I. The "religious leader" gambit. First, examples :
mircea popescu Your focus on the price to the detriment of the more important considerations is, again, what sunk the system you grew up with. That's how you ended up with "books" being the shittiest thing people will still take as a book, in a neat little package, and with otherwise-flavoured Fanta sold as beer and so on. It's not a pretty place to live in. Even if you do have the ever present, ever oversold hope you will somehow "create immense value" and run off to live in Argentina.i
BlueMeanie4 This seems to be a tactic you use to avoid addressing either your lack of information on a subject or you willingness to accept various facts.ii
mircea popescu What's "this" ?
BlueMeanie4 You can't just wave away ideas by saying 'that's old world'.
mircea popescu Course I can. I can do anything I want.
BlueMeanie4 Well sure. But you look like a cult leader
nubbins` "I want the best price" is why all the painted lines are worn off the road here two months after they gets sprayed on.
BlueMeanie4 Or at least aspiring to be one.
mircea popescu If I cared what I looked like I'd actually be a cult leader. As it is, I'm content to merely look like one.
nubbins` "I want the best price" is why there are five wal-marts in my city of 100k people.
mircea popescu Auctoritas. It's a thing.iii
mircea popescu Ok, let me explain to you why your "ad hominem" approach is broken.
TimSwanson I have read your post 3 times, you do not cite any data. All you do is attack me. That is an "ad hominem".
mircea popescu You may generously represent yourself as equal to all people, myself included. This however is false : I am a major player in a major revolution. You are practically nobody, or if we're charitable a minor player in a lengthy tradition, if we are again charitable and consider the US derpage somehow related to European academia as a human thought adventure.iv
TimSwanson That is an ad hominem. That is what the authors of articles in The Economist, do not sign their names.v Because the arguments are supposed to stand for themselves.
mircea popescu Now, if you want to talk about my thing, and I say you're stupid, this can not be waved aside by you claiming it's an ad hominem. I would know if it were or if it weren't. You, however, wouldn't.
TimSwanson That is besides the point.
mircea popescu So. Inasmuch as you wish to continue, on the general expectation that Bitcoin will eventually conform to your worldview, you're more than welcome to it. However, this will positively never happen. Bitcoin will just ruin academia as you know it and that's that.
TimSwanson Mircea, you need to deal with the content of the chapters. And not just say "hey, I don't know him".vi
mircea popescu Why ?
TimSwanson Because that's how normal debates work.
TheNewDeal Because he desparately needs your attention.
TimSwanson I know reading is hard in caves in Romania. Lack of light, etc.
mircea popescu You don't get to say how these debates work. Again, because Bitcoin.
[snipped a lot of pointless armflailing]
TimSwanson Do you actually have some data about mining you want to chat about? Or did you just want to insult me?
RagnarDanneskjol Please stay, this is highly entertaining.
mircea popescu No, but should you wish to actually learn about Bitcoin, this channel is here. There's also a log, so you can do it discreetly if ego wound avoidance is such a priority.
TimSwanson Haha, you're right, I have no idea what Bitcoin is, at all. Please, tell me the way, the truth and the light.
mircea popescu Indeed, that's the gist of it.
TimSwanson Look, you sound a lot like any other religious leader who says "you cannot understand the movement unless you're part of it". It's a non sequitur. Either you have an argument with data, or just rhetoric.
This all neatly reduces to "cultists notice that some people are not actually members of their particular cult, become agitated, threaten vociferously to call said people the bad booboo unless they immediately desist and recant all heresies". For the respective cult the baddest booboo of all is being called "a cult leader", which is unsurprising given the lengthy tradition of calling the other party by your own name while stuffing fingers firmly in ears. Oldest trick in the great book of the road, any street urchin over the age of six or so knows the world enough to start screaming thief first.
Needless to say, this won't work. The trappings of the great socialist cult are only meaningful within it, I couldn't care less what I look like to them. The rough equivalent would be to say that one of my English articles coincidentally reads as perfectly formed ଓଡ଼ିଆ, and its meaning in that language is very offensive to some group or other. It says we should eat babies or whatever.
This happenstance would be interesting after a fashion, but should the obscure and culturally irrelevant group in question demand the article be taken down or altered I'd just shrug and ignore - unless it became impossible to ignore, in which case I'd simply destroy, them. Because the article was written in English, and to read it one needs to speak English, much in the same way when trying to read an article in Romanian one has perforce to learn some Romanian. It makes absolutely no difference that apparently the same sounds of the human voice or apparently the same squiglies on paper (the "data") form "perfectly meaningful" strings in some other random, irrelevant space (and this neatly folds into why Tim has absolutely nothing to say on the topic of Bitcoin, incidentally). So now... does that make me "a cult leader" ?
Sure, as far as obscure subcultures speaking a lingo displaying an eerie penchant for collisions with proper English are concerned, I may well be a cult leader, or whatever else they use that week to denote "bad booboo". Without even getting to the laughable point where they presume their names for things are somehow a property of the things-in-themselves, which is perhaps deserving of its own article, it's beyond ridiculous to imagine anyone may care in the first place. Suppose you find tomorrow that you're a "Grand Wazoo". Well, so what of it ? Seems about as important or otherwise relevant as finding out that Immanuel means "god's with us" in ancient Hebrew. It may be perhaps a bad birthday gift, and that's about all. What will it do for you ?vii
II. The "I don't understand" gambit. So I got bored one day, visited some Romanian blogs and tore random folk there a number of new assholes. The response ? You won't guess this, will you ?
"I don't understand". "I didn't understand".
Because that works, and it's accepted now.viii
My original read of this reaction was in pure game-theoretic terms : whenever someone gets owned but the text he's owned through is complex, it's a +EV strategy to claim to "not have understood". For one thing, the owning party may make the mistake of "trying to explain", which is as likely to reduce the bite of the original indictment as anything, so win. As a tacked on bonus, the owned may now interact with the explanation and ignore the original it was explaining, which at the very least creates some ambiguity in the owner's representation of the situation on the field, which perhaps may open further exploits later. For the other thing, it's a cheap way to assemble a majority : as people are dependably dumb, even mildly complex texts will generate a majority of derps who "didn't understand". In a perverse world built out of moral hazard and democracy, assembling a majority is always good policy.
Upon discussion in my private think tank however, an alternative explanation was offered : that people simply do not perceive they have the luxury of giving hour long blowjobs or spending a year trying to understand a text. That everything must be done now, rightnow! and in this transition from human beings to signal processors throwing the "I don't understand" exception is unavoidable. In this view it's not a calculated, exploitative move of the reddit psychopath but simply the voice of the visceral panic of a drowning mind.
It may be so. In any event, it's not something to be tolerated.
So, the moral of this story : Don't tolerate weak sauce. If people threaten to call you names, mock them for it. Their names, their problem. If people claim they don't understand, make it plain that this means they suck, and until and unless they fix their suckage they may not count themselves as people - in any case they may not vote.
The point is not to make a world where everyone can be comfortable and nobody has to really do anything. People made that, supposedly "for our benefit", ever since the 50s. It sucks. It fucking sucks, and if it goes and dies in a shitfire tomorrow it wouldn't be soon enough.
Putting up with weak sauce makes baby Jesus cry.———
- Most people remember Glengarry Glen Ross for the Alec Baldwin cameo. It's more striking, on the direct, and it's more of something people are ready and inclined to consider. There's a much more important monologue in there, it goes like this :
MOSS : Polacks and deadbeats.
Aaronow : ...Polacks...
Moss : Deadbeats all.
Aaronow : ...they hold on to their money...
Moss : All of 'em. They, hey: it happens to us all.
Aaronow : Where am I going to work?
Moss : You have to cheer up, George, you aren't out yet.
Aaronow : I'm not?
Moss : You missed a fucking sale. Big deal. A deadbeat Polack. Big deal. How you going to sell 'em in the first place...? Your mistake, you shoun'a took the lead.
Aaronow : I had to.
Moss : You had to, yeah. Why?
Aaronow : To get on the...
Moss : To get on the board. Yeah. How you goan'a get on the board sell'n a Polack? And I'll tell you, I'll tell you what else. You listening? I'll tell you what else: don't ever try to sell an Indian.
Aaronow : I'd never try to sell an Indian.
Moss : You get those names come up, you ever get 'em, "Patel?"
Aaronow : Mmm...
Moss : You ever get 'em?
Aaronow : Well, I think I had one once.
Moss : You did?
Aaronow : I...I don't know.
Moss : You had one you'd know it. Patel. They keep coming up. I don't know. They like to talk to salesmen. (pause) They're lonely, something. (pause) They like to feel superior, I don't know. Never bought a fucking thing. You're sitting down "The Rio Rancho this, the blah blah blah," "The Mountain View--" "Oh yes. My brother told me that..." They got a grapevine. Fuckin' Indians, George. Not my cup of tea. Speaking of which I want to tell you something: (pause) I never got a cup of tea with them. You see them in the restaurants. A supercilious race. What is this look on their face all the time? I don't know. (pause) I don't know. Their broads all look like they just got fucked with a dead cat, I don't know. (pause) I don't know. I don't like it. Christ...
Aaronow : What?
Moss : The whole fuckin' thing...The pressure's just too great. You're ab...you're absolu...they're too important. All of them. You go in the door. I..."I got to close this fucker, or I don't eat lunch," "or I don't win the Cadillac..." We fuckin' work too hard. You work too hard. We all, I remember when we were at Platt...huh? Glen Ross Farms... didn't we sell a bunch of that..."
Aaronow : They came in and they, you know...
Moss : Well, they fucked it up.
Aaronow : They did.
Moss : They killed the goose.
Aaronow : They did.
Moss : And now...
Aaronow : We're stuck with this...
Moss : We're stuck with this fucking shit...
Aaronow : ...this shit...
Moss : It's too...
Aaronow : It is.
Moss : Eh?
Aaronow : It's too...
Moss : You get a bad month, all of a...
Aaronow : You're on this...
Moss : All of, they got you on this "board..."
Aaronow : I, I...I...
Moss : Some contest board...
Aaronow : I...
Moss : It's not right.
Aaronow : It's not.
Moss : No.
Aaronow : And it's not right to the customers.
Moss : I know it's not. I'll tell you, you got, you know, you got...what did I learn as a kid on Western? Don't sell a guy one car. Sell him five cars over fifteen years.
Aaronow : That's right?
Moss : Eh...?
Aaronow : That's right?
Moss : Goddamn right, that's right. Guys come on: "Oh, the blah blah blah, I know what I'll do: I'll go in and rob everyone blind and go to Argentina cause nobody ever thought of this before."
- It is a common assumption for various in-their-opinion financiers and would-be great thinkers to make, that perhaps I am uninformed. In keeping with the religious expectation that the way something begins is predictive for how the bulk of it will look, this seemingly endless series was inaugurated by usagi (grep for "Ito calculus"), so they're in the best of company.
That aside, let me lay the matter to rest : there are maybe four people alive with a better understanding of these things than me, one's a central bank governor, another's screaming at the crowd and I'm not even sure about the other two. In any event : it's not safe to make the assumption that you're one of them. If you don't readily understand something I say, the most productive approach is to examine why you fail to understand it. [↩]
- It is. "Stronger than advice, weaker than command, would best be rendered as advice one may not safely ignore." apud Mommsen. Read up on it, it's a fascinating topic quite likely to immensely benefit the sheep born after the French revolution. [↩]
- A window that for all intents and purposes pretty much closed with WW2 and the advent of Roosevelt's "if there's not enough bread bake shit for all people" "solution". [↩]
- Well, either that or something else. [↩]
- People actually have. It turns out he does not address what he claims during this conversation to have addressed, which was a sad unsurprise. [↩]
- But just for laughs, imagine some typical US fucktard writes a dissertation "analysing" Kant's work "from this perspective". Would you be much surprised if actual philosopher folk, the bearded sort, tell him he's got nothing to say on the topic of Kant ? Irrespective of all his "data" ?
Or for the same money, imagine someone declaring that beets cure warts because reading Kvant #3/1979 through ROT-22 yields the phrase "and beets truly cure warts". So, the cultist in question goes, CLEARLY!!! beets curing warts IS A LAW! OF PHYSICS!!!
Data is not meaningful in and of itself, it's not a commodity like wheat or electric charge, to be poured and stirred and mixed and packaged and sold. And while this very American miller's or brewer's approach to the surrounding environment has yielded amusing stuff for their own consumption such as "Global Warming" (hey, it's got A LOT OF DATA!!! And most of it synthetic, much like in the case of good American beer and good American bread, undrinkable piss and inedible styrofoam, for the rest of the world) it is nevertheless neither valid, nor useful nor respectable. Just like spending the summer at the nudist beach does not give you license to walk naked down the street, even if being clothed seems unnatural and awkward for you now, being American does not give one license to unchecked idiocy.
A hard to swallow point, perhaps, but there's no talking your way out of it. [↩]
- My response was
So you read, re-read, go read up on things, come back, re-read... what did you imagine, that working with the head is easy ? It's not for everyone.
Or, alternatively, you pretend that if it goes over your head it doesn't matter, because that's how that dumbfuck of your mother made you : directly the measure for all humanity and so if anything doesn't fit in your head it can't even really be said to exist.
Because yes, that's the correct reaction : not having understood something is a failure, which the subject must internalise, in those exact terms : as his own, personal, subjective failure. Allowing kids to wiggle out of this one is how you end up with riots, this is what "education" means in expressions such as "the black community is handicapped by poor access to education". Yes, they are : they've not spent nearly enough time contemplating all the numerous ways they fail. [↩]