Natural Law

“Some critics of Morsi argue that the U.S. should let him fail,” reports David Ignatius, as Egypt spirals down the drain.

Let X fail is the cosmic formula for getting policy right.

March 7, 2013admin 4 Comments »
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Cybernetic De-Activation

It really isn’t that complicated:

Once the State enforces quasi-monopolies and cartels, inefficiencies rise because the feedback from reality (i.e. price) has been severed. This is how you get an economy where a biopsy costs $70,000, new fighter aircraft cost $200+ million each (six times the previous top-of-the-line fighter) and a conventional (i.e. non-Ivy League) college education costs $120,000 – $200,000.

March 6, 2013admin 21 Comments »
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Reaction Points (#1)

The concept of world citizenship leads naturally to the progressive antithesis of the Moldbuggian thesis — to all voice, no exit — in a word, to democracy. The world is that from which there is no exit.

Spandrell introduces two engrossing discussion themes to run with. Are contemporary trends in robotics leading to a Marxian revival? (Or: Is atavistic tribalism the wave of the near future?) Also: What do we really think HBD is telling us?

This is a strong candidate for the most thoroughly decent thing I’ve ever read. (It helps that the topic is an unfashionably decent man, and a once-decent country). These remarks (December 29, 2012 at 10:40 pm), however, are pure tantalization: “I’ve been thinking about writing something about the difference between some reactionaries who believe a multi-racial society is possible if we stop pretending that everyone is the same (and make other adjustments, see Singapore or Rhodesia or other historical societies) and white nationalists. I’m in the former camp.” [ditto]
Occam’s Razor lays out the pessimistic case.

Radish has changed formats, so I can open the damn thing at last … (crikes!)

It is really easy to kill cockroaches… yet they exist and prosper. Woolly mammoths are hard (and quite dangerous) to kill, yet they do not exist. Which is bitcoin more like?
— Nick B. Steves (March 5th, 2013 at 7:48 pm)

March 6, 2013admin 24 Comments »
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Bitcoin Horror Stories

Bitcoin Dies, Moldbug ventures, perhaps sometime this year. Following a broad DOJ indictment for money laundering, targeting any and everybody remotely connected with the free currency, the “BTC/USD price falls to 0 and remains there.”

“[R]emains there” — how cute is that? Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Bitcoin R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.

Bitcoin simulates gold, and once ‘mined’ it lasts for ever. If it “falls to 0” it has to remain there, for eternity, because it can never be finished. It can die, but never be destroyed. It’s built for undeath.

‘Moldbug Monetary Theory’ attributes the value of money exclusively to speculation. If the speculators are terrorized sufficiently, BTC drops onto the flatline, and “remains there.” The market would be totally extinguished. What Mao failed to achieve, let alone sustain, USG would somehow accomplish, perhaps by exhibiting greater revolutionary ardor and ruthlessness.

Ruthlessness would certainly be necessary, for the obvious reason that flatline-BTC has zero downside risk. It’s a one-way bet that someone, somewhere, will re-animate it (“nothing is unstable” (thanks to fotrkd for the reminder)). If a genius was designing irresistible speculator-bait, zero-degree bitcoin would be hard to improve upon. It’s free, and it’s only worth nothing if the cops can secure the crypt flawlessly, and forever. Did anyone say ‘free money’?

Speculation messes with time, by bringing the future forward. If undead BTC were ever to be re-awakened, it already has been. Its economic potential flows back down the timeline, modified by a time-preference discount. The feedback becomes strange, and difficult to confidently calculate, but it works as a vitalizing charge, and the corpse unmistakably twitches. Whatever money at t0 is worth, if it’s anything at all, at t0-n it almost certainly can’t be zero.

The Necronomicon describes flatline-BTC with creepy exactitude:

That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange aeons even death may die.

ADDED: An alternative take on Bitcoin and undeath from Yifo Guo, interviewed here (H/T Nick B. Steves, in this comment thread): “… the point is, the idea will never die. Even if bitcoin dies, an alternative will arise, one that addresses the vulnerability that was previously exploited. Then you get bitcoin 2.0.”

March 5, 2013admin 42 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Commerce , Horror


Information is surprise value (improbability). Given that definition, does this article contain any information at all?

March 4, 2013admin 9 Comments »
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Bitcoin vs Leviathan

Moldbug’s prediction: Freedom loses (as usual).

The question is this: Which dominates? The malignancy of Leviathan, or its incompetence? How radically can the metastatic cancer-phase State shape reality in conformity to its vision?

Bitcoin — which is essentially an experiment in Austrian monetary theory — provides the model test-bed in which this question can be lucidly decided. Its current rising fortunes only accelerates the decision. If Bitcoin can’t be stopped, Leviathan is exposed as a paper tiger.

The best way to make the bet, of course, is to buy (or short) BTC. Outside in has been too apathetic to put resources behind its hunches yet, but (for the zilch it’s worth) our intuitions run contra Moldbug on the topic. Compared to Cyberspace, where bitcoin is entrenched, the State is weak, unintelligent, uninformed, parochial, poorly designed, and — in each respect — getting ever more so, in both comparative and absolute terms. The truly stupendous idiocy of Leviathan thoroughly swamps its evil, as is demonstrated every time it tries to get something done.

The digital Outside, in contrast, is already far beyond recall. The germ of a free economy is under construction.

[UF on Bitcoin (June 2011) here]

March 1, 2013admin 107 Comments »

Harsh, but true

This argument is both empirically and rationally impeccable:

If you cooperate to kill and eat large animals, that is a lot more cooperation than if you live on fruit, nuts, and insects.

If you cooperate to make war and genocide, that is a lot more cooperation than if you cooperate to kill large animals.

Chimps and men kill and eat deer, monkeys and suchlike. Chimps and men make war. Therefore the common ancestor of chimps and men made killed and ate large animals, and made war – was a killer ape. The ancestors of men are that branch of the lineage that ate meat more heavily, the ancestors of chimps are that branch of the lineage that ate meat less heavily.

Cooperative killing is the killer application for intelligence.

February 28, 2013admin 19 Comments »
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The Living Faith

Comedy gem of the day, from Simon Jenkins, in the Guardian:

“You can fool a democracy only so long.”

February 28, 2013admin No Comments »
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Foseti writes:

There’s a lot of hand-wringing in these parts of the interwebz about what reactionaries should do.

I have no idea. I certainly have no grand plans to change the world. I like knowing what’s going on around me and I like open discussions – i.e. ones that are not choked to death by political correctness.

However, if I were to suggest a plan, I’d say tell the truth.

His (slightly) more detailed suggestions are also commendable. The Cathedral provokes reaction by mandating fantasy over reality, and there is no doubt much that could be done about that.

There is a sub-question about all this, however, which is scarcely less insistent: What do ‘we’ really want?

More cybernetics, argues the determinedly non-reactionary Aretae. Of course, Outside in agrees. Social and technical feedback machinery is reality’s (only?) friend, but what does the Cathedral care about any of that? It’s winning a war of religion. Compulsory anti-realism is the reigning spirit of the age.

The only way to get more tight-feedback under current conditions is by splitting, in every sense. That is the overwhelming practical imperative: Flee, break up, withdraw, and evade. Pursue every path of autonomization, fissional federalism, political disintegration, secession, exodus, and concealment. Route around the Cathedral’s educational, media, and financial apparatus in each and every way possible. Prep, go Galt, go crypto-digital, expatriate, retreat into the hills, go underground, seastead, build black markets, whatever works, but get the hell out.

Truth-telling already presupposes an escape from the empire of neo-puritan dreams. ‘We’ need to throw open the exit gates, wherever we find them, so the wreck can go under without us. Reaction begins with the proposition that nothing can or should be done to save it. Quit bailing. It’s done. The sooner it sinks the better, so that something else can begin.

More than anything we can say, practical exit is the crucial signal. The only pressure that matters comes from that. To find ways out, is to let the Outside in.

February 28, 2013admin 30 Comments »
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Big Bang — an appreciation

A few reasons to love the Big Bang:

— Time turns edgy again.

— The steady state model proved unsustainable — the most exquisite irony ever?

— Physical theories now have cosmic dates. For instance, the still-elusive unifying theory of quantum gravitation corresponds to the Planck Epoch, when the universe was still far smaller than an atomic nucleus, compelling gravity to operate at the quantum scale. Similarly, particle accelerator technology becomes deep time regression.

— The Planck Epoch is really wild: “During the Planck era, the Universe can be best described as a quantum foam of 10 dimensions containing Planck length sized black holes continuously being created and annihilated with no cause or effect. In other words, try not to think about this era in normal terms.”

— The void animates. Sten Odenwald quotes UCSB physicist Frank Wilczek: “The reason that there is something instead of nothing is that nothing is unstable”.

February 26, 2013admin 5 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Cosmos , Number , Templexity