Randoms

The Moldbug Index

– Isegoria dug into Wedemeyer’s report on China and Korea. There’s more here, and of course in the comments from my original post.

– They solved the case that Borepatch mentioned a while back. Even though 100% of the crime committed in this neighborhood is committed by young black men (I’ve been reading the crime reports for three years – incidentally, I still can’t figure out how the police department is able to get away with using BM for “black male” in all their reports) any comments suggesting that the perpetrators were young black men were flagged as offensive (in the future all comments will be flagged for offensiveness).

Well, it turns out that some young black men committed the crime. Shocking, I know. All of them were apparently on home confinement when they were arrested.

– Other than the being alone part, he sounds like my kind of guy:

He hated tolerance, diversity, foreign languages, airplanes, popular music, all female novelists—save perhaps Dame Agatha Christie—bebop and modal jazz, being alone, art cinema, purchasing gifts for his wives, the Arts Council of Great Britain, homosexuals, America, defenders of communism, gardens, and the dark.

– Charlton on Conquest’s second law.

– Remember all those posts Yglesias wrote about how Britain was demonstrating that “austerity” (i.e. temporarily slowing the rate of increase of federal spending) failed? I wonder why he stopped writing about that:

Recent jobs growth is five times the rate needed to keep pace with the swelling of the working population, calculates Kevin Daly of Goldman Sachs, and is equivalent to an increase in America’s non-farm payrolls of 750,000 a month for three months. In America, growth of just 250,000 non-farm jobs a month is viewed as healthy.

– Whiskey on why the Sailer Strategy won’t work.

– Red may have outperformed blue, but DC outperformed both (by a lot).

– You should really read Roll, Jordan, Roll.

Derb reviews Hoppe. He also doesn’t like democracy.

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36 Responses to Randoms

  1. Toddy Cat says:

    Yes, Amis was the real deal, although I take issue with the statement that he disliked America. In his later phases, he disliked American liberals, but all that displays is good taste.

  2. dearieme says:

    Seconded. “He hated … America” is simply wrong. Read his memoirs. (Read them anyway – he really was a fine writer.)

  3. patung says:

    “He hated …., all female novelists—save perhaps Dame Agatha Christie”

    No, he loved http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_Pym

  4. tg moderator says:

    DC must be very interesting these days. You have a rapidly rising incomes, but personal safety is questionable even right near the capitol. This might be what the future is like for a lot of us–the lucky ones. Whiskey’s post on the Sailer strategy is highly relevant to what the future will be like. What would it take to make white women abandon the Democrat party?

  5. asdf says:

    Sons seems to be even stronger. How many women can still hate “the man” when you’ve got male offspring to raise.

  6. dearieme says:

    From WKPD:
    Elizabeth Taylor (née Coles; 3 July 1912 in Reading, Berkshire – 19 November 1975 in Penn, Buckinghamshire) was a British novelist and short story writer. Kingsley Amis described her as “one of the best English novelists born in this century”.

  7. PA says:

    Whiskey is one part insight, nine parts ridiculous extrapolation.

  8. Bill says:

    There is nothing insightful about Whiskey. The Sailer Strategy does not mean “Do everything exactly the same, except go anti-immigrant and anti-AA.” Rather, it means to rev up the highly polished, seamlessly coordinated, incredibly talented and effective Republican Noise Machine to say “The Ds are the party of blacks and victims. The Rs are the party of whites and winners. Which are you?” Or something.

    To say, as Whiskey says, that this will turn off moderate voters completely misses the point. Goldwater lost his presidential election, and, in the process, opened up space for the current “fusionism” of the R party. Nixon was incredibly divisive, turned off moderates, and crafted the current R coalition. Remember how, between Goldwater and Reagan, the word “liberal” went from a compliment to a swear word? Somebody did that. It did not just happen.

    The whole point of the Sailer Strategy is to move the Overton Window. Whiskey’s whole point is that the Sailer Strategy is outside the current Overton Window.

    To his exact point, he has the weird mannospherian disease of taking women seriously. Women do not determine the outcome of contests. Women are the trophies.

    • Hail says:

      I don’t recall ever seeing any of the long-winded, tedious, argumentative, and often-clueless comments by Whiskey at Steve Sailer’s blog which struck me as insightful.

      Years of comments, millions(?) of words, no insight (that I can recall). Maybe it’s because I’ve taken to simply skipping over his comments.

  9. Nyk says:

    What happened to JamesG’s blog?

  10. Aethelfrith says:

    I only lightly scanned the Kingsley article, but I just had to copy this:

    “Amis’s loyalty to the Crown was absolute. He even claimed to have had wet dreams about Queen Elizabeth II, all of which consisted of him throwing an eager hand upon Her Majesty’s royal bosom and her responding, “No, Kingsley, we mustn’t.””

  11. Lex Corvus says:

    N.B. The Moldbug Index link in the main post is still broken.

  12. anonymous says:

    i thought the moldbug index was going to be a hilarious new economic indicator 😦

    • Handle says:

      I nominate MBI = Paryolls / (GoldPrice*Population). You can do this in FRED, and it looks like this. I think it meets the hilariousness test.

  13. JL says:

    I stopped reading Whiskey (or rather his comments at Sailer’s and elsewhere, I had rarely read his blog) after realizing that reading him actually reduced the amount of knowledge I have. Whiskey can, and often does, write blatant nonsense and lies in a supremely confident tone, and if you read his stuff you will end up believing some of it even if you are highly skeptical of everything he says.

  14. James says:

    The online echo chamber is valuable. In the longer term, of course, something else has to happen.

    Because academia is broken, Friendly AI scientists have resorted to founding a charity—The Singularity Institute—which I believe is about 50% funded by Peter Thiel, and the rest comes from sympathetic rationalists (I encourage *everyone* to donate, this is seriously important).

    http://singularity.org/donate/

    Having reflected, I think that for real progress to be made, at some point it will be necessary for concerned citizens to found an Institute for Sound Governance. This would be exactly similar: donations to fund a few extremely smart people to think all day about how to reboot the government, and perhaps some others to spread the word. (This is, of course, easier said than done.) Ideally, the institute would attract dissidents from the ruling class: people who can chart its anatomy.

    Being realistic, a lot of moldbug’s ideas about government are silly, but I’m glad he has marked out a persuasive extreme. Now more moderate ideas, which seem radical from a mainstream conservative perspective, can be taken seriously. I can’t speak with authority, but a few ideas from my intuition:

    >In brief, neocameralism is burdened by complexity. Deduction is an underrated mode of thinking, but is at its best when each of the steps in the chain of reasoning is near-certain, and the chain is not too long. Consider the minimum wage:

    1. Price-fixing freezes the economy in disequilibrium (probability 0.995—evidence from various price-fixing disasters e.g. in farming)

    2. Wages are the price of labour (probability 0.999)

    3. Therefore, the minimum wage causes unemployment (probability 0.95—taking into account “unknown unknowns” etc.)

    The scientism approach is to attempt to measure the effects of introducing the minimum wage in various areas. There are so many confounding variables in this uncontrolled natural experiment that the signal is easily lost in noise. Pseudo-scientists, with a motive in favour of NMW, can then either conclude, “There is no evidence either way”, or if they’re really big liars, “We have proven that NMW increases employment (P<0.05)”.

    This is a good example of deductive reasoning. A bad example is Frank Tipler’s Omega Point theory:

    Astrophysical black holes almost certainly exist, but Hawking has shown that if black holes are allowed to exist for unlimited proper time, then they will completely evaporate, and unitarity will be violated. Thus unitarity requires that the universe must cease to exist after finite proper time, which implies that the universe has the spatial topology of a three-sphere. The Second Law of Thermodynamics says the amount of entropy in the universe cannot decrease, but it can be shown that the amount of entropy already in the CBR will eventually contradict the Bekenstein Bound near the final singularity unless there are no event horizons, since in the presence of horizons the Bekenstein Bound implies the universal entropy S is less that a constant times the radius of the universe squared, and general relativity requires the radius to go to zero at the final singularity. The absence of event horizons by definition means that the universe’s future c-boundary is a single point, call it the Omega Point. MacCallum has shown that a three-sphere closed universe with a single point future c-boundary is of measure zero in initial data space. Barrow has shown that the evolution of a three-sphere closed universe into its final singularity is chaotic. Yorke has shown that a chaotic physical system is likely to evolve into a measure zero state if and only if its control parameters are intelligently manipulated. Thus life (which near the final state, is really collectively intelligent computers) almost certainly must be present arbitrarily close to the final singularity in order for the known laws of physics to be mutually consistent at all times. Misner has shown in effect that event horizon elimination requires an infinite number of distinct manipulations, so an infinite amount of information must be processed between now and the final singularity. The amount of information stored at any given time diverges to infinity as the Omega Point is approached, since the entropy diverges to infinity there, implying divergence of the complexity of the system that must be understood to be controlled.

    Life transferring its information to a medium that can withstand the arbitrarily high temperatures near the final singularity has several implications: first, (Omega-naught – 1) is between a millionth and a thousandth, where Omega-naught is the density parameter, and second, the Standard Model Higgs boson mass must be 220 plus or minus 20 GeV. The details are in The Physics of Immortality.

    Later on, he really went off the tracks:

    I am proposing that the Son and Father Singularities guided the worlds of the multiverse to concentrate the energy of the particles constituting Jesus in our universe into the Jesus of our universe. In effect, Jesus’ dead body, lying in the tomb, would have been enveloped in a sphaleron field. This field would have dematerialized Jesus’ body into neutrinos and antineutrinos in a fraction of a second, after which the energy transferred to this world would have been transferred back to the other worlds from whence it came. Reversing this process (by having neutrinos and antineutrinos—almost certainly not the original neutrinos and antineutrinos dematerialized from Jesus’ body—materialize into another body) would generate Jesus’ Resurrection body.

    Many steps in Tipler’s omega point theory have probability<<0.99, and it is very long. Thus, the probability of his conclusion is tiny. Yet, non-Bayesians tend to attack each step of a deductive argument separately—a particularly unfortunate mode of attack, if the arguer wields great verbal skill. A sphaleron field could have dematerialised Jesus’s body into neutrinos and antineutrinos—let me explain why…

    Likewise, neocameralism is implausible when viewed in a probabilistic, Bayesian way. Cryptographic weapons might have a 0.55 chance of working, and the chance that they aren’t betrayed or hacked might be 0.6. The chance that profit-motive coincides with benevolence is 0.55, and the probability that the system can be installed without general collapse is 0.7. The probability that shareholders stay ideally distributed is 0.6. The probability that giving every sovcorp nuclear weapons doesn’t lead to annihilation is 0.9. The probability that people can instantaneously become completely indifferent to their historical nations is 0.75…

    Deduction-enthusiasts think themselves reasonable when they defend these points individually—each is more likely to be true than false. Yet when taken in conjunction, the probability that the system works is tiny!

    Three relevant Yudkowsky posts:

    Fake optimisation criteria (the Fnargl thought experiment suffers from this):

    http://lesswrong.com/lw/kz/fake_optimization_criteria/

    Conjunction fallacy (just because a situation sounds plausible doesn’t make it probable. Each extra detail necessarily reduces its probability):

    http://lesswrong.com/lw/ji/conjunction_fallacy/

    http://lesswrong.com/lw/jj/conjunction_controversy_or_how_they_nail_it_down/

    Another problem with neocameralism is that it grossly violates a Machiavellian precept: new systems of government should maintain the forms of the past. The canonical example is the Roman Empire’s keeping the Senate around with diminished powers. Even if neocameralism were a good idea in theory, there will never be widespread support for such an unashamedly drastic change.

    >Carlyle said that democracy works OK, but only if refreshed by intermittent periods of dictatorship (e.g. Oliver Cromwell). It may be desirable to nominate a strictly limited 10-year period for some Steve Jobs character to take over, strip away the dead wood, wean the public off big government, and create new institutions. After 10 years, a refreshed democratic government can be reinstated. There would still need to be checks and balances during this period, but relatively loose ones.

    >Subsequently, voting rights are conditional on a period of national service, and citizenship from birth. This is an effective way of establishing high social trust within a multi-racial democracy.

    >The real efficient constitution is acknowledged, and formalised. The great benefit of democracy is that leaders can’t do something really terrible, e.g. set up torture-murder camps, although they have a long leash. Therefore, a scaled down parliament’s main function could be the right to veto legislation drawn up by groups of civil servants. This is both a formalised safeguard, and makes it easy to elect a wu wei type of government. It might also permit ideological diversity and competition within an unelected civil service, i.e. elected politicians can veto bundles of legislation selectively. (This is, of course, the kind of thing that the Institute for Sound Governance would spend years thinking about in extreme detail!)

    >Another of moldbug’s silly ideas is that since given 200+ years of erosion, checks & balances and the US constitution are looking worse for wear, these are entirely useless (“how can a government limit itself?”). This fallacy of grey is made plausible only by the facile definition of government as “that which has a monopoly on use of force in a given area”.

    It’s true that Elizabeth Warren has more power to change human behaviour in America than, say, I do. She is part of the government, it is reasonable to say. But there are certain Schelling points that she and other rulers cannot violate, in a civically developed society. If these Schelling points were violated, then the public at large, and in particular the police force and army, would riot and remove power from those rulers. If all of the university professors and media started to rant about killing the Jews, it is likely that they would soon be out of power. Clearly, then, they have no corporate “monopoly on force”, otherwise they could do what they like yet cling on to power indefinitely.

    The problem today is that if rulers are very careful, and deceptive, and the public is dumbed down, they can get away with inching very slowly—or blindingly fast at certain moments—over Schelling points and Schelling fences. The job of the 10-year dictator would be to reinstate very clear, up-to-date Schelling points. The job of the institute for sound governance is to decide what these should be, to work out in meticulous detail all of the ways in which they can be violated, and to design means of combating probable vectors of debasement (e.g. by educating the public on when to riot, and forming trustworthy watchdogs).

    Game theory should be a speciality of the Institute of Sound Governance. The American revolutionaries knew nothing about Schelling points, yet managed to birth a society that to this day has many wonderful features and liberties. This seems like reason for optimism about how effective a modern set of checks and balances, with crowdsourced oversight (a la Alexis Ohanian) could be.

    >I tend to imagine this reboot happening several decades in the future. It won’t happen until social problems increase rather a lot—which I find probable, especially due to mass immigration. I hope that it happens in the UK or somewhere else outside America; to destabilise one of the world’s great military and nuclear powers seems like a big existential risk. But of course, there would have to be a lot of sympathy for the project in the States, in order for USG not to stamp it out.

    • josh says:

      I believe the Society of Cincinnati, as the name implies, was originally intended to provide temporary dictatorship as needed.

    • I think this is the most interesting comment I have read in about 200 years. (Apparently I am a vampire or something.) I am going to read it again about 100 times.
      Schelling fences?
      Someone critiquing Moldbug in detail without either relying on semantic/symbolic quibbles, and without relying on unstated leftist dogma?
      Very interesting indeed!

    • Excellent comment, I’ve been thinking a lot along the same lines. In particular I’ve been thinking about ways a President could have near-dictatorial powers to create those new Schelling points without overthrowing the old forms. One idea was imagine the president somehow got passed (or just enacted via executive powers), the “Executive Powers Act”: “Whereas, the President is constitutionally endowed with the privileges of Chief Executive, the president has the power to fire anyone in the executive branch, to delegate the power of firing to subordinates, or to overrule any executive branch ruling or administrative act.”

      A very simple act, very in keeping with the forms of the constitution, and with it, the president gains basically absolute power.

    • James says:

      The great benefit of democracy is that leaders can’t do something really terrible, e.g. set up torture-murder camps, although they have a long leash. Therefore, a scaled down parliament’s main function could be the right to veto legislation drawn up by groups of civil servants.

      Actually this is completely wrong. The recognition of Schelling points like “the government must allow freedom of assembly”—which depends on a certain degree of social capital within the population—is what prevents leaders from doing something terrible.

      Democracy, at its best, allows the general public to oust bad leaders without their having to rebel violently. If a bad democratically elected leader starts to violate the aforementioned Schelling points and fences, or is merely incompetent, he can be thrown out in a controlled process after a few years. (Although if he is really terrible, the formal procedure might be insufficient.)

      We all know the serious problems of democracy. And so, we don’t really have democracy; we elect super-bureaucrats, and are ruled by committee. But this is the good in it: a negative function, to facilitate the ridding of inadequate leaders. Therefore, I say that the democratic element in an improved constitution might be similarly negative: a veto body, which doesn’t attempt to actually govern.

  15. RS-prime says:

    > which I believe is about 50% funded by Peter Thiel, and the rest comes from sympathetic rationalists (I encourage *everyone* to donate, this is seriously important).

    Lol i dont believe in ai. There’s no real case for the mind being a machine — that I can descry. I know I’m not the smartest, but I suspect I am more capable overall than people like Dennet.

    It’s just massively parallel induction, at bottom. Every thing else worked out great and real logical conceived as science and matter, so mind must be too. Its the religion for our time.

    I could be wrong. There are serious physicists and math people out there and of course they are simply and irremediably beyond my ken, as are a few of the analytic philosophers.

    Now, I’m a huge skeptic on committees and institutions. As soon as I read this I thought ‘ah, Thiel has a controlling share, basically, so he calls the tune’. I bet that as soon as its not controlled by a rich swashbuckling genius it will become distinctly lesser in value.

    • RS-prime says:

      Lol here i go not really paying attention. Too much working out I guess. Superhuman machine intelligence ought to be possible in principle.

      Its /awareness/ that im skeptical can be done by a machine, duh, not intelligence.

  16. Handle says:

    As far as Amis goes, I would heartily recommend his “Everyday Drinking: The Distilled Kingsley Amis”.

  17. […] The Gentleman Who Needs More: Foseti – Randoms, Le Cygne Gris – Random Blegs, Patriactionary – Bonus Linkfest, Father Knows Best, Free […]

  18. Gilbert P says:

    Always remember what KA said: ‘Nice things are nicer than nasty things… and there was no end to the ways in which nice things are nicer than nasty ones.’

  19. Appreciate some other educational web page. The place otherwise might I get in which type of info coded in a very ideal signifies? I own a business that i’m merely now running with, we have been getting this view out there with regard to such information.

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