You can change your money in a bank and get 190 pesos per dollar. Or you go into a shop that pretends to be a real estate agent…or an electronics store…and you get 372 pesos per dollar.
You go up to the shop. The door is locked. You ring the buzzer…and the door opens. A handsome young man, tattooed and swarthy, sits behind a glass divider. You tell him how much money you want to change. He quotes a rate. You accept. And then, come the piles of cash.
The largest note he has is a 1,000-peso bill. So if you are changing US$500, you end up with 186 pieces of paper. The whole transaction is so fast and easy, you have a hard time keeping up with the maths. But you are soon walking out of the shop with your pockets stuffed with cash, trying to look inconspicuous.
Meanwhile, we turn back to the news…
Sex, lies, and gender studies
Sometimes the headlines are stupid. Sometimes they’re amusing. And sometimes, inadvertently, they tell us something worth knowing.
The most annoying are those in which some pompous jackass tries to tell us what to do and what to think. From The New York Post: ‘…stop using terms like male, female, mother and father, researchers say’:
‘Alternatives to terms like “male” and “female” and “mother” and “father” should be sought in science because they assume that sex is binary and heterosexuality is the norm, a group of researchers from the US and Canada suggests.’
Well, yes. Sex is binary; that’s the idea of it. Male and female come together like two pieces of pipe. That’s how they create new life. And, yes, most men are attracted to women, and vice versa. But there’s more:
‘Male and female should instead be referred to as “sperm-producing” and “egg-producing,” the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) Language Project said, according to the Times of London.
‘Meanwhile, father and mother should be labeled “parent,” “egg donor” and “sperm donor” in the scientific field.’
Scientists can add whatever precision they want. But an ‘egg donor’ is one thing. A mother is something else. We have mothers we love. Or hate. As for an egg donor, we don’t give a damn.
Ridicule and derision
But the real purpose of the quack ‘researchers’ is not to help us understand and communicate, but to upend thousands of years of learning and adapting with the faddish conceits of the here and now:
‘“Much of western science is rooted in colonialism, white supremacy and patriarchy, and these power structures continue to permeate our scientific culture,” some project members wrote in the Trends in Ecology and Evolution journal.’
Oh yes, perhaps we will soon celebrate ‘egg donors’ day’, free from the taint of colonialism. And maybe popular songs will have to be rewritten, as in ‘Egg Donors, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys’.
It’s easy to make fun of these people. Ridicule and derision are what they deserve. But they are, alas, serious. They aim to stain the most important relationships in our lives…claiming that ‘mother’ is tainted with racism or colonialism and that their ‘egg donor’ malarkey is unblemished science.
And here is more claptrap posing as science. This from Popular Mechanics: ‘Humanity Will Reach Its Peak Within Just Decades, Trend Shows’.
What in the world is that about, we wondered. What is a ‘peak’ in ‘humanity’? When people are smartest, tallest, or most civilised?
It turned out they referred to maximum human population…and it also turned out that they had no idea what they were talking about. The authors had some UN ‘projections’ that showed the world’s population hitting an all-time peak before 2100. And other forecasts that said it might happen any day now. All rubbish: nobody knows when egg donors may or may not start having more children.
Then, the article goes on to tell us more nothing:
‘The point is, with the world’s population passing 8 billion late last year, the global population peak is drawing rapidly closer. But so, too, is singularity—the concept of artificial intelligence exceeding beyond human control and rapidly transforming society. (One trend shows we’ll reach singularity in just 7 years.) Will singularity throw an entirely different wrinkle into the population peak?’
That pretty well sums it up. We know nothing about when or what humanity’s ‘peak’ will be…nothing about when human populations might hit their all-time high…and nothing about a ‘singularity’ or how it might affect human populations. So, what does this article tell us? Nothing.
(Speaking of population issues, we watched a movie on the flight from Europe. Tides tells the story of a post-apocalyptic world (presumably destroyed by us!). The elite got away to colonise a planet called Kepler. But they found that the egg donors couldn’t have children there. So, they sent a mission back to Earth to see if it could be resettled. But humans had survived on Earth. And they didn’t take too kindly to these returnees. The movie is engaging to watch, but a sad muddle of ideas.)
Much of what you read in the press is just dumb propaganda. From MarketWatch: ‘Greta Thunberg calls capitalism and market economics a ‘terrible idea’ for stopping climate change in new book’.
Hmm…capitalism stopping climate change? Capitalism doesn’t solve problems; it creates problems. Too many cars, not enough parking places. Too much food; people get fat. Too much time-wasting, brain-rotting media! What the headline really should say is: ‘Thunberg Thinks the Profit Motive Won’t Stop Global Warming’.
Which brings us to the second question: Why do we care what she thinks? The article quotes her:
‘Leaving capitalist consumerism and market economics as the dominant stewards of the only known civilization in the universe will most likely seem, in retrospect, to have been a terrible idea.’
What are we to make of that? Since when were market economics ‘stewards’ of anything? But the bigger question hangs over the headline like a hammer over an egg. Does Ms Thunberg have a better idea? If so, she should come forward with it. The experiments of the last century — all various strains of central planning and collectivism — were all failures. Almost all have been abandoned, but not before they were responsible for the deaths of some 100 million people…nearly 50 million starved to death in Mao’s ‘Great Leap Forward’ alone. During that time, capitalism killed no one. Instead, capitalism — the give and take of an honest economy — permitted eight billion people to live, six billion more than at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution…and to live better than ever before.
Ms Thunberg seems to think it is important that ours is the ‘only civilisation’ that we know of. We’re not sure what to make of that. Even if there were other ‘civilisations’ somewhere, we still wouldn’t want her to muck up the one we live in.
An immodest proposal
But let’s move on…here’s another favourite, from the New York Post: ‘Yale professor under fire for suggesting elderly Japanese residents should die in mass suicide’.
The idea is modelled after Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal. Swift, an Irish wit, suggested a program for ridding the world of its ‘surplus’ poor people: just eat them. ‘I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food’, he wrote.
But Swift was pulling our legs; Yusuke Narita may be as serious as the language improvers.
The ‘surplus people’ of the 18th century were young and poor. Today, they’re old. They’ve become a burden because the egg donors are not getting together with the sperm donors and having enough children to support them.
‘I feel like the only solution is pretty clear’, Narita says, adding that euthanasia might be made ‘mandatory in the future’.
‘In the end’, he concludes, ‘isn’t it [the solution] mass suicide and mass ‘seppuku’ of the elderly? Whether that’s a good thing or not, that’s a more difficult question to answer’, he said. ‘So if you think that’s good, then maybe you can work hard toward creating a society like that.’
Yes, dear reader, the media is full of earnest people working to create the societies they want. We are told not to use energy, to despise the word ‘mother’ as an artifact of white supremacy, and later, when we grow old, to kill ourselves.
A pox on them all.
For The Daily Reckoning Australia