So the lead singer of alternative rock band Linkin Park is in the news, because he killed himself by hanging. While I haven’t liked Linkin Park since their first album, and since I was in the 9th grade, a lot of people are coming forward to call Chester a coward for committing suicide, primarily because it means he left six children behind.
Regardless of whether you approve of his choice, it is stupid, and a horrific misrepresentation of the situation, to call someone a coward because they killed themselves.
Suffering is Relative
First, it must be pointed out that suffering is relative, and none of us has any insight into the inner turmoil within anyone else, and so none of us have the authority or information to accurately assess whether the person chose the “easy” route of suicide and was wrong to do so. We simply don’t know–because we can’t know–how a person feels, unless they tell us, and Chester did come pretty close to that, through his lyrics. These lyrics, incidentally, were those that angst-filled teens adored and identified with, because their own internal suffering was reflected back to them. But that isn’t really important.
Courage & Cowardice
I know many people who have “attempted” suicide. I’m among them, and the scars on my wrist bear it out. I was hospitalized in a behavioral ward several years ago because of it. Even after extensive research, I still didn’t cut deeply enough to hit the veins–no, seriously, the veins in your wrist are much deeper than you’re thinking–and I didn’t have any guns at the time. Today, I know a scary amount of information about suicide. Because of this, I’m well aware that the recent old Republican who “killed himself” with helium actually did commit suicide, and that there couldn’t possibly have been any foulplay. I know that, because I once owned a helium tank for exactly that purpose.
But I never did it.
Because, as a method of suicide, it’s almost instantaneous. There is no time for second thoughts. Once you exhale and lower that bag over your head, that’s it. You pass out, and about half an hour later, you die, unconscious. I’m simply not struggling with depression badly enough to pursue that en sincera. I don’t want to die.
With very few exceptions, that is the same thing that nearly everyone who “attempts suicide” decides. There’s a reason that successful suicide rates are low. It’s not an easy thing to do. Substantial biological programming and the desire to survive outweigh most forms of depression, and, even when the depression is heavier, the person must face head-on their fear of death.
Anyone who has ever sat there with the barrel of a gun in their mouth, the blade of a razor against their wrists, a noose around their neck, or any other such situation and who still lives faced their fear of death head-on.
And they buckled.
They can make all the excuses they want. They can say that they realized that they were loved. They can say that they realized their problems would pass. They can say any-damned-thing that they want. But I know it, and they know it: the reason they live is that they are cowards. They stood on the precipice of oblivion and feared to jump, and so they backed away from the cliff. Some of these people are now calling Chester a coward because he didn’t back down from the precipice of oblivion.
Are you kidding me?
An Animal’s Instincts of Self-Preservation
There is tremendous resistance to death. Anyone who has seen wild animals chew off their own limbs (or humans saw off their own limbs) to escape from deadly situations knows that there is a powerful Will to Live inside every organism. Humans and non-humans are capable of incredible things in the interest of self-preservation, something that modern “horror” movies love exploiting for shock value. Put two people in a room together and tell them that one of them must kill the other, and then the survivor will be free, and they will almost immediately attempt to kill each other (Fun note: this is what Nietzsche described as Middle Class Morality). Saw off their own leg? No problem, once they have pursued other options.
Here’s a cold, hard fact for you: almost everyone out there–at least 99.999% of people–would cry and beg profusely as someone else lowered a noose around their neck. They would do anything, say anything, and promise anything to be spared. Disgusting amounts of tears and snot would run down their faces as they panicked, prayed to every god they could think of, and begged everyone nearby to “Please, I’ll do anything…” These are the same people calling Chester a coward because he lowered the noose around his own neck.
It would be funny, if it wasn’t true that, evidently, that’s how they see it.
There is an enormous difference between “thinking very hard about suicide” and gathering the means to do it, and actually proceeding with it. Even if the attempt is a failure, there is such an enormous gap between “thinking about suicide” and “legitimately trying to kill oneself” that most people can’t even fathom the divide.
It’s the same divide that exists between people who imagine how brave they would be if they faced down a criminal with a gun, and the people who have been there, and who gladly handed over their wallets and were terrified. Fear, after all, is what keeps people alive. It’s what kept human beings out of the darkness where there were lions, wild dogs, and hippos. That same exact fear keeps people from putting the gun in their mouth and pulling the trigger. It’s easy to say “I could have. I would have. I just changed my mind.”
In fact, it reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Kramer says he’s going to build “levels” in his apartment, and Jerry bets him that it will never happen. In the end, Kramer renegs on the bet, and says that Jerry didn’t win, because, “I could have done it. I just didn’t want to.” Jerry vainly attempts to remind him, “That’s the bet! The bet is that you wouldn’t do it.” Kramer again reiterates, “But I could have.” Frustrated, Jerry says, “The bet wasn’t that you couldn’t. The bet was that you wouldn’t,” but it’s to no avail.
This is what people are saying when they say that they could have committed suicide, and they would have–if they hadn’t considered the loved ones they were leaving behind. The loved ones that they remembered were the panicked product of innate biological tendencies within an animal to preserve itself because it was afraid. It doesn’t matter what their reason for changing their mind is–why were they considering such things in the first place? By that point, they are already second-guessing whether they want to commit suicide. What propelled that? What caused them to stop and think about anything instead of just taking the gun, putting it in their mouths, and pulling the trigger? Why weren’t they just thinking about that?
Because their brain was desperately afraid and trying to stop to them using the last tool it had at its disposal. Compelling one to stop and think about all the loved ones being left behind is how it does that.
Anyone who ever attempted suicide–or “thought about” attempting suicide–and who still lives is a coward. They stood on the edge of the precipice, and they backed down. They can offer up any excuse they want, but, at the end of the day, what stopped them was fear. There’s no other reason why they’d have stopped to consider loved ones in the first place. That’s the brain’s last defense mechanism against self-destruction.
Consider this: the person who is about to commit suicide and stops because they think of the pain and suffering it will bring the loved ones left behind are aware, at least in some ways, that the fact that they even care about the pain and suffering they’ll leave behind will vanish the moment they’re dead. Sure, “If I commit suicide, I’ll leave behind so much pain and suffering.” Yet, also sure, “But I’ll be dead, so… there won’t be even a single solitary second of my existence where I feel the pain of having left people behind by killing myself, because I’ll have killed myself.” They didn’t think about that, though. I’d bet that thought didn’t occur to the overwhelming majority of people who attempted/thought about suicide. And why not? Because their brain was looking for ways to talk them out of it, not looking for ways to talk them into it.
Thoughts & Control
We tend to think of “our thoughts” as something we control, and our brains as something that is fully at our mercy, and that’s simply not true. Sentience is a curious thing, but your brain absolutely does things to try to convince “you” of things. The human brain is countless parts communicating with one another, not some collective unit that the “I” controls. You’re breathing right now–you are not in control of that. Your heart is beating right now. You can no more make your heart stop beating than (and this is important) you can make yourself stop thinking. You don’t control your thoughts. A thought comes when it wants to, not when “you” want it to. When some part of your brain decides to generate it, that’s when the thought occurs. You can no more create that thought than you can stop it. It’s coming. The only choice you have is how “you” deal with that thought. Whatever you are thinking about when the clock strikes noon after reading this, you won’t have any power to prevent.
The “I” takes these thoughts coming in from various parts of the brain, and assembles them into some form it can process, and then makes a decision. Maybe the “I” can control the decision that it makes, and maybe it can’t, because the decision itself is merely a product of the information sent to it by thoughts that it cannot dictate–it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that the “I” doesn’t control what thoughts come, or when those thoughts come. Even extensive training by Buddhist monks cannot allow one to indefinitely take control of what thoughts come, or when those thoughts come. However focused the Buddhist monk is, and however in control of their thoughts they are, the moment they have to get back to life, they surrender control back to other parts of their brain. What will they think about while they slice potatoes in the monastery? While they till the ground?
You can do it, too. Think about an elephant, and try to keep thinking about an elephant. How long does it take you to realize that you’re not longer thinking about an elephant? Your thoughts will stray–a conga line of random thoughts perhaps not even related, until finally you’re thinking about John McCain’s brain cancer and realize, after forty seconds, “Oh, shit, I was supposed to be thinking about an elephant!” and direct your thoughts back to a pachyderm. Try to keep that elephant in your mind all day, as you go about work, as you eat lunch. You can’t do it. No one can. It requires exhaustive energy and focus to control one’s thoughts, and it simply cannot be done for any substantial period of time. You may think about the elephant several times an hour throughout the day, but through those instances, you’ll think about colleagues, food, friends, family, driving, money, and countless other things that you can’t control.
Those thoughts of loved ones that the person contemplating suicide has… They can’t control those thoughts, either. The question we have to ask is why the brain generated those thoughts. Why did some part of one’s brain conjure up an image of a son or nephew, and say, “But look how sad he’ll be…” and create vivid imaginings of the future of that child, raised without his father or mother? We can find the answer easily, by asking “What did the conjuration of those thoughts achieve?”
Well, it achieved causing the “I” to back out of committing suicide.
Why would a part of the brain want that?
Because it’s afraid of losing existence.
Maybe you don’t approve of what Chester did. Maybe you think it’s screwed up he left his family behind, and maybe you just think that suicide is immoral (I’ll save that for another day). Maybe you’re more like me, and you don’t really care one way or another, but you’d like it if there wasn’t so much confusion and misunderstanding surrounding suicide. Making the statement, though, that Chester was “wrong” to make the choice that he did is saying “He valued release from his pain more highly than he valued the pain he was leaving with others. His values are wrong, and the pain he left others is much greater than whatever pain he felt.”
I hope we can all immediately see what an asinine statement that is.
We don’t know what pain he felt, or what his personal suffering entailed. We can never know what it was like to live within his head and to feel what he felt. We can never know how deeply in That Place he was. Neither can we know how his children and wife/ex-wife will feel about it. We can guess, and we’d be right to some degree when we’d guess “They’ll be really sad,” but we can’t quantify that. We can’t even quantify our own suffering. Ask any person how much hardship and suffering they face and I’d bet wholeheartedly that you’ll see a graph identical to what we’d expect based on the Dunning-Kruger Effect. Everyone will rate their personal suffering and past hardships at 7.5, or thereabouts. I’d love to see a scientific survey done on this. In fact, I’m going to do one.
But if we cannot properly assess the value of his suffering and how bad it was, or the suffering of his family and how bad it’s going to be, how can we justify making the arrogant claim that he was wrong to make the choice that he did?
I’ll spare you all the details and give a brief summary. Arvin Vohra criticized Liberty Hangouts publicly, and members of Liberty Hangouts defended themselves. This led Arvin to apologize and correct himself, and on this thread of comments there appeared a discussion between Jason Weinman (with whom I’ve had disagreements with the past because, if I recall correctly, he went hard for Gary Johnson) and Michael William Miller of Liberty Hangouts about various things I don’t really care about. During the name-calling and pedantry, Michael said:
If you mean we support traditional values, yes, but we have never called once for legislation forcing anyone to do anything.
And, moments later:
[D]o you want to debate this on a livestream? [W]e’d be more than happy to host it on Liberty Hangout. 🙂
While, from what I can gather, the debate invitation was to discuss whether or not Liberty Hangout had called for legislation of traditional values, Jason Weinman declined the invitation. However, I would gladly debate anyone at Liberty Hangout on “traditional” values, and whether it’s a concern that they’re being eroded.
My Values Are My Values, and Therefore Correct
Everyone believes this to be true. It’s an application of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, in fact. Just as we use our ability to play the guitar to understand how skilled another guitar player is, so do we use our own values to judge the values of other people. When we look at uncontacted tribes that segregate girls from their tribe when they hit puberty, we reject the idea as backward and immoral, because our values tell us that it’s wrong to treat people that way, it will have severe permanent damage on the girl’s self-esteem, and there’s nothing magical or mystical about periods. Yet this assessment itself is built on our values that it’s bad to cause severe permanent damage to people’s self-esteem, and our values that positive self-esteem is a good thing. I’ve discussed this countless times before and won’t go into it in full detail. Instead, just check out this article on the subject. Or check out this one.
More importantly, the reality of the situation isn’t just that “traditional values” are being eroded from within, although many right-wing figures would deny this and focus their efforts on controlling immigration, in full disregard of the fact that America influences the rest of the world, not the other way around, but also that we are seeing cultural competition, and it functions exactly the same way as economic competition. Worldviews compete in the market in exactly the same way that businesses do, and the one that proves to be most efficient wins out in the long-run. In terms of culture, efficiency appears to be measured primarily in inclusiveness. This also makes sense in economic terms, as exclusiveness reduces a business’s customer base.
For example, acceptance of black people as equals won out the culture war when the two sides pitted against one another: one side advocated continued open racism and segregation, and the other side advocated an end to these things. Motivated by self-interest, the majority of people would have put their personal feelings aside, in the event that they were racist, to advocate for equality, because this, in Mississippi for example, increased their customer reach by 37%. An openly racist business in Mississippi immediately loses 37% of all customers, and more, when it’s considered that many people who aren’t black would refuse to do business with such a company. Many others are motivated simply by empathy, which is also self-interest, since no one wants to be filled with negative emotions like guilt and sorrow.
I have no desire to argue whether one side is right or wrong, even when it comes to “traditional values” (one assumes this to mean heterosexuality, anti-transgenderism, etc.) versus contemporary values, because both sides are subjective. Each can be demonstrated as desirable by its own parameters, and each can demonstrate the other as undesirable by those same parameters. Someone who thinks that transsexualism is a mental illness will obviously think that the normalization of transsexualism is a bad idea, because it openly accepts what they consider to be a mental illness, and they find treating mental illnesses as normal to be a bad idea.
Cultural values change over time, and they clearly move in some direction that I won’t try to name. The arc of human history is pretty evident, though, in that we’ve moved toward secularization and acceptance, rather than toward heightened religiosity and bigotry. We’ve also moved from despotism toward liberty and individualism, at least until the rise of fascism in the 20th century that has set us back so drastically. I’d hazard the guess that there is a common thread that connects these things–the move away from bigotry, the move toward secularization, the move toward liberty–but it’s something to think about some other day. The fact remains: cultural values change over time. Whether they are improving or getting worse is up for argument.
It would seem obvious that a stagnant culture would self-destruct in very short order, but it’s equally obvious that there has never been such a thing as a stagnant culture. Today, our culture changes at a shocking speed and is incredibly robust–so robust that many people don’t consider the United States as having a culture. Compare that to the relatively defined culture of Venice, France, and Saudi Arabia. Here in the United States, we have a culture that includes hateful assholes like Steven Anderson (a pastor who openly says that he wishes more trans teens would kill themselves), wonderful nameless Christians who don’t give a shit if someone is trans, atheists like myself who take no part in religion, people who openly believe themselves to be witches, people who openly worship the devil, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, and even scientologists. The only description that will fit these many disparate beliefs and worldviews is that the United States’ culture as a whole values religious freedom.
In another sense, we have goth culture, emo culture, jock culture, snob culture, cheerleader culture, Christian culture, white culture, black culture, Japanese culture, Mexican culture, and so many others that it’s immaterial whether every single individual actively enjoys and embraces all of these different sub-cultures, because, again, on the whole the result is that the Unites States’ culture values cultural differences. This literally allows us to pick and choose what we like from each culture and incorporate it into our lives for personal fulfillment.
I think Michael and I both will agree that “cultural appropriation” is a positive thing, and that SJWs can fuck off.
This allows even the most ardent transphobic Christian to watch and enjoy Japanese anime, to eat burritos, and to have a goth son who listens to Megadeth (though the parent, because of the cultural conflict, won’t be happy about it, hopefully the parent realizes the futility and counterproductive nature of denying the teenager the ability to embrace their own preferences). The United States is basically a gigantic buffet of different cultural elements, and we are actively encouraged (nevermind the lunatic progressives) to take only the dishes that we like, while ignoring the dishes that we don’t like.
My wording in my willingness to accept a debate with Michael isn’t accidental. I have no desire to argue with him about the utility and value of “traditional values.” He has gone to the buffet and taken different dishes–that’s fine. I have absolutely no standing to tell him that the dishes he took are inferior, bigoted, hateful, or narrow-minded. They’re the dishes he likes, and that’s okay. My argument is that it’s not a problem that the Accepting Trans People Dish has been placed on the buffet. I’m not arguing that the “traditional” dishes should be removed from the buffet, and, evidently, Michael isn’t arguing that contemporary dishes should be removed from the buffet (so, really, there’s not much of a debate there).
However, it remains true that anyone who subscribes to traditional values will consider those traditional dishes to be superior to the contemporary ones–and that, in my estimation, is wrong. Not only is it a subjective assessment of different values that is based on the values that go into the assessment (it gets really hard to explain), but the closest we have to “objective” criteria (economic growth, prosperity, and peace) suggests that it’s a positive thing when culture shifts from “whatever it is” along the unnamed thread toward liberty, secularization, and acceptance. This becomes subjective because I value economic growth, prosperity, and peace, and I have absolutely no objective reason that I can point to in order to suggest that economic growth, prosperity, and peace are good things (see Darkside Philosophy for an idea of how deep that rabbit hole gets).
So the questions are ultimately:
Does the presence of contemporary values on the Cultural Buffet in any way decrease the value of traditional values?
The answer is “No,” but, to be fair, I don’t think Michael would make that argument in the first place. This is sort of counterintuitive. If we laid out a buffet of ten different currencies, all of them equal to 100 of whatever currency they are (one hundred dollars, one hundred pounds, one hundred euros, etc.), it would seem to cheapen the value of the 100USD if the USD customarily were the only option. However, given that monopolies are inherently wasteful and inefficient (whether cultural, currency, or business monopolies), the presence of competition would more likely increase the value of the USD.
Is the presence of contemporary values on the Cultural Buffet a negative detriment to the traditional values?
This is very similar to the first question. If a child of one of the traditional diners is intrigued by the look of some contemporary values dish, it could be argued that the mere presence of the dish piqued the child’s imagination, which wouldn’t have happened otherwise. But here we have to point out: if the traditional dish is superior, then there is no harm in allowing the child to taste the contemporary dish. If we place a bowl of chocolate ice cream, and a bowl of sprinkle-covered shit on the buffet, it wouldn’t really be a problem, no matter how much one didn’t want one’s child to eat sprinkle-covered shit. If the chocolate ice cream is better, then even if the child does get the chance to taste the shit, the child will surely go running back to the ice cream at the first opportunity. This is the cowardice and weakness that underlies cultural protectionism: if their values were truly superior–as they profess to believe–it would be unnecessary to prevent others from being exposed to other values. I have no issue with my clients trying out other I.T. companies, because I know they’ll come running back to me in very short order.
Are traditional dishes likely to survive the diversity of the buffet in any noteworthy sense?
The answer here is “no,” just as the traditional dish of “divine right of kings” hasn’t survived the buffet. Sure, a few people every once in a while can be found eating that dish, but the total impact that dish has on the overall culture is negligible. Greek Mythology is another traditional dish that hasn’t been treated well by the buffet. Even though we can find people today who worship Zeus, Greek Mythology is widely considered mythology rather than a religion, and the total impact that Zeus worshipers have on wider society is negligible. As long as no one comes along and removes the dish from the buffet, it’s up to the people who like and prefer that dish to convince other people that it’s a dish worth having.
If one can’t do that, then I guess the dish isn’t that good after all. I don’t have to convince people to try my chicken enchiladas, because they’re freaking delicious, and smelling them while hearing everyone raving about them (no joke, my chicken enchiladas are amazing, but it’s not my recipe) will entice them to try them. I don’t have to convince people to not eat the beef burrito; I just have to convince them to give my own dish a shot. And if my dish is really as good as I say it is, after that it will speak for itself.
When I first noticed that people were using the descriptor “intelligent” not to denote people who seemed to have higher-than-average levels of intelligence, but to mark allies in political agreement, I posted that something was wrong and that it was going to get worse:
Intelligence has become the new deity.
“If you believe what I believe, then you are smart. If you are smart, then you will believe what I believe.”
An outward thing from which a person derives their own net worth–the problem is that the “outward thing” is actually an inward thing. In true Dunning-Kruger fashion, people judge their own intelligence by their own ideas, and since they always believe their own ideas to be correct, they always judge themselves to be intelligent.
I’m sure we’ve all run into this. At some point, someone has surely said something to you that was similar to, “You seem really smart… You should read this” or “… You should watch this video.” It carries with it the most dangerous of subtleties: “If you are actually smart, then you’d agree with me. Maybe you don’t have the information that I have. Here’s that information. If you still don’t agree, then I was wrong about you being smart.”
In fact, I’ve been called an “idiot” probably more than anyone I’ve ever met, and this insult has never been thrown at me in any context other than political disagreement. No one could ever possibly mistake me for an idiot. Whether I’m correct or incorrect is unrelated to that. In reality, if I say something and someone thinks I’m an idiot for it, then the much more likely answer is that they simply didn’t understand what I said in the first place.
Intelligence isn’t a prerequisite of being right, and neither is being right an indicator of intelligence. Some of the greatest minds in human history were wrong about any number of things. Being correct is a factor of knowledge and nothing else. Even someone with an IQ of 250 will be wrong about any number of things, simply because we lack a lot of information, and their unnaturally high IQ will do nothing to prevent them from being wrong.
Once more, it’s all about the Dunning-Kruger Effect, which is one of the most breathtaking psychological breakthroughs in human history. A person judges their own understanding of who is and isn’t intelligent relative to their own intelligence. I pointed out yesterday that we judge value systems relative to our own value systems–all of this is obvious, and the ties to Nietzsche’s philosophy and Austrian economics are equally obvious. We judge the value systems of other cultures by our own value system, and compare them relative to our own; ours are our own, so we like ours, and the more different the other systems are to ours, the more we dislike them. It’s impossible to escape from this, because my love for liberty-oriented value systems forms the basis that I use to assess the value of other systems. It’s also the case with intelligence: my only gauge for assessing other people’s intelligence is my own intelligence.
Several “celebrated scientists” have been exhibiting exactly the behavior that Murray Rothbard and others wrote about. They have become pimps of their scientific credibility in the employ of the state and the status quo. In fact, they have sacrificed their right to call themselves scientists and are about as anti-science as any group of people could be.
What is this illustrious word “science?” What does it mean? What does it entail? If it is to be anything more than just a cheap and gaudy rubberstamp that we apply to whatever ideology we happen to believe, then it must have an actual meaning–which, ironically, is a statement that any scientist would agree with. Definitions are important, because they form the basis of the words that we use to understand and communicate the world. A simple Google search gives us:
the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.
I can’t help but wonder if that definition makes Stephen Hawking, Bill Nye, and Neili deGrasse Tyson blush and feel ashamed. It should.
Of course, my argument against them is part of the problem, isn’t it? I have no problem recognizing that. In the vein of any actual scientist, I see my own bias and absolutely insane demands of these human beings, that they must apply the scientific method in all areas of their lives, and that they aren’t allowed to deviate from it. In fact, it is I who is accusing them of heresy, isn’t it? They have violated my religion of Science by disgracing its methods, much like a Christian violating Christianity by disgracing the teachings of Christ.
My problem with them is that they should apply the Scientific Method and don’t.
This combines with the masses’ misunderstanding that they do apply the Scientific Method.
In effect, I’m demanding of them what the masses of people think they are already doing. “Surely we can trust Neil Tyson’s statements about art and science funding! He’s a scientist!” Of course, it was not terribly long ago that Neil Tyson asked his many, many Twitter followers if they truly wanted to live in a world without art, framing all of reality as a false dichotomy built on the idea that if the government doesn’t do something, then it can’t be done. The obvious problems with this stupidity don’t need to be pointed out–didn’t I just buy tickets to see a musical concert? The government didn’t buy those tickets.
Bill Nye went on CNN and made the statement that the Constitution authorizes Congress to fund the sciences, and made mention of Article I, Section 8. It’s true that this is the section that enumerates Congressional power, but nothing else that Nye said is remotely true, as the passage that Nye quotes leaves off highly significant data. What do we call a “scientist” who discards a large part of the data because it isn’t convenient to his hypothesis?
“Formerly employed,” perhaps.
“Not a scientist.” Yes, that’s another option.
In fact, the section of the Constitution to which Bill Nye refers explicitly enumerates Congressional power without ambiguity, and the full passage asserts that Congress may promote the arts and sciences by securing patents for the respective authors and inventors. It is authorization to issue patents, not authorization to issue money. There’s no way that Nye could have accidentally read the first part of the sentence and not the second part. This was, we must conclude, an intentional ploy to convince the people who take him at his word as a reliable source that the Constitution authorizes Congress to fund scientific research. In the interest of scientific integrity, I will provide the evidence to support my contention:
Congress shall have the power…To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
So this is two “celebrated scientists” who have been thoroughly disloyal to the precepts of science–the Scientific Method, the Bible of Science. Since so few people are calling them out on their heresy, allow me to do so:
Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson, you have betrayed your church, and you should both repent and make restitution. This restitution should come in the form of public apologies on no less than six occasions throughout the next six weeks–two in written, two in aural, and two in video form. That shall be your penance.
I may sound like I’m joking, and I am, to a degree. I don’t expect Nye and Tyson to ever back down from their arrogant betrayal of the scientific method and wanton displays of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, much less to ever issue a single apology for the stupid shit they have said. However, I’m serious about my loyalty to the scientific method, to reason, and to evidence, and I’m serious that clearly these three men cannot say the same.
What of Hawking? Well, Hawking has repeatedly waxed at length about the evils of capitalism and how only world government can save us from its oppressive destruction. Never mind that anyone who has taken even a single introductory college-level economics course can attest to the scientific fact that we do not have capitalism anywhere on planet Earth. So I’m calling out Hawking on clearly never studying economics, yet routinely attempting to talk about economics as though he has any idea what in the hell he’s talking about. Clearly, he doesn’t, and any first-year college student could confirm that.
So to these three heretical priests, I say:
Repent! The end is Nye.
What we’re seeing is a more of an revival than a renaissance, as the precepts of science have been tossed in the trash with reckless abandon. What else can we conclude, when “celebrated scientists” make claims that they either know to be false, trusting that the masses will believe them, or are simply too ignorant on the subject to know whether their claim is false at all?
Yet this hasn’t stopped the masses–the precise characteristics which makes them “the masses,” after all, is that they aren’t interested in independently discovering truth and will blindly follow whatever ideology is handed down to them from “trusted authorities”–from swallowing all of it, with Tyson’s demonstrably false, fallacious, and erroneous spiel seeing tens of thousands of retweets by people who have no desire to think the matter through for themselves.
Trust has been placed in these three people, by the masses of people, who, again, are defined “as the masses” precisely by their lack of interest in pursuing these matters intellectually, and these three people have utterly betrayed that trust. Yet the masses don’t know it, do they? No, because the masses aren’t interested in scrutinizing the words of their favorite priests. For the masses, these poisoned, fallacious ideas enter the mind unchallenged, and there they embed themselves; the masses never stop to ponder the false dichotomy that Tyson has proposed, or what credentials Stephen Hawking might have to discuss economics rather than cosmology.
And I’m as qualified to call myself a scientist as Bill Nye.
I haven’t researched this recently, and seem to recall Nye having a Master’s, but maybe not.
In fact, if a “scientist” is someone who liberally applies the scientific method to questions, then I’m infinitely more qualified. Bill Nye has the advantage in that this actor and performer managed to get a kids’ show where he cheaply purchased credibility among the masses and became a trusted authority figure. Indeed, I find myself wondering whether Bill Nye was purposely planted there when we were kids precisely for this purpose–precisely for using him to peddle statism and the status quo once we became adults. It wouldn’t be the most extravagantly dangerous thing the state ever did. After all, they took control of the entire education apparatus and have been using it to manipulate the masses for 60 years. Now those people raised by the state education are adults and in charge, and the idea of dismantling that apparatus is met with knee-jerk angry reactions; the idea is rejected without consideration.
Give me their minds through their formative years, and by the time they’re adults I can have them convinced of anything. I can have them saying it’s okay to kill people who disagree with them, that people of one race deserve to be annihilated or enslaved, that it’s okay to steal things if they want those things… The mind of a child is not critical. By the time they are able to think critically, the ideas I plant will already be firmly in their minds, forming the very lens through which they view the world.
We have rarely been in more danger of a religious sentiment overtaking reason, and Nye, Tyson, Kaku, and Hawking are leading the charge. “Science” isn’t a set of beliefs that one must adhere to or be a heretic. I’ve seen “pro-science” people do the metaphorical equivalent of burning people at the stake for dare challenging one of the items in their set of beliefs, and I’m sure you’ve seen the same. “Science” is a methodology. Anyone who demands that you acquiesce to a set of beliefs and ideas that they have put forward is peddling religion, not science.
If they can’t present evidence, if they can’t present a reasonable argument, and if they can’t prove their position, based on all available evidence, is sound, then they are unworthy of trust. If they ignore huge amounts of information simply because it’s inconvenient to their hypothesis, then they are engaging in cherry-picking, another hallmark of religion, rather than science.
Michio Kaku, Stephen Hawking, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye–
I’m looking at you.
I see you; I see what you’re doing, and it needs to stop. Your scientific credibility isn’t a whore for you to pimp you to lend weight to your political positions. There is no correlation between physics and immigration, yet that hasn’t stopped Michio Kaku from coming out and discussing how Trump is wrong about immigration*. The headline for the article? Why, of course! “This celebrated scientist says Trump is wrong!”
And? This celebrated scientist knows no more about immigration than any layperson who has read a few articles or books on the subject. But because he is a “celebrated” physicist, as there’s no such thing as some generic “scientist” except as a catch-all term for people who study a hard science, the media and the public treat his political position as though it has scientific weight behind it, as though being able to say “I’m a celebrated physicist” makes his statements about economics, government regulation, or immigration any more worthy of being accepted.
While obviously, Kaku, Hawking, Tyson, and Nye–and others, of course–it’s not your fault that the media chooses to treat your words in this way, but you know they do, and you know the public does. You know that if you say something about economics or the evils of capitalism–as Hawking has done–that your words will be taken to be truth as a given, and from there will become popular arguments for or against whatever it is you’re advocating. In this way, you have sacrificed your integrity. You have turned your scientific credibility into a whore, to be pimped out at your leisure in support of whatever Popular Opinion of the Day you think will help you sell books.
Don’t bullshit me, man.
There’s a reason that virtually every popular YouTube personality through 2016 came out in support of Bernie Sanders, and the reason isn’t particularly hard to see. Hell, half of those YouTube personalities couldn’t give a single, solitary reason, when confronted, why they supported Sanders. Yet they supported him anyway. Why? Because it was the popular thing to do. They’d have lost subscribers for coming out in support of Hillary or Trump–Stein and Johnson became more or less neutral. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit, where your words circulate the most, are overwhelmingly dominated by younger millennials, the same people who cast their lot in with Sanders whether they had any articulated reason to or not.
You’re doing the same crap. It doesn’t matter to me if you can pseudo-rationalize your positions, but I’m willing to bet that most of you can’t. Why? Because “scientists” today, as a class, have totally forgotten what the Dunning-Kruger Effect is, and seem to think that being an expert in physics makes one an expert in economics, politics, and the nature of the state. This, of course, despite the fact that all hard sciences are increasingly specialized, and a scientist in one larger field–say, “physics”–may be only marginally less ignorant than a layperson on some subfield–say, “plasma physics.”
Oh, here’s a shock for you: Bill Nye is pro choice. Well, I’ll be! Who would ever have guessed?
And while I’m pro-choice, too, I’m not out there pimping what little scientific credibility I had–because, let’s face it, Bill Nye is an engineer without an abundance of credibility to pimp out–to cast my lot in with a political side in the hopes of rekindling or enhancing my popularity. When I say something about abortion, I give fair treatment to the other side, and provide a logically consistent explanation for my position. I don’t say, “Hi, I’m Bill Nye the Science Guy. Here are some scientific facts interwoven with arbitrarily defined concepts presented as scientific facts, which combine into a pro-choice position. Good luck separating the arbitrarily defined concepts from the actual science, because I’m going to present this information in such a way as to make them indistinguishable to a layperson. Why? Because I’m Bill Nye the Fucking Science Guy, and if there’s anything worth pimping out for popularity and fame, it’s scientific credibility.”
You remind me of the left-wing media. And I’m curious, actually, whether the four of you would even admit that the dominant media outlets lean hard to the left, with the sole exception of Fox, which leans hard to the right. John Stossel recently wrote about his time at ABC, and reported that he was the only one who was stated to lean any direction; everyone else insisted they didn’t lean at all. Except they did–they leaned hard to the left, and they continue to. But that sort of bias is common–we know people don’t generally see or acknowledge their own biases. My father doesn’t think Fox News leans to the right. A colleague of mine thinks that Fox News is probably “as close to fair and balanced” as any media outlet is. They’re wrong, of course. Fox is right-wing. There’s nothing fair and balanced about any of it.
I would be fucking floored if the four of you didn’t honestly believe yourselves to be neutral politically. But you aren’t. You’ve jumped on the left-wing bandwagon. You’ve engaged in too much “What does my gut tell me about this?” thinking. You’ve mistaken your emotions for rational positions. And even if, by some freak chance, you do end up saying something that isn’t demonstrably false, you end up being right for the wrong reasons, which is only a little better than being wrong for the right reasons.
So here’s what you guys should do–I mean, assuming your scientific credibility and integrity are important to you. You should use some of that fame and popularity you’ve acquired by jumping on leftist bandwagons to remind people that, when discussing areas outside of your expertise, you are no more or less knowledgeable or insightful than any other layperson. You should take the time to remind the public that education and intelligence aren’t necessarily the same thing, and that holding a doctorate doesn’t mean you’re one of the smartest human beings alive.
Maybe you’ve studied some of these matters. That would be fantastic–but it would also show in your words and actions. For example, we know that Hawking hasn’t studied capitalism; he doesn’t even seem to know what capitalism is. However, this has not stopped him from repeatedly waxing on about the evils of capitalism and how it will bring about the destruction of humanity.
But no. He’s not biased at all. That’s totally not an alarmist, radically leftist position based on gut feelings, assumptions, and ignorance. How could he be biased? How could he be an alarmist, radical leftist basing his statements on gut feelings, assumptions, and ignorance? He’s Stephen Hawking! He’s a scientist! Surely he knows what he’s talking about!
* And yes, I agree–Trump is wrong about immigration. But the reason Trump is wrong about “immigration” is that “immigration” is an arbitrarily-defined concept based around arbitrarily-defined borders that don’t exist in the real world and that serve only to divide people. Borders are human inventions; they aren’t real. We simply treat them like they’re real, and they end up doing tons of damage. Trump is wrong about “immigration” because there’s no such thing as an immigrant; there’s only a human being who decided to exercise his innate right to travel.
Look, I’m not talking about how society is rigged against females or anything like that when I refer to sexism as being real. In fact, the only way in which I can verify that sexism is real is that women are repeatedly told that they are being emotional. Despite repeatedly putting forth factual and logical statements, I was just again told that I was being emotional–actually, I was told that I was on an “emotional rampage.” Wow, right? So what did I say that showcased this emotional rampage?
It could, but there wouldn’t really be any benefit, while there would be terrific harm.
I’ve had a pain when breathing deeply for about two weeks. So what makes more sense?
A) For me to ask a doctor.
B) For me to establish a national poll providing a bunch of information, none of which is complete and all of which is complicated, and ask the entire nation to vote on what my treatment should be. Note that if they vote “Go see a doctor,” then they’re advocating representative democracy. No, I’m needing from them a diagnosis and treatment, and I’m going to do whatever they suggest.
It’s madness, isn’t it? Social matters aren’t simple ones. Most of these complex issues take years of study to understand. Democracy is turning the control of the ship over to the passengers, none of whom know anything about operating a ship and all of whom think “It’s just common sense” or that the gut feelings they have about this or that issue are enough to make an informed decision.
Economics is actually a pretty complex subject, but people tend to take their emotions and use those emotions to support their idea. Rather than learning about economics and how we might raise the standard of living, for example, masses of people who know nothing about economics instead vote to raise the minimum wage—a rash act based in economic ignorance that has severe consequences. It’s the Dunning-Kruger Effect Governmental System: people who know almost nothing about these complex, technical subjects instead think they know enough to dictate the course of the ship.
It’s certainly possible, and the Democrat Party seems to want it to happen (hence their party name), but it would be folly. The problems of democracy have been known and explored for thousands of years; there are very good reasons we’ve never tried it. Especially in the age of the Internet (if we could get a handle on our tech security), it wouldn’t even be that difficult from a logistic standpoint. But from a cultural and social one, it would (hopefully) be hard to sway people to give control of the ship to the passengers.
Replacing our government, whatever type it is, with one more suited to our liking is a right—the right of self-governance. If we decided we wanted a direct democracy, then by all rights our current government should step down. They wouldn’t, of course, and it would require revolution, and then the new government would be just as bad as the old one. Just different.
Every generation has the right to choose its own government. People who lived 200 years ago had no right to determine what type of government we must have, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. However, a republic government really is the best of a terrible situation. If we must have a state, a constitutional republic is the most pro-liberty and restrained.
So far, so good, right? Nothing emotional or irrational about that. Just a few facts and a few rational arguments. In came the comment:
Your answer relies upon a very narrow view of human nature and ignores extremely important principles of democracy. “Economics is a complex subject” is true and that is why there must be widespread and strongly independent news media along with journalists having investigative powers. In the US there used to be journalists who specialized in those issues and released their findings for all to consume. The “news” used to solve that problem for us but corporations have totally destroyed that part of America. [emphasis added]
Not overly polite, but okay. I decided to give Don Tracy the benefit of the doubt and replied:
I’ll be courteous and give you an opportunity to explain how my answer ignores fundamental aspects of democracy and is extremely narrow.
Obviously, I’m not too happy to be insulted–even if the insults are so dim and weak. Retaliation never gets us anywhere, though, and if Don was correct, I wanted to know it. Don replied:
You are narrow minded in forcing people into ignorant masses that can only think emotionally which is the whole premise of your answer. Without the metaphor of passengers passively going along for the ride what is your point? That is not democracy; it is not “mob rule” which immature philosophers of the ancient past claimed – they didn’t even know about the concept of a nation-state. Granted you say we have two thousand years of additional history but rather than claiming we haven’t learned in that time like you say the truth is exactly the opposite – mankind has learned a lot about government and politics over history. The “Democratic Party is folly” shows your biased agenda. Finally, you need to know that a republic is a type of democracy so your answer relies upon a weird personal definition of democracy that no one agrees with and is not accepted in general.
More viciousness. As it happens, I am correct, though, in my initial answer, so I defended my points:
See, and here I was being courtesy. *sigh*. That’s how it goes, though. Pro-democracy people really do love their insults.
You are exhibiting the Dunning-Kruger Effect, I feel I should warn you. It is a statement of fact that areas of complexity and expertise are significantly misunderstood and woefully underestimated in their complexity by the masses. I’ll provide this so that you can read it over it: Dunning–Kruger effect – Wikipedia
Democracy most certainly is mob rule, and that you cite “immature philosophers” as saying this shows how wrapped in the Dunning-Kruger web you must be. Some of the greatest thinkers in human history—those “immature philosophers” you are referring to—rejected democracy on exactly the same grounds that I did. Here is further reading on the nature of democracy—two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner: Is democracy in reality just mob rule?
If you would suggest that you know better than these people who dedicated their lives to the study of governmental processes and society—those “immature philosophers” again—then you are, again, exhibiting the Dunning-Kruger Effect in shocking ways.
The last part of your reply shows exactly why democracy cannot be allowed: you have confused the question’s discussion of “direct democracy” with universal suffrage—that is, the right of the people to vote. In a republic, the people vote for representatives who enact policy. In a democracy, the people vote directly on the policies. No one has stated that universal suffrage is bad. I said that democracy is bad; e.g., the people voting directly on matters of policy is bad, for reasons outlined above.
You seem to think that universal suffrage and democracy are the same thing. They aren’t. A Democracy is a type of government where the people vote directly on the issues via referendums. It is not the right of the people to vote; that right is called universal suffrage. What, exactly, the people are voting for is what differentiates a democracy from a republic. If they are voting on matters of policy directly, it is “a democracy.” if they are voting for representatives who then vote on matters of policy, it is a republic.
“Democracy” has been twisted by the layperson into meaning “universal suffrage.” I agree with you on that, just as “theory” has been twisted to mean “educated guess” to the layperson. Use the layperson’s definition of “democracy” and “theory” if you would like; I will not. The only thing that differentiates the democracy from the republic is what the votes are for, not the existence of suffrage.
Regardless, the question deals with direct democracy—i.e., the people voting directly on the issues rather than going through representatives. The question is specifically whether the U.S. can/should remove the representatives from the process, not whether we should or shouldn’t have universal suffrage.
You’ve called me narrow-minded, limited, and biased. I’ve been nothing but polite to you. Learn the difference between universal suffrage, a republic, and a democracy, accept the wisdom of the people who came before you instead of calling them immature, and stop assuming that you know everything while you reject what people who have studied the matters have to say.
A lengthy rebuttal substantiating everything that I said. Cool. And Don’s reply?
Well, there you go again. I must say with all kindness that your ideas definitely are limited and biased but absolutely not you personally. I’m afraid you are on an emotional rampage but please understand that I am not a debater, not a professor, and not a lawyer. I have no idea what a Dunning-Krueger thing is but since you do then you must be pretty smart. So for a smart person, I don’t understand how you can have such stupid ideas. I checked the web page for “Democracy is mob rule” and have warn you it is obviously biased with an agenda to promote – you should not used it. Please re-read my comments above and give them some honest thought and consideration. Good luck my friend.
Are you fucking kidding me?
Now I’m having an emotional reaction, because now I’m pissed off. To present a valid, reasonable argument with citations and evidence, only to be insulted by some ignorant, sexist pig who can’t face the reality that he has no fucking idea what he’s talking about… It’s infuriating.
So I deleted his comments, but they’ll stay here as a testament. This happens quite a lot, and it never happened until Aria existed. Anyone who can read my rebuttal and take away “emotional rampage” is an unequivocal moron. It’s ridiculous that he doesn’t know what the Dunning-Kruger Effect is, since I gave him links to it. Rather than checking it out, he vomited out this spiel.
Look. If you reply to a girl who presents a rational argument with links and citations as she rebuts your insults and your unsubstantiated silliness with the accusation that she’s having an emotional rampage, then you’re a sexist piece of shit. Sorry, but you are. Because you know you wouldn’t say that to a guy.
Look deeper into what he said, too. “You must be pretty smart. So for a smart person, I don’t understand how you can have such stupid ideas.” I’ve talked about his before, this way that people tie their beliefs to their estimation of their own intelligence. It’s so… Dunning-Kruger-ish. “I’m right because I’m intelligent, so anyone who agrees with me must also be intelligent. If they are intelligent and don’t agree with me, then something is very, very wrong, because intelligent people agree with me! Maybe they aren’t intelligent after all.”
It’s so obviously circular.
The new deity with which they make their own ideas sacrosanct: intelligence.
It is such a dangerous thing, to tie “being right” with “believing what I believe” and with “being intelligent.”
Because no one thinks they’re wrong, and no one thinks they’re stupid.
Yet loads and loads of people are both wrong AND stupid. Yet no matter how wrong someone is, and no matter how stupid someone is, they will always–all caps, underline, bold–ALWAYS believe that they are both right and reasonably intelligent. You don’t see half the American population running around saying, “I’m wrong, but I believe it anyway!” and “I’m stupid! Hur hur hur!”
No. You see everyone saying that they’re right–self included–and everyone saying they’re intelligent–self-included. Why, it’s almost as though being right or wrong and being intelligent or stupid are completely and totally unrelated to a person’s ability to recognize whether they are right or wrong or intelligent or stupid!
If you gauge your intelligence by your own beliefs, such that people who agree with you are deemed “intelligent” while people who disagree with you are not, then you’re closing your mind to the possibility that you might be wrong about something. After all, “wrong = dumb” in that worldview, and we all value our egos too much to ever even allow the possibility that we might be stupid.
This is what I mean when I say that intelligence has become the new deity by which we make our beliefs sacrosanct. We all cradle our egos–right, wrong, intelligent, and stupid. So if you assess intelligence by whether or not people agree with you, you divide the world not into “people who think x” and “people who don’t think x,” but “smart people” and “dumb people.” This is an excuse to not listen to them–they become idiots, stupid–heathens, pagans, and apostates.
Being right or wrong have NOTHING to do with intelligence. They have to do with INFORMATION and a willingness–or unwillingness–to accept that information.
…because they allow ignorant people to directly voice their opinion, no matter how ignorant they are, and have exactly the same impact on the situation as people who aren’t ignorant. Now, based on what I’ve said so many times about the failures of direct democracy, I need to point this out: an informed and educated person would not vote on a ballot initiative about which they were ignorant. Look, if you put on the ballot an initiative that we would expand fracking, I would gladly abstain from voting, because I know nothing about the issue.
A lot of people wouldn’t abstain. A lot of people would vote “Yes” because “fracking means oil, and oil is good.” A lot of people would vote “no” because “fracking is bad for the environment, and that’s bad.” Well, I’m sorry, but if that’s the extent of my knowledge on the subject then I simply don’t feel qualified in voicing an opinion.
Many people would be surprised by this newfound humility, but it’s not newfound at all. Sure, it often seems like I think I know everything. This is because i tend to discuss subjects that I know about, and I tend to avoid subjects about which I know very little or nothing. I would say that I have studied a wide enough range of subjects to be able to say whether or not I’m ignorant of the subject, and that’s where the Dunning-Kruger Effect kicks in. See, most people have no idea how ignorant they are.
Earlier today, I saw Will Coley, former Libertarian Party Vice Presidential candidate, say that he doesn’t “believe” in the Big Bang Theory, and he went on to say that the idea was invented by the Catholic Church as a method of explaining Genesis.
Well, no… That’s not true. Science isn’t something to believe in or not believe in; it’s something to accept or to deny. It’s not a matter of belief but a matter of bowing to the facts. It’s far beyond me to get into all the nuances of the Big Bang Theory and the overwhelming amount of evidence that supports it, but a simple Google search will yield a person all the information they need to make an informed opinion. And I will be adamant about this: there is an enormous difference between an informed opinion and an ignorant one. For example, Coley’s remark about the Big Bang being invented by the Catholic Church is wholly incorrect. The person who first proposed the theory was a Jesuit priest, but he was also a physicist, and was most certainly not doing the work of the church. His work, like Galileo’s, was very much at odds with the church.
At any rate, it’s absurd to accept some parts of science while rejecting the rest, at least on issues that haven’t been politicized into oblivion such as global warming. There are politics involved in the Big Bang Theory, or in the Theory of Evolution, and both theories are as airtight as General Relativity. They are widely accepted for a reason, and the DNA evidence alone would be enough, even if there were no fossils whatsoever, to confirm the theory of natural selection and changes over time.
This won’t stop the influx of people who say that evolution suggests “a tornado would tear through a junkyard and create a Boeing 747,” though. It won’t change the mass of people who say that “Yeah, God said ‘Bang!’ and then it happened.” It won’t change the minds of the people who believe the universe is 6,000 to 10,000 years old. C’est la vie. I’m not trying to change minds. If they want to reject the theory of evolution in favor of their religious beliefs, that’s fine, but I would demand that they stop taking antibiotics, vaccines, and other treatments that are products of biology, since modern biology is inseparable from evolutionary theory. I would demand that they stop using their cell phones, the Internet, and their televisions, since all of these things work only because of satellites that orbit the Earth thanks to our understanding of Einstien’s Special and General theories of Relativity, both of which are tied very much to the Big Bang. If you want to argue that the scaffolding doesn’t work, that’s fine–but to be consistent, you must say that the building built from the scaffolding doesn’t work, either.
But most of these people–Coley among them, I would bet–have no idea what evidence supports the Big Bang Theory, but that won’t stop most people from having an opinion on it one way or another. I was stunned a few years ago, when I remarked to my sister that I found the evolution of snakes to be fascinating, and she replied, “You know I don’t believe in evolution, right?”
I was stunned. What do you mean, you don’t believe in evolution? Evolution doesn’t need you to believe in it. Evolution is a reality of life in our universe; accept it or not, but belief has nothing to do with it at this point. The knowledge is there; the information is there. And I will adamantly insist that her rejection of evolution is not in any sense on the same solid ground as my acceptance of evolution. Mine is built from facts, from having read The Selfish Gene and The Extended Phenotype by Richard Dawkins, and biology is still my weakest area. If there was a ballot initiative asking if we should do “some imaginary thing” to purposely “affect evolution in some specific way,” I would readily abstain from such a measure, because I know nothing about it.
I’m Going Somewhere With This
If there was a ballot initiative stating that we would install 8 GB of DDR5 memory into every computer owned by the government, I would gladly vote against the initiative. I can imagine the arguments of everyone in favor of the initiative. “DDR5 is so much faster!” the headlines would go from the pro-upgrade crowd. “It’s common sense, and 8 GB will be a huge upgrade. There’s no reason not to! We’ve run the cost, and we can make it happen for $85,000!”
“Yeah,” I would say, “but probably 97% of the motherboards in use by the state won’t support DDR5. You won’t be able to just pop it in there. If you do somehow make it fit, you’ll fry the RAM, and probably the motherboard. To make this work, you’d have to upgrade all the motherboards, too, which means upgrading CPUs, as well. Since Windows still uses the Hardware Abstraction Layer, you won’t be able to just throw a hard drive into a new motherboard, new CPU, and new RAM–even if the old hard drives are SATA, which I doubt they would be, since they’re probably old and use IDE, which the newer motherboards won’t support–it won’t boot, and you’ll have to do a full backup of all files, reformat onto a new compatible drive, then move the files back over. It’s nowhere near as simple as just slapping two sticks of RAM into a desktop and watching it take off in speed.”
This is because I know technology. I make a living working on technology and making it do the things that I want it to do. In the end, from this ballot initiative–which would almost certainly pass–we’d end up with a ton of RAM sitting wasted in a storage room somewhere while we waited for Motherboard+CPU Initiative to pass. Suddenly an $85,000 price tag became a $1,850,000 price tag.
We all begin ignorant about a subject–completely ignorant. Through the course of life in western society, we pick up bits of knowledge from all over the place, and we establish a kind of limited knowledge in all sorts of subjects, but that knowledge isn’t always reliable. Like my sister above, who would characterize evolution as “a monkey giving birth to a human.” Anyone who gets their knowledge from her gets bad information, and they may view her as a trusted figure, in which case they wouldn’t question her. Then, years later, when someone came along and contradicted that information, they would already be invested in her and what she told them, and so they’d be much more likely to stick to her explanation of things.
My church told me routinely that this is what evolution was. One year, around the third grade, they actually did one of those stupid skits, where there is a gorilla at the family dinner. “Grandpa,” they called him. It was a full attack on evolution, telling all of our young minds that evolution said that somewhere along the way some gorilla gave birth to a human. These trusted authorities–these people who we had been told to trust and who we did trust–lied right to our faces, perhaps knowingly; at the very least, they perpetuated bullshit that they had been told by an authority figure and never looked into themselves.
As another example, my nephew firmly believes that Jesus lives in the clouds, because that is what they told him at church. We know this one was a lie, because no adult in their right mind believes that Jesus lives in the clouds. For fuck’s sake, we’ve been beyond the clouds. People go beyond the clouds on a daily basis. We know beyond the shadow of any doubt that there is no one living in the clouds or on the clouds. Yet my nephew has been consistently told this by authority figures at his church. When I told him it wasn’t true, showed him pictures of the clouds and the Earth from space, and showed him that no one was living up there, it changed nothing. They’d already won. They planted the idea, and his trust in them kept his mind shackled to that lie. They knowingly lied to my nephew. It was this that caused me to challenge them–a challenge they ignored, by the way.
I told them that I would debate them. The topic? The existence of a god. I told them they could pick any twelve members of their congregation to act as the judges, and that they could enlist up to five people–church members or not–to argue on their side, and that I would debate alone. If I won, then they would refrain from teaching anything spiritual until the children reached 8 years old. If they won, I would attend their church every Sunday for a year. You lie to my nephew and we’re going to have problems. I don’t care if they want him to believe in a god. But I will not let them lie to him to accomplish that.
They ignored my challenge, and I understand why. The similarities to Elijah and the priests of Baal were too much for them to ignore, except… in this scenario, I was Elijah. I didn’t choose 12 as the number by accident, after all. It’s a debate that I couldn’t have won. Convince 12 devout church-goers that their pastor hadn’t made his case that there is a god? I could never have won. However, if they accepted such weighted terms, then they lost from the start, even if I didn’t convince the judges. To show their faith, they would have no choice but to turn the tables and let me pick the 12 judges.
Sorry to digress onto that.
Another area that I know pretty damned well is economics. I might not be able to calculate the market interest rate based on data you feed to me, but since I have no interest or desire to do such a thing it’s never a skill I’ve bothered to learn. I think the bank providing the loan should do that calculation, not the government.
Recently, Washington voted to increase its minimum wage from $9.47 to $13.50 an hour, the bloody fools.
These people, almost none of whom know anything about economics, voted on a measure to substantially interfere in their state’s economy. This is the reason that democracy is stupid. It gives control of the ship to people who have never navigated a ship, people who don’t know how to read a map, people who don’t know how to hoist a sail, people who have never used a sextant, and people who have no freaking idea what a rudder is or why the sail is triangular. If you came to me on a 17th century ship and asked me if we should turn the sail east or west, I wouldn’t have any freaking idea what to tell you other than “Dude, ask someone who actually knows about it.”
Somewhere along the way, we forgot how freaking ignorant we are. This is where the Dunning-Kruger Effect kicks in, because a person can’t be ignorant while understanding that they’re ignorant. With weak general knowledge on a subject, a person usually thinks they have a pretty good handle on it–enough to vote “Yes” on a measure to raise the minimum wage, a decision that will have enormous ramifications for the state’s economy. Hubris is what it is.
See, in order to know how little you know about a subject, you must know a little bit about that subject. That’s the conundrum. To understand how little you know about physics, you have to understand how deep and complex the subject is.
As exposure to a subject increases, confidence decreases, until one is exposed enough to begin grasping the subject.
This is why you should always be weary of people who are confident about what they’re saying, especially if they can’t back it up. I’ve backed up my economics statements. Check them out here and here. There’s a huge disparity, though, between the confidence of an expert and the confidence of a layperson. I will never say that I’m absolutely right–about anything. I constantly allow for the possibility that I’m wrong. In the past year, I’ve been wrong several times. My confidence got put to the test recently on Quora, and I was put in a very difficult position of arguing myself against two actual economists, and I’m proud to say that I held my ground–primarily because they weren’t reading the question correctly.
However, anyone who is absolutely convinced that we should raise the Minimum Wage… Ask them why. Their answer will always be the same. “Because… blah blah… cost of living… yada yada… living wage… blah blah…” Basically, it is an emotional appeal. The danger of emotional appeals, though, is that the emotion is used to propose and support one single solution and precludes the possibility that the emotion can be expressed with any other solution. Take for example government welfare.
I think it should all be ended. All of it. “Social safety net?” It’s called family. And, yes, this is from someone who has no family to fall back on. What do I have? Friends. Where my family has horrifically failed me, friends have always come through, particularly my colleague. When my sister kicked me out for being transgender, I had very few places to turn with such short notice. It was my colleague–who I would certainly call “pretty much family”–who found me a place to stay. That opened up an entirely different set of problems, of course, but things happen.
The common reply, of course, is, “So you want people to go homeless and starve to death.”
Um… No? I don’t think I said that. I think that people who care about you should bear the burden of helping you, not random strangers who don’t get a say-so about it. Your mom can kick your ass and make sure you’re getting a job, not sitting around on the couch and watching Ricki Lake. I can’t. The government can’t. Your mom isn’t going to let you sit there for 18 months while you do nothing and bring in no income. The government will let you, because the government can’t really stop you. Is that so bad? That instead of putting a gun to my head and forcing me to “help” you–while you do God only knows what with the “help”–you would have to turn to family and friends? I don’t want you to die, but… I don’t know you. I’ve got my own problems to deal with without adding yours to them.
But their emotion–that sympathy that people shouldn’t go homeless and starve–is tied to their favorite solution: government welfare. Because the emotion is tied to the solution, their minds become warped until they can no longer fathom any other solution appeasing that emotion.
And just like that, their emotion becomes public policy, especially when ballot initiatives are put forward. “People should have a living wage” becomes tied to “the minimum wage should be increased.” To them, that’s the only possible solution without denying people a living wage. So if you’re against an increase in the minimum wage, they have no choice but to conclude that you don’t think people should have a living wage. To them, it’s one and the same: increasing the minimum wage scratches their emotional itch, and they know of no other way to scratch it; they don’t think anything else can scratch it.
To make matters worse, we are dealing with matters where emotion has no role to play. I’m sorry; it simply doesn’t. Just like emotion has no role to play in calculating how much hydrogen we need to launch a rocket into space, so does emotion have nothing to do with economics. You can’t feel your way to the truth; emotions blind and lead astray. This is very much a Nietzschean thing to say, but I have no issue with emotions, and I think they have tremendous value. However, it is imperative that we define a scope for our emotions. We cannot allow our emotions to run unchecked, determining social policy, determining economic policy, and determining governmental policy. They will lead us into disaster, every single time.
Emotion is not a valid pathway to scientific truth.
And it is a scientific truth that you cannot just raise the Minimum Wage and have everything hunky-dory. It will be a disaster. First, only locally owned businesses will put in the effort to increase prices. The locally owned daycares, gas stations, etc. They will raise prices to mitigate the losses.
Disconnect: Greedy Fatcats Making Millions!
The people who advocate raising the Minimum Wage think that there are business owners all throughout the country who are just raking in obscene amounts of money while paying their employees peanuts. While it’s not really your or my business what private contract the employee and employer into it, there’s something to be said about refusing to shop at a place that doesn’t pay its employees fairly. However, it’s simply not the case that business owners are making tons of money and hoarding it while their employees feed on scraps. In most cases with local businesses, owners are still full-time employees working 70+ hours a week and doing everything from management to recruiting to human resources to supervising. Anything that needs to be done that an employee is not explicitly hired to do, the owner has to do. The buck stops with them, after all. It’s a tremendous responsibility and burden, and they deserve ever penny they get for it. If you don’t like it, then open up your own. It’s honestly not that hard or expensive.
So what I would say “most” of these people pictured is that the business owners would simply make less money. Instead of making a salary of $600/week for the 70+ hours of difficult, stressful, exhausting work they do, these people figured they would instead make $400/week and would pay the increased wage out of their own money. But “their own money” doesn’t usually exist, and if you increase their payroll by 33% across the board, you’re going to have a disaster on your hands. I know budgeting–personally and commercially–and an increase of 33% to an expense as major as employee wages will bankrupt you faster than anything else.
So those increased wages aren’t coming out of the profits that are already there, because, in most cases, the profits aren’t big enough to cover a hit like that. Ten employees working 40 hours a week at $9.46 is $3,784.00 in wages. Every week. At $13.50 an hour, it is $5,400 in wages every single week. If the owner is on a $600/week salary, then even if the owner worked for free they wouldn’t be able to make up that difference; they’d still be nearly a thousand dollars short.
So they have a number of choices.
A. Cut Hours
Suddenly they have 280 hours to apportion to their employees each week, instead of the 400 they had. If they can afford $3,784 each week in wages, then this covers 280 hours. The owner has decided here not to fire anyone, so instead everyone has their hours cut from 40 hours a week to 28. This makes them part-time employees and causes them to lose a fair number of benefits in a lot of cases. It certainly lowers the standards at the business, which is very bad if it’s a daycare. There are, on average, 2 employees fewer at work at any given time, so there are fewer employees overseeing the same number of kids.
Probably should have thought this MW increase through before voting on it, huh?
This is the other route, and the one people are most likely to take, especially since customers aren’t going to happily eat a 33% increase in their own prices to cover the increased Minimum Wage. We’ll come back to that, though. So with 280 hours allotted, it’s an easy call: three employees have to go. Bye, Felicia. Three people fired from their jobs because of the increase to the Minimum Wage. This will happen quite a lot, since it’s the easiest and quickest solution without pissing off clients and without dealing with complaints of other employees about hours being cut.
Probably should have given it just a little bit of thought before voting to increase the MW, eh?
C. Increase Prices
This is the final route, and the one that is second-most-likely to happen. Indeed, it’s already happening. Just think about it. If the daycare charged $100 per kid before, they have to charge $133 per kid now to cover the additional wages. In fact, they have to charge even more than that, because all of the suppliers that the daycare gets its necessary materials from will likely raise their prices. The bottom line on the business just got a lot higher, and there’s nowhere else for the business owner to get the money.
The Government Should Help With Childcare Costs!
Said one parent:
“I feel the state needs to be helping a little more,” said Larson. “It would be nice if parents didn’t have to spend a majority of their paychecks for childcare.”
You fucking moron.
I can’t be nice about this.
The government should rob everyone else to give me money to pay for the daycare costs that I increased by making the stupid decision to vote yes on increasing the Minimum Wage which caused daycare costs to increase to the point that I couldn’t afford them.
You made this bed. Now lie in it.
Hey, lady! If you don’t want to spend a majority of your paychecks on childcare, how about don’t vote for an increase to the Minimum Wage that will increase your childcare costs? Hm? How about that? Government is not the answer. How many messes do we have to make before we figure that out?
“Oh, we made a mess by using the government to interfere with the economy. Maybe the government can fix the mess by stealing from everyone and giving me their money. And then maybe the government can do something to fix the mess that is caused by stealing from everyone and giving me their money. And then maybe the government can fix the mess that it caused when it tried to fix the mess caused by stealing everyone and giving their money, which was supposed to fix the mess the government caused by interfering with the economy. And then maybe the government can fix the mess that it caused when it tried to fix the mess that it caused when it tried to fix the mess that it caused by stealing from everyone and giving their money, which was supposed to fix the mess the government caused by interfering with the economy. And then maybe…”
I mean, really? How about you just stop?
How about you just stop trying to fix messes with the government and instead take the time to research the messes and think about a solution rationally? You want to know the way out of this mess you’ve made in Washington? It’s not stealing from people without kids to pay for parents who didn’t think shit through. You have no right to steal from other people, and the fact that you’d even suggest that as a possibility is appalling. How dare you claim to be on the side of empathy and morality when you want to rob people as a way of cleaning up a mess that is entirely of your own design?
Abolish the minimum wage.
There’s no other way.
The more you increase it, the more “solutions” from the government you will need to fix the last mess you made, and the more government “solutions” you’ll need to fix the mess the government made when it tried to fix the last mess you made. It’s a neverending cycle of government intervention and screw-ups, with the government getting more power and more control every step of the way without ever making anything better. It only makes things worse. It has never made one solitary thing better.
Except our ability to kill people. I’ve got to give them credit on that. The government has absolutely improved our ability to kill people.
You’re like a madman who had the government burn your house down for you because, for some reason, you thought that having them fill it with gasoline and throw a match in it wouldn’t burn the house down–who the hell knows why, Dunning-Kruger presumably–and now you’re asking the government to come in and use its napalm to put out the fire. That’s the government in a nutshell: using napalm to put out fires.
Yes, I do think the average person is too stupid to determine what wage all employers should pay their employees. In fact, I’d go further and say that everyone is too stupid to determine what wage all employers should pay their employees. That is a matter that only the employer and the employee can answer, when the employer makes an offer and the employee makes a counter-offer. They’re the only people who know their situations well enough to be able to answer those questions. I certainly think the average person is far too stupid to know whether a minimum wage should be $3 an hour or $13 an hour.
This is why I’m an anarchist: I have a very low opinion of the average person. Not to brag or anything, but I am a card-carrying MENSA member. I’m a pretty smart chick, with an IQ estimated to be between 150 and 172. I think the average person is too dumb to make their own decisions, let alone make the decisions for everyone, and that’s what this entire system of the state allows. It allows some moron in California who doesn’t even know why he dislikes Donald Trump to attempt to impose a Hillary Clinton presidency onto me, out of sheer ignorance and stupidity. You’re goddamned right I have a problem with that.
The solution, though, is what Plato got wrong. Plato envisioned a world governed by the wise, by philosophers. Liberals, it seem, envision the same sort of world, given how they want to curtail democratic processes and impose their ways on everyone, believing themselves to be intellectually superior to everyone who disagrees. They’re all wrong, though. Yes, Plato, too. The solution isn’t a refined government led by people who are wise, because the unwise person has no idea that he is unwise, and will not have a terribly difficult time convincing the unwise that he is wise–see President Elect Donald Trump.
I’m sure we could come up with some sort of new system of government and new electoral process that, for a while, ensures that only the wise are elected. It would ultimately fail, though, and I don’t like the inherent arrogance of it. Moreover, for anyone who is truly wise, the idea of taking power and ruling over others is anathema.
The solution is to keep these people from making decisions that affect freaking everyone. Duh. If you want to open a company and promise your employees a minimum wage of $15/hour, guaranteed 40 hours a week, with a 401K company match and health insurance, then you go right ahead. You and the people who work for you will go out of business very, very quickly, and it will only affect you and the idiots who sign up with you without giving it enough thought. You have every right to do it, though. But if you want to take that horrendously stupid idea and force everyone to do it… Yeah, then there’s a problem.
Don’t force your economically ignorant decisions onto everyone. The ramifications will be enormous.
Abolish the Minimum Wage. Let employers and employees determine how much their labor is worth. It has nothing to do with you. And if you don’t think an employer is reimbursing an employee fairly, then you can do a few things. You can boycott that company, or you can chip in and donate to the employee. Those are your options. Anything beyond that is using the state to order people around like they’re your slave or something and have to do what you say.
So you have a stupid idea one day. It happens. Give the stupid idea a shot. Maybe it will work out. But don’t you dare force everyone to adopt your stupid, unconsidered, asinine idea that is demonstrably going to create more problems and never solve any.
That rather delicious comment was posted as a comment to my latest video, 7 Reasons To Vote For Gary Johnson:
Even though I addressed this guy’s comment literally in the video that he commented, I’m going to do it again, because I enjoy banging my head on brick walls that I know will break my skull before I penetrate the barricade. So, without further adieu, what the fuck is this guy talking about?
Gary only polling at 10% because Gary Isn’t a True libertarian is also speculation same as McAfee polling at 40% because he is a true Libertarian.
Yes, I pointed that out in the video. That was seriously the entire point that I was driving at. I explicitly said in the video that it’s just baseless speculation to say that McAfee would be polling at 40% by now. This is not the first time I’ve had to tell someone in the past few days that I’m a few steps ahead of them, but yes, dude, I’m a few steps ahead of you here. I said that. I explicitly said that. You’ll find it in Reason #5. Your attempt to undermine my statement is null, because I already undermined my own statement.
McAfee would have been put away by the media as a crazy nut job even worse then Ron Paul was you must know that right?
What an interesting thing to say in an election cycle that gave us Donald Trump, who has spent the better part of the past year being crucified by the media and social media. Hardly a day goes by that we don’t see stories from the media about how crazy Trump is, and it’s been going on for a long time now. Trump has been compared to Hitler ad nauseum, has been derided as juvenile, has been mocked as infantile, has been criticized as naive, has been insulted as a megalomaniac, and this has been going on for a year. Donald Trump has faced criticisms far worse than anything that McAfee would face.
Yet Donald Trump is polling around 40%–four times higher than Gary Johnson. You assert that the media would write him off as a crazy nut job if McAfee had won the nomination. So? Donald Trump has proven, beyond any doubt, that if you propose ideas that people like, then the media cannot derail you. And while it’s true that the media mocked Ron Paul, it was not the mockery that hurt him. As I and others have explained, it was that the media ignored Ron Paul that hurt him. In so many ways, neglect is worse than contempt, and Donald Trump’s success has roundly proven that to us.
So this statement may be true, but is completely irrelevant.
I think you are wrong about the Libertarian party being the Next Republican party.
Well, I think I’m right.
As I explained in the video, without libertarian principles, there is nothing that distinguishes the Libertarian Party from being a Republican Party that actually walks the walk that it talks. The GOP has long been criticized for wanting small government unless the government being big will help their causes, at which point the principle of small government is discarded. I’ve written about this myself. If the Republican Party actually adhered to the ideas that it has been proposing, rather than partially adhering to those ideas, and then ignoring them in their desire to push their morality onto others, then the Republican Party wouldn’t be in this mess.
Now we have a Libertarian Presidential Candidate who demonstrably wants to push his morality onto others, but who otherwise wants small government when he is indifferent toward something. The only difference here is that the majority of Americans are okay with discrimination being illegal. I would remind you, however, that might is not right, and that it doesn’t matter of 99.99999999% of humans are okay with criminalizing discrimination; it would not make it morally right to do so. Morality is subjective, and libertarianism demands only that people abide one basic moral maxim universally:
It is morally wrong to initiate force, violence, and coercion.
That is the only moral maxim that libertarians are required to abide. Everything else is up for grabs, and you will find libertarians who disagree greatly on what is morally good, what is morally bad, and what is morally neutral. We have Johnson’s preference for outlawing something that is subjectively determined to be morally bad (discrimination), but outlawing something that is subjectively morally bad is a violation of the universal moral maxim, because the only way to outlaw something is to use force, violence, and/or coercion to put a stop to it.
I would redirect you to my remarks about groups and individuals, particularly to my podcast on businesses, because you must remember that there is no such thing as discrimination.
What we are actually talking about here is an individual choosing with whom they associate and with whom they do not associate. They may choose not to associate with another individual, or they may decide that they don’t want to associate with people who have x characteristic. It is not our business what criteria someone uses to determine who they want to associate with. Someone may not want to associate with red-heads, with transgender people, with homosexuals, with Muslims, with black men, with fat people–it’s not our business, and it is not our place to tell other people who they should associate with, or what criteria they should use in determining who they associate with.
I say this quite a lot, but that I have to explain this simple thing to a self-professed libertarian is truly… truly horrifying.
If a woman was repeatedly abused by bearded men as a child and teenager, and goes on to own a business where she decides that she doesn’t want to do business with bearded men, this would, in your worldview, be an act of discrimination against bearded men. You would tell her that she is not allowed to do that, that she is not allowed to choose who she associates with and who she shuns. You would tell her that she must associate with bearded men, whether she likes it or not, and you will put a gun to her head and force her to do what you want her to do.
I am stunned that you don’t see this travesty as a problem.
If, however, you do see a moral outrage in the previous paragraph, I would urge you to replace “bearded men” with any other group or category of people, and replace the reason with literally any other. The type of discrimination should be irrelevant to your worldview, as should the reason. Regardless of why someone wants to discriminate, and regardless of who they want to discriminate against, you must hold that it is wrong of them to do it, and that they must be forced to not do it.
Otherwise you are being sexual orientationist, racist, misogynistic, misandristic, or sexist. How?
If you would allow bearded men to be discriminated against, but not LGBT people, then you are placing LGBT on a higher pedestal than bearded men; you are treating them differently based on their sexual orientation. To treat someone differently based on their sexual orientation is, of course, sexual orientationist. It follows that if you are against LGBT discrimination, you must be against discrimination against bearded men.
know Gary Johnson isn’t a 100% true Libertarian but we are all hoping a moderate candidate can make way for a True Libertarian running in the Future.
Holy fuckballs, I’m tired of hearing this one.
I’ve addressed it… so many times… including in my most recent video about Gary Johnson:
There is a clear failure to think in this argument. As I’ve explained repeatedly, the people who are impressed by Gary Johnson and “becoming libertarians” because of him are not learning about libertarianism. They interpret “libertarianism” to be the warped mess of “fiscally conservative, socially liberal” bullshit that Johnson is peddling. Four years from now, these same people will be on the Internet, at the LNC, on the news, etc., talking about what a great libertarian Gary Johnson is.
If people were coming into the Libertarian Party and being universally encouraged to learn about its principles, to be exposed to people like myself, to Thomas Knapp, to John McAfee, to Daryl Perry, etc., then it wouldn’t be a problem. Johnson, however, is the one informing them of what a libertarian is, and he is not telling them what libertarianism is. They are learning what libertarianism is from the Libertarian Presidential Candidate.
It seems obvious, right?
Assume that you know nothing about the Libertarian Party, and then suddenly you see Gary Johnson talking his “fiscally conservative, socially liberal” stuff, and you think, “Wow! That’s perfect!” Just like that, you’ve come to believe that a libertarian is someone who is “fiscally conservative, socially liberal.” Imagine that you then go on to join the Libertarian Party, and four years later you are presented with five or six choices of who to nominate for the party, so you apply what you know of libertarianism, and you choose a candidate who is “fiscally conservative, socially liberal,” probably Gary Johnson himself (Good god, do I hope not, but I’m starting to wonder if we’ll have another Johnson candidacy in 2020, and that would cause me to give up hope on the party), or someone like Rand Paul.
In a very real way, Gary Johnson is the face of the Libertarian Party. To the masses, Gary Johnson’s policies are the policy of the Libertarian Party. Their education on what libertarianism is begins and ends with Gary Johnson. The more popular Gary Johnson becomes, the further away we get from ever being able to nominate a “true libertarian.” This… is… obvious. Because the same people we’re talking about will still be here four years from now, eight years from now, twelve years from now… and they’ll still be outnumbering us and refusing to listen because we’re chastised, mocked, derided, insulted, and considered heretics for pointing out that this “moderate” shit is un-libertarian.
I don’t want to argue with you, Ronald, because you know that I’m correct. Your contention is that it’s necessary to choose pragmatism over principle. I dispute that, but don’t make the mistake of thinking I don’t understand it. I fully understand it. I fully understand why you and others have done it. My gripe is not necessarily with you.
My gripe is with the people who don’t know that I’m correct. My argument is with the people who say that Johnson is a libertarian. My contention is directed at the people who think I’m a lunatic for saying Johnson isn’t a true libertarian. My issue is with people who say that I’m wrong about libertarianism. My ire is directed at people who say I don’t know what I’m talking about when it comes to liberty. My arguments are directed primarily at the people who say that I don’t understand libertarianism, who came into the party as former Republicans and believed Johnson’s spiel is libertarianism.
You and I both know that Johnson is not a libertarian. You assert that we must use him as a stepping stone to having an actual libertarian. I dispute that, too, don’t get me wrong. I certainly argue against that idea. But my ire is not directed at you. You and I have a difference of opinion. I and those people who think libertarianism is “fiscally conservative, socially liberal” have a difference of fact. And, most dangerously, they adamantly refuse to listen, and they will not entertain the possibility that they are wrong, because, as I’ve said, they think they know: they think they can “feel” their way to libertarianism, they think that it’s common sense, and they think that they know what they’re talking about.
It is, once more, the Dunning-Kruger Effect.
Gary will just warm the American people to that idea.
But… he won’t. He isn’t, he hasn’t, and he won’t. This is… demonstrably false, man. This is completely untrue. The stuff that Gary Johnson is warming people to is not libertarianism, as you yourself know and admit. We “true libertarians” (a phrase that I don’t care for, to be honest, because one either is a libertarian or one is not) will continue to be outliers, looneys, and heretics. Our own party is currently calling us crazy lunatics, treating us like heretics. I’ve seen “libertarians” say that people like me should be thrown in the Gulag! While the person was obviously being hyperbolic, the fact remains that “people who disagree with me should be thrown in prison” should never come out of a libertarian’s mouth, even as a joke, and we all know that there was some underlying grain of truth to his “joke.” The statement “it was just a joke” does not mean there is no nugget of sincere belief behind it. After all, my grandfather makes lots of racist jokes, and he could say “They’re just jokes,” too.
Imagine how the rest of America is going to treat us “true libertarians” if our own party is calling us crazy lunatics.
On top of that, read my previous points and watch my videos. Johnson is not warming people up to libertarianism, because libertarianism is not what he is exposing people to.
the only value in discussing the election now is in asking “what does this say about this?” There’s a reason otherwise meaningless and inconsequential information is referred to as “academic.” Conversations about such things are little vehicles for knowledge, perspective, wisdom, and such. The vast majority of things that occur at places like universities are indeed academic. All that brain exercise is largely entertainment for the participants. You and I enjoy considering things like this, but in fact anything/everything – or nothing – can happen between now and November. Right now it’s simply brain food. The information doesn’t exist that would enable someone to “predict” the election.
Trump is just a symptom…an indicator…a “barometer,” so to speak. It enrages me that the Left is so afraid of change, but that, too, is a massive indicator. More and more, the shift is toward looking to the government as the solution to problems. That’s horrifying. And the Left just wants more and more of it. There can never be too much for them. It’s the projection of the ego, and it’s as “natural” as can be. Humans are lost, desperately searching for SOMETHING to “make everything ok.” Nobody really grows up. We’re just old children. We are so emotionally weak it’s astonishing.
What I can’t reconcile is the basic Left impulse. Is it lack of confidence that humans can take care of it themselves? Does it emanate from a sense of fear, that left to their own devices humans are self-destructive? Isn’t the irony absolutely breathtaking? I mean, really. Isn’t the fundamental tenet of marxism that humans are basically good? How does that ethos co-exist with a paternalistic view of government?
And, of course, I realize that the “left” in America bears little resemblance to Marxism. But I’m thinking of the basic motivations, the issues on which peoples’ worldviews and thus decisions turn? Am I fighting a straw man?
You know, THAT right there distinguishes a real thinker from the “rest.” Seriously. Consider how attractive and nature the strawman impulse really is. My strawman tends to be of two types: the liberal intellectual who hates all things uneducated, religious, “redneck.” He sees bias and racism everywhere. He feels himself completely qualified and justified spouting his “progressive” views everywhere. He thinks he pities those who come from “challenged” backgrounds. He is not proud of his ancestors. He feels no patriotism, nationalism….not even sure what “pride” is. Yet he completely understands “black pride” and he feels a sense of righteousness in their anger. He “understands” them.
My other strawman is the person the educated liberal doesn’t know exists. This person doesn’t work and doesn’t want to. This person lives among a culture than devours the system that devours them. She knows every trick in the book – how to qualify for all the programs that enable one to live and build a large family of dependents, without working a job. She has 8 kids by 3 different fathers. She’s not qualified to work, and she likely suffers from several physical and/or mental disabilities, any of which can be used to further her cause. Her interest in government (politics) is 100% limited to how it serves her specific purpose.
I know individuals who fit both those profiles. But do they exist like that at large? Or am i fighting stawmen just like everyone else, and therefore I’m missing the real points, overlooking the real issues?
Are Hillary and Trump simply dogs and ponies, trotted out every 4 years to occupy our attention, while the REAL business of running the world goes right on? Are we eating the diversion hook, line, and sinker? Does it matter? I mean, really?
You’d have to look to Mussolini, not Marx, to understand the left in America, and it was your email that just made me realize this. The left simply wants more power. That’s all leaders on the left want. I know that sounds like a strawman, but Mussolini and Hitler also sound like strawmen, don’t they? There’s no chance that Sanders genuinely believes the bullshit that comes out of his mouth, but that’s how the left functions. What an interesting thing, considering neurology. Anyway, they simply take an emotion and add “The government should put a stop to this!” to it. But this isn’t a policy. It’s an emotion that could lead to a policy. Instead, the left takes their solution of having the government brute force it, and associates it directly with that emotion. “No one who works 40 hours a week should live in poverty! So we must raise the minimum wage!” and they never realize how divorced from each other those two statements are. Wanting workers to make more money becomes associated with raising the minimum wage, to the extent that liberals think you can’t be for higher wages if you don’t support an increased minimum wage. “You don’t want to raise the MW? So you’re okay with families living in poverty?”
The statement “No, I’m not. But I also know that the MW is the reason that many people live in poverty, and that raising it will only ensure that ‘the percentage of people who live in poverty’ will only increase.” falls on deaf ears. They literally can’t understand it, because they’ve tied their emotion to their solution.
Leaders on the left did this intentionally, framing themselves as the only possible solution, such that anyone who didn’t support those solutions therefore lacked those emotions: sympathy, namely, often blown up to ridiculously selfless levels. Of course, everything about it is egotistical. The mask of selflessness is absolutely something that they take pride in. So they have pride, I think, and they know what it is–they just take pride in the fact that they don’t take pride. It comes back to that thread we’ve discussed often: trying to abolish the ego is, itself, an act of ego.
The masses are merely tools for this. I was stunned a few years ago when a recently graduated friend informed me of what her student council defined as “leadership.” It was, more or less, “the ability to influence people to support your ideas.” It’s a sort of ultra-cynicism that views people as pawns to be moved around on a chessboard, and those people have taken over the country. Hillary’s snide smirk says it all. And I suspect that Trump actually is somewhat better, because he knows that his business empire is built on the backs of thousands of other people. Yes, he deserves his wealth, but he is not the sole person earning it, and he surely knows that. That’s where the left’s ideology completely breaks down: we don’t need megacorporations and mega-banks, but they absolutely need us.
We don’t need Wal-Mart. Not really. We do right now, because so many of the government’s laws assist Wal-Mart by preventing places like Dollar General from truly rising to that level. We need Microsoft because Intellectual Property prevents Android from making a competitive PC version. Everyone wants what they’re accustomed to, and there is nothing that stagnates competition quite like intellectual property. If Android could throw a start button and windows into their OS and slap it on PC, they’d finish off Microsoft. We both know that a competitor should have risen with Windows 8 and pushed Microsoft out of the market. But they didn’t. Why not? The pieces are all in place: we have new operating systems that work better, are cleaner and more efficient, and we have companies with the money to do it. But it didn’t happen. The Windows 10 debacle is just a new step in Microsoft’s fuck ups, yet they still reign supreme in the PC market. Why? Intellectual property.
So the government has, one by one, fabricated these conditions where we can’t solve our problems ourselves. We can’t solve the problem of Wal-Mart’s reliance upon child labor and Microsoft’s bullshit shenanigans by switching to competitors because there are no competitors, and there are no competitors because the state’s laws prevent competition. And they do this in the misguided idea of “leveling the playing field,” forgetting, apparently, that the universe isn’t fair and that we can’t use laws to make it fair without violating rights. My cover of Metallica’s Call of Ktulu is likely to land me in very hot water at some point in the future, but I will never take it down. It’s more than 10% different from Metallica’s, and it’s obvious that I used their version as a springboard to add my own ideas to it, but it won’t matter. In every sense, I violated their intellectual property. But what is that, really? It is their ownership of me. I picked up my guitar, used my computer, my drumsets, my time and my energy, and I recorded a song. Everything that I used was 100% mine, even the cassette tape that I listened to as a teenager that contained Metallica’s song.
Intellectual property was the mechanism by which we had our property rights stolen from us, usurped by corporations.
More to the point, I recently realized the same thing that you just said, except I don’t think it’s really just a strawman. The only people who are socialists are the people who don’t have, and this is the reason that socialism failed to compete with private property when the hippie communes rose in the 60s and 70s–they couldn’t attract engineers, doctors, physicists, etc. Socialism is for the unskilled and lazy. No one who has their effort rewarded would ever choose to enter into a system where their effort would not be rewarded. Such a system is only attractive to people who are not being rewarded. And while that characterization could actually describe me, I’m smart enough to see the inherent flaw–one day, my various efforts will be rewarded, and, even if not, my own interests simply don’t outweigh the interests of society. Sure, I could benefit from socialism, but the rest of society would stagnate. I guess it’s kinda like my refusal to condemn discrimination and make it illegal. Sure, I’d benefit, but what about other people? Surely they deserve freedom, too?
Socialism is too easy to pick apart for that one fundamentalism reason, and I can’t take any “intellectual” socialists seriously. I think they’re propaganda tools, though they probably believe the bullshit they say. I can understand that, as Matt Slick undoubtedly believes his TAG is sound, but it obviously isn’t.
Mussolini said about democracy that it looks beautiful in theory, but that it’s a disaster in practice, or something to that effect.
Isn’t that pretty much exactly what we’ve been hearing about Trump’s nomination and the Brexit vote?
i’ve been saying for months what continues to be evident, perhaps obvious: Trump is destroying the GOP. I think I said “he’s killed the GOP and something will take it’s place.” I’ve equated it with the death of the Whig Party, which basically ended with and because of slavery, when rifts among Whigs because too deep and wide for any kind of national cooperation to survive. The modern equivalent just might be immigration, although there certainly are many issues that will contribute. The bottom line is a 2 party system in a place as diverse as America is a goddamn travesty. It almost insures nothing of consequence will get done, because even the most liberal party democrat favors what can only be regarded as status quo. That’s why Trump scares them so badly.
I don’t think it’s possible Trump can win, because I don’t believe anyone can win without a party machine. There’s just too much infrastructure. Elections in America aren’t like class president or the homecoming queen. These are some of the largest, most broadly-cooperative networks on the planet – literally. The democratic party in the US can mobilize more resources in a shorter amount of time than the vast majority of countries in the world.
I’m starting to think this may have all been a prank. I’m starting to think Trump has played one big joke…or pulled off the greatest con job in history.
I think Trump and the GOP are the least of the problems these days. Websites being off from free speech in favor of “protected groups” is the biggest problem. Milo knew it was only a matter of time before he was banned. AIU and TNB also know it. And while this makes them retarded for sticking their hands in the oven when they know it’s going to burn them, the obvious divisiveness of having protected groups is something that can’t easily be undone, not when “but look what happened in the past” remains an acceptable argument. Once it’s a given that the idea of reparations is stupid, we might be able to move forward.
I decided a few days ago that I simply have to stop fighting on a few fronts. That won’t be easy, because every part of me wants to weigh in, but I have to be more focused and concentrated in a few areas. My target audience is minuscule.
I’ve stopped predictions about the election. I think Trump can win, but I don’t see how, not without appealing to moral outrage. We bombed Libya a few days ago.
A country that we’re not at war with.
We killed 28 civilians in Syria last week. We killed 100,000 in Iraq. Hilary bears a lot of responsibility for all of this, and she’d definitely continue it.
There’s another way this could go, though: the libertarian party replaces the GOP. It’s not an accident that we have two Republican governors as our nominee, and that I’ve written extensively about why there’s nothing libertarian about Johnson. They’re not angling to promote libertarian ideas. They’re aiming to sacrifice those and become a new liberty-leaning GOP. And it looks like they might be successful. If Romney and Bush endorse Johnson, then libertarian principles will die, and Hillary will certainly be victorious.
Sometimes I think about the reality that one of these two is going to be president. That’s horrifying. Only 9% of Americans picked them. If that’s not an argument for anarchy, then I don’t know what is. 91% of the country had nothing to do with this.
this is what’s horrifying: “banned.”
No doubt. The sentiment that people deserve safe spaces and deserve to be protected is growing, not dying. The reality, though we don’t want to accept it, is that creating online profiles immediately exposes someone and violates their own safe space. This is what happened with the Khan family.
Man, I’ve made some people angry on Quora! Never have I had an answer get this much attention from babies with no comprehension of what I said.
I’ve since stopped arguing the thread. Once I meet someone who drags the topic toward freedom of the press and the Constitution who insists he’s staying on topic, I know to wash my hands of it.
Khan and the dems expected that they couldn’t be criticized because “muh son died, yo”. The bias in questions about it that I’ve been asked to answer… I’ve only answered one more, and only then to call attention to the bias in the question: “Why did Trump criticize the parents of a fallen soldier” or something like that. My first line was “Is this question for real?”
But yeah, it was. My point remains perfectly valid: if I have a child who dies as a soldier, could I then say “Long live David Duke” and no one would be allowed to criticize me?
“But that’s fucked up to say, so yeah, you’d be criticized.”
Great, so we’ve accepted that your indignation isn’t with the fact that Trump “criticized the parents of a fallen soldier,” but that he did so when they were expressing opinions you don’t disagree with. So what we have is you using these people to voice your opinion and wanting them to be inundated against criticism because “muh son died” is a credential if the person agrees with you.
both you and I are pretty analytical. we see things and then we look for their causes and explanations. with that in mind, here’s why clinton will win, and likely pretty solidly:
the single biggest point of confusion for me when I was in sales was how amazingly difficult it was to get customers to change from their current provider (interesting term, given the topic) to a new one, *even though they detested their current provider*. During the sales process (primaries), the emotion was fervent. “Oh my, yes, your option does look great…that’s MUCH better than we’re getting now….wow, I LIKE what you’re saying!”
Then, after all the dogs and ponies have been trotted out, and it was time to put a piece of paper in front of the customer, and it was time for them to put a signature on that line……..they just couldn’t do it.
I saw this over and over and over and over and over, until I accepted it as a fundamental of human behavior: Unless there is a clear and decisive benefit to switching, people will stay with something they know is bad rather than change to something new. This tendency is ALWAYS exaggerated when the NEW thing is in the least bit associated with risk. Humans as a group have a genetic aversion to RISK. A bad sure thing is often preferred over a possibly-good-but-risky alternative.
And the Dems know this. They have always been better at understanding and taking advantage of human psychology. Hell, their entire existence, their raison d’etre, is THAT – emotion, appealing to fear. The irony is that’s what liberals THINK is going on with Trump, and, surely, there is an element of that in ANY and EVERY campaign – me, good. him, bad. BUT, this election is turning on it more than any other we’ve ever seen.
When it comes down to it, Trump is just too risky for Americans. The voters will decide – in the end – that we’ve likely seen Hillary’s worst, and “it ain’t SO bad” (humans are the best rationalizers the universe ever created).
Trump’s a master salesperson, promoter, marketer. He really is. That’s what he does. It’s why he’s a billionaire. But this is one deal he won’t be able to close.
I don’t agree. For most independents, that could certainly be true, but here’s a few details that I would add. The biggest spoiler of independents is Gary Johnson, and he’s drawing primarily from Hillary. So is Jill Stein, who I rather like (just can’t stand her policies), though she’s also proving a safe place for many Sanders supporters.
If we had a different libertarian candidate, things could be different. McAfee would be trolling what little remained of the defeated GOP and Democratic party by now (bit of an exaggeration), because there’s such a seismic shift away from systemic corruption, from both sides of the aisle, and McAfee couldn’t have been accused of that. But without more major endorsements, Johnson just isn’t going to achieve anything, and many republicans are placing loyalty to the party above dislike for Trump, and so they see people like Romney as traitors.
More importantly, has Hilary EVER been in the public eye for any length of time without her approval rating plummeting? Nope. Every time she appears, we remember how much we can’t stand this bitch, and we marvel at the fact that she hasn’t fucked off yet. Unless Assange is an idiot (and he’s proven that he isn’t), he’s got enough material to throw a new controversy at Hillary regularly through to election day. As soon as one dies down, he throws out another. Each time, Hillary’s numbers go down just a bit more. As long as he’s telling the truth about how much content he has (and he’s never lied about this sort of thing before, and I’ve been following wikileaks since the Iraq diplomacy cables), Hillary is done. There’s just too much dirt, and recent leaks have revealed homophobia, racism, and all kinds of shit from top democrats. The left-wing media just is ignoring it, but social media is NOT.
i would need to see the demographics. perhaps social media has more of an impact than i appreciate. i still see a GOP that looks a lot like my grandparents, and they got their news from cbs, nbc, and abc. We know what their “news” looks like.
You’ll hear hard-core numbers people say elections are simple numbers – numbers that can be forecast. thus, elections contain no real surprises. I’ve seen the electoral college forecast over and over, and trump has a problem because the GOP has a problem. No republican is going to change the fact that Dems start with about 247 electoral votes, the GOP about 200. Trump can’t lose either Florida or Ohio. He must have them both. Could the Hispanic vote in Florida mean the difference? Could the Hispanic/Latino vote in general mean the difference? North Carolina is up in the air, as always, and its hispanic population has grown (where hasn’t it grown?) steadily since 2000.
do people vote for party or for people? I could make a case either way. You seem to be focusing on the impetus created by dislike for Hillary personally. will that cause people to stay home or vote differently?
Republicans have struggled with all minority groups, but especially the ever-growing Hispanic segment. Trump kicked that into mega-overdrive. It could be the difference, IMO. Interestingly, hispanics are not especially-motivated voters. Their turnout is less than other groups. But fear is a fantastic motivator – perhaps the best. And what do immigrants fear above ALL THINGS? Immigration “reform,” read: deportation. Talk of walls and shit certainly crystallized a segment of trump’s base, but likely didn’t bring him many new voters. But it absolutely, unequivocally cost him any/all chance of substantially improving the GOP’s standing with latinos.
wow. I came across this comment in a discussion regarding voter segments, demographics, specifically trump’s problem with Latinos. it made an immediate impact:
It is hard to imagine a white woman doing worse than a black man among white voters.
No, it’s not. And THAT may very well be the difference.
The context was comparing possible red/blue state alignment in 2016 with the election of 2008. the author suggests that because Obama won with only 37% of the white male vote, the outlook is good for Hillary. Only, he’s wrong. The average white American male likely MUCH prefers Obama to Hillary.
Just consider the fact that Sanders went even with Hillary while the media mostly ignored him. Or Ron Paul doing so well when the media COMPLETELY ignored him. And insulted him. In fact, the attached is one of my favorite images of the week.
If you’ve never seen Mike Judge’s Office Space, I really think you’d appreciate it. Lumberg… Man.
Johnson climbed to 10% from 5% riding on social media.
Research shows that a person hearing an idea three times from the same person has the same effect as hearing the idea from three different people. It also shows that we assess popularity based on our familiarity. It’s why fans of obscure anime shows think their pet is popular when it obviously isn’t. One of the greatest challenges as a modern human is learning of these psychological vulnerabilities and using that conscious awareness to defend it against them. It’s why I talk of the Dunning-Kruger Effect so often. That, and, once you learn of it, you’ll seriously see it everywhere.
In fact, this election is a wonderful example. The average American has no idea what would be good for the economy, health industry, diplomatic interests, terrorism, whatever. And that’s so obvious that no one will dispute the statement. Everyone knows that the average person knows nothing about any of these things, and everyone accepts that truth.
“Except me, of course. *My* ideas would CLEARLY be best.”
Last night I argued with a guy who called Trump a fascist. When I told him what a fascist is (someone who wants business to merge with the state while the state is revered as supreme), and pointed out that this obviously describes Hillary and Sanders (particularly Sanders) far more than Trump, he said something like “Well, Trump is a pumpkin and racist tyrant.”
The irony of insulting someone based on their skin color while calling them racist was too much for me to take.
He proceeded to talk about how Trump is a fascist, but using different words. Authoritarian, Nazi, etc. None of which are synonyms, of course, but my point is that he didn’t alter his worldview to accommodate the new information. He proceeded as though his position was just as valid as mine.
I helped put Obama into office (delusionally, I mean, since the popular vote doesn’t matter).
But she’s wrong, and I guarantee she’s not white. The average white person voted for Obama BECAUSE he was black, and it was that white guilt in action. Hillary doesn’t have that advantage.
Love Office Space. Gary Cole deserves an oscar for that performance. OMG he captured every sales manager in american business history.
this is a quote from Michael Moore:
listen to Hillary and you behold our very first female president, someone the world respects, someone who is whip-smart and cares about kids, who will continue the Obama legacy
“…someone the world respects….”
when someone with his visibility is THAT delusional, what are the chances of sanity ever prevailing. I mean, really…..
I’m not sure if the Internet is really “making us stupid,” or if it’s just making our stupidity more available and more obvious, but it’s distressing that this crowning achievement of human kind, this stunning technology that has placed the wealth of human knowledge literally in the palms of our hands and at our fingertips, is being used by people who basically want you to watch them masturbate.
But enough about Stickam.
For those of you who are new, I do biweekly podcast shows called Rantings & Ravings located at http://ariadimezzo.podbean.com, though now that I’m independently hosted, I’m going to use this website as the nexus of the things that I create. The easiest way, then, to stay up-to-date on the things I create (YouTube videos, music, podcasts, articles, game reviews, and everything else) would be to subscribe here. Or support me on Patreon! That would be even better, because then you’d definitely have an easy place to follow me, if you don’t want to follow me on Twitter or Facebook or Google Plus.
I also have a GoFundMe campaign that is directed at helping me get the hell out of the state of Mississippi, and move somewhere that I can live in peace, comfort, and safety. If you could check out my campaign and share it, it would mean the world to me. I really do need to get out of here.