Yet another weird SF fan
 I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?Go to first entry

## Archives

<< current

 Yet another weird SF fan

### More Stuff Political Activists Say

Anybody who disagrees with us but can cite an actual fact is smart but unwise (seen here and there).

### An Important Quote for My Fellow Weirdos

The following applies to libertarians, socialists, monarchists, etc.:

“Meanwhile, as a delightful by-product, the few (fewer every day) who will not be made Normal or Regular and Like Folks and Integrated increasingly become in reality the prigs and cranks which the rabble would in any case have believed them to be.”—C. S. Lewis in Screwtape Proposes a Toast

### A Note on the Cloward–Piven Strategy

Maybe the activists on the Other Side act like they don't know what capitalism is because they aren't aiming at capitalism.

The “Cloward–Piven” strategy was not aimed at infidel libertarians or conservatives. It was aimed at moderate liberal heretics. It was devised in the aftermath of the 1964 election by people who thought the right had been permanently discredited and could be ignored. For example, in the same era we see a liberal looking at radicals and a radical looking at liberals.

In addition to the failed attempts at crashing capitalism I mentioned earlier, there was also the attempt to crash “red” state governments by only providing subsidies to state governments willing to set up state exchanges. This backfired so badly that the mendacitors are now insisting they didn't mean it. It discredited liberals but not libertarians. We also see the alleged border crisis, which might crash the alliance between state governments and unions that holds “blue” states hostage. Again, it looks like it will discredit liberals but not libertarians.

### Bluff and Fold

2012 leftists: “We've got you by the [deleted]. You must set up state exchanges or else.”

2014 leftists: “We were just kidding! You took us seriously?”

In other words, the current administration is applying the same tactics in domestic policy as in foreign policy.

### If Smart Money Buys Brand X …

If smart money buys Brand X, there are two potential conclusions:

• If this is a challenge to capitalist economics, we must save people from themselves by forbidding them from shopping at Whole Foods.
• Only people shopping at Walmart should be allowed to vote.
I also noticed some absurd reactions in the comments to the article. For example:
This story goes against all of the Friedmanite and Austrian economic ideology which presumes that consumers will always make the most informed choices and markets operate with perfect information.
No. We merely assume that consumers are better informed than politicians.

Another absurd comment:

So "national branding", it turns out, is, more or less, another scam essentially, to fleece those who are least able to discern value. The only (cheap) solace here is that many of them must be Tea Partiers, but alas, more of them struggling working poor.
According to stereotype, Tea Partiers are more likely to shop at Walmart whereas liberals are more likely to shop at Whole Foods. As I have said before, it's the left-wing businesses that are spherical trusts.

### Limits to Immigration?

According to Ben Horowitz:

An excellent constraining principle when planning your budget is the preservation of cultural cohesion. The enemy of cultural cohesion is super-fast headcount growth. Companies that grow faster than doubling their headcount annually tend to have serious cultural drift, even if they do a great job of onboarding new employees and training them.
If we apply this to immigration, we can see we must set a quota of no more than 300 million immigrants this year … and 600 million next year ….

### “I Sent You a Rowboat”

Let's see… The US government is going bankrupt due to a lack of children. A horde of children arrive on our doorstep and we're supposed to expel them?

It looks like God sent us a rowboat but we're refusing to get in.

### Stuff Political Activists Say

You can find examples of the following bulshytt on both sides of nearly any political debate:

• Our side isn't ruthless enough but their side plays hardball.
• We can't trust the government and therefore need more of it.
• All hail the experts! What? They disagree with us? Then … QUESTION AUTHORITY!
• If you want to defend someone's rights you must be prepared to take care of them for life.
• The social or economic groups currently associated with their side are parasitic on the social or economic groups currently associated with our side.
• The other side is deliberately pursuing unhealthy policies in order to kill off the surplus population.
• Yes, we have a crackpot or two on our side but we have them under control. Their crackpots are running the show.
• The other side is full of ignorant morons who refuse to find out anything about contrary opinions. We are thereby relieved of any responsibility to find out anything about the other side's opinions.
Sigh.

### Why Judges Sometimes Make Sense

Most government people get their names in headlines by doing things. Judges get their names in headlines by stopping the government from doing things. This gives egomaniac judges (and the top people in any field will be egomaniacs) an incentive to restrain government. You can think of the judicial branch as BuSab.

### Jonah Goldberg Asks a Nasty Question

Jonah Goldberg asks a nasty question:

What would the debate look like if the trends went in the opposite direction? What if most of these immigrants (legal and illegal) were likely to be Republicans in the near and middle term? Would the libertarian arguments for treating labor like any other economic good gain more traction on the right? I think so. Would liberals suddenly realize that they are undermining the economic standing of many African-American and working class Democrats? Almost surely.
If an emergency evacuation of Israel becomes necessary, the current administration will suddenly make an about face on immigration law enforcement. (It's already starting.) It will be the Elian Gonzalez case on a large scale.

I've noticed it's us libertarians who call for repealing immigration laws. Liberals want them on the books but unenforced right now. I think they're holding them in reserve in case potential conservatives want to immigrate.

### The Mexican Border and Future Thrillers

Since Modesty Blaise was based on an 8-year-old refugee traveling by herself, will the children at the Mexican border star in thrillers written in 2034?

### Reining in Bureaucrats

Controlling the Obama appointees (behavior described in The Wall Street Journal) in the Rubbio/Christie/Ryan/Paul presidency may be a problem. We had better start the “battlespace preparation” now. We will need our version of WikiLeaks (we can use the results of the mainstream WikiLeaks but we might need more). We will have explain that letting the public know what unelected bureaucrats are doing is not “snitching.” We will also have to think of other cliches the Other Side might come up with.

One thing we must beware of is encouraging our politicians to be verbose. The more they say, the more chances they will have to say something absurd.

### Of Course There's a Resemblance

I'm sure that nearly everybody online has seen the image comparing Holly Fisher to a jihadi mom (discussed here).

The woman on the left is an ally in the present fight against mandatory contraception coverage. (I don't think I would agree with the political opinions of her great-grandparents.)

The woman on the right is the great-grandmother of people who will fight to keep circumcision legal. (I don't think I would agree with her political opinions.)

The difference is time.

BTW, does this mean the anti-Hobby Lobby people are racists?

### Fermat's Last Theorem and Set Theory, Part III

After noticing that the incomprehensibility of the results of expressing Fermat's Last Theorem in set theory rivals that of machine code, I wondered if it's possible to write a compiler in $$\mathrm{\TeX}$$. It's possible to write a Basic interpreter in $$\mathrm{\TeX}$$.

### Scientific Mistake vs. Scientific Mistake

The latest spin on Hobby Lobby is that their claim that the four birth-control methods they don't cover sometimes act as abortifacients is a scientific mistake. When we look at the data that's supposed to prove it was a mistake we see that only one of the methods has sound evidence that I could locate that it is not normally an abortifacient. (On the other hand, only four pregnancies were prevented and that isn't enough to ensure that the levonorgestrel pill never acts as an abortifacient.) In the other direction, the Copper IUD looks very suspicious:

When used as emergency contraception, the Cu-IUD could also act to prevent implantation, due to copper's effect of altering molecules present in the endometrial lining. Id. However, studies show that the alteration of the endometrial lining prevents rather than disrupts implantation. Id. at 304.
In other words, at best they can show that Hobby Lobby should have refused to cover only one of the methods under dispute.

Speaking as a libertarian, I also hold they have the right to refuse to cover medications for no reason whatsoever. It is not the State's business what they cover.

### Fermat's Last Theorem and Set Theory, Part II

The expression of Fermat's Last Theorem in terms of set theory is up in the form of a $$\mathrm{\TeX}$$ file, a pdf file, and an html file. Warning: The html file uses MathJax and is very slow. As a bonus, I also threw in Goldbach's Conjecture.

Addendum: I found and corrected a typo in the files.

### Three Quotes

But the June 26 photo of the 8-year-old boy apprehended while crossing the border broke my heart. Can anyone imagine the agonizing decision his parents had to make to send their child on such a risky journey? The only thing more disturbing is the politicization of this humanitarian crisis.
From Keith Burgess-Jackson
If Alan Shapiro wants the boy to stay in the United States, he should adopt the boy. He has no right to expect the rest of us to pay for the boy's upkeep. We have enough trouble taking care of our own.
From a much-retweeted attempt at a snarky comment on Hobby Lobby:
UPDATE: you can drop off an unwanted baby at a Hobby Lobby and they'll raise it

### Activities That Even Leftists Find Sleazy

A few weeks ago, I speculated that the IRS destroyed emails as part of “covering up activities that even leftists find sleazy.” More recently it turned out that that IRS is targeting open-source organizations the same way they target Tea Party organizations. Hmmm…

### Friday, July 04, 2014

Esquire's recent analysis of Facebook's abuse of customer trust ends with:

But the real scandal of the Facebook experiment was that the company was doing nothing illegal. You sign away your rights to be analyzed when you agree to Facebook's terms of service. The obvious lesson of the study in PNAS is that that relationship is insufficient, that social media is now a force too powerful to be left simply to the companies that created them. It needs oversight by the only force that can possibly provide it: democratically elected governments and the laws they provide.
If it's the State vs. Facebook, I decline utterly to be impartial as between the fire and the frying pan.

You cannot wield the Ring. None of us can. Regulation answers to the State alone. It has no other master.

### Trying to Impress Imaginary Conservatives Once Again

One common tactic on the left is the attempt to appeal to conservatives … except that they're appealing to the conservatives inside their minds. (I have discussed this here and there.)

The most recent example of this bulshytt can be found here:

He referred to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s blistering 35-page dissent to the decision, saying, “Think about the ramifications: As Justice Ginsberg’s stinging dissent pointed out, companies run by Scientologists could refuse to cover antidepressants, and those run by Jews or Hindus could refuse to cover medications derived from pigs (such as many anesthetics, intravenous fluids, or medications coated in gelatin).”

“(O)ne wonders,” he said, “whether the case would have come out differently if a Muslim-run chain business attempted to impose Sharia law on its employees.”

Of course, it would turn out the same. Of course, Scientologists have the right to not pay for antidepressants. Of course, Hindus have the right to not pay for medications derived from cows. Of course, Jews have the right to not serve milk and meat together. Why is this even controversial?

It looks like the Left has decided conservatives think this is a matter of Christians vs. everybody else and are pointing out that it's not. We actually agree with them on that and don't regard it as a disadvantage.

This decision was based on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The RFRA was passed because of a court case that held that standard drug laws applied to Native Americans who use peyote in religious ceremonies. (In other words, the third and fourth items here are not unforeseen consequences.) The RFRA was passed with bipartisan support. In other words, we wingnuts were willing to defend the rights of religious minorities.

### How Is the Anti-Hobby Lobby Side Stupid?

Let me count the ways:

1. The court's decision won't prevent anybody from getting birth control. The employees can buy it on their own.
2. It won't even stop birth-control coverage. It will only produce a cosmetic change in who signs the forms.
3. The bosses are not holding guns to the employees heads. Nothing is stopping them from quitting.
4. The religious freedom doctrine in question has been around for two decades. The weird counterexamples have already been thought of.
5. It was regarded as part of constitutional law even before the RFRA. The RFRA was only needed because court had an off day.
6. Those weird counterexamples that make a little bit of sense are matters of religious people violating laws forbidding behavior. The contraception mandate commanded behavior instead.
7. Some of the criticism is based on the theory that religion is only done in churches, etc. Does that mean church-backed civil rights protests were fraudulent?
8. Other parts of the criticism are based on the theory that religious people are not permitted to be religious unless they're perfect. On the contrary, large parts of traditional religion include the recognition that even some of the best people can be sinners.
9. The claim that corporations aren't human is particularly idiotic here. This was a closely held corporation backed by humans with faces. You can think of it as a corporation in name only.
10. Insurance coverage for routine items makes no sense in general. It's a matter of the insurance company taking your money out for a wild night on the town before giving it back.
11. And finally, pregnancy is not a disease.
This is a dense pack of stupid arguments. It's hard to pick out one fallacy.

 Profiles My Blogger Profile X-treme Tracker The Atom Feed