16
Feb 17

America the beautiful and disunited

From the ever readable Scott Alexander

Just as humanizing the Nazis is a two-way street, so pointing out the bizarre lack of dissent in Nazi Germany is both distressing and encouraging. Distressing because – how could ordinary humans tolerate that? But encouraging because – well, it seems almost possible to imagine a world where something goes wrong and America ends up overtly fascist. Yet even in my worst nightmares I can’t imagine a world where America ends up overtly fascist and nobody is annoying and obstructionist about it. Arendt’s picture of Germany, where the ruling party has 90% approval and dissent is unthinkable – you can’t get there from here. We’re never unanimous about anything.

I thank G-d for the annoying obstructionists, for the nitpickers, for the devil’s advocates, for the people who hear something that’s obviously true and strain to come up with an absurd thought experiment where it might not be, for the reflexive contrarians, for the people who always vote third party, for the people who urge you to sign petitions on whitehouse.gov because “then the President has to respond”, for the people who have two hundred guns in their basement “just in case”, for the people who say “well, actually…” all the time, for the mayors of sanctuary cities and the clerks who refuse to perform gay weddings, for the people who think being banned on Twitter is a violation of their human rights, and for the people who swear eternal hostility to other people on the same side who agree with them on 99% of everything. On the spectrum from “totally ungovernable” to “vulnerable to Nazism”, I think that we’ve erred in the right direction.

I’ve long maintained that any time “America comes together” means that something absolutely terrible has happened, or we’re about to do something very stupid.

Do read the whole article – particularly about Denmark and Bulgaria


21
Jan 17

Random thoughts – inauguration day

Or the marches and protests anyway. the best way to change the world is to hang out with people who already agree with you root and branch.

A couple thoughts –

1. Since the whole John Lewis thing happened no one about the supposed Russia hacking.
2. What could the Russian’s have on Trump that could embarrass him at this point? Money laundering perhaps?
3. No one has talked about the Panama papers in months.
4. No one has talked about the OPM hack (supposedly committed by China) in a year.
5. Russian has managed to elevate itself in our eyes from a grouchy, bankrupt regional power to it’s cold war self again, at least in terms of mindshare – all in a few months – Putin’s vanity must be flattered.
6. Talk of Nato withdrawal has been quiet while Russia tensions have escalated
7. Trumps health care picks have some degree of potential


03
Jan 17

First quote of the day in 2017

From this Vox article

My creative endeavors were crap, but there’s always an audience for trainwrecks


29
Dec 16

The only new thing in history is America – Eric Hoffer on Youtube


28
Dec 16

Interesting quotes from Moldbug

From the WikiQuotes page

the modern world has largely replaced religion, defined as the veneration of paranormal beings, with idealism, defined as the veneration of mysterious universal principles.

The artists of today produce kitsch because they’re rebelling against a fictitious power structure by supporting a real one.

[…] the replacement of religion by idealism has allowed people who are essentially religious fanatics to achieve positions of unprecedented temporal supremacy, not only without arousing the alarm of reasonable, scientifically minded writers, but in fact enlisting their enthusiastic support.

Are we really to believe that Marx, on his own, invented the idea that all men are brothers, despite living in a society dominated by a religion whose creed taught exactly that?

Progressives have created a vast set of puppet cultures which enable them to describe their monoculture as a multiculture.


27
Dec 16

Sous Vide


05
Dec 16

One thing about Trump and the alt-right that has gone unsaid

The obvious (to me) parallel to the alt-right and trump is Obama’s “palling around with terrorists” in the 2008.  It was a meaningless statement then, and the alt-right angle is meaningless this year, but meaninglessness hasn’t stopped anyone lately.


02
Dec 16

Quote of the Friday edition

From Thomas Sowell

It may be expecting too much to expect most intellectuals to have common sense, when their whole life is based on their being uncommon — that is, saying things that are different from what everyone else is saying. There is only so much genuine originality in anyone. After that, being uncommon means indulging in pointless eccentricities or clever attempts to mock or shock.

 


01
Dec 16

Trump, lack of strategists, and OODA loop

One unremarked advantage Trump had was the lack of political “infrastructure”, or the hordes of pollsters and consultants that surround candidates.  That let him to push, not necessarily better ideas, but to float a tremendous number of ideas to the public at a rapid clip, keep the popular ones, ditch the unpopular and build a coalition off of what people liked at the time.  All without having to vet everything through interest groups and campaign infrastructure.

Short version – he had a much faster OODA loop for his marketing.

In that sense – I think he will be a role model for other politicians – it’s eerily similar to an Adwords campaign now that I think about it.


16
Nov 16

Quote of the day

From Garrett Hardin

Extremism appears to lead to clear-cut decisions, whereas moderation embarrasses us by emphasizing problems that are yet to be solved.