Friday, July 29, 2016

Belief vs Knowledge

People mostly believe they understand what they know.

Take "Free Trade", for example. It's held as common knowledge that import levees, export duties, taxes and the like are contributing factors to measuring the degree of free trade between countries.

"Free Trade" is a myth.

Or more precisely, "Free Trade" is an arbitrary, hypothetical metric that establishes an unattainable standard of uninhibited trade between distinct market entities. Arbitrary, because there has never been a documented example to reference against. Hypothetical, because no one can describe how to realistically achieve such a transaction. Unattainable, because no transaction can be cost free.

"Free Trade" is a fictional economic standard to be forever striven for. As such, it serves as a mechanism whereby all trade can be comparatively analyzed to measure the relative costs of separate and otherwise incompatible transactions. From this, the actual transaction costs can be distinguished from the rest of the component costs that contribute to "value" (itself a largely individual standard irrespective of the item(s) being measured).

Free trade is also frequently a political illusion, served up to distract the voters from the blatant manipulations imposed on trade transactions by, or in response to, government.

Of course, if government went away with the morning sunrise, free trade would still be unattainable since all parties to a transaction would still have to exert some measure of expense in order to effect a transaction at all. Government makes sure the traders aren't the only one's to get something from the deal. Theoretically, in exchange for that added cost, government provides an independent recourse for dis-satisfied traders to seek recompense less directly than might otherwise be the case.

Because free trade is something people believe in, they think it must also be "real" in the same sense items being offered for trade are. Just because we know trade exists, doesn't mean we understand it.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

How Did That George Carlin Line Go?

"I stand here before you, completely behind you, ..."?

Sorry Gary Johnson, I had to stand with my DV Brethren and Sisteren on this one.

Catch you in November.

NBC Poll results

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Strategy Of Ideology

From my Facebook timeline.

In classical strategy, Advantage is pursued by everyone to advance one's Position (remember, Position is measured as a constantly varying relative value against other's, as well as your own, existing condition). A common technique used to achieve such advancement is Misdirection - saying or doing something in an apparent effort that disguises your own benefit from other's view (and the reason there really are essentially no "unintended consequences"). If you want to avoid imposing possibly misleading or simply incorrect value judgements on the actions of others - and your reactions to them, I recommend applying the above metrics to all aspects of your life.
Political ideology is rife with misdirection, both to gain and retain adherents as well as defeat the efforts of competitors in their positional maneuvering. The temptation to address ideological arguments in ideological terms is a two-fold mistake, you limit the structure of your own arguments to meet the assumptions of your opponents ideology.
The linked blog post below is an excellent example of a fact-loaded ideological argument that ultimately fails of its full potential due to the acceptance of the ideological terminology it confines itself to. That it succeeds to the extent it does (and I find the underlying observation inescapable personally) is testament to the authors writing skills:

Sunday, July 17, 2016

More Of That Away Game Activity

From my facebook timeline:

Fellow HEMA member Michael Sims posted a link to something by one Arnold Ragas from (the US state of) Georgia according to his post. I made the following comment there and think it worth claiming publicly with the minor caveat that I intend the following in the most positive way I am capable of (however poorly I may have conveyed that in the original):

"Can't say about skin, but we all wear our own stereotypes and see them a lot too. The biggest difference I have with BLM (or AARP or the NRA for that matter) is I don't go around crying about how my life isn't immune to all of that ... and you shouldn't either. Anyone who doesn't know you personally is going to be at least a little bit suspicious of you (and even if they do know you if their like my friends). We pay cops to be suspicious. You may suffer from your own stereotypical burden, but you ain't special that way so get over yourself and get on with making your life as successful as you want it to be."

This is the Arnold Ragas statement I was responding to:

"Sometimes my black life matters.
It mattered the day I was walking to my car at Lenox when I was ordered inside a police car until I sufficiently explained my purpose for being in the deck. My keys in hand provided no clue. It mattered the very next time I was in the deck and again ordered inside a police car until I again sufficiently explained my purpose.
My black life mattered the day I was helping someone move her furniture from her apartment to a moving van when several police officers pointed their guns at me until I sufficiently explained my purpose. Carrying a microwave to a moving van provided no clue.
My black life mattered the day I was looking through storefront windows and police detained me and questioned me until I sufficiently explained my purpose. It mattered further when I reached into my pocket for my wallet and they pulled their guns on me. My black life almost became matter on the pavement.
My black life mattered the day I was ordered inside a room at the DeKalb county courthouse and forced to explain my purpose. Being a lawyer wearing a suit in a courthouse provided no clue.
My black life mattered the night I was jogging in my Johns Creek subdivision when a police officer drove 5 mph and followed me for nearly a half mile until I finally and exasperatedly turned around and yelled, “What?!?!” My Nike shorts, shirt and running shoes provided no clue of my lawful presence. After all, I was running.
I never really thought of myself as a thug. I’m clean cut. Clean-shaven. No dreads. No golds. No tats. No sagging pants. Hell, I even own a pair of khakis.
But what do I know. Maybe I AM a thug. I graduated college but it took me 5 years. I graduated law school but I wasn’t top ten. I served 3 terms in the state House of Representatives but I never got more than 60% of the vote. I served 9 years as a judge but does Probate court really count? I’ve appeared on news shows as an expert on political and legal matters but my tie didn’t always quite match.
Or just maybe my skin is the sin and no accomplishment vaccine can inoculate me.
Sometimes I wish I could try on white skin. Not to keep; just to test drive for a few days. But moreso, I wish my white friends who condemn the black lives matter mantra could wear my skin. They’d probably cut the test drive short. They’d know what it feels like to be routinely viewed as a suspect instead of a person. They’d learn that black lives do indeed matter.
But oftentimes, for all the wrong reasons."

I'm a high school dropout. I joined the US Navy during the tag end of the Vietnam War because I didn't want to miss my generation's war. I labor under none of the lack of recognition for the really commendable accomplishments Mr Ragas struggles with, but nobody in or out of my life really gives two shits about any of my "accomplishments" either ... nor should they. We are all to some degree the sum of our accomplishments, but we are even more the product of all the really crappy choices we didn't make instead. The only people who are likely to know very much of any of that are we ourselves. Thankfully (I don't know about you, but some of that shit I didn't actually do but semi-seriously considered is really embarrassing, you know?).

Life's a lot of hard work, and we all ought to know by now what the real reward for doing hard work is: more work. Now that you've had a good snivel, Mr Ragas (and everyone else who feels the same way feel free to jump right in here), shake it off and get ready to go back to work. There's always going to be a lot more need's doing than there are those of us to do it. From the sound of things in your life, you could really help us out getting some of it done, too.