Mid December saw the 14th meetup of SSC Atlanta – I’ve let it go too long to present a detailed summary, but this one was centered around books and conspiracy theories. We also decided to start a book club perhaps as a secondary meetup – the first book will be The Lessons of History by Will and Arial Durant.
I’ve decided to put random links and timeless classics on the main SSC Atlanta page,as they get referenced quite a bit meeting to meeting.
At one of the earlier meetups the topic arose of the remote possibility of a domestic civil war caused by Social Media divisions – my thoughts on the matter are:
- Social media is really the world’s loudest tranquilizer – people take to FB/Twitter/Reddit/Chans as a substitute to doing something
- The rare people who have the opposite reaction (spurred to action) are loud, terrible and tragic, but by and large the harms of social media are confined to the consumer. On net social media is an activity reducer on par with marijuana or opiates
- Should there be a civil war I think we would find that the split would be 1% Antifa/1% Alt-Right (or whatever they’re called now) 98% people who would not pick a side, but would support whatever harsh measures needed to suppress the two percent. I think the 1980s are a useful example in that regard.
- At this point I don’t think gun ownership is a useful metric of progressiveness – i.e. my immediate neighborhood is both very woke and pretty well armed – I think we would find gun ownership is much more distributed than one might think.
My original thought behind writing this post was that ideological compatibility between one side and law enforcement/military was irrelevant, since both of those professions select highly for following orders much more so than discretion. Now that I write it all out I think that is a moot point.
Thank of a positive mention on the stratechery blog, exactly how would they describe your company? Answers to come soon for my three ideas in development.
At the sight of kids holding up signs advertising their pancake breakfast fundraiser at the school.
Daddy – don’t worry – they might look like homeless people but they’re actually just fifth-graders with signs
We had our monthly SSC Atlanta at the usual spot – topics included
- Tankies – evidently there are enough modern day defenders of Stalin/Lenin/Bolshevism to merit their own derogatory nickname
- Jeffrey Epstein – and the many, many conspiracy theories surrounding his demise
- Reasonable seeming things at the time and place (i.e. the religion of the Aztecs)
Many more things were discussed – but I lost my notes and I can’t recall them specifically right now.
I stumbled across this list of genocides and the raw numbers of everything were surprising – seemingly far more clustered in Europe and more in the 20th century than one would expect.
An interesting notion arose from this Hacker News comment thread about the life and legacy of John von Neumann – specifically the contrast between decision making under certainty (i.e. hindsight) vs decision making under probability. The topic in question was pre-emptive war with the Soviet Union in the late 1940s and early 1950s. After thinking about it for a while I came to the horrible realization that it wasn’t the worst idea in the world. bit actually something of a close call.
I’m left being even more grateful for the presidency of Dwight Eisenhower. The 20th century was a scary time.