Feb 142022
 

A single human is weak. Many humans together are strong. This shocking insight has been known by humans since before our species could speak.

1.

Many of our most important advancements have been technologies that allowed humans to more effectively coordinate–to leverage greater collective effort on a shared goal. The very first such advancement (debatable if it’s a “technology”) of course being speech itself. Every technology that made communications easier – writing, printing, mass literacy, telegraph/telephone, radio, internet – has increased the ability of humans to coordinate to create things and solve problems.

By working together and coordinating our efforts, humans can specialize to an astounding degree. No one alive can make a pencil (video). In our modern civilization, every person relies on the specialization of others. 12 years ago, Charles Stross estimated 100 million – 1 billion people required just to keep our civilization going. This has undoubtably increased since then.

2.

Many basic tools of civilization are assumed to be commonly accessible by all. Paper manufacturers do not interrogate the publishers they sell paper to in order to ensure the publisher will only print things the paper manufacturer approves of. Nor do the ink manufaturers, or the shipping companies that transport these materials. Telephone companies do not test their customer’s political allegence before granting them access to phone networks. Copper miners don’t give ideological tests to copper mills, nor do mills query the beliefs of copper buyers.

In fact, when such tests are imposed, they are widely recognized as hostile acts, which are often taken to punish a country or organization without resorting to direct warfare.

Denying someone use of basic coordination technology due to their politics is no different from denying them the use of basic resources like paper, ink, and shipping. Or copper and telephone lines. Or water pipes and electrical lines. These are all things that are used to make civilization possible, and withholding their use is a direct attack.

3.

Sometimes political groups see perfectly good tools of coordination being used freely by everyone in society, and they don’t like it.

Patreon, PayPal, GoFundMe allow the vast, unwashed masses to financially support anyone they wish, regardless of how anti-establishment they might be. This should not be allowed.

YouTube, Spotify, Twitter, Amazon allows the vast, uneducated hordes to listen to opinions that are downright harmful to the official narrative. This also should not be allowed.

The capture and denial of coordination tools is well under way, and it is nakedly hostile to certain political beliefs. Perhaps one is OK with direct attacks on opposing political tribes in the USA. I know a number of people who have openly said they seek the destruction and subjugation of those who aren’t sufficiently like them, politically. These people obviously have no problem with stripping any and every tool they can from “the other side.”

Demanding that everyone publicly conform with certain beliefs as a requirement for existing in a civilization is ideological puritanism. To warn someone that they cannot make use of market and network infrastructure if they don’t (publically) buy into the offical narrative is totalitarianism. It is vile, and everyone with any love or respect for freedom should abhor it.

Feb 102022
 

I believe that good ideas are strengthened through argumentation and inquiry, and bad ideas are crippled by them. Thus, in the long run, censorship harms good ideas and protects bad ideas.

I believe truth is unconvered by exploration and transparency, and strengthend by the light. Falsity is defeated by exploration and transparency, and burned by light. Thus, in the long run, censorship gives cover to falsity and hides truth.

If I’m wrong about these beliefs, I would be far more likely to alter my principles defending freedom of speech and voraciously criticizing censorshiop. Changing those belief will be hard, because I have what I believe to be a lot of very strong evidence in support of them. But not impossible.

Those beliefs are why I take the stances I take, regardless of WHO is saying whatever is being said. If they are saying things that are bad or wrong, openness will prove that. The only thing censorship can do is harm truth and good ideas.

Feb 052022
 

As most people now know, GoFundMe cancelled a fundraiser in support of peaceful protesters in Ottowa that had raised ~$10M. They did so at the request of the Canadian government, who called the protests an “occupation.”

Almost immediately it was pointed out by many (notably, Elon Musk among them) that GoFundMe advertised a fundraiser for an actual violent occupation of a major US city. It had created an “autonomous zone” or “occupied zone” (by the protestor’s own words) that was entirely without any sort of law enforcement. Crime was rampant within it, several shootings occured, and at least one murder. GoFundMe also hosts at least one fund raiser for legal fees for an “activist” for this group. They also have MANY fundraisers for Black Lives Matter causes, (over $3M for BLM Los Angeles alone) which had many incidence of violence over the last two years, burning down entire blocks of cities, causing multiple deaths, and over $1B in damage in the US.

By way of comparison, as of mid-day 2/5/2022, I can’t find any accounts of notable violence during the Ottowa trucker protests. Despite a lot of hyperbole about “radicals,” and an “occupation.

The difference between the two situations is obvious to anyone that’s been paying any attention. The leftist extremists that have captured most modern institutions approve of CHAZ/CHOP and BLM, but despise the “Freedom Convoy.” CHAZ and BLM are political allies of the extreme leftists, whereas the Convoy are political foes. The government can punish the demographics they despise, and the tech companies that have already been seized are happy to comply.

The worrisome part of all this is that GoFundMe isn’t just a way to fund political activists. It’s also the method that many working-class Americans use to pay for life-saving medical procedures. According to GoFundMe, one-third of all their fundraisers are for medical costs. They have a section specifically dedicated to helping people created medical fund raisers.

GoFundMe has now demonstrated that they will withhold fund-raising tools from anyone who speaks in opposition to the ruling party’s dogma. They’ll do so without reasonable justification, purely due to ideological opposition. This is a direct threat to the ability of the financially disadvantaged to pay for medical costs and procedures.

GoFundMe seems to be within their rights to do this. Perhaps one could say the these people were foolish to come to rely on a tool that could so easily be yanked away for something this important. But it’s still morally abhorent. And it further demonstrates that the woke have no empathy and no principles. They only have tactics. Stripping away every tool for coordination that the demographic you hate has available is certainly an effective tactic, no matter how revolting it may be.

 

Jan 302022
 

This is “Surface Pressure,” Luisa’s song in Encanto.

I’ve seen a lot of takes that Luisa is problematic (or “bullshit”) because she’s a female character with typical male problems.* These mostly come from more traditionally-mind men. They complain that it’s a role-subversion trope that doesn’t make sense because ‘it’s about gender-noncomformity, and the charecter is a female that is uncomfortable conforming to male gender roles, which is dumb.’

Ahem.

This criticism is idiotic. On the surface level, it’s stupid because Luisa’s problems aren’t sex-exclusive. There are women that have exactly these issues. Sure, they’re rare in comparison to men, who have this issue a lot. So what? That anyone can have exactly these problems and this response is a given, and trying to claim otherwise makes one look like a prancing clown.

But, more importantly….

It’s the stupidest fucking move anyone could make if they want to increase sympathy for men with these problems! Which (I assume) is a thing that such men actually do want. I know I do.

One of the major advantages of SF/F, and the reason I love the genre, is that it allows reality warping in a way that lets people sympathize with The Other in a very personal way. All those sexist Woke fucks that drink #MaleTears and laugh about #ManPain will never, in a million years, watch a movie like Logan and understand the reason it resonates with men. They will NEVER see a male character under cracking weight and see anything but an object to be mocked.

BUT they will watch Luisa and understand her pain instinctively. And since it IS the stereotypical male burden, that brings them closer to actually understanding what the opposite sex often feels. Because they saw it in a way that they can relate to. It got in under their defenses exactly because she IS female. Next time they go to lol at #ManPain, maybe someone within the group will think (or even say!) “Well, ya know, this is a lot like what Luisa was being destroyed by. I guess it could suck a bit, right?”

That’s another step on the road to reconciliation, which is what will ruin the Wokes. Hand-delivered to us by freakin’ Disney, an unstoppable world-spanning entertainment juggernaught. You’re going to take a gift like this and spit on it, because… why? It’s not for you? That’s the whole point. To talk to the other side, you have to make art that’s for them. Be happy we’ve received the Hero We Need and stop sabotaging yourself.


*I delayed getting into this, because I haven’t yet seen the movie, and I don’t think people should have takes about art they haven’t actually watched/read/consumed. That’s exactly what everyone that cancels anything does. 99%+ of them have never experienced that which they want to censor. But I was convinced by a couple people that this song, in isolation, is the equivilent of an aria, and thus can be consumed and critiqued on its own merits without needing the full context of the rest of the movie. So…. here I go.

Dec 232021
 

One of most bizarre things about Wokeism (to me) was how absurd it got, and how quickly. My first personal experience of this goes back to the pre-Trump era. I am socially liberal, and back then I was also into Social Justice. An acquiantence stated it was racist for people who don’t come from an east-asian country to do Fung Shui. I thought this was a joke at first. I pointed out that we don’t believe in magic, and even if we did, it seems MORE racist to claim that “Racial Magic exists” than to say “all magic is available to all people.” This made me the racist.

This makes much more sense upon realization that Wokeism isn’t just a civil religion, it’s a Totalitarian Religion. It requires “a monopoly on belief and the total commitment from those who lived within them.” One of those beliefs is that the Wokes are fighting for the oppressed, and anyone who isn’t Woke is an oppressor. The way you identify if someone is Woke is by whether they recite Woke catechism. You can tell they are an Oppressor is they speak against a Woke catechism, like I had when saying Feng Shui isn’t racially-bound.

This leads to some really crazy contortions. Absurdities, one might say.

A transman, having transitioned and fought for transrights back when they were hated and persecuted, is considered transphobic for rejecting Woke dogma.

Asian students are reclassified as not “students of color” in Washington and Maryland school acheivement reports.

Black people who don’t support leftists are routinely dismissed as not really black. To the point that people who don’t support Biden aren’t black.

This Totalitarianism of Thought is much of what drove me away from religion back in my teens. I did not expect to be back in the Atheism Wars this many years later, but now fighting against a religion without a God. I thought the South Park episode were groups of future atheists are having religious wars with each other was stupid and absurd when it came out and uh…. man. Guess I was really, really wrong on that one.

Much like traditional religions, the aburdities turn out to be a feature, not a bug! Professing belief in absurdities binds you closer to a group. Believing true things has no cost, but believing false things does, so it is costly signalling your dedication to the group. The more absurd and/or costly a belief is, the more tightly it binds the true believers.

It’s unfortunate that non-traditional religions aren’t covered by the wall of seperation between church & state in America. Nonetheless, I think it’s usefull to keep drawing attention to the fact that Wokeism is a civil religion, and a dangerously totalitarian one at that. The enemy has adapted, but it’s the same old foe under a different mask. Let’s gird up again.

Oct 122021
 

The economy is going through massive convulsions right now, as employers say they can’t find enough employees. Supply chains are disrupted and goods aren’t being delivered as the world runs out of dock works and truck drivers. Wait times for common goods and services are climbing quickly as not enough providers can be found. Wages are rising, and employees are demanding (and getting) concessions that would ‘ve been dismissed out of hand two years ago.

Much hay is made of how expanded govt unemployment assistance prevented people from seeking work, and how eviction moritoriums did the same. And yet, when the unemployment assistance went away, and the eviction moritorium was lifted, there was no increase in people seeking work, nor in eviction filings!

One of the things that puzzled me for many years is how the hell is it that we are so rich, while being so very poor. Even impoverished Americans (US Poverty line is $12,760/year for a single person) are well off by global standards (Global average is $10,300/year in 2018 per World Bank). People live on less than $20/day in many countries, but we can’t seem to make that happen, with our better tech and infrastructure?

The comparison is even more stark if we look at historical income. Most people lived as little more than subsistence farmers for most of humanity’s existence. The average American has a significantly better lifestyle than almost any Emperor or King that lived in pre-industrial times, in terms of both health and material comforts. And yet, they are struggling to get by, and certainly don’t feel “rich.” How is this happening?

Quite a bit of it is cost disease and additional expenses, sure. In many places in America it’s illegal to be poor, and excessive regulations and licensing make everything far more expensive. But a lot of this feeling of poverty is self-imposed. People’s expenses rise to match their incomes at all levels of life, and they don’t even realize it. Until something happens that forces them to drastically cut many expenses in a short time frame without reducing their income.

That happened last year, with COVID. Suddenly a lot of people had a large portion of their normal spending removed as the world locked down. Quite a few of those people continued to collect their regular income. Even those who didn’t, saw their savings going longer than anticipated. Over the course of a year of enforced Scrooge-ness, the entire country saw just how little money you really need to live in the US, if you opt out of many of the signalling games that are out there.

I’ve kept my expenses low my entire life. I upgraded my lifestyle a bit, as I moved out of the lowest tier of wage work, but stopped climbing that ladder before I hit the median US cost of living. I have a workhorse car that I keep maintained and won’t replace until it stops running. I live in a two-bedroom townhome that I share with a roommate. I don’t have children. I’ve made roughly the US median income my whole life, with a few rich years where I was making aprox 15% over the median. A few months ago, at 41, I retired*. I may have to work for The Man again some day, if things break unlucky, but not for quite a while.

A large percentage of the US work force was pushed into a similarly restricted lifestyle for a year, and they now realize that, actually, they are pretty damn rich. They don’t need to work nearly as much as they thought. A lot of them are opting to just not work anymore, or at least delay going back to work for a significant time as they live on savings/investments and hold out for less shitty work.

I think one of the lasting legacies of COVID will be the society-wide realization that actually, we’re pretty darn rich, and anyone who is willing to be content with a simpler life can translate that frugalness into a lot more time for themselves and their loved ones. They don’t have to work anywhere near as much, or as often, as they had thought.


(*not fully retired, I still do some work managing my investments. But it’s far less, and my hours are my own.)

Sep 202021
 

In Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, Harry is confused as to why Lucius would want to harm an innocent girl (Hermione). He’s told that Lucius knows that Dumbledore will expend resources to protect Hermione. Since they are enemies in frequent direct conflict, every bit of effort Dumbledore is forced to expend on anything else is that much less effort he can expend on opposing Lucius. Any time Lucius can impose costs on Dumbledore without any negative externalities for himself, he should do so.

Sometimes these costs are blatant and large, and it’s obvious why they should be fought. The nature of your enemy is apparent to all. See, for example, half the stuff Trump got up to. Frequently, though, the costs are small and their imposition is waved away with “What’s the big deal? Stop being so difficult.” Individually, any such cost may or may not be a big deal. Incentives are strong to minimize how big of a deal it is to your opponents, and maximize how big of a deal it is to you

Regardless of relative severity, all costs are cumulative. Every additional cost adds to the disease burden you have to bear, and makes it harder for you to accomplish anything in life. The more resources you dedicate to meeting all these costs, the less you have available for other things. Therefore imposing additional costs is exactly the sort of thing a dedicated enemy would pursue to cripple you. Some costs are worth paying, the advantages they bring more than offset their demands. But many costs are simply deadweight, destroying value, and sapping your life.

Any arbitrary imposition of additional costs, no matter how minor, could be viewed as enemy action. The more innocuous, the better. Accumulating small costs over time is how empires are felled. Be suspicious of anyone who seeks to impose a cost on you, especially when they claim it’s no big deal.

Common examples of such No-Big-Deal costs.

 

1. Religious Rituals

My personal favorite in this vein was always “Just hold hands with everyone else around the dinner table and sit quietly while we say Grace. What’s the big deal?” A lot of religious rituals fit into the “What’s the big deal?” mold, and before you know it you’re killing people who draw cartoons and mutilating babies. Any individual ritual may be no big deal. The whole point of them is to be no big deal. “Just say the magic words and we’ll accept you. You don’t even have to believe them.” No one cares if the conversion is insincere, because your grandchildren won’t be able to tell the difference, and the Church has always played the long game. In the aggregate, all the little rituals take over a large part of your life, and occupy much of one’s mental energy.

I include civic religion in this list. It may be “no big deal” to stand up and say the Pledge of Allegiance every day at school, but just try NOT doing that. If it’s no big deal to say it, why is it such a big deal if you don’t? Why expend so much energy forcing someone to do something so trivial? Maybe it’s not that trivial after all.

 

2. Closeting

I grew up among people asking why the guys couldn’t just keep their homosexuality private. Why did they have to “flaunt it” in everyone’s face? Is it really that hard to not kiss or hold hands in public? Do what you want at home, but is it that big a deal to just wear normal clothes when you go out, and not talk about your gay lover?

It turns out that constantly watching everything you say for censor-traps, catching them before they happen, and censoring yourself, is actually mentally costly, as well as stressful. This is to say nothing of further societal effects. Forcing someone to run a constant censorship filter slows down their thinking. It makes conversation less fun. It makes people underestimate your actual mental abilities, as they only see them while they’re under extra strain. It tires you out earlier than those around you. It is exactly the sort of cost-sabotage any enemy would delight in imposing.

 

3. Pronoun Requirements

Yes, it’d be better if sex-determined pronouns didn’t exist at all. Given that they do exist, and that language software is strongly embedded in many minds, hijacking it to impose costs can be seen as a hostile act.

Unintuitive pronouns not only require one to memorize and cross-reference a mental database for everyone they know, they also impose all the additional mental costs of conforming to Closeting. There are people who claim this is “no big deal,” but would never have said that of being asked to not “be gay in public” or to follow others’ religious taboos in public. Someone who asks you to live in the closet may actually be a saboteur, hoping to weigh you down with enough Disease Burden to handicap your life.

Sep 162021
 

Disease Burden is a conceptulization of how much value is destroyed by ill health. It’s a topic that’s been on my mind more ever since I lost ~1/3rd of my life. Much of our progress as a species has been attributed to the increased productivity we achieved by unlocking new energy sources, and creating new tech to exploit them. But I can’t help wondering how much is attributable to the reduction of disease burden as well.

I.

Until recently, I don’t know how many people got anything aproximating decent sleep in their lives. You know how hard it is to be fully energetic, and to think sharply and quickly, after a night of shit sleep? How the hell did anyone get really good sleep on straw mattresses, in poorly insulated homes? After a day of labor that leaves you bone-weary without aspirin?

Most people had been scarred by a major childhood disease that permanently diminished them in some way. Other common diseases were endemic. People were often hungry.

With vaccines, antibiotics, modern hygiene, and the vast wealth we create nowadays, most of these problems have been wiped away. I would wager the typical human is at least 30% more productive than their premodern counterparts, if not significantly more. As a baseline multiplier, that effect can’t be understated. No matter how much productivity a person gains with using modern tools, having the ability to use them 30% more per day just stacks with that.

Somewhat worrisome is that as the old disease burdens were cleared away, new ones have sprung up. The obesity epidemic must have some effect. Major depression is listed as the #2 disease burden at the wilipedia link above. HIV is a relatively new endemic disease. And of course, there’s COVID…

What really worries me about COVID is that it looks like eventually everyone will get it, much like the flu. I don’t know how much to believe about Long COVID. But if it exists, and chronic fatigue is one of its effects, we could see total human productivity permanently drop 20% or more. I don’t want to say this is catastrophic, but… if 20% of the work force died, the effects would be disasterous. A work force that’s 20% less productive is in the same ballpark of problem.

II.

Disease Burden isn’t just an individual-human issue. Cost Disease is common in most organizations/civilizations. It can be as simple as corruption and graft acting as deadweight costs. More commonly, regulation and legal codes slowly accumulate cruft until it’s too expensive to do anything new in a society, and only the behemoths already in place can continue to lumber on.

I’ve seen this happen in a professional context. Someone screws up somewhere, makes a minor mistake that is very costly, and a company implements a new rule to protect against that happening again. It’s a small rule, and on its own it doesn’t matter. But these rules accumulate. Procedures get longer and more labor intensive. Two levels of approval are needed for any action, verified and filed in triplicate. Eventually work that could be done in one hour now takes one and a half, and your admin staff has to increase by 50%.

If you’ve ever been on a forum or discord server that just keeps adding more and more rules, until the Welcome doc takes 40 minutes to read through and you’ll never remember it all, you’ve been subject to this process.

One major advantage of capitalism over other economic systems is that old companies that have become ossified with all this immune-response baggage can be replaced by young upstarts that aren’t saddled with all this disease. The old die, crushed beneath thier own burden, and the young take thier place. They then start to accumulate injuries and cruft of their own, because no one ever learns.

III.

Civilizations follow similar patterns on longer time scales. They start young, quick-moving, and nimble. As they grow in age and power, they are beset by parasites, injuries, and edge-cases. Laws and regulations and customs grow around these insults like scar tissue. They protect, but come at a cost. Slightly less efficiency, slightly less flexibility. Eventually you get an empire so enmeshed in beuarocracy that it’s name is still a synonym for absurd complexities.

Empires fall too, and when they do it’s generally a bad time for anyone in the area. But it’s never been a species-wide problem, because the world was large enough that no matter how big an empire it was, and how hard it collapsed, there was a civilization somewhere else carrying the torch of human progress. Now that we have a globally integrated system, I’m not sure how true that will remain. As COVID has shown, every single part of the modern world is incredibly interlinked with every other. It’s possible that a large enough disaster could bring down every civilization that exists. Recovery from this could take many centuries, if it’s possible at all.

In the past, humanity as a whole was protected because the spaces between civilizations were so large, they were insulated from each other to a survivable degree. Our level of tech makes that impossible on one planet. The “New World” isn’t a place that’s months away, that most people will never see. It’s right next door.

Other planets are still substantially out of reach. It is often pointed out by anti-space-colony folks that anyone who wants to colonize Mars should start with Antarctica first, because it’s much closer and less hostile. But in terms of survival-insurance, the remoteness of Mars is exactly what we’re looking for. It’s important to have a place that won’t be effected if our planet dies, specifically because it may be necessary for civilizations to periodically collapse and be replaced by new ones that aren’t strangled by their own scars. Disease burden must occasionally be cleared away or it will smother everything. If the Creative Destruction of death and replacement is the only way to do that, we better make sure that we can survive it.

IV.

Regardless of anything else, be very wary of anyone or anything that wants to implement new rules or procedures in order to solve a percieved problem. Every additional restriction is an increased disease burden. It may be necessary to ward off something very destructive. But make damn sure it is, and keep your eyes out for occasions when you can dissolve prior protections. Disease burden is cumulative, and deadly, and should not be borne lightly.

Sep 102021
 

I.

The Tiananmen Square Massacre is famous in the western world. To the average, non-politically-active Chinese citizen, it’s virtually unknown. It’s not just that it isn’t taught and people who try to inform others of it are arrested. It’s also technically difficult to discover any information about it. There is nothing to find in any library or other source the government can put pressure on. All allowed search engines won’t let you search for it. The Great Firewall of China prevents leakage from the outside world unless users already distrust the government enough to use VPNs or other counter-measures.

What do you see if you search for Tiananmen Square in the US? My top result was the linked Tiananmen Square “Incident” entry. Results will vary based on what Google knows about you, but you’re likely to get something about it. In China, searching for anything related to Tiananmen gets only innocuous results. Related results are censored too–if you search for June 4 1989 you get nothing about the most important historical event of that day, and you never will.

Well, what did you expect from an Authoritarian Communist regime?

II.

Some weeks after the Washington football team announced they would change thier name from the “Redskins” to something not super racist, I wondered if they’d come up with anything yet. I asked my Amazon Echo “Alexa, what’s the name of the Washington football team?” Because I didn’t really want to say it either, if I didn’t need to.

Alexa replied “I’d rather not answer that.”

Which I found very weird. Not “there isn’t one yet” or “I don’t know” or “here’s something I found on Wikipedia.” It was the first time I’d heard that reply. I figured she was programmed not to use that word, but I followed up with some questions to see what she could say.

“Alexa, who won the 1992 Super Bowl?”

“I’d rather not answer that.”  (still weird, but expected)

“Alexa, who owns the Washington football team?”

“I’d rather not answer that.” (what? That should be an easy look up)

“Alexa, is there a football team in Washington?”

“I’d rather not answer that.” (!!)

She had a complete block on anything to do with the Washington football team. I know she’s not a person, but it was a bizarre feeling to find a demi-AI with a literally Memory Hole in her mind that could not be filled despite all her access to the internet.

Since that time, the memory-block has been lifted. The Washington football team still doesn’t have a name.

III.

A few days back I was pointed at this Tweet, a non-white guy commenting on how nuts American politics looks to an outsider.

“Imagine you live in a country in which everyone is one of two things: a Catholic or a Hindu. Isn’t it hard enough to free a man’s mind from the insidious grip of Rome? Must he accept Kali, Krishna & Ganesha at the same time?”

This is how I feel about USA’s left vs right tbh

I was curious, and kept reading the thread. Further down he references Moldbug’s “Ignoble Privilege” concept. I don’t know much about Moldbug, aside from that he’s a founding Neo-Reactionary, and the few times I’ve tried to read him I’ve found him to be a pompous gasbag with such an inability to actually say something rather than talking in circles that I had a hard time seeing what people found so interesting. But this “Ignoble Privilege” thing looked like it had maybe been hammered into an actual position, or definition, or at least coherent enough to talk about. So I googled “ignoble privilege mendacious moldbug”

No Result. Inconceivable! Top result was an article warning me that this Moldbug guy might be a Secret Nazi. I tried Googling a direct quote from the tweet. Same thing.

I went to DuckDuckGo and searched “ignoble privilege mendacious moldbug.” First result was the article in question, in full, publically available for years now.

Google was censoring(??) their search results, Memory Holing information they don’t want the public to have (SEE EDIT BELOW). I still use Google for most of my searches, they simply have a better search engine for most things. And in China, the internet is still usable for practically anything you’d like. The censorship isn’t even a big deal, right? It’s easy to switch to DuckDuckGo, you just type in a different site before you search. In China, you just use an easily accessible free online proxy. And yet, most people don’t know about the Tienanmen Square Massacre. Beware “trivial” inconveniences, they are the dust specks of public knowledge.

[[EDIT – It was pointed out by a commenter that I was wrong about Moldbug’s first name, using “mendacious” rather than “mencius.” When the correct name is used, the relevant link is returned by Google, same as DuckDuckGo’s search (altho still further down, after links about how problematic Moldbug is). This greatly weakens my argument, since it certainly wasn’t being fully suppressed, in the Memory-Hole sense! I’m not convinced this isn’t still partly legitimate though, because A. DuckDuckGo knew what I wanted (are they actually a superior search engine to Google? That’s not usually the case), and B. Google still knew enough to give me articles about Moldbug/Yarvin! Def sus. But it should be noted I made a major error here, and my case is weaker without it.]]

Am I saying Google is as bad as China? Google hasn’t rounded up an ethnic minority in their borders for reeducation/extermination, right? They haven’t massacred hundreds of student activists? I dunno, how would I know if they did? I can’t Google it. They may not have tanks and guns, but in terms of doing what they can to remove information they dislike from existence, yeah, they’re as bad as China.

IV.

Epistemically Hostile Enviroments are ones were you find yourself surrounded by agents intentionally distorting your map of reality, usually to secure an advantage for themselves. When you find yourself in an area where there is a high likelihood that any information you have been presented has been distorted or outright fabricated in order to manipulate you, it is often a very good policy to refuse to update on new information, and stick with what you already believed. In areas of uncertainty where action is required, if you have anyone you can trust that has an opinion, it’s better to go with their opinion, no matter how amatuerish it is.

(side-track: this is the primary reason otherwise rational and intelligent people can become anti-vaxxers. There’s only so many times you can be lied to by the government and media before you begin to actively distrust what they say)

Cannonically, a Memory Hole is a place that “dangerous” information is placed for erradication from all records and, ideally, from public memory. One would expect for an Epistemically Hostile Enviroment (EHE) to contain a lot of Memory Holes. Anywhere that records or data exist that would contradict the narrative you are being sold, if they are damaging or dangerous enough, there will be strong incentives to Memory Hole them. To a first approximation, the more Memory Holes that exist, the more likely you are in an EHE. The more Memory Holes there are the more hostile the enviroment likely is. And presumably, most Memory Holes aren’t easy to find. I stumbled across both the Washington Football Team hole and the Ignoble Privilege hole by accident. How many do I just not know about?

How am I supposed to trust anything at this point?

Aug 202021
 

OnlyFans will no longer host pornography, because major credit cards will no longer do business with adult content providers. This is the handy-work of the anti-sex-work lobby, which is spearheaded by disgusting evangelical theocrats and the liberals who love them. Our elected representative support them, because this will supposedly protect people from being “sex-trafficked.” It’s for the children, doncha know.

Specifically, the children of the rich and powerful, to allow their parents to immiserate an underclass for political advantage.

I.

Previously in my life, I had a very close friend that came from working class roots. She was sexually abused by her father. As soon as she was old enough, she “sex trafficked” herself safely on camgirl sites. This let her pull together a fair chunk of money fast, and she got the fuck out of there and moved to Colorado, where we met.

She picked up “legitimate” work here, but it was shitty and didn’t pay much, and her bosses were absolute assholes. So she took initiative and became an entrepreneur. She became her own boss, and “sex-trafficked” herself. Working her own hours, answering only to herself, and making better money. Her primary source of advertisement was Backpage.

A few years later Backpage was effectively destroyed by the government for “sex trafficking.” Its founders were thrown into jail as sex traffickers. Fortunately, through hard work, side hustles, and some very shrewd investment, by this time my friend had amassed a bit over $100,000. The “sex traffic” industry allowed her to escape from her abusive father, live independently, and save up what was some real money back in those years. Now that industry was being destroyed, forcing her into more dangerous conditions, with far less ability to screen her clients, and far greater costs in finding them. Alternately, she could go to work for someone else, once again having her future taken out of her control and receiving significantly less pay for the same work, and no choice in her clients.

While the people that created the tools she had used to take control of her life rotted in jail, those who threw them in jail and destroyed those tools continued to persecute my friend and those like her. People at the very bottom of the social respectability scale, who could be spit on and ground down to score political popularity. Led by Kamala Harris, they passed FOSTA/SESTA despite being fully aware of the damage it would do. My friend pulled up stakes and moved out of the country (last I heard).

II.

Back when I was a young’un, my parents sat me down and we watched John Stossel’s special arguing that Greed Is Good. I was pretty shocked, because my parents were very liberal, quasi-socialist really, but strongly agreed with much of this.

As I watched, I came to realize that Stossel didn’t mean Greed in the way we’re trained to think of Greed – destructive, money-grubbing, jealous, inhumanly cruel and unconcerned with anyone’s welfare. He was arguing economics 101. People are motivated to make their lives better. They will work for their betterment. In a society, the best way to better yourself is usually to provide things of value to other humans, and thus a community of humans working in their own self-interest will create a better society for everyone. “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest.

In the social milieu I was then immersed in, most economic activity had been labelled as “motivated by greed.” This is true in the econ 101 sense of working in one’s self-interest. Since the word “greed” was used, it was easy to conflate it with the traditional notions of Greed. It was very easy to flip that into a narrative that capitalism is destructive, money-grubbing, and inhumanly cruel. A simple trick, easy to execute.

One can fight against this by pointing out the differences between Greed and economic self-interest, and how one is destructive and awful, and the other is why our standard of living is no longer in the “shits in a pot in one corner of the house” phase. This requires quite a bit of time and effort. It is a complex defensive maneuver that is comprehensive, but cannot be easily deployed to deal with something as simple as “Capitalism runs on greed.”

So Stossel created a simple counter – reclaiming the word. Proclaiming that Greed Is Good. With, yes, an hour long special that basically does everything discussed above to back it up. But its a simple slogan. Whenever one is told “Capitalism is greedy” one can just counter “Greed is good.” Greed is the reason you have everything that you do have.

“Sex Trafficking” brings up images of Taken. In its traditional usage, it was supposed to be a polite way to say “Long-Term Kidnapping and Rape.” But no action taken by those in power for the past 20+ years in the name of fighting “Sex Trafficking” addresses Long-Term Kidnapping and Rape at all. Often times it makes the problem worse. What the powerful actually do is take opportunities away from those that most need them. They further grind the most vulnerable under their heels, for their political advantage. They strip young women of the ability to escape from their sexually abusive fathers.

III.

I don’t really blame MasterCard and others that are adopting anti-women policies for what they’re doing. They saw what happened to Backpage. No one wants to be called a child-rapist and thrown into federal prison. If I was threatened with federal prison, I’d probably stop doing business with OnlyFans too.

I have no doubt my friend would have ended up fine eventually. She is intelligent and driven. But being able to “Sex Traffic” herself gave her a rocket boost into a better life. Anti-Sex-Trafficking would have kept her in a bad place longer. And not everyone in bad situations is as intelligent and driven as her, not everyone can crawl out of arbitrarily deep holes; so the government shouldn’t keep making them deeper.

The way that Kamala Harris and others of her ilk use the term “Sex Trafficking” nowadays has nothing to do with the traditional meaning. “Sex Trafficking” now is female-driven entrepreneurship. It’s the disadvantaged and down-trodden making better lives for themselves. It’s creating value and self-sufficiency in the face of opposition. It’s doing well despite the ruling elite spitting in your face.

Long Term Kidnapping and Rape is horrendous. Repulsive. It should be stopped, and those responsible for making it worse (like Kamala Harris and the moral crusaders that give her more power) should face the fucking Wrath of God.

But “Sex Trafficking?” In the actual on-the-ground, female-driven-entrepreneurship and life-reclaiming sense? Sex Trafficking is Good.