@Supah_Schmendrick's banner p




1 follower   follows 0 users  
joined 2022 September 05 16:08:09 UTC


User ID: 618



1 follower   follows 0 users   joined 2022 September 05 16:08:09 UTC


No bio...


User ID: 618

This convergent evolution suggests that it's the only viable structure for our current level of scale. We could not have chosen differently.

Unclear. If the Constitution's original first amendment had passed and capped the size of congressional districts at 50k or so (as opposed to the ~700k we currently have) it's not clear how American political institutions would have evolved to deal with that.

Fascinating to see how contemporary evolutions of both "police-work" and the duties and responsibilities of citizenship have evolved to make some of these clearly obsolete

To seek and preserve public favour, not by pandering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws,

What modern concept of "public favor" is distinguishable from "public opinion," let alone the perceived justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws? What constituency is there for law qua law, independent from the results, or "perceived justice" of the ultimate outcome? In a way, we're all utilitarians now. Kto kago is truly the order of the day.

To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.

What private citizen really thinks that stopping people who drive too fast, park in the wrong place, coralling mobs, preventing retail crimes, and investigating serious crimes are all "duties incumbent on every citizen?" Moreover, would we even tolerate a private citizen attempting to undertake any of these tasks?

And those are only the two that seem most egregious to me.

In my opinion, the greatest fault of Capitalism, and the real problem that is behind it, is that it is so productive that can share money to unproductive people, creating a new caste of Priestly Propagandist

What makes you think that pre- or non-capitalist societies didn't have unproductive Priestly Propagandists? What were the nomenklatura bureaucrats of the USSR, or the mass of the ecclesiarchy of the Roman Catholic Church during the middle ages? What were drunken courtiers at Versailles?

And what percentage of the populace knows that, or cares? If she were elected President she'd be counted as a "Catholic" just as a non-practicing Jew would be counted as "Jewish."

I mean, yes. But they're still generally recognized as "Catholic" by the broader American populace, which doesn't really pay attention to internal doctrinal niceties. Nancy Pelosi still counts as "catholic" for general U.S. purposes, despite having views on abortion and gender wildly out of step with official church doctrine (though I'm not so sure the German catholics would disagree with her...)

Catholics have to maintain loyalty with Rome on certain matters.

Not to look at U.S. catholic opinion surveys, which routinely show significant support for changing major aspects of church doctrine regarding sexuality and gender, among other things.

The NYT is a Jewish-dominant newspaper filled with Democrats

The NYT is a liberal, secular- and reform-Jewish-dominant newspaper. These people are just about fully-assimilated WEIRD anti-nationalists, and have no more love for the conservative religious right in Israel than they do for the conservative religious right in the U.S.

I'd say that when the incumbent prosecutor's election campaign was run on the basis of his experience going after that same candidate as part of a highly-politicized state AG's office, you have a pretty big tell that subsequent cases are more likely to be lawfare than legitimate.

This is not how the FEC understands campaign contributions:

We could have had testimony on how the FEC understands these things, but Judge Merchan explicitly ruled that Brad Smith couldn't testify to anything substantive on that front, because allegedly only the Court had jurisdiction to rule on legal interpretations like the meaning of statutes and regulations - even ones outside the Court's proper jurisdiction, apparently.

Trump was summoned into existence by his followers.

His "followers" didn't give him $2 billion of free media coverage during the 2016 cycle. When Trump declared, he was only polling 10% in the GOP primary. He didn't break 40% until March of 2016. He was lucky enough to be running against a weak and numerous slate of wooden neocons who hadn't seen which way the wind was blowing and couldn't get out of each other's way. When Ben Carson is your closest competition, you know things are pretty dire.

he and his close associates pushed all manner of blatant nonsense that failed to get any traction because of a stark lack of evidence.

Like Mrs. Clinton's ginned-up "collusion" theories in 2016? Those managed to derail half a presidential term.

Well, usually a politician would have quit in disgrace before getting to this point. So kind of.

Except that what's happening here isn't actually unusual. Hillary Clinton's campaign and the DNC got fined $100k by the FEC for the exact same thing (i.e., misreporting campaign expenses - in this case, the "Russia-gate" dossier - as "legal expenses"). The unusual thing is that state legal systems got involved (in cooperation with the White House and under the direction of former White House lawyers, for admittedly-political reasons.

A prediction market as I view it is ultimately just a systematic way to keep track of who makes errors the most and who makes them the least, so you can put the people who make them the least into power.

Goodhart's law. You're only optimizing for the ability to game a prediction market, not the ability to be a wise ruler.

Calling something like the USSR or Nazi Germany just a regular human mistake isn't an acceptable conclusion to me.

Why not? Totalitarianism and militarism are pretty common human modes of social organization. Look around the world and you'll find more dictators than not, and even putatively democratic countries can sure be repressive when they want to be (e.g. UK speech offenses, Canadian asset-freezing the trucker protests, etc). There's also a lot of military aggression even today (it just tends to take the form of gangs or paramilitaries in third world countries rather than stomping around with flags and tanks, but even there see Russia/Ukraine, Armenia/Azerbaijan, Saudi/Yemen, China/India/Pakistan's periodic kerfuffles, North & South Korea, any number of insurgencies in Africa and SE Asia, etc.) Totalitarianism and militarism are even more common if you look back more than 70 years in the past. Same for genocides. The Nazis only stand out because they came along right when mass media was first becoming a thing. The Soviets too only stand out because they were a geopolitical rival for half a century.

There's a reason that "to err is human" is a truism. People aren't omniscient, and are going to make mistakes. You don't escape that by delegating to a committee, or prediction market. So long as people are involved, there are going to be mistakes and errors.

What is really the best way for a government to decide policy?

To have virtuous and wise people doing the deciding, and public-spirited and moderate people doing the implementing. Personnel is policy, and all the procedural gilding in the world won't save a government made of the petty, venal, and stupid.

It was the nature of the work. Sugarcane is a thick, tough grass with similar dimensions to adult bamboo.

During planting, the slaves hade to dig 4-6 ft. square holes half a foot deep (60-100 squares per slave per day, or between 1k-2k cubic feet of earth each), use that earth to build up banks/causeways between the squares, then emplace cane seeds in the squares, surrounded by a few dozen pounds of manure (which had to be collected from cattleyards and carried to the fields by hand or basket as well).

During harvesting, the slaves had to (1) cut down the stalks by hand, (2) strip and de-leaf the cane stalks, and (3) carry bushels of the cut and stripped stalks from the squares to the processing stations. They then had to (4) see the juices extracted from the stalks via milling, (5) carry away the pulp, (6) boil and render the cane juice through successive sets of boilers and pans down into syrup, tempered with lime juice just before the crystallization point, then left to cool into molasses (distilled in turn into rum) and semi-refined sugar crystals.

Harvesting was especially brutal because once cut, the juices in the cane would spoil and rot incredibly rapidly. As a result, plantations during harvesting seasons ran around the clock in two 12-hour shifts, as fast as the workers could go. This led to many deaths from exhaustion in the fields, loss of limbs from crushing underneath millstones, and all the other types of industrial accidents that can happen in large-scale agriculture. Slaves also died in large numbers to all the ordinary tropical diseases and malnutrition endemic to the early-modern Caribbean.

This was the standard method basically everywhere that sugar was grown on New World plantations, and was absolutely brutal.

The steel-manned case is a telephoned pickup of "Christian nationalism," a small dissident-right movement that a lot of progressive and anti-right-wing media have picked up on as a major enemy du jour.

I normally think generational trauma is bullshit, except for Haiti, it was literally hell on earth and they had to keep importing slaves because the natural birth rate couldn't hold a candle to the death rate on the sugar plantations

Haitian sugar plantations weren't much different from Barbadian sugar plantations, Jamaican sugar plantations, or even Louisiana sugar plantations. They were all absolutely horrific places to work, and chewed through human lives at ridiculous speeds.

There's a reason the north didn't have slaves on its wheat farms

Initially, African-descended people had less comparative advantage in the North because their malaria-resistance conferred little or no advantage in a colder climate. Additionally, several crops that slave populations purchased from west Africa had prior special experience with (e.g. rice, indigo) were not widely viable outside of particular regions along the southern Atlantic (NC, SC, GA) and gulf (LA, MS) coasts. There are other reasons as well, but these are two particularly-interesting ones.

This was a country founded explicitly on anti-imperialist principles of popular sovereignty and democracy.

Well, beneath the rhetoric was a pretty solid foundation of impatience with British refusal to let colonists swarm past the Appalachians and conquer more Indian land, so YMMV.

East Tennessee is another good example. I don't know of too many books about the subject, but here's one I have read: "War at Every Door: Partisan Politics and Guerrilla Violence in East Tennessee, 1860-1869." There's also this article about Unionist sentiment in north Alabama: "Civil War Unionists and the Political Culture of Loyalty in Alabama, 1860-1861."

The idea of Unionist Southerners being willing to turn on the Confederacy was prominent enough that Lincoln based Union war strategy on appealing to them for a significant portion of the war.

Africa has ethnic boundaries that often don't match borders very well

You could have said this about Europe as well. What did the Welsh have to do with the Scottish or English? People in Provence, Brittany, and Isle-de-France didn't even speak the same languages. Italian only coalesced as a basically-uniform and mutually-intelligible language in the last couple hundred years, and at the time of the discovery of the New World there was no "Spain", but instead "the Spains" because they were a bunch of fiercely-independent kingdoms with their own privileges and rivalries, bound together through fragile personal unions. Prussians, Brunswickers, Saxons, Badeners, and Bavarians didn't have much in common. Russia is a giant, multi-ethnic and multi-linguistic empire, and even today eastern/south-eastern europe don't match ethnic and national borders well - they certainly didn't back in the bad old days of the great Habsburg empires.

Second, it's just hard to get out of dictatorship once you're in it. One group can't suddenly decide to be noncorrupt all on hts own, and the power needed to stop corruption by fiat enables corruption by the group with the power.

Up until the late 19th century, just about every significant country in Europe was some type of monarchy (i.e. dictatorship), mediated by local elites (as is the case in Africa as well). How did they escape this seemingly-impossible corruption trap?

Sympathy to a cause has very little to do with analysis of the behavior of that cause's partisans in a particular instance.

The same one as John Adams, thank-you-very-much.

I mean, if your only reason for becoming a lawyer is "it will pay me a squintillion bucks," then yes. This is a very good reason not to be a lawyer, and frankly, good riddance. The law is too important, and the current profession too corrupted as it is.

Civil disobedience properly is directed at the governing authority; not random citizens.

In a democracy, particularly one as deeply run by small-scale voluntary and communal organizations as the US used to be, there often wasn't much of a difference between the two.

Of course, the U.S. hasn't been that kind of democracy for a long time.