Evolution in the Age of Lying

Nobody asked but …

Yesterday I picked up my two youngest granddaughters after school.  We talked over frosty shakes, slushes, and sodas at a local drive-in.  At some point, it occurred to me to say, “It must be tough for a young person to grow up in a world that is so full of lying,” as though this might be some wisdom available only to an ancient man.  I was most happy to hear, in unison, “We know!  Right?”  Evolution is the friend of the human animal.  Today, I am listening to an EVC podcast from Peter Gray.  In Dr. Gray’s talk, I learned one of the secrets to the discernment that my teenage granddaughters have attained. Survival of the fittest applies.

Children who do not learn, do not survive to have offspring, or their offspring will not have the learning to survive. For ages, children have educated themselves to survive, by learning what to learn. Among other things, smart, competent children develop good BS filters. Even though a child is often taught, in part, by parents, siblings, neighbors, and friends, whose average intelligence brings down the communal average, the child has a built-in BS filter by which to evaluate survival information. The young human needs to know what kind of chaff to separate from the wheat. The young human will thereby develop intelligence above the group average, they will stand on the shoulders of giants who have knowledge made up of the best intelligence from all the resources.

People, who believe in the state, will die out. People, who believe in magic, will die out. People, who heed false scares, will die out. People, who believe in Santa Claus, will wise up.

— Kilgore Forelle

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Life in the Cherry Pie Factory

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Jokesters will often imply that incompetents would fumble the making of a cherry pie.  Often those incompetents are assembled into a statist bureaucracy.  But while an association between the postal minions and degraded service is too often accurate, statism does not have a corner on screw-ups.  The difference is, among other things, that the bureaucrat institutionalizes the screw-up, but the entrepreneur learns from it.

A few days ago, I read a news article on a failure at SpaceX.  And for years I have been attracted to stories about mismanagement of resources in complex arrangements.  Why must we forget, over and over, Ockham’s Razor?  The principle reason, I suppose, is our old nemesis — power, and its handmaiden, control.  All people are predisposed toward accomplishment, but unfortunately many will choose the appearance over the attainment.  Too often too many will trade the short term (control) wherein we pretend that something is true, rather than confess to a failure.  If we accept false premises, we can pretend that a train wreck is the emblem of a success — we’ll call it The Afghanistan Express.

But, in the long run, a train wreck produces better transportation.

— Kilgore Forelle

 

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Quid Pro Quo

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Quid pro quo is Latin for dodge, as in dodge ball aka moving target, aka moving goal posts.  Regardless of your particular take on the use of foreign governments to stir up the camps of political opponents, there is a reason why the situation might be called a “constitutional crisis.”  My point-of-view is that everything relating to the governance of a people ought to be above board.  My suspicion is that the phrase politically above board is an oxymoron, literally impossible, factually impossible.  The word “political,” to me, means pretending that things are orderly and principled, when they may not be so.  The word “compromise,” to me, signals that there is slippage between “is” and “ought.”  The American founding documents specify, we hope, how it ought to be, while self-interested wordsmiths and thieves hide, we fear, how it “is.”

Squabbling over quid pro quo is the same as any other dodge that has been foisted on us since the days of Washington and Hamilton.  The disputants cannot even use our own language.  They use the dead language of an imperial plutocracy that has been fallen for more than 16 centuries.  It’s just jargon, an attempt by insiders to block the understanding of outsiders.

The truth is that our system is run by brigands.

— Kilgore Forelle

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Choosing to Intervene

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In my last blog post, I wrote about how to hide in plain sight from interventionists.  Now, we can examine more closely the process of being an interventionist.  An interventionist often believes he or she is blessed by being in the procedural wheel house (for example, a supervisor at the IRS is in an ideal spot to mess up personal lives), but we often forget that the interventionist is also enslaved by interventionism.  They cannot be happy until everyone else is intervened upon by them.  Even though they may devote 24/7/365 to minding other people’s business, they can only maximize their meddling when they occupy another individuals’ time 24/7/365.

You may argue that there are ways by which the state can maximize, multiply its intervention.  For instance, a state-employed educator can screw up the lives of many children and their families for years to come.  But there is a lot of leakage, much slippage.  No interveners are 100% effective, principally because they only have 24/7/365, and on the average can only screw up one intervenee at a time.  And then they can only invade another’s space when the other wants to eschew responsibility entirely.

If the schools were 100% effective at something that was externally desirable, we would not need gun control.  IMHO.

I often look at the NSA. And I look at 1984, George Orwell’s brilliant novel.  I realize that dystopia only comes when there is a juxtaposition, 1-to-1, between one intervened and one interventionist.  In real life, many are incapable of devoting themselves to 100% automatonhood, doomed to failure as an android without thought, unfit to reject the inconsistencies of individuality.  And there are others who have a high degree of attachment to real principles.

In dystopia, such as that found in 1984 and Atlas Shrugged, we see worlds populated by imperfect, fear-driven, unthinking failures, manipulated by imperfect, fear-driven, unthinking failures.

— Kilgore Forelle

 

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Hiding in Plain Sight

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At the risk of jinxing myself, I will admit that I have never been audited by the IRS.  The interesting thing is that my late father, Kilgore Sr., got audited annually.  The other day, it occurred to me, why was this so?  On the strength of our names alone, it would seem that I should have been a marked man.  After much cogitation, thinking about an associated matter, I came to the conclusion that I was invisible to the watchful eye, statistically speaking.

We are not a statistic.  Each of us is an individual.  Each of us participates in a 1-to-1 relationship with every other person, place, or thing in the Universe, including how the other sees us.  My Dad went to the thoroughbred race track nearly every day of his adult life.  Now, the IRS maintains a presence at gambling establishments, if such entities are statistically significant, because the numbers are big enough to count on corralling a few big winners every day in the meet.  My Dad was never such a big winner.  Instead the IRS watched him on an annual cycle to ensure that he was not getting away with anything.  Their efforts were as economically unrewarding as was his playing the ponies — Dad always claimed that he broke even, and the only value he derived was to be around the equines.

I, on the other hand, have never been a track habitué.  Therefore, in the taxman’s eye, I am of little interest.  I have always played a statistical game, aka keeping a low profile.  For instance, back in the old days, when computers were unsophisticated and the IRS was pinioned by its own technological backwardness, I always filed my taxes only on “Tax Day” — figuring that that was the day on which the most numbers needed to be crunched.  I may be committing the wet sidewalk fallacy, but it seemed to work.

There are billions of tardigrades in a drop of water.  Perhaps you can tell us what you know about any single one that stands out from the rest?  Don’t be embarrassed; individual tardigrades do not statistically matter to us.  Don’t be superior, tardigrades don’t care about us either.

The best part about statistical anonymity is that one is free, at liberty, from the interveners who take no notice.

— Kilgore Forelle

 

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Who Fails to Learn the Lessons

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Some time I picked up the notion that some leaders name natural enemies (of one another) as their lieutenants, hoping to gain the benefits of survival of the fittest.  Perhaps the notion arose from a review of a Doris Kearns Goodwin book — the notion, combined with my earlier conclusions on statism and faux leadership, caused me to pass on Ms. Goodwin’s books.  I may have formed the opinion, rightly or not, that she was feeding the negative traits of human development rather than exposing them for what they are.

Daniel Webster said, “There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.”  Let me rephrase that:  Some leaders mean to be GOOD but more than that, they mean to be FOLLOWED, at all costs.  I hope that reaffirms Webster, as well as clarifying and amplifying.

Does anyone dispute that the above is a set of fact?  Is not that an important lesson of history?  Why don’t we, as an intelligent species, escape?  Why don’t we focus?

— Kilgore Forelle

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