Archive for March 18th, 2013

In other news …

Embarrassed History Channel apologizes to “deeply hurt” Satanist community.
(Via Glenn Reynolds)

March 18, 2013admin No Comments »
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Pattern Recognition

There has been enough productive history to know what functional social systems look like, and the basic common factor is obvious. Institutions advance by substituting for trust.

(To the extent we still have any of these things …)
— We have market capitalism because businesspeople can’t be trusted.
— We have experimental science because neither truth intuitions nor scientists can be trusted.
— We have constitutional republicanism because neither political leaders nor the citizenry can be trusted.
— We have freedom of conscience because priests can’t be trusted.
— We have common law because neither legislators nor judges can be trusted.
— We have the blogosphere because the media can’t be trusted.
— We have gold coins buried in the garden because bankers can’t be trusted.
— We have basements packed with semi-automatic rifles because state law enforcement can’t be trusted.

Siding with intelligence has nothing at all to do with trusting, liking, or respecting intelligent people. It is intelligent people, typically, who run the engines of stupidity. ‘Trust, but
verify
‘ is politely euphemistic, and — in truth — wholly inadequate. Distrust, and test, test, test … to destruction wherever possible.

Three theses:
(1) The robust sophistication (or design quality) of any society or social institution is inversely proportional to the the trust it demands. This is not, of course, to be confused with the trust it earns.
(2) In any society capable of institution building, distrust is the principal driver of innovation. Systematization and automation, in general, incarnate distrust.
(3) Productive distrust reaches its apotheosis in the Internet, which routes around everything and everybody that has ever been believed.

March 18, 2013admin 12 Comments »
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Reaction Points (#2)

Spandrell has been asking whether advanced modernity makes an ever larger fraction of society economically redundant. Jim has also been talking about the costs posed by “people of negative economic value” (or, with his signature delicacy, ‘the moron problem’.) It’s a running theme with Moldbug too, and he’s now gone epic on it.
Outside in is Austrian enough to predict that markets clear when they’re not politically screwed over, which would mean the problem isn’t techno-economic at all, but merely one of inequality tolerance. It seems that Federico agrees.

Foseti has been shepherding people towards Scott Alexander’s series on Reaction. The dubiously named ‘thrive/survive’ theory in part two is (really) interesting, but is there anything else going on there worth responding to? Attempts at persuasion welcome.

Most intense mind-meld moment of the week (Jim again):

… obviously China has been moving rightwards ever since the Gang of Four was overthrown, and will probably continue to do so, but they feel really guilty about doing so.

Nineteenth century anglosphere capitalism survived in Shanghai till 1941, long after it had become extinct in the anglosphere, and to some extent survived in Hong Kong to the present day. After the coup, Deng set to work reviving Shanghai capitalism before the show trial of the gang of four had even began, and in this sense, China has become deeply reactionary, preserving some of the best of the west’s past. On the other hand, in another sense they are still a bunch of commies kowtowing to elite white male leftists.

Can China fend off the Cathedral? The future depends on that. Either the CPC goes global PC, or reaction deepens all the way to total recall (that laissez-faire is the translation of a Chinese concept). Here’s one positive indicator. (And a negative one.)

March 18, 2013admin 10 Comments »
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