"The conscious manipulation of the opinion of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this constitute an invisible government, which is the true ruling power of our country". -Edward Bernays. by HibikiBlack in conspiracy

[–]Alan_Crowe 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Are people really OK with the government manipulating them with good intentions? The way people talk about democracy, it is good because the people are actually the ones taking the decisions. Democracy is a sham because Bernays' invisible government actually take the decisions and then implement them by manipulating the people into voting for them. But I've never heard any-one praise the sham, on the grounds that the invisible government have good intentions.

Judith Butler: ‘We need to rethink the category of woman to centre men' by Chunkeeguy in GenderCritical

[–]Alan_Crowe 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

She starts off with soft bromides

The category of woman can and does change, and we need it to be that way.

and we nod along, because we know what she means. After menopause women turn invisible. We want to "change" the category of women to "incude" them. And when we oppose violence against women, we sometimes need to remind men that opposing violence against women includes protecting girls from their step-fathers; which stretches "women" to include "girls".

Then Butler hits us with

So we should not be surprised or opposed when the category of women expands to include cricket bats.

Whoops! I've misquoted her; but with a purpose. Sometimes we play games with language. We might say "the category of women includes cricket bats." and we are making a Dadaist joke. Probably with a didactic purpose. We want to jolt people awake. We want to make them realize that you cannot add just anything to the category of woman.

What Butler actually wrote was

So we should not be surprised or opposed when the category of women expands to include trans women.

She wants to add men to the category of women. Now I conceded earlier that one might want to make adjustments at the edge of the category woman, but the problem with the category of women is not that it excludes men; excluding men is the point! What next? Is seven to be the new even number?

Notice the pattern. She talks abstractly about the category women, without common sense examples, then hits us with an absurd expansion of the category. In psychiatry, that pattern, is called overinclusion and is an aspect of Formal Thought Disorder.

See http://frontierpsychiatrist.co.uk/formal-thought-disorder/

Overinclusion refers to a widening of the boundaries of concepts such that things are grouped together that are not often closely connected.

Nobel Prize Winner Prof. Luc Montagnier (88): "The Covid Vaccine is Creating the Variants" by Inuma in WayOfTheBern

[–]Alan_Crowe 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

The clip doesn't mention that it is leaky vaccines that cause the problem. A traditional vaccine, meeting traditional standards of complete immunity is fine.

The mRNA vaccines only immunize against the spike protein. That might have worked, but we know from it experience that that is not enough. Which would have been a good time to ban the mRNA vaccines as a danger to public health.

Taliban Breaks Up Mob of Unhinged Whores Making Outrageous Demands! - Daily Stormer by Tarrock in politics

[–]Alan_Crowe 1 insightful - 2 fun1 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 2 fun -  (0 children)

Oh no! Who will protect them now that NAMBLA Force has returned to the USA?

What is your religion? by Ponderer in debatealtright

[–]Alan_Crowe 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I agree that it is a little bit contradictory. It proclaims a mystical insight: if God had really given us a Holy Book, it would be awesome. There would be none of those arguments: "This is the Holy Book!", "No, you are wrong. That is the Holy Book."

But then what? What would humility in the face of God's Silence look like. Society needs a rule book, so there is clearly a problem. One way is to make the rule book explicitly the unaided work of man, and to embrace the implication that it will fail the test of time and need updating in the light of experience.

We might anticipate this and invent the conservatism of the archive. Write down your rules. Write down why you have chosen them. Write down what your critics say will go wrong. Write down what your critics say we should do instead. Keep it all safe in the archive for 100 years.

When things don't go according to plan, dig through the archive. Did you stick to your rules? Really? In a way that is faithful to the reasons why they were supposed to work? What about the critics? Did things go wrong in the way that they predicted, or in some other way?

If the critics predicted the exact way that things would go wrong, they win. Dig out their suggestions and give them a try. If the critics predicted different screw-ups than actually happened, cry. Nobody knows anything. But at least you have an archive. What it was like. What people thought. How it actually turned out. That is a basis for working out what to do next.

What is your religion? by Ponderer in debatealtright

[–]Alan_Crowe 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Ideally I'd like to discover or create a new form of spirituality.

Really? The five marks of a Holy Book could be an interesting starting point for creating your own humble and provisional spirituality.

An 88-year-old professor in Georgia resigned in the middle of class because a student refused to wear a mask over her nose: "That's it. I'm retired." by [deleted] in Coronavirus

[–]Alan_Crowe 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

He is old enough that he might actually die from COVID, so I sympathize with him requesting the tiny protection that masks might offer.

BBC presenter Lisa Shaw died of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine complications by jet199 in Coronavirus

[–]Alan_Crowe 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Given her age, she probably grew up in a world where the appropriate safety factor was around two. Being bugged to get vaccinated? The disease is probably half as dangerous as the government says and the vaccine twice as dangerous.

Living today in clown world, the government overstates the dangers of the disease five-fold and only admits to 20% of bad reactions to the virus. Maybe she was just slow to update her propaganda safety factor from two to five.

Marines die in the gayest way possible by Wrangel in debatealtright

[–]Alan_Crowe 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

A better response would indict male disposability.

Don't ask "Was it worth it?" in 2021.

Do ask "Will it be worth it?" in 2001

‘Leaky’ Vaccines Can Produce Stronger Versions of Viruses by scata90x in NoNewNormal

[–]Alan_Crowe 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

This is important and is a good example of orthodox science being left behind in the rush for, err, panic over, err, I'm not really understanding why normal science is getting overlooked like this :-(

Did ‘gender studies’ lose Afghanistan? How Ivy League diplomats sought to remake Afghanistan in Harvard’s image. $787 million was spent on gender programs, but that substantially understates the actual total, since gender goals were folded into practically every undertaking made in the country. by Chipit in WorldNews

[–]Alan_Crowe 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

My favourite factoid

Under the US’s guidance, Afghanistan’s 2004 constitution set a 27 per cent quota for women in the lower house — higher than the actual figure in America!

The article builds a good case.

What do you think about class, class differences, the effect of class on politics and the place of class in political rhetoric? Is it something that people should focus on, and if so, how much? Should political leaders account for class when building organisations? Should class impact strategy? by NeoRail in debatealtright

[–]Alan_Crowe 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

The key critique of Marx's concept of class is to be found in Mancur Olson's The Logic of Collective Action.

The wikipedia page plunges into the details.

The relevance to class conflict is that classes are big, so they struggle to solve their internal collective action problems. The capitalists ought to form a united front and refuse to sell the working classes the rope that they need to hang the capitalists. The capitalists sell each other out; err, they would like to, but the working class like their bet and their pipe and their pint. Some-one else will put money in the hat during the whip round to buy the rope. Every-one leaves it to every-body else to put money in the hat. Eventually Mister Nobody chips in no pounds no shillings and no pence.

To the extent that classes manage a little bit of organisation, they snipe at other classes mechanisms for solving the relevant collective action problems. This is an important subtext of Mancur Olson's book. The working class need the closed shop to help them organise trades unions. If the capitalists can achieve the minimum level of cooperation to get "Right to work" laws passed, they can "win" a round of class war. But the subtle sniping against mechanisms for solving collective action problems needs insights from 100 years after Marx to be understood.

No Taliban by Tarrock in politics

[–]Alan_Crowe 3 insightful - 3 fun3 insightful - 2 fun4 insightful - 3 fun -  (0 children)

Back around 2000 I read a little about the Bacha Bazi, the dancing boys of Afghanistan. (Some-one had told me to Google "One wing Kandahar")

It seemed like there was a fault line running through Afghan society. The Northern Alliance War Lords had the dancing boys. The Taliban said this was forbidden and opposed it. The common people agreed with the Taliban.

Reading this link https://forgedsoulsdotnet.wordpress.com/2016/05/26/d-o-j-s-coy-wink-at-boy-play-abuse/ it appears that the Americans allied with the bad guys.

To what extent should govt meddle in the free market? by la_cues in debatealtright

[–]Alan_Crowe 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Thank you for the flattery. I find it very encouraging that some-one would remember a ten month old comment.

I used to have a website. The way back machine still has it. Sadly, age and chronic illness mean that I'm in my own grim-span. I hope to start polishing some essays, and submitting them to Saidit and the like. I've made a small start with http://alan.sdf-eu.org/banana-burning.html

To what extent should govt meddle in the free market? by la_cues in debatealtright

[–]Alan_Crowe 6 insightful - 2 fun6 insightful - 1 fun7 insightful - 2 fun -  (0 children)

The phrase free market muddles together two ideas, that I'm going to call the pragmarket and the momarket

Pragmarket. Let us suppose that sandwiches are a legitimate product. This legitimizes bread, milling, flour, wheat, sowing, plowing. But legitimizing plowing legitimizes tractors and tractor engines, and lathes and machine tools to make them, and carbide tooling and industrial diamonds to shape the carbide tools and cubic hydraulic presses. Wow! That escalated quickly.

Notice how complicated industrial society is. You start with some legitimate goods and legitimacy ramifies, far beyond the scope of central planning. Any political ideology needs to accept the pragmarket, or it will be poor and weak.

Momarket. But where does legitimacy come from? How do we judge gambling, alcohol, prostitution, and other vices? The pragmarket doesn't tell us. All it says is how to organize the efficient production that lies behind simple goods, such as sandwiches, that we have judged legitimate by non-economic criteria. Liberalism outsources morality to the market. The Moral Market, or Momarket. Perhaps whores charge a minimum of $200 and johns pay a maximum of $100. Then the Momarket "bans" prostitution. But the market for most vices clears, and nearly everything is permitted.

Having split up the concept of the free market we can say yes to the Pragmarket, and prosper, while saying no to the Momarket, and arguing theology and ethics to decide whether doubtful goods and services are permitted.

Having kids isn't a political solution and is no viable strategy to victory by casparvoneverec in debatealtright

[–]Alan_Crowe 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Its no substitute for grad politics.

Much as I like the metaphor of grad politics, I suspect this is just a typo.

Germany Refuses to Use Voting Machines Like US Over Fears of Fraud, Will Only Use Paper Ballots by carn0ld03 in Europe

[–]Alan_Crowe 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I'm not an American, so I might be misunderstanding the situation over there, but there seems to be an interesting twist to the story.

Why did Americans accept electronic voting machines at all? It seems that American's weren't stupid, but insisted on paper ballots and a paper audit trail, so that the electronic tallies could in theory be checked by hand. So they were reassured by the possibility of auditing the results and went ahead with using electronic voting machines. But it turns out to be mysteriously difficult to actually get the results checked by hand.

So I'm thing that there is a broader lesson. You get talked into doing something, based on assurances that there is a backup system in case things go wrong. Then things go wrong and the backup system doesn't work. You shouldn't be surprised by this.

Perhaps one approach is to insist that backup systems only provide confidence if they were routinely tested. Imagine if 5% precincts got hand counted, every election, just to check, even when there was no suspicion of fraud. That still does the money saving/quick results thing, but now the systems for hand counting are in working order and are available if needed.

Apocalyptus Interruptus by socks in memes

[–]Alan_Crowe 1 insightful - 2 fun1 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 2 fun -  (0 children)

Shouldn't it be Plague posting the Anti-Vax meme? Maybe the cartoon is in praise of teamwork!

This is an Euler's Disk by Brewdabier in whatever

[–]Alan_Crowe 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Now available as an athletic discipline. Yes, really! Watch until the Euler Disk move at 1'15".

Right-Winger DEVON STACK is a mad man, defends "literacy tests," certain forms of vigilante justice by Richard_Parker in debatealtright

[–]Alan_Crowe 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

It is tricky to work out whether the tests for voters achieved their aims because they had different esoteric and exoteric aims.

The name tells us what the Southerners wanted the Northerners to think: they were just checking that the voters were literate. More subtly perhaps, the name tells us that the Southerners noticed that the Northerners somewhat repented the loss of life in the Civil War. The North didn't want to be involved any more, so the South could do what it wanted but there had to be a figurative fig leaf, letting the Northerners save face.

So the South wanted to disenfranchise blacks without antagonizing the North. We call that goal both the real goal and the esoteric goal. The South couldn't tell the North the real goal (or at least the had to let the North save face by maintaining plausible deniability).

I think that the tests were "unfair" and achieved their esoteric goal. The moral I draw is about the feasibility of tests for voters. Will tests for voters achieve what they aim to do? I think that generally a voter test will achieve its real aim. If you really care that voters can do arithmetic with millions and billions so that they can understand the numbers used in fancy talk about fiscal policy, you really can devise a test for doing arithmetic with millions and billions, and it will really work for that limited goal. Will public policy be improved? I don't know, but the history makes me confident that the test will do what it is actually intended to do.

As a Gay Child in a Christian Cult, I Was Taught to Hate Myself. Then I Joined the Church of Social Justice—and Nothing Changed by Chipit in OpinionPieces

[–]Alan_Crowe 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

That piece reminds me of the defunct discussion board voat.co. The tradition there was to hurl insults "nigger", "faggot", etc, not with intent to be hurtful, but to reject tone policing and grant people permission to be themselves. To be called a nigger-faggot was to be told: you will not be banned for saying the wrong thing, we don't ban people for saying the wrong thing.

I think that the voat.co way is happier and more productive. Maybe I'm being unfair to voat.co and damning it with faint praise. Being happier and more productive than either of the worlds that the author dwelling in, is a low bar.

Intelligence difference among the races are going to grow even bigger due to differing rates of dygenics by casparvoneverec in debatealtright

[–]Alan_Crowe 9 insightful - 2 fun9 insightful - 1 fun10 insightful - 2 fun -  (0 children)

NatSoc Germany had a lot of degenracy at the top

I was reading about Oskar Dirlewanger. He was a politically well connected Nazi. There was a scandal involving a 14 year old girl. Nowadays it would be hushed up, like it was for Jimmy Saville or Cyril Smith. Since his offences were less serious than those two, and the Nazis are officially the bad guys, I would have expected it to be overlooked and hushed up very easily and thoroughly.

But no. He went to prison for two years and was socially ruined. When war came and people of his caliber were needed, he was only partly rehabilitated, being given command of a penal battalion, a shitty command for some-one still in disgrace.

So I'm thinking that the Nazi were a lot more committed to protecting children from sexual abuse than England today.

How should the Dissident Right handle technology? by YJaewedwqewq in debatealtright

[–]Alan_Crowe 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

How should the Dissident Right handle technology? by YJaewedwqewq in debatealtright

[–]Alan_Crowe 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Half and half. There is a utopian aspect in hoping that cures and rejuvenation therapies might be found. But the other half is simply anti-dystopian. We are very slowly sliding into a dystopia in which half the population lives to over one hundred years old, but medicine is all about dragging out the process of dying, and nobody enjoys being that old and frail. Meanwhile, "care" becomes most of the economy and sucks the life out of civilisation. The anti-dystopian aspect merely involves saying "No!" to the bad kind of medical advances. It is still valuable, even in the absence of the good kind of medical advances.

How should the Dissident Right handle technology? by YJaewedwqewq in debatealtright

[–]Alan_Crowe 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

The most important equation for the next few hundred years is: life-span = health-span + grim-span.

Medical advances are adding 3 years to the grim-span for every year that they add to the health-span. Maybe I need a citation for that three to one ratio. On the other hand think about the new Alzheimer's drug Aducanumab. Maybe it does nothing at all, but we can see the trend; drugs for Alzheimer's will make dying take longer, adding years to the grim-span only. 3 to 1, 4 to 1, it is only going to get worse.

Gradually all of human life will be directed to making dying take a really long time, by "caring" for the frail elderly. To counter this, my government would redirect medical research towards cures and rejuvenation.

Talking of technology more generally, I notice that people make a two way split. Either common ownership of the means of production, or private ownership of the means of production. But the key question is whether to have fragmented private ownership of the means of production, or concentrated private ownership of the means of production.

That looks like a three way split. But what "common ownership of the means of production" means in practice is rule by the bureaucrats in the Ministry of Planning, under the direction of the political elite. It ends up as a euphemism for oligarchy. Meanwhile, concentrated private ownership of the means of production puts so much political power in the hands of a few super-rich owners, that it too is a version of oligarchy.

In the end there are two competing options: one is fragmented private ownership of the means of production. The other is oligarchy (with a choice of two paint jobs). If government (somehow) blocks and undoes the consolidation of industry, that combats the problem of tech giants. A direct policy on technology might not be necessary.

"The concious manipulation of the opinion of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this constitute an invisible government, which is the true ruling power of our country". -Edward Bernays. by HibikiBlack in conspiracy

[–]Alan_Crowe 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

That is why I think of the system of government in the USA as indirect-plutocracy. The rich buy the news media and tell people how to vote. If people felt obliged to do as they were told, that would be plutocracy. In practice, the rich have to manipulate the people. The rich don't just get to say: vote for invading Syria. They have to get their newspapers to run chlorine gas stories and astro-turf invading Syria. And it doesn't always work. The rich don't always get their way, because the don't rule directly.

Biogen’s Alzheimer’s drug approved by FDA, first new therapy in nearly two decades by Drewski in Medicine

[–]Alan_Crowe 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

The controversy here is that it might not be a therapy. After two decades of drugs failing in trials, the FDA has watered down the criteria for approval. The drug is supposed to treat Alzheimer's Disease by clearing away the amyloid protein. The traditional end point for a trial is whether it treats Alzheimer's Disease; that is: does it have an effect on the disease. Drug industry jargon calls having an effect on the disease efficacy.

Derek Lowe, a drug industry insider, explains here

The agency seems to have approved it based on its demonstrated ability to clear beta-amyloid, and is asking Biogen to run a confirmatory trial to show efficacy.

White Lotus, Red Dragon—China’s History of Millenarian Dissent. A good rundown of Eastern Lightning and the Taiping Rebellion. by Chipit in Religion

[–]Alan_Crowe 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I knew a little about the Taiping Rebellion. I had vaguely assumed that it caught the authorities by surprise because it was unprecedented.

Wrong! On the long view, China has a history of Millenarian sects. Fascinating.

The Antiwar Comic: You Know the Narrative by TonyDiGerolamo in Libertarian

[–]Alan_Crowe 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

"Iraq had weapons of mass destruction." is a bit of a misfire.

The truth, at the relevant date, is "Iraq didn't have weapons of mass destruction." but what is going on with that strange caveat at the relevant date?

At one time Saddam Hussein had enough mustard gas to kill thousands of people. Then he used it to kill thousands of people. After he had used his stock of mustard gas, he no longer had it. We can summarize this by focusing on afterwards and saying "Iraq didn't have weapons of mass destruction." Or can we? I don't think it is honest to boil it down that much.

How about that. by rubberbiscuit in SuperStraight

[–]Alan_Crowe 12 insightful - 2 fun12 insightful - 1 fun13 insightful - 2 fun -  (0 children)

It seems mild naughtiness compared to Reddit banning r/neovaginadisasters to prevent transexuals from finding out in time to shun surgery.

Common Core by Tarrock in politics

[–]Alan_Crowe 5 insightful - 2 fun5 insightful - 1 fun6 insightful - 2 fun -  (0 children)

Common core seems to privilege

8+5 = 8+(2+3) = (8+2)+3 = 10+3 = 13

rather than 8+5 = (10-2)+5 = 10+(5-2) =10 + 3 = 13 or 8+5 = (3+5)+5 = 3+(5+5) = 3+10 = 13 or just plain 8+5 = 13

I can see it ending up confusing the children, when the teacher gives them the impression that one way is better than another, and the children try to understand why, but there is nothing to understand, because it isn't true.

BBC Radio 4 asks - "Seriously... - Is it still OK to read Harry Potter?" by BEB in GenderCritical

[–]Alan_Crowe 1 insightful - 2 fun1 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 2 fun -  (0 children)

I think it is sufficient to move your Harry Potter books to the "naughty" shelf of your bookcase, beside the Julius Evola and Carl Schmitt.

Huh? by christnmusicreleases in Comics

[–]Alan_Crowe 1 insightful - 2 fun1 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 2 fun -  (0 children)

Yes.

Why Putin’s Pipeline Is Welcome in Germany. We object to a pivotal NATO ally increasing its dependency for energy on the very nation against which the United States has defended that ally for 70 years. Why are you buying Russian gas when we are protecting you from them, the Americans ask. by Chipit in WorldPolitics

[–]Alan_Crowe 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I understood the Cold War as an ideological conflict. The Warsaw Pact was set to invade Western Europe because it was the right thing to do. Communism wasn't just a historical inevitability, it was a moral imperative. And if you took an other view, you had to be ready to defend yourself. So we made NATO and prepared to defend ourselves.

Then Communism collapsed and the Berlin wall came down and it was all over. Maybe there was a case for not shutting down NATO immediately; what had so suddenly collapsed might unexpectedly revive.

Thirty years on from the fall of the Berlin wall, and the defeated ideology is dead and forgotten in Russia. We can stop worrying and convert our swords into ploughshares.

Strangely the US wants to keep fighting the Cold War, even though it won. This is making me re-examine my life. Was my side also bad guys; out to conquer, and not just concerned with self-defense?

Mind by EndlessSunflowers in whatever

[–]Alan_Crowe 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Suffering follows an evil thought as the wheels of a cart follow the oxen that draw it.

Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Joy follows a pure thought like a shadow that never leaves.

-- The first pair of verses of the Dhammapada, translated by Eknath Easwaran

But translating these verses is tricky; Narada Thera offers us

  1. Mind foreruns (all evil) conditions, mind is chief, mind-made are they; if one speaks or acts with wicked mind, because of that, pain pursues him, even as the wheel follow the hoof of the draught-ox

  2. Mind foreruns (all good) conditions, mind is chief, mind-made are they; if one speaks or acts with pure mind, because of that, happiness follows him, even as the shadow that never leaves

What are the simpler things you enjoy in life? by Jesus-Christ in AskSaidIt

[–]Alan_Crowe 6 insightful - 3 fun6 insightful - 2 fun7 insightful - 3 fun -  (0 children)

Essentialism: a philosophical method best characterised as the worship of language. Essentialist thought has stifled our reason since antiquity due to its overwhelming intellectual obsession with language itself, failing to recognise that language is a tool we use to represent reality, nothing more. by Chipit in Philosophy

[–]Alan_Crowe 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

That was a fun read. Always good to see Plato and Hegel getting a kicking.

But a Platonist could push back. "Bed", "Apple", these words work strikingly well. Laurie Wastell has her origin story for the word apple, but it doesn't offer an account of what it is about the world that makes language, such as "bed" and "apple" such a run-a-way success. Doesn't the success of language require an explanation? Plato offers the realm of forms. What does Laurie Wastell offer?

I think we should start with biological reproduction. We look around and see lots of apple trees. There are apples on the boughs. Take an apple and plant it. In a few years there will be an extra apple tree. Biological reproduction has two characteristics that help make language work. First is fecundity. There are lots of apples. So one word "apple" can refer to a category with lots of members. Enough to make the category useful. Second is faithfulness. Reproduction doesn't just produce many apples, they are all very similar. The category is uniform enough to be useful.

Stepping forward in time, to 1859, Darwin publishes The origin of species. That adds nuance. The apples are not all the same, there is variability, and (as the article notes) we can select and produce crop varieties. But if reproduction is not inherently faithful, how come the category is uniform enough to make the word "apple" useful? Natural selection provides the answer. The apples fit into a niche in the environment, which selects and by selecting shepherds apples into close similarity.

We understand, in broad terms, why the word "apple" works. But why does "bed" work? Partly because beds are for humans, and the issues of reproduction and natural selection means that humans are similar, and hence impose similar requirements on their beds. Therefore beds are similar.

But there is also a practical issue. Consider a tribe of 100 people, each of whom want to have one each of one hundred items: cup, saucer, bowl, robe, toothbrush,... They could each make one of each, each person making this, and that, one hundred different things. But that ignores Wright's law. As a rule of thumb, making twice as many means 80% of the work, per item. If the tribe organize the work as every-one makes one hundred of a single item, then they swap, they get their cup, saucers, etc, with only a third or a quarter of the effort. That organization is the core of prosperity. Notice that experience curve effects depend on making the same thing over and over. One person makes a hundred beds, all the same. His intention is to be part of a collective, benefiting from experience curves effects. He is pursuing wealth. But he accidentally makes the word "bed" a run-a-way success. Indeed he accidentally makes Platonism seem plausible.

We can go a lot further than pointing out that words are just made up. We can point to important real world issues that make the process of making up words and using language, much more successful than one would naively expect.

Minimum-Wage Hikes Will Mean Fewer Entry-Level Jobs by Temi in news

[–]Alan_Crowe 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

There is probably going to be a disparate impact. How did Hunter's dad put it? "If you can get a job at the new, increased minimum wage, you ain't Black!"

Space exploration as a unifying purpose for a reawakened West by Bagarmoossen in debatealtright

[–]Alan_Crowe 4 insightful - 1 fun4 insightful - 0 fun5 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Xeno-Archeology

It is possible that planetary civilizations seldom last for long. It may be that the galaxy contains many planets that have had a sapient species and a civilization for a few hundred thousand years, but with hundreds of millions of years in question, civilizations that are close in space may fail to overlap in time. The concept of Xeno-archeology could mean either of two things:

First space aliens turn up. Say a million years in the future. Too late! Human civilization has collapsed. Does evolution have a sense of direction? The absolute question: zero versus non-zero is hard to answer. But if evolution has a sense of direction, it is weak and statistical. After human civilization collapses, humans likely evolve back into animals.

So the aliens have turned up. Their ground penetrating radar shows interesting anomalies. Their away-teams land and dig, excavating the ruins of human cities. What became of the humans? Which of the various chimpanzee and gorilla like species are the degenerated descendants of the builders of the cities? What cultural flaws let it all go horribly wrong? How solid is the culture of the space aliens? They may think that the fate of the humans is an urgent question, because their own culture has cities much like the human cities once were, and culture wars much like the humans experienced. Xeno archeology is a poor source of knowledge about what active measures to take, but it contains time proven knowledge of what one should avoid doing.

Well, that is a bleak vision. Let us turn to the second meaning of xeno archeology. Humans leave Earth and travel to planets orbiting near by stars. An actual encounter with a living alien civilization seems to much to hope for, but it could be us inspecting the planet from space, noticing anomalies, landing and excavating. What do we find in the ruins of ancient civilizations? What knowledge of philosophy and the meaning of life? What did they do right? What did they do wrong? Why did they die out?

When it comes to xeno archeology we want it to be humans wielding trowels on distant planets, not aliens wielding trowels on Earth. That is a double edged aspiration. We aspire to leave Earth and explore the galaxy. We aspire to guess or intuit the vital knowledge of the civilization ending mistakes that we need to avoid. We don't need to guess exactly right, but we need to be close enough to survive. Then we get out there and our ability to survive gets boosted by exploring the ruins of other's earlier civilizations.

Much that is mysterious about the morality and the meaning of life will come into focus once we get out into the galaxy and excavate morality plays, played out to the final conclusion.

How to Choose a Secure Password in 2021 by jackforbes in Security

[–]Alan_Crowe 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

$ cat /dev/random | strings | more
<Dq*
-!BV}
%WZ+w

Are there any recommend resources on Prolog out there? by dontbuyanylogos in programming

[–]Alan_Crowe 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Do you have a copy of " Programming in Prolog" by Clocksin, W. and Mellish, C. ?

That is the book that I learned Prolog from. Second hand copies are cheap and I think there are pdf's online too.

The right must attack the sanctity of democracy and break its holiness in the eyes of normiecons by casparvoneverec in debatealtright

[–]Alan_Crowe 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

The killer problem with Monarchy is the stupid eldest son. He inherits the throne and governs badly. Or does he? Some of history involves improvised solutions to this problem. But when the times comes to improvise a solution, there are usually several factions involved "fighting" for their own candidate. Historically the "fighting" turns into literal fighting, with a substantial death toll.

I like the idea of the Rotating Triple Crown. I see it as involving complicated procedures. It is not the kind of thing that could have worked in historical Kingdoms. But now-a-days we are used to complicated procedures for succession. It could work well in the twenty-first century.

We should probably go back to calling them 'transexuals' by SnowAssMan in GenderCriticalGuys

[–]Alan_Crowe 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

We should uphold the gender binary and talk of "men with gender dysphoria" or "women with gender dysphoria".

Some-times we want to talk about both. But the era of chopping down trees to make paper is long past. We can just write "men with gender dysphoria and women with gender dysphoria" and just shrug off the waste of IP packets.

The Pope is arrested. Is this true? by discountmeat in conspiracy

[–]Alan_Crowe 5 insightful - 1 fun5 insightful - 0 fun6 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

The Pope has his own website

With today's Papal activity. Which contains a video showing the Pope giving a talk from the Vatican library.

If the Pope had been arrested, the video would show an outraged Cardinal, complaining.

Are you afraid yet? by mongre in conspiracy

[–]Alan_Crowe 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

The wheeled ostrich is new. They should have had him earlier in the video. But he doesn't have many dance moves yet, so maybe not.

Welcome Goats by AmericanMuskrat in memes

[–]Alan_Crowe 8 insightful - 5 fun8 insightful - 4 fun9 insightful - 5 fun -  (0 children)

I'm a refugee from Voat. I explained myself in my introduction there

I've joined Voat to post polite and inoffensive comments in praise of The Great Leader, Theresa May, and The Dear Leader, Nicola Sturgeon. Mindful of the errors committed by Count Dankula, I practice CrimeStop and reject humour, renounce satire, and abjure sarcasm.

I don't seek out Free Speech websites in order to post offensive comments. I'm just too anxious to live in the shadow of the ban hammer.

Canada couldn't protect her, the slaying of political dissidents will continue if people don't raise their voices by smart_jackal in technology

[–]Alan_Crowe 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

COVID is contagious. Political violence in Balochistan is not contagious. Using COVID as an example of how Canada cannot keep trouble out just ends up emphasizing that, even in a globalized world, some troubles can be kept out.

Checking on Wikipedia

In Iran, separatist fighting has reportedly not gained as much ground as the conflict in Pakistan,[32] but has grown and become more sectarian since 2012,[29] with the majority-Sunni Baloch showing a greater degree of Salafist and anti-Shia ideology in their fight against the Shia-Islamist Iranian government.

Wow! That is a problem that Canada really needs to stay away from.

The real Lord of the Flies: what happened when six boys were shipwrecked for 15 months | Society books | The Guardian by Sw0rdofDam0cles in books

[–]Alan_Crowe 7 insightful - 1 fun7 insightful - 0 fun8 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

The year after William Golding published Lord of the Flies, the science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein published Tunnel in the sky. Heinlein's alternative take on ship-wrecked children had them behave well.

Which fiction author was right about human nature? The article make me think Heinlein was right.

Working people have always sustained the wealthy... that's how capitalism works. by EndlessSunflowers in whatever

[–]Alan_Crowe 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I typed in my response to u/EndlessSunflowers two days ago. Basically what you said, but lots of words, too many words :-(

“The mine owners do not find the gold, they do not mine the gold, they do not mill the gold, but by some weird alchemy all the gold belongs to them.” Bill Haywood, Gold Miner and Union Leader by EndlessSunflowers in whatever

[–]Alan_Crowe 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I realise that the text is intended rhetorically. The author does not think that the "weird alchemy" is real and is not expecting an explanation of it. But here goes!

Back in 2008 I noticed that many homes in America were purchased with a special kind of mortgage: a non-recourse mortgage. The borrower can just walk away. The lender sells the property to try to recover the money that the lender lent out; if there is a shortfall, the loss falls on the lender, not the borrower. You can understand it like this: a non-recourse mortgage is dearer than a recourse mortgage and the difference is best thought of as an insurance premium. The lender is selling a package. A cheap recourse mortgage + an insurance policy to cover the difference if the house is sold for less than the amount of the loan.

There is more to say, but I what to skip on to pose a curious question. What would a recourse-economy look like? What would a non-recourse-economy look like?

Imagine that a business man thinks that he knows what furniture will be fashionable in 2021. He buys wood. He spends money on wood working tools. He pays up front to rent a shop with a workshop at the back. He employs some craftsmen to build furniture to his design.

2021 comes around. He is looking forward to selling his chairs for $1000 each. Disaster! He as misread fashion trends and in 2022 he has to sell the chairs for $100 each. He loses a lot of money. Or does he? Can he get his money back from the lumber yard, the tool shop, the landlord and the workmen? Why not? They were all in it together, participating in a scheme in which the money (which most of them took in 2020) is supplied by selling chairs, for $1000 each, in 2021. When 2022 arrives, bringing the disappointment that the chairs will only sell for $100, every-one has to return 90% of the money that they prematurely took out of the scheme. Err, no. That might be how it works in a recourse-economy, but we live in a non-recourse-economy, which is very different.

In our non-recourse-economy, the craftsmen got paid good money, as though they were making thousand dollar chairs. They take the money and move on. When the chairs turn out to be hundred dollar chairs, every-one just shrugs. It never occurs to any-one that the craftsmen should repay their wages. It also never occurs to any-one that the sums don't add up. How is an economy like that supposed to work? Where did the money come from?

We are completely habituated to capitalism. Capitalists put up the money, the capital, and make a profit or take a loss. Those who take too many loses drop out of the capitalist class. We are left with a selected class of shrewd capitalists, who usually make a profit. But not always. In the non-recourse-economy the sums still have to add up, and when the future turns out badly and the goods don't sell, the capitalists lose their capital and the workers keep their wages.

That leaves two issues: control-fraud and return-averaging.

In a recourse-economy, the workmen might have to give back their wages, if the chairs don't sell. Naturally they will want a say in the design. But who is in charge in our non-recourse-economy? In a non-recourse economy, the workmen will vote for a design that is easy to make, and too uncomfortable to sell. They don't have to give back their wages, so they don't have to care. There are other stake holders; the landlord, the lumber merchant, etc. In a recourse-economy they would all have a say. In a non-recourse-economy, having their say would end up in control fraud. They would make decisions to funnel the capitalists cash to their chums. A democratic non-recourse economy would last ten or twenty years, until people got the hang of gaming the system. Then collapse, starvation, the gulag.

Where does the money come from to pay for the capitalists' losses? From their profits. If the system is to keep working there has to be a return on capital. The future is uncertain, uncertain enough that we can be certain that there will be losses. So the profits have to go to those who take the losses, or eventually the capital will all be gone and the system will fail.

Bill Haywood, gold miner and union leader, takes it for granted that he gets his wages, paid in cash, at the end of the week. It might take many months to dig the gold mine, and find out whether the gold ore is really there or not. Bill Haywood takes it for granted that if there is no gold at the bottom of the dig, it is not his problem. The wages have been spent and will not be repaid. By some weird alchemy, he gets paid for gold mining, even when there is no gold!

Think about that some more. By some weird alchemy, he gets paid for gold mining, even when there is no gold! Is this a genuinely free lunch? No. There is a catch, the other half of the weird alchemy. The people who do the work and who do not have to repay their wages when there is no gold, are disappointed to learn that, in the other case, when there is gold, the gold does not belong to them. When there is gold, it belongs to the people who fund the non-recourse economy, and whose losses make the sums add up.