The tide that began turning almost 3 decades ago against the Deep Swamp, the MIC-Mafia and associated Clinton Crime Cabal, is now a tsunami. Too bad about the Democratic Party and its members, but they need to get dissociated from the criminals and oligarchs, nobody can help from the outside. Trump will become our Greatest President as a result of a decade-long cascade of crimes being uncovered and prosecuted. Trump’s annointed successor will be elected for another 2 terms, the world’s social, political and economic institutions will be opened so rot can not take hold again, humans will train each other to higher levels of reliable function, at the end of which we could have a civilized nation again under rule of law.
Hopeful of me, I know, but we used to know how to do that practically, and have all of the history and teachings necessary to relearn, if we wish.
An interesting line of thought is whether there are inherent contradictions-in-physical or -social realities between our society of 1830 when de Toqueville documented it as an outsider and the realities of modern scale and technology. Managing a village is old social-tech, maybe managing the elements of a megapolis requires bureaucracies, meaning rules, regulations and uncaring-dishonest employees. Maybe modern science requires so long a training of the mind in the specialty that there is no room for both personal integrity and common sense, or even that ‘common sense’ cannot exist in such a system, there is and can be no common understandings to make up that understanding. So many highly educated people might doom your culture to frequent subsystem failures such as the US is now going through, and thus cannot persist.
Maybe that has always been the dynamic producing the rises and falls of civilizations, just different kinds of mental and emotional distances between average and elite. Civilizations based on religious orders fail as fast as other elites, within a few hundred years, tho the Tibetan Buddhists are a counter-example.*
The reform of our failing system has to begin with every family rejecting the fundamentals. Take your kid out of school, train fully responsible adults in community, begin getting resilient and building resilient community :
Within 12 hours of writing that, I found this. It is another view of how elites distance themselves from the rest of us and so cannot make good decisions. Hayes’s views are much like Peter Turchin’s, over-production of elites who game every system, here the educational and entry-level job markets.
This argues that elites are necessary to manage society. That is an empirical question, one with different answers under different circumstances. E.g. complexity of society and required integration of information –> elites arise from that process that produces wealth and associated social status. But in the age of the internet, we don’t yet know what is required. The case of open source projects is ambiguous, for example :
I have decided to sample other opinion this year, as I don’t need to worry about the details of the US’s fate any longer. So more reading of books and writing, rather than tensely watching and wondering. I hated having to waste so much time trying to interpret the blowing smoke from something behind the scenes. No society can do well that has to filter so much noise from the signal, the signal is inevitably degraded and there are better ways to optimize signal-to-noise.
Really, I think the dynamic is set on this crisis of civilization, normal grinding of the bureaucracy under the guidance of honest people, we are now headed back toward normalcy.
The Deep Swamp of mafias and secret government operations nearly won this contest with the rest of us. Automated ubiquitous surveillance 24x7x365 of your every move, birth to death, political deviancy scores of your group, family, extended family, cohort, agency, unit, business, … updated every am and delivered to the superiors in that hierarchy. Getting out of that local optimum of civilization might take 1000s of years of bad times, I don’t think you can be too pessimistic about the badness of that path.
That was too damn close for my taste, we humans should try not repeat the mistakes of the last few hundred years. Letting your secret police get out of control is pretty basic to get so wrong. Our politicians don’t grasp that yet? Don’t know how to do audits of information flows, and accuracy of operations? Don’t understand the need for rigid honesty and few laws? KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid is the first rule of an engineer who has to operate the institution. More training, more judgement, more oversights from more povs, fewer rules.
Other countries have largely avoided our problems as we built a powerful secret spy and special operations army. We used it all over the worlds with the Communists as the excuse, after which the US’s oligarchs assumed hegemony over most of the rest of Europe. In its end days, Communism metastacized into revolutionaries. The army was then used against revolutionaries, after which the US destroyed the rest of South American liberal democracy on behalf of their and our oligarchs. Then against the new drug lords, then terrorists, tightening US hegemony with every move.
Don’t vote for law degrees, vote for engineers, architects, even scientists before anyone with educations less directly connected to physical or economic reality. And if you have to add to a bureaucracy, do more agencies of inspector general, bias their rules to exposure, e.g. they get a cut of the guilty bureaucracy’s office space and budget. We do that for civilian property and bank accounts, why has it been so hard for Congress to grasp? There is a point of failure in our government, all honest businesses have more checks on the honesty of operations than Congress imposes on any of our intelligence and police agencies.
Engineering control systems is the discipline that is needed here. I don’t care at all what the politicians decide, but I care very much the process by which the rest of us can inform and guide them, and the process they use to integrate the information flow. Those are any engineer’s priorities, I think. Get the process right, add normal humans with wide and good points of view, amplify their wisdom and filter their follies. Those are the workings of the group mind guiding your nation, you don’t want it acting crazy.
Anyway, my first sampling of foreign opinion was in Arabic, Google translated it. I shouldn’t judge until I read many more, but it does not seem very sophisticated thinking. Google vs original expression, I can’t tell :
I was looking at Youtube’s suggestions for videos, which included the battle for Jerusalem, Saladin the attacker. It is one of dozens like like that, peoples from long ago that we still identify as for and against ‘our people, our culture’. But I think that everyone alive in the world today has less in common with any peoples of 500 years ago than with anyone alive now. Modern humans of every culture have incredibly different understandings about everything than even their grandparents, the difficulty of transmitting and retaining world-views from grandparent to grandchild obscure that. Today, only scholars or adepts can tell you much about the mental set of a person 500 years ago.
4 or 5 generations per century, 500 years is 20-25 generations. You don’t even have much genetically (2 ** -20 == 1 millionth) in common with any one of those many ancestors. (OK, some of the multiples of that because they are the same person, but it doesn’t take many generations or much migration before you are related to everyone on earth who was alive at that time and who left descendants.) Over 1000 years, N.African Nubian-Moors went from black to darker shades of European, other countries were influenced by their own migrations.
Almost all of a society’s current knowledge is taught within the current cultural frames, but in fact, we don’t have much in common with the past, we are a different people from any that have gone before. Our awareness of our group is a great strength and also weakness. We all incorporate into our self-image the successes of our ancestors’s nations, none of the bad stuff, so have great social cohesion. We emphasize our differences from other groups by associating them with bad elements of their history. Entirely predictable for any collective effort to maintain a stable society, tho that standard approach has bad failure modes, e.g. frequent wars.
I don’t mean this to be an argument for or against immigration, just context to evaluate it. Whatever happens, our decedents will be proud of their unique culture and contributions to civilization :
American blacks are a fine example, tho they are also new genetic mixtures. Anyone visiting a foreign country of their ancestors has versions of this :
George Webb continues the investigation, talks to Lambert :
The last European example of warriors vs soldiers, amplifying the downsides of strong groups and the groupthink they often fall into. The English didn’t think their way out, they did their normal soldering in social, political and military cohesion under the most desperate circumstances. The French had very divided loyalties, no discipline at all, their noble leaders made every decision wrong and so doomed their social order. Keegan’s “The Face of Battle: A Study of Agincourt, Waterloo and the Somme” was far superior in most ways compared to this sort-of documentary.
Youtube seems to prompt me back through one of these, same conclusions, every year or so. Or the equivalent lessons before or since, e.g. the German General Staff of WWII, highly trained professionals of high social status, remnants of nobility, who were bullied into invading Russia knowing the trains could not transport the materials required.
Armies are more dangerous than serious enemies in national life, seems to me :
We cannot get the war in Syria stopped. All this is beyond understanding, but it is pretty clear the only jihadists being spared are Syrians and the rest are shipped to other countries, best case. Nobody wants their Jihadists coming back home :
Alan Dershowitz’s very pro-Israeli views on Qatar vs Saudi Arabia :
If the world didn’t have Russian media, we would have no free media at all. Israeli-Neocons are a major opponent of Peace and Freedom around the world :
We need more factual reporting like this. Guo Wengui is not surprising to me, at least, stories like his are generated by the times and place. Revolutionary generations controlling everything inevitably produces massive corruption just like this story suggests, and there are no good guy winners. People are pretty realistic about Guo, it seems to me. Realistic also is the CPC’s estimate of the threat from people like Guo, the citizens of China are aware of the corruption, local to international. China needs war as much as the US, of course Bannon repeats Guo’s PR :
China is no worse than India by some measures, much better in others. Ditto every other country in the world. Every country has ups and downs, all empires always fall, all modern institutions have used modern communications to increase their relative power in the society at the same time. Above the local, all modern institutions and the people who operate them are increasingly out of touch with the daily problems of the people.
Now that we have that out of the way, how about we all get on with the business of building civilization, functioning organizations?
The really distressing thing about the last 150 years is how un-necessary the wars and social strife. Who, looking back at the real complexity of the times and the deep chains of consequences, can believe that the US Civil War made their lives better? WWI? WWII? Korea? Vietnam? Or the French Revolution, Russian Revolution, …
Who can not believe there must have been far better decisions available to all sides than the ones actually taken? The engineer in me says the processes were wrong, get your control systems working, you have a chance at avoiding catastrophe, otherwise not.
It seems to me that I should know about studies that relate information rates, signal to noise, computational loads in economic flows to possible control structures for managing them. How many bits do we expend in ordering a ton of steel average per year increases because steel can be specified in ever-more ways. That bit-rate drives decisions, needed people, … We have only limited human minds, and a limited number of us for the increasing variety of jobs in society. That is an complex optimization problem.
Collective intelligence is required to drive the process, not rules and regulations. The currently forming world-wide collective mind that is assuming control of our political systems is just becoming aware of itself. Exciting times :
Crime falls when cannabis is legalized, of course :
This case definitely does not meet the OK-BOB standard in exchanges of value :
A thought on the massive reaction to Trump’s ‘shithole country’ remark. This is the 3rd generation of such language, which used to be lower class. It is normal everywhere, TV programs, movies, life. Cursing is accepted by our media and elites, except for Trump. I do not expect the rate of curses to decline as a result. Twain and others discussed the use of strong language in American life, Trump is not the first President to do so, but in earlier times reporters filtered it and our history book don’t record the fact. Thus, we have too little context and don’t automatically laugh at CNN repeating ‘shithole’ 36 times in critiquing Trumps un-diplomatic words or NPR’s 2 hours obsessing on the subject and morphing it into racism. You couldn’t write this kind of thing into a movie script, it would be seen as far too over the top.
All of the articles wrt the consequences of ‘global warming’ ignore climate history. We have sea turtle populations. The earth has had much warmer climates than now. Those two facts tell us we aren’t going to lose the turtles from warming alone :
Our society is truly hurting for excitement and achievement. But we rarely consider the consequences, the balancing Karma that follows, the Discordian production of opposing order arising from attempts to impose it. In this case, species displaced from native habitats by assassination programs (bounties from our pov), we are breeding races of super-intelligent dog-wolf-coyote hybrids. Nobody will notice that effect until much too late, e.g. when guard dogs are distracted by bitches in heat and entire flocks of sheep are driven into the hills and dispersed for hiding and consuming at leisure. Then coy-wolf-dogs shepherding their own flocks. Or perhaps the guard dogs are seduced by the new breed’s intelligence and lifestyle, the thrill of hunting in a pack, wild meat compared to dog food. Desertions, dogs going wild, mixing their genetics with superior species as humans flatter themselves the Neandethals did.
Being an author in an era where anyone can freely publish anything and nobody reads it reduces my intrinsic satisfaction in writing. At best, 100 years from now whatever AI I leave to foster my reputation in a long-term search engine optimization strategy, to flag the world when they happen, will get to say ‘I told you so’. I will join with the millions of others who were nearly-uniquely right about some one thing in their long lives. Some will achieve 2 correct predictions, perhaps I will be among them if I make enough wild predictions.
From this we will achieve a great civilization, able to evaluate the previous few generation’s and improve algorithms for extracting signals from the information flows and avoiding disasters. That is our our governments need to do, just avoid disaster. People can take care of their communities, absent disaster.
Meanwhile I do my duty in our civilization’s collective intelligence as one of the net’s judges of link’s worthiness, the many human decisions that make information management tools such as Google’s Page Rank algorithm work. A level of intellectual tool would be a means of evaluating the range of views the internet allows, the best wisdom of our group minds. Just like this :
*just to remind you, this is a propaganda organ just like all other sources of information, we want to take over your mind with our understandings because it benefits us that you see ‘reality’ the same as we do. For your own good, of course, as our understandings are so much better than other understandings we read. Did you see how clever that mention of Tibetan Buddhism was?