Friday, November 04, 2022

Stupid Prepper Lords: the foremost reason to end feudalism

"The oligarch’s bunkers are, essentially first class cabins

 firmly welded to the ship they are trying to sink."


The U.S. mid-term elections will be pivotal. One reason they aren't a slam dunk for civilization is that no one in our political/pundit caste was interested in fresh tactics and ideas - least of all offering Americans a bigger picture. Like how the real issue is an attempted putsch by every style of oligarch, united in a non-sapient, reflexive goal to restore dismal feudalism.

Exhibit A: here's a fascinating essay by Douglas Rushkoff  - The super-rich 'preppers' planning to save themselves from the apocalypse. Doug describes how a dozen tech zillionaires - (names withheld under NDA) - flew him into a private meeting where they asked: a Marxist media theorist for advice on where and how to configure their doomsday bunkers.”  

Among their questions (which he describes in his book, Survival of the Richest: Escape Fantasies of the Tech Billionaires): 


“How long should one plan to be able to survive with no outside help? Should a shelter have its own air supply? What was the likelihood of groundwater contamination? Finally, the CEO of a brokerage house explained that he had nearly completed building his own underground bunker system, and asked: ‘How do I maintain authority over my security force after the event?’” 

 

The… event. Ah, euphemism for some calamity killing 99% of humanity, with the remainder expected to bow before lords who helped to make it all happen.

 

(Doug must have signed a weaker NDA than I did, under similar circumstances, since he feels free to describe his own such meeting, if without names. Though I can tell you that no NDA was involved when Peter Thiel asked me similar questions. Alas, my helpfully pragmatic — if non-sycophantic — critical suggestions to improve his ‘sea steading’ notion led him to storm off and never buy me another meal. Then later to adopt every suggestion I had made! Well, well. I know other former PayPal guys who actually want success for a civilization that’s been good to them. The crux: conflating all such guys together is unhelpful.)

The Rushkoff piece is vital reading for anyone who wants to avoid the apocalypse that these ingrates yearn for, in some dullard combination of sci-fi romanticism and fretful apocolypticism, along with nostalgia for the simplicity and sexual privileges of proper feudalism — presumably in a Mad Max wasteland that corrects all of the errors of modernity that made them comfy-spoiled rich, in the first place.


(See also this video that - a little dramatically - goes into the security question and other aspects of the fantasy. The host site can be over-the-top.)

 

In fact, I know the exact solution to the ‘security staff question.’ Though I told one such mogul “If you can’t figure it out, you certainly aren’t smart enough to survive any 'event' aftermath, without protection by the enlightenment nations you so despise.”  

 

Indeed, this kind of delusion was laughably illustrated by the number of Russian ’oligarchs’ - all of them hypocrites who grew up reciting Marxist-egalitarian catechisms five times daily, before stealing trillions from the Russian people - who thereupon ensconced their loot, their yachts and their children in western nations, where it all could be defended by rule-of-law from capricious seizure by the New Czar… 

 

…only to find that rule-of-law can cut both ways. It has that drawback. Which is why some now dream of ending it, altogether.

 

“Never before have our society’s most powerful players assumed that the primary impact of their own conquests would be to render the world itself unliveable for everyone else. Nor have they ever before had the technologies through which to programme their sensibilities into the very fabric of our society. The landscape is alive with algorithms and intelligences actively encouraging these selfish and isolationist outlooks. Those sociopathic enough to embrace them are rewarded with cash and control over the rest of us. It’s a self-reinforcing feedback loop. This is new.”


Rushkoff writes of a Silicon Valley 'escapism' mindset that "encourages its adherents to believe that the winners can somehow leave the rest of us behind."


Side note: Your vast mountain rancho in Patagonia may not keep the world out. Recall how some Europeans, sagaciously fearful of Hitler, escaped to the most far away and safest place they could find, an island called Guadalcanal. Or the Virginia plantation owner whose back yard by the Bull Run river opened the Civil War - he moved to the safety of a place called Appomattox. 

 

== The true reason 'preppers' are idiots ==


I do think Rushkoff is unfair in places. For example, the ‘space billionaires’ cannot be said to be seeking apocalypse, since it would take a century of reliance on a vibrant-rich, generous and nerdy Earth civilization, before Mars might conceivably stand on its own. Despite some thematic overlaps, it is just wrong to equate Elon Musk - or even Jeff Bezos – who want that civilization to last and who seek to evade the Sycophancy Trap, with the prepper parasites.

 

Moreover, Doug ignores the fundamental response to these prepper nut-jobs, whose every activity proves they owe their vast wealth to luck… and feral predatory cunning… and luck… and inheritance and luck... and not to some vaunted ‘genius.’  (Any mogul who surrounds himself with sycophants has already and thusly proved the very opposite of everything those flatterers say.)

 

No, the basic refutation is simple

When ‘the event’ happens, what thought will race through the minds of the real powers of this world?

 

Real Powers of this world? 


Not governments, or princes, or billionaires, or mafiosi… but the nerds who actually run things and do things and get things done. The ‘boffins’ who know stuff. Anywhere from ten million to a hundred million folks who both keep civilization running and who count on it continuing? 

 

Do you imagine they will just go quietly, like the monks at Lindesfarne, or the librarians at Alexandria?

 

These are the people - men and women of skill and knowledge and dedication - who know nuclear and bio, cyber and chemistry. They run the satellites and the computer networks. They staff the western intelligence agencies and military officer corps.

 

Many of them know exactly where your prepper compounds are, down to the last millimeter.  

They have access to the design schematics. 

 

Moreover, when the ‘event’ happens… enhanced and possibly triggered by pathetic, parasite plunderers… do you think those nerds will keep that knowledge (of the prepper hideouts) to themselves? Taking it with them to the radioactive grave? 


Why would they do that?

 

Consider instead: might they spread that knowledge as far and wide as possible, along with detailed plans and channels to organize in the aftermath… for revenge?  


Especially when you’ve collected a tempting high tech nest full of goodies?

 

How are your ‘former Navy Seals’ - even if loyal - gonna deal with that failure mode? Is James Bond remotely as powerful as Q? As a thousand or ten thousand organized and determined Qs?

 

== You won't like us, when we're mad... ==


I’ve said all this many times, of course. So, even if none of those nerds thought of it before, the meme is out there now. I’ve seen it float freely, so… oops. My mistake. Too late to hit up the would-be lords for a big bribe to keep quiet!

 

Maybe you can’t envision “Revenge of the Nerds” on such a scale, in a Mad Max aftermath? 
 

Well, try blending A Canticle for Leibowitz with H.G. Wells’s The Shape of Things to Come, wherein mobs that go rampaging after ‘the event’ aren’t going after the books and nerds who they will desperately need, in order to rebuild. 

 

Rather (much smarter) they will be led by nerds. And - as in The Postman - by a dream of restored citizenship and a final, complete end to the age-old curse of feudalism. 

 

And would be feudalists. 

 

Forever.


== And hence... get out the vote ==


Think all of the above is too abstract? Well. Recent data show that 665 billionaires have donated almost a billion dollars to the US Republican Party... the party that always fights against transparency laws or any evening of the playing field.  


Not all billionaires puppet the GQP! But every casino mogul, Saudi sheik, "ex"-commissar in the slightly relabeled KGB, hedge parasite etc. and half the tech zillionaires have poured a $BILLION into these midterms for the GQP.


I know some of the other half of rich techies, who love to surround themselves with nerdy engineers. Many of them have faults! But spite toward the knowledge castes is not one of them.


And screw em all, anyway. If this wonderful civilization is to be saved, it will be by us.


It's not too late to stand up. Twist arms.


Vote.


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ADDENDUM:


A  lunatic, archetype-incel 'neo-monarchist' about whom I have written before, "Mencius Moldbug," is getting more play among the Mad Right traitors who no longer even pretend to love democracy or the Enlightenment Experiment that made them.  

Take this article: "Curtis Yarvin wants American democracy toppled. He has some prominent Republican fans. The New Right blogger has been cited by Blake Masters and J.D. Vance. What exactly is he advocating?" 


Alas, the article gives this jibbering-raving loony way too much credit. His only function is to serve as a litmus strip confirming that vast wealth, combined with sycophancy-addiction, can be utterly lobotomizing. Blatantly, Moldbug dreams that by joining the ranks of top flatterers, he might then be welcomed among the elite, as I depict my Michael Crichton character seeking to do, in EXISTENCE. He fantacizes being among the Top Dogs in the aftermath of the "Event."

Alas, a much better descriptive word is "kibble."


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FOLLOWUP later:
 David R. - a veteran defense and cyber warfare scholar and consultant offers the following comments:

- "Russian information (disinformation) strategists have targeted prepper and survivalist circles for years.  I first began to gather this six years ago, but it surely started years earlier.  Maybe they’ve been more effective than we have evidence to know? (DB: Of course they have been! 200 'ex"-commissars merely changed their surface SYMBOLS and chants from marxist to czarist and almost instantly took over the US right.)

 I see no mention in any write-ups about what they plan to store in their mega-bunkers from an arts-culture-civilization standpoint?  Will there be libraries and other collections?  Food for the mind as well as the body?  Or just trophies for show?



 

 

69 comments:

Larry Hart said...

Since I just missed the "onward" last post, here it is again...

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/03/opinion/republican-medicare-social-security.html

let’s note that the push to slash major benefit programs may be the ultimate example of an elite priority completely at odds with what ordinary Americans want.


And for some reason, locumranch doesn't have a problem with leadership on the right forcing their agenda upon an overwhelmingly unsupportive populace. No calls for guillotining Mitch McConnell or Kevin McCarthy if they dare refuse to listen to the will of the people.

No, he only thinks political violence is justified against smart people trying to logically get from point A to point B. Cruel people reveling in causing pain get a pass. In fact, cruel people are the only ones who count as "the will of the people", no matter how small a minority they actually are.

* * *

All too obvious...

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/03/opinion/january-6-democracy.html

The message of all the chuckling about Paul Pelosi is clear: The right believes its enemies have no rights, and no longer sees the need to pretend otherwise. Donald Trump taught the Republican Party that it needn’t bother with hypocritical displays of decency, that it can revel in cruelty, transgression and the thrill of violence.

Dirtnapninja said...

Mencius moldbug is married with children. That is the precise opposite of an "Incel", which means "involuntary celibate".

Larry Hart said...

If he's married with an infant or very young child, he probably is involuntarily celibate, for the next several years anyway.

Just sayin'

duncan cairncross said...

There is talk of the ultra rich villains retreating to secure hidey holes here in NZ

Given the culture here is massively influenced by the Scots and the Maori I suspect any Oligarchs trying to fine safety here will be surprised - and if things go really pear shaped may end up on the menu

Tim H. said...

If memory serves, "Lucifer's Hammer" had a wealthy character who invested in a survival bunker and found it taken over by staff when he needed it.

scidata said...

duncan cairncross,

You beat me to it. In 1772, du Fresne landed in NZ and claimed it for France. He was quickly killed and eaten.

lurker below said...

In Lucifer's Hammer, the character "Tim Hamner," whose name got modified so that the comet was called "the Hammer," tried to take refuge in his observatory, which often got snowed in, and so was well-supplied. But his assistant and his associates wouldn't let him stay when he arrived. So no, not really.

Unknown said...

For those who think Elon Musk is mostly good for us:
https://davetroy.medium.com/no-elon-and-jack-are-not-competitors-theyre-collaborating-3e88cde5267d

Seems like he thinks Putin has the right idea for running things.

I am not a big fan of Twitter but it has been extremely influential. Looks like it is about to be a cesspool.

David Brin said...

Over on FB quoth David Bolinsky
The oligarch’s bunkers are, essentially first class cabins firmly welded to the ship they are trying to sink. They seem to think otherwise…

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

The oligarch’s bunkers are, essentially first class cabins firmly welded to the ship they are trying to sink.


I've wondered about that myself, especially regarding Republicans holding the world economy hostage with the debt ceiling thing. Is it really in the interests of the rich and powerful for the US to default?

scidata said...

Bullies gonna bully. It's their only toolset.

Tacitus said...

Oh I promised I'd wait until after Whatever happens on Tuesday before posting. But what the heck.

I don't know the outcome. Polls are being massaged left and right and most are now based on low single digit response rates. But if there is evidence of a significant difference between how most of you view the electorate and how they express their true nature it should be time for pause and reflection. I run a fair game, and will do the same.

This talk of supervillains lurking in underground survival bunkers is an interesting variant of strawmanism. Maybe a few such nuts exist. Probably in fact. But this is far, far from the world view of 99.99 % of the people who find the performance of the current administration to be lacking.

These are not Strawmen but Brickmen after the fashion of the Three Little Pigs.

One could extend the analogy further and say that the Brick Pigs are wasting time and resources as they live in a place where there are no wolves.

Or if there really are wolves, and the bastards are perforce sneaky, it did seem as if the third little pig came out looking pretty good.

Tacitus, who still lives in a world where you should lock your doors but you'll be fine if you forget now and again.

DP said...

Some historical context for midterm elections.

Here are the tabulated results (year and number of House seats lost/won by the party in the White House) with commentary:

2018 -40 Trump's vile stupidity, Covid-19, economic nose dive
2014 -13 Less of a shellacking for Obama
2010 -63 Obama's shellacking, he goes on to win reelection two years later. Tea
party hatred of a Black president
2006 -30 Nobody wants to have a beer with W anymore
2002 8 Post 9/11 and GWOT for W

1998 5 Clinton kicks butt
1994 -54 Clinton gets his but kicked
1990 -8 GHW Bush wins the Gulf war
1986 -5 Regan riding high
1982 -26 Volker engineers a recession to fight inflation for Reagan

1978 -15 Jimmy Carter did rather well, then lost to Reagan
1974 -48 Ford's mid term, all of Nixon's bad chickens come home to roost
1970 -12 Nixon's mid term, peace talks in Vietnam, opening China, arms treaty with
Russia, no oil embargo or Watergate yet
1966 -47 LBJ's mid term, Vietnam becoming an issue
1962 -4 JFK's mid term, post Cuban Missile crisis

1958 -48 Ike's second mid term, America getting tired of Ike
1954 -18 Ike' first mid term, America liked Ike
1950 -28 Before Korean war, Harry doing better
1946 -54 Harry Truman's first mid term, upset win over Dewey 2 years later, now
considered a great president
1942 -45 FDR's mid term at the height of his war time popularity, goes on to win 3rd term

-27 Average loss for party in White House
8 Best results
-63 Worst loss

So tell me, what can we learn from mid terms?

Answer: Nothing


Lorraine said...

The most compelling reason for ending feudalism is the fact that the current constituency for the idea of feudalism is a faction within the alt-right. That in itself is reason enough for me to be a strident antifeudalist.

Larry Hart said...

I used to be a regular listener to Thom Hartmann. A few years ago, I couldn't take it any more. Not because he's wrong (he isn't) or because he's deplorable (he isn't), but because the things he's right about were too depressing to hear over and over again.

I've really got to apply the same to Bill Maher.

His editorial last night--fully cognizant of the fact that if victorious, Republicans will make sure all future elections are rigged in their favor--was all about how Republicans are nevertheless about to run the board. How Democrats have lost black men, white women, and Hispanics of all sexes. How voters couldn't care less about losing democracy because they're so turned off by wokeness.

And of course, no mention of how his season premiere this fall featured Kellyanne Conway cheerfully advocating voting Republican because of gas prices. He bemoans the fate of the country if Republicans take hold, but has given a platform to the deplorables because in the end, he does share their animosity toward wokeness (and COVID mitigation) more than anything else. While I would not say that Maher himself wants to own the libs, his attitude does seem to be that the libs have it coming, and that our failure to adequately defend democracy against the American voter is our fault.

I've already early-voted, and Illinois will likely remain a safe haven from the Brownshirts for some time to come, as will California and a few other places. But I have lost faith in my fellow Americans, who have apparently acquired a taste for the jackboot. At 60+ years of age, I no longer fear for my own future, but I do for my daughter's.

Comics writer Alan Moore said this of 1988 Britain in the introduction to the V for Vendetta graphic novel:

I'm thinking of taking my family and getting out of this country soon, some time in the next couple of years. It's cold and it's mean-spirited and I don't like it here any more.


I feel his pain. But when America is cold and mean-spirited, where is there to go?

Larry Hart said...

Tacitus:

Tacitus, who still lives in a world where you should lock your doors but you'll be fine if you forget now and again.


You seem to share my late father's faith in the system. He was always sure that no matter what, things would sort themselves out as they should be over time. He was also shocked to the core by revelations about Nixon in '74, or by the fact that no WMDs were found in Iraq.

Keep in mind that you have the luxury of not belonging to a group likely to be targeted for violence and intimidation by Brownshirts. Were I also exempt from such threats, I would be more complacent as well.

DP said...

Larry - "But when America is cold and mean-spirited, where is there to go?"

That's easy: Canada.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-immigration-500000-2025-1.6636661

Ottawa reveals plan to welcome 500,000 immigrants per year by 2025
Plan to boost immigration comes as country faces labour shortage

The federal government is planning a massive increase in the number of immigrants entering Canada, with a goal of bringing in 500,000 people in 2025.

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser revealed the new targets Tuesday, saying the move is necessary to ensure Canada's economic prosperity.

The announcement signals a significant increase from the 405,000 immigrants that came to Canada last year and the 465,000 expected to arrive next year.

Canadian industries are facing a significant labour shortage. About one million jobs are vacant across the country.

The new plan puts an emphasis on increasing the number of immigrants who will be admitted based on their work skills or experience over the next three years.

This news comes after new census figures released last month revealed that immigrants and permanent residents now account for 23 per cent of the population — an all-time high.


Paradoctor said...

"Hello, Remember Us?", by Leslie Fish:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O68DedIacWM&list=PLGZbuWTzf2mLtcMMhb99VoFGOFPUlY4LN&index=11

"Hello, remember us? We sure remember you!"

DP said...

And thanks to climate change, Canada looks like a winner:

https://climateinstitute.ca/will-canada-benefit-from-climate-change/

Will Canada benefit from climate change?

A recent study on the global economic impacts of climate change by Moody’s concluded that Canada could be a “climate winner”: one of few countries that might benefit from a warming world. According to Moody’s, Canada’s GDP could increase by up to 0.3 per cent—about $9 billion per year—by the middle of this century. Other studies cite expanded farmland, increased economic productivity, and a decrease in cold-related deaths as potential benefits.







Unknown said...

Scidata,

So that's where Andy Dufresne wound up...what happened to Red?

More seriously, I've visited the spot on the Big Island where Cpt Cook met a similar end*. There are some situations where, when asked if you are a god, say "no".

Re: midterms, I've voted already, but WA is a sane majority state**. I'm worried about the over all result, as it really does seem that the GQP will treat even a squeaker win as a mandate to to rig the 2024 election. Also, I used to think that the "blow up the debt ceiling to destroy the safety net" thing was dangerous political theater, but the cray-cray tipping point may have been reached.

Would there be push back? Sure, but there's push back in Hungary, too. It just doesn't matter any more. The GQP are literally using Orban's tactics as a blueprint.

Pappenheimer

*Tasteless jokes about "Cpt Cooked" were not made. Anyway, the local traditions vary over whether he was actually eaten.

**offer not valid over 5' outside Spokane city limits in Eastern WA

Larry Hart said...

DP:

Larry - "But when America is cold and mean-spirited, where is there to go?"

That's easy: Canada.


I wasn't aware that Canada was open to immigrants from the US. I've been to both Toronto and Vancouver, and I would enthusiastically live in either city, if they'd have me.

Unknown said...

Tacitus,

There's a big difference between "storing food and water for emergencies" and "stocking up ammo to mow down the cannibal hordes who'll stream out of the Evil City when civilization falls", which is what the local preppers do. I've met and talked to some of the less affluent fellow travelers with the techbro catastrophe fantasists Brin describes. Yes, they are a minority, but they aren't straw. They are actively investing in a future where you and I have no future. This can not help but color their political leanings - they are free to support a low-tax Metropolis-style worker's hell, because they think they have an out if things go pear-shaped. They are, of course, more likely to become Libertarian jerky (see above).

Pappenheimer

locumranch said...

When ‘the event’ happens, what thought will race through the minds of the real powers of this world... the nerds who actually run things... that they will triumph without any preparation whatsoever??


As Tacitus says, the ironies come too fast & funny to remain silent:

Firstly, we are offered a dated 'Revenge of the Nerds' fantasy wherein the nerds in question are perennial victims, antisocial losers, Harvey Weinstein level sex offenders but ultimately the big winners;

Secondly, we are presented with the Postman's self-fulfilling leadership technique which was apparently cribbed from the Robin Williams version of 'Jakob the Liar';

Thirdly, we have the citation of 'Lucifer's Hammer', a right-wing diatribe written by Jerry Pournelle which has been soundly denounced by the modern science fiction community as illiberal, sexist, racist & authoritarian; and

Fourthly, we end at our starting place with the 'Secret King' motif, the belief that nerds & other smart people will become our annointed & undisputed leaders following said 'event', only to rule in righteousness forever & ever, amen.

I say again that there is still some time to prepare if only you would listen to those who exist outside of your reality bubble but, instead, you deny the evidence of your own eyes, like some farcical King Arnulf on the sinking island of Hy-Brasil.



Best

DP said...

Feudal oligarchs are more effect than cause of much deeper forces at work.

So let's talk about the Four Horsemen of the economic apocalypse.

First Horsemen – Boomer Retirement

Reduces labor availability and increases labor costs. From South Korea, to America, to Japan to China to the EU to Islamic countries to most of the world outside of sub-Saharan Africa; their Boomer generations are starting to retire enmasse and there aren’t enough Millennials, Gen X, Gen Y or Gen Z to take their places. 2020 was the year that half the Boomers reached retirement age.

Covid-19 acted an accelerant.

It pushed Boomers to retire sooner and others to drop out of the workforce, restructuring how/where we work. And all the benefits from increased productivity since the mid-1970s have gone to the top 1% leaving most of the rest of us in desperation or squalor. Neo-liberal globalization shifting production to third world countries where workers will labor for a pittance has fucked over the American dream, which is now dead for most of us. After enough instances where a CEO ruins thousands of ordinary workers’ lives by laying them off so he can goose the stock price and spike his annual bonus, and you have a work force that no longer gives a rat’s ass about working hard to make somebody else rich.

Labor cost inflation is permanent and can only get worse going forward.
And there is nothing any government can do about this.

Second Horseman – Declining EROEI

EROEI (energy return over energy invested) is the only energy number that really matters as it cuts through the bullshit created by tariffs, subsides, tax breaks etc. to arrive at a real cost of energy as measured in other energy required to extract it. Lower EROEI increases the real cost of energy. Note that the EROEI of renewables end to be much higher than cheap fossil fuels, so renewable energy will inevitably be more expensive in real terms.

And the cheap, easy stuff is already gone - we’ve used it up (the real meaning of the term “peak oil”). When oil was discovered in Titusville PA in the 19th century the extraction method consisted of digging a pit, letting it fill up with oil and extracting it with hand held buckets. Drilling technology can uncover new deposits - but via the unavoidable laws of physics these newer (but deeper and harder to extract) deposits require more energy to extract and have steadily declining EROEIs – and higher real costs. No technology can overcome basic physics.

The Ukraine War acted as an accelerant.

It took Russian oil off the market (10% of total world oil production), a move that will be permanent after this winter. Without demand, the oil will stay in thousands of miles of Siberian pipelines under pressure (thousands of miles of oil pipelines are essentially impossible to drain). When the intense Siberian cold cracks these pipelines, its game over for Russian oil. Even under the best of circumstances, it will take decades to replace and repair them. That can only be done by Western oil techs and petroleum engineers, the Russians don’t even refine their own crude. It gets shipped to Germany for refinement and gets shipped back as diesel. After this winter, Russian oil for all practical intents will cease to exist.

Energy cost inflation is permanent and can only get worse going forward.
And there is nothing any government can do about this.

DP said...

Third Horsemen – Declining Crop Yields

Last year America lost half of its spring wheat crop to heat and drought. This year, China’s rice belt experienced the hottest temperatures ever recorded. India banned grain exports last year due to drought. Climate change is reducing global production of staples such as rice and wheat worldwide. In the Corn Belt states of Indiana and Illinois, climate change is shaving up to 8% off of annual corn yields. After translating crop yields into consumable calories – the actual food on people’s plates –climate change is already shrinking food supplies, particularly in food-insecure developing countries. Thanks to climate deniers it is already too late to stop global warming.

The American West is going through a decades long drought, drying up the Colorado river, draining the Ogallala reservoir and most importantly dropping the water levels in the western branches of the Mississippi river basin to the point where barges can’t navigate them. No matter what happens on the farm the results are meaningless if bulk grain shipment can’t travel down western waterways.

Then there is soil depletion and the spike in both potash-based fertilizers (both mostly from Ukraine and Russia) and nitrogen-based fertilizers (caused by increased real costs of oil). Fertilizer costs last year nearly doubled, with prices projected to remain high for the forceable future.

Again, the Ukraine War acted as an accelerant.

It took Ukrainian wheat off world markets, wheat that fed Europe, the Middle east. Sharp increases in the price of bread have always caused social instability. It was the primary cause of the Arab Spring and is the hidden driver of the current unrest in Iran.

Labor cost inflation is permanent and can only get worse going forward.
And there is nothing any government can do about this.

Fourth Horsemen – Increasing Interest Rates

The great thing about Boomers of any nation is that they saved a lot. Either by direct deposits into their 401Ks, matching employer deposits, or employer sponsored pensions, a huge number of highly productive people saved for their retirement. This provided the capital needed for the greatest economic expansion in human history.

That’s over now - forever. Boomers are retiring and pulling their money out of stocks and bonds to pay for their Golden Years. And of course, they are no longer putting anything back into financial investments. The law of supply and demand applies to money itself as well as it does labor, energy and food.

The Federal Reserve’s fight against inflation acted as an accelerant.

These wrongheaded monetary attempts to reign in inflation by the Fed will need to crash and burn the economy into a recession to actually have an effect on inflation. It’s why after multiple interest rate increases, inflation remains stubbornly high. Current inflation is not monetary in origin (despite Republican bitching about putting a few extra dollars into an ordinary American’s Covid relief check). It stems from supply shortages which will be permanent going forward due to demographics, energy physics and global warming.

High interest rates are permanent and can only get worse going forward.
And there is nothing any government can do about this.

DP said...

Fifth Horsemen – Demand Crash

People tend to forget that there was a fifth horseman (a buddy of Death - “A pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him”).

The declining demographics of lower than replacement birth rates world wide doesn’t just mean fewer workers, it means fewer consumers. Japan has already achieved this level of demand collapse. Remember when they were going to take over the world back in the 1980s? Didn’t happen because they stopped making babies. This led to an aging work force, fewer consumers and heavier financial burden per working taxpayer to pay for the benefits of more and more retirees.

It's why my kids all tell me that they don’t expect a dime from Social Security when they retire.

Japan stays in the game only by going massively into debt every year, floating government bonds that nobody expects will ever get repaid – bonds that the Japanese buy out of patriotic duty.

Again, Covid-19 acted as an accelerant.
Old people on fixed incomes don’t buy much either. A population top heavy in old geezers won’t see much consumer demand. Geezers have no need for new cars or the latest flat screens. Most of us don’t understand or even want to learn the newest technology or phone apps. What we do buy is services, entertainment (travel, dining out, etc.) early in retirement and medical services later on. R&D investment follows consumer demand and its really hard to perform meaningful R&D improvements for services (short of robot waiters and nurses).

There is a word for an economic situation where productivity greatly outstrips demand. It’s called “depression”.

Demand crash is permanent and can only get worse going forward.
And there is nothing any government can do about this.


So, what can be done?

Nothing.

No growth capitalism is an oxymoron. And without population growth there can be no economic growth. It isn't physically possible.

So get ready for the rest of our lives, and for the foreseeable future to experience and endemic stagflation with capitalism on life support. The whole world becomes Japan. Combining inflation driven by unalterable demographics, energy physics and global warming with depression era levels of crashing demand and you have the 1970s on steroids.

Time to get that old disco ball back down from the attic.


Alan Brooks said...

And the Captain and Tennille record on the Victrola.
But though the sky looks dark, am not about to say it is falling, just yet. If all prophecy is self-fulfilling, then so too is pessimistic prophecy.

David Brin said...

Hoy! Talk about strawmanning! Jiminy, Tacituse delivers a TV cake-baking-contest-worthy example with frosting!

"This talk of supervillains lurking in underground survival bunkers is an interesting variant of strawmanism. Maybe a few such nuts exist. Probably in fact. But this is far, far from the world view of 99.99 % of the people who find the performance of the current administration to be lacking."

What the HECK did talking about a lobotomized aristocracy of prepper loonies have to do with that 99.99%?

SO much to unpack and so little time (or interest in doing so). But -

1. I know a bunch of these prepper lords and their sycophants. If anything, I understated the sickness and extent. Did you ACTUALLY READ the Rushkoff piece?

2. The prepper lords overlap hugely with the caste of casino moguls, oil sheiks, mafiosi, "ex" commissars, hedge lords and inheritance brats who have (documented) poured almost a BILLION $$ into the GOP in order to rave about 'this administration's 'performance.' '


- near zero unemployment, rising wages, inshoring massive amounts of manufacturing from China, finally rebuilding infrastructure, rebuilding the alliances that the KGB-stooge tried to demolish and standing up to murderous monsters.... none of that counts (in your desperation) as 'performance. Nor does finally doing something about a planetary death sentence and wealth disparities that are tocketing past French Revolution levels.

Not to a fellow who would rank Hunter Biden's never-specified(!) 'corruption' higher than ANY randomly chosen day of DJTrump Jr.

HUNDREDS of GOP factotums have been indicted by Grand Juries across the nation composed mostly of white retirees, while NONE have been from the Dem side. Any sane person with even a pretense of fairness would wonder about that.

"Investigations" of all Clinton aides (no subpoena refused) finally reported (late on Friday nights) that they found absolutely nothing, as the "swift boat' slanders were utterly destroyed, over time. But they achieved their immediate purpose of letting fellows like Tacitus rationalize.

Now it's "2000 mules"... asserting that a couple of dozen democrat MAYORS executed a perfect, leakproof plot with seamless perfection, under the very noses of Republican state officials who had all the real power and who investigated and grilled everyone and (despite offers of lavish bribes) wound up with ZERO evidence, whatsoever.

Alas not one of the jibbering-capering loons spreading any of the 'steal' crap will accept a cash WAGER whether any of it will still be standing in a year. Cash$$$ on the table. My house.

And that is the final straw. Not the rabid-frothing lunacy and complicit excuse-making for treason. But the utter cowardice of supposed macho MEN(!) who refuse to back up their blowhard blather with manly wager stakes, the way their grampas would have done.

The way a man would.

Tacitus said...

David

You sir, are ranting.

Tacitus

GMT -5 8032 said...

If “the Event” happens my wife and I won’t last long. I have health issues and life would be horrible without access to modern medical care.

If we won the Powerball jackpot (assuming I pay the $2 stupidity tax and waste money on a ticket) we probably would be rich enough to try and come up with a survival plan. I’d invest with JC Cole. The only way to survive is to do your best to stop the Event from happening. If it does, then your best bet is to be part of a community.

If I were an evil overlord, I would deal with the security problem is to take care of your people. Be good to them. Form a community with them. Make sure their family has access to good health care. Hell, make sure their families get to come with them to the survival shelter. And why do YOU need to be the one in charge? Why not be the wizard advising the king?

I am at reserve duty this weekend. I am the new brigade S-1 and I have a problem soldier. I just had a talk with him. I told him that my job was to make his problems go away and to protect him from bad things done by other people in other sections of the brigade. If he has a problem, he comes to me and I will work it out. BUT… he has to do his job. I will work with the CSM and my deputy to list his job duties and we will agree on what he needs to do. Hopefully it works.

As for the election on Tuesday, my choices would probably surprise people here. I will be voting against the incumbents even though most of them are members of the political party I supposedly belong to. I have my reasons.

David Brin said...

Tacitus, consider that we all feel discomfort faced with polemical challenges and those discomforts tend to make us SKIM and leap to comforting conclusions. Yet you know my levels of knowledge and intelligence. You have my sympathies over that cognitive dissonance.

In fact, just three things eviscerate the 'poor performance' meme:

- record low unemployment
-restoration of NATO as the most vigorous and effective deterrent on the planet
-inshoring manufacturing at astounding rates
- saving the planet where you keep your stuff.

The list goes on but it would be a 'rant.' So I kept it simple. Only finally there's this:

I will happily wager actual cash over any paragraph, whether a moderate senior retired military officer would call it a 'rant', in or out of context with the rest.

duncan cairncross said...

DP

The Demographic crash is a molehill not a mountain
YES - more pensioners
But the "less kid" cancels that out

Boomers - my generation and lead poisoned - when we die off the average IQ increases

Growth
This is what engineers DO - we spend our careers doing more with less
In a 20 year period we double the output per hour of labour

That is REAL GROWTH - Output per person

David Brin said...

Defense analyst David Ron***dt emailed me this response:
Informative and appalling. Three points, all speculative:

— Russian information (disinformation) strategists have targeted prepper and survivalist circles for years. I first began to gather this six years ago, but it surely started years earlier. Maybe they’ve been more effective than we have evidence to know?

— These super-rich preppers aim to protect themselves from what is happening in (and what they are doing to) the geosphere and biosphere. What about the noosphere? I’d be curious to know whether/how it (or its elements, if they don’t know the noosphere concept) may figure in their futuristic thinking. The conflicts being waged all around us are increasingly as much (sometimes more) noƶpolitical as geopolitical in nature.

— I see no mention in any write-ups about what they plan to store in their mega-bunkers from an arts-culture-civilization standpoint? Will there be libraries and other collections? Food for the mind as well as the body? Or just trophies for show? My experience is that people who become pro-Trumpers tend to favor low-culture stuff far more than high-culture stuff, and like to disparage the latter.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin quotes:

I see no mention in any write-ups about what they plan to store in their mega-bunkers from an arts-culture-civilization standpoint? Will there be libraries and other collections? Food for the mind as well as the body?


Something else I've wondered about myself. What do those preppers think day to day life will be like after civilization collapses? I'd probably be better than most people at living for decades with a stack of old comic books and some good movies on video. But I don't get the vibe off of most billionaires that they'd find life without real world accomplishments very satisfying.

It also seems inconceivable to me that Bitcoin would maintain any sort of value in a Mad Max world, and that's even if the technology to maintain it was still viable.

GMT -5 8032 said...

I forgot, I've survived an "event." On September 6, 2017, hurricane Irma, a category 5 storm, hit St. Thomas, USVI, where Mrs. GMT-5 and I were living at the time. We spent the day holed up in our bunker (aka...the bedroom in our apartment - middle floor of a three story solid concrete block construction house) while we listened to the storm rage around us. After the storm passed, we went out and checked on our neighbors. We helped one neighbor stop water flooding into their home and helped them get the water out.

A few days later, we drove a bunch of our neighbors down to the emergency management distribution center to get emergency rations of food and water. Mrs. GMT-5 and I were well stocked with food and water, but one can only live so long on canned food and cistern water. As a reward for helping one set of neighbors, we were recipients of home cooked meals every few days.

Life after a disaster only works if you and your neighbors are on good terms. Regarding the arts-culture-civilization issue, Mrs. GMT-5 and I had a good supply of books and a few classic board games. Our favorite was the old Steve Jackson game OGRE. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogre_(board_game)

Unknown said...

GMT-5,

OGRE is a fine game, but not as good as Car Wars. I guess Steve Jackson had to file the BOLO plates off his supertanks before making the game...

Pappenheimer

duncan cairncross said...

DP
you said

Lower EROEI increases the real cost of energy. Note that the EROEI of renewables end to be much higher than cheap fossil fuels, so renewable energy will inevitably be more expensive in real terms.

But that does not make sense

If you change it to

Lower EROEI increases the real cost of energy. Note that the EROEI of renewables end to be much higher than cheap fossil fuels, so renewable energy will inevitably be MUCH LESS expensive in real terms.

Which makes perfect sense - the Energy return from commercial sized Wind is over 60:1 and Solar is similar

DP said...

A lower EROEI results from a higher EI (EROEI = ER / EI).

Say you have a oil deposit worth 1000 BTUs and current technology allows you to extract it by expending 100 BTUs for an EROEI of 10.

A deeper deposit of oil in harder to crack shale also has 1000 BTUs worth of energy. But to extract it requires the equivalent of 200 BTUs for an EROEI of only 5.

The return on the second deposit is half that of the first, resulting in a real cost twice as high.

DP said...

The Iron Law of Survivalism:

Individuals die, communities survive.

DP said...

We just shown in principle that we can divert approaching asteroids off course and away from Earth.

In your face dinosaurs!

DP said...

Which is your preferred survival community:

A gun totting right wing bunker or a hippie commune ecovillage?

A community of gun totting hippies may sound like the best of both worlds but its also a perfect description of the Manson Family.

scidata said...

Re: dinosaurs

If god had intended us to avert extinction, he would have given us brains.
Oh wait

Larry Hart said...

Remember, remember, the Fifth of November.
Gunpowder, treason, and plot.

Larry Hart said...

duncan cairncross:

There is talk of the ultra rich villains retreating to secure hidey holes here in NZ


A good play on the Golgafrinchan B-Ark strategy might be if we could somehow convince them that the "event" is already happening. Getting them to disappear into their hidey-holes might work just as well as The Rapture.

Larry Hart said...

locumranch:

I say again that there is still some time to prepare if only you would listen to those who exist outside of your reality bubble


Prepare how? I mean, if the reality is that the MAGAts are about to establish themselves as our rightful masters, what is your practical advice for this coming situation? To stock up on canned food, generator fuel, and ammo like it's 1999? To establish ourselves on Parler as sycophantic toadies in the hope that the MAGAts won't beat us up? To self-deport as the luckiest Jews were able to do from 1930s Germany before it was too late?

Seriously, dude, in your perfect world in which we listened to and credited your advice, what would we be doing right now?

scidata said...

I can't get the picture out of my mind of the craven news anchor saying, "Hail to our insect overlords" (Simpson's?).

Larry Hart said...

scidata:

(Simpson's?)


I believe so, although I can't place the particular episode at the moment. A Halloween special perhaps?

It might be important that The Simpsons ran on FOX, predating the rise of FOX News. While Kent Brockman was a kind of generic goofball anchorman (visually resembling Ted Baxter from The Mary Tyler Moore Show ), he was kind of a precursor of what was to come on FOX News itself. Back in my parents' day, trusted anchors like Walter Cronkite were more like regular folks. Oh, I doubt they worried about their next meal, but they didn't have contracts in the millions of dollars like Sean Hannity or Tucker Carlson do.

Modern tv news anchors are part of the 0.1%, and they know where their interests lie. If the prevailing wind is blowing from Vichy, that's where their on-air support will be given to.

David Brin said...

" if only you would listen to those who exist outside of your reality bubble"

There's a meme that it was Goebbels who said "accuse others of what you do." But it sure is what these guys do.

We're the ones who argue and accept it, when blatant facts invoke the sacred catechism of science "I might be wrong."

We're far from perfect, but ours is not the sig heil Nuremberg rally (now almost literal) where almost every assertion is actively DIS provable by facts, and hence all out war against every fact using profession.

scidata said...

One of the favourite themes of fascism is efficiency, always efficiency. However, efficiency is only one axis (pardon the pun). Resiliency is another, and in history (esp in psychohistory), it's more important. Trading off some efficiency can sometimes lead to huge improvements in resiliency. For example, it's why messy and expensive sexual reproduction is dramatically better for evolution than is simple and efficient gene-swapping (hint: diversity). If your reich is short-lived or even still-born, it matters little how 'efficient' it is.

GMT -5 8032 said...

Read a history of the Third Reich and you will see that it was incredibly INEFFICIENT. The NSDWP put cronies in every enterprise to manage it more efficiently. That was a disaster as many of the cronies robbed the places blind, or were unable to realize that the enterprise was being robbed blind. See SCHINDLER’S LIST for an example.

locumranch said...

In the sense that not-preparing is in itself a form of preparation, Larry_H presents himself as the poster child for Learned Helplessness:

"Prepare how?", he asks, as he trepidatiously awaits the arrival of the cartoonishly merciless MAGA overlords of his fevered imagination.

You prepare the same way that you would prepare for a fire, flood, illness or natural disaster. You buy insurance; you indemnify; and you invest a tiny fraction of your time, effort & money in advance of (for the amelioration of) potentially adverse consequences.

From fuel crisis to food shortages, the MSM is full of dire predictions and GMT-5 did an excellent job describing our current economic predicament, but how you plan depends on risk stratification & what you fear most.

1. Stockpile those specialty items (medications) that you cannot live long without;
2. Put up a few weeks of food & water as you would before a blizzard or hurricane;
3. Purchase some warm winter clothes & sleeping bags in case of power failure; and
4. Acquire the means to defend yourself & your loved ones assuming a lapse in law, order & civility.

If your fear a loss of your precious 'Abortion Rights' over all else, then purchase a few OTC 'Plan Bs', some instructional literature & medical instruments because there's nothing intrinsically deadly or difficult about the abortion procedure itself, assuming sterile technique.

If you tremble at the thought of Climate Change, then you have numerous options besides Gaia Worship which include 'going Full Amish', seeking out cooler climes & higher elevations, eschewing air travel, limiting your electricity usage, pursuing nuclear & alternative energies, or colonizing Mars.

Or, you can talk & dither until the universe decides your fate for you.

The choice is yours.


Best
________

Kudos to Dr. Brin for finally joining the "I might be wrong" club, as I have been a club member from time immemorial... which is why I'm always questioning the unquestionable (aka official) narrative propagated by those who claim to KNOW science, fact & truth with any type of certainty.

I compulsively prepare & indemnify because "I might be wrong" and I plan accordingly because, according to Voltaire, any belief in certainty is an absurdity.

Of this, I am certain:

It's insanity to argue that it's somehow 'evil' or 'disloyal' to plan & prepare for adverse consequence when faced with uncertainty, as the creation of multiple back-up plans is the only sane, reasonable & civilized course of action.

Larry Hart said...

locumranch:

"Prepare how?", he asks, as he trepidatiously awaits the arrival of the cartoonishly merciless MAGA overlords of his fevered imagination.


Ok, Boomer. Serves me right for asking a legitimate question to a determined asshole.

You were the one continually berating us for supposedly imperiling ourselves by ignoring your criticism. I simply asked for the details of that criticism. What--in your fevered imagination--were we doing wrong that you were warning us about?

You actually sound like more of a coward than I do, which believe me takes some work.


Kudos to Dr. Brin for finally joining the "I might be wrong" club, as I have been a club member from time immemorial... which is why I'm always questioning the unquestionable (aka official) narrative propagated by those who claim to KNOW science, fact & truth with any type of certainty.


When have you ever acknowledged the possibility that you might be wrong about anything? Seems like you spend your time here announcing that we're wrong, and that cure we refuse would be to listen to your profound wisdom.

You again remind me of Dave Sim with his "9/11 changed everything by making me more certain than ever in what I always believed."


I compulsively prepare & indemnify because "I might be wrong" and I plan accordingly because, according to Voltaire, any belief in certainty is an absurdity.

Of this, I am certain:


Heh. Ah, Li'l Abner.

"As any fool can plainly see."

"Ah can plainly see."


It's insanity to argue that it's somehow 'evil' or 'disloyal' to plan & prepare for adverse consequence when faced with uncertainty, as the creation of multiple back-up plans is the only sane, reasonable & civilized course of action.


What the eff are you screaming at us for, then? We don't call disaster preparation evil or disloyal. We call election fraud, intimidation, and actual political violence evil and disloyal.

We are in each his own way preparing for the advent of a fascist Republican takeover of our government, or a fascist Brownshirt response to their failure to do so. That doesn't mean we don't want to foreclose such an outcome if it is in any way preventable--an ounce of prevention and all. Discussing methods of prevention as well as response is no vice. No, it's the ostrich conservatives who insist that we not discuss such impolite topics because everything is all right and shall always ever be so, and to think otherwise is derangement.

You're not even lying any more as much as non-sequituring.

Larry Hart said...

He's not wrong...

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/06/opinion/republican-congress-agenda-mccarthy.html

I’ll say this for Republicans. They have not hidden their intentions or their tactics. They have made clear what they intend to do if they win. Biden ran — and won — in 2020 promising a return to normalcy. Republicans are running in 2022 promising a return to calamity.

David Brin said...

I found no problems skimming the part above the signature. Then came this riff of stunningly pyrotechnic insanity.

"Kudos to Dr. Brin for finally joining the "I might be wrong" club, as I have been a club member from time immemorial... "

No, you are a jibbering loony who cannot admit when he does not understand something, and so makes up masturbatory incantations that have nothing to do with the topic or anything that anyone else has said or believes.

Der Oger said...

Read a history of the Third Reich and you will see that it was incredibly INEFFICIENT.

The Reich was practically bankrupt before the war even started.
The control of the Nazis over the population lasted until the final days of the war, however.

Unknown said...

Re: Reich 3.0:

It helps if you're looting your neighbor's economies both directly and through currency exchange rates. Hitler took great care to keep German ("Aryan", of course, only) citizen's living standards high in the early years of the Reich. It's been pointed out that the steel used for civilian automobile production could have been used to build one hell of a lot more Panzers and other motorized transport. As it was, the Wehrmacht invaded Russia with whole divisions equipped with captured Czech tanks* and its supply columns contained trucks confiscated from a dozen nations. Spare parts supply was a nightmare, not least because the German manufacturers wanted to impress Hitler with numbers of completed tanks but skimped on the spares. Most of the infantry divisions, comprising the bulk of the Wehrmacht, relied on horse-drawn transport through the entire war.

And don't even start with the Luftwaffe's stunning inability to develop new aircraft types that worked - even the ones that did (ME262, for instance) were delayed by Hitler's meddling and the incompetence of those he appointed (Goering comes off as a brilliant, corrupt dilettante who spent much of his time "collecting" art; Udet wanted all his aircraft - even the heavy bombers - to be able to dive-bomb.)

The entire Nazi empire had to conform to Berlin time, too, which was just stupid.

It's amazing how far pandering to racism and glorifying violence can carry you.

Read Overy's "Why the Allies Won" for a more complete dissertation. Overy doesn't hold back on the Allies, either, but it's clear that even Stalin could learn to accept expert advice and disagreement when the alternative was losing.

Pappenheimer

*actually pretty good tanks, but no better models were forthcoming

P.S. sorry, I think I've done this rant before.

Larry Hart said...

Pappenheimer:

It's amazing how far pandering to racism and glorifying violence can carry you.


If one believes the pundits, it's about to get them control of the US.

David Brin said...

Okay, maybe I'm contrarian. e.g. Robert E. Lee never stood a chance at Gettysburg.

What was the best tank of WWII? By far the M4 Sherman.

When it arrived in time for 2nd El Alamein it far outmatched any German tank. In 6 months it encountered Panthers and Tigers that it could only overcome with numbers. So?

Dig it, tanks have three jobs in order of importance:

1. Infantry support. And there was never a better IS tank, ever. Even the much criticized high profile made it capable vs every rough patch the foot grunts met. especially when you add flame throwers.

2. Cavalry-style breakthrough to rampage in the enemy's rear. Fast, nimble, trivially easy to repair in the field, the M4 was superb at this.

3. Tank-vs-tank. Here the M4 did better than its reputation because it was mass produced in vast numbers, easy to use and maintain and field to swarm even German brutes.

Only there's this. Tank-vs-tank wasn't the Sherman's job! Most often the rare tigers and panthers were dealty with by artillery, often mobile tank destroyers but also motorized 155s that could punch through a building to get at a tiger. And infantry took out just as many by bazooka-ing the treads. The brits did give Shermans a decent gun and later Brad Pitt got his Easy-8.

And that's my story and I stick by it.

Alfred Differ said...

I have no issue with people wanting to take basic steps toward preparing for hardships. I'll usually stand aside if they want to go further as well, but expect me to roll my eyes and move them down a notch or three on my credibility scale when they go much beyond that.

1. Digging a basement when you live in tornado alley makes damn good sense. Building a hurricane-proof bunker when you live on the US Gulf Coast does too. Stocking food and water is just a damn good idea.

2. Holding onto gold and silver reserves in anticipation of the collapse of the fiat currencies used by most nations when predictions called for their imminent demise won't do worse than tie up your capital and cause me to think less of you.

3. Taking lots of prepper steps to survive the end of the world and NOT getting vaccinated against known pandemic sources, however, is all about trying to be the last survivor by taking steps that raise the odds of death around you. I'm inclined to tie you up and force vaccination upon you.


I don't mind some lunacy mostly because I see no way to stop it without becoming a fellow lunatic. However, my favored 'small' survival community is a bit larger than can possibly fit in my bunker. I prep by helping to make the markets more and more global.

Alfred Differ said...

Well... since we're going contrarian...

I don't think Germany had a chance in either of the World Wars without all their opponents being utterly stupid... which they weren't. Foolish at times, but not utterly stupid.

The only way Germany could have won is to do what Germany is doing now.

scidata said...

Alfred Differ: without all their opponents being utterly stupid

Victor Hugo observed that all wars are between brothers. The recognition of, indeed expectation of, great intelligence in others is not an obstacle for success, it's a prerequisite. Real allies.

This aspect is historically missing in SETI. We're always searching for heroic, noble, romantic civs. We should be looking for networks and ecosystems, or at least remnants of them. Forest and trees perhaps.


Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

The only way Germany could have won [WWII] is to do what Germany is doing now.


They couldn't do that and remain Nazis.

Neither can the United States do so and remain MAGAts.

Larry Hart said...

https://rudepundit.blogspot.com/2022/11/barack-obama-calls-crazy-crazy-and-we.html

We needed Barack Obama to lay it all out for us: "Imagine if you hire your plumber. You've got an overflowing toilet. It's a problem," he said during a rally in Michigan. "[The plumber] comes in and, you know, you're waiting for the toilet to be fixed. He starts, 'Have you heard about the latest conspiracy of the Lizard People?' and he starts talking to you about all this stuff. 'We gotta do something about that.' You'd be like, 'No no no, I just want you to fix my toilet.' You'd find another plumber."
...

locumranch said...


On the subject of preparation, Larry_H & I talk past each other:

When have you ever acknowledged the possibility that you might be wrong about anything? Seems like you spend your time here announcing that we're wrong, and that cure we refuse would be to listen to your profound wisdom.

Both of us might be wrong because 'being wrong' is not mutually exclusive, but there are different quantitative levels of being wrong, especially if you analyze things in terms of Minimax game theory.

If I'm wrong by over-estimating the relative risk of famine, accident, violence, disorder, illness & death and prepare accordingly to minimize those risks, then what have I lost besides what I've invested in insurance?

The answer is not much because I gain a beneficial outcome in either case.

But, if you decide wrong and dispense with the proper preparations (aka 'the things we ought to be doing') due to misplaced optimism & a desire to underestimate those very same relative risks, then what have you lost?

The answer is damn near everything.

What the eff are you screaming at us for, then? We don't call disaster preparation evil or disloyal. We call election fraud, intimidation, and actual political violence evil and disloyal.

Wrong again, Larry_H, as the apparent disconnect between observable reality & your perspective gets ever wider. Do you even read what Dr. Brin writes?

The title of this thread is "Stupid Prepper Lords", followed shortly thereafter by subtitles like (1) "The true reason 'preppers' are idiots" and (2) "You won't like us, when we're mad" threats, reinforced by disparaging alliteration like "selfish; sociopathic; syncophant" and "pathetic, parasite plunderers".

Similarly, most progressives seem to have no problem with intimidation, threats, political violence & election influence as long as it pushes their collectivist agenda forward, as evidenced by the 2020 pre-election riots, threats against supreme court justices & attacks on conservative politicians.

We are in each his own way preparing for the advent of a fascist Republican takeover of our government, or a fascist Brownshirt response to their failure to do so (but) That doesn't mean we don't want to foreclose such an outcome if it is in any way preventable.

Wrong again, I suspect. In what way are you 'preparing' and what, specifically, are your 'precautions' to prevent the advent of a fascist takeover?

Zip, zero, zilch most likely. No meds, no food, no fuel reserves, no water, no means of defense. Just multiple NPCs begging for help in a chaotic world that 'should, ought & was supposed to' have ended with Happily_Ever_After as Fukuyama predicted.

That these Brainless Bunker-Building Billionaire Baddies seek an individual solution to our insolvable system-wide social problems, I think this is what irritates Dr. Brin the most, as he wants these BBBBs to solve everyone's collective problems, as his imaginary 'good billionaires' would, even after his 'smart people' have repeatedly failed in this regard.

In slightly more than 30 hours, we shall see if all these Democracy Defending Democrats truly 'love democracy', or if they love power & authoritarianism more, as they try to challenge, contest & invalidate all those lovely democratic election results that have gone against them.

And, good luck finding another plumber, beggar.


Best

Larry Hart said...

locunranch:

Larry_H & I talk past each other:


Yes, it is painfully obvious we live in different universes. We'll see who runs into reality on a battlefield.

David Brin said...

I sampled one paragraph. Utterly loopy. If credibility were over 10% I might've tried another.

At 0.01% it's zzzzzzz

Alan Brooks said...

LoCum,
Totalitarian takeovers? None of us here voted for Putin’s poodle in Mar-a-Lago. Trump is the sort of storybook character who’d predict Happily_Ever_After (under his thumb), not Fukuyama.
After a year or so, still don’t know what it is you wish for. Do you want to shake your fist at the sky, saying “woe is me, the cosmos is not as I’d like it to be”?
Or do you merely comment at CB to vent more personal frustrations?

scidata said...

I'm sure there's a FFT method for assessing credibility of text (or speech). Computation is the door to a new level of intelligence. But as always, we follow only phantoms. BTW I saw a thing about how crows can comprehend recursion. Maybe we should give them the right to vote.

David Brin said...

Onward to my election eve ammo dump

onward