Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

Posts Tagged ‘Politics

Some remarks around game theory and politics

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I have, on more than one occasion, made brief mentions of game theory and how politicians and/or Leftists show a great ignorance of the topic. Here, I will look a little deeper on two important sub-topics:

Firstly, I have increasingly come to believe that non-Leftists often show a failure to adapt appropriately in their interactions with Leftists, even when elementary game theory (and/or common sense) would have dictated an adaption. (With similar statements likely applying to some other constellations, e.g. many voters vs. politicians and many U.S. Whites vs. many U.S. Blacks, Black interest-pushers, and/or political Blaxploitationers.) In this, they might be as naive as the Leftists, if in a very different manner. (Also see an excursion on hawks and doves, which has considerable overlap with the two sub-topics.)

To illustrate, let us consider the traditional Prisoner’s Dilemma, as a special case of a game:*

*Re-quote of a formalization by Albert W. Tucker from [1]. Note that the applicability of the game is much, much wider than just prisoners, prison sentences, and whatnots—do not get hung up on that part. (Indeed, more abstract formulations are easily possible and quite common.) The prison/snitching aspect is, however, quite interesting in light of my recent readings on Jordan Belfort, for which a follow-up text is coming.

Two members of a criminal gang are arrested and imprisoned. Each prisoner is in solitary confinement with no means of communicating with the other. The prosecutors lack sufficient evidence to convict the pair on the principal charge. They hope to get both sentenced to a year in prison on a lesser charge. Simultaneously, the prosecutors offer each prisoner a bargain. Each prisoner is given the opportunity either to: betray the other by testifying that the other committed the crime, or to cooperate with the other by remaining silent. The offer is:

  • If A and B each betray the other, each of them serves 2 years in prison
  • If A betrays B but B remains silent, A will be set free and B will serve 3 years in prison (and vice versa)
  • If A and B both remain silent, both of them will only serve 1 year in prison (on the lesser charge)

(For better understandability, I will usually speak of “snitching”, or similar, below. This should not be seen as a moral judgment.)

Now, if this game is played once, all bets are off and the result will be determined by factors like the level of trust between the two players (prisoners), the general character of the two players, the presence/absence of an “Omerta” or “snitches get stitches” culture, etc., which leads to a comparatively uninteresting situation.*/** Play the game repeatedly,*** and we have a very different situation. Let us say that A begins with a strategy of not snitching, while B snitches. The outcome for A is bad, and he has an incentive to change his strategy to adapt to the opponents strategy and/or to retaliate. Correspondingly, chances are that A will switch to a snitching strategy and remain there until B abandons the snitching strategy, which implies that the gains that B made the first time around will drown in the subsequent losses and which gives B a strong incentive not to snitch even the first time around.**** Player A might, of course, give B a second chance in the second round, or try an occasional peace offer, but, unless A is an idiot, B will still be far worse off by taking the opportunistic snitching strategy, should more than a trivial number of rounds be played.

*The resulting paradox is interesting, that (a) snitching leads to a better outcome regardless of what the other party does and might seem to be an optimal strategy, (b) if this strategy is used by both parties, both parties will be worse off than if both had chosen not to snitch. However, this gives a single aha-moment and is otherwise a dead-end.

**The game-theory version might be even less interesting than the real-life version, as most investigations will likely ignore such factors in order to create a “pure” version with two parties making choices based solely on speculation about the choice of the other party and on the expected payouts (as defined in the game; here the respective sentences) for a given combination of choices.

***Unlikely to happen very often with prisoners, but might happen already with trouble-making siblings and (with slight variations of the game idea) a great many real-life situations that have nothing to do with snitching or punishment. Consider e.g. two boxers in the ring: someone willing to use illegal blows or headbutts might have an advantage as long as the opponent does not retaliate (and the referee does not intervene)—but if the opponent does retaliate, there is no advantage and a greater mutual injury risk than if both parties had boxed fairly.

****Interesting discussions can be had about what the optimal strategy in the last round should be, what effect this might have on the second-but-last round, etc., but that is off-topic. Besides, in real life, it is often impossible to tell which round will be the last. (Other special cases can be interesting too, e.g. should B cooperate often enough that A is moved to consistently cooperate, and B just steals some extra points every now and then by an occasional snitch.)

But what if A is an idiot (with regard to this game)? What if he naively picks the cooperative strategy of not snitching again and again and again, even in the face of consistent snitching by B? Well, then he takes a massive damage to the benefit of B. Exactly this, however, is what I see among large blocks of non-Leftists vs. Leftists, including many U.S. Republicans vs. many U.S. Democrats, “Equalists” vs. Feminists, “HBDers” vs. “nurture only” fanatics, etc. The former try to play fairly in the hope of fair play from the latter, compromise in hope of compromises from the latter, bring factual arguments in the hope of being met with factual arguments, etc.—and get a kick in the crotch in return. (Resp. are met with foul play, a refusal to compromise in the other direction, sloganeering/lies/rhetoric/whatnot, etc.)

Consider e.g. the issue of free speech: the non-Left has a long tradition of “free speech for everyone”, while the Left has a long tradition of “free speech for all who agree with us”. When the non-Left is in power, both sides have free speech; when the Left is in power, only the Left truly has free speech. The result, then, is that the Left has free speech all the time, while the non-Left only has so when in power, because of a naive strategy.* Or consider various nominations, e.g. to the SCOTUS, where the Democrats began with unfair attacks and attempts to unfairly discredit nominees no later than with Bork in the late 1980s (and possibly earlier) and have taken this to often outrageous levels, while similar foul-play has been either absent or much weaker against Democrat nominees—despite there often being stronger objective reasons to be critical against them.** For that matter, once on the SCOTUS, Republican nominees tend to judge matters based on what the law, constitution, precedence, whatnot actually is/says, while the Democrat nominees very often pick whatever fits a Leftist agenda—and the law be damned. Or contrast the abuse of the justice system for political persecution of Republicans, MAGA supporters, pro-lifers, etc., vs. the absence or far greater rarity of corresponding persecution of Democrats, BLMers, pro-choicers, etc.

*Except that the motivation in this particular case is not strategy but a genuine belief (which I share) in the benefits of free speech and the evil/unfairness of undue restrictions of it. While this does not make the strategy pragmatically less unfortunate, it gives a partial explain of why the non-Left and the Left so often take so different approaches—the non-Left is more likely to have ideals of fairness, while the Left is more likely to apply a “the end justifies the means” approach.

**Sotomayor, e.g., has no business in such a high position already for reasons of incompetence, let alone her abuse of her position for judicial activism.

The problem here is (at least, in part) the asymmetry, that there is no retaliation, that the non-Left continues to turn the other cheek, and that the Left takes full advantage, like player B faced with a naive player A or a boxer faced with an opponent who sticks to the rules even when he is ever again headbutted. (Would retaliation cause a strategy change on the Left? That is a good question, and I am far from certain; however, even if not, retaliation would level the playing field and reduce the long-term negative effects on society from the Left.)

Secondly, as can be seen from the above, it is often the big-picture aspects of game theory that matter—not the details, the math, or the tomes that have been written on the topic. What irks me with politicians and Leftists is that they so often lack the most elementary big-picture insights, up to and including some insights that might arise from common sense even in someone with no exposure to game theory.

To give a simplistic overview, we might divide game insights into three categories:

  1. Those that relate to finding the best strategy for contextually boring games, say, chess or a single game of the “Prisoner’s Dilemma”. These rarely have much to offer to politicians or, for that matter, most persons not dealing with the exact game at hand. (International Grand Masters in chess, e.g., might be quite keen on finding better approaches to play chess, but they form a very small minority of the overall population. As an aside, note that while playing repeated games of chess can lead to changes in strategy, these changes are much more centered on the individual game, while the strategies for the “Prisoner’s Dilemma”, by their nature, involve multiple games.)
  2. Those that relate to adapting strategies over time in light of the behavior of other players, in order to maximize gain/minimize losses/whatnot over time, in light of prior experiences with the other players, in light of speculation about what they might do in the future, in light of considerations about what the other players might do to counter the current strategy and/or how they will react to a strategy change, whatnot. Here considerable value can be found in the overall principles (e.g. that some players will cooperate when met with cooperation, while others will just take advantage), but not necessarily in the details, as different games can have too different characteristics.
  3. To segue into the third item, consider how even variations of the same game can have different characteristics, e.g through something as simple as changing the punishments in the “Prisoner’s Dilemma”. (Say, that the middle outcome is changed from three years in prison to decapitation—few would dare take the risk of not snitching, even if naturally keen on cooperation.) Or allow the players to communicate and consider how e.g. a promise to be more cooperative next time around, or a threat to retaliate unless cooperation is given, can change the dynamics of the game.

    Here we find my main beef (in the area of game theory…) with politicians and Leftists—the failure to (a) understand that changing the rules can lead to changes in behavior, because risks, rewards, punishments, incentives, whatnot, change accordingly, (b) consider that the behavioral changes might not be the ones intended.

    For instance, Leftist politicians often seem to believe (or pretend to believe…) that a certain tax increase will only have two effects, namely more money for the government and less for “the rich”. In reality, effects like money moved abroad, reduced investments, increased tax “cheating”,* raised prices, and similar might follow, as can secondary effects like increased unemployment, tertiary effects like greater government expenditure on the unemployed, etc.

    *In light of the obscene tax levels in so many countries, “self-defense” might be a fairer term.

    For instance, similarly, the sole assumed effect of a price cap seems to be that prices are capped, while no thought is given to the risk that production is cut or switched to other products, that products are exported instead of being sold locally, that black markets arise, etc.

    For instance, there seems to be no awareness of the risk that generous social benefits can lead to abuse, including by those who deliberately forego work in order to live off benefits.

    For instance, for a more subtle and less political example, note my recent mentions of closed train stations in [2], and how the behavioral changes of passengers were misjudged.

(As an aside, the third item can be seen as a special case of the second, if we consider the rule maker a player of a special type, but this would make the point under consideration less clear.)

Excursion on hawks and doves:
A terminology of “hawks” and “doves” is popular, most often in contexts of posturing, threats of aggression, and willingness to take a fight. This terminology might not be entirely appropriate here, but much of the same principles apply with regard to e.g. the Left vs. the non-Left and snitches vs. non-snitches.

A hawk can gain benefits through playing the tough guy with a dove, who is likely to back down, but the hawk incurs a risk at getting into an actual fight with some other party when that party does not back down, as when that other party is another hawk. The fewer hawks to doves there are, the more successful is a hawkish strategy; the more hawks, the more dangerous. The problem with the political situation is that hawks do not confront hawks and doves randomly—as disproportionately many hawks are Leftists and doves non-Leftists, a Leftist hawk is much more likely to confront a dove than another hawk, which reduces the risks and increases the rewards. A similar problem can arise when there is some entity that should keep certain behaviors (e.g. cheating, violence, crime) under control, but fails to do so. Consider e.g. a boxing referee who is too lax, a teacher who does not intervene against bullies, an immigration policy that practically welcomes nominally illegal* aliens, the overly lenient treatment of Black criminals by the U.S. police and/or prosecutors in the wake of the BLM riots, a failure by the same and/or the DOJ to go after Leftist criminal behavior (and/or, as with Trump or J6, undue or disproportionate attacks on non-Leftists), how German law-enforcement (or the politicians who give the orders) are obsessed with a largely imaginary threat of “Rightwing extremism” while actual Leftwing extremists are found in parliament, and similar—and consider what the likely long-term effects are.

*Note the difference between making previously illegal immigration de jure legal through a change of law and making it de facto or quasi-legal by simply not applying existing laws. There is room to debate what immigration should be legal and what illegal, but failing to uphold existing immigration laws moves on a very different level. (Similar remarks can apply elsewhere, e.g in that boxing could have other rules than it does, but that this is not a valid reason for a referee to ignore the actual and current rules.)

The idea is similarly applied to evolutionary contexts (evolutionary theory has a considerable overlap with game theory), where we can e.g. take a population of many doves and few hawks,* see how the aggressive hawks have great advantages over the more pacifist doves, and encounter a next generation with relatively more hawks than the original population. This continues for a few generations, but then the proportion of hawks is so large that the risks involved outweigh the benefits, and the trend shifts towards more doves. Here we see another type of changes to players that is important in e.g. politics: not only can the current players change their strategies but the set of players can change.

*Note that the labels are metaphorical and that the doves and hawks would often be of the same species, as in the current example.

Then we have issues like strategy changes based on the proportion of doves and hawks in the overall population, e.g. in that the one hawk might remain a hawk, no matter what, while another might turn dove after losing a first fight, or (likely more interesting in politics) that a dove might observe the success of a hawk and imitate his behavior with other doves. In particular, if we look at e.g. parasitic* use of social aid (for want of a better generic term), we see an interesting inversion relative typical hawk-and-dove scenarios: the more receivers of social aid there are (be they parasites or bona fide), the more money is diverted from those who work, making it relatively a worse deal to be a worker (dove) and creating even greater incentives to become a parasite (hawk). (This, of course, until the government runs out of “other people’s money”.) The presence of more parasites can then lead to even more parasites, especially if being on social aid (in a first step**) and parasitism (in a second step) becomes normalized and loses any stigma, parasitism is increasingly seen as ethically acceptable, whatnot.

*I.e. someone who can work and chooses to live on social aid anyway; as opposed to e.g. someone who is temporarily down on his luck and is actively looking for work in good faith. (For the sake of simplicity, I speak only in terms of work and non-work. While this is a bit simplistic, it illustrates the overall principle, and going into other variations would bring no further value.)

**This step is likely long behind us in most or all of the Western world, but there have been times when receiving social aid was seen as shameful or a personal failure—and that might well have been a better mentality.


Written by michaeleriksson

April 9, 2023 at 4:47 am

An interesting overview of problems with COVID-handling

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Post-anniversary, my COVID-readings have dropped to almost nothing, but I did stumble upon a very interesting text yesterday: 40 Facts You NEED to Know: The REAL Story of “Covid”.

On the upside, it gives a thorough overview of many of the problems involved, including use of faulty or flawed statistics (notably, based on poor tests and a poor division between “died from” and “died with”), the problematic approach to vaccines (notably, wholly inadequate testing and the highly unusual mRNA angle), and the ineffective or outright harmful countermeasures (e.g. ventilators, lockdowns, and, again, vaccines).

On the downside, it is a bit polemical and might to some degree use straw-men* or exaggerations. I advise particular caution with “Part I: Symptoms”, especially in light of the repeated use, including in the article title, of quotation marks** around “Covid” and its variations (e.g. “Covid19”). (And, of course, I do not vouch for the correctness of any individual claim.)

*For instance, the first item is a claim that COVID and the flu have identical symptoms, which I suspect to be not entirely true in detail, which definitely applies similarly to some other disease comparisons (and is unremarkable), and which can miss aspects like relative likelihood and typical severity of any given symptom.

**With scare-quotes being the most likely explanation among the multiple uses of quotation marks.

A discussion of potential malignant abuse and/or creation* of the pandemic to push a political agenda, after the main list, is particularly interesting. I tend to favor Eriksson’s Razor(s) over conspiracy theories, and am also a frequent user of Hanlon’s Razor, but I do find it almost impossible to believe that what happened was just a matter of coincidence, conscious (prime) movers acting without coordination, incompetence, whatnot. Certainly, these, especially incompetence, played in; certainly, much of what happened can be explained by after-the-fact opportunism. However, after more than three years of ever-mounting absurdities and utterly inadequate explanations of prior actions, I cannot see them as enough.

*In the sense of creating a storm in a teacup by taking a non-crisis and pushing propaganda and mis-/disinformation until it looked like a major crisis.

(In a bigger picture, for which I have a text in planning, it is quite clear that we live in a type of reverse democracy, where elected governments do too much to influence the will of the people, with the people’s own money, and are themselves influenced too little by that will—to the point that some governments try to dictate to the people what opinions they may and may not have.)

A few other items of particular interest:*

*With the usual reservations for formatting, etc.

18. There was a massive increase in the use of “unlawful” DNRs. Watchdogs and government agencies reported huge increases in the use of Do Not Resuscitate Orders (DNRs) in the years 2020-2021.


The increase is attributed to a deliberate pushing of DNRs, regardless of the will of the patient and relatives, and interests me on two counts: Firstly, that I have no recollection of hearing about this in the past.* Secondly, my recent writings on life-and-death choices (cf. [1], [2], [3]), which overlap in the idea of less-than-voluntary death. Indeed, pushing DNRs to e.g. free up hospital beds or allowing more transplants would be quite in the same line.

*But I have heard a few complaints of a general and non-COVID push for more DNRs.

[In item 19.]

[Use of ventilators] was not a medical policy designed to best treat the patients, but rather to reduce the hypothetical spread of Covid by preventing patients from exhaling aerosol droplets, this was made clear in officially published guidelines.

This is another first claim to me, but it does have the advantage of explaining why there was so strong a drive to use ventilators early on, contrary to typical practice, and, maybe, why ventilators became a non-topic after the early phase. (However, it is also notable that hospitals were often given flawed incentives, in that patients on ventilators led to more revenue than patients not on ventilators, and that it might make more sense to investigate the motives of the incentive creators.)

34. The EU was preparing “vaccine passports” at least a YEAR before the pandemic began. Proposed COVID countermeasures, presented to the public as improvised emergency measures, have existed since before the emergence of the disease.


In fact, vaccination and immunisation programs have been recognised as “an entry point for digital identity” since at least 2018.


Here there is a possibility that the EU and/or other entities are maliciously using COVID to force the people into various control measures, in order to enforce long-term compliance. This is consistent with other observations, in that “government of the people, by the people, for the people” does not at all match the ideal of many Leftists, many politicians, and many civil servants/government bureaucrats, who put the government first and the people second—a recurring theme in my writings. (And/or put something else first in a similarly perfidious manner, e.g. their own careers or their favored causes.)

Written by michaeleriksson

March 26, 2023 at 10:28 pm

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Third COVID Anniversary / Follow-up: Various

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In a few days, we will have the third anniversary of my first text on COVID.* In the year since the last anniversary, COVID-mania has petered out and I am going through a period of low motivation to write. Correspondingly, I will just mention a few brief points:

*See [1] for the original text and [2] resp. [3]/[4] for the previous anniversaries.

  1. These new twelve months have, again, confirmed my fear that the countermeasures would do more harm than good. They did—and by a very considerable distance.
  2. There are some (based on my state of knowledge) inconclusive signs that the after effects of the countermeasures, especially lockdowns and market sabotage, will continue to hit the business world, that many who managed to get through the prime crisis were left sufficiently injured and with sufficiently reduced reserves that they might yet falter. (Not to mention the losses in e.g. missed growth opportunities for those who do survive.)
  3. The likely long-term effects on humans, especially on children, might be far worse. Adult health, youth education, socialization of infants, whatnot, have all suffered massively through the countermeasures. Here, too, much of the damage might only become noticeable in the future.
  4. Developments in knowledge during these three years have almost without exception come down on the side of the “sceptics” and against the likes of Fauci, Birx, and Ferguson. COVID, lockdowns, masks, vaccines, …—on each item, the “sceptics” were right and the self-proclaimed “experts” wrong.
  5. Nevertheless, there are large groups, especially of politicians, who stubbornly insist that this-or-that was a success, that millions of lives were saved, that inflation is just “greedy capitalists” (“price gougers”, Putin, or similar), whatnot. Whether this is stupidity/ignorance or intellectual dishonesty, I do not know, but it is absurd, intolerable, and horrifying.
  6. There are no true signs that the reckoning that is so urgently needed will take place. At the end of the day, the perpetrators of this travesty, be they incompetents or evil manipulators, will get away unpunished, unless some drastic change takes place. Bad as that is, the worst part is that the main reason for a reckoning is to prevent repetitions. Without a reckoning, repetitions are more likely, especially if large parts of the population have already been indoctrinated into seeing various idiocies as normal and acceptable.

Excursion on “amnesties” and the like:
A common attitude among the early COVID-fanatics in light of later developments (apart from the aforementioned denial) is some variation of “We did what we thought right, no-one could have foreseen what would happen, and we cannot be blamed!”. Well, there were a great many others who did foresee what would or could happen, be it with an eye at the economy (like yours truly), at medical issues (note, in particular, the Great Barrington Declaration), at consequences for children, whatnot. Moreover, many of us openly warned about negative consequences. Our warnings were ignored—worse, we were condemned and defamed en masse as e.g. COVIDiots, conspiracy theorists, anti-vaxxers,* anti-science extremists,** peddlers of mis- and disinformation, … But now, they suddenly claim that no-one could have foreseen this-and-that!

*Notably, with no regard for the degree of opposition (including very sensible positions like a “test more before we inject half the world”) and with no regard for opposition to specifically the COVID vaccines vs. opposition to vaccines in general, which is a very, very different thing.

**The idea that someone like yours truly would be anti-science, even without the “extremist”, is absurd—and quite insulting.

To any policy maker or advisor who calls for a self-serving amnesty: Not only should you have foreseen the potential negative issues on your own, had you had a brain and actually used it, but you were told about the potential negative issues—you were outright and explicitly told! You have no excuse whatsoever and you have no right to an amnesty. That you have the inexcusable audacity to ask for one merely serves to condemn you further.

Excursion on the “precautionary principle”:
A common excuse by COVID-fanatics is the “precautionary principle”, that we must act strongly because we do not know how bad COVID could be. This is disingenuous and turns the world on its head. In truth, the “precautionary principle” would dictate that we proceed with caution with the countermeasures, as we know that humanity easily survived e.g. the Spanish Flu,* but we do not know how bad e.g. the effects of lockdowns would be—those of us who used our heads and understood even elementary economics knew that they would be bad, but to predict the exact consequences was near impossible. If we look at the vaccines, there might never, through the entire course of human history, have been a better example of when the “precautionary principle” should have been applied—to not inject (or try to inject) billions of humans with multiple doses of poorly tested vaccines. What if things had gone very, very wrong? (As opposed to the “somewhat wrong” that we have reason to suspect today.) What if the vaccines had turned out to be troublemakers on par with Thalidomide? Certainly, no precautionary argument concerning something so trivial as COVID could have outweighed that risk.

*Note that even the very early estimates around COVID, outside the panic-mongering of idiots like Ferguson, pointed to a lesser danger than once from the Spanish Flu—and incomparably lesser than from some of the epi- and pandemics of even earlier times. As is, COVID turned out to be closer to the regular flu than to the Spanish… For that matter, cancer kills more humans per year, year in and year out, than COVID.

Then there is the damage to Rechtsstaatlichkeit and democracy… To this, note that principles of this type are especially important when things go wrong, to prevent governmental and other abuse, to reduce the risk of totalitarianism and dictatorships, etc. To swear by such principles in times of smooth running and then to abolish them when a crisis appears, well, that is incompatible with the very ideas behind them—like building and bragging about a storm cellar and then, when a tornado actually comes, to remain above ground “because reasons”. Again, the “precautionary principle” speaks against the policies of the COVID-fanatics—the true COVIDiots.

Written by michaeleriksson

March 12, 2023 at 1:22 pm

The Leftist Germany

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To demonstrate the horrifying influence of Leftist ideologies in Germany:

I briefly skimmed through the news on ARD text (a site without archiving of old contents) and stumbled from the nominally* Conservative CDU wanting to form yet another coalition government with its nominal* arch-enemy SPD (Social-Democrats; this time in Berlin), to the SPD run federal government wanting to enforce a Feminist (!) foreign policy, to price-controls taking effect on various forms of energy (and retroactively, at that).

*In U.S. terms, CDU is a party dominated by RINOs and “Cuckservatives”. Merkel, especially, was a disaster for German non-Leftism, in general, and Conservatism, in particular.

To this, I note that a sane Germany, governed by facts and reason, would see SPD in a niche existence and as an entirely unacceptable partner in any government, be it federal or state based; that Feminism has done everything that it can to discredit it self, and still, weirdly, is taken seriously and propagated by idiot politicians; and that the current energy situation is exactly when market forces would have been beneficial to increase the availability of energy and to ensure that energy goes where it is the most needed. (That the energy crisis is mostly created by the politicians, to begin with, does not make matters better.)

Written by michaeleriksson

March 1, 2023 at 9:03 pm

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Do utilitarian arguments have a place in society?

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My previous text included a quote with the sentence “Yet this is a calculating, utilitarian argument that has no place in a society that values both individual rights and human dignity.”. By and large, I am in agreement, as both calculating* and utilitarian arguments tend to lead to a bad place, especially through neglecting the rights of others and/or the rights of the individual. (Moreover, there is some ambiguity as to whether the author rejected this specific “calculating, utilitarian argument” or such arguments in general.)

*With some reservations for what is considered “calculating”. Also cf. below.

However, neither is automatically a bad thing. Consider a utilitarian example and ethical dilemma:

Have a train rush down a track, with no possibility to stop the train in time, no lever to pull to redirect the train (much unlike the dilemma of which this example is a modified version), and no other loopholes or clever solutions available. On the track, we have three persons tied down, two with the same rope, one with a separate rope. You have time enough to cut exactly one of the ropes and to help the newly freed of the tracks, while the other(s) will be run over.

There are now three choices:

  1. Free none of the three.
  2. Free the one.
  3. Free the two.

All other factors equal, the typical utilitarian conclusion, that the two should be freed, is perfectly compatible with even a strongly individualistic and anti-collectivistic take on ethics. Indeed, saving the two is likely what almost everyone would choose.

(When factors are not equal, other decisions can be more likely, e.g. when two archenemies resp. a single love interest of the chooser are at stake, or when the one is a child of ten and the two are both in their eighties.)

A “calculating example” is trickier, especially as there is likely to be more debate around what is or is not calculating behavior, a calculating argument, whatnot. However, consider a slight modification of the above, where there are just two persons on the track, each tied down with a separate rope, and otherwise the same setup. You have reason to believe that the one will give you a hefty reward for freeing him, while the other will give you a warm thanks and not one dime. It might well be that they are both, in some sense, equally deserving of rescue,* but who could fault you for choosing the one with the reward? The death toll would be the same in both cases, with the main difference that you would or would not have some extra money.

*Note that the absence of a reward does not automatically imply e.g. ingratitude, which could conceivably have justified a “less deserving”. Say, to keep all-other-factors as equal as possible, that the two are identical twins, only differing in details, one of these details being that the one remembers where they had jointly buried some money and that the other does not.

However, note that these examples are carefully chosen and that small changes to the conditions can lead to different conclusions about e.g. whether something “has [no/a] place in a society that values both individual rights and human dignity”. For instance, the original dilemma, involving switching or not switching a train down a new track, actively killing one who was set to live in order to save two who were set to die,* is much more likely to lead to differences in opinion.

*Or whatever numbers happen to be used. As an additional complication, many might choose differently depending on whether we have two-against-one or, say, twenty-against-one.

To return to a medical setting (as in my original text), note the similar difference between a physician performing triage after a collision between two trains and a physician deliberately murdering a patient in order to have organs to transplant into several other patients.

Written by michaeleriksson

February 27, 2023 at 4:22 pm

Life-and-death choices III

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In a text on life-and-death choices ([1]), I noted:

For instance, over the last few months, I have heard repeated claims of excessive pushing of “assisted suicide” (likely all relating to Canada). Assisted suicide might seem like an increase in one’s own self-determination. When done correctly, it might even be so.* However, when suicide becomes a “solution” actively offered by e.g. the government or a hospital (as opposed to something requested by the patient), maybe even one pushed as “the best option” (or similar), this fast ceases to be the case—especially, when the concerns of others are given priority.**


**Consider thinking like “if this patient dies, we have a free bed for someone else and maybe an organ or two to transplant”, “if this pensioner dies, there is more pension money to go around”, “if this prisoner dies, society is free from the costs of keeping him incarcerated and he is guaranteed not to commit further crimes” (also see excursion), and note the fate of Boxer in “Animal Farm” and many in “Soylent Green”. (Also note how often the dystopic works of old appear to be used as instruction manuals today—not as deterrents.)

Today, I encountered claims that Doctor endorses idea of suicide through organ donation ([2]). Some quotes:*

*Here and below with reservations for formatting, etc.

A recent bioethics paper raises some age-old arguments around an issue that strikes at the heart of ethical organ donation: organ donation euthanasia or ODE.

The Dead Donor Rule (DDR) is cornerstone to the public trust and ethics of organ donation. But for some, including Dr. Didde B Anderson, limiting the donation pool only to those actively dying or dead violates a principle of personal autonomy and is “paternalistic.”

As summarized in Psychology Today (PT), Anderson argues that healthy people who wish to donate an essential organ — a heart, for example — to save the lives of others should be allowed to do so, at the cost of their own lives.

Here something very similar to my original points apply, in that this might superficially seem like an increase in self-determination, but that the net-results could be very negative. This especially once the interest of others, utilitarian principles, and similar enter the equation. Apart from what is discussed in the remainder of [2], I note how easily this could move us towards exactly one of those Boxer or “Soylent Green” situations, especially when combined with coercion, economic incentives, reductions in medical services, etc.

One of Anderson’s main arguments is that allowing someone to choose to commit suicide for organ donation would lead to better organ viability. Yet this is a calculating, utilitarian argument that has no place in a society that values both individual rights and human dignity. […]

[Dr. Jonah Rubin of Harvard Medical School] says that creating a system that ignores the DDR — where an otherwise physically healthy person could request euthanasia for the purposes of organ donation — would inevitably create perverse incentives and unintended social consequences. If killing oneself for organ donation becomes a praiseworthy act, the mere mention of organ donation on a suicide-minded patient increases psychological pressure and starts to erode their autonomy.

Yet another issue in the same family, which could soon turn into guilting e.g. those in pain,* the elderly,* the poor, or the already suicidal into death, maybe in combination with claims that “You will no longer be a burden on your family!”, “You will no longer be a burden on society!”, “You have a civic duty to [whatnot]!”. (Note the difference that organ donations make to the situation: hospitals and the like now have incentives to push such a line in order to get organs for other patients and/or make more money.)

*In these cases, with reservations for organ viability, which can vary greatly depending on the cause of pain, how elderly, etc.

In a follow-up ([3]), I wrote:

[…] we have issues like where to draw the border between assistance and murder/manslaughter/whatnot, what level of encouragement (to go ahead) is tolerable in what setting,* when there should be an obligation to provide alternatives, when an offer to assist and/or a request for assistance should require a “cooling off” period, etc. […]

*That such encouragement can and often should be illegal is clear. Consider e.g. a deeply unhappy high-school student who is exposed to “encouraging” bullies. Even in a more medical setting, a case can often be made, as seen by how many who experience gender-dysphoria have been prematurely encouraged to take irrevocable steps. An analogous, “suicide affirmative”, approach could lead to a great many unnecessary deaths—maybe including that someone who engaged in a “call for attention” pseudo-attempt is encouraged to try again and with professional help to guarantee success.

Coincidentally, this matches up well with another recent article from the same source as [2]: Plan would let kids seek euthanasia … without telling parents! ([4]). This article discusses a potential horror, in light of the above, how easily manipulated today’s youths appear to be,* the gender-dysphoria epidemic, etc. Note, in particular, that youths who commit suicide and donate their organs would be a gold mine for an unscrupulous hospital.

*Whether the youths of yore or the adults of today were/are better, I leave unstated.

Assisted suicide and euthanasia have become rapidly accepted in Canada under the government’s Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD) program, but there are still efforts to expand it even further. A new government report on MAiD was recently presented to Parliament, urging the inclusion of minors in the eligibility for physician-assisted death — without parental consent.

The committee then made the recommendation that Canada should begin, within five years, funding research and consulting “with minors on the topic of MAID, including minors with terminal illnesses, minors with disabilities, minors in the child welfare system and Indigenous minors.”

Here an interesting potential drift is present: while the current first effort seems to be focused on the terminally ill (cf. other parts of [4]), this continuation points to the mid- or long-term inclusion of those with disabilities, on welfare (burden to society!), and, for some reason, the “Indigenous”*.

*How they plan to get away with that one is unclear… I suspect that it is a case of a horrifyingly unfortunate formulation, e.g. with the intent to give the “Indigenous” preferential treatment in consultation, as a quasi-DIE measure and as opposed to a go-die measure. (Note a recent similar blunder where pushers of that absurd and linguistically nonsensical “people first” language made a claim along the lines that “the poor”, “the disabled”, and … “the French” would be insulting labels.)

Additionally, the report recommended that minors be able to be euthanized, even if their parent doesn’t approve […]:

That the Government of Canada establish a requirement that, where appropriate, the parents or guardians of a mature minor be consulted in the course of the assessment process for MAID, but that the will of a minor who is found to have the requisite decision-making capacity ultimately takes priority.

So, minors are supposed to be allowed to kill themselves, in addition to undergoing sex-change procedures, without parental consent—but they do not have the right to enter a binding contract on their own, to have sex, to get married, to drink, whatnot.* Indeed, such acts are often illegal even with parental consent…

*With reservations for what applies in any given jurisdiction for the age at hand. The laws can vary considerably.

Now, I am open to discuss what should and should not be allowed at what age, with or without parental consent, but any sane system must have a consistency of principle. Such a consistency would not be present here. (And tends to be absent, more generally, when politicians are present.)

Written by michaeleriksson

February 27, 2023 at 3:05 pm

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On the attempts to cancel “Dilbert” and Scott Adams

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In recent news, the comic strip “Dilbert” appears to have been partially cancelled after author Scott Adams made statements condemned, typically without quotes, as e.g. a “racist rant”.

I made a brief search to find out what he actually had said and mostly came up empty. One of the few hits that actually contained quotes was at American Thinker*. Going by what is written there, neither “racist” nor “rant”** truly applies:***

*That a decidedly non-Leftist site is one of the few that actually gives specifics is telling: the typical Leftist approach is to shout “Racist!”, give no proof, and hope to be believed in a blanket manner.

**While the gross abuse of “racist” on the Left, and especially among the actually racist parts of the Left, is a known issue, it also seems to me that the word “rant” is quite overused, as another indirect attempt at discrediting someone, per se, rather than to discuss his actual claims, underlying reasoning, the facts of the matter, etc.

***In addition to the usual disclaimers about formatting, etc., note that the below contains considerable re-quoting and resulting quotes within quotes.

Adams became a nationwide trending topic after he said that black people are “a hate group and I don’t want to have anything to do with them.”

While a very generalizing statement, and one that does seem to be legitimately worthy of criticism at that level of generalization, it should be seen in the light of:

Adams was referring to a Rasmussen Survey that revealed that only 53 percent of Black Americans believe “it’s okay to be white.” Twenty-six percent think “it isn’t okay to be white,” while 21% remain undecided.

BLACK AMERICANS ONLY: “It’s okay to be white.” 53% agree, 26% disagree, 21% not sure

“Black people can be racist, too” 76% of agree, 27% disagree, 8% not sure.
https://t.co/5pYBvT00qn — Rasmussen Reports (@Rasmussen_Poll) February 22, 2023

The first portion is something much more problematic, something that truly should be cause for alarm, and something that truly should be filling the news. Going by this survey, between 26 and 47 percent of Blacks are a hate* group—and this even restricted to Whites as the object of hate, without looking at e.g. the wide-spread anti-Asian and anti-Hispanic sentiments in the Black population.

*At least, by the standards of the Left, which invariably fails to make a difference between e.g. “hate” and “loathing”. Also see a discussion of “hate speech”.

As an aside, the Left and/or more specific Black hate-groups (e.g. BLM) have pushed hard to make statements like “ALL lives matter” and “It’s OK to be White” be, paradoxically and contrafactually, considered hate speech, which shows how far gone the debate is and what mindlessness and hateful distortions rule on the Left. The haters are given a free rein and those objecting to the haters are condemned as—haters.

He also said the following:

Based on the current way things are going, the best advice I would give to white people is to get the hell away from black people.

Wherever you have to go, just get away. Because there’s no fixing this. This can’t be fixed, right. This can’t be fixed. You just have to escape.

As far as I can tell, he is factually at least approximately correct in this regard. I have seen a great many sources (note e.g. [1]) give experiences and statistics on these matters that point to “get away” being sound advice. In the future, this might change, but it will be a long-term process and it will require a complete rethinking of U.S. policy* towards Blacks and a reversal of e.g. Anti-White hate propaganda as pushed by CRT, the history-distorting 1619 Project, and similar anti-scientific absurdities.

*Including over-lenient treatment of criminal acts, affirmative action, and the like. Cf. e.g. parts of [1] resp. the discussed book.

A potentially important point is that he said “This can’t be fixed.” (etc.), not e.g. “They can’t be fixed.”. The latter might, depending on details, have been genuine racism; the former is not.

He then cited CNN anchor Don Lemon to claim that there’s a “correlation” between a “mostly Black” neighborhood and “a bunch of problems he didn’t see” in majority-white areas.

Again a factually true claim. (To boot, with the complication that it is unclear whether Adams, as opposed to just Lemon, would have been worthy of criticism, had the claim been faulty.)

Adams also said that he was going to stop helping black America because it doesn’t seem to pay off.

It makes no sense to help black Americans if you’re white.

Again, he is factually correct: Firstly, at least the type of help and “help” so far given,* seems to make matters worse. Secondly, the help does not seem to result in gratitude but in calls for more help and gross entitlement issues. (And, no, just shouting “Slavery!” or “Jim Crow!” is not a justification for such help. See e.g. [2].)

*However, other types of help could conceivably be beneficial, e.g. that Blacks are directed away from ghetto/gangsta culture, taught to take responsibility for their own lives (ditto many of the younger Whites), etc.

He added that videos of black people beating white people had convinced him that whites should not help black people and whites should not live in communities with a large percentage of black people.

Here he makes an error, if not one different from those that the Left and mindless Leftists make on a very regular basis: Just looking at videos implies that the overall impression could be distorted by selection effects. Statistics are what counts in situations like these.

All in all, if* Adams deserves a cancellation, the same applies several times over to the likes of Xendi, Sharpton, and AOC. In fact, a very significant part of the Democrat top, including Biden and Pelosi, are more deserving of cancellation.

*An “if” that hinges both on whether Adams truly did something sufficiently wrong, and whether cancellations are a legitimate tool to begin with. I am highly sceptical to both.

I would certainly encourage any and all readers who has seen “Dilbert” disappear from e.g. their daily papers to write a letter of protest to the resp. paper/whatnot. Hell, throw in a threat of cancelling the subscriptions and show that “go woke, go broke” is a real thing!

Excursion on Dahl and increasing distortions of words:
In light of my recent text on Roald Dahl resp. the distortions of his works by Leftist BigBrother-ites, I cannot suppress the fear that we will soon see something worse, namely distortions of the words various persons have spoken/written as explicit own opinions (as opposed to opinions uttered by characters in works of fiction, opinions that might be speculated based on events in works of fiction, and similar). Adams is still alive and could put up a fight, but Dahl is dead and can as little put up a fight against such distortions as he could around his books. So, instead of e.g. cancelling Dahl for being an evil whatnot*, why not just take any statements made and twist them into another direction? If someone is otherwise tolerable, why not just add (fake) explicit statements to his history to create the impression that he was a staunch supporter of various Leftist causes? (Note e.g. how Feminists are very keen on slapping the label “Feminist” onto historical characters, long dead and predating the word “Feminist”, with no regard for how these characters might actually have reacted to such, often unfair and potentially defamatory, claims.)

*The “whatnot” possibly depending on the mood of the day.

As exaggerated examples of principle:

“Give me social security or give me death!”

“There is nothing to fear but White Supremacy!”

“One small step for man, a giant accomplishment for womyn engineers!”

Excursion on me and Adams:
Long ago, I wrote a text on the most important advice for company life—read Dilbert. This, I have to admit, is not an advice that I have followed over the last fifteen or more years. The reasons are simply that (a) I grew fed up with a particular brand of humor and a certain set of standing jokes (too much of anything…), and (b) the Dilbert strip is often quite depressing.

I cannot speak for how the strip has developed in the years gone by, but I must concur with that younger version of me to the point that having read (and thought about!) just one or two years’ worth of the strip-that-I-knew can make a major difference in developing the right understanding of stupidity in the office and the irrationality of various actors (e.g. HR and middle management), the right level of cynicism to have and level of caution to apply, etc. Moreover, an occasional re-exposure, in order to be reminded, does not hurt—it is so easy to forget how problematic some persons are until it is too late.

Of course, any such benefit from reading the strip, as any other benefit, e.g. of amusement, is entirely independent of what views Adams does or does not hold, what statements he has or has not uttered in an interview, etc. By reducing access to the works of a particular author, more might be done to harm his readers/viewers/whatnot than to harm him.

Written by michaeleriksson

February 26, 2023 at 3:44 pm

Democrats give Communism a pass / Dog bites man (Follow-up: Even Democrats condemn Socialism / Man bites dog)

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Recently, I noted that even the House Democrats had voted to condemn Socialism ([1])—a true man-bites-dog moment. While this resolution is still waiting for the Senate vote, I just saw a much more dog-bites-man action from the Democrats, as Virginia Senate Rejects Bill on Teaching the Dangers of Communism in Schools.

The motivation is ridiculous and seems like excuse making:*

*Here and elsewhere with reservation for changes to formatting, etc.

Legislation requiring all Virginia public schools to teach the history and dangers of communism was blocked by the state Senate’s Education and Health subcommittee after one of the largest school unions opposed the bill, saying it would discriminate against Asian people.

A representative from the Virginia Education Association (VEA) spoke in opposition to Del. John Avoli’s bill, HB 1816.

“Four out of the five current communist regimes are countries that are in Asia. We are concerned that this bill would subject Asian American students to anti-Asian sentiment and we think that we would oppose this bill,” said Emily Yen, a research coordinator for VEA.

Note in particular that the main reason seems to go back to a school union (!), and that school unions (in the U.S.) are notorious for having strong Leftist sympathies, including, disturbingly often, a Socialist, Communist, and/or (otherwise) Marxist streak. More thorough and more critical information about Communism (etc.) is needed in schools partially because of them.

In as far as the motivation is taken at face value, it shows at least three very dangerous issues: (a) The over-racialization pushed so hard by the U.S. Left. (b) How information is withheld from the masses through the fear that they will reach the wrong or, often, “wrong” conclusions. (c) How countermeasures against genuine issues can fail through a mere risk (and, often, a merely perceived risk) of a smaller damage. If this standard was applied consistently, it would not be allowed to e.g. seriously discuss the Nazis (might lead to negative consequences for German-Americans), Islamist violence (ditto for Muslims and/or Arabs), government failure (ditto for politicians), school failure (ditto for teachers), etc. Indeed, in some cases, including Black criminality (in general) and Black-on-Asian violence (topically relevant) such censorship/suppression of debate is already common.*

*Paralleled by criminality by immigrants in e.g. Sweden and Germany.

Moreover, the outcome makes me fear that the resolution discussed in [1] will suffer a similar fate, as even a clear House victory and (partially) bipartisan support gives no guarantee for a victory in the Senate:*

*Obviously, however, these are two different Houses resp. Senates. The victory margin for the federal resolution was also larger. Nevertheless…

While the Virginia House of Delegates passed the bill in a bipartisan vote of 64 to 34, Democrats in the state Senate prevented the bill from moving out of committee.

In contrast to the VEA and the Virgina Democrats, Avoli and other supporters has it right, as can be seen in the current world, including in the U.S. and in Germany, where even absurd Leftism is tolerated, evermore extreme Leftism is normalized, and even moderate non-Leftist positions are increasingly condemned as “extremist”:*

*See a great number of earlier texts, e.g. [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7].

Avoli said it’s important to codify the requirements that students learn about the dangers of communism so that history does not repeat itself.

Avoli clarified that the bill would require the teaching of communism in its entirety with no special focus on Asia.

Supporters of the bill say this measure is particularly needed because of the rise of socialist and Marxist ideologies in the education system, resulting in the fact that many young adults see communism as a superior system to capitalism, not realizing the true toll communism has taken on human life.

Hear, hear!

A particular treat (had the opportunity not been missed), especially in light of the many odd and often undeserved “Days” common in the U.S.:

The bill would also have required the governor to issue a proclamation to designate Nov. 7 as Victims of Communism Day and require public schools in the Commonwealth to honor the approximately 100 million victims of various communist regimes.

As a contrast, I note the behavior of Wuppertal, the birthplace of Engels and my own city of residence, for the 200th anniversary of his birth. A sane Wuppertal would have gone with e.g. “Wuppertal setzt sich kritisch mit dem Marxistischen Gedankengut auseinander!”* or “Wuppertal gedenkt der Opfer des Marxismus!”**. In reality? “Wuppertal feiert den 200. Geburtstag von Friedrich Engels!”*** (Cf. [8].)

*“Wuppertal critically examines Marxist thought!” (The German version is more idiomatically natural.)

**“Wuppertal commemorates the victims of Marxism!” (Ditto.)

***“Wuppertal celebrates the 200th birthday of Friedrich Engels!”

Written by michaeleriksson

February 22, 2023 at 5:30 pm

Beeching axe vs. Swedish station closures / Follow-up: German department stores (and COVID-19)

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In an older text ([1]),* I discuss a side-topic of optimizations that might seem plausible, especially in the short term, but which might have unforeseen or ignored negative effects, especially in the long term—as with the closing of railway stations in rural Sweden during the 1980s.

*I apologize for the quality of language in that text. While I make no claim of perfection in other texts, I found myself sorely tempted to let a rewrite follow the revisit.

Today, I encountered the British Beeching cuts ([2])* of some twenty years earlier—and I find that the Swedish cutters of the 1980s had failed to learn from history.

*The exact version read and quoted is 129913.

For instance, I wrote that:

[…] Possibly, in any given case, [a station closure] was a rational decision, but it had the effect that overall passenger load was reduced and that fewer passengers used the other stations, making the next cut that more tempting.*** […]

***I note that this was deep in the country-side, where almost everyone had a car, and that it was rarely worth the trouble to take the car to the next station: unless the intended train travel was very long, one might just as well go the entire distance by car as go to a further-away station by car and then taking the train from there.

(Footnote present in the original.)

This while [2] says e.g.:*

*Internal remark removed. Some change to formatting might have occurred.

The assumption at the time was that car owners would drive to the nearest railhead (which was usually the junction where the closed branch line would otherwise have taken them) and continue their journey onwards by train. In practice, having left home in their cars, people used them for the whole journey. Similarly for freight: without branch lines, the railways’ ability to transport goods “door to door” was dramatically reduced. As in the passenger model, it was assumed that lorries would pick up goods and transport them to the nearest railhead, where they would be taken across the country by train, unloaded onto another lorry and taken to their destination. The development of the motorway network, the advent of containerisation, improvements in lorries and the economic costs of having two break-bulk points combined to make long-distance road transport a more viable alternative.

This assumption seems naive to me even for the 1960s, as the objection that I raise in the footnote is obvious as a possibility (but not necessarily as a certainty); however, that the same assumption was (implicitly or explicitly) made twenty years later is remarkable: How could railway experts be unaware of the British experiences? If originally unaware, how could they have failed to research prior experiences before engaging in similar cuts?

(Off topic, it is also a possible example of a recurring issue of various service providers, producers, whatnot being, for want of a better word, self-centered, in that they see their specific service, product, whatnot as the natural default, as unusually important, as having an exceptional position in the eyes of the customers, or similar.)

Among other interesting statements in [2], I was gratified to find claims of failed “bustitution”. While likely not something that I have ever discussed, I have always found bus travel to be cumbersome relative train travel, including in terms of (dis-)comfort and travel times. Similarly, cost and environmental* effects aside, a comparison between travel by bus and by car leaves the car well ahead. Whether my own experiences are relevant to a train–bus comparison in the British 1960s is uncertain; however, looking at the world that I know and have known, a relative failure of bus lines is not surprising. To be blunt, buses suck—even by the standards of public transport.

*And note that the environmental effects were prioritized far lower in the 1960s than today.

(However, note that I make no statement on whether the overall effect of the Beeching cuts was positive or negative—or, for that matter, the effect of the Swedish cuts.)

Excursion on other aspects of [1]:
The main/surface topics of [1] are department stores (including long-term trends and the potential effects of the, then new, COVID-countermeasures) and the ability of customers to buy this-and-that in a reasonable manner. To this, I note that I have likely not set foot in a department store in the almost three years since [1]—in part, due to the relatively low benefit; in part, due to the COVID-countermeasures, which saw a long stretch of forced downtime and made me lose any habit of department store visits. Further, that German Wikipedia points to severe and continued problems for the sole major player left (Galeria / Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof), including repeated Schutzschirmverfahren, which, in my understanding, are comparable to the U.S. “Chapter 11”.

More locally, I noted that “Sadly, I had [a Walmart-style market] just a few kilometers away, when I first came to Barmen, but it has since closed—incidentally, leaving the (otherwise very small) mall that it anchored almost dead.”. Since then, a new anchor has been found, but one with a smaller scope both in size (one floor instead of two) and product range (very little not found in a regular, food-centric, supermarket).

Written by michaeleriksson

February 13, 2023 at 5:45 pm

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The many ganging up on the few / Evil Leftist methods and the need to counter them in kind

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Earlier today, I encountered a complaint about the misbehavior of the Left around “Hogwarts Legacy”.

The events described are a good example of how the Left tends to throw an enormous amount of weight onto a single target, in this case a game,* in order to win a victory through to some combination of defeat in detail and attempts by the attacked to get out of the situation by appeasement, compromises, or similar. However, such appeasement, as with Hitler, brings nothing but a brief delay: the hoards of the Left move on to the next** target, encouraged by the prior gains, throw an enormous amount of weight onto some new single target, etc., etc., etc.

*And, presumably, by proxy, J. K. Rowling for not being sufficiently pro-trans. (I have not investigated the motivations behind the attacks on the game, as they are irrelevant to this text, but prior events strongly point to this.) See an excursion for the chain of proxies potentially involved.

**Which is not necessarily related to some other entity, but might be some other point relating to the same entity, e.g. in that a college that concedes by denying a guest-speaker the right to speak might next be faced with demands that one of its own professors be muzzled.

This has been going on for at least several decades, and seems to be continually accelerating. Consider e.g. the ever recurring cancellations.

The counter must be to apply a similar approach: Find whatever or whoever is the target of attack, throw in massive support in defense, and attack the Leftist shits behind these atrocities with the same means, to cancel them, to show them that they are vulnerable to public opinion, to deter them from engaging in various acts and certain types of speech,* to prove that their hatred is not accepted in a civilized society, etc. Bully the bullies!

*Note the asymmetry in that the victims of these hateful shits usually have done or said nothing wrong by any reasonable standards, while the Leftist behaviors are usually utterly out of line.

Unfortunately, this hardly ever happens. Instead, it is more dilly-dallying, appeasement, compromises, a meeting of unfair play/methods with fair play/methods, etc., while each victim is forced to fend for himself and while, as a consequence, battle after battle after battle is lost. The one party is waging a war; the other, naively, is trying to “get along”—and is slaughtered in return. Then there is the whole “First they came” issue.*

*Of which, incidentally, Rowling is a good example: She did not speak up in the early stages, when evil Leftist methods were used for nefarious purposes against e.g. non-Leftists, men, and Whites—and when she thought that they came for women and she finally did speak up, see what happened.

Excursion on deterring effects and chains of proxy:
The linked-to text also gives good examples of the principle of deterrence and, if I am correct in the underlying motive, in an interesting chain of such deterrence: You must not even play the game—or you will be destroyed! -> You must not even make a game/product with any association to J. K. Rowling—or you will be destroyed! -> You must never speak out against trans-mania—or you will be destroyed!

Depending on details, the chain might be argued even further, e.g. in that “You must not even employ someone who plays the game—or you will be destroyed!”.

Indeed, there are examples of attacks against those who have simply failed to denounce a target of the Left or has been in an independent relationship with a target of the left. Note e.g. the firing of a poor guy over tweets made by his wife—something utterly absurd, even if the tweets had been worthy of condemnation (for which no actual proof was given to the public).

Note the additional level of distorting incentives: For instance, a single gamer might be very loath to take a fight, at potentially great personal risk, to save a game, where he would have been willing to do so with a more personal target (e.g. himself or members of his family) under attack. For instance, a business might be more willing to fire an employee without true cause than to risk a loss of business. Similarly, in other contexts, why should a college risk taking a stand for a single non-Leftist speaker, when it is so much less painful to just cave to the Mindless Ones*. This again gives us a “First they came” angle, and it demonstrates how important it is to stand up to evil—and to do so in time.

*I have been reading some old “Doctor Strange” comics lately, and the similarity between these fictional characters and certain types of Leftist, the mob-forming ones in particular, is quite large. There is the difference that the Mindless Ones often fight each other with great dedication, while the Left gangs up on outsiders, but the Left is slowly getting there too. (Note e.g. the recent conflicts between Feminists and trans-activists.)

(And, again, the counter should be to do the same in return: cancel, dox, whatnot those on the Left who engage in cancellations, doxing, whatnot for illegitimate reasons, like a difference in opinions or priorities. Again, note the asymmetry: it is not legitimate to cancel someone over a difference in opinions, but it is legitimate to cancel those who themselves have cancelled for such an illegitimate reason. Similarly, using a gun to rob someone is illegitimate, but using a gun to apprehend someone who uses a gun to rob someone is legitimate.)

Written by michaeleriksson

February 9, 2023 at 12:05 am