Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Some Applied Prudence/Property Morality

Roughly the rule is cooperate with cooperators.
For some years I've been discovering that there's no moral reason to treat defectors gently. Be as harsh as convenient.


"Since the protagonist of the story was from Jerusalem, the levite and the priest were geographically his neighbors, but, being no good, did not deserve to be treated as neighbors. The Samaritan was not geographically his neighbor, but did deserve to be treated as a neighbor."
Neighbours = cooperators.

However, there's rarely any reason to assume outsiders will cooperate. Unless you've agreed to be nice to them, the opportunity cost of belligerence is cooperating with them against a third party. Equivalently, them cooperating against you with a third party. Frequently these considerations are negligible.

The only reason for the West not to waltz into the middle east and take all the stuff is that other Westerners would get mad at the adventurers. Having their marginal cooperation is valuable, and their defection is sufficiently dangerous.

"Had he done so, and obtained the land in that fashion, then this would have created the dangerous precedent that some stronger party could take the land from him, undermining the high trust equilibrium that made the great achievements of his society, of which he was so proud,"
Jim has this backward. Provocation and needling are wrong, but simply declaring war out of greed is fine. Rather than setting a 'might makes right' precedent, it sets a 'might used on outsiders' precedent.

Common Law does not recognize provocation as valid. If they still have stuff you want, try trading for it. I suspect it will be cheaper than war, even on Indians and Muslims. If nothing else, it forestalls violence against soft targets in the open. Though, better idea: don't leave soft targets in the open. Apply security instead.

Provocation sets the precedent that non-cooperation shall be considered cooperation. "Shams may cease," etc. Much the way Foggy Bottom 'cooperates' with Putin.

Of course if they try to take your stuff via war anyway, it is prudent to destroy them. Lay waste and forget about the problem, minimizing mental transaction costs.

"The Dark Enlightenment emphasizes survival as a virtue, as indeed the root of all virtues."
DE per se can't believe things which not all adherents believe. It should be clear by inspection that survival must be a means, not an end. Infinite recursion is a trap. The root virtue must be an end, not a means.

I'm not sure if Jim intends it that way, but can be read as such and is more likely to decay on its own than improve.

All virtues spring from some transcendent goal.
All virtues spring from trying to survive.

The second is compatible with the original phrasing, but incorrect and degenerate. However, it is true that most values are best served by remaining alive and throwing energy at them, both individually and collectively.

"Altruism is seldom the game theoretic solution."
If you're sufficiently smart, 'altrusim' taken to mean cooperation is always the solution. 'Altruism' taken to mean giving stuff away for free is never a good idea; voluntary parasitism is still wasteful.
"High trust equilibria are rare and hard to maintain."

...for stupid populations. Achieving cooperation is easy. Offer a risk you can afford to eat. Ask them to reciprocate. If it works, use the proceeds to afford a bigger risk. Recurse. If they don't, kill them brutally. Or whatever happens to be convenient. Note Tit for Two Tats; noise makes limited forgiveness efficient. Not good to, by mistake, punish someone who tried to cooperate.

"Evil exists, so either God does not will the good, or he is not able, or he is messing with us on purpose. (Testing our resolve, making us suffer so we grow more resilient."

Point of order, this maps to 'not able.' Specifically, it's the claim God is unable to make us resilient, only Satan can do that.

"all thinking beings are fundamentally the same"
For kicks, modus tollens. Find someone who's not the same: they must be unthinking. Angels be racist, yo.

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