Tuesday, April 02, 2019

The magic folks who can save us, though few are still alive. Plus sending the Electors to "College."

I'll get to this week's fetish -- the Electoral College -- in a bit, with some thoughts that never entered your awareness, before. But first, something you've seen me rant about time and again. How every single democrat and journalist has missed the blatantly obvious.

== Again, go to the Greatest Generation ==

I don't get it. There is a polemical judo move that could be startlingly effective in this civil war: rubbing the noses of Deep-Red America in their hypocritical betrayal of the heroic Greatest Generation (GG). 

 The Boomers' parents are now lionized, but only in abstract, without ever mentioning their politics! Or the name of their favorite living human - Franklin Roosevelt. When Alexandia Ocasio-Cortez talks about a 70% marginal tax rate, she says "it was higher under Eisenhower... clever! But how much more effective to cite those who defeated Hitler, contained Stalin, went to the Moon and built the fantastic-confident American middle class, using exactly the measures she now recommends. 

Screw "democratic socialism!" It's a buzz word to drive confederates back into Hannity's arms. But "Rooseveltean" would let you keep focus on the GGs! 

Hammer home that they were union members. They hated nazis. And every single "supply side" (voodoo) so-called "reform" that rescinded the Rooseveltean social contract led directly to slower growth! To declining investment and R&D. To slackening entrepreneurship and lazier styles of business. To wider disparities and a sickening middle class. Again, not a single Supply Side prediction came true, ever! No wonder they hate science.

Crow that enterprise and ingenuity flourish under democratic policies and wither under republican ones. *You already own the left, dear charismatic-one. Now steal the part of the Fox base that can remember hearing stories from their GG parents, about how FDR helped them save America and the world.* Those hero-parents found a successful balance-point and would be ashamed of Boomers who became tools of oligarchy.

Want redoubled irony? The book that the American right – especially Steve Bannon – fetishes is The Fourth Turning, by Howe and Strauss, claiming that every fourth generation is a “hero” generation that overcomes the crisis caused by the decadent second generation, restoring America to vitality and vigor and wisdom. We boomers are the decadent ones in this scenario, while Millennials will be the heroes, just like the “heroes” of WWII.  Elsewhere, I dissect the right’s fetish with “cyclical history,” a bona fide insanity that’s been disproved again and again. But sure, there are some blurry patterns. And yes, the millennials I know are better people, and we Boomers have made a mess.

Still note the irony: Bannon is flitting around the world, helping Putin to provoke the crisis when there was zero evidence one would have come, without them.  He and his fellow Kremlin-commie-nazi-oligarch-mafia cabal members are pushing boomer buttons hard, to send the West tipping into hot civil war. He rationalizes that Millennials will then rise to the occasion, overcoming even a myriad mushroom clouds and a broiling Earth to restore virility.  


Only… um… Steve? Won’t that entail the young folks rejecting… you? The quintessential sanctimonious-manipulative right-wing oligarch-racist boomer-thug?  Already, polls show youths – even republican ones – turning hard left, while the works of Karl Marx are again flowing across campuses.

Was this the plan, Steve?
  
Now to two nations that really need a better voting system.

== Sending Electors to "College" ==

Elizabeth Warren is growing on me. She’s smart, utterly fearless and targets proto-feudal power in all of its incarnations. Alas, her latest - demanding an end to the Electoral College or EC - is Quixotic without a chance of coming true till this phase of civil war is ended by many dozen other means.  And even if it were possible, we must get past the loony “first past the post” rules that let someone awful, who gets 40% of the vote in a state - or in some national popular vote - defeat two far better candidates with 30% each … or one with 39% plus a spoiler. We’ve long needed Preferential Balloting… and maybe the dems - having to sort through 20 primary candidates - will lead the way.

One workaround popular among liberals is the the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact”… an absolutely stupid idea that cannot possibly work, at any level, at any stage in any realistic process.  

Anyway, the EC was written into the Constitution in order to offer a way to avoid exactly the sort of the insane result we saw in 2016, a blatant madman and likely traitor given the presidency because the EC is made of party hacks who mail in a form-“ballot” and do not act like a “college,” at all.  

Which suggests a possible way to make things better without having to amend the Constitution! And it could possibly be set in motion by just one rich philanthropist.

In November 2016 I wrote to a few millionaires suggesting they do something historic.  Simply rent a luxury resort hotel somewhere and announce "For one week only Electors will be allowed to enter (other than staff). They will get all meals and amenities on the house. There are no conditions. They are not required to deliberate or talk to each other. But if a quorum shows up, it is within their power to call it a "college" and discuss whatever they like." 

No coercions suasion or influence. Just a place to spend one week in luxury, and experience being - briefly - the 538 most important people on Earth.

Oh, the howls it would have raised! Would a quorum have shown up? I bet it would, but we'll never know. Well, well. Think about it for next time.

Let me conclude this Electoral College musing by quoting from one of the members of my blog community at CONTRARY BRIN:

There have been 58 presidential elections in the United States. In just five of them did the Electoral College pick a winner who got fewer popular votes. When the EC ratifies the same choice the popular vote did, it is as if the EC had done nothing at all. It may as well be a rubber stamp. It is in those rarer cases, only five in our nation's history, where the greater number of voters choose one candidate, and the EC the other, where the rubber hits the road. In these, the EC has done something! But what has it done?

“Of those five cases, two (the 1824 decision for John Quincy Adams over Andrew Jackson and the 1888 decision for Benjamin Harrison over Grover Cleveland) do not seem, to me, very important in their effects. In both, the loser would go on to win the office later, and the nation's course not be critically affected for better or worse.

“In 1876, the EC would choose Rutherford B. Hayes over Samuel Tilden, as a compromise which included the end of Military Reconstruction and the beginning of the Jim Crow era. This stands as an historic disaster America is still paying for.

“The EC didn't overturn another popular vote until recent times, the 2000 and 2016 elections. The 2000 result gave us George W. Bush over Al Gore, plus 9/11 and an ongoing Middle East quagmire plus no action on climate change, the USA Patriot Act, waterboarding, far-right Supreme Court judges, the 2008 economic debacle, and whatever else Pandora's Box had to offer at that moment. The 2016 result, as we know, gave us Donald Trump, a sogheaded, parasitic ponzi charlatan and racist psychopath in the pocket of a hostile foreign spy agency.

“In the 2016 case especially, the winner was precisely the sort of obviously unfit president the 'wiser heads' of the EC were supposed to spit out like a mouthful of gristle. The EC delegates had the power to vote 'faithlessly' if they chose. Instead, (with the exception of a tiny handful of faithless Clinton electors) they dutifully followed party over country and voted Trump into the White House.

“So, to recap: of the five occasions when the Electoral College chose differently than the popular vote, two were (as far as I can tell) a wash, and three were unmitigated disasters for the nation. The Electoral College has a demonstrably worse track record for choosing presidents than the popular vote. It is as useful as a goiter.”

And yet, see my riff above about possibly (at last) listening to the Founders and making the Electors go to College.


== The second nation? ==

Again, Brexit. Let the people vote again. They did not know about Vladimir Putin, first round.

Only do it using a preferential ballot  with four or more ranked choices.  We all know what they'd choose, by a huge margin.

Now let's close with perspective on why the left should accept incrementalism... and why sane conservatism should accept the well-deserved end of the Republican Party.


== Protect the big tent ==

When self-righteousness reigns.... Greenpeace co-founder tears into Ocasio-Cortez and the Green New Deal: ‘Pompous little twit.’  And hence a lesson to the Left: stop doing what Putin and Fox clearly want: splitting and breaking up the Big Tent coalition that’s the only thing that can win this wretched phase of the American Civil War. Stop pissing on your allies!  Think. If the Democrats can win over just ONE million more RASRs (Residually Adult-Sane Republicans) 2020 will be a rout and we can burn Foxism to the ground. 

Squint at that delicious fantasy. But then, what happens next?

The Dems will get a lot of incremental stuff done. Restoring science, freeing the civil service, ending the Drug War, ending gerrymandering and other cheats, providing Medicare at least for all children till age 26, achieving reform of college debt, major action on Climate, restoration of the CFPB and breakup of some monopolies… 

...and none of it will satisfy the Left, which is fine!  The center of argument will be hugely shifted and you can push again from there. 

If history is any judge, the DP will split into a Clinton-Obama wing that wants science and facts, fairness and a healthy-flat-fair-competitive capitalism, and balanced budgets, paid for by the rich...

...and that won't suffice for the a socialist wing! But what a better starting point that would be, from which to make your case for more!

Then you can have the party that you want. After the Confederacy and Putinism are routed, you will have a better chance to take halfway reforms further. Those who demand a liberal civil war are either sanctimoniously suicidal or else witting or unwitting Kremlin stooges.

AOC is smart enough to learn – rapidly! – how to do politics, can you? She’s the one teaching Democrats to do judo, instead of sumo. Try learning.

Oh, BTW, I’ve been a Greenpeace member (with some lapses) for 40 years. Sanctimonious-pushy jerks have real uses! Just don’t let them taunt you into doing stupid things.

== And the same goes for you RASRs ==

I know dozens who admit that the GOP has gone treasonous and insane, but who fear the left. To which I answer read the previous section! If the GOP gets deservedly blasted to smithereens and then the atoms broken down to quarks, what will happen?

The Democrats will break up in two.  You'll see tax-fairness, and end to drug wars and electoral cheating, some anti-trust and consumer protection and a bunch of other things, like an end to insane Supply Side... but then the DP will split and half will be pro-free-competitive-flat-fair enterprise. That half will be pro fact and science but also pro-competition. And what more could you wish for, oh you residually sane conservatives, out there?

Stop clinging to the Putin Party, run by communist and "ex" communist despots and Saudi sheiks. Join the revolution, then help forge a "conservatism" that isn't treason.


132 comments:

Treebeard said...

This constant refrain about Putin and commies really sounds like some kind of derangement to me. To summarize: everything bad happening in the world is due to Putin's meddling. It has nothing to do with anything the credentialed experts in their bubbles ever did or did not do, because we are the greatest people in the history of the universe, on our way to becoming gods, and the sooner the ingrate peasants recognize this and do what we tell them, the better. If we have to redo some votes until it goes the right way--well, what are you gonna do, it's called democracy, and that Putin's a real bastard!

And you still wonder why you lose? Hilarious.

Phaedrusnailfile said...

Regarding the electoral college: the other day I saw a proposal to make the electoral college give out its electoral votes in the same proportion as the populations voted within the state. The person who proposed it felt that it would make each individual vote be more significant, as well as solving the problem of having the candidate winning without a larger percentage of the popular vote. Just curious if any of you had come across this and what your thoughts were.
Also I thought the story about Trumps golf cheating aptly demonstrates Dr. Brin's point re oligarchs cheating, even in trivial matters. Almost as if they feel they are entitled to do so.
Lastly, in regards to the collusion delusion, I hear the words of George Carlin, "You dont need a conspiracy when you have convergent interests."

Tony Fisk said...

Andrea Chalupa interviewed the Observer's Carole Cadwalladr about Brexit on Gaslit Nation about a month ago. Cadwalladr had this to say about the Left, as represented by Corbyn and those who maintain his filter bubbles:

"Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been largely silent on Kremlin meddling in the Brexit vote. That may be the work of Corbyn's chief strategist Seumas Milne, an infamous and shocking supporter of the Kremlin's propaganda on everything from Ukraine (Russia's invasion is the West's fault and Russia's Crimea "referendum" on Ukrainian soil is perfectly legal!), Assad's mass-murdering of Syrians, and sympathy for Maduro in Venezuela despite widespread famine and a growing refugee crisis."

Having failed, a fourth time*, to get her deal across the line, May is now going to ask the EU for a further extension. My suspicion is the response will be "Non/Nein!". This (as EU well know) leaves the UK with either a no-deal Brexit, or a repeal of Article 50 (a no Brexit).** The hapless piglamenterians are squealing! Unfortunately, so is the rest of the country.

* That definition of insanity...
** It's a brutal scenario. No deal may lead to the creation of another third world nation. The consequences of no Brexit don't bear thinking of. I think an Article 50 repeal would bring the people pouring into the streets... cheering! Who would "control the vertical" then? OK, enough with the rant.

Zepp Jamieson said...

AOC and other progressives have already picked up the value of harkening back to FDR and the New Deal--it's no mistake that they're calling it a "Green New Deal". I've been comparing Sanders to Eisenhower for years, since, aside from universal health care, they are pretty much of a match.

Russ Abbott said...

Far too sensible. The real question for you is this: how will you get Democrats to listen to you?

progressbot said...

>> David Brin said...
\\Hard to be a God goes to one of the most fundamental fantasy tropes, seen in almost all cultures... rescuing the good prince so he can become a good king. But how to use that trope, when the Strugatskys worked in a Communist -dogmatic state that disapproved of monarchy?

What a fresh view, I'd say.
What I see, what other discussed about HtbG are totally different. That what a different culture mean to you. In soviet/post-soviet, that "rescuing the good prince so he can become a good king" was no more then part of entourage. Well, it's medieval times. So it must be princes, princesses and kings there. Does it mean that boys and girls of USSR dreamed to be princesses and kings? Not a chance.
You totally don't get the point. :)

USSR have a lot of films about medieval times, did you know that?

Like our own version of Robin Hood and etc. And I'd still give it preference over Hollywood ones.
Well, because of Visotsky's lyrics.


\\Simple. Rescuing the prince is a way to help the natives rise above something worse than monarchy... feudal lords (boyars).

Malakrel/malarkey.


\\By Marxist teleology, monarchy is a GOOD phase if it advances technology and trade and law above feudalism. Then monarchy is a beneficial stage in class development. This reasoning allowed the communists to co-opt Ivan and Peter the Great and Catherine and Alexander Nevsky as heroic figures and not brutal oppressors.

Absolutely no.
It was part of Russian Legendary History. That Stalin tried to rise on his banners, to win affection of the russian people during the war.
The same exactly way and reason as your Trump saying "America great again" or you saying about Greatest Generation.
But it become (deadly as it seems) controversy. Because you know, USSR was meant to be state of ALL people. International.
All other nations could not say much against such politics. And people in Kreml tend to think that its Ok, to teach Mongols for example, The Great History of Our Great Russian Motherland... like they should care.

And when Kreml grip become weak...

But how americans, with their "chicken speech" could know such details. When for you we all russians. :(((
And Kreml politics trying to use remnants of such prejudges to their benefit. Still.


\\Likewise, when monarchy had achieved its purpose, allowing a bourgeoisie to develop industry and commerce, bourgeoise revolution was a good and necessary -- if temporary -- phase. Though this caused Lenin some discomfort, since his need for absolute power conflicted with the obvious fact that Russia needed capitalists.

That not easy to discuss in itself. "What Lenin thought". And among post-soviets its only oldest of still zealous could say something...

progressbot said...

>> Treebeard said...
\\This constant refrain about Putin and commies really sounds like some kind of derangement to me.

This time its shallow straw-man. From your side.


Larry Hart said...

Unfinished business from last post...

progressbot:

People just don't know basic cybernetics and trying to invent something instead of it... in futile hope to leave "soul" on its place.


You misunderstand me. I'm not interested in defending the "soul" concept. If anything, I'm arguing that whatever a soul is has no different significance than what I call my "self", whether that self is a real thing or a waveform produced by my brain chemistry. Calling that self-aware entity a "soul" doesn't change anything one way or another.

@A. F. Rey,

Ultimately, I think we agree more than we disagree, but are getting confused by each other's word choices. I'm totally with you that a game avatar is a good analog for a body that is "driven" by an external soul. Where I leave off is the notion that the game player is "giving the avatar free will". The avatar self-evidently has no more free will than a train or a washing machine, so the idea that anyone "gives" it free will is nonsense. The player exercises its own free will using the avatar as a vehicle.

I kinda see your "turtles all the way down" notion that if an entity's choices are a function of its perceptual inputs, then the entity is acting mechanically, and therefore has no free will. I think you're conflating two distinct concepts there. A person who is a member of the Polar Bear club perceives the same as I do that the air temperature is below zero and the water temperature is 32 F, and yet he freely chooses to take a dip in Lake Michigan whereas I freely choose to sit inside a warm house watching him on tv and laughing at him. The thing (entity?) which processes the perceptual inputs and then makes a choice based upon evaluating those inputs is a personality, a self, a soul if you're into that.

So ok, if the self is something that is purely a mechanical function of brain chemistry, then the evaluations that the self makes from those inputs will be predictable. You may say then that its free will is illusory, although I would put that differently--that the self has free will to act on its evaluations, but its evaluations are predictable. However, if the self whose personality makes the choices is an external thing entirely, then there's no contradiction. In that construct, the soul is bound by the perceptions it receives from the body, but the personality which evalulates and chooses based on those perceptions is not bound by biochemistry, and therefore retains its free will. I don't see why you have to go down another level of turtles for that.

Larry Hart said...

Phaedrusnailfile:

Also I thought the story about Trumps golf cheating aptly demonstrates Dr. Brin's point re oligarchs cheating, even in trivial matters. Almost as if they feel they are entitled to do so.


I've noticed something similar about tax cheating. I'm convinced that the Koch brothers spend more money on bribes and contributions to get their taxes lowered than they would if they just paid the darn tax. I also think that they know that and don't care--that it's a "Millions for defense, not a cent for tribute" kind of thing with them.


Lastly, in regards to the collusion delusion, I hear the words of George Carlin, "You dont need a conspiracy when you have convergent interests."


I also like Malcolm Nance's observation that "Coincidence takes a lot of planning."

progressbot said...

>> Larry Hart said...
\\Calling that self-aware entity a "soul" doesn't change anything one way or another.

The more you know about anything, the more possibilities opens to you. Like, today you as everyone know how to tweak your brain with caffeine. But people in future. Recent future. Would know how to weak their brains much more deeper than that. Up to ability to have two, three, many concisenesses simultaneously.
And for them it would be important...


Ok, well. Cybernetics 101.

Let's imagine... Hmm, what to choose, so it would be simple enough for non-profs. That we have a keyboard, and a monitor/screen. And our X device in between. To make it even more simple, and keyboard on output and monitor on input could have just one wire. To transmit code of the symbol over it.

I. That way, our first X device -- simple schema -- could be as simple as one wire itself. Which transmits inputs directly into outputs. <<--- That you are discussing here for so long.

But really, it could be anything, that X device, which cybernetics tend to call Black Box. Can be made out of anything you can only think about -- wires, neurons, lines of pebbles or dominoes. Only one limit here -- if something deliver Input to it... it must give Output.

It called simple. Not because it must consist of few elements. But because of this rule -- its inputs must be promptly translated into its outputs. That's it. That way behavior of it could be easily predicted -- really, one just need to press all keys on keyboard... and write down all resulting symbols on the screen.


II. Second device -- its device with memory. Simplest variant -- from previous Mk I X-device -- you can press button, but it'll show only after you press next button, which it remembers then for next time again.

That is the tricky device -- you cannot predict what it'll do next time. Because, it can have unlimited memory... what if it'll show to you only key pressed before million's presses?

But still, in most cases, you can "predict" it's behavior... by looking and analyzing it ins and outs for long enough. Statistically. (That's how Turing broke Enigma code)


III. But what if some nasty nazi, would make next add-on, Third wire to our X-device, over which he could meddle with it memory and or change program?

As easy to see... in such case such device could not be "predictable" at all.

In worst cases... it can be done un-predictable EVEN if you'd have access to ALL of its memory and all sygnals on ALL wires, ALL the time.
That's what (famous? I see nobody here know it) Turing Theorem is about.


And I must to say here -- all I have written above, its purely deterministic. Without any randomizing, quantum fantasies, etc.

My, and Cybernetics, claim -- Human *is* indistinguishable from that Mk III device.

To show me, and to all world, and to be prized with Nobel prize and eternal glory of all and any religious institution -- for Proving Existing Of a Souls and Have The Free Will, Bestowed on it by Go-o-o-d... You just need to predict and to show in experiment, that Human is IV... or any IIIII+... device, different, and more "unpredictable", than Mk III. ;)

That's all. Your conspectus you can show to assistant Mike. ;)

Mike Will said...

progressbot: Your conspectus you can show to assistant Mike. ;)

I'm no expert in Cybernetics. I do agree with most of your definitions, examples, and analyses. I too come from a 'machine perspective' of things. Cybernetics has, however, become very recursive since the early days. 2nd order, 3rd order, ...

I've long considered higher order cybernetics to be very analogous to psychohistory. Asimov never got deeply into recursive cybernetics, supercomputation, or the deeper mathematics of fractals (he touched on the latter two but only as a near-layman. If he had, and if he had lived longer (sigh), we might have seen another Turing. At least we have our host.

Courage and persistence, young Padawan.

And now, for those of you who ignore robotics at your great peril:
Handle Robot

progressbot said...

Good input, Mike. Thank you.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin in the main post (quoting someone else) :

When the EC ratifies the same choice the popular vote did, it is as if the EC had done nothing at all. It may as well be a rubber stamp.


First of all, I remember seeing that post here, but regretfully don't remember who to attribute it to.

Whoever that was is technically correct, but I think misses a psychological point--that when the Electoral College consistently ratifies the popular choice, it adds a layer of legitimacy to the election process. And the result of a close popular vote seems more legitimate when (for example) it's obvious that the winner won almost every state.

That was the status quo through the entire twentieth century. Unfortunately, in much of the twenty-first, we've had the opposite thing--the EC nullifying and overturning the popular vote. Which therefore has the opposite psychological effect, calling into question the legitimacy of the process.

An analogue to this is the way leveraged borrowing allows you to multiply your winnings when stocks go up, but the same process can ruin you when stocks go down even a little bit. It's a force-multiplier for good or for ill.

jim said...

I kind of agree with David that one of the major parties may not survive for long after the next election.

Here is my worst case scenario for the Democratic party.

The Democrats play it safe and select a Biden- Booker ticket (unofficial motto “B&B-- better start drinking now.” ;-)

They run on an “Orange Man Bad” strategy, but turned up to 11 this time.

Trump is able to hold off the coming recession.

Trump paints B&B as a couple of radicals who want to tax increases and socialized medicine and put in place a “Green New Deal” that will destroy the world. They vigorously deny this and say they only want pragmatic incremental change
.
We get a steady stream of stories about creepy uncle Joe, and Corrupt Corey Booker.

Centrist Democrats tell progressives to shut up and grow up and vote B&B because OMB!!

(OMB!!, is orange man bad turned up to 11)

Trump pulls of another squeaker in 2020.



Larry Hart said...

Some gallows humor (or in this case, "humour") :

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/02/opinion/brexit-news.html

LONDON — Politico reported the other day that the French European affairs minister, Nathalie Loiseau, had named her cat “Brexit.” Loiseau told the Journal du Dimanche that she chose the name because “he wakes me up every morning meowing to death because he wants to go out, and then when I open the door he stays in the middle, undecided, and then gives me evil looks when I put him out.”

Larry Hart said...

...and can the next Quebexit vote be far behind?

Treebeard said...

(Since the subject is politics, I was thinking about why I dislike the American political system, and came up with this. Enjoy.)

Democracy is no such thing. Non-voters are the largest bloc of citizens, yet we still have politicians. Democracy is like a restaurant with a menu of two meals in large print, say “Burgers” and “Tacos”, and many more in small print, but if you order one of those, say “Lobster”, you don't get your meal. And even if you don't patronize the restaurant, the burger and taco partisans will still bother you everywhere you go, putting up billboards, TV commercials and holding signs on the street telling you to buy burgers and tacos. TV pundits will debate the merits of burgers vs. tacos, fights will break out between burgerheads and tacoheads, and civil wars might even erupt. Burger partisans will accuse taco partisans of being puppets of evil taco lords, and vice versa. A few clever pundits will suggest that the burger party should break into two factions, the regular burger party and the taco burger party, in hopes of undermining the taco party. Meanwhile, the silent plurality keeps looking for lobster and hoping these idiots will go away.

A.F. Rey said...

I was going to let this go, but, dang it--

In that construct, the soul is bound by the perceptions it receives from the body, but the personality which evaluates and chooses based on those perceptions is not bound by biochemistry, and therefore retains its free will. I don't see why you have to go down another level of turtles for that.

I don't think biochemistry really matters in this case, but rather the algorithms involved. If you have a program that evaluates data, does it matter if it is done by a computer, a brain, or a colony of ants? If the basic process is the same, the platform is irrelevant.

So whether the algorithm is performed by a brain or a spiritual entity, it's the same to me. So if free will comes from the little man inside your head, then he still needs a little man inside his head to give him free will, too.

Mike Will said...

Larry Hart: ...and can the next Quebexit vote be far behind?


We've found a good answer for that: If Canada is divisible, then so is Quebec. Many first nations have claims there. Separatists always want it both ways, divide to get their goal, but no further. I wonder if that might be a good federalist argument down there in The Exited States of America too.

Larry Hart said...

A.F. Rey:

I don't think biochemistry really matters in this case, but rather the algorithms involved. If you have a program that evaluates data, does it matter if it is done by a computer, a brain, or a colony of ants? If the basic process is the same, the platform is irrelevant.


Ok, I'm confused on what free will is supposed to be for.

If you can choose between actions based on your own values and preferences, you have free will. You seem to be saying that since you can't choose what your values and preferences will be, then you don't have free will.

To use simple examples, some people will always choose their actions based upon "What would Jesus do?" For others, maybe they always choose the cheapest option. Or the option that causes them the least physical pain. Or the one that gets them laid most often. Whatever.

So using the cheapskate as an example, if he wants to save as much money as possible, and he then gets to save as much money as possible, that's free will. Are you really denying that he has free will because he has no choice in the matter of his personality wanting to save money?

Since I am not someone who believes in a supernatural, immortal soul, it might be hard for me to correctly picture what one is supposed to be like, but I imagine the soul as being a conscious personality that exists independently of a physical structure such as a brain or a body. In that paradigm, I imagine the body to be an empty vessel which is only useful when inhabited and "driven" by a soul. I don't think of the body as its own conscious entity which would want to make its own choices being overridden by a soul--rather I think of wanting and choosing to be functions of the soul, with perceiving and acting being what the soul uses the body for.

So when you say a body has no free will without a soul, that sounds exactly like "A car has no destination without a driver". And when you say that therefore, the soul also needs something to give it free will, that sounds exactly like "A driver has no destination without itself having a driver." It doesn't work.

Larry Hart said...

Mike Will:

If Canada is divisible, then so is Quebec. Many first nations have claims there. Separatists always want it both ways, divide to get their goal, but no further.


That's already playing out in Brexit in two different ways, with Ireland insisting that Britain can't take Northern Ireland with it behind their wall, and with Scotland and Wales wanting to remain in the EU.

My thinking about Quebec separatism is that it peaked too early, back when the notion of actually breaking up a continental nation as large and established as Canada was too dangerous to contemplate as it got closer to really happening. In the current tribalistic, nationalistic ascendancy, the separatists might have won a vote.

Plus, Quebexit is such a perfect name. :)

A.F. Rey said...

Ok, I'm confused on what free will is supposed to be for.

As far as I can tell, it's so people can punish others. :)

I put it down to "personal responsibility." If you have no say in what you choose--or in what you want to choose--then you have no responsibility for you choices. "I was made to want to piddle on puppies. It's not my fault. Don't punish me."

So your personality has to come from something that has no outside influences. It must be something you have total control over, and thus are totally responsible for. Only then can you be completely and solely responsible for your choices, and thus subject to stoning by the old ladies dressed as men in The Life of Brian. :)

At least, that's my take on it. ;)

Man, being the devil's advocate is hard. Next time I'm leaving it to Keanu Reeves... :)

David Brin said...



Phaedrusnailfile (what a name! Platonist, what?) alas your EC solution requires a constitutional amendment. A few states divvy by congressional district with two at-large.

Zepp, only one in a thousand get the Green NEW DEAL reference. AOC needs to get blatant.

Progressbot: “Does it mean that boys and girls of USSR dreamed to be princesses and kings? Not a chance.
You totally don't get the point"

No, you do not understand MY point. I am sorry, but you clearly did not understand my point at all. In fact, you lectured my own point BACK at me, as if I had said the opposite.

Clearly I understand Marxism better than you do.

David Brin said...

“To summarize: everything bad happening in the world is due to Putin's meddling. It has nothing to do with anything the credentialed experts in their bubbles ever did or did not do…”

Well, um… yeah? Your sarcastic exaggeration masks the fact that you just offered a wager. Gee, I wonder who bears the burden of proof?

1. “Experts” happen to have helped us skyrocket into wealth and power and knowledge greater than all other civilizations combined. Yes, they are fallible. sometimes too “bubbled.” And in our system OTHER experts working for companies or NGOs or privately zero in on mistakes and hold them accountable. Want to do that with specific flawed-experts? BE MY GUEST! You only help us get better with criticism.

Your assertion that people who know the most about stuff are therefore wronger than Fox-blowhards and agents of enemy powers is… OTOH… stark jibbering insane. But go ahead. You bear burden of proof,

2. Not EVERYTHING bad in the world. But I take Putin at his word. His hate for us is venomously and richly expressed. He sends murderers around the world and agents to rip apart our alliances. He and his Saudi pals have spent tens to hundreds of billions suborning your slave masters - western oligarchs. BURDEN OF PROOF is yours, that we should not draw conclusions.

So? Let’s make a bet. I have mountains of proof that Putin and his Saudi-casino-lord-mafia allies are waging open war against us, and all you have against civil servants is that they are goddam-smug smartypants. Bet?

But welcome back - old ent. I wonder who the more-cogent guy was.

Larry Hart said...

A.F. Rey:

I put it down to "personal responsibility." If you have no say in what you choose--or in what you want to choose--then you have no responsibility for you choices. "I was made to want to piddle on puppies. It's not my fault. Don't punish me."


The point of the threat of punishment is to cause you to choose differently. We don't punish people for wanting to rape or kill. We punish them for failing to overcome those impulses and doing so.

My freshman year in college, I took a philosophy course and learned about a theory which I think was called Ethical Egoism. It argued that a person is only capable of choosing the action which is most beneficial to his self-interest in any particular circumstance. And since there's no point morally compelling someone to do something he is unable to do, the only ethical constraint on people must be that they act in their own best self-interest. Because they can do nothing else anyway.

I found that to be the most disingenuous form of sophistry. If norms, ethics, and law have no influence on a person's choices, then they are pointless. Why claim to establish a moral theory that justifies doing whatever you were going to do without one?


Man, being the devil's advocate is hard.


I take it you mean you are arguing the position of "Ghost in the Machine" theory even though you don't subscribe to it. Well, I'm fashioning an argument around "immortal soul" theory even though I don't subscribe to it. Maybe neither of our clients has the best lawyer. :)

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Phaedrusnailfile ... alas your EC solution requires a constitutional amendment. A few states divvy by congressional district with two at-large.


That's what I thought at first glance, but I don't really think it would. He's not talking about changing the number of EVs allocated to a state, just about how they should be divided up. "Winner take all" is not enshrined in the Constitution.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin to Treebeard:
I take Putin at his word. His hate for us is venomously and richly expressed.

As is Treebeard's.

progressbot said...

>> David Brin said...
\\No, you do not understand MY point. I am sorry, but you clearly did not understand my point at all. In fact, you lectured my own point BACK at me, as if I had said the opposite.

Strugarskyes was not marxists.
And as it can be seen and from HtbG, as from other their writings... it was recurring theme in their works, actually.
Total recap of HtbG is Habituated Island. And as Pinnacle -- their un-complete work White Ferz, where they propheted utter defeat of marxistic ideals.

So your claim that they deliberately used trope of "good king" to promote Communistic views... totally moot.

While.

\\Rescuing the prince is a way to help the natives rise above something worse than monarchy... feudal lords (boyars).

I admit it. I overdid it.
It absolutely correct in historical terms.
It is not malarkey.
For example in re-readed by me recently "Quentin Durward" it stated clearly and loudly.

But you know what the point? Walter Scott -- not communist, and not soviet writer. ;)
So its strange for at least -- credit soviet propaganda, and blame someone who did perceived how it worked up closer, because of something written by some old Scotsman.


\\Clearly I understand Marxism better than you do.

I hope you'd understand. I do not mean it to belittle your knowledge.
But you know narxism from books. While I know it from experience of living in a country governed by marxists.
It's two different POVs. Neither of each could be stated as higher/lower. In terms of understanding the whole picture.

Alfred Differ said...

Mike Will,

I wonder if that might be a good federalist argument down there in The Exited States of America too.

Sounds a bit like what Libertarians are like. Schism after schism has left them mostly impotent. Even in a Treebeard world where we prefer lobster, we argue over how it is to be prepared instead of whether we can sneak it onto the menu in a few restaurants. Seriously. Would the taco people notice a little lobster in their taco? Would they consider a burrito where we can hide it, yet still make it sound to the taco people like they are acquiring more adherents? 8)

As for an actual test of the idea in separation in the US, I hope it never happens. Too many of us have guns. The lead would fly.

A.F. Rey said...

Maybe neither of our clients has the best lawyer. :)

Well, what do you expect when you go with a public defender. :)

Darrell E said...

There is a particular distinction that is important in different conceptions of both freewill and souls, namely dualism. A very common conception of "soul" is a non-material thing that inhabits humans and is the seat of their minds and whatever else it is that makes humans special. This conception entails dualism. Another common conception of soul, a secular conception if you will, is a rather amorphous property of a person's personality that does not entail dualism. "I felt it down in my soul." It is basically a reference to the emotional aspects of our personalities.

There is a very common conception, or spectrum of conceptions, of freewill that entail dualism. I often refer to them as old school freewill. Some commonly used terms are dualistic freewill, libertarian freewill, religious freewill and magical freewill. The common theme is that humans are capable of making decisions without being bound by the same "laws" that govern the rest of our reality, except for gods of course. As if there is some aspect of humans, such as a soul, that can sit in a privileged place unaffected by the reality the body and everything else is subject to and make decisions there. Another common conception of freewill is one that is based simply on coercion and does not entail dualism. This is the kind invoked in court rooms and contracts.

In the context of freewill I don't find arguments denying determinism to be very convincing. For one, the evidence that determinism is indeed the case, at least locally, is extremely strong. For another, even if we assume that quantum processes are significant in human decision making, in other words in human brain function, this does not give humans any more freedom, control or whatever property one might be looking for. All it may mean is there is some degree of inherent unpredictability in the process. It would mean less control, less freedom.

Many people have an issue with the idea that human decision making is a product of their genetic inheritance, development and all of the environmental inputs they've experienced right up to the instant of any particular decision, all bound by causality, just like a computer only orders of magnitude more complex (so far). Why is this unacceptable? Why is it unbelievable? What could we be missing out on by being so bound? What aspect of human decision making seems so mysterious that it makes sense to posit a mechanism that modern science has seen no trace of, but should have if it is a phenomenon that operates at the scales that humans exist? Go ahead and throw in a dash of randomness, probability or inherent unpredictability if you will. It does not enhance freedom to make decisions. If you are worried that "you" aren't making decisions then adding in some randomness is worse, not better.

progressbot said...

\\By Marxist teleology, monarchy is a GOOD phase if it advances technology and trade and law above feudalism. Then monarchy is a beneficial stage in class development. This reasoning allowed the communists to co-opt Ivan and Peter the Great and Catherine and Alexander Nevsky as heroic figures and not brutal oppressors.

It's part of teleology... but not marxist one... well, whatever.
I'm not marxist. And would treat it more like insult, than praise. Being called one.
Dunno, maybe by some marxists teachings its exactly that...

But from my point of view -- it is total coincidence.
Or even deliberate meddling (Russia/USSR always have had powerful influence on "theory of marxism"),
to make it "theoretical base" of their imperialistic claims.

Russian always was good with it. Just read about history of "Zion Protocols" -- they came from Russia, did you know?

So, it's not first time when Russia spread lie and propaganda on the West.


\\obvious fact that Russia needed capitalists.

From all what I know... they needed proletariat... even lumpen-proletariat. And communists in China was ok with only peasants. And Pol-Pot...
But never see need in capitalists... except for expropriation... and to buy needed for "Industrialization", in expense of starved Ukrainians.

CP said...

I agree with Larry Hart.

I think the states could decide, individually, to allocate electors based on proportions of the statewide vote. But, if it was done state-by-state, that would lead to partisan machinations to "choose" the states that use proportional rather than winner take all. To work, it has to be done nation wide. Congress, arguably, has the authority to do that without a constitutional amendment but it would also probably require a sympathetic supreme court...

Also, the electors would have to be distributed proportionally only between the top two candidates (or, perhaps, all candidates but with a 5-10% threshold). Otherwise, a handful of third party electors could deadlock the body and force it into congress where the byzantine system for dealing with such deadlocks would come into play.

Assuming it was actually done, it would greatly reduce the likelihood of reversing the popular vote (both Clinton and Gore would have been elected). The power of "battleground" states would be greatly reduced. The consequences of minor errors and the incentive to rig the results would be greatly reduced. The disproportionate power of the smaller states would remain but would be reduced since the advantages would be more evenly shared by both parties.

All in all, a pretty good solution if, ultimately, the supreme court would "sign off" on it.

By the way, expanding the system used in Nebraska and Maine (in which electors are chosen separately in each congregational district with two elected statewide) would be a very bad idea. That would still leave all of it "winner take all." And, it would increase the number of jurisdictions to be fought over, corrupted, etc to 536. It would also greatly increase the incentive for gerrymandering.

As for the current drive to "direct" electors to vote for the winner of the popular vote, I doubt if it would survive a legal challenge. When various people were suggesting that electors could "save us from Trump" by ignoring state laws banning "faithless electors," it was argued that such laws were unconstitutional. If you can't "direct" electors to vote for the wining candidate in a state, how can you "direct" them to vote for the winner of the nationwide popular vote?

Of course, it would be good to just abolish the EC but the need for a constitutional amendment makes that unlikely.

Or, try for the proportional alternative which would be difficult and may or may not survive a court challenge...

But, otherwise, there's little hope for change.



Larry Hart said...

A.F. Rey:

"Ok, I'm confused on what free will is supposed to be for."

As far as I can tell, it's so people can punish others. :)

I put it down to "personal responsibility." If you have no say in what you choose--or in what you want to choose--then you have no responsibility for you choices. "I was made to want to piddle on puppies. It's not my fault. Don't punish me."


Now, finally, I understand what we're disagreeing about. I think of free will as something one wishes to have. You're arguing over it being something one wishes to deny being responsible for.

The avatar thing makes sense now too--the player is what gives the avatar something it can be blamed for.

My only comment then is, what sort of thing are you envisioning as even a possible source of accountable free will? I mean even to claim that people are not that thing? If a disembodied soul is not "that thing", then I can't imagine what is?

Larry Hart said...

Darrell E:

Many people have an issue with the idea that human decision making is a product of their genetic inheritance, development and all of the environmental inputs they've experienced right up to the instant of any particular decision, all bound by causality, just like a computer only orders of magnitude more complex (so far). Why is this unacceptable? Why is it unbelievable? What could we be missing out on by being so bound?


Agreed. On the old "Cerebus" board, I had an argument longer than this one with someone who was depressing himself by considering the possibility that God already knows every choice he will ever make, and thus that those choices are not really his to make.

In one response, I used the example of myself not wanting to jump into freezing water. I'm making the choice I want to make, whether or not God can say, "I knew you were going to do that".

But I finally concluded that it was the height of ridiculousness to be arguing over what someone should do if he finds himself depressed by being stuck in a deterministic universe. I finally flat-out told the guy that he was choosing to be depressed over the fact that he is not able to make choices. Which kind of negated the whole problem in the first place.

I mean, if the universe is deterministic, then the question itself of what to do about it is pretty pointless. And if it matters what you do about it, then the universe isn't deterministic, so there's no problem.

progressbot said...

Well, after short googling

The Monarchy is a feudal hangover and the secret anti-democratic and authoritarian weapon of capitalism, dressed like an old lady. It is an integral part of the Establishment

So familiar, almost nostalgic, words. Phrasings.

From where you took that idea "By Marxist teleology, monarchy is a GOOD phase", or how came to it yourself?
I dunno.
But I can witness with all my honesty as beholder. I heard about here and now for the first time in my life.
And never heard nothing even little in resemblance in USSR or post-soviet discourse.

Well, maybe something in current (or old) militaristic, imperialistic and nationalistic Russian Teachings...
can reverberate in the similar way.
But I totally not an expert in that crap.

Larry Hart said...

CP:

I think the states could decide, individually, to allocate electors based on proportions of the statewide vote. But, if it was done state-by-state, that would lead to partisan machinations to "choose" the states that use proportional rather than winner take all. To work, it has to be done nation wide. Congress, arguably, has the authority to do that without a constitutional amendment but it would also probably require a sympathetic supreme court...


It would have to pass the Senate, which gives the same overrepresentation to states who'd want to keep the current system as the EC does. So even though I don't think it would require an amendment, it's still (to quote from Hill Street Blues) not tea with the freakin' queen.


Also, the electors would have to be distributed proportionally only between the top two candidates (or, perhaps, all candidates but with a 5-10% threshold). Otherwise, a handful of third party electors could deadlock the body and force it into congress where the byzantine system for dealing with such deadlocks would come into play.


I once envisioned a system which I thought of as "Winner take some". Let's look at California and its 55 electoral votes as an example. If a candidate won the state with 60% of the vote, he'd get 60% of California's EVs (33). The others wouldn't vote for the loser--they would just go home. California would contribute all 33 of those EVs to the winner and nothing else. That would give candidates a reason to appeal to more voters, even in states they knew they were going to win or lose.

I admit, I have not thought through the full implications.

David Brin said...

Phaedrusnailfile see an entire posting of mine about this. http://www.davidbrin.com/nonfiction/electoralcollege.html


The problem is that red states will refuse to participate and cannot be forced.


Pbot: “Strugarskyes was not marxists.”

Argh! Are you listening to yourself? The Strugatskys had to PLACATE Marxists! They had to at least superficially have Marxist rationalizations

Thank you for finally understanding my point. I do not claim Walter Scott was a Marxist. But the Marxist appreciation of monarchy AS A PHASE TRANSITION, meant that writers in a Marxist theocratic state could still have stories about good princes and good kings, so long as the alternative enemy is feudal lords and boyars.

That is the story of Alkexander Nevsky and Peter the Great.

“But you know narxism from books. While I know it from experience of living in a country governed by marxists.
It's two different POVs.”

I accept this and I withdraw the comparison. This was a good argument.
We both learned something.

“"Zion Protocols" -- they came from Russia, did you know?”

Yes, I knew.

Lenin was confused because Marx theory said the revolution should have come first in advanced industrial countries like Britain and Germany. Instead it came first in the LEAST advanced. He spent the rest of his years trying to reconcile this.

Phaedrusnailfile said...

Dr. Brin my recollection is a bit fuzzy on this, but I think it can be voted for at the state level. I believe it was on the ballot in Colorado in 2016. The drawback as I saw it was that in the progressive states where it likely might pass the intended result might be undermined by the actual results. For instance if a bunch of blue states were to pass such measures it would make it more of a possibility for a president to be elected by a minority of voters.

David Brin said...

" For instance if a bunch of blue states were to pass such measures it would make it more of a possibility for a president to be elected by a minority of voters."

No, sorry, the red staters would laugh and giggle and not go along. They would keep all of their electors while watching some blue state electors go to republicans.

duncan cairncross said...

The "Soul" and "Free Will"

The ultimate criteria for "Free Will" has got to be the creation of something new and beautiful

You can talk about dualism and determinism but if people can create new and beautiful things and different people can create different things then they have "Free Will"

Now - what do we NEED in order to "create new and beautiful things" - do we need something supernatural?

Evolution consists of random chance filters and time - and evolution has produced a LOT of new and beautiful things

So we have an example of a relatively simple process doing exactly what a "soul" would need to do for us to have "Free Will"

The other part of that was "different" - and we are all different - we HAVE to be different!

If we were to magic up two identical people - identical right down to atomic level then they would immediately begin to diverge - at small scales everything is probabilistic

I am reminded of a quote from an old Science fiction book

If you take a laboratory raised animal of a known genetic strain and administer a carefully calibrated stimulus
It will behave as it damn well pleases

Phaedrusnailfile said...

Dr. Brin once more my memory betrays me. I did read your blog above, and in the post above CP flushes out the argument a lot better than I did. I agree completely with you regarding the red states. It just seems a bit silly on their part as the arguments for why it strengthens the individual vote would most benefit people in rural areas. It will probably take a Democrat being elected with a minority of the popular vote to get Republicans to even consider any attempt to try such reforms.

yana said...

Phaedrusnailfile thought:

"I think it can be voted for at the state level."

Correct, before the 17th Ammendment, there were a bunch of ways to choose Electors, and Senators were chosen by the State legislature. Then in 1913 Amm17 said:

"The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years;"

In the case of presidential Electors, it is still up to the States to decide how they are allocated. As a rule, if it's not in the Constitution then it's left to the "various States" to figure it out. Amm17 was meant to break the power of state and regional political machines, and return that power to the large national parties.

David Brin thought:

"sorry, the red staters would laugh and giggle and not go along."

Correct, in fact the Republicheats are the main advocates of per-district allocation, knowing they'd peel off a dozen in blue NY and even more in California. But per-district allocation has another, more pernicious effect. It virtually ensures that each president controls the House of Representatives for 2 years. And, think it through, it effectively limits presidents to one term. In 2012 Obama did not carry a majority of House districts, nor the Senate. Romney would have been president. Again, a winner who lost the popular vote, but this time it was prevented by the Electoral College!

Unfortunately, the "luxury resort" idea floated in this blogpost and previously, is contrary to the 12th Ammendment in 1804:

"The Electors shall meet in their respective states,"

But Amm12 specifically enshrines the idea of a 'faithless elector':

"they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate;"

Note the use of "votes" and "persons", in the plural! And the 14th Ammendment in 1868 rams the idea home:

"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States;"

Being an Elector is a federal privilege, enshrined in the federal Constitution, and no State law can force all the Electors in a single State to vote for the same candidate. What got Bush II and the orange guy elected is a tradition, not a constitutional mechanism.

Here's the stupid part... we already HAD multiple preference voting. It's the way America was originally designed.

Here's how Artcle II Section 1 sounded, as originally written in Philadelphia:

"The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote
by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not
be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And
they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of
the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign
and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Govern-
ment of the United States, directed to the President of the
Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence
of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the
Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The
Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the
President,

...

after the Choice of the President, the Person having the
greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice
President.
"

Dig that? "vote by Ballot for two Persons"

Whether you call them Framers or Founding Fathers, they had already solved our modern problem with the Electoral College. They baked it right into the apple pie.
[cont'd]

yana said...

[cont'd]


By 1803, a problem became apparent. Before Amm12, it was guaranteed that the Prez and Veep would be at odds. Disaffected partisans could make their second-place guy the president, just by knocking off the first-place guy.

Yeah, that's a problem, but in 1804 the 12th Ammendment solved the WRONG problem. Amm12 solved it by making sure the Electors who succeeded in electing a president would also succeed in electing a like-minded VP, by removing multiple preference voting.

There is another way to solve the problem: just let a President-elect appoint his or her VP. Which is essentially what we do now anyway. Don't call me a strict constructionist, that's gotten a bad connotation lately as it's the last refuge of Republicheats. But in this case, the intent of the Framers was clear: Multiple Preference Voting For President.

No need to abolish the appedicitis which is the Electoral College. No need for State laws illegally shackling Electors. Just return the Constitution to the way it was originally designed, and let each Elector "vote by Ballot for two Persons".

Elegant, and also hilarious. Because ultra-right neo-patriots rest their droopy ideology over the Constitution Uber Alles, and what that old parchment says is very clear: Multiple Preference Voting For President.

I hope California's 'experiment' goes well, because that kind of voting is what the Founder Framer Guys intended all along.

progressbot said...

>> David Brin said...
\\Argh! Are you listening to yourself? The Strugatskys had to PLACATE Marxists! They had to at least superficially have Marxist rationalizations

That is not easy question... because of strong differences between "marxism in books" and "marxism on practice".

But first of all, I must say it loud and clear -- marxism it's a scam. Period.
Was it from the very beginning, and is till today. Because of it central idea/dogma -- labor theory of value.

About brothers. They developed and explored their own version... known as "progressorstvo".
It was easy, because party, you know, was never too explicit in depicting what/how future (must) look like.
So, there always was some space for interpretations... until you not caught by censure, and chant dogmas the right and laud way. Especially if you are from that "lucky"/famous ones, to which rules was a little bit relaxed.
And Strugatsky's, with their Noon, was ones.

That is reality of life in totalitarian state. Hardly any different than in any other such states.
But too different from your country of Four States of Power and Democracy. For you to understand...


\\Thank you for finally understanding my point. I do not claim Walter Scott was a Marxist. But the Marxist appreciation of monarchy AS A PHASE TRANSITION, meant that writers in a Marxist theocratic state could still have stories about good princes and good kings, so long as the alternative enemy is feudal lords and boyars.

You again mixing *two* different stories here. Well, from my perspective, at least.

"Good king against bad boyare" -- it's theme from russian history... existed long before any marxism.

As to "phase transition" I, as well as any other schoolboy/girl from USSR, know.
It's straightforward: tribal --> ancient slave states --> feudalistic --> capitalistic --> Big and Shiny Communism, Last and Greatest. :\
And never and nothing special about monarchy and feudals.

And I trying to re-call, hard... which of kings in USSR films and books I read was depicted as "good king" (well, like Aragorn in known piece). Zero. Nada. None.
They always was depicted or like (evil) clowns, or like weak and good for nothing.
Well, maybe except for Peter I, in "Russia, The Young"... but it was in late USSR. And it was clear turn to russian nationalism, that continuing till today.

See. I still remember it very vividly. It's as soviet propaganda worked -- very efficiently and robustly. And you trying to sell to me, that what I know and remember from my own experience -- it's not true. Because you know it better? From books? :)


\\That is the story of Alkexander Nevsky and Peter the Great.

No. It was russian nationalism and imperialism. Which was possible because capital of USSR was in Moscow and "russian federation" was most powerful of "15 brothers-republics of Nerushimi Soyuz". Which tried to subvert Soviet Empire into Russian Empire alone, in the late USSR times (well, all the time it was russian imperialistic project... communism, was an eye candy for suckers(yes, it's bitter, because that suckers was my relatives, my folk)). But of course it was impossible. So Yeltsin promptly abandoned that idea. But, Putin now, as devoted pupil of Andropov, trying to play it all back.

That's all.


\\Lenin was confused because Marx theory said the revolution should have come first in advanced industrial countries like Britain and Germany. Instead it came first in the LEAST advanced. He spent the rest of his years trying to reconcile this.

I already stated it. I'm not marxist. And not zealous old geezer reminiscent about "old good times" in USSR.
For me, as for any other post-soviet, that "what Lenin thought" is not valid and/or interesting talking point anymore.
It was, in 80-th and among "vernie lenintsy". But now it's too old and too stinky story...

progressbot said...

Kinda hymn of late USSR/early post-soviet era (cartoon is japanese... gives it some additional non-realistic colors, but still good)

Lyrics with translation... but you'd hardly understand such word-to-word translation

Larry Hart said...

Phaedrusnailfile:

It will probably take a Democrat being elected with a minority of the popular vote to get Republicans to even consider any attempt to try such reforms.


Yes, that's true in general. The only way obvious inequities in the system get reformed is when the issue becomes an inconvenience to Republicans. Inequities that favor Republicans are considered features, not bugs in the system.

Larry Hart said...

yana:

"after the Choice of the President, the Person having the
greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice
President."

Dig that? "vote by Ballot for two Persons"

Whether you call them Framers or Founding Fathers, they had already solved our modern problem with the Electoral College. They baked it right into the apple pie.


That's not preferential voting--it's voting for two offices at the same time with the second-place winner getting the consolation prize.

It has nothing to do with the problem of (say) two liberal candidates splitting the vote between them, allowing a right-winger to "win" with 35 or 40 percent, despite being the least desired candidate by the majority of voters.

It also has nothing to do with the Electoral College issue of Trump being president even though more Americans voted for Hillary than for him.

Tim Wolter said...

With the tweaks mentioned above, the Electoral College has been serving its intended purpose since the founding of our country. Long may it continue so to to.

The men - and I suspect they were getting advice from their wives as wise husbands ever have - who created our system of government knew their Gibbon well. The basic theme of Decline and Fall is a study of how a great, seemingly invincible nation can fall from internal mismanagement. Some of the legacies of this lesson are to be found in tenets that we all agree upon, the separation of Church and State, the civilian control of the military, etc.

The Electoral College is designed to keep our politics from turning into a Circus. I mean a literal circus.

Unless you wade through the entire opus it is easy to forget that half of Gibbon is devoted to Byzantium. It was a fractious place whose survival for so long amazes me. In the formative 5th/6th centuries there were political factions (demes!) organized initially as fan clubs for chariot races....which were run at the circus, ex Circus Maximus in Rome. They eventually morphed into plebian "political action committees" with a mob rule flavor. A study of the Nika riots of 532 is instructive. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nika_riots

It led to our Founders - and dare I say their "kitchen cabinets" - having a horror of pure mob rule. Let the mob in the population center demand ("demeocratically!") ever more Bread and Circuses and there will be blood in the streets. Also the outer provinces will eventually get fed up and leave, a prospect much on the mind of a shrinking Empire.

So a balance was struck. Of course the Rhomaioi were far from the concept of popular sovereignty and representative voting. That came from the lessons of more modern times and the highly imperfect examples of Greece and Republican Rome.

So I'm all in favor of any ideas to improve our own Imperfect Union....so long as they follow the established mechanisms for change. Any other road leads to the smoldering ruins of Byzantium.

TW/Tacitus

Anonymous said...

Inability to change. That and only that destroyed all previous empires. But what we hear "How dare you even think about changing what we want to retain unchangeable?!!"

Tim Wolter said...

Anonymous ( and again, a screen name to help sort you out from your shadow bretheren? )

Please re-read my last sentence. What you hear and infer is up to you. What I say and what I actually mean is up to me.

Progressives and Conservatives differ not in a acknowledgment that change is necessary, but in their comfort level in rate of change. At various times and in various places each viewpoint has been wrong.

TW/T

Anonymous said...

Black swans, Tim, black *ing swans.

Anonymous said...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overconfidence_effect

raito said...

I've never thought of the Electoral College as having been established as some sort of check. To my mind, it was always an 18th century device to deal with communications. Regardless of its function now.

As happens in the course of things, the elections have been 'moneyballed'. Popular vote no longer matters. Only Electoral votes matter.

This may bolster my view that when transportation and communication (the latter in this case) become commoditized (and immediate), the system as we know it starts breaking down.

Treebeard,

Following your analogy, anyone ordering lobster gets a burger or taco anyway. Even those on a hunger strike will be made to eat. And since the Franchise Wars, all restaurants are Taco Bell.

Larry Hart,

Amusingly, I was listening to the radio the other day talking about prison reform, and various forms of clemency specifically. Apparently, many in the GOP are (now) quite FOR clemency. Gee, I wonder why...

Larry Hart said...

@raito:

Apparently, many in the GOP are (now) quite FOR clemency. Gee, I wonder why...


:)


anyone ordering lobster gets a burger or taco anyway


That's where the analogy breaks down. In a restaurant, you generally order what you want individually. You don't collectively order a meal for everyone.

Larry Hart said...

raito:

I've never thought of the Electoral College as having been established as some sort of check. To my mind, it was always an 18th century device to deal with communications. Regardless of its function now.


Not so much a check the way Dr Brin hopes for, but the EC was pretty evidently designed as a compromise to make the influence of smaller states comparable to that of larger states.

But like Monty Python's "Dennis Moore", it now steals from the poor and gives to the rich.

David Brin said...

PBot : \\That is the story of Alkexander Nevsky and Peter the Great.

>>No. It was russian nationalism and imperialism.

Argh. Of course it was based on russian nationalism and imperialism. But the communist commissars could not have that be the surface reason. They were supposed to have idealistic reasons! Marxist reasons. So they praised Nevsky and Peter as essential STAGES or PHASES in development away from primitive feudalism.

===
Tim, while the Founders feared mob rule, they nevertheless were determined NOT to allow feudalism, the actual enemy. The seized and redistributed up to a third of the land. They banned primogeniture inheritance. Just because a car has a steering wheel doesn't mean it's not designed to move. There are five forward gears. One reverse,

And while conservative skepticism is welcome, when it is sane, I think we need to remember:

tobacco
cars and smog
McCarthy
burning rivers
War on Drugs
Vietnam
Watergate
Supply Side
Ozone
Gambling & casino moguls
Climate Change
Endless Drug War
Almost all traitor spies were Republican
Almost all the child molestor politicians
Gerrymandering and a dozen other cheats.
Vladimir Putin and Rupert Murdoch & Saudis & Trumps...

Skepticism? Sure. But without memory of how incredibly consistently the GOP stance has been simply, factually WRONG is something worth noting.

Oh... what do you call the thing the last Electoral College did to us, other than a "circus"?

Darrell E said...

Larry Hart said...

"But I finally concluded that it was the height of ridiculousness to be arguing over what someone should do if he finds himself depressed by being stuck in a deterministic universe. I finally flat-out told the guy that he was choosing to be depressed over the fact that he is not able to make choices. Which kind of negated the whole problem in the first place."


LOL. This sounds like an excellent outline for a Monty Python sketch.

Darrell E said...

duncan cairncross said...
"The "Soul" and "Free Will"

The ultimate criteria for "Free Will" has got to be the creation of something new and beautiful

You can talk about dualism and determinism but if people can create new and beautiful things and different people can create different things then they have "Free Will""


Interesting. I've heard many definitions and ideas of what freewill is from many different people, but I've never heard this explanation. Are you saying it's just something that you know when you see it?

"Evolution consists of random chance filters and time - and evolution has produced a LOT of new and beautiful things"

I agree, it most certainly has. I think the greatest implication of CD's thesis about evolution, the underlying thing that was a real milestone and is also the thing that causes such friction with religious folk, is that complexity can arise from simpler precursors via natural processes undirected by any agency.

"So we have an example of a relatively simple process doing exactly what a "soul" would need to do for us to have "Free Will""

This would seem to show that "Free Will" is a pointless term. I tend to agree with that. Freewill of the type that simply means making decisions absent coercion, as in the opposite of asking for my wallet while you hold a gun to my head, is sensible to me and is of no great philosophical interest. But any other definition I've heard, the ones that keep theologians and philosophers so busy, the ones that somehow make humans even more extra special than anything else, seem incoherent and pointless to me.

Larry Hart said...

@Darrel E,

I've only heard one definition of free will that doesn't run into problems like "If what you want is a product of genetics and conditioning, then is it really free?" or "I can't fly to the moon, so I don't have free will", or "If you put a gun to my head and ask for my wallet, I'm still freely handing it over to you, given the circumstances."

The definition I heard is religious in nature, so it's not one I subscribe to, but it does have the virtue of being logically consistent.

In any situation, you have the free will to say "I will do what pleases God" or "I will do something for reasons other than pleasing God." And those choices you make are what you will be judged on in the afterlife.

Again, that's not my creed, but I understand the thinking of those whose creed it is.

Tim Wolter said...

David

You disappoint me. I go to the effort to bring something different into the discussion and you respond with boilerplate. It is unoriginal. And in many cases dubious stuff. Being lazy will do that to your arguments.

I for instance recall the big blow against tobacco being the ban on TV advertising(Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act). That was signed into law by a Republican president. After a vote that was quite bipartisan. If you like facts, it was on the Yea side 40 D 29 R. On the Nay side 5 D and 2 R. There were a fair number of duck and cover Senators who did not vote on this one.

And Vietnam? A complicated topic but vaguely I seem to recall the letter D after the names of Kennedy and Johnson. Your other points are a mixture of this, that and t'other. Some reasonable. Some just lazy.

TW/T

duncan cairncross said...

Larry Hart

You have free will - the outcome of any complex process is not and cannot be predetermined

Darrel E
I came up with that definition - I'm an engineer I think in terms of results - results imply conditions

The ability to create beauty is to me a good measure of "Free Will" in an entity

And the fact that a simple process can also create beauty shows that nothing supernatural or spiritual is needed

locumranch said...


David prescription for frustrating Steve Bannon's Civil War will only aid & abet SB's revolutionary intent, and I will tell you why in the most simplistic terms:

First, any Blue State attempt to eliminate or temper the Electoral College will actually induce said civil war as it will provide proof positive of the over-populated Blue State majority's utter contempt for Red State minority opinion. This is the 'Tyranny of the Masses' in action.

Second, the 'hammering home' of Unionised Labour's historical relevance will only serve to illustrate the near complete destruction and near extinction of the blue-collar middle class in response to automation, outsourcing & rampant immigration. This is the lesson not learned that cost the US Democratic Party the last & possibly the next major election.

And, third, our host's hyperbolic habit of conflating all of his enemies into a singular monstrous mass (as in the case of the 'Kremlin-commie-nazi-sexist-racist-oligarch-mafia' conglomerate) tends to undermine the utility of each & every solitary pejorative, rendering all such shaming insults worthless & ineffective.

I mean really, what else you got, now that you've labelled everyone who is not-you as a nazi xenophobic misogynist??

Maybe your honorable opposition will decide to OWN all those derogatory labels and become the Proud Confederates that you most despise just to spite you.


Best

Tim H. said...

Tim W., laying the blame of Viet Nam on Kennedy & Johnson vastly oversimplifies the psychologically disturbed rat's nest that that bit of history was. FWIW, I remember when the GOP still had a little progressive mojo, I hope they can find it again, Tim H.

David Brin said...

Tim, at least you did add to the discussion with interesting facts about the tobacco vote. And yes, politics was more bipartisan in those days, and I blame Tip O’Niel and Rostenkowski for not accepting Nixon’s offer of a much more “socialist” health care bill than Obamacare. Nixon also signed the EPA.

Still, to claim that some republicans supported banning tobacco adverts is only to say there used to be SOME, sensibly science-liking Republicans. And yes. There used to be. Some.

Missing from my list… civil rights. Where the divide spanned the great shift in US politics when the dixiecrats became republicans. So? In all of these cases, the CONFEDERATE position was anti-science and anti-justice, down the line. And the GOP is now 100% confederate.

Vietnam being at Kennedy’s and LBJ’s feet? Sure! But the CONSTITUENCIES for the war, both in congress and the public, had a strongly confederate core and you know it. I remember the 1968 Democratic convention melt-down., while Noxon sailed through the GOP convention vowing to crush Ho Chi Minh.
===

Locum:
“Maybe your honorable opposition will decide to OWN all those derogatory labels and become the Proud Confederates that you most despise just to spite you.”

My “honorable” opposition won’t. But the pack of traitors, oligarch-suckers, Putin-shills, science-haters. teacher-haters, and haters of all smart people including the intel, law and military officer corps are welcome to stop being lying hypocrites and roll out the CSA stars n’ bars. An awakened Union will win again, followed by “malice toward none.” And we are motivated by the sure and certain knowledge that’s not how you’d treat us, if we lose.

progressbot said...

>> David Brin said...
\\PBot : \\That is the story of Alkexander Nevsky and Peter the Great.

>>No. It was russian nationalism and imperialism.

\\Argh. Of course it was based on russian nationalism and imperialism.

Yes. It's *communism was based on russian nationalism and imperialism*, not otherwise.
So called "idea of egalitarity and brotherhood" -- it's always and only -- imperialistic idea.
Imperialistic France, where all that started.
Imperialistic Russia.
Imperialistic China.


\\But the communist commissars could not have that be the surface reason.

Well. Ok. I'm here and ready to listen. Your arguments. So I, as beholder, could agree with them as viable.
Because this one is just ad hoc.
Why "communist commissars" should cover it??? They named WWII(and Put_in trying hard to keep calling it that way) -- Great Patriotic War after 1812 Patriotic War. It's Stalin ordered to Eizenstain (do not mess with Einstein) to make films about Nevsky and Peter, to make "historical fundament" to his autocracy.

And now you are saying that this obvious facts doesn't matter??? Or what?


\\They were supposed to have idealistic reasons! Marxist reasons.

They have had very pragmatic reasons (you can call it idealistic if you want) -- to not lose grip on power, and because of this -- appeal to masses of people with ideas and images easy and understandable to them. And that could not be ideas from "Capital". Actually, the very single idea from capital was adopted by masses in USSR -- idea about "exploitation"... and idea of "expropriation" -- as rightful answer to it, rightful punishment. Heh.

But when there was no more burgioes to expropriate, no more points to sweet-talk about "great communistic heavens awaiting us in future" and no more bullets to kill that who asks questions, and no more questions...
as in 1941.

There was only that last straw -- argument to "our great grand parents". Isn't it?


\\So they praised Nevsky and Peter as essential STAGES or PHASES in development away from primitive feudalism.

Show me your sources, for God sake.

Well, I checked it myself. Minus to you, for making me dig that crap for checking your argument.

Well, yeah, they (Marx) talk about stages and absolute monarchy at great length.
But:
1) I found nothing different from, e.g. what Walter Scott was talking. It was just common place. In times of Marx monarchy was all around. So of course, they was talking about it. As you are talking about EC and stuff today.
2) I found *no* praise of it what so ever. For marxists, only communism was good, and well, socialism... just bearable. All other "stages and phases" only bad-bad-bad and destined to perish.
Some over-eager even come to talk that it was best in pre-historical times, cave communism so to say. So we must come to it.

Well, it seem I understand now more clear, your problem. You know words... but not exactly, their meanings... :(

Or... are you really only do researches on marxists? Or become one already...


>> Darrell E said...
\\complexity can arise from simpler precursors via natural processes undirected by any agency.

Not simple. It's just because they do not know physics... and synergetics in particularly.
Evolution need quite complex combination of energy, matter and information flows.


>> Tim Wolter said...

:) Exactly what "vatniks" do, when you corner them... "You are no fun", they say. :)

progressbot said...

>> David Brin said...
\\Clearly I understand Marxism better than you do.

Well, I grow bored of this discussion.
So let's raise it to meta-level, to continue... or just to complete.

What you are trying to say looks wrong to me. And I need your help to come to understanding -- is it just some misunderstanding, me not knowing something or more subtle reason.

For me what you say... that exact point "marxists praised monarchy" -- looks like error in attribution, or error in judgment of emotions/intonations.

Well, I will not say for all marxists... there is too many of them, and different kinds: soviet, china, western ones. I don't know. And don't care.

But, in concrete historical period and place -- late USSR, I think I more than equipped to propose my view and judgment of it.

History of USSR was complex stuff. Many things was there. And most of them are virtually or totally impossible to see and judge from outer.

What was praised, and with what exact intonations and reasons behind -- only one of them.


>> Tim Wolter said...
\\What I say and what I actually mean is up to me.

Obviously, its not true. Russian have such proverb "Slovo ne vorobey. Viletit. ne poimaesh"/Word is not a sparrow. When it fly out of your mouth, you cannot catch it back.

Your Hillary with "deplorables" is stark example.

So... one cannot be "master of his words, and its meanings"... if it not Humptey-Dumptey. Are you? ;)

Larry Hart said...

locumranch:

any Blue State attempt to eliminate or temper the Electoral College will actually induce said civil war as it will provide proof positive of the over-populated Blue State majority's utter contempt for Red State minority opinion. This is the 'Tyranny of the Masses' in action.


Whereas the Red Staters' utter contempt for the Blue State majority opinion is justifiable--why exactly?

Darrell E said...

progressbot said...

">> Darrell E said...
\\complexity can arise from simpler precursors via natural processes undirected by any agency.

Not simple. It's just because they do not know physics... and synergetics in particularly.
Evolution need quite complex combination of energy, matter and information flows."


Yes, I agree life is not simple. That was not my intended meaning. My intended meaning was merely to describe the relationship between the two states, that the precursors were less complex, hence "simpler," but not necessarily simple. Please substitute "less complex" if that tracks better. The key point is an increase in complexity.

Also the context I intended is much more general than biological evolution. Evolution was, of course, CDs primary focus but a much more generally applicable implication of his ideas about evolution was that complexity can arise from less complex precursors by natural processes without the intervention of an agent. That was a ground breaking insight at the time and is applicable to all of the phenomena of our reality in general, not just biological evolution. What I was trying to say is that this generally applicable insight was perhaps even a bigger deal than his ideas about evolution. Darwin was not the first to hint at this but prior to him the main view in most places and times was that complexity required an agent. Darwin provided impetus towards the idea that complexity could arise naturally without agency that became the norm in modern science. Of course many people still can not accept it.

progressbot said...

\\My intended meaning was merely to describe the relationship between the two states, that the precursors were less complex, hence "simpler," but not necessarily simple. Please substitute "less complex" if that tracks better. The key point is an increase in complexity.


Darrel, that is whole point of science called synergetics -- prerequisites to that "increase in complexity"...
must be more complex.

That's why "miracles" are so rare. ;)


\\Also the context I intended is much more general than biological evolution.

Well. Stephan Wolfram with his New Kind of Science... at your service. ;)


Thank you for your input.

locumranch said...


Sometimes I wonder why I even bother to format logical rhetoric when my honorable opposition bends over backwards to support my various arguments ...

As in the case of an Ad Hominem David who promises to exterminate all of his non-union poopy-headed opposition with 'malice towards none', that last part coming as a YUGE relief to the marginalised, oppressed, disenfranchised & soon-to-be exterminated confederate minority.

As in the case of Larry (H for hypocrite) who argues that it's just fine & dandy when it's his hate-filled progressive majority that rages through the streets, engages in slanders against the confederate minority & smashes conservative shopfront windows, all while proclaiming the progressive need for ethnic & ideological cleansing, pogroms and purges.

If we've learned anything from the Prog-Speak hypocrisy, then we've learned that EVERY oppressed minority (including & especially the confederate one) deserves tribe-specific protections, advantages, privileges & reparations from that irredeemable EVIL that is the oppressive tyrannical Blue Urban majority.

Gimmie, gimmie, gimmie cause we confederates are now just poor widdle old minority victims, too.


Best

Anonymous said...

Majority of Locums crying that they are purely poor oppressed minority...
it sounds just like "fascists of the future, will call yourself anti-fascists". Hah.

David Brin said...


Is “Anonymous” saying anything? When I see an “Anonymous” posting that has no monicker, no pseudonym signature, I just skim past without reading.
=

PBot: “Well, I checked it myself. Minus to you, for making me dig that crap for checking your argument.”

Aha! I made you study! Oh no! The Marxist progression of cultural-economic phases is IMPORTANT to understand! And you still do not understand it.

Again, according to Marx (and supported superficially by some history), there are successive social-economic phases, depending upon society’s technology, industry, education and state of the worker class. Monarchy is a NECESSARY phase, that allows industry and trade to flow with peace and security in a whole nation, instead of divided into warring feudal fiefdoms. The boyars are ALWAYS evil in Soviet propaganda, while EARLY monarchs like Peter and Nevsky, who overcame the boyars, are portrayed as a good phase.

If you do not understand this, then you do not understand Marx at all.

AFTER monarchy protects peaceful commerce within a country, cities grow and merchants prosper into a bourgeoisie… that then rebels against the monarchy to create bourgeoise “democracy.” Like the Dutch, U.S. and French revolutions. These were all phases from Marx’s history, that he had already seen.

He then extrapolated forward to a final proletarian revolution.

These are important ideas! They are still influential today. Marx was wrong about many things. But it is great science fiction.

Stephen Wolfram just sent me his new book, by the way.

——

Locum is unable to comprehend, just whimper. “Exterminate” is what he would to to us, so he simply assumes that’s what we intend, despite 200 years of fact - that the Union always AIDS its former enemies. It’s what we do. And the largesse of trillions that has poured - net - from us to confederate ingrates is astronomical. And will continue.

They mock LBJ's War on Poverty, but Appalachia is totally different today than back when gap-tooth, illiterate hillbillies were the accurate cliche.

The only complaint about that that makes the slightest sense is the one I’ve cited many time. That lavish help help results in their best and brightest children turning blue.
Sorry. (Not.)

jim said...

The Surplus Energy Economics blog has another great post

https://surplusenergyeconomics.wordpress.com/2019/04/05/149-the-big-challenges/#comments

Here is what this post is about

"The aim here, though, isn’t simply to restate the core interpretation. Rather, there are three trends to be considered, each of which is absolutely critical, and each of which is gathering momentum. The aim here is to explore these trends, and share and discuss the interpretations of them made possible by surplus energy economics.

The first such trend is the growing inevitability of a second financial crisis (GFC II), which will dwarf the 2008 global financial crisis (GFC), whilst differing radically from it in nature.

The second is the progressive undermining of political incumbencies and systems, a process resulting from the widening divergence between policy assumption and economic reality.

The third is the clear danger that the current, gradual deterioration in global prosperity could accelerate into something far more damaging, disruptive and dangerous."


If the Surplus Energy Economic point of view is correct the 2020 US elections are critical. Will the crisis hit before or after the election?

progressbot said...

>> David Brin said...
\\The boyars are ALWAYS evil in Soviet propaganda,

I already asked your sources.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boyar
""highest rank of the feudal... from the 10th century to the 17th century.""

Why soviet propaganda should care about some specific type of feudals... no more existing for couple of centuries before USSR even started??? :)
(it without mentioning that fact, that I personally didn't hear *noting* like that your claim in USSR at all)


\\while EARLY monarchs like Peter and Nevsky, who overcame the boyars

Facepalm.

Nevsky, was praised because he was one who defeated German knights/crusaiders on Chudskoe Ozero.
Isn't it was convenient... for propaganda... before USSR's own war with Germany???

Peter.
Yeah... he did overcame. By making them even more powerful, rich and european-style feudals. :)))
Which more and harder exploitated "krepostnie". Many of which was my folk -- ukrainians.
That totally like Put_in today -- made some poor crooks and little criminals...
into billionaires, recognized all over the World.

dr.Brin... your proficiency in Russia history... start to give sheer amusement.
It even better and more fantasy-like then usual "matrioshka, vodka, balalaika".


\\AFTER monarchy protects peaceful commerce within a country, cities grow and merchants prosper into a bourgeoisie…

That's one true. But where did you see grateful marxist, who'd say thanks to previous generations, for their hardships and hard work??


\\you do not understand Marx at all.

I'll count it as compliment. :)


\\These are important ideas! They are still influential today. Marx was wrong about many things. But it is great science fiction.

That's for granted. :(((

Larry Hart said...

a fucking liar said:

As in the case of Larry (H for hypocrite) who argues that it's just fine & dandy when it's his hate-filled progressive majority that rages through the streets, engages in slanders against the confederate minority & smashes conservative shopfront windows, all while proclaiming the progressive need for ethnic & ideological cleansing, pogroms and purges.


I can't even be bothered to point out the individual slanders and lies in that sentence. Let our reputations speak for themselves in that regard.

Darrell E said...

jim said...

"If the Surplus Energy Economic point of view is correct the 2020 US elections are critical. Will the crisis hit before or after the election?"

I understand what you mean with this phrasing but nevertheless it made me laugh because regardless of whether or not the SEE point of view is correct there are plenty of other reasons why the 2020 US elections are critical.

David Brin said...


jim & Darrell… If the economy turns south in 2020, the Putinists will claim that democrats did it on purpose to skew the election.

===

PBot: “Why soviet propaganda should care about some specific type of feudals... no more existing for couple of centuries before USSR even started??? :)”

Good lord, watch the film Alexander Nevsky! Films about Peter and Ivan and Catherine. This is standard stuff!

Why should they care? Because the Communist Party wanted to VALIDATE Marxism by showing that it correctly modeled the past. Of course the underlying motive was also to exploit Russian feelings of nationalist pride.

“Facepalm.Nevsky, was praised because he was one who defeated German knights/crusaiders

DOUBLE facepalm! You ignore the story! The boyars and lords were plotting to sell out Novgorod to the Teutons! Nevsky had to overcome those traitor boyars before he could unite the nation against the Teutons!

“But where did you see grateful marxist, who'd say thanks to previous generations, for their hardships and hard work??”

EVERYWHERE!!! It was standard Marxist doctrine that previous generations of revolutionaries were to be honored for bringing humanity closer to the ultimate socialist state, just before true communism.
This is why it was politically acceptable to the communist literary commissars for the Strugatskys to portray future communist spacemen helping the prince on a more primitive planet.

progressbot said...

\\Good lord, watch the film Alexander Nevsky! Films about Peter and Ivan and Catherine. This is standard stuff!

One little... infinitesimal almost, question to you. If you permit.
What dates when this films was filmed?

What do you think? How much they can explain about times AFTER it was filmed? How often it was re-watched? Used for contemporary propaganda since?

You want to say that watching films like "Gone with the wind"... would be enough to understand USA respectively? up to nowadays?

Are you kidding? Or maybe shitting me? :)


\\Because the Communist Party wanted to VALIDATE Marxism by showing that it correctly modeled the past.

What a bullshit.
They already have had all power... not only guns.
But full control OVER EDUCATION of all people in USSR. And most of people in USSR was not able to even read, in after czars.
So communists have had all power and capabilities to fuck the history to their heart content.
And they did it. And very successful... if even you, smart guy from country over two oceans... still affected by their bullshit teachings.
What a sad and sick joke. I only fear that your CIA specialists on Russia... have same level of understanding...


\\DOUBLE facepalm! You ignore the story! The boyars and lords were plotting to sell out Novgorod to the Teutons!o Nevsky had to overcome those traitor boyars before he could unite the nation against the Teutons!

Yes, of course. I ignored.

And do you know why? Because that nasty propaganda of USSR... by some reason,
didn't raised it and didn't teach me, as every other schoolboy/girl in late USSR
that "very important details" that you know, and claim as VERY IMPORTANT... no, only important. :)
To understand what USSR was and what communists praised and tried to achieve.

And of course... that truth only tell you -- that I'm wrong and "do not know marxism well". ))))
Not something else. Like that your understanding is dimmed with unnecessary and non-relevant, outdated details.



\\EVERYWHERE!!! It was standard Marxist doctrine that previous generations of revolutionaries were to be honored for bringing humanity closer to the ultimate socialist state, just before true communism.

Yet one infinitesimal question.
Why I, while having actual experience living in USSR, being soaked with its propaganda.
Hear something like that... for the first time in my life??? :)))
About that "standard doctrine" and some special honor for "previous generations of revolutionaries".

Didn't such revelation must raise to you some questions about reality?
Or... written in your books (which ones, interesting question) -- much more important. Than reality. :)


\\This is why it was politically acceptable to the communist literary commissars for the Strugatskys to portray future communist spacemen helping the prince on a more primitive planet.

"vodka, matrioshka, balalaika" again. (big yawn)

progressbot said...

THE STRUGATSKYS IN POLITICAL CONTEXT


Good overview

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arkady_and_Boris_Strugatsky#Noon_Universe

jim said...

If Surplus Energy Economics is correct, then the coming crisis is a critical turning point for industrial civilization that will set the stage for the rest of the 21st century.

SEE now shows declining surplus energy per capita for the entire world and that leads to an inevitable conflict with an economic system that has to grow to be stable.

The response to the 2008 global financial crisis was to massively increase debt (both public and private) to try and keep “growth” going. When the next even bigger crisis hits I am sure we will try to massively increase debt again but I am not sure it will work, even in the short term.

David Brin said...

Soviet era films about Alexander Nevsky and Peters and Ivan etc were all made as instruments of national and party policy! Gone With The Wind was a commercial product based upon a novel that was written in the 1920s as part of a cultural campaign to romanticize the Olde South and make excuses for the Confederacy. There was no national or party policy behind it.

PBot: “\\Because the Communist Party wanted to VALIDATE Marxism by showing that it correctly modeled the past.

"What a bullshit.They already have had all power... not only guns.

Whaaaaat? Your “bullshit” is bullshit. The Soviets devoted vast resources to propaganda, at all levels, education and Comintern outreach beyond the borders. The core message was "Marx explained history, revealing the historical sequence from feudalism to monarchy to boureoise capitalism... therefore Marx is also right about proletarian revolution!

You are the one with zero understanding.

“Why I, while having actual experience living in USSR, being soaked with its propaganda.
Hear something like that... for the first time in my life??? :)))”

I am not responsible for the fact that your ears were filled with wax. Go and find an old communist — an educated one — and ask him about the Marxist historical sequence from feudalism to monarchy to boureoise capitalism then proletarian revolution. Don’t yell at me. Just go and find out.

This is classic and very very basic stuff. The most extreme basic of Marxism. It’s the absolute basic root of the entire ideology.

duncan cairncross said...

Jim
If I understand your metrics you are talking about the energy payback

So if it costs me 1 kWh - and I get 10 kWh that is 10%

Current solar panels repay the energy used in less than 6 months and will last for 30+ years
So that is an energy payback of 1.66%

Wind power is even better

Today the "Energy Payback" for modern renewables is BETTER than fossil fuels AND there is no real limit to the amount we can install

Which makes that whole argument moot - to say the least

David Brin said...

Same with my carbon footprint, when I fly a bit to convince folks to open their eyes.

Kal Kallevig said...

@ Duncan

Solar panels are great, wind too, but they are a long way from being able to support our civilization.

Our civilization is built on fossil fuels and runs on the difference between their energetic value and the energetic cost of extracting that fuel. This difference has been and is projected to continue to shrink. Nothing very controversial about that.

Manufacturing of solar panels like everything else we do has to come from that "surplus energy", so that is the limit to the amount we can install.

As our energy budget shrinks everything gets squeezed, while populations grow. There are positive sum benefits to be had, but so far no one has found a way defeat physics on this one.

duncan cairncross said...

Kal Kallevig

That is exactly my point - the energy difference for fossil fuels has been dropping and increasing for renewables

Jim was talking about 5% for fossil fuels - going up to 8%

But solar panels are down around 1.6% - over three times as good

Energy is energy - you can use some of the 98.4% surplus with your first solar panels to make more solar panels (which is exactly what manufacturers are doing)

The only part where fossil fuels score is in storage - but storage costs (including energy costs) are falling fast

We are getting close to the Whale Oil situation with fossil fuels

locumranch said...


What was true for Porohobot in the days of the Old Soviet is still true for the Enlightened West today.

Those who already have had all power spew (as in 'vomit forth') an unrelenting stream of mainstream media bias & counterfactual elitist propaganda, as in the case of our fine host who has the temerity to insist that "the Union ALWAYS aids its former enemies (because) it’s what we do".

ALWAYS??

Aside from the brief exception that was the Marshall Plan (aka the 'European Recovery Plan' circa 1948), this is steaming reeking pile of ahistorical drivel as US 'Union' foreign policy has always been & will always be a combination of financial exploitation, brutality, covert meddling, blackmail, usury & corporate chicanery.

The list of peoples that David's hoity-toity Union has screwed over is practically endless, from the Indian Nations who were 'aided' into oblivion to the South Americans who were consigned to totalitarian slavery for the the financial benefit of the American Fruit Company, David's Union is hardly a paragon of virtue, having more in common with Orwell's pigs than Hanna-Barbera's 'Superfriends'.

Wonder Spin Powers Activate! Up is down, right is wrong, freedom of slavery, and the government is here to help you.


Best

David Brin said...

Okay, you got me. At times I get carried away and locumranch nailed me. (A kind of admission he would never make.)

While the USA has tried harder to behave better than any other people tempted by vast, imperial power, the effect has often been mealy-mouth-hypocritical rationalization, or leaving it for later generations to writhe in guilt. Especially re native peoples. Though the fact of that guilt is a phenomenon that Americans invented, pretty much, and it shines down a path of possible redemption.

What we do know is that we have overall a better good to bad deeds ratio than any other Pax. And vastly better than any and all romantic cults, like the confederacy and their close-kin the Nazis, with whom the affinity is growing more open, every day.

progressbot said...

>> David Brin said...
\\Soviet era films about Alexander Nevsky and Peters and Ivan etc were all made as instruments of national and party policy!

Still. It was films/movies. Fiction. Not documentary. Even.
But you trying devise from it some meanings... like it is some scientific research.


\\Gone With The Wind was a commercial product based upon a novel that was written in the 1920s as part of a cultural campaign to romanticize the Olde South and make excuses for the Confederacy. There was no national or party policy behind it.

So what? Our "cultural campaign" vs their nasty propaganda? :)
But... as it easy to see... it is *not* what I was asking about.


\\\\PBot: “\\Because the Communist Party wanted to VALIDATE Marxism by showing that it correctly modeled the past.
\\Whaaaaat? Your “bullshit” is bullshit. The Soviets devoted vast resources to propaganda, at all levels, education and Comintern outreach beyond the borders. The core message was "Marx explained history, revealing the historical sequence from feudalism to monarchy to boureoise capitalism... therefore Marx is also right about proletarian revolution!

Your bullshit is bullshit. Because of *that* claim... that they tried to *validate* something.

The same way as Church doesn't care about Shroud of Turin... only sneaky scientists trying to figure it out (well, they still could be just payed for it scammers).
The same exact reason, Communistic Party of USSR *never cared about* how much of their teachings is valid and right.

THAT IS THE MESSAGE FROM THE PAST TO YOU.

"Our Theory. Is Genuine, because its Truth" they said. Almost like "i belive it, because absurd". Credo quia absurdum.
You either believe in "Shiny Future Of All Of Mankind, in Communism"... or, you are nasty non-beliver, that need to be punished.

What part of it can be, even if only thought off, as resembling something like "showing that it correctly modeled the past"???

In the dusk of USSR every stray dog did know that it is all fake. That's why it broke.


\\This is classic and very very basic stuff. The most extreme basic of Marxism. It’s the absolute basic root of the entire ideology.

Yes. Its basics. But you do not understanding it the right way. The way of seasoned soviet citizen. Who was feeded with it from birth till death. And become fed up.

It's like you are trying to teach poor china peasant... how to eat rice.
And becoming infuriated by his stubbornness... not wanting to eat that *ing rice no more. Because hamburger looks much more delicious to him. :))))

progressbot said...

>> locumranch said...

\\What we do know is that we have overall a better good to bad deeds ratio than any other Pax.

Well, USSR thought that way too... and still RFia's propaganda based on that "great deeds" of USSR. By flaring at good parts... and trying hard to suppress all bad memories... by hiding evidences, and by killing people involved.

And. That part they learned from USA too. If you just deny your involvement, know how to make to shut up "free press", you can go with it... and continue Business As Usual.

That part you did it seemingly right, Locum. But what the differences, you'd ask?

I can answer to you.

Differences is -- you wouldn't like to live in that *ing paradise of total win of fascistic/marxistic/RFia's moral code.

But well, you are, as well as our great host... do not know a shit, about HOW IT WAS... and that way you have NONE needed anti-bodies to that disease.
Only that you are living in more civil, sterile and wealthy environment... far from that nasty places, where this disease are endemic one.

But... viruses and bacterias tend to mutate...

progressbot said...

\\You are the one with zero understanding.

Well, I saw this effect for many-many times. In brawls with vatniks, as well as in more general audience.

If only you dared to say that you are not specialist, claim that you don't know or know little.

There'd be endless ROFLs and LOLs over you, and giggles with feeling of superiority in it. :)

Well, be my guest. It was not shameful for Socrates, to say: "I know that I know nothing". And so it is to me.


\\for the first time in my life??? :)))”

\\Don’t yell at me. Just go and find out.


I dunno. Can someone enlighten me about it??? Does "???" and smiles counts as "yelling" in ams Internet communication culture??? I dunno.

yana said...


David Brin thought:

"The boyars are ALWAYS evil in Soviet propaganda, while EARLY monarchs like Peter and Nevsky, who overcame the boyars, are portrayed as a good phase."

progressbot thought:

"Why soviet propaganda should care about some specific type of feudals... no more existing for couple of centuries before USSR even started???"

David Brin thought:

"Why should they care? Because the Communist Party wanted to VALIDATE Marxism by showing that it correctly modeled the past."

progressbot thought:

"One little... infinitesimal almost, question to you. If you permit. What dates when this films was filmed? How much they can explain about times AFTER it was filmed? How often it was re-watched? Used for contemporary propaganda since? Are you kidding? Or maybe shitting me?"

David Brin thought:

"Soviet era films about Alexander Nevsky and Peters and Ivan etc were all made as instruments of national and party policy!"

progressbot thought:

"Still. It was films/movies. Fiction. Not documentary. Even.
But you trying devise from it some meanings... like it is some scientific research.
"

Have to award this point to the Brin. By coincidence did the Ivan cycle just last week. Had the films for years, been meaning to do it, just the matter of being in the right mood and with a 4-hour block of time to kill. Watched Ivan The Terrible Part 1 (1944), Ivan The Terrible Part 2 (1958), plus a 40min commentary from 2000 by the director of the Center for Soviet Studies at UT Austin.

The "right mood"? Well, you have to know what Soviet films are like, before going in. Specially before a 4-hour cinephile marathon. Soviet movies are, at foremost, dreary. I've only seen about a dozen, but most were excruciatingly dreary. Solaris was great, but even that one has dialogue in stilts and hobbles, in service to the state.

The depiction of boyars in the Ivan cycle is spot-on with what Dr. Brin writes here. Not only that, but Eisenstein used framing and shadowing techniques which he certainly learned from German films of the 1920s. Though he famously hated Eisenstein, Stalin appreciated a quality film director. By forcing the project through, during WW2, Stalin was not playing to a Russian Electra complex. Stalin was actually a giant movie buff. There is even a movie about that, forget the title but it was good too.

No, Stalin had three aims with the Ivan cycle:

1. reinforce the communist theory on the progression of economics.

2. depict a strong leader as the only option for uniting the nation.

3. extend a certain finger to Britain for maintaining a 'house' of Lords, by extension to America for having a class of business barons.

There's no question that the through-line role of villain in the Ivan cycle is a succession of boyars, personified by a few amalgam characters for narrative. The costuming ensures that the sheer mass of boyar in any of their scenes is weighting the frame, overwhelms the viewer with fur-crusted bulk. Naturally, this makes Ivan's struggles look superhuman, his constant plight and the immense odds-against are meant to direct the viewer: "of course it is reasonable that he has to become ruthless."

And there's your silver cord to Stalin. Film production had to be halted once because the Nazis got too close to Moscow. No argument about it, these were the darkest days for USSR, but Stalin pushed the Ivan movies through. He was a huge movie buff, but that's not it. Homefront propaganda is nice, but that's not it. Trite answer is Stalin is Ivan, but that's not it either.

The message is that boyars can change faces to perpetuate their -archy no matter what or who happens, but a monarch is truly tied to the nation, he/she does not have the individual boyar's option of vacillation.

progressbot said...

\\The "right mood"? Well, you have to know what Soviet films are like, before going in. Specially before a 4-hour cinephile marathon. Soviet movies are, at foremost, dreary. I've only seen about a dozen, but most were excruciatingly dreary.

Exactly, Yana, exactly. :)
You was looking only films listed as "films about true russians", chosen by some wise expert for you, that tend to explain to you "what real Russia look like".

Was they biased? Is it relevant to reality? Have such questions ever crossed minds of highly educated and erudited high ams...


Try to watch "Veselie Rebiata"/Jolly Fellows, Moscow Laughs (English subtitles) An 1934 year film (colored version, original was gray-color -- USSR was not able to do it in color that time, and long after)

yana said...


progressbot thought:

"You was looking only films listed as "films about true russians", chosen by some wise expert for you, that tend to explain to you "what real Russia look like". Was they biased?"

Perhaps you underestimate the power of a culture which values free access to information as a tradition. Plenty of crowing lately about secret info and fake info, but once information starts rushing, the tsunami can make everyone into their own wise expert.

progressbot said...

Overgeneralizations... its your bread and butter.

While I'm talking about this exact effect... when you and David trying to teach me what life was in USSR, and what (must be) important to know about it.

What is laughable for at least.

It's like I'd try to teach *you* what life in USA is... on the basis of old Hollywood movies.

Like... that every your post-Vietnam soldier is bloody bastard, which can kill platoon after platoon of people with guns... with his bare hands and Bowie knife.

And that your policemans, at least or especially in small towns... are fatty jerks, who like to excess their power on lawful citizens for no good reason, and then to chase and hunt them down... as mere animal.

Is it good? Such "look from outside"? Is it true, at least in something, you can except as non-discussable and not negotiable... ""Truth about Real Life in USA""???

yana said...


progressbot thought:

"trying to teach me what life was in USSR, and what (must be) important to know about it."

Perhaps you assume that every American watches a Russian movie with no surrounding context, no understanding of Russia beyond whatever context that certain movie provides.

progressbot said...

I thought I said it already laud and clear.

Overgeneralizations... its your bread and butter. Yana. Not mine. :)

Or you just do not know (pretend to not know) what that word mean? ;)

yana said...


General note, hey is it just me, or is the pbot improving in eng, but falling into odd stereotypes of e-eur eng? It would be pretty odd, for the same idiosynchrasies which e-eur speakers bring into eng by the spoken word, pretty odd indeed, for the same ones to express in a text environment. Pbot may be using speech-text, or pbot may be a cartoon.

progressbot said...

Ya pin was unsuccessful, becas ai da not undestand. Wat a ya talkn bout. :)

yana said...


Larry Hart thought:

"It has nothing to do with the problem of (say) two liberal candidates splitting the vote between them, allowing a right-winger to "win" with 35 or 40 percent, despite being the least desired candidate by the majority of voters."

Instead, it has everything to do with that. Apologies, but the elipsis in my comment quoting the original phrasing of Article II Section 1 omitted what happens when nobody reaches the 50.1% threshold of electoral votes.

Our republican democracy, as it was originally designed, it took into account the future growth of the number of States. It was intended to get the best person as president, by throwing the election to the House of Representatives when there's an Electoral College plurality. In the future the Founders envisioned, regionalism was the primary threat to national cohesion.

If there was no majority winner in the Electoral College, the original Constitution told us to draw up a list of the five best candidates and have each State's HoR delegation caucus produce a single vote for the State, and keep doing that until a candidate gets a majority.

It was the intention, the vision, that as the USA grew then more and more presidential elections would devolve to the House of Representatives. And in 2019, i agree. I don't trust many Reps personally, but as a whole i'd trust them implicitly.

Look at the Constitutional clockwork, and see the reason why Congress starts on January 3rd but an administration starts on January 20th. By design, if the old HoR is deadlocked, the new HoR will certainly not be, with a few weeks to spare.

"It also has nothing to do with the Electoral College issue of Trump being president even though more Americans voted for Hillary than for him."

I agree, the 17th Ammendment was easy enough, election of Senators by the people instead of state legislators. Election of all national offices should be decided by the tallied votes of all constituents.

What i am saying is that if redfederates block true democracy, then they still have no defense against returning the Constitution back to its original wording, the first intent. Restore Article II Section 1, just without the provisions for Veep election. More and more elections get tossed to the HoR, which gives us an electorate much more interested every 2 years than just every four.

Larry Hart said...

yana:

I don't trust many Reps personally, but as a whole i'd trust them implicitly.


Hmmmm. While your point is good one that the founders anticipated a growing number of states, I'm not sure they anticipated the effect of a calcifying two-party system. If the 2019 election had gone to the HoR, the president would have been chosen by the Republican Party, even though more Americans voted for the Democratic Party. And that dichotomy seems to be the status quo for the time being.

Something else the founders didn't anticipate, or else tried to believe out of existence: The way the federal legislature runs today with committee assignments and subpoena powers and the choice of what gets to the floor determined by the majority party, the -D or -R next to a candidate's name really is their most important characteristic. And our system was not designed with that in mind. In fact, it willfully ignored the possibility.


Look at the Constitutional clockwork, and see the reason why Congress starts on January 3rd but an administration starts on January 20th. By design, if the old HoR is deadlocked, the new HoR will certainly not be, with a few weeks to spare.


Your point is even stronger given that the presidential term originally began in March.


Election of all national offices should be decided by the tallied votes of all constituents.


The thing is, in our system, there really are no "national elections". The president/VP are the only elected offices where voters across state lines seem to vote in the same election. And because of the Electoral College, even that is not the case. We vote for electors in our states who represent us at the national level. That might be one reason why something like the EC had to exist--because all elections happen at the state level.

In a way, this is the model for the United Nations. Within the UN, countries have a voice, not individuals. "These United States" were originally conceived as more of a prototype UN than as a single unified nation.

Larry Hart said...

yana:

Restore Article II Section 1, just without the provisions for Veep election. More and more elections get tossed to the HoR, which gives us an electorate much more interested every 2 years than just every four.


Without having spent time thinking about it, I wonder if this would help or hurt the divide between a Democratic majority of voters and a Republican majority of states. Would voters be more motivated to dig in and elect Representatives who would pick the kind of president they want? Or would those voters, still relegated to 15 or so states, continue to be outnumbered by the delegations from states whose population they themselves outnumber?

Tim Wolter said...

Larry Hart

I think reverting to the earlier system would not change much. A delegation of Reps gathering to cast a single "state" vote would be sort of a Senate Plus situation. You think two Wyoming Senators carry more heft than they should? How about a single member Wyoming Rep delegation!

The difficult balance between population power and area power would continue.

More in the attainable goals category, I think it would help to have candidates from both parties see and be seen in more than the usual "battleground" states. The two main political parties could "fix" this if they wanted to. And without any change to our national institutions.

Limit primaries to four or five dates, say three weeks apart. Divide the states into groups with about the same EVs. Eliminate Winner Take All. For convenience and to reduce Carbon Footprints there could be geographic grouping.

CA/OR/WA - states touching the Pacific
NY to ME - basically the North East
TX plus any state all or partially in the Mountain Time Zone
The remaining states could be divided at the Mason Dixon line.

What I'd really love to see would be a random drawing one year before the Presidential Election that would give the order of these primaries. But perhaps we would have to settle for a rotating schedule.

Right now Iowa and NH get way more attention than they need. D's hardly bother with CA and NY, R's don't waste efforts in AL and ND.

But with the crucial need to establish "momentum" the first couple of primaries would be massively important. We'd have Republicans trying to eat lox in the Bronx and Democrats trying to rope steers in Montana. Entertainment value aside all concerned would learn something. And an R delegate from CA would count as much as one from NH. Similarly it would be good to have the D candidates speaking directly to their presumably lonesome party faithful in OK.

Or maybe in an age where the Virtual increasingly trumps Reality it would just make more work for those who craft TV ads that nobody pays attention to anyway.

TW/Tacitus

locumranch said...


Yana made a very important observation about how Soviet film propaganda existed to reinforce the communist theory on the progression of economics.

Note also how this approach is now the preferred rhetorical construct of the Modern Leftist & the Justice Democrat:

Their every justification now cites progress -- environmental progress, social progress, economic progress -- along with various types of progression as the driving force.

It's as if the terms 'progress' and 'progression' have become a cynical kind of rhetorical secret sauce that serves to make the failed communist & socialist shit sandwich palatable to an entire new gullible & credulous generation.

Failed communist offal & excrement for sale, new & improved, made possible through the generous application by PROGRESS.

Unrestricted immigration is PROGRESS. Banning Hate Speech is PROGRESS. Eliminating constitutional protections is PROGRESS. Getting rid of the Electoral College is PROGRESS. Frak me.


Best

Larry Hart said...

Tim Wolter:

Right now Iowa and NH get way more attention than they need. D's hardly bother with CA and NY, R's don't waste efforts in AL and ND.


It's just as true that Republicans ignore CA and NY and likewise Democrats AL and ND. If you know you're going to lose a state, campaigning there is just as pointless as if you know you're going to win.

That has much more to do with "winner take all" than with the order of primaries. If it made a difference to a Republican whether he got 40% vs 25% of California's votes, that would go much toward democratizing the vote. Likewise, if it mattered to a Democrat whether he got 60% vs 75% of that vote.

As we delve into the details on this issue, I wonder if two solutions were conflated into one with the Electoral College. It might make sense for states to vote yea or nay as individual entities (similar to the UN). It might also make sense for states to be represented by population. I'm thinking that conflating the two--so that (short of a tipping point), each new Republican voter who moves to California actually adds to the Democratic influence that state has by way of winner-take-all.

Tim Wolter said...

Larry

My point was that we "might" get more moderate candidates this way. Primaries are about winning the nomination. Two centrist candidates a bit to the R and L of things would be better for a competitive race. (Note, not the ideal time to retrospectively apply Centrist and Radical labels to candidates under the existing system).

If the West Coast Primary comes up first you can be darned sure that both candidates would campaign hard there....ditto for the Deep South primary. It might moderate some opinions that the current system does not.

Anyway, an interesting topic and one that does not require a Constitutional Amendment. Just common sense and a desire to better our system. Difficult for entrenched and enriched political factions, but less so than an Amendment?

TW/T

David Brin said...

To be clear. I am uncomfortable with the trend for FB, Google etc to police speech. I told folks at FB that is NOT how to fix this. Far better to set up competitive systems e.g. wagers that nail what's factually untrue.

===
I give up. It is useless to argue with Progressbot. Perhaps it is the language barrier.

He does not disagree with what I actually said. I said that the communist propaganda machine claimed that marxism accurately understands and predicts history. He shows no curiosity about that pure fact that underpinned all Soviet propaganda.

No he screams “bullshit!” at me for something I never said. I never said that the Marxist assertion was TRUE. I never claimed that the Marxist teleology sequence of history was true… though it had some persuasive correlation in the feudal-monarchy-bourgeoise sequence.

“The same exact reason, Communistic Party of USSR *never cared about* how much of their teachings is valid and right.”

You do not have any idea what the top communists actually believed. Are you a mind reader? Every public pronouncement that they made exclaimed their belief in the Marxist historical sequence. It is likely that many of them believed their religion, since it made excuses for their power.

Putin probably believed it, at one point.

You truly haven’t even the slightest idea what I am talking about. Enraged, you once again refuse to be curious, but instead to screech at a shadow of your own imagining.

It’s too bad. You are a smart person. You might actually learn something. But rage controls you.

==

“you and David trying to teach me what life was in USSR”

This is an outright lie. I was describing basic Marxist historical-sequence theory and why soviet films and novels had to accept certain basic assumptions in their choice of heroes and villains. I said nothing about your life in the USSR. Nothing at all.

That was a lie.

As for US films, the ideology is to flatter the audience into forking over more money. Some do this with simplistic-stupid action (Rambo) and some do it with self-criticism chic (In The Heat of the Night)… making the audience feel sorry for an eccentric or minority who is being abused by authority.

Again it is a pure lie to say that I was talking about “real life in the USSR.” Show me where I did that. I dare you.

==
As for locum. Poor fellow’s screams are NOT intelligent. They are jibbering insane. That’s a big difference.

Kal Kallevig said...

Duncan,

"We are getting close to the Whale Oil situation with fossil fuels."

I wish.

You are apparently a highly competent engineer, so please go through the exercise of calculating how long it would take to produce enough power with PV to replace the existing fossil fuel consumption budget worldwide while at the same time diverting enough energy to the manufacture and installation of the renewables you have projected as being needed.


I have seen a couple of such calculations that show it might just be possible, provided fairly massive changes are made to the current consumption rate. I think it is worth trying, but it is not a sure thing. Professor Ugo Bardi published one such discussion: https://cassandralegacy.blogspot.com/2014/05/the-sowers-strategey-how-to-speed-up.html


Of course, projections are difficult when there are so many variables, the greatest of which is human behavior.

Larry Hart said...

David Brin:

As for locum. Poor fellow’s screams are NOT intelligent. They are jibbering insane.


They're also lies, no longer bordering on slander but actual slander. In the last screed before I stopped reading his posts (I know, again?) had me calling for breaking windows of conservatives or shooting them in the streets or something like that. I've given up even trying to figure out what he thinks he's referring to.

And despite the hatred of Republicans that I wear on my sleeve here every day, if there were to be a mass shooting at my place of work, the one person I would make sure was out safely before escaping myself is a conservative--most likely a Republican, though I make a point of not asking, And I would literally give my life to save hers. Human emotion is paradoxical and strange.

Jon S. said...

I thought that might be the point of rupture between Dr. Brin and the NotBot. Dr. Brin was attempting to discuss the theoretical underpinnings of Marxist thought, while the 'Bot was discussing the practical aspects of Stalinist government - which is not the same thing. (Stalin still appealed to the memory of Marx, which is why his propaganda pushed the Marxist dialectic, but as far as I can tell Stalin's government bore the same resemblance to actual Marxist theory as the modern Republican Party does to actual conservative theory, that is to say none worth noting.)

locumranch said...


Hyperbolic with a tendency to reducto absurdum, most definitely. Insanity, I wish, for such a designation would render me commonplace in this our insane society.

The purpose of my self-identification as 'victim' is to illustrate both the ongoing absurdity & future inutility of Leftist Victimology, this societal glorification & investment in what Bertrand Russell termed 'The Superior Virtue of the Oppressed' fallacy.

For when all of us claim special, marginalised, minority, outcast, oppressed, victim or underprivileged status, then none of us are which renders us all average, unexceptional and undeserving of empowerment, reparation or even acknowledgement.

Omnia mors aequat, aka 'The Fruit of the Tree of Equalism'.


Best
______

Apparently, it is now 'slander' to repeat Larry's own words back at him. In response to my assertion that the Blue State Majority's attempt to eliminate the Electoral College equals the 'Tyranny of the Masses', Blogger Larry Hart questioned whether the Red State minority's utter contempt for the Blue State majority opinion is justifiable, the unstated answer being an unequivocal YES as the oppressed minority is always right, according to his very own leftist victimology doctrine, elsewise Kristallnacht-like actions taken by any dominant majority are forever appropriate & justified, so Blue State majority member Larry_H may now apoligise to me & all concerned for his ill-advised attempt to oppress my Red State minority arse.

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Kal Kallevig
While don't eat the seed corn is critically important when you are getting a return of two or three to one with an energy return of 60:1 it becomes a lot less critical!
Today's farmers DO "eat the seed corn" because the seeds produced my the agri companies give a return of over 100:1 and it's more effective to get new seed every year

As far as the transition to renewables is concerned when I look into my battered and cracked crystal ball I see a transition that is now inevitable - driven by lower costs of renewables - BUT one that is too slow to avoid the effects of Global Warming

I expect us to have to do some quite intensive "Geo Engineering" to make the transition acceptable - (I like OTEC and ocean fertilisation)

I look at the history of Britain and the Commonwealth in WW2 as an example of the amount of effort that we as a species are able to put into that transition and I feel confident that we will be able to weather it - but I hope it will NOT require that level of effort

David Brin said...

Kal, California requires all new homes to be solar. That's a big step.

David Brin said...

By the way, the Chinese Communist Party goes to great lengths to promote its own version of the Marxist class-succession model. They have had to twist themselves into pretzels to do it. But they give it very high priority. And officials study hard, because one wrong sentence can ruin them.

CP said...

Not much time (traveling)... But, one more quick try at an optimal procedure to elect a president (I know this is "fantasy" from the standpoint of getting it passed--multiple constitutional amendments, etc.)

eligibility:
Citizen with cumulative residency of at least 25 years
Between the ages of 35 and 65 on inauguration day
Served at least four years as a representative, senator, governor or mayor of a city with over 300000 population

No electoral college.
Residents of territories can vote.
Process is structurally nonpartisan (candidates qualify independently, regardless of party).

"One stop filing" (places the candidate on the ballot nationwide with no late entries or withdrawals).

Requirements for filing:
Complete financial disclosure for candidate and immediate family. Release of 5 years of tax returns by candidate.
Filing fee 5% of salary ($20000 at the moment, I think).

Filing deadline in first week of January.

Primary run under a staggered, elimination format with four rounds.

First round held on the same day in the first week of March in the smallest 12 states, DC and the four minor territories (about 5% of the population).

Primary open and structured as a truncated rank choice with the voter designating 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choices. Rank choice tabulation performed on the pooled results of all 17 jurisdictions. Top 12 candidates move forward.

Second round held on the same day in the first week of April in the next twelve larger states and Puerto Rico (around 11 percent of the population). Same rules. Top nine candidates move forward.

Third round held on the same day in the first week of May in the next 13 larger states (around 23% of the population). Same rules. Top 6 candidates move forward.

Fourth round held on the same day in the first week of June in the largest 13 states (a bit more than 60% of the population). Same rules. Top 3 candidates move forward to the general election in the fall.

Top 3 candidates appoint their vice presidential candidates (withing 10 days?). VP must meet all eligibility and filing requirements for president except the filing fee. Appointed VP inherits the ballot line if something happens to the candidate during the election. If the candidate is elected, VP serves in current role but nomination may be rejected by a 2/3 vote of the senate.

General election held under Condorcet rules with the voter designating 1st and 2nd choices.

By the way, "for the record" the number of jurisdictions stated in my last post if Main/Nebraska system was adopted nationwide should have been been 486, not 536--"brain glitch."

progressbot said...

>> Blogger David Brin said...
\\I give up. It is useless to argue with Progressbot. Perhaps it is the language barrier.

It's just the way you do your argumentation. Just providing some separate facts, don't listen to opponent answers and continue to push it on pure emotion, instead of logic. That's all.
Well, it's like 99% of inet discussion is. So, please do not take it too closer to yourself. It's not flame. It's just constatation. The same as your POV above.


\\He does not disagree with what I actually said.

Of course.. I'm not Loco or Yana, to argue with obvious facts. :)


\\I said that the communist propaganda machine claimed that marxism accurately understands and predicts history.

Yep, they claimed. But supported this claims with guns, with sending to GuLag, not with scientific arguments. That's what you seemingly do not understand. Because such simple truth, known to every post-soviet, is just unimaginable to people living in peaceful and civil place, I presume.
But that exact makes it so disturbing and dangerous...


\\He shows no curiosity about that pure fact that underpinned all Soviet propaganda.

Because there is *nothing* curious to me in that fact. Because it is news for you, but not for me, by obvious reasons I constantly remind about.


\\No he screams “bullshit!” at me for something I never said. I never said that the Marxist assertion was TRUE. I never claimed that the Marxist teleology sequence of history was true… though it had some persuasive correlation in the feudal-monarchy-bourgeoise sequence.

1. I didn't scream. And don't know what make you think so. My "bullshit" was mild assertions here.

2. You corollaries are just strange... like that -- USSR tried to "validate" their "knowledge", or that soviet writers should write about "good princes become good kings"... and do not corresponds to anything, literary anything, I know from USSR.

3. I don't know reasons, and tried to ask you questions to find out, so our discussion could be more productive. But you ignored it, add just added more such things -- what should I do?


\\You do not have any idea what the top communists actually believed. Are you a mind reader?

And you.
Well, I thought about such argument myself, days ago.
And... does it matter what plots have had higher-ups in their minds???
It's not with that ideas people was going into fight, ready to kill, ready to die... but with that ideas that was introduced into masses by "agit-prop" (agitation and propaganda), isn't it?

Other way... it just conspirology. That "what they had in their minds".
But well, I heard such arguments, and very often... from "vatniks".
But for them, I understand why they use it -- out of desperation...
And why you...


\\Every public pronouncement that they made exclaimed their belief in the Marxist historical sequence.

Why you say "historical sequence" here? I dunno.
Most of my life, most important topic of propaganda, was "West is bloody and dangerous".
Not about some gibberish "historical sequences".

progressbot said...

>> Blogger David Brin said...


\\It is likely that many of them believed their religion, since it made excuses for their power. much

Or just pretended it.
All my life there was lots anecdotes, showing real attitude toward that crap.
Like "they pretend they paying us, we pretend we are working". Etc.


\\Putin probably believed it, at one point.

Doubt it. Very much. Because he was from generation of cynics already.


\\You truly haven’t even the slightest idea what I am talking about. Enraged, you once again refuse to be curious, but instead to screech at a shadow of your own imagining.

Well. Some of your assertions was curious. But you denied my inquiries to elaborate that ones. (yawn)


\\It’s too bad. You are a smart person. You might actually learn something. But rage controls you.

My yawn controls me. :)))



\\“you and David trying to teach me what life was in USSR”
\\This is an outright lie. I was describing basic Marxist historical-sequence theory and why soviet films and novels had to accept certain basic assumptions in their choice of heroes and villains. I said nothing about your life in the USSR. Nothing at all.
\\That was a lie.

Very simple. That your "basic assumptions" is plain bullshit. Based on you don't knowing well realities of life in USSR.
You trying to say that this "historical-sequence theory" is something big and important. While in reality... it was infinitesimal in importance.
Important was OTHER things... but you showed no interest in knowing them. And only continue to accuse me, that I show so little interest in your Unstable Fables about history of USSR...
while you do not answer on my questions and that way just deny me to exercise my interest... while I'm really interested -- why you think what you think is true???

Only Yana provided some valid (I hope) feedback on that matters.


\\As for US films, the ideology is to flatter the audience into forking over more money. Some do this with simplistic-stupid action (Rambo) and some do it with self-criticism chic (In The Heat of the Night)… making the audience feel sorry for an eccentric or minority who is being abused by authority.

I see it clear myself.
Like that R 1 was clearly anti(Vietnam)war film.
But it turned it up to 11, and it become interesting for audience.
So next film become PRO-war propaganda.
And next just agitka about war if Afgan.

That's why Putinists in RFia screeching so much, and even Put_in itself said it sorely... that your propaganda is just so great... that RFia need to learn big time of it. :))) To win. Or just not to lose.


\\Again it is a pure lie to say that I was talking about “real life in the USSR.” Show me where I did that. I dare you.

Well, Ok. Here is one stark example

""“Why I, while having actual experience living in USSR, being soaked with its propaganda.
Hear something like that... for the first time in my life??? :)))”

I am not responsible for the fact that your ears were filled with wax. Go and find an old communist — an educated one — and ask him about the Marxist historical sequence from feudalism to monarchy to boureoise capitalism then proletarian revolution. Don’t yell at me. Just go and find out.""

And that's just after I gave it above here, that "historical sequence from feudalism to monarchy".

progressbot said...

>> Jon S. said...
\\I thought that might be the point of rupture between Dr. Brin and the NotBot. Dr. Brin was attempting to discuss the theoretical underpinnings of Marxist thought,

Well, I stated it openly and clearly... that I do not count "theoretical underpinnings of Marxist thought" as anything else as militant crankery, absolutly acid poisoning bullshit and bloody stupidity... and I have history of my relatives behind my back to support that claim.

And what have dr.Brin? Why he so sure? I dunno. He never gave me chance to reveal that truth. (good grief/ thing I checked meaning of word "revile" I erroneously could place instead %) what a nasty lang that English... that's might be the reason dr.Brin constantly stating that I'm angry -- how should I know what *intonation* one can see in my words in English that way???)


\\ while the 'Bot was discussing the practical aspects of Stalinist government - which is not the same thing.

Exact same thing. Because as I said above -- Marxism never had "theoretical meaning" what so ever.
And only historical applications and circumstances.
That, must know and understand anyone, who claim that he know marxism and/or history of USSR (or China) as expert. My claim.


\\ (Stalin still appealed to the memory of Marx, which is why his propaganda pushed the Marxist dialectic,

You did meant to say "Lenin's dialectics" isn't it?
Because masses of people in USSR did not know and doesn't cared about some stupid Marx.
And only Stalin's closeness to Lenin was important... well, before he made Purge and became autocrat.


\\ but as far as I can tell Stalin's government bore the same resemblance to actual Marxist theory as the modern Republican Party does to actual conservative theory, that is to say none worth noting.)

First sane words about this matters here. Yes, it is.

And Khruschov made own version. Of "actual Marxist theory". And Bregnev own. Etc, etc.

And...

>> David Brin said...
\\By the way, the Chinese Communist Party goes to great lengths to promote its own version of the Marxist class-succession model. They have had to twist themselves into pretzels to do it. But they give it very high priority. And officials study hard, because one wrong sentence can ruin them.

...like something new. :)))


>> locumranch said...

As always. You do not know what you are talking about, Loco. :)))

We in USSR, for example, all was "poor and oppressed... but freed and pure". Want to be one too? :P

David Brin said...

I am utterly bored and did not read the long rant by PBot. He is back on probation. He is filling our comments section with denunciations of things that I never said, while claiming that I DISAGREE with things that I already said.

His lack of even slight curiosity about Marxist theory is his privilege.

But I will not abide him wasting our time and space telling others not to be interested.

I am warning you sir. Behave better or find another place where ideas flow as interestingly as they do here.

progressbot said...

Yeah, sure... now it's clearly seen who do not like, do not want to learn, to recieve and process new information. And that's me, of course... how anyone even could imagine something else.

Well, I do not understand only... what's the problem with Trump. Than. :)


\\ideas flow as interestingly as they do here.

It was a joke? Because I'm not quite undestand ams humor, you know. :)

progressbot said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tim Wolter said...

An adjustment of the Signal to Noise ratio* would certainly increase my postings.

TW/T2

*not, it must be said, an oblique reference to the poster "ratio" whose opinions I respect even when I disagree.

Tony Fisk said...

Tipping points are tricky things, and the consequences can sneak up on you before you know it.
At the end of 2018, about 2.35TW, or a third of global electricity supply, was sourced from renewables.

Larry Hart said...

Tim Wolter:

the poster "ratio" whose opinions I respect even when I disagree.


A fellow Wisconsinite, too.


Larry Hart said...

Tim Wolter:

An adjustment of the Signal to Noise ratio* would certainly increase my postings.


An increase in your postings might adjust the Signal to Noise ratio.

Just sayin'

progressbot said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mike Will said...

progressbot: All greatest works was done by people before their 40. Or even 30.

Nope.
Why are Nobel Prize winners getting older?

There is the Feynman 'degeneration of scientific discovery' notion, maybe you're referring to that.

David Brin said...

“Yeah, sure... now it's clearly seen who do not like, do not want to learn, to recieve and process new information. And that's me, of course... how anyone even could imagine something else.”

I will leave this up in order to illustrate why your subsequent postings will be erased for two days. If you try this crap again, it will be a week. Then a month. You are a rude and silly person, and the quality of this community refutes your claim that it is me.

David Brin said...

onward

onward

TCB said...

Hi all, I'm the commenter Dr. Brin quoted at length in the main post, on the actual history of Electoral College results, and how the EC has a much worse track record than the wisdom of the crowd. (Thank you, Dr. Brin, I get a lift from your kind consideration as a host and moderator!) I really don't have anything else to add, but a question. Dr. Brin wrote,

"One workaround popular among liberals is the “the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact”… an absolutely stupid idea that cannot possibly work, at any level, at any stage in any realistic process."

I'd like a little more detail on what the flaws of such a compact are. At present, the Compact has the support of states comprising 189 electoral votes, needs to surpass 270 to become effective, and may well fizzle out short of that point and never come to pass. If it were to pass, however, it would seem to prevent further EC-over-popular-vote travesties (and I do feel comfortable using that word, since the EC has never made a better choice than the pop vote and 60% of the time did much worse).

So, yes, a question: why is the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact stupid and unworkable? (Right now, I don't see a problem, except that the states outside it won't like it, and many of them are, ahem, not exactly on the right side of the Civil War, know what I mean...)

TCB said...

Darn, missed the onward train by mere minutes~

David Brin said...

TCB the top problem is defection. Any state can defect whenever it chooses. And Red States are guaranteed to rub their hands chortling with glee.

Onward.