstalt) collapsed, businesses collapsed, employment collapsed.

This is why I’m pretty relaxed about RGD. As an economist, I’m not fit to replace the battery on Mises’s calculator. If he wasn’t afraid to be dismissed as a lunatic for standing against the socialist tide, I’m not afraid to risk the same for standing against the Neo-Keynesian one. The market and the GDP statistics are totally irrelevant in my opinion. The former looks terrible when measured in terms of gold or any foreign currency and the latter have been twisted and contorted so greatly that I suspect it will have to be trashed altogether by the time the Great Depression 2.0 comes to an end.

Remember that GDP comparisons to the Great Depression are intrinsically questionable because GDP didn’t exist until it was created in order to measure industrial output in World War II. Which, astute history buffs will recall took place after the economic events of 1929-1933.

Darwin’s killer disciples

The murderous children of evolution are a real problem, even if the Darwinists don’t like to admit it:

Darwin would no doubt have been horrified by all this, but it’s easy to see why some of his ideas might appeal to the disturbed adolescent mind. One conclusion implicit in evolutionary theory is that human existence has no ultimate purpose or special significance. Any psychologically well-adjusted person would regard this as regrettable, if true. But some people get a thrill from peering into the void and acknowledging that life is utterly meaningless.

Darwin also taught that morality has no essential authority, but is something that itself evolved — a set of sentiments or intuitions that developed from adaptive responses to environmental pressures tens of thousands of years ago. This does not merely explain the origin of morals, it totally explains them away. Whether an individual opts to obey a particular ethical precept, or to regard it as a redundant evolutionary carry-over, thus becomes a matter of personal choice. Cheerleaders celebrating Darwin’s 200th birthday in colleges across America last February sang “Randomness is good enough for me, If there’s no design it means I’m free” — lines from a song by the band Scientific Gospel. Clearly they see evolution as something that emancipates them from the strict sexual morality insisted upon by their parents. But wackos such as Harris and Auvinen can just as readily interpret it as a licence to kill.

The truth or untruth of natural selection, or evolution by natural selection, doesn’t depend upon their consequences. But the inability of biologists to recognize the obvious logical implications of the freedom from the limits of traditional morality that they celebrate only serves to demonstrate their complete incompetence as philosophers. If it’s no longer evil to freely fornicate or worship idols, it’s no longer evil to freely rape or murder either. And a description of a theorized process of historical moral development is no rational basis for subsequent cherry-picking between those developments you happen to believe are positive and those you happen to believe are negative.

On the radio

Here’s a link to yesterday’s interview on Morning Magazine. It was a relatively slow day… only four interviews. This one, however, was not about the book, but the wars and Veteran’s Day.

The Obama administration’s dithering over whether or not to accede to the theater commander’s request for more troops is a good example of the sort of thing Michael McSorley and I were discussing. If you can’t make up your mind about such a relatively minor decision, then you clearly have no idea what you’re doing in the strategic sense. If Obama doesn’t have enough confidence in General McChrystal to grant his request without hesitation, he should either replace McChrystal or end the occupation and bring the troops home.

Personally, I suspect the troop request was a political CYA on McChrystal’s part. He knows he can’t win there because the US lacks sufficient loyalty from the famously fractious locals and he also knows Obama has zero desire to send more troops to Afghanistan, so the request for 40,000 troops is essentially McChrystal washing his hands of responsibility while hoping Obama has the balls to withdraw U.S. forces. I think he’s miscalculated and that Obama will ultimately send the requested troops because, like most individuals with weak characters, Obama is terrified of being correctly perceived as weak. If the general is fortunate, Obama will send fewer troops and give him the ability to claim that he wasn’t given the necessary forces required to do the job.

Of course, none of this ritual dance between commander and commander-in-chief has anything to do with either the U.S. national interest or the interests of the individual American soldier.