After a discussion at the meetup I think it can be simplified as this
“Hey Dearest Chairman – I have this idea on how we can secure Russian oil, gas, food and financial traffic forever – which would neutralize much of the American advantage over us, without firing a shot”
“How will you do that?”
“We get the Russians to invade Ukraine in a cruel and barbarous fashion – The west will cut them off, which will drive Russia to a competitor for their goods, namely us. We can also see how well the weapons of the west do in actual combat. The best thing is, the Russians don’t even have to win – once these change are made there is no way to go back!”
One undercurrent I got from the Effective Altruists at the conference (there were many) was that EAs (at a base level) are not motivated by the usual social worker reasons, righting wrongs, preventing harm, helping people, etc, but as a way to optimize the distribution of good fortune. Not sure how meaningful that is, but it does produce a marked change in delivery.
A collection of short stories by mysterious and cynical hall of famer Ambrose Bierce
How I Discovered It
I was originally looking up the name “Carcosa” from the series true detective, which led me to the fictional city, which was created by Bierce, and used by HP Lovecraft in a few of his stories. The “An Inhabitant of Carcosa” story was written in 1886. I came across Bierce in Florence King’s With Charity Towards None book in the 90s. I think I read The Devil’s Dictionary then too.
I liked it – it was very uneven with minimal editing, which made some things hard to follow, but kept a mystery around others. Bierce felt uncompelled to end things neatly which has the effect of keeping me as the reader in suspense.
What I Liked About It
I liked the genuine feeling of suspense and periodically dread. I had very little idea of where many of the stories were going – very much a random walk in a horrible place.
What I Didn’t Like About It
Sometime the editing was too minimal – events in the stories made very little sense and a lot of stuff was under introduced.