Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Note on Fascism and the Future 3

The first one was better than this one.
"A good many of the people who liked to insist that Weimar Germany was a fascist state got to find out—in many cases, at the cost of their lives—that there really is a difference between a troubled, dysfunctional, and failing representative democracy and a totalitarian state"
I'll spare you the rest of the article; no, he never justifies the link between fascism and prison camps. I fail to see how a charismatic leader or a uniformed militia imply prison camps in any way that democracy does not. I've already established that totalitarianism is hardly unique to fascism.

I'm sure the Japanese in the west would find it hard to tell the difference too.

Europeans have cultural resistance to alcoholism. For example, the taboos against drinking before noon or drinking alone. Anglo-Saxons have less enumerable resistances to democracy, having been first inoculated by its early, less virulent forms. This is perhaps the only thing that stopped us from going Auschwitz on the Japanese. Or perhaps, had the war gone the other way...

Similarly, these resistances are what stop the inherently totalitarian democracies from realizing their dreams.


I found his story wildly implausible. Hitler is not adaptive here, it does no good to copypasta his story. Details are good, though. In principle, someone could correct the details, but that would mean profoundly understanding Hitler. Mussolini's story is quite different in detail, but ultimately very similar. An American fascist would seem much, much different - to avoid memetic antibodies, if for no other reason. But, much as atheism is just Christianity sans book and god, an American fascist sans prison sentence, shitty book, and snazzy uniform would still be a fascist.

However, Greer has no reason not to think an American fascist might be a good thing.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Juxtaposition X: In Which I'm Wrong Several Times in a Row

I wanted to find that Alexander's data wasn't all buggered, but unfortunately I kept finding new reasons for cynicism. It doesn't help that I'm bad at counting.

This kind of iterative analysis is normal for me. It's unfortunate that it seems I work best by confidently asserting a position, (it naturally causes me to question myself). Seems like it would be misleading to those I confidently state it at. On the plus side I never forget that I'm wrong all the time, due to proving myself wrong more often than right.

On issues not internal comparison; this is not an argument. I'm simply reporting my observations. I'm not saying you should trust them, but saying I shouldn't trust my own observations isn't going to fly.

First, my notes, then stats for amusements, then my final attempt at a useful summary.

Suicide: straw man - suicide vs. suicide attempts / buggered

Debt: buggered / manipulated / point in favour

Homicide: straw man - homicide vs. homicide attempts / buggered

American homicide: dubious. If true, part of worldwide, nonprogressive trend.

Worldwide anti-violence: nonprogressive, point in favour of nrx. True.

War: manipulated. Probably true?

Hours worked: true but contaminated with welfare data, so buggered for our purposes.

Literacy: worldwide nonprogressive trend, but true.

Poverty: poverty of data, you mean. Also see previous.

Hunger: point in favour of nrx, probably buggered

World per capita: true, irrelevant to nrx position, but true.

US GDP: point in favor of nrx, misinterpreted

Harvard/leftist opinion table: favour of nrx, probably buggered

Blob graph: data is buggered, values aren't 2-D.

Arrow graph: buggered, point in favour of nrx.

Political involvement: point in favour of arguments about Singapore, HDI probably buggered.

World GDP: true but irrelevant

Pop density trifecta: true, misused. Buggered by confounders.

Divorce: buggered, but even if true in favour of nrx. Premarital sex by the lady increases your risk of divorce by 15% absolute, about 1 in 6.

Divorce 2.0: not exactly news to nrx. probably true. Mostly point in favour.

US Pop growth: Straw man - nrx talks native pop growth, SSC includes immigration. Nrx doesn't know what's going on either, though. Best is here; plausible, but I can hardly blame proggies for dismissing it.

Discrimination: good news, probably true, but straw man. See Richwine etc. What the masses think doesn't matter anymore; we live in a democracy only descriptively, not in any sense prescriptively.

4: straw men.
2: graphs cut off at awkwardly convenient moments.
8: data actually favours nrx predictions.
16: data interpreted overgenerously for progressivism.
10: data most likely true.
12: data is untrustworthy.

Total: 22
By descending seriousness of error:
12: probably untrue or self-contradictory.
2: straw men.
1: time range manipulated or chosen for convenience.
4: easily interpreted to favour nrx predictions.
3: irrelevant.

Unfortunately, that's all of them. None of the graphs are evidence neoreactionaries need to be worried about. While it is statistically unlikely that Alexander made this many errors by chance, it is at least as unlikely that neoreactionaries are in fact correct on all these points. It shouldn't be necessary to pick such flawed data to construct a telling criticism.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Anti-Reaction FAQ Spot Check and Epistemic Principles

Matt Simpson can say things I can't predict.

So I felt this was worth checking up on.

The suicide rate is full of confounders, so I skipped that one. See also Nassim Taleb about measuring distributions by sampling their extremes. (What we want to measure is happiness or satisfaction, not suicide per se.)
1.2: Is everyone falling further and further into debt?
But to me, the new graph looks like gradual decrease in debt since World War II up until Reagan’s big military buildup, followed by a gradual retreat from that military buildup. My God, won’t somebody stop Progressivism before it’s too late?!?!
My counter-hypothesis is that Alexander is cherry-picking his data.

For a start, 2008 is an awfully convenient end point.

Simpson had this cogent rebuttal:
However, it also supports the hypothesis that government debt has an equilibrium level. It used to be around a fairly sensible 35%, but has been steadily increasing since 1981.

Thus far, the data is not conclusive in either direction.

I hope Alexander didn't look at post-2008 data. Hopefully you can safely trust that I didn't look at post-2009 data before the above logic.

United States gross debt passed 100% in 2012 and currently stands at 106%. If you knew Reagan had a military buildup and knew nothing of the present but the debt graph, you would think America was at war.

Conclusion: Alexander is not predictive. Reaction is predictive.

To check my work: the IMF itself, the source of half these numbers, thinks public debt is on the reactionary trajectory.


Can't agree. Baseline goes up. Still looks like America's starting a war.

I don't think Alexander is intentionally cherry picking his data. I think he has some epistemic diseases.

First, I don't actually trust any of these numbers.
"Since you are a citizen of a repressive society, you should be extremely skeptical of all the information you get from schools, the media, and popular books on any topic related to the areas where active repression is occurring. That means at least politics, history, economics, race, and gender."

For comparison I looked up Canada's debt and found that everyone is lying about it, and I have no idea how the IMF calculated its numbers. It is not science: it is not verifiable.

The US numbers aren't verifiable either. They're probably being cooked or massaged down the way Financial Post massaged the number up. No disinterested observer would conclude the US government is really only a third of the economy, for example. Add in NGOs and regulatory costs borne by the private sector. Add in decisions 50% controlled by regulation at 50% government action. That's just off the cuff.

Alexander trusts the numbers.

Second, Alexander thinks that numbers can settle questions of interpretation, which, as I have hinted above, they cannot.

Either you think in straight lines or you don't, but in the context of an internet debate, the only way to check is to compare to a known straight-line thinker. Which you can only identify correctly if you think in straight lines in the first place. There's no point in trying to check.

Certainly, if you trust that neither Alexander nor I looked at post-2009 numbers, we can simulate prediction and thus do the ultimate straight-line check. However, that position is immediately vulnerable to any troll who wants to claim they don't trust, as they are indistinguishable from someone who legitimately does not trust.

For example, each time I gather more data, it fits with my previous hypothesis. You could make the argument I'm misinterpreting the data, but that reflects just as badly on Scott Alexander's charts. If they don't support my argument, they don't support his either.

But, if you trust the numbers, and trust they can settle interpretation, then you're not cherry picking: one instance of solid numbers is plenty. Scott Alexander is reasonably good at picking solid number sets.

Third, Alexander has a terrible case of missing the forest.
Does it really fucking matter what the debt is? Even on reactionary blogs, isn't this a side show? (I hope it's a side show.) My point is not that debt is going up, my point is that Alexander's reasoning doesn't support his conclusion, suggesting he has a habit of supporting conclusions badly.

The point of the debt argument is democratic(descriptively) government is unsustainable. More broadly, Carlyle was right. As it (apparently) happens, this is manifesting in unsustainable rises in debt.

But it's also manifesting in unsustainable rises in private debt. It's a general culture of imprudence.

Of course, Carlyle is unscientific too. He published his conclusions far more than his reasoning. Were we to try to reconstruct it, we have no way to check we've reconstructed it correctly. But every time he correctly predicts, we should worry a little more about the predictions that haven't quite come true yet for us.

Good luck finding a think-tank publishing an imprudence ratio. Or, even worse, trying to measure how many individuals have destroyed their lives by taking on debt. How many negative utilons, exactly, does 'destroyed' mean?

However, there's no reason in principle both governments and people couldn't have an unprincipled exception and maintain pristine debt records.

The reactionary prediction is that progressive governments will destroy themselves and grievously harm everyone nearby on the way down. That progressivism makes you more imprudent that you would otherwise have been.

The progressive prediction is that they will not only survive, but thrive, and benefit everyone on the way up. That, (for example) we're becoming imprudent because it is no longer necessary to be so prudent. We can chill and everything will be fine.

You cannot correctly distinguish between these predictions based on suicide rate variations on the order of 1%. It doesn't matter how much debt governments hold unless and until they, all of a sudden, are holding too much.

The most important things cannot be measured at all, even in principle.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Notes on Fascism and the Future 2

Greer talks a strong line about curing the ignorance of the public. I don't think public ignorance is curable. They, quite rationally, don't care enough to do the necessary work. And a 100 IQ means it is a lot of work, even neglecting the greater burden of illusions.

"That last word has been bandied around so freely over the years since then that it’s probably necessary to stop here and discuss what it means. A totalitarian political system is one in which the party in power claims the right to rule every sphere of life: political, religious, artistic, scientific, sexual, and so on through all the normally distinct dimensions of human existence."
I have a shorter definition. In a totalitarian state, it is legal for the sovereign to legislate anything. Therefore, democracy is inherently totalitarian. You might retort with 'free speech', but it is legal to amend the constitution. One reason I buy Moldbug's equivalence of National Socialism, Communism, and Democracy is that they share totalitarianism in common.

I contrast with one of Nick Szabo's areas of expertise, medieval England, or indeed common law in general.
"More specifically, it’s supposed to be the far end of that side of the spectrum, the thing that’s more conservative than the conservatives, just as—to the contemporary American right—Communism is the far end of the left side of the spectrum, the thing that’s more liberal than the liberals."
Last week I talked about a way AIACC is false. Here is a way it is true. If 'communist' means 'radical left,' then except with reference to the Overton window of 2014 and its intimate neighbours, the Republicants are communist. The Demobrats are infinitesimally more communist.
"These three features are the things that fascist movements and regimes consistently rejected. The first is Marxism, the second liberalism, and the third—the hot-button one—is conservatism."
As per last week, right and left are rhetorical traps. Both communists and fascists, in either precise or American meanings, would shriek if subjected to medieval England's legal systems, just as conservatism and fascism can only war with each other. The systems are in the sky or underground somewhere by the left-right coordinate system.

Jim has said there's one left and a thousand rights. But then 'left' is a code word for proggie and 'right' doesn't mean anything.

This is why it's so hard to make a good argument for Nazism being right or left. It's not progressivism, so it must be right. But it's also highly opposed to conservatism, so it must be left. Or maybe the whole spectrum is a scam and no consistent reading can be got out of it because it's inherently inconsistent.
"vied to see who could come up with more excuses for centralizing power in the executive branch of the federal government."
Pity Greer missed the memo about bureaucratic government. Perhaps someone more diplomatic than I could forward it to him?
"When Hitler ranted about the will of das Volk, for example, he was simply borrowing Rousseau’s notion of the general will of the people, which both men believed ought to be free from the pettifogging hindrance of mere laws and institutions."
Totalitarianism is a legally unconstrained sovereign.
Of course a good Anarcho-formalist is agnostic about whether totalitarianism is good or bad. Rather this is the first step to discovery: calling things by their right names.
"Even to the extent that labels such as “left” and “right” apply to the n-dimensional continuum"
First. Less-not-first, at least.
"When fascism succeeds in seizing power, in other words, it’s not a right-wing movement, or for that matter a left-wing one. It seizes the abandoned middle ground of politics,"
If Demobrats are left and Republicants are right, then by 'middle ground' he means 'far right,' and also way off to the side. Except for the raisins of radical leftness.
"That’s the secret of fascism’s popularity—and it’s the reason why an outbreak of full-blown fascism is a real and frightening possibility as America stumbles blindly into an unwelcome future."
I feel Greer is failing to justify seeing fascism as frightening, or indeed noticeably worse than what democracy descriptively is.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Deeper Understanding of Arrow's Impossibility

Collective preferences do exist, the problem is there's no way to honestly communicate them, because real voting must be zero sum but real preferences are not.

Also consciousness per se.

Riffing off this, via 1, via 2 Isegoria somewhere, revisited due to Nick Land. I referred to Wikipedia for logical diffraction, but I don't recommend doing so yourself in this case.

First, to make sure we're on the same page and so I can audit my thought processes...
"Andy likes sprinkles on his ice cream.  Andy walks into the ice-cream shop and seeing that they have chocolate, strawberry and vanilla chooses chocolate.  Before the vendor has a chance to scoop the ice cream she says "Today, chocolate comes with free sprinkles."  "In that case," Andy says, "I'll have vanilla.""
This happens in runoff voting systems. Proof by example:
First round, six for vanilla, seven for strawberry, seven for chocolate. Vanilla is eliminated, and four voters change to chocolate, for the win.
But, sprinkles.
First round, two strawberry voters are converted, so it's six, five, nine. Now strawberry is eliminated, and  everyone left changes to vanilla, which wins.

As per Arrow's theorem, eliminating this problem only introduces others. I ask myself, what's the nearest runoff like model that obeys positive association or monotonicity?

I think it's quicker to skip to idealism and work backward. If we could measure preferences directly like a voltmeter, it would work. However, voters would have different total voltages in this case. Converting to less-ideal self-reporting, it runs afoul of strategic voting. Everyone will self-report their voltage as infinite, vote infinitely for their first candidate, which either reduces to one-man-one-vote or is undefined. By contrast, any scheme to limit their voltages by external measurements will end up reintroducing the original problem when preferences change and the external corroborate doesn't.

Even if you don't buy my proof that consciousness is ontologically subjective, it is epistemically subjective for all practical purposes. It can't be measured, but nevertheless, a true well-behaved aggregate preference exists.

Arrow's Impossibility Theorem would be a consequence of ontological subjectivity, Aristotle could have worked out ontological subjectivity, then derived Arrow's theorem from it. My proof is therefore useful even if not exactly true. But usefulness is usually correlated with veracity...

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Notes on Fascism and the Future 1

I have a pet theory. The way to disown a pet theory, if it is in fact false, is to intentionally look for places it doesn't fit. Here are some of my failures to find such a place.

Here, via.
" Why, then, is “fascist” the buzzword of choice to this day for anybody who wants to denounce a political system? "
It does have a meaning. It means apostate sophist.
" More to the point, why do most Americans say “fascist,” mean “Nazi,” "
Hitler is Satan because he repented of sophistry, just as Satan repented of grace. He was democratic - got elected and all that - and then interrupted the sophist-power feedback loop.
" Since Mussolini was a former socialist who had abandoned Marx in the course of his rise to power "
Apostate abandons sophist saint.
" Some of the nastier details of postwar politics unfolded from that shared interest, and so did certain lasting impacts on political and economic thought. "
The layhuman is too gullible to have any worthwhile thought. If they're not fooled on purpose as they are in this case, they'll only be fooled by accident. This is not a recoverable error, except in breaking the habit of looking for wisdom in fools.
" Afterwards, on both sides of the Iron Curtain, the existence of alternatives to representative-democracy-plus-capitalism, on the one hand, and bureaucratic state socialism on the other, became a taboo subject, and remains so in America to this day. "
It seems Greer agrees with me - do not refer to parties as 'left' or 'right.' It's a rhetorical trap, crafted intentionally. Don't go looking for a spectrum at all.
" Standing apart from the socialist parties were communist parties, which (after 1919) spouted whatever Moscow’s party line happened to be that week "
One of the problems with AIACC is that many have absorbed this layhuman definition of communist, and now wish to shrilly insist that it's the true definition. And indeed by that definition, AIACC is false.
" The tendency of most of these parties to further the interests of a single class became a matter of concern by the end of the 19th century, and one result was the emergence of parties that pursued, or claimed to pursue, policies of benefit to the entire nation.   "
The reason this is sophistry can be summed up by: Hayek. Even if you wanted to support a fair national interest, you couldn't. Not enough information. The rest can be summed up by hypocrisy. Nobody actually wants to. It's absurd and beyond absurd. Yet it was swallowed, hook line and sinker. This is not a recoverable error.
" National socialist parties argued that business firms should be made subject to government regulation and coordination in order to keep them from acting against the interests of society as a whole, and that the working classes ought to receive a range of government benefits paid for by taxes on corporate income and the well-to-do. "
You may notice that by this definition America is indeed socialist, even though Greer calls socialism a sneer word further up. He is correct.

It's not socialist, it's sophist. This lie, as opposed to mutually exclusive lies, will reliably be bought, so it reliably wins liar championships.
" salonfรคhig "
Is a great word. Sadly I'll likely forget it.
" It didn’t lose that status until the Second World War and the Cold War reshaped the political landscape of the western world  "
'That' status? Greer would benefit by realizing it's all about social status.

Also, passive tense. The wars were not inevitable, nor were their particular consequences. While history is a chaotic system, some people - actual individuals with personalities and ideologies - got what they wanted by dint of effort. And they are to blame for the effects of those things.