the one-eyed man must pretend he cannot see.
The Golden Thread is a person’s real autobiography – the sequence of deep, significant, mythic-seeming, remembered experiences stretching back into childhood like a Golden Thread
I loved this quote:
The market mechanism is loosely efficient. But the idea that efficiency is the main virtue of free markets is wrong. Competition itself is highly inefficient. In my home town, I can buy food from about eight different places; I’m sure this system could be much more ‘efficient’ if Waitrose, M&S and Lidl were forcibly merged into one huge ‘Great Grocery Hall of The People No. 1306’. I am equally confident that after a few initial years of success, the shop would be terrible.
The missing metric here is semi-random variation. Truly free markets trade efficiency for a costly process of market-tested innovation heavily reliant on dumb luck. The reason this inefficient process is necessary is that, though we pretend otherwise, no one knows anything about anything: most of the achievements of consumer capitalism were never planned; they are explicable only in retrospect, if at all.
-thus Rory Sutherland
I love that quote. But I would go further. Sutherland is comparing capitalism to standard Darwinianism. Capitalism is more like mutational load Darwinianism, as championed by our own Dr. Charlton. The secret sauce of the market mechanism is failure.
Diversity lusts to consume all that lives, grows and is Good. But its hunger is never assuaged, not in the slightest degree. If we feed Diversity, it grows in strength but is never satisfied.
Ultimately Diversity would consume the world – and then, when nothing else was left to eat, consume itself.
-thus Bruce Charlton
Prudence with an infinite time horizon is not empirical anymore; it’s metaphysical.
-thus E. Anthony Grey
[As Adam] slept a rib was taken from him and the woman, Eve, was created. There is no doubt that this first man Adam before he sinned typified the Redeemer. For as the Redeemer slept in the stupor of suffering and caused water and blood to issue from his side, he brought into existence the virgin and unspotted church, redeemed by blood, purified by water
It’s really remarkable how much the Bible prefigures Christ, if you look for it.
There is a famous example from Paul Samuelson who noted that if a man married his maid, then, all else being equal, GDP would fall. Or if a nanny has a child and quits her nanny job to take care of that child, GDP falls, despite the total amount of child care being produced remaining the exact same.
The most glaring absence from the “goods basket” is leisure time. And in fact any non-economic good is excluded: working on the house, taking care of children, doing private research, writing a book to distribute for free over the Internet. Nor is the quality of goods measured. Every time I walk down the main street of my city, I lament how every new building is so ugly and drab, compared to the gorgeous ornamental work of the buildings 100 years ago. GDP does not tell us how much we have lost in our ability to create beautiful buildings.
… these are a savage and brutal people, given to all manner of atrocities. They eat each other, they starve each other, they kill each other. They have no art and only the most primitive of science, yet such is their violent nature that even with so little knowledge they are now energetically using it to exterminate each other, tribe against tribe.
— “The Moderator”
Robert A. Heinlein, Have Space Suit – Will Travel
Democracy that really listened to all the people would be an authoritarian nightmare.
Thus Brian Caplan
Yes, well. When your daughter is the one who’s lying barely conscious on the front yard of some frat house, my sons will be the ones who will know enough to charge in, swinging sticks to chase the brutes away. They’ll know because we let them have sticks, we let them find out what sticks can do, and we told them what sticks are for.
Violence doesn’t take over when boys are allowed to have sticks. Violence takes over when no one tells boys what sticks are for.
Thus Simcha Fisher
I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men, with a favourable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption it is the other way, against the holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority, still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.
Each man takes care that his neighbor shall not cheat him. But a day comes when he begins to care that he does not cheat his neighbor. Then all goes well — he has changed his market-cart into a chariot of the sun.
Thus Ralph Waldo Emerson.
George H. W. Bush did not need to be president, and Bill Clinton needed it worse than any normal human being can imagine.