Friday, June 10, 2022

We must restore at least some Majority Rule... and a fresh approach to shattering the blackmail rings?

One of the finest essayists in America - or the world - is Rebecca Solnit. In her recent article - she dives into a major advantage and positive trait of modern, western democracy, that has been turned against it, metastasizing into a cancer that could kill both it and us all... the institutional innovation that protects minority interests from being too-readily ruled - even trampled - by any majority. 

Simplistically, 'minority veto' means that that majority must try to negotiate and calm any vociferously objecting minority - perhaps with tradeoffs or reciprocal wins - until either the number of objectors or their passion diminishes below an acceptable level. (This can also be done - as in California - with super-majorities.)


Alas, as with free speech and traditions of Suspicion of Authority (SoA) and several other wholesome Periclean traits, minority veto has been cynically manipulated by enemies of the whole Enlightenment Experiment, encouraging a rising hatred of majority rule in any form. On the right this is propelled by a rabid froth of fear of the 'mob' - a mob that is somehow simultaneously made of grunting immigrants and vast swarms of the brainwashed college educated.

This has built into the latest recrudescence of America's congenital sickness - the Confederacy - whose fervent use of minority veto in the 1850s kept slavery in place long after a majority of white voters wanted the abomination ended.

As usual, Solnit and I emphasize slightly different angles and aspects. But she has the greater soap box. So why are you still here? Go read a really good writer.

== About the Court... and a fresh approach to blackmail? ==


Those liars who lied in order to get on the Supreme Court… and the lying senators who abetted Moscow Mitch’s schemes… need a little (just a little) sympathy, since it is so blatantly obvious that all (or nearly all) of them are being blackmailed. Still, it is blatantly now time to get busy crushing the anti-freedom, anti-science, anti progress and anti-American side of this civil war.


They refer to their own special madness as The Great Awakening. A reference to several other times in US history when fervid tent revival-meetings were about anything but individuals gaining more sapient alertness. Ironic also in that they despise "wokeness." 


Avram Davidson put it very well in his first Peregrine novel, set in the failing late Roman Empire - "in times such as these, a man feels the need of something to cling to, even if it be another man's knees." 


You know I have beat the drum about blackmail many times, in hope that Prez JoBee might offer pardons in order to lure victims into the open and shatter the extortion rings that clearly control hundreds of sellouts like Lindsey Graham. Clearly I am getting nowhere! But a friend offered up a suggestion yesterday that I hand't thought of.


Instead of calling for courage and patriotism from those who are being successfully blackmailed... how about summoning forth those on whom blackmail attempts failed?


Attempts to lure married men with attractive come-ons? That's often how it begins. But if you were in a Moscow hotel and turned down the inevitable offer (to have sex in a room with hidden cameras rolling) isn't that something to testify - even bragt - about? The initial phases of most of these traps are innocuous enough that even if you fell for one, you can still say "F-you and be damned!" and often they just go away.  


Has that happened to you? If so and if we got enough such stories, but it finally be enough to break this thing open? 


== All sides need to me more, not less, TUCE… ==


Guy I know offered four words: “The Undeniable Counter Example (TUCE).” Should be self-explanatory!

And yes, there are countless TUCs for every blanket assertion yammered by sanctimony junkies on both the far left and the entire mad-right. In fact,  I use TUCE a lot. It works fine against grand generalizations. 

Alas, though, there is a flaw. Those who had bandied the grand generalization can respond with: “Well, there are exceptions to everything. The general assertion still stands!”

What's even more effective is the "anti-TUCE". Demanding that your opponent name one counter example to your own well-chosen generalization.  


Let me give one example of an effective anti-TUCE...


 "Name one fact-centered profession that is NOT under attack by Fox News."  


Scientists, teachers, journalists, civil servants, law and medicine professionals... and now the intelFBIi/military officer corps…. it is blatantly obvious that the mad-right attacks ALL fact professions, including that last set (calling the dedicated men and women who won the Cold War and the War on Terror “deep state” traitors.) 


Their inability to name even one exception to that challenge is utterly damning! It proves the point that today's Mad Right is the most fiercely anti-fact cult in US history.  


But even if they named one exception (I can), it would still leave the point standing. The general assertion still stands


I offer a couple of dozen more in Polemical Judo. 



== I don’t endorse this… but… ==


A member of this blog-community posted on his own site an ‘open letter to the next mass shooter’ that offers that next aggrieved nut-case a chance to do something more provocative and better remembered – even historical – than maniacally seeking death-by-cop over the bodies of innocent school children. Reminiscent of Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” which both enraged readers in the 19th Century and brought home to the British public what they had complicitly allowed to happen to millions of innocent Irish folk.


And finally…



 == My 100th donated pint. ==


To commemorate this milestone I brought cookies for the fine folks at the Blood Bank, and they gave me an ice cream cone! (After the ritual draining.) 

Feeling fine, so my next target is 111!


(Obviously, I could work on my selfie skills.)


117 comments:

Tim H. said...

Something positive:
https://www.npr.org/2022/06/09/1103690822/group-aiming-to-defund-disinformation-tries-to-drain-fox-news-of-online-advertis?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

Possibly just an exercise in "Whack-a-mole", but a satisfying thing to whack.

Larry Hart said...

@Tim H,

They were talking on Stephanie Miller's show today about how FOX doesn't run advertisements during their prime time shows. Apparently their deal with most cable companies is that a portion of the cable fees go to FOX, so if you have cable at all, a portion of your monthly bill supports FOX News. They don't rely on advertising dollars.

Don Gisselbeck said...

I shared the open letter on my Facebook page. It got some attention. Maybe I should have posted it with a selfie. 🤣

Alfred Differ said...

At least your selfie doesn't have you doing the duck face so many others do. 8)

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

she dives into a major advantage and positive trait of modern, western democracy, that has been turned against it, metastasizing into a cancer that could kill both it and us all... the institutional innovation that protects minority interests from being too-readily ruled - even trampled - by any majority.


One modern problem with this is that one party in particular doesn't care about governing so much as they care about obstruction.

Compromise in order to achieve broad consensus on a path forward is a positive aspect of democratic forms of government. It seems like a good thing (or at least "a good idea at the time") that passage of laws requires sign-off from both chambers of Congress and a presidential signature. By the time you've gotten there, it's a pretty good indication of consensus in favor.

However, if your only goal is to prevent legislation, then you've got it easy. Only one chamber of congress is necessary to not pass a law, and if that fails, only the presidency is required to veto it. The most egregious example was 2009 when the Democrats had the presidency, a huge majority in the House, and 59 Senators, but by holding his 41 Republicans firm to support filibustering everything, Mitch McConnell had an effective veto against a broad consensus.

Tim H. said...

@Larry Hart, FWIW, I haven't had cable in years. Might I suggest cable subscribers may wish to complain about "Faux" news to their cable companies.

John said...

I might as well be the one who points out that in 1920s and 1930s, Germany had a party that obstructed in their parliamentary system. And the solution was to vote for a "strong man".

Lorraine said...

There will always be paying gigs for those who speak power to truth. It's reciprocity. You be good to money, money'll be good to you.

Larry Hart said...

John:

I might as well be the one who points out that in 1920s and 1930s, Germany had a party that obstructed in their parliamentary system. And the solution was to vote for a "strong man".


The real problem is that the "solution" was to vote for a strong man from the party who was doing the obstruction. And that's the same thing that has been going on here since at least 2009 if not earlier. When Democrats are ostensibly in charge, Republicans do all they can to prevent problems from being solved. And for that, voters punish Democrats by electing Republicans.

Bill Maher had Trump-skank Kellyanne Conway on his show yesterday because he has a thing for leggy blonde Republicans like Ann Coulter and Kellyanne. When asked if she'd support Trump if he ran in 2024, she said she would support whoever the Republican is because Biden is such a bad president. And the example she kept giving--so often that even Bill started making fun of the repetition--was "gas prices".

She's obnoxious, but she's probably not wrong. People will vote against Biden and Democrats because they're mad about high gas prices. As if Democrats' socialism is responsible for that world-wide problem, or that Republicans somehow have a solution.

BTW, I'm listening to Hal Sparks's radio show as I speak, and he remembers that gas prices were under $2 per gallon until Trump brokered a deal between Russia and Saudi Arabia to raise oil prices in order to "save the oil industry." That makes three people including myself who remember.

Larry Hart said...

Lorraine:

There will always be paying gigs for those who speak power to truth.


That's why I have such respect--gratitude even--for our host. Because he could easily earn a lot of money writing in service of the authoritarian oligarchs, and yet he uses his powers for good rather than evil.

I'm reminded of this exchange concerning Rick's history in Casablanca:


Captain Renault:
"In 1935, you ran guns to Ethiopia. In 1936, you fought in Spain on the loyalist side."

Rick:
"And got well paid for it on both occasions."

Captain Renault:
"The winning side would have paid you much more."

Larry Hart said...

A "Darmok" moment.

Philip Ittner is calling in from Lviv on Hal Sparks's radio show as he's been doing evrey week. They're talking about how--by design--there is no heir apparent for Putin should he pass off this mortal coil. Hal asked whether perhaps Medvevev might step back into power just to fill the vaccuum. Phil said no, that Medvevev is politically on the outs these days, and then, to clarify the point, added, "He's Mike Pence".

Three words say so much.

Alan Brooks said...

Didn’t at all think that Ukraine would be invaded this year; thought the forces he massed around Ukraine were to wring a concession from Kyiv.
I surmised that afterwards the Russians would stand down until the next round of intimidations. But Putin is a man in a hurry, he wants his name in history books and doesn’t care much what readers will think of him—as long as his name is spelled correctly.

David Brin said...

" Medvevev is politically on the outs these days, and then, to clarify the point, added, "He's Mike Pence"."

My spidey sense tingles. In a realm based on blackmail, thing to do is stash Medvedev just over the line into opposition, so he'll be the go-to alternative... then pardon the master.

Think Paul Ryan.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

...then pardon the master.


Except that what would Putin ever need a pardon for? He's not giving up his office until he dies.

locumranch said...


What remarkable coincidence !!

That the so-called 'minority veto', that uniquely western innovation that protects the minority from a potentially oppressive majority, suddenly becomes problematic at the very moment that the once-vulnerable minority is poised to become the newly dominant minority-majority.

The article suggests that certain minority protections like the Bill-o-Rights, the Supreme Court, the Electoral College and countless other anti-discrimination statutes simply DO NOT APPLY to soon-to-be dispossessed demographic groups likes whites, conservatives, males and Christians, insomuch as the author seeks to make majority rule the new inflexible law of the land.

Even more so, the referenced article makes a fine argument for State's Rights, Balkanization & Immediate Secession if, indeed, any of you do seek to eliminate certain minority protections, invalidate the US Constitution & Bill-o-Rights and make majority rule the new inflexible law of the land.

Blackmail is BAD, I agree, which is why we need to 'out' all of Epstein's child-molesting clients for_their_own_good, a list of which includes Steven Pinker, Bill Clinton, Sergey Brin, Bill Gates (etc) and is available from the Intelligencer (link below):

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/07/jeffrey-epsteins-rolodex-famous-friends-and-acquaintances.html

What's that? You progressives won't prosecute your own? Well, that's moral relativism for you, it appears that Blackmail is only BAD when a non-progressive tries to do it.

And, finally, I absolutely love the 'Open Letter to the Next Mass Shooter' for three reasons, the first being that it's 'targeted assassination of your political opponents' premise is marginally Swiftian, the second being that none of your political enemies would ever do the same to you (ha), and the third being that murder is totally hilarious (not).

Irony is even funnier, and it's time to laugh until we puke.


Best

AVR said...

Is it as likely as all that that many of the conservatives on the US Supreme Court are blackmailed? Barrett, Alito and Thomas appear to be true believers, Kennedy and Gorsuch probably are too (with reservations on a couple of issues), it's just Kavanaugh who might well not be his own man.

David Brin said...

AVR Barrett may be sincere but being female is no pass... I bet S Collins and Murkowski have male relatives who fell for traps. Gorsuch comes from oligarchy royalty, but is probably locked in with photos. But yes, Thomas is just pure hate. Utterly pure and distilled.

locum is ignorable, this time. Screeching that his cult - which won the US popular vote just once since 1990 - is somehow a thrawted moral majority and not a treason conspiracy that openly and explicitly rejects even the concept of negotiation or compromise, the elements that make minority veto work. Dunce.

locumranch said...


The term 'compromise' is a deliberate misrepresentation in this context:

The illiberal conservative resists change; the liberal progressive pursues change; and the so-called compromise of 'some change' represents an unilateral concession (a net loss) for the conservative and a net gain (a win) for the progressive, insomuch as this type of false compromise acts as an incremental rachet that guarantees eventual progressive victory & conservative defeat.

To make matters even more confusing, the so-called 'illiberal' conservatives are the actual liberals in this particular context because of their attempts to protect the liberties enshrined in the US Constitution & Bill of Rights, while the so-called 'liberal' progressives here are actually illiberal (by definition) because of their attempts to eliminate the Bill of Rights, the US Constitution & personal liberty.

Too much winning (hubris) has driven the illiberal left insane.


Best

Paradoctor said...

Dr. Brin:
Thanks for the link, and thanks to those here who left comments for my Modest Proposal. I too do not _recommend_ it, except in the sense of a lesser evil.

I write you to critique a trope you echoed: "innocent" school-children. You object to the gun-boy's targets on the grounds that they were innocent. This is a common trope - many bemoan the innocence of the slain - but I wonder why. Would the massacre be any better if the children had all been naughty? If they all snitched and whined and stole and punched and made mean faces, would that have justified the gunboy's crimes? No, though maybe the gunboy thought so.

So don't bother mentioning innocence. That is an attempt to appeal to the hearts of gunboys and gun-runners, but they have no hearts. Now we must appeal to the cold pragmatism of everyone else.

Larry Hart said...

Paradoctor:

I write you to critique a trope you echoed: "innocent" school-children. You object to the gun-boy's targets on the grounds that they were innocent. This is a common trope - many bemoan the innocence of the slain - but I wonder why. Would the massacre be any better if the children had all been naughty?


You're echoing locumranch. "Just because they were victims didn't mean they were good people." But that's beside the point. "Innocent" in this case refers to the fact that the gunman isn't targeting individuals he has anything to do with. Even in the bizarre case where the victims might have been evil and deserved to die, the gunman doesn't know that, nor does he care. He's killing people just because they are in front of him at the moment. Which means any and all of us are potential victims the next time.

Don Gisselbeck said...

A politician advocating Eisenhower era tax rates today would be treated like a lunatic leftist.

Larry Hart said...

@Don Gisselbeck,

Both Reagan and Nixon would be treated today like lunatic leftists.

Der Oger said...

I might as well be the one who points out that in 1920s and 1930s, Germany had a party that obstructed in their parliamentary system. And the solution was to vote for a "strong man".

It was somewhat more complex than that.

First, the electorate never was very democracy-oriented, to begin with. That was reflected by radical parties on both sides of the aisle and a deep divide between urban and rural areas,
Second, the checks and balances did not work. The most blatant problem was that the government could use the presidents power to declare presidential emergency decrees or to disband parliament and announce new elections.
Third, unhindered free speech, allowing for ever growing levels of violent propaganda.

David Brin said...

What stunning (though expected) hypocrisy. By every metric, the Rooseveltean social and legal contract led to the greatest growth and successes for the US middle class, entrepreneurship, market competition and commencement on the road to reforms that would end prejudicial waste of talent. Republicans were just fine with 'change' then, in order to smash that mix of vigorous shared infrastructure-building andjsutice building with fantastically vigorous private endeavor, with low wealth disparitites. Goppers were radical at legislating demolition of the FDR social contract, promising cult incantations like Supply Side would increase all those rates...

... including GWBush's promise of an 'ownership society,' handing out unservicable predatory mortgages to poor minorities that blew up later.

They were just fine with cramming 'change' down our throats with power achieved through cheating.

Only when EVERY single prediction made by those cult promises failed DIAMETRICALLY, proving vastly worse than the FDR contract in every conceivable way (BET ME on that, coward!) that was when US mad right became opposed to 'change.'

Even when it comes to restoring what blatantly had worked.

Not 'conservatives.' Confederate olicharcy-sucking traitors.

Robert said...

That was reflected by radical parties on both sides of the aisle and a deep divide between urban and rural areas,
Second, the checks and balances did not work. The most blatant problem was that the government could use the presidents power to declare presidential emergency decrees or to disband parliament and announce new elections.
Third, unhindered free speech, allowing for ever growing levels of violent propaganda.


Well, the GOP has a radical tail which is wagging the elephant. Voting patterns are pretty predictable based just on urban/rural status. The last president used his emergency powers erratically to do questionable things and tried to use his powers to overturn elections. As to unhindered violent free speech, well, we have Facebook under Zuck and (possibly) Twitter under Musk.

Canada has Bernier's Peoples Party, which is a bit to the left of the crazy-wing GOP but to the right of even Bush. We've used the Emergencies Act for the first time to end an illegal occupation of our capitol, only to have half the country (the rural bits, plus the Prairies, which think rural even in the cities) — and most of the main-stream media, which is owned by the usual suspects — complain that it wasn't necessary because the protesters weren't that bad and just wanted a street party. And we have no control whatsoever over the Internet, so are at the mercy of foreign corporations.

So, not there yet, but closer than I remember us being in my lifetime…

Robert said...

Also of interest (and background to Solnit's excellent article):

https://www.newyorker.com/tech/annals-of-technology/how-did-guns-get-so-powerful

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

They were just fine with cramming 'change' down our throats with power achieved through cheating.


Republicans no longer even pretend to care about a consistent set of rules or norms which apply equally to everyone. They pretty much openly profess now that rules are meant to ratify the fact that they win everything, and that when the rules don't do that, something is wrong with the rules.

Paradoctor said...

Larry Hart:
I leave innocent-or-guilty entirely out of the meriting-protection question. Just because you don't know if they were good people doesn't mean they weren't victims. I entirely agree that gunboys don't judge by merit, just by presence. I retort that protection from gunboys is also a matter of physical presence, not any definition of merit. The protection of the law is a breath-right; you earn it by breathing.

And by the way, I insist on calling them "gunboys", even if they are over 18 in physical age. They want a rite of passage? I modestly proposed one.

Leslie Fish - a dear old friend of mine, though we disagree on much, including 2A - snickered at my modest proposal. She said that the gun shows will take care of anyone foolish enough to try to follow my toxic advice. Maybe they will, or maybe 2-1 gunboy victories are feasible. She and I agree that this is a gun-culture problem, that should be taken care of internally.

Larry Hart said...

Paradoctor:

I leave innocent-or-guilty entirely out of the meriting-protection question.


Agreed. I think the common reference to "shooting innocent people" isn't about who does or doesn't deserve protection. It's about labeling the gunboys as terrorists. They're not shooting their ex-wife, or their girlfriend's new boyfriend, or the boss who fired them. They're shooting anyone they can wherever they happen to be. Which means everyone is vulnerable.

Larry Hart said...

It's not just me...

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/13/opinion/biden-guns-inflation-jan-6.html

...
The [US supreme] Court’s conservatives may think that by overturning Roe they will turn a corner on 50 years of judicial activism. They may soon come to regret having their authority cut down to size by a country that learns to ignore its rulings.

Don Gisselbeck said...

Remember that surprise trumps skill.

Larry Hart said...

I said:

It's about labeling the gunboys as terrorists. They're not shooting their ex-wife, or their girlfriend's new boyfriend, or the boss who fired them


That probably didn't make my point clearly.

It's not that the victim would have been less deserving of protection had she been someone the gunboy had a personal beef with. It's that he wouldn't have been targeting the general public. Almost by definition, a "mass shooting" is about victims who are not targeted for any reason other than "They was there!". Which is what makes the mass shooter scarier than a perpetrator of targeted violence.

scidata said...

Re: a country that learns to ignore its rulings

Yup. This is one of the many things I just don't get about the American scene. The assumption by some GQP types seems to be that a wee bit of clever kabuki will cause the enlightenment experiment to suddenly collapse, and the entire Rational West to meekly shamble off back to the caves. A dangerous delusion that could lead to a modern day Fort Sumter.

Daniel said...

Thanks for the blood brother:) Hope it inspires more to emulate your example.

Alfred Differ said...

Locumranch has one point I have to grudgingly recognize. It occurs before he teeters off into his usual definitions game

Most Americans are liberals in the old sense of the term. Some exceptions exist like the golf buddy clade, white supremacists, politician buyers, and those who would rape publicly traded companies.

Most of us prefer the simplicity of 'let them be in exchange for let me be' and live accordingly. Conservatives DO conserve something. Progressives DO advance something.

Most of Americans are liberal. Our arguments are over what gets conserved, what gets changed, how, and when.

And yah. Some of us are duped into serving illiberal causes.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

Locumranch has one point I have to grudgingly recognize. It occurs before he teeters off into his usual definitions game
...
Most of Americans are liberal. Our arguments are over what gets conserved, what gets changed, how, and when.


I don't think anyone disagrees with that. But just because some extremists on Twitter are into shaming anyone who disagrees with them doesn't mean that liberal Americans (in general) or Democrats (in particular) are trying to shut down the Constitution.

Right wingers, white supremacists, and "We're a Christian nation" people are the ones who have no respect for Constitutional guarantees until their own ox is in danger of being gored. Then they're all about unlimited free speech (for themselves), freedom of religion to dictate their religion to everyone else, freedom for themselves to carry guns (though not for black men). And even when they argue for their own Constitutional rights, they still deny that those rights apply to everyone else.

So none of this 1984 crap about how the Jan 6 insurrectionists are defending the Constitution and how advocating that black lives are as important as anyone else's is an attack on that Constitution.

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

Agreed. The insurrectionists were (at best) duped into behaving stupidly. They must face consequences as should their ring leader.

What I find historically ironic is the "We are a Christian Nation" people were the progressives a while back. They were the abolitionists during the Civil War. They wanted the Constitution amended as quid pro quo for their consistent support of the Union. They were strong among the prohibitionists not long after and DID get the Constitution amended. Heh. Twice. Abortion is on the plate next.

The real "lost cause" in this country is the fight over what God demands of us. As long as many of us believe a loss means eternal damnation (for them or their loved ones), it is a fight that will go on.

Unknown said...

Alfred,

It's true that John Brown would not have made a comfortable neighbor. However you appear to be conflating 19th C Progressive Christians (such as Quakers) with the current Pro-Forced Birth coalition, which includes Catholic conservatives and Southern Baptists (formerly pro-slavery). These groups did not well overlap on a Venn diagram in 1860 and I suspect don't match very well today. In full disclosure, I am not a Christian since my 14th year and do not have a fish in this fight - Unless they make it my fight, which they do seem to be trying for, by revising the laws I live under.

If memory serves, God doesn't damn anyone for losing on the right side. Unlike a certain small green Jedi, she thinks there is "try".

Pappenheimer

Alfred Differ said...

Pappenheimer,

The causes have changed overtime, but the attitude hasn't. Much. WE know what's best in terms of moral rules. Whether it is opposition to slavery (yay!), slovenly behavior of drunkards (pfft! Nice try.), or to killing the bitty babies they imagine exist upon conception (I don't want to argue about when 'it' becomes human), the attitude is what defines progressives most. They would improve upon us.

(I know that is not the political definition, but American politics is pretty stupid about these things. Our politics is about creating tribes and we rationalize any which way we can.)

Without them, we old school liberals wouldn't feel the fire burning our asses moving us to run a little faster. Slavery would have been phased out somehow. Women might be getting a vote about now, but some places would still treat it as advisory and we'd let them. Liberty does not require democracy after all. The minimum it needs is for us to be let be most of the time.

What I don't want to do is lump modern believers with 19th century versions. Things have changed. What hasn't, though, is the part I find ironic. Progressives have effectively stolen the term 'liberal' in the US, but the average American is liberal anyway. What tribe they chose nowadays has little to do with it.

Paradoctor said...

Alfred Differ:
I beg to... differ. Liberty does require democracy; for when the people have no power, then they will have no rights. But I do agree that democracy - or at least populism - does not require liberty.

GMT -5 8032 said...

Sorry for my non-participation. I was at the Origins Gaming Fair last week. Now I am working on a case involving political corruption in my home state. This case involves a power utility that paid bribes to a GOP politician. This will keep me busy for several months. I look forward to making a direct effort in curbing political corruption and making corrupt entities reimburse the public for their improper profits.

Alfred Differ said...

Paradoctor,

I'd argue that democracy helps us maintain liberty most of the time. It isn't strictly necessary, though. My rights start as claims. If you all decide to respect them, it doesn't matter whether I have a say in government. It begins to matter when you use government to deny my claims.

I'm not arguing for an end to democracy. Far from it. I'm pointing out that these concepts aren't the same and sometimes compete. For example, through democratic action the voters of California chose to deprive same sex couples of a 'right to marriage' in 2008. The initiative was placed on the ballot and proponents of the limitation won. Liberty was limited by democracy when instead we could have chosen to let them be.

Having power does not ensure rights. The trick to it is in convincing your neighbors to let you be.

Larry Hart said...

I felt really weird reading this today. It describes Russians coming to the realization that their country is not what they thought it was, but the same could have been said of me after the 2016 election, realizing how much of the American population was deplorable.

And we could be back there again very soon.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/14/opinion/anti-war-russians-identity-crisis-ukraine.html

...
Yet for many, things were even worse inside Russia. The country they called home and was central to their identity had revealed itself as something different and darker than they knew.
...
With aching honesty, they describe the feelings that have overwhelmed them: anger and sadness, loss and regret, and a near-paralyzing uncertainty about who they are now and what will become of their lives, which were so closely tied to a country that in some ways feels foreign to them now.

David Brin said...

GMT welcome back any time. Hoping your work has the effects you claim.

El Muneco said...

"With aching honesty, they describe the feelings that have overwhelmed them: anger and sadness, loss and regret, and a near-paralyzing uncertainty about who they are now and what will become of their lives, which were so closely tied to a country that in some ways feels foreign to them now."

I've felt exactly this way for going on six years now. I don't drink less than I did before.

scidata said...

Another thing I just don't get: Artemis. They keep trumpeting this shiny new 'Moon Rocket' that may launch in a year or three. Apollo who?. Nineteen sixty what? Are we just supposed to pretend to be excited?

David Brin said...

I was interviewed for WIRED about this new thing and here's the link:
https://www.wired.com/story/lamda-sentient-ai-bias-google-blake-lemoine/
And Newsweek wants an op-ed I must write tomorrow.

Reminded of how Dr. Frankstein was semi-insane with thirst to overcome the limits of morality, proclaiming "It's alive, it's ALIVE!" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qNeGSJaQ9Q

David Brin said...

scidata, Artemis was one more treason effort to undermine America. Thanks to Trump's one and only top notch appointee, the damage done to NASA has been bearable.

Unknown said...

Dr. Brin,

"to overcome the limits of morality..."

No, that is the job of the Republican Party.

Pappenheimer, driving by

DP said...

You want a sentient AI?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anjQ7Ndddx4

Who says 70s SF was schlocky?

DP said...

After Roe is overturned how are Red states like Georgia going to enforce abortion bans in Blue cities like Atlanta?

Larry Hart said...

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2022/Senate/Maps/Jun15.html#item-2

...
And the Democrats will not go gentle into that good night. Governance rests on the consent of the governed, and if Republicans steal power through chicanery, they are going to get an object lesson in how a federal system works, and how hard it is to bring states, counties, and cities into line if they do not accept your legitimacy. Meanwhile, while the Republicans tend to take the lead in playing dirty pool these days, the Democrats tend to eventually come around. And if the country gets to a place where one of the "jobs" of the party in power is to neuter the other party completely, well, there are more Democrats in the country than Republicans.

Needless to say, the fabric of the democracy will not be helped by this kind of struggle. And, indeed, the fabric may not survive without being torn asunder. Consequently, the better option, if it is possible, is to cut the stop the stealers off at the pass. That means, if we may say so, that it's incumbent on voters of all stripes to vote against stop the stealers at all costs, even if it means casting a vote for someone with a (D) next to his or her name in the general election when one would prefer not to do so, or it means foregoing a protest vote for a third-party candidate.

The model here is the 1/6 Committee, which features at least some members who have put country over party. Indeed, it could be that the most important thing the Committee is doing is not making the case that Donald Trump should be punished, but instead making the case that his theory of the 2020 election is a sham, and that voters should not allow themselves to be hoodwinked. And riped off financially.

Paradoctor said...

scidata: At least Artemis is a moon goddess, while Apollo is a sun god... and Armstrong didn't even land at night.

scidata said...

Britannica describes Artemis as the goddess of "chastity and childbirth".
Umm, ok.
Also the favourite deity of the rural population.
Oh, now it's beginning to make sense.

Larry Hart said...

scidata:

Britannica describes Artemis as the goddess of "chastity and childbirth".


I thought she was the "goddess of the hunt". At least that's what I learned on Spider-Man.

Paradoctor:

while Apollo is a sun god... and Armstrong didn't even land at night.


Well, at least he was consistent.

Larry Hart said...

Binge-watching "Criminal Minds" before it leaves Netflix in a few weeks.

It occurred to me to wonder whether sci-fi has already dealt with what a police chase would look like in an age of all self-driving cars.

Alfred Differ said...

Artemis was sister to Apollo. First time I heard the program named that I thought it was a political play for women to support it. Nowadays I just think of it as either (a) an attempt to extend [if sufficient budget] where Apollo left off or (b) relive Apollo [if insufficient budget].

Both options strike me as work programs designed to keep the old dinosaur space contractor companies alive and employed.

Time to move on.

Time to work on the engineering experience we need in cis-lunar space.

Time to fund engineering purposes like the old NACA did.

matthew said...

I'm curious if any of the folks here that were very vocal about 1/6 *not* being a coup attempt have changed their minds given the presentation of the the 1/6 Committee?

I remember quite a few, including Dr. Brin, being adamant that it was not a coup attempt. Has the evidence changed any minds? Anyone other than me watching it all?

I think it is a damning show of evidence so far, but I was convinced that it was a coup at the highest level of government when it happened. I'm more interested to see if any minds have been changed yet.

matthew said...

Also, anyone else interested in exactly who is revealing the GOP blackmail files on Crawford, Boebert, Cruz, etc.?
Someone seems like they have an awful lot of dirt, including video, that they are dripping out bit by bit. Given the sourcing of the two big reveals so far, it is unlikely that it is the Democrats doing the releasing.
So, then, who? Mainstream GOP getting rid of radicals? Rivals jealous of the attention that the fascist rising stars are getting? Oligarchs setting the stage for more competent fascist leadership?
I've seen a lot of speculation about the truth of the rumors, but very little about the *sources*.

Alfred Differ said...

I think the only viable argument left for it NOT being a coup attempt is that it was so damn poor in terms of execution. I would expect better.

The counter to that argument is the perpetrator (obviously Trump) lacked enough support to field the expertise needed for better execution.

The evidence on display by the committee moved from from 'sore loser' trying anything that wasn't specifically illegal to coup/insurrection attempt. I was damn angry on 1/6, but now I'm coldly irate.

How dare they.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

...moved from from 'sore loser' trying anything that wasn't specifically illegal to coup/insurrection attempt.


What makes those things mutually exclusive. A coup attempt was one of many options attempting to keep Trump in the presidency. Note that I'm not distinguishing as to whether Trump himself planned the coup. Others may have simply wanted to keep a Republican presidency, and Trump was the one on the ballot.


I was damn angry on 1/6, but now I'm coldly irate.


I watched the original real-time footage on 1/6, but seeing it again at the hearing Monday brought back the anger and incredulity. It's probably even worse now, because at the time, it seemed as if non-deplorable Republicans had been shocked to their senses, and were disavowing the treason. Nowadays, they're behind the coup, and they're actually running for state offices on a platform of perpetuating the treason. Furthermore, it seems to be a winning strategy, which shows how many Americans really are deplorable. Hillary guessed too low a percentage.

Watching the rerun, I was wishing that the capitol police had had AR-15s and just mowed the bastards down. Ashli Babbitt was start, but too many of the motherfuckers are still breathing. Damn right I'm angry.

Robert said...

After Roe is overturned how are Red states like Georgia going to enforce abortion bans in Blue cities like Atlanta?

By enabling third parties to sue anyone associated with providing abortions. As a friend who's a lawyer often says, once you're involved in a lawsuit the only question is whether you'll be the bigger or smaller loser…

Simply defending themselves from lawsuits will consume huge amounts of providers' time, energy, and resources.

The only defense may be relocating to states where abortion isn't banned. Middle-class women may be able to travel, but poorer women will likely be stuck.

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

What makes those things mutually exclusive.

The difference is in whether one is still playing by the rules of the game. There is a difference between the formal rules and our customs. It's in stress moments when we fall back to the formal rules.

What I didn't expect is he'd abandon all of it and try to make new ones that rhyme with Might is Right. Don't get me wrong, though. I didn't expect brilliance or restraint from him. What I expected was a sense of his need for allies in the struggle.

He chose to go it alone, though. He didn't see it as going alone of course. He had his rabble. What he lacked were the experts he needed to make it work. Hell. He didn't even have his daughter on board. That shows just how far down the Might is Right path he'd gone... except he didn't really have much Might. He THINKS he does, but he don't.

I was wishing that the capitol police had had AR-15s and just...

Ugh. I get where you're coming from, but I'm glad that didn't happen. I'd rather bring the bastards to a jury trial than make martyrs of them. If the juries want to bring out the AR-15's, I won't object.

Hillary guessed too low a percentage.

Heh. I sincerely doubt it. I'd bet she would have given a conservative estimate knowing in her heart she thought it was really higher.

Alfred Differ said...

The only defense may be...

I suggest we start donating to legal defense funds and emergency charter flight funds. This would be an excellent target for proxy activism. A few bucks from a bunch of us in the hands of those who can arrange things would beat 'only defense' doom and gloom.

gerold said...

D Brin: looking forward to reading your op-ed!

Regarding the bruhaha over sentient AI; no surprise Blake Lemoine is an idiot, but some of the comments from Timnit Gebru are disappointingly simplistic. She has "genuine concerns" about AI generating "toxic text"?

These AI's use human interaction and feedback to build their text models. They learn from toxic humans so they write toxic texts. What a shock.

Children learn from their parents. By the time we create sentient AI we need to be ready to provide them with good role models. Enlightened humans can expect to produce enlightened AI's.

gerold said...

matthew: I am unaware of any blackmail files being released on Republican politicians. That's a very provocative statement and I wish it was true, but can you give an example?

Cesar A. Santos said...

"Watching the rerun, I was wishing that the capitol police had had AR-15s and just mowed the bastards down." So... the police, we should defund remember, should have used their expensive military grade toys to murder scores of unarmed people because you don't like them... You people are really enlightened.

Robert said...

By the time we create sentient AI we need to be ready to provide them with good role models.

So what you're saying is to keep them off the internet?

Jon S. said...

"So what you're saying is to keep them off the internet?"

It's been said that the most believable thing about the movie Age of Ultron was that Ultron was exposed to the Internet, and within 30 seconds decided the only logical course was to eliminate humans.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

He chose to go it alone, though. He didn't see it as going alone of course. He had his rabble.


He's been courting the "tough people" all along--the cops, the P---d B--s, the war criminals. He figured his brownshirt army would be sufficient support.


That shows just how far down the Might is Right path he'd gone... except he didn't really have much Might. He THINKS he does, but he don't.


Trump has explicitly stated that he emulates Don Vito Corleone from The Godfather. What he never seemed to realize is that Don Vito didn't command respect from fear alone. He was a good friend to those who were good friends to him. Even the fear element had more to do with what others would do to you on the Don's behalf. Don C traded loyalty for loyalty. Trump doesn't understand any of this, nor does he know what loyalty is.


"I was wishing that the capitol police had had AR-15s and just..."

Ugh. I get where you're coming from, but I'm glad that didn't happen. I'd rather bring the bastards to a jury trial than make martyrs of them.


I was giving you my visceral reaction at the time. Certainly, it's probably best for all that my summer daydream didn't come true. But how do you bring an entire invading army to a jury trial? Especially when a certain percentage of the jury pool sympathizes with their cause?


If the juries want to bring out the AR-15's, I won't object.


Well, then.

Although juries are probably constrained by law over their choice of punishments.

My contention is that the Capitol invaders were more than mere domestic criminals. They were enemy combatants engaged in an act of war. Ukrainian police aren't out there arresting and prosecuting invading Russians--they're shooting them and blowing them up. That's what you do to active enemy combatants.


"Hillary guessed too low a percentage."

Heh. I sincerely doubt it. I'd bet she would have given a conservative estimate knowing in her heart she thought it was really higher.


Heh. Hillary's point was to distinguish the sane Republicans with whom one could compromise and deal with from the deplorables. Republicans latched onto the word and berated her for calling all of them deplorable. They're now in the active process of proving that interpretation correct*, despite it not actually being Hillary's.

* All exceptions duly noted. I can count them on my fingers.

Larry Hart said...

Cesar A Santos:

So... the police, we should defund remember, should have used their expensive military grade toys to murder scores of unarmed people because you don't like them... You people are really enlightened.


You are the endarkened one, obviously willfully so.

First, I don't speak for anyone else here, nor do others speak for me. Probably no one else here agrees with my fleeting wish for rough justice. Even I don't really think it would have been a good idea, though I cop to wishing for it anyway. And I've never advocated defunding the police.

Finally, I didn't wish for them to be fired upon because "we don't like them". They were an invading force engaged in an act of war. They should have been met with the same force one would expect an invading foreign army to receive. Or if you don't accept that, then they should have been met with the same force that Black Lives Matter protesters would have received.

Have a nice day.

Unknown said...

Alfred,

Re: the 1/6 coup attempt - which was, technically, an autogolpe (a word I had never heard before 2021)- I am reminded on a character in Lois Bujold's novel "Falling Free", an engineering teacher who is having to plan a zero-G revolution pretty much by himself - he considers offering a class called "Revolution 101: Revolution for Beginners" and reflects it would be better than "Revolution 001: Remedial Revolution".

Pappenheimer

scidata said...

I find it easier to talk to confederates than most woke-folk do. I grew up on a remote, unsophisticated farm. I've been called hayseed, yokel, hick, rube, and much worse. A life of math, lab equipment, and transistors was not in the cards. Reading the opening line of FOUNDATION changed all that:
"His name was Gaal Dornick and he was just a country boy who had never seen Trantor before."

For example, during a heated MAGargument, I might take a long, refreshing, nonchalant swig from my can of iced tea and mutter, "This... is Tranya. I hope you relish it as much as I." Invariably, youngens will look at me like I'm having a stroke, and even grab my arm to steady me. Alas, they have virtually no knowledge of TOS. MAGAmen however, will usually fully comprehend and even chuckle. A poignant reminder of the world as it used to be.

Cesar A. Santos said...

"met with the same force that Black Lives Matter protesters would have received." Which was basically none, so same thing. Despite the arsons and murders. The one time three people were shot and killed all three were bastards including a child rapist. I mean, you shoot a mob at random and all the dead were evil monsters? A 100% ratio?

Paradoctor said...

7:44 Anonymous:

Leslie Fish and I propose the following plan for successful revolutions:

Phase 1. The Pen. An intellectual revolution. Rethink the basics of society, on terms beneficial to all. Spread these new ideas on new media.
Phase 2. The Coin. Enact new social and economic arrangements in accordance with the new ideas.
Phase 3. The Sword. Buy the loyalty of police, soldiers, and politicians, then take formal political power.

This order minimizes violence and maximizes the chance of success. The reverse order does the opposite.

Leslie divides phase 2 into social change, then economic change. I cover these under one symbol, the Coin. The Pen is mightier than the Sword only if it is in alliance with the Coin.

The fascists have resorted to the Sword too early, due to their impatience with, and ineptitude at, the Pen.

Alan Brooks said...

Unlike sciadata, I can no longer talk to confederates. During the ‘80s, they were somewhat mollified by the GOP politics of the time; there was a Space Interest Group that was friendly. Even though they were Republicans, SIG were pleasant to talk to on any subject.
Today, O’Sullivan’s Law is the unspoken topic for the Right, which is based on a nostalgia for the simpler, more religious 19th century. Btw, when was America large-scale optimistic? In the early ‘60s, with Mercury—and Gemini & Apollo gearing up?

scidata said...

People can be delusional, demagogued, brain-washed, and simply wrong. The important thing is that some room remains for what Cromwell said to the Scots or what most scientists have as a guiding principle:
"Consider That Ye May Be Wrong."
Interestingly, this same poison has also plagued AI ever since THE FORBIN PROJECT (or even FRANKENSTEIN). Wringing every last drop of uncertainty out of AI (eg self-driving cars) is a well-paved highway to hell.

Alan Brooks said...

scidata,
Cromwell meant consider ye may be wrong more in a religious context.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=efmiutIr97c

Larry Hart said...

Alan Brooks:

Unlike sciadata, I can no longer talk to confederates.


I can talk to them, but I probably shouldn't, as the effect is counter-productive. See above.

scidata said...

Re: Cromwell

I usually envision Jacob Bronowski aiming that Cromwell line at Nazis. Or in reference to Cromwell's rule in Bayesian statistics. The latter is important in computational psychohistory. It's fitting that AppleTV's Hari Seldon is played by Richard Harris' son, Jared.

Alan Brooks said...

We talk at cross-purposes with them.

Paradoctor said...

I do talk to some 'conservatives', even though they do not conserve. This is partly to humanize me to them and them to me, partly because I've known those individuals awhile, partly as an attempt to keep each other honest (CITOKATE), and partly to keep a weather-eye out for the latest damfoolery.

Therefore I privately dub myself "Speaker-To-Conservatives".

Paradoctor said...

Larry Hart:
I do not recommend Killer Kops, even for insurrectionists; but I do recommend a hangin' judge. Justice, like revenge, is a dish best served cold.

Paradoctor said...

scidata:
"Wringing every last drop of uncertainty out of AI (eg self-driving cars) is a well-paved highway to hell."

"Highway to Hell" sounds like the title for an SF story about such an over-perfected car.

Perfect AI is utopian: meaning that it's supposedly from a Good Place, but really it's from No Place. The resulting perfect catastrophes are dystopian, meaning they're from a Bad Place. I propose a third category of tale; "pantopian", meaning from Any Place. In Pantopia, power corrupts, liberty creates, and bread falls buttered side down. I say that pantopian AI strives for manageable catastrophes.

Larry Hart said...

Paradoctor:

I do not recommend Killer Kops, even for insurrectionists; but I do recommend a hangin' judge. Justice, like revenge, is a dish best served cold.


In the world we actually live in, I agree with you. Cops too often use force in the service of the status quo and of comforting the comfortable. AR-15s are the last thing we need them to have.

Then again, those Blue Lives who supposedly Matter so much shouldn't be in the position they were in Uvalde, unable to subdue a mass shooter who outgunned them.

The Capitol mob was more like an invading army than individual criminals. And how to you get an invading army to face a judge and jury? That's just not how war works. So it's not so much that I want domestic police to be armed with weapons of war as that I feel an invading force should have been met by the Union Army.

As to the FOXite talking point that BLM wreaked arson, looting, and murder, and were met with no pushback, instead of arguing the point ad nauseum, I'll change my statement to, "They should have been met with the same force that George Floyd was." I mean, why is Ashli Babbitt dying at the hands of cops she was disobeying and attacking such an outrage? If she had obeyed orders from the police, she really would be alive, unlike many black men who get shot anyway.

It is unfortunate that the need to reduce slogans to bumper-sticker size makes "Black Lives Matter" sound as if they're saying black lives matter more than anyone else's, when what they're really saying is that black lives deserve to matter as much as anyone else's, but too often are treated as if they don't. A more honest slogan would be:

"Black Lives Matter because All Lives Matter."

And a more honest slogan from the other side:
"All Lives Matter, but Some Lives Matter More Equally than Others"

Larry Hart said...

Paradoctor:

and bread falls buttered side down


Unless strapped to the back of a cat with the butter side facing outward. That causes the universe to explode.

Larry Hart said...

Freedom of religion is not just for Christians...

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2022/Senate/Maps/Jun16.html#item-9

A synagogue in Boynton Beach, FL, has sued the state over the new Florida law that bans all abortions after 15 weeks. The suit states that under Jewish law, an abortion is required if that is needed to protect a woman's mental or physical health. For example, if a woman becomes suicidal after 15 weeks when it finally dawns on her that she has no way to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, under Jewish law, she must be offered an abortion.

The suit argues that the law restricts their members from freely exercising their religion and is thus unconstitutional. If the case makes it to the Supreme Court, it would be one of the few in which a group other than Christians was claiming some law prohibited the free exercise of their religion. A more typical case is a Christian baker refusing to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple on religious grounds. Given the current makeup of the Supreme Court, the case from the synagogue would put some of the justices in an uncomfortable position.
...

Paradoctor said...

Larry Hart:

"Black Lives Matter" is a demand for what should be, not a statement of what is. "All Lives Matter" is diversion, not support.

A superficial cynic would hashtag SBNALM: "Some But Not All Lives Matter". But I say that's shortsighted. I say that the real street-wise deeply cynical dark truth is ALMOND: "All Lives Matter Or None Do".


<<
and bread falls buttered side down

Unless strapped to the back of a cat with the butter side facing outward. That causes the universe to explode.
>>

That's why that experiment has never been successfully performed. Any branch of the multiverse where it was performed has amplitude zero, and does not contribute to the cosmic wave function. Remember, cats are quantum-mechanical.

Larry Hart said...

Paradoctor:

Black Lives Matter" is a demand for what should be, not a statement of what is. "All Lives Matter" is diversion, not support.


A while back, I described the real meaning of "Black Lives Matter" to be "All lives are supposed to matter, but black lives are too often treated as if they don't." Then dared the proponents of "All Lives Matter", "Blue Lives Matter", or "White Lives Matter" to substitute their favorite constituency for "black" in the above and see how nonsensical it really sounds.


"Unless strapped to the back of a cat with the butter side facing outward. That causes the universe to explode."

That's why that experiment has never been successfully performed. Any branch of the multiverse where it was performed has amplitude zero, and does not contribute to the cosmic wave function. Remember, cats are quantum-mechanical.


Apparently, so is bread.

When my daughter was 10 or so, she found a video game called "Bread kittens", which she explained in her way as being "Like Pokemon. But with cats...and bread!" One of those cute things kids say. But now, we've come up with an experiment that relies on cats and bread.

"How much longer can I go on being an atheist?"

Larry Hart said...

Someone else besides me noticing that one reason MAGAts are ok with Trump's bull semen is that reality has lost its luster for them.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/15/opinion/mass-hysteria-trump.html

...
This all raises, to me, a profound and frightening series of questions: Can a lie, in periods like this one, simply be stronger than the truth? I have faith that history will properly diagnose this moment, and that many who now occupy high places will be brought low by it. But, in the present, without the perspective that time and distance can provide, is fantasy more seductive than reality?
...
It’s not only that Trump desired to deceive; his followers desired to be deceived. The havoc Trump unleashed landed on fertile ground, receptive and wanting.

For many Republicans, the truth — that the country was becoming more brown and less white, that the electorate was moving away from them, that they were losing control over American culture — was no longer tenable. Untruth, therefore, grew more alluring.

For conservatives, lies that offered comfort became more digestible than truths that demanded adaptation.
...

gerold said...

Cesar: no one is suggesting the capitol cops should have gunned down "scores" of insurrectionists. As we saw inside the building, shooting one was enough to send the cowards scurrying. A lot of trouble - and even deaths - could have been averted with a more forceful defense.

gerold said...

Robert: a truly sentient AI should be able to surf the web without turning into an obnoxious troll. But just like the way facebook engagement algorithms filtered for obnoxious troll posts - because that's what got got people engaged - simple minded chatbots gravitated to the same trolling style. We're going to need to be smarter than that.

Alfred Differ said...

for matthew,

Watched more of the hearing today. Gotta say my list of people I want to see in jail is growing, but I saw a couple of his former team who I'd pat on the back for finally seeing what's obvious to the rest of us. I might even be inclined toward forgiving them.

Eastman should be in jail along with his boss.

Alfred Differ said...

paradoctor,

I say that pantopian AI strives for manageable catastrophes.

I'd say that's what we all do... so when AI's are doing that I'll be inclined to recognize them as one of us.

I don't need them to be perfect and I'd rather they didn't try. Human is plenty good enough.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

"I say that pantopian AI strives for manageable catastrophes."

I'd say that's what we all do... so when AI's are doing that I'll be inclined to recognize them as one of us.


When my daughter's first high school boyfriend broke up with her (via instagram, no less), I had to counsel her that it will feel better in time, and that--knowing the eventual outcome--it would be nice to skip right to the end and just feel better now, but that life doesn't work that way. You have to go through the interim processes. Trying to skip past the hard parts never works.

It occurs to me that attempts at making AI perfect enough to predict and remediate all bad outcomes in advance is analogous to "skipping to the end." And probably just as successful.

scidata said...

Re: 'perfect' AI

Yes, I wasn't being flippant with (certainty + AI = hell)
Imagine if, instead of desperately building V-weapons, Hate-ler had kidnapped Turing.
(Especially when one considers how brutal the English were to him. Shivers.)

A.F. Rey said...

And on a totally unrelated subject (to anything we may have been discussing), a couple of things you might have missed:

Ayn Rand reviews children's movies, from The New Yorker:

https://www.newyorker.com/humor/daily-shouts/ayn-rand-reviews-childrens-movies

And parts of the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Threashhold," animated in the Filmation-style (with the music) as in Star Trek: the Animated Series.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luEDui2zAUw

Not to be missed by any fan of the animated series. :D

Larry Hart said...

@A.F. Rey,

The funniest line in that "Ayn Rand" review article:


Altruism is pointless. So are dogs. A cat is a far more sensible pet. A cat is objectively valuable.

Larry Hart said...

A.F. Rey:

Not to be missed by any fan of the animated series. :D


The animated series is what got me "into" Star Trek back in the day. It was my gateway drug. And I still consider it to be more "canon" than most of what came after DS9.

While on the subject of Star Trek...

scidata:

For example, during a heated MAGargument, I might take a long, refreshing, nonchalant swig from my can of iced tea and mutter, "This... is Tranya. I hope you relish it as much as I."


Never mind my surprise at the assertion that MAGAts can be intimate fans of Star Trek. I consider myself to be knowledgeable in TOS (though Jon S obviously has me beat), but I didn't even recognize that line as being from Star Trek, and didn't remember it even after I looked it up.

One reason may be that "The Corbomite Maneuver" is such a dumb episode that I have actively avoided watching it in reruns for decades. It's only redeeming value is how it is used as a reference in the much better episode, "The Deadly Years", in the following season.

scidata said...

Re: MAGAtrekkies

Heh. Actually, when I think of it, exactly two TOS references have worked well on them. The first was "Tranya" (a punch drink served by a jocular alien). The second was Scotty admitting that he started a bar fight with the Klingons when they called the Enterprise a garbage scow. There seems to be a pattern...

Larry Hart said...

@scidata,

Dr Brin says he gets fan mail from militia types for The Postman because they identify with the Holnists. I suspect MAGA fans of Star Trek are similarly missing a point in some way.

Still, it blows my mind that they hate everything nerd, but they have something in common with the quintessential nerd community.

Larry Hart said...

True dat...

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/17/opinion/roe-dobbs-abortion-feminism.html

The “triumphal right,” said [feminist author Susan] Faludi, “has taken the gloves off and is pursuing a scorched-earth campaign against women’s most fundamental rights. No more faux hand-wringing about saving women from spinsterhood or ‘post-abortion syndrome.’ This is just ‘Lock her up!’”

Larry Hart said...

A.F. Rey:

...animated in the Filmation-style (with the music) as in Star Trek: the Animated Series.


As long as I'm true-confessioning, I have always preferred the music of the animated series to that of the live one. That includes the theme music of the opening titles.

Jon S. said...

"The second was Scotty admitting that he started a bar fight with the Klingons when they called the Enterprise a garbage scow."

But how do they react to the ending of that scene?

"Mr. Scott, you are confined to quarters."

"Aye, captain." (beat) "Thank you, sir. That'll give me a chance to catch up on me technical journals!"

scidata said...

@Jon S.
We didn't talk long, but I got the impression they weren't siding with the Federation in the bar fight.

Larry Hart said...

The MAGAts who know their Star Trek might want to pay attention to the climax of "Day of the Dove", in which Vladimir Putin--I mean that sparkling transparent alien clandestinely encourages the Enterprise crew and the Klingons to fight throughout eternity.


"Out! We need no urging to hate Humans. But for the present, only a fool fights in a burning house. Out!!"

Unknown said...

A guy I used to work next to was apparently on speaking terms with Matt Shea (yes, that one, E. WA.) He also gamed on line and in RPGs. He described an online game playing as Wehrmacht and a Star Wars RPG running an elite Imperial squad.

These aren't subtle choices.

Pappenheimer

P.S. Scotty was the soul of calm when the Klingons called the Enterprise a scow. He only flew off the handle when her engines were insulted.

Don Gisselbeck said...

"Fight throughout eternity" sounds like the end of The Worm Ouroboros.

Larry Hart said...

Pappenheimer:

P.S. Scotty was the soul of calm when the Klingons called the Enterprise a scow. He only flew off the handle when her engines were insulted.


He flew off the handle when the Klingon revised his assessment to say that the Enterprise should be hauled away as garbage.

But to be fair, what he said to Kirk by way of explanation was, "He called the Enterprise a garbage scow." So that he probably was already steaming on that account.

Unknown said...

Larry,

Sounds like I will have to review the historical documents.

Pappenheimer

P.S. It does seem strange that people will watch ST, or read The Postman, and enjoy it while missing the message. Then again, I read all of the Narnia Chronicles and missed THAT message, too.

Larry Hart said...

Pappenheimer:

Then again, I read all of the Narnia Chronicles and missed THAT message, too.


You missed the hammer bludgeoning you over the head? :)

(Full disclosure: I never actually read the Narnia books. But I am familiar with C.S. Lewis.)

Larry Hart said...

Pappenheimer redux:

It does seem strange that people will watch ST, or read The Postman, and enjoy it while missing the message.


Probably the same way that I read Atlas Shrugged. And it wasn't so much "missing the message" as "disagreeing with the message." And yet, I enjoyed the novel as a kind of comic book action-adventure story with a bit of sci-fi and a hot heroine.

I just had to remind myself that the narrative required I cheer for parts I wasn't really cheering for.

David Brin said...

"He called the Enterprise a garbage scow."

Anyone ever see QUARK? Which as ABOUT a garbage scow?

Again, my piece on Ayn Rand. https://www.davidbrin.com/nonfiction/aynrand.html

Delayed posting new blog, sorry.

TheMadLibrarian said...

Re: QUARK I have fond memories of that series. In a recent sci-fi RPG, one of our players created a sentient shrub, named 'Ficus', after the science officer in that show!

David Brin said...

STolen from my Fagin character in SUNDIVER, of course.

scidata said...

"every Randian I know was quickly turned into a slave or dog food"
- from aynrand.html

That's one tragedy of fascism - it eats those who build it.

David Brin said...

onward

onward