Distrust

Every public institution of any value is based on distrust.

That’s an elementary proposition, as far as this blog is concerned. It’s worth stating nakedly, since it is probably less obvious to others. That much follows from it is unlikely to be controversial, even among those who find it less than compelling, or simply repulsive.

One major source of obscurity is the category of ‘high trust cultures’ — with which neoreactionaries tend naturally to identify. There is plenty to puzzle over here, admittedly. This post will make no serious effort to even scratch the surface of the questions that arise. Instead, it contends that the culture primarily commended for its trustfulness has been conspicuously innovative in the development of trustless institutions. These begin with the foundations of Occidental reason, and especially the rigorous criterion of logical and mathematical proof. A proof substitutes for trust. In place of a simple declaration, it presents (a demanded) demonstration. The compliant response to radical distrust has epitomized Western conceptions of rationality since classical antiquity.

The twin pillars of industrial modernity (i.e. of capitalism) are trustless institutions. Natural science is experimental because it is distrustful, and thus demonstrative. It raises the classical demand for proof to a higher level of empirical skepticism, by extending distrust even to rational constructions, in cases where they cannot be critically tested against an experimental criterion. Only pure mathematics, and the most scrupulously formalized logical propositions, escape this demand for replicable evidence. The ultimate ground of the natural scientific enterprise is the presupposition that scientists should in no case be trusted, except through their reproducible results. Anything that requires belief is not science, but something else. Similarly, the market mechanism is an incarnation of trustless social organization. Caveat emptor. Capitalists, like scientists, exist to be distrusted. Whatever of their works cannot survive testing to destruction in the market place deservedly perish. Reputation, in its modern version, has to be produced through demonstration.

Prior to its demotic ruination — through positive trust in the people — distinctively modern republican governance was similarly founded in distrust. As formulated by John Adams (1772): “There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.” It has not been an excess of distrust that has brought this sage recommendation to nought.

For those seeking higher authority, Psalm 118:8-9 (ESV): “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.” (My usual fanatical trust in the KJV betrayed me on this occasion.)

An appeal for trust is a reliably fatal failure mode for all public institutions. Trustless transaction is the future, and its name is Bitcoin. The deep cultural momentum is already familiar. Total depravity is the key to world historical predestination, and it is routed through the blockchain.

December 10, 2014admin 44 Comments »
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44 Responses to this entry

  • E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Says:

    “trust them as far as you can throw them” the saying goes.

    We’re reading Athanasius’ “On the Incarnation” and nowhere does Athanasius make an appeal to trust but heaps on evidence and uses as close to pure demonstration as possible (Aristotle would be proud.) It is because Athanasius nowhere says “you can trust me” (or is that, you can have CONFIDENCE in me) that we can trust him.

    I have a better one for you RE: scripture. Matthew 5:

    33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:

    34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:

    35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.

    36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.

    37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

    Demonstration as the only sure foundation of trust. (The whole ‘you can’t make a hair white or black’ seems a jab at claims that involve things we don’t control; a staple of “trusty” public institutions)

    [Reply]

    Posted on December 10th, 2014 at 4:28 pm Reply | Quote
  • Lesser Bull Says:

    The institutions you cite generalize trust to an extent. Trust in reason is trust in oneself and in the intelligibility and consistency of the universe. Trust in the market is trust in the ability of people to respond to incentives and in the natural potentials of the economy. If the size of the economy is inexorably declining, for instance, then you’d reject market mechanisms and grab what you can with both hands.

    [Reply]

    Posted on December 10th, 2014 at 5:31 pm Reply | Quote
  • Artxell Knaphni Says:

    You’re forgetting a culture’s need for mythos: marketing & monopolistic manipulations.

    Valorising “distrust” merely turns the culture of trust itself into an ur-commodity, the aymptotic demand for which, configures a scenario of incompetent implementations & chaotic promises, all leading to necessary disappointment. Anomie follows, for all who cannot exploit such a scenario.
    Essentially, Edward Bernays’ cage of desire becomes the governing principle.
    If mythic desire is taken out of the equation, would a more considered structure of ‘needs’ be sufficient to power a technocommercial capitalism? Given that consumer capitalism is necessarily bound to implement psychologies of ‘need’ that are conducive to its own operations, is there not a “slippery slope” between any considered structure of ‘needs’ & a general profit-driven proliferation? Without huge profits, how can technocommercialism be financed? Not everyone can be as disciplined as Singapore or South Korea in the intelligent distribution of energies. In any case, intelligent distribution can only go so far. If ‘Neoreaction’ truly wishes to ‘exit’ from the ‘masses’, it not only forgoes the profits that they generate, but it limits itself to a far more difficult self-exploitation, which would, in effect, be a war. This is only one reason why my first comment here, quoted: “There can be only one.”

    Resorting to scientific models of ‘reproducibility’ is redundant. ‘Reproducibility’ could be said to be the essence of ‘trust’, in that it constitutes an imagined ‘reliability’. but such a ‘reliability’ is the essence of Platonic desire (forms), the commodity, & the ‘robot’ (the ur-slave).

    The USA is already an essential exemplification of ‘distrust’, that’s why it has always been foremost in producing conspiracy theories.

    [Reply]

    Scharlach Reply:

    Your sophistry are fail.

    [Reply]

    Artxell Knaphni Reply:

    It’s good to see your new terse style of expression, Scharlach.
    Ideas, thinking, logic: those things never really worked for you, did they? lol

    [Reply]

    genghiskhan Reply:

    “Without huge profits, how can technocommercialism be financed? Not everyone can be as disciplined as Singapore or South Korea in the intelligent distribution of energies. In any case, intelligent distribution can only go so far.”

    That’s a load of hogwash. Singapore and SK are separated by an order of magnitude. Go up two orders of magnitude from SK and you have a China sized distribution of energies. Clearly at the China scale the ‘intelligent distribution of energies’ gets shaky but it is definitely workable in polities from Singapore all the way up to Japan. As long as there are multiple competing polities mistakes made by a polity will be corrected by decisions in another polity.

    Technological and scientific advancement do not require American consumer-capitalism. Radically different means of supporting the tech/sci endeavors are viable. Do no mistake the contingent and path dependent nature of history for unshakeable realities. We are merely at some local maxima in the fitness landscape…

    [Reply]

    Artxell Knaphni Reply:

    [genghiskhan]: That’s a load of hogwash.

    {AK}: What else does one feed to greedy colonial pigs? lol

    [genghiskhan]: “Singapore and SK are separated by an order of magnitude. Go up two orders of magnitude from SK and you have a China sized distribution of energies.
    Clearly at the China scale the ‘intelligent distribution of energies’ gets shaky but it is definitely workable in polities from Singapore all the way up to Japan.”

    {AK}: Firstly, greater scale does not necessarily introduce “shakiness”: the issue is not reducible to mere variances in governance. The ‘successes’ of Singapore & South Korea have much to do with a history of astute opportunisms concomitant with their prior geopolitical significances: military & trade, strategic values. It should be noted, though, that they are not self-sufficient. http://www.ibtimes.com/south-korea-denies-it-agreed-import-100000-migrant-workers-malawi-1286351

    [genghiskhan]: As long as there are multiple competing polities mistakes made by a polity will be corrected by decisions in another polity.

    {AK}: Perhaps, in an idealised simulation, but that isn’t the way it works in multi-national capitalism.

    [genghiskhan]: Technological and scientific advancement do not require American consumer-capitalism. Radically different means of supporting the tech/sci endeavors are viable. Do no mistake the contingent and path dependent nature of history for unshakeable realities. We are merely at some local maxima in the fitness landscape…”

    {AK}: I agree. But if you ignore “the contingent and path dependent nature of history” in favour of “unshakeable realities”, you’re risking a political idealism without historical substantiation. I’m not against that, necessarily, but ‘Neoreaction’s’ clarion call is “Reality”: yet their so-called “realities” invariably turn out to be bad or biased theoretical interpretation.
    You’re not going to get rid of “American consumer-capitalism”; it has the biggest ‘defence’ expenditure
    And how many once “unshakeable realities” have been well & truly shook?
    Do you know what the forms of future “fitness” are going to be?

    In any case, the Singapore/South Korea thing was not a central point.

    [Reply]

    vxxc2014 Reply:

    @AK,

    “a culture’s need for mythos: marketing & monopolistic manipulations. ”

    That’s a touch sociopathic. Not that I think you are, I just think like so many of our bright young cropped poppies you’ve adopted sociopath as a model. It’s a failure, if you insist on walking this cynical path I suggest you look into psychopath. Higher Status and long term success personally and for selection of genes. They have utility.

    The need for mythos =/= marketing & monopolistic manipulations.

    Hope that wasn’t too terse.

    [Reply]

    Artxell Knaphni Reply:

    @AK,
    “That’s a touch sociopathic. Not that I think you are, I just think like so many of our bright young cropped poppies you’ve adopted sociopath as a model. It’s a failure, if you insist on walking this cynical path I suggest you look into psychopath. Higher Status and long term success personally and for selection of genes. They have utility.

    The need for mythos =/= marketing & monopolistic manipulations.

    Hope that wasn’t too terse.”

    I’m not being cynical, vxxc2014. Referring to cynical discourses, when they’re applicable, is not necessarily ‘being’ cynical, it’s a preliminary to working through their logic.
    It only refers to contemporary social appropriations of the ‘mythic’, for which cynicism is often justified, not the ‘wellsprings’ of mythos. You’re right, I should’ve been clearer.

    “You’re forgetting a culture’s need for mythos: which Modernity so often administers through marketing & monopolistic manipulations: the “Society of the Spectacle”.

    As to sociopathy & the psychopathological, these are problematic. Look at the course of Occidental culture, does it measure up to any criteria of good health, or conception of balance, that you might suggest?
    Do you think NL’s “Dark Enlightenment” isn’t cynical, sociopathic, or psychopathological.
    Is NL being cynical with: “Total depravity is the key to world historical predestination, and it is routed through the blockchain”?

    No, vxxc2014, you weren’t too “terse”.

    [Reply]

    vxxc2014 Reply:

    Outside In? Yes it is psychopathic..from a safe distance. Real suffering changes people when they see it. He would change. All of this is from a safe distance.

    In his defense he believes humanity needs to be replaced, and is a member of the movement – Transhumanism/AI with ruthless techno cap thrown in – that advocates for it.

    I’m willing to be quite ruthless and violent but not cynical. I would probably be labeled “Trad” which fits. I also want workable solutions with what we have – as opposed to what we haven’t – and I’m not ready to write off Western Civ, America, even England.

    We need to be men, and we’ve known how to do that for a very long time. About 3500 years ago when we invented writing we began to record men being men. The innovation of us being women, our women being men and all the rest would have to wait until just this last 50 years. We’ve forgotten not just what was ancient but what’s actually in our genes.

    Different T Reply:

    I also want workable solutions with what we have – as opposed to what we haven’t – and I’m not ready to write off Western Civ, America, even England.

    We need to be men, and we’ve known how to do that for a very long time. About 3500 years ago when we invented writing we began to record men being men. The innovation of us being women, our women being men and all the rest would have to wait until just this last 50 years. We’ve forgotten not just what was ancient but what’s actually in our genes.

    Something is quite puzzling in what the “Trads want.” Out of curiosity, if such “men” were granted you, what do you think the single biggest demand they would require from “Earth”? And could “Western Civ, America, even England” fulfill that demand?

    Hence, Robo-God for Land, Buddhism for Art.

    Aeroguy Reply:

    vxxc2014,
    Out of curiosity at what point in Roman history would you say marked their decline as irrecoverable and collapse inevitable? Or is it that you think the Romans could have rebounded at any point, they simply just didn’t.

    Posted on December 10th, 2014 at 6:19 pm Reply | Quote
  • MLR Says:

    I’ve mentioned before that one can’t Rx or NRx without grasping the concepts presented by Iain McGilchrist, here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFs9WO2B8uI

    and expounded on to great effect in this talk:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXiHStLfjP0

    where he describes the poisons of a SJW society run amok to a room of self-styled Social Justice Warriors, to which they titter with what can only be described as the most delicious kind of shamed, knowing laughter.

    Modernity has been reinforcing a view of the world that increasingly reflects the way the Left hemisphere perceives and pays attention.

    “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” – Albert Einstein

    [Reply]

    Posted on December 10th, 2014 at 6:23 pm Reply | Quote
  • peter connor Says:

    @Lesser Bull If we trust in reason, which we should while always entertaining the possibility that our reasoning is incorrect, then it will be impossible to trust in markets that are constantly manipulated and distorted by Hobbesian government. Either we apply reason to everything, or nothing….but in fact, reason has become unreliable because the “facts” we are being fed are frequently completely false.

    [Reply]

    Posted on December 10th, 2014 at 7:52 pm Reply | Quote
  • Distrust | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on December 10th, 2014 at 8:25 pm Reply | Quote
  • Handle Says:

    “Trustless transaction is the future, and its name is Bitcoin.”

    Actually, the way old financial institutions innovated with ‘trustless transaction’ to deal with fraud and breach and ensure the aggrieved party gets his money back, is chargeback to point out just one of many examples of these trustless remedies.

    But Bitcoin doesn’t have it, and if some anonymous, untraceable stranger screws you, you’ve got no recourse and you’re simply out of luck.

    So you’ve got to place much more trust in your counterparties that you do with the conventional financial system, where you really can leap before you look with much less risk, because you have these remedies.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Bitcoin is ‘trustless’ in the strict sense that the protocol does not offer players a defect option.

    Szabo’s distinction between ‘reactive’ and ‘proactive’ contractual security (here) is highly relevant. A proactively secure contract does not require a (reactive) restitution or punishment mechanism.

    [Reply]

    Handle Reply:

    Sure, but many commercial transactions are not proactively evaluable. Proactive systems work when you are dealing with a party with a robust public reputation or if there is a third-party oracle (another trust-enabling institution) that can independently validate the execution of the contract and transfer the escrow.

    But having a robust public reputation means that if you are doing something legal, why not exist in the open like Amazon, and if you are doing something illicit, then your attempts any anonymity and untraceability will fail because the government will find and break you the minute your reputation rises to the necessary level. It’s already happened a few times, neh?

    And most commercial evaluation cannot be outsourced at costs that are very low compared to the value of the transaction. For most trades, only the purchaser recipient of an order can tell whether the product meets the terms of the deal. There are countless legitimate reasons for this, including problems in shipment, fraud, or simply error on the part of both parties.

    Disputes are unavoidable, which means you near arbiters with ability to command recourse. But you can’t coerce some anonymous, untraceable entity with money in hand to do that. You trusted, you took a risk, and now you have no remedy.

    Which means that reactive, remedial mechanisms are indispensable to enable people to be more trusting of each other in the transaction phase, and more honest with each other in the execution of the contract (since fraudsters are worried about these remedies, which tends to shake a lot of them out of the marketplace).

    So, while there may be some market space in the seams and cracks, most of it is covered well and even better by the conventional financial system, which makes digital currency models an insufficiently killer app.

    The point of a high-trust society is that the entire environment functions at a higher equilibrium (and a much more pleasant and enjoyable one) because everyone has coordinated to solve a collective-action problem by Outsourcing Trust-Violating Penalties to a reliable institution. That reduces individual transaction and security costs and risks enough to enable a higher velocity of commerce, and the gains from the extra trade are more than enough to pay for the public institution’s costs.

    For example, one proactive way of dealing with security is for everyone to turn their home into a fortress. Ever see the doors in France? But capital allocated that way in not involved in consumption or production and the slows growth. So if the security effect can be accomplished via cheaper law enforcement, then the neighborhood is both richer and more beautiful.

    If everyone can rely on everyone else being forced to get vaccinated, or that the public good of mosquito spraying is being provided, then people don’t have to sequester themselves in their homes and minimize public interactions to avoid disease.

    What happened in Northwest Europe was the co-evolution of biology, culture, and the establishment of robust and effective Trust-Violation-Penalizing Public Institutions that permitted a much easier, pleasant, and fluid interchange, personally or commercially, with strangers, and without much need to incur the costs of private evaluation. The trick was spinning a narrative that got everybody to accept the legitimacy of that institution.

    But that relies on trust in the system that can reliably receive reports of trust-violation, find the ‘strangers’, and bring them to heel. That’s where trust comes from – the most efficient party enforcing the rules of a friendly game, so it doesn’t become an unfriendly game.

    [Reply]

    vxxc2014 Reply:

    Yes. We don’t have a systems problem, we have a people problem. The chief trust violating of every contract, cent and transaction is the 3d party trust enforcement was outsourced to – our government and elites. That’s half the people problem. The other half is us for knowing it and not acting like men.

    Mind you I think standing to duty is something we’ll be forced to do and that this is already hard baked. For not all men are gone it seems. At the moment only seems. If it remains so then we are socially engineered into the night. So we are forced to act or perish utterly, even our seed gone.

    We don’t have a systems problem, we have a personnel problem and half the personnel problem is us.

    Posted on December 10th, 2014 at 8:26 pm Reply | Quote
  • Scharlach Says:

    I wonder if there’s a way for this conversation to connect with the public institution of law enforcement, or if that would force an equivocation onto the concept of “trust” being applied in this particular context.

    Is there a NRx theory of law enforcement (in the sense of enforcement of law, which is much broader than law enforcement in the Miami Vice sense)? One would think that an opt-in/opt-out society would have scant need of law enforcement, but surely, that’s idealizing our preferred political ecology into pure utopia.

    [Reply]

    Alrenous Reply:

    Under steel anarchy, law enforcement is a prosaic subscription good. You subscribe to a court, which then defends your person and/or property. Or, generally, resolves disputes. Property is reasonable expectation of control – the court provides the control, and decides what is and isn’t reasonable. If you find their standards acceptable, you subscribe. This level of security doesn’t need contiguous territories, and indeed there’s no reason one can’t have one court for person and another for property.

    Generally when you patronize a shop you’ll see a sticker on their door letting you know which court they subscribe to. I would expect the courts will be broadly similar, it’s not as if e.g. cellphone carriers are wildly diverse, but in any case this way it’s possible to boycott a court that you find offensive for whatever reason; stay off property they cover. Shops might in turn ask their patrons to declare a court, if the diversity is high enough. Maybe a sticker on a credit card or something, nothing too out of the way.
    Similarly when you meet someone new you might ask which court they use after asking about their job, which will give you a sense of what kind of etiquette they prefer.
    In this way unreasonable courts will be peacefully pressured off the market, as their patrons find themselves unable to do business or find partners.

    It is also hardly impossible to provide your own security. I expect it’s unwise, but half the point of steel anarchy is to let Gnon tell me what he thinks, rather than me trying to tell him what he thinks.

    If a market wants a court that provides special treatment for blacks, they can go right ahead. Let’s see what Gnon really thinks about that.

    Presumably the contract will also demand certain duties from the patron. Perhaps turning over evidence for a fair fee, and submitting to detainment if their court orders it. Courts without some equivalent will find it hard to deal with other courts, who will likely advise their patrons to Exit any relations with persons covered by the rogue firm, given that protection can’t be guaranteed.

    [Reply]

    Scharlach Reply:

    I think this is a good beginning outline of a NRx court system. It extends to prison as well, “subscription prisons” being one of the best ideas in Snow Crash

    But what of the system that brings people before the courts? Now I am talking about enforcement of law in the Miami Vice sense.

    [Reply]

    Alrenous Reply:

    I expect the courts will hire their own muscle. Standard sheriff stuff.

    blogospheroid Reply:

    Check out Paul Birch’s arguments about how anarcho capitalism is subject to restitution ratio instability.

    http://www.libertarian.co.uk/lapubs/legan/legan028.pdf

    [Reply]

    Alrenous Reply:

    Humans are rational enough. As a court pushes restitution higher, their patrons become riskier to deal with – both in chance of litigation and in the costs of litigation. At some point it simply isn’t worth the risk and stress. While I’m not disputing that greed pushes restitution higher, greed is costly, as are all vices.

    Imagine a store where, if you trip and knock over a jam jar, they can sue you for a couple grand. Their incentive is to make the floors slippery, the shelves uneven, and to prosecute every time. Your incentive is to never go in. Your Exit power defeats their greed.

    Humans have a sense of fairness, which pressures restitution toward the proportionate; even-handed courts will have a small advantage just for that reason. (Relative advantage. I want to remain agnostic about the total for a bit yet.)

    Gotta say I’m impressed with this Paul Birch guy. He needs more quantitative and less qualitative, and to spread his net wider, but his thinking feels remarkably clear. We seem to share the intuition that city-states are reasonably stable economic units. I also expect small confederacies of half a dozen cities.

    blogospheroid Reply:

    @Alrenous @10:43

    Paul Birch’s writing was very impressive when I encountered it first. Stuff like money being equity, I read there much before Moldbug (it could be just my chronology of reading it). His solution of free banking, (bank notes become equity in the event of a bank run) is one that is being re-discovered or re-created under several different headings in this current crisis. (Caveat – the soln. may not be original to him)
    Also, his critique of georgism was partially responsible for turning me away from georgism as a deontological imperative to advocating for competitive government, so that people can get a better deal and cities who give better customer service get more residents.

    Alrenous Reply:

    On reflection, it’s better to say equity is currency rather than money is equity.

    All forms of currency are some percentage share of a levitated good. The two differences between a stock and a coin are that stocks aren’t necessarily levitated and that coins can be traded easily.

    I think stocks are levitated, though.

    Posted on December 10th, 2014 at 8:58 pm Reply | Quote
  • Nyan Sandwich Says:

    This is a very interesting thread. Why do you think cultures with such low-trust institutions do in fact end up with high social trust? For example, in a middle class white neighborhood, I can leave my bike unlocked and expect it not to be stolen unless some diversity has leaked through the cracks.

    [Reply]

    Scharlach Reply:

    One does not live in a middle class neighborhood unless one has negotiated a certain economic position within a complex of low-trust institutions (i.e., gotten a mortgage from a bank, secured a salary from a corporation, paid HOA fees, and so on). Low-trust institutions act as gateways for ideas, for capital, for individuals. A middle class neighborhood is a collection of individuals who have, in theory, passed through the gateway of these institutions, and therefore one can trust this collection of individuals to be of a certain quality.

    [Reply]

    Was Enlightened Reply:

    “One does not live in a middle class neighborhood unless one has negotiated a certain economic position within a complex of low-trust institutions (i.e., gotten a mortgage from a bank, secured a salary from a corporation, paid HOA fees, and so on). ”

    But I would expect similarly virtuous behavior to exist in a small American town of 100 or 150 years ago. Yet many of those people had not gotten a mortgage, or been employed by a large corporation.

    Nor would I expect a correlation to exist. Would it be rational to say of an old lady down the street, “she’s never worked for any enterprise bigger than the local mom and pop store, and her husband paid cash for their house– maybe you shouldn’t trust her.”

    Perhaps the answer to this post is that it is necessary to be low-trust in large public spaces. In a small group, one can afford to be high-trust.

    [Reply]

    Lesser Bull Reply:

    *Why do you think cultures with such low-trust institutions do in fact end up with high social trust?*

    Two reasons. The first and main reason is that cultures with low social trust end up with even lower trust institutions or no institutions at all. “Low-trust institutions” is high trust among strangers.

    The second is that institutions that force you act trustworthy probably make you actually more trustworthy on the margin and probably make you think of other people as more trustworthy on the margin.

    [Reply]

    sviga lae Reply:

    The key insight here is that trustfulness and trustlessness are not antagonistic but are in fact complementary. They both contribute to greater degrees of certainty of outcomes, that permit complex civilisational structures to exist by extending the pareto frontier of risk/reward.

    [Reply]

    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    By not trusting in a certain context, you require the delivery of results (proof). The paradoxical statement most often used is ‘trust, but verify.’ (That means, actually – don’t actually trust – verify. But you can’t say that.)

    The other situation, radical trust, often devolves into simply delivering no results for long periods of time but ‘trusting’ results will come. The end result is any possibility of trust is destroyed.

    [Reply]

    Posted on December 10th, 2014 at 9:44 pm Reply | Quote
  • Alan J. Perrick Says:

    This is a good one, and one can see the results of this in the endless advertising that demotist politics brings.

    Maybe that’s why people could find it repulsive? Since salesmanship can be very competitive and against your readers sensibilities. Can’t be sure, but it was interesting especially since the blog posts here are free and newly written. Thanks.

    A.J.P.

    [Reply]

    Posted on December 10th, 2014 at 11:49 pm Reply | Quote
  • Billl Says:

    If you write a book on trust I will buy it.

    [Reply]

    Posted on December 11th, 2014 at 2:42 am Reply | Quote
  • Erebus Says:

    I agree completely with your comments on science. That said, it used to be that you could take a published scientific study and trust to replicate it if you closely followed the methods described therein. These days the issue is less straightforward. There is a lot of intentional fraud; the peer-review system has become overwhelmed and is now largely ineffective, so it often doesn’t catch mistakes or omissions; there are a lot of fraudulent and predatory pay-to-publish journals; lastly, even in esteemed journals like Nature, methods are often obscured via imprecise language, via omission, or for commercial purposes. Then there’s the fact that the journals generally don’t like publishing negative results — for instance, Nature published (and later retracted) that famously fraudulent STAP cell paper, but they wouldn’t publish a paper released a few months thereafter that tried to replicate it without success.
    …So it has become necessary to read the literature very critically.

    It’s also worth mentioning that most chemical/biological supply houses are not entirely trustworthy, and that every scientific purchased should be thoroughly tested upon receipt. This paper gives good advice along with a couple of interesting anecdotes:
    “Although it may seem trivial, it is always worth checking to make sure that the compound you think you have is really what you have. A fragment may simply be incorrectly registered in a database. More seriously, a purchased compound may not be what it says it is; both the authors have experienced this. If you are lucky, any follow-up chemistry will fail. If not, it might work, but not give you what you think you have. Depending on what your QC processes are, the error can propagate quite some way. In one example, a compound purchased for inclusion in a fragment library was found to be an isomer of the structure claimed by the vendor; worryingly, despite unambiguous data proving the catalog structure was incorrect, the vendor refused to remove the compound from sale ‘because no-one else had complained’ (personal communication). In another particularly notorious example, more than a dozen vendors were discovered to be selling the wrong isomer of the clinical stage kinase inhibitor bosutinib.”

    I’d also note that scientists tend to jealously guard their research prior to publication. Everything I do with collaborators is behind a wall of NDAs and agreements with respect to future patent assignment. Research groups working in the same field, but for different companies or institutions, are not comrades but competitors — and if there’s anything I can do to throw them some red herrings and lead them astray, I’ll have to seriously consider it.

    It’s certainly true that distrust is now the norm in science and engineering.

    [Reply]

    Alrenous Reply:

    Thanks for the data.

    [Reply]

    Posted on December 11th, 2014 at 6:16 am Reply | Quote
  • blogospheroid Says:

    @admin,

    Am I being blocked? I tried replying to one of the replies on this thread and have not got through. If that it the case, please mention which post of mine triggered this?

    On the main topic, Bitcoin still requires you to trust the high level languages and the computer systems on which it is built. Objectively speaking, it’s still a fair way away from completely trustless. But what it has been is resilient to many attacks, which functionally is pretty much equivalent.

    You should check out Vitalik Buterin’s recent post.

    https://blog.ethereum.org/2014/11/25/proof-stake-learned-love-weak-subjectivity/

    [Reply]

    blogospheroid Reply:

    Sorry, got through. Must have been temporary. Many apologies rendered to our gracious host.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    None of the regulars here are ever going to be blocked without warning and explanation — you can take that to the bank (or even the Bitcoin exchange).

    [Reply]

    Posted on December 11th, 2014 at 7:54 am Reply | Quote
  • vxxc2014 Says:

    Absolutely Brilliant. Distrust is the Foundation of Science and Capitalism, show us the Proof.

    [Reply]

    Posted on December 11th, 2014 at 9:59 am Reply | Quote
  • vxxc2014 Says:

    One disagreement here; “Prior to its demotic ruination — through positive trust in the people — distinctively modern republican governance was similarly founded in distrust.”

    America’s ruin did not come from the People, it came through her elites. The People’s government ends in 1933, it was called Democracy in America, whose best cataloging and description comes from DeTocqueville. It wasn’t pure democracy but a Republic that extended the franchise broadly. When it gave women the vote in 1920 at the first crisis it was handed over to a President for Life in 1932 who immediately began to rule as elected Dictator and handed over [with the Supreme Courts help] governance of America and most key National Institutions to Administrative Elites. The New Deal is neither democracy nor republic but an administrative government that holds elections and does what it thinks best.

    In our present time this administrative government does what’s best for itself, and the elites.

    The ruin came from elites, and spread throughout the American Hegemony. Sadly.

    The positive trust that proved ruinous was the peoples trust in their elites. For 30 years they were never better governed. For the last 50 years dysfunctional, for the the last 20 years pillaged and looted, betrayed. Mind you that positive trust once given was so arranged that it could never be recalled. Not without war will we get sanity again.

    We are blest that at their first swing at tyranny they’ve made enemies of their own Police, Military, Veterans, the Majority Demographic [which arms itself], standing their Tyranny on Paper Legs of Legal Witchunts.

    [Reply]

    Posted on December 11th, 2014 at 10:10 am Reply | Quote
  • vxxc2014 Says:

    None of these new systems – which would cost us all vastly in blood and treasure to make real – solve the problem. We have no systems problem, we have a personnel problem. Half the personnel problem is our failure to confront and check evil. Speaking that it is evil is a good first step but then without action it’s not only meaningless but dangerous. Danger incurred without anything gained.

    We can’t simply change systems without dealing with the people who have and are destroying every system they’re in, and profiting from the destruction. Gleefully.

    NRxn is [mostly] still in a loop of getting there from the terrible Here by [magic/miracles/crash] and usually will reply with pass the popcorn. You are the popcorn. The people holding the handle over the stove will remain the Cathedral. They don’t go away unless they are forced to go away, making any systems change wasted energy and indeed simply in practice opening another series of scams. Healthcare reform is a great example. Nothing was done about the predators, fraudsters and criminals, tyrants who warped Healthcare into a corrupt enterprise wherever they touch it. They now have through Healthcare not control of 1/6 of the economy, they have an accounting of every cent in it. =} that is through the HHS Data Hub. Why they have record tax collections, why ACA hired 16,000 new IRS agents. It’s already impossible to hide any recorded transactions. ACA/HHS Data Hub is the American Domesday Book with every American Hide in it.

    The only thing that’s Proof against these people is their destruction. That’s the only Proof against criminals since time began. You can’t simply give them new rules and leave them at large. {== kindly put that in your NRxn Law Enforcement concept.

    All these systems don’t even exchange the old boss for the new boss. They give the same bosses more opportunities to squeeze and control.

    We don’t have a systems problem, we have an Evil People problem. They must be destroyed or they destroy us all. It’s that simple.

    [Reply]

    Posted on December 11th, 2014 at 1:24 pm Reply | Quote
  • Artxell Knaphni Says:

    [vxxc2014]: “Outside In? Yes it is psychopathic..from a safe distance. Real suffering changes people when they see it. He would change. All of this is from a safe distance.

    In his defense he believes humanity needs to be replaced, and is a member of the movement – Transhumanism/AI with ruthless techno cap thrown in – that advocates for it.”

    {AK}: I’m not suggesting that NL or “OI” are “psychopathic”. I am suggesting that NL, through “OI”, attempts to analyse “psychopathological” tendencies in culture, albeit through his “Dark Enlightenment” filter. The degrees to which we are all affected by such contemporary conditions is another debate.
    As to his alleged “belief” that there is a “humanity” that “needs to be replaced” by “Transhumanism/AI with ruthless techno cap”, it could sound like the substitution of one delusion for another.

    [vxxc2014]: “I’m willing to be quite ruthless and violent but not cynical. I would probably be labeled “Trad” which fits. I also want workable solutions with what we have – as opposed to what we haven’t – and I’m not ready to write off Western Civ, America, even England.

    We need to be men, and we’ve known how to do that for a very long time. About 3500 years ago when we invented writing we began to record men being men. The innovation of us being women, our women being men and all the rest would have to wait until just this last 50 years. We’ve forgotten not just what was ancient but what’s actually in our genes.”

    {AK}: vxxc2014, you shouldn’t have to be anything but what you are. Why allow yourself to be coerced into self-distortion? Why worry about labelling? Though I can understand that we live in a culture that does so worry. In one sense, “Transhumanism/AI” is that ‘worry’…

    [Reply]

    Posted on December 12th, 2014 at 5:21 pm Reply | Quote

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