Voting Shmoting, or Why I Didn’t Vote (28m) – Editor’s Break 110

Editor’s Break 110 has Skyler listing and exploring the many different realizations that he’s made over the last ten years that have pushed him into becoming a principled non-voter. (Apologies for the audio quality.)

Listen to Editor’s Break 110 (28m, mp3, 64kbps)

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On Fixing Shitholes

There’s a point being made that people who live in so-called shithole countries should stay and fix those countries instead of relocating to a better one. This is terrible advice for several reasons: 1) nobody has an obligation to make their country of origin better; 2) your highest priority should be the safety and prosperity of yourselves and your loved ones, and if that means immigrating, do it; 3) attempting to stay and fix a shithole country is statistically a fool’s errand, as it’s in incredibly difficult for a person to effect any meaningful change in the desired direction; and 4) some who are making this point are doing so as to not encourage foreigners to come to their country and exploit their public benefits, a challenging problem to be sure, but if it were truly a simple thing to stay and fix a shithole country, it would be just as simple for us First-Worlders to fix our public benefits problem. It’s a uniquely terrible advice giver to expect anyone to stay and suffer their shithole country and foolishly try to fix it. Nobody should suffer a shithole country. Come to the First World if you please, any way you can. And that’s today’s two cents.

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Parents, Relax, You Don’t Need to Smother

I think parents put vastly more on themselves than makes sense. I believe this occurs for 2 main reasons.

1. Our media/culture has shifted since the early 20th century. We used to see depictions of families revolving around the preferences and desires of the parents. Now, we see them revolving the preferences of the children. Ergo, we believe children need an abundance of parental attention, affection and focus for proper development.

2. Children no longer go out and play like they used to. Kids don’t initiate and fulfill their own desires by negotiation with other kids, but rather by nagging their parents. This changes the focus from other children to their parents. Children don’t need parental attention and play as much as they just need general attention and play.

I believe the role of parent is supposed to be a cultural/structural leader, protector, provider, and sage. Today, our culture teaches that the main roles are friend, peer, partner, therapist, and advocate. I don’t have a problem with having a friendly and cooperative relationship with your kids, in fact, I think it is ideal. I just believe that the incentives are being misaligned. We are misreading a child’s general desire for play and social interaction with peers as a desire for parental attention and validation.

Playing with your kids is great. Fostering a friendly and respectful relationship is fantastic. I just don’t think kids need parental attention nearly as much as our culture does. We are observing the results of their culturally induced isolation from other children, and neurotically seeing these messages as being about us. It isn’t. They are just supposed to be playing spontaneously with people (mainly other kids) vastly more than our culture is enabling.

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Wilson, the Stubborn

I had a friend– I’ll call him “Wilson”– who was… interesting.

He was a bit of a conspiracy nut, more than a little paranoid, hated government, was good at outdoor survival skills, had questionable taste in women, and was very stubborn.

Yes, he had his flaws (as do we all) but all-in-all he was a decent guy. I always enjoyed hanging out with him.

Here’s one tale about him:

One winter his woodstove was not safe and he couldn’t use it. The stove pipe was messed up somewhere above the ceiling. His landlord refused to repair the stove pipe so a fire could be lit. This was the only heat in the house, and it was already winter near Gunnison, Colorado.

He told his landlord that he would fix the stove pipe himself and deduct the cost from his rent. The landlord said “no”. Wilson wasn’t the kind of person to just bite the bullet and fix it at his own expense. So after a bit more arguing over it, Wilson simply stopped paying rent. And the landlord never tried to kick him out.

He spent the winter in an unheated house– which obviously meant he had no running water, either.

He was lucky– I don’t think the temperature ever got much colder than 20° below 0 (°F) that winter. He lived diagonally across the river from me, and I went to visit him a few times over the winter. His house was about the same temperature inside as the outdoors. He wore his coat all the time.

He slept in one of those “100 below” mummy-type sleeping bags, inside a pup tent, in his bedroom. He said it was warm enough. His house would warm up a little if he cooked something, but that didn’t last long and I don’t think he cooked much.

I offered to let him hang out at my house some, but he didn’t want to. He said he didn’t want to get used to heat. He would sit at my campfire out by the wikiup with me, though.

That was his last winter in the area.

After a few other incidents, Wilson suddenly vanished. Years later I ran into him far from home, while I was on a vacation. He was working in a resort town in New Mexico and I bumped into him on the street. We caught up a little; he told me of more recent incidents, and I got his (general delivery) address. I mailed him a few times, but eventually my letters came back as “undeliverable”.

I might relate some other Wilson stories another time. There are a lot of them to tell: his clash with the post office, his clash with the sheriff, the time he became convinced I was working with the cops against him, his clash with the forest circus (his term), why he wouldn’t use the internet (he would know this is about him, but I know he’ll never see it), his pop-up camper incident, his clash with the highway patrol… I notice a pattern here. But not all fit the pattern. If any of those pique your interest, let me know and I’ll write it up for another day.

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Does Your Vote Matter?

Aggregates of voters may swing an election by voting one way or the other or by not voting. But you, amigo, are not an aggregate of voters; you have only one vote. And how you cast that one vote will almost certainly fail to swing any large election. Why this simple reality flies over so many people’s heads is a bit of a mystery (various explanations may be offered), but if you don’t understand it, you really need to stop and think harder about the matter. By doing so, you will independently rediscover the following:

Higgs’s Law of How Much Your Own Vote Matters

A = the state of affairs that will prevail if you vote
B = the state of affairs that will prevail if you don’t vote
A = B

Of course, saying that “your own vote doesn’t matter” is not the same as saying that “voting doesn’t matter,” although the latter may also be true in a different sense (e.g., elections are only rituals, and the deeper system will persist regardless of electoral outcomes).

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Battling Assumptions

Nobody asked but …

This looks like a logic fallacy to me, actually two different versions of fallacious usage.

In the first case, I am reflecting on a book that I am reading; The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everythingby Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey.  A disclaimer, I am not negatively disposed regarding cryptocurrency, rather I am pretty philosophical about the couple of gallons of blood I have lost.  A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.  But I will not recommend this book, to you in your search for knowledge.  The message could be delivered  much more painlessly in a short, well argued, article.  The premise is that it took many centuries for the current paradigm, double entry bookkeeping, to revolutionize the marketplace, but now that the effect of those who would game the system pretty well offsets the increase of those who honestly abide by the system, it is time to find a new, greed-proof paradigm.

The argument fails for two reasons, 1) that a poorly described blockchain technology must be the basis of the paradigm, and 2) the battling assumptions referred to in this blog caption.  The second cause is by far the more general, and damaging.  The authors repeatedly pose one “what-if,” offering the blockchain algorithm as the solution, then another, opposing “what-if” that is also uniquely solved by the process.  If Blockchain A will solve X, then A, else if Blockchain B will solve X, then B, else if Blockchain C …

The second form of this fallacy is the “he said/she said” dilemma.  We can see this in the continuing reportage on the vying pronouncements of George and Kellyanne Conway.  A third party must make one assumption or another in gauging their respective outputs.

— Kilgore Forelle

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