Search Results

Keyword: ‘The Elite are Not Good at Strategic and Long-Term Thinking’

The Elite are Not Good at Strategic and Long-Term Thinking: 2

August 18, 2012 11 comments

In the previous part of this series, I wrote about how the so-called intelligent and long-term thinking elite are neither. Their modus operandi and attitudes are far closer to parasites, tumors and cancers than anything that is vaguely beneficial to the society in which they exist. While the previous part highlighted the role of randomness and human gullibility in the rise of “elites”, this post will concentrate on another how their short-term world view guarantees their long-term fall. As I have noted in many previous posts, people who become “elites” through some combination of luck and scam are very status conscious.

They are obsessed with maintaining and increasing their relative status to the point that every action and event in their lives is seen through the lens of status.

This is the reason “elite’ patronize art that they are not enthusiastic about, attend the “right” schools and universities, read books they have no particular liking for or buy yachts and airplanes they seldom enjoy. The same obsession explains why they buy, sell and remodel luxurious houses they seldom live in. It is not about enjoying money, but about showing others you have it- overtly or discreetly.

The need to secure as much status as possible (with the minimum effort) also leads them to devote the majority of their mental energy to making other people poorer and more miserable than themselves. That is why billionaires complain about “high” corporate taxes and regulations while trying to pay their workers as little as they can get away with. The same applies to “millionaires” who abuse their employees and domestic staff even though doing so does not increase their ability to enjoy life. Even relatively average people who make good money such as physicians, professors, middle-level managers, HR shysters etc exhibit the same behavioral patterns.

Such an eternal status-seeking mindset does however have a non-obvious but uniformly fatal flaw. The flaw I am going to talk about is usually ignored because most people, including the “high IQ elite”cannot think beyond a few steps. Furthermore, the “elite” mindset is built around and shaped to ignore such ego-deflating flaws.

The status seeking mindset of “elite” will always amplify the destabilizing effects of external shock to the system.

To understand this problem, let us start with a society in some sort of dynamic equilibrium. Whether they are experiencing growth or simple stagnation, most societies can maintain functional integrity even if they are very unequal and shitty places to live in. Therefore a society will remain reasonably stable and predictable even if most people in it are barely scraping out a mediocre living. The problem I am referring to arises when such a society experiences an external challenge- be it natural events like drought, floods, earthquakes and epidemics to man-made events such as wars, invasions or economic problems caused by external actors. It is important to note that the size of the initial external challenge is not important, as otherwise unremarkable events have a way of magnifying themselves.

Societies usually depend on its “elite” to formulate and coordinate a response to external threat or disruption. They do so because the “elite” portray themselves as especially intelligent and competent. However their hard-wired motivations, mental filters and mindset are geared towards increasing their status- both with respect to the people under them and their peers. Therefore almost all their actions and responses are consciously and unconscionably guided by whether a given path of action, plan or strategy increases their status. This obsession with maintaining and increasing status overrides all other such considerations such as the survival of the society they pretend to lead or their eventual fate.

Therefore almost all of their choices and actions end up making things worse for everybody else in that particular society. Whether this happens on the conscious, or unconscious, level is irrelevant to the effect of such actions which causes a further deterioration in the condition of people in that society. The worsening of conditions for average people in any society damages whatever is left of social cohesion which then feeds back into a further worsening of the overall situation resulting in even more status-driven bad decision by the “elite”. At some stage the forces which hold the stressed society together are overwhelmed by those caused by cascading events caused by the unnecessary suffering of the average people in the system. The people abruptly lose their faith in the “elite” and all institutions associated with them or their apologists, creating a power vacuum that is inevitably filled by some other faction or group.

While those who fill such a power vacuum might not be much better than the old “elite”, they do represent a change from the disastrous policies and institutions which drove that society to implode in the first place. However such large-scale changes cannot occur through democratic elections, as another political party or faction is essentially identical to the one it replaced. It is about the system and institutions, not the party or leaders.

What do you think? Comments?

The Elite are Not Good at Strategic and Long-Term Thinking: 1

June 17, 2012 23 comments

Many apparently non-retarded people seem to believe members of the so-called “elite class” are very good at strategic and long-term thinking. This particular belief is the basis for pretty much all conspiracy theories which you would have ever heard or read about. But is that belief true? or is it just a case of wish projection? Remember, I am not denying that people try to conspire or scheme. The real question is whether they can achieve anything beyond pissing in the rain.

In my opinion there are two types of reasons why the “elite” are far less competent than most people can imagine.

1. A ‘winner takes all’ system, like the one we live in, favors luck and chance over competence.

Let me clarify this point with a few examples. Would Microsoft be what it is today if it had not gotten a few important lucky breaks in the beginning or its now-extinct competitors made fewer mistakes? Think about it.. Was MS-DOS or Windows the best or even only Operating System for 1980-1990 era PCs? Was IBM the most popular PC manufacturer throughout the 1980s? Were all of its competitors such as Commodore, Apple and Amiga or even IBM staffed with incompetent engineers and programmers? So why did they not win the PC race? Could it be that it was luck and chance, not competence or ability, that made Microsoft the still undisputed leader in PC operating systems?

Let us take WalMart as another example. Beyond all the talk about their wonderful supply chains and logistics lies the real reason for their success- cheap manufacturing in developing countries. Ask yourself- How much of its success is dependent on the neo-liberal policies followed by the USA since the 1980s and concurrent mercantilism practiced by totalitarian low-wage countries such as China? The success of WalMart is largely due to being the right place at the perfect time with the right attitude. Changing any one of these pre-conditions would have changed the outcome of retail shopping in the USA.

2. Money and reputation from previous “wins” can be used cover current mistakes.

Ok, here are some rhetorical questions. Would any company other than Microsoft Have been able to survive the flops known as ‘Windows Me‘ and ‘Vista‘? In both cases, revenue from their previous successes such as Win98, Win NT and WinXp allowed them to weather failures that would have killed pretty much any other company. But what does repeatedly making such potentially lethal mistakes say about their intrinsic competence? Or take Apple, which also made many mistakes (Lisa, Newton) and took many mistakes (they initially resisted independent apps on the iPhone).

Another good set of examples concerns the recent failures of new drugs in Phase II and Phase III human clinical trials. Many of these new drugs were supposed to be blockbusters, and yet they failed miserably after each consuming billions of dollars and years of research by thousands of people. How could so many thousands of “super-smart” people fuck up so badly? In many cases, the fuck-ups were so basic and obvious that even a bunch of semi-retarded people would have figured them out.

Or look at the F-22.. they still cannot fix problems in the oxygen supply for pilots for an airplane that cost over 200 million dollars a piece. Even worse, the F-22 program has suffered from even more basic failures in the past– in many cases after induction of the aircraft in the USAF. How can people who are supposedly “smart and competent” make such big mistakes.. again and again? Or take Donald Trump.. How many times have businesses run by that guy defaulted on their creditors? and yet he seems to have little problem raising money for his next batch of hare-brained schemes. Or ask yourself- How many of Warren Buffet’s “wins” are due to legalized corruption, sweetheart deals and discrete influence peddling?

The reality is that the so-called “elite” are often less competent than your average village idiot. Only social inertia, slick image manipulation and the willingness of people to believe in a ‘fair’ world keep them relevant.

These people don’t have even the basics of what they claim to excel in. Take strategic thinking. People often forget that quality strategic thinking requires a high degree of objectivity which in turn requires a certain level of detachment from your immediate environment to see the bigger and less obvious picture. The “elite”, on the other hand, use their money and position in society to insulate themselves from the bigger picture. They tend to focus on the minutiae such as status jockeying (where they studied, traveled, ate, drank or what they read, saw, listened to etc). They spend their whole lives trying to think about as small a slice of reality as possible, while claiming to be good at seeing it all.

The “elite” also claim to be good at ‘long-term’ thinking- but the bulk of evidence suggests otherwise. Let us first consider the obvious problem with any ‘long-term’ planning aka our inability to predict the future. Given that many “super-smart” people have been repeatedly shown to be so wrong, should we even trust anybody who claims to predict the future? How can you predict any process which you neither understand nor control? Look at human history.. it is full of so many actions and decisions which in retrospective look like the handiwork of severely retarded persons. However all of these actions and decisions were conceived, executed and supported by the “best of the best” and the “brightest” minds of that era. How come these “most respectable” and “meritorious” people kept on fucking up so badly- century after century, millenia after millenia? Note that many of these fuckups hurt the “elite” in power as bad or even worse that the populations they were lording over.

I believe that the best way to model “elite” thought, behavior and actions in any human society is to ask yourself the simple question- What would a parasite do? aka WWPD?

What do you think? Comments?

Some More Thoughts about Recent Arrest of Julian Assange in London

April 15, 2019 9 comments

In the previous post on this topic, I wrote about how exposure of information by Wikileaks (and others inspired by it) has permanently damaged the only remaining ruling mandate for elites in western countries. In case you are wondering, that was Assange’s goal from the very beginning- and he has succeeded. If you don’t believe my take on what he has achieved, let me remind you about how things were in 2008. At that time, most people still thought Bush43’s presidency was an anomaly and everything would return back to how it was in the 1990s. They also believed that Obama would become the next FDR and reign in financialism. Did I mention the hilarious part where almost everyone believed that internet monopolies such as Google, FakeBook, Amazon etc were the greatest thing since sliced bread and could do no wrong. Simpler times indeed..

Then many seemingly unexpected things started to occur in quick succession. First, there was the global financial crisis which began in late 2008, which lead to multi-trillion dollar bailouts for ‘too-big-to-fail’ financial institutions and corporations. Of course, everybody else (aka the 99 %) got screwed and Obama turned out be the black version of Reagan rather than FDR. It slowly became obvious that the 1990s were never going to come back. And then it got worse as entire sectors of the economy got hollowed out- at an even faster pace than before. More problematically, almost all of the new jobs created since then have been precarious and poorly paid. My point is that, it is hard to understand the full impact of Wikileaks unless you first appreciate the socio-economic-political climate into which it was born.

I first wrote about Wikileaks a long time ago (link 1 and link 2) and my initial assessments about it proved to be correct. Not surprisingly, the MSM attitude towards Wikileaks and Assange has not changed since 2010. At that time, I also made another comment about Assange which turned out to be far more prescient than I initially realized. Since 2010, the many archives of documents released by Wikileaks and Snowden have had a profound impact on how people in the west perceive their own governments and civic institutions. Today nobody pretends that the NSA doesn’t exist or that USA-based internet monopolies such as Google, FakeBook, Amazon etc are anything other than commercial arms of the (rapidly failing) american empire. In 2008, you would have been considered delusional for publicly stating that almost all journalism in USA is elite stenography, even after their almost unanimous support for the failed occupation of Iraq in 2003.

We also cannot ignore what happened in the rest of the world during that period and the impact of Wikileaks on public discourse in those countries. Let me remind you that Wikileaks is by far the single biggest reason USA was not able to keep a significant military presence in Iraq after 2009. Its revelations also did an incredible amount of permanent damage to public image of western countries in other parts of the world. After they were made public, very few people in countries such as China, Russia etc could keep pretending that the american system of governance and institutions was any less repressive and problematic than their own. These leaks have also sped up the process of making the internet and communications (in general) more decentralized and much less USA- or west-centric. In short, Wikileaks achieved a decent percentage of its original objectives- so far. And ya.. it did contribute to the defeat of HRC in 2016.

As you also know, the declining vassal states of Sweden and UK cooked up a stupid and highly counterproductive scheme to arrest Assange and extradite him to USA since 2010. In my opinion, this stupid scheme was stupid and short-sighted. Then again, elites throughout human history have never shown themselves to be good at long-term and strategic thinking. And this type of malfunction is intrinsic to large hierarchical and impersonal social systems- as I have also written about in previous posts such as this one. Here is another one which explains how these systemic shortcomings play out in other large systems. To put it another way, the whole idea of trapping Assange within that embassy for 7 years was an incredibly stupid idea. But why, specifically, was it so dumb? Well.. because it made him into a larger-than-life (almost religious) figure while simultaneously shredding the public credibility of western countries.

The thing is.. people universally understand that a person trying to persecute somebody for their personal beliefs is an acknowledgement of your own weakness. For example, if some obviously mentally-ill guy across the street kept shouting that you were the anti-christ, people around you would either ignore it or find it amusing. Nobody would believe the guy making those claims. Now imagine if you responded to those claims by trying to get the guy, making them, killed. People would rightly think that those claims were actually correct and that you were indeed the anti-christ. This dynamic is part of the reason why scandals which would sink conventional politicians, many times over, have no worthwhile effect on Trump’s popularity. He simply does not care enough about them to give a conventional explanation or response.

If the elites in USA, UK and Sweden etc had any ability to think beyond the short-term, they would have handled the Assange situation very differently. Firstly, they would have realized and accepted that somebody like Assange and Wikileaks was as inevitable in the internet age as Martin Luther and Protestantism were in the aftermath of movable-type printing being invented- or the ‘One’ arising in the Matrix. And yes.. I also wrote a post about this issue in that past. Secondly, the most optimal way to handle somebody like Assange was to watchfully ignore him- thereby denying him martyrhood. Sure.. he would keep leaking document archives and causing some problems. But guess what.. he ended doing that stuff anyway.

Persecuting Assange made the USA, UK, Sweden etc look just as repressive and incompetent as the countries and regimes they claim to be superior to. Or as I call it, scoring repeated self-goals. But why does it matter? Well.. because, as I mentioned in the previous post, the ruling mandate of elites in west is derived from abstract ideas such as being perceived as honest, democratic, competent, meritocratic etc. This is in sharp contrast to a nation like China, where the elites derive their legitimacy from providing real, concrete and measurable improvements in physical quality of life for their citizens. This is also why persecuting somebody like Assange is far more damaging to western-style governmental systems than imprisoning a dissident is to China.

Will write more on this as events unfold..

What do you think? Comments?

Initial Thoughts on Novichok Agents, Sergei Skripal, Russia and UK: 2

April 6, 2018 2 comments

About two weeks ago, I wrote a post about the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his adult daughter by an organophosphate compound– allegedly by “russian agents” in UK. At that time, corporate MSM outlets in the west were busy concocting increasingly outrageous stories about that incident. As it turns out, pretty much every single story promoted by the MSM about that incident turned out to be unsubstantiated by evidence. For example: initial reports of twenty other people being accidentally exposed to that compound proved to be incorrect. The only other person allegedly exposed to that compound has since recovered and we still are not sure about how he got exposed to it in the first place.

More tellingly, none of the first responders and medical personnel got ill from handling Skripal and his daughter. Initially, British authorities had claimed that the poison was found in the car ventilation system, then they claimed it was on the door handle and now they are considering the possibility that it was in a gift brought over by his daughter from Russia. They also initially said that Skripal and his daughters had little to no chance of recovery and we now learn that his daughter is recovering and will leave the hospital soon. Today, we are told that Skripal will also make a ‘miraculous’ recovery.

In other words, the “official” narrative put forth by the British government about that incident has been unusually vague, ever-changing and too dependent on having uncritical belief in their honesty. Some of you might recall how similar and totally made up claims by British “intelligence” services at the core of’Iraq Dossier‘ were used by Tony Blair’s government to justify support for the failed american invasion of Iraq in 2003. There is also a strong parallel between this incident and the attempt by German intelligence agencies in 1994 (with approval by USA) to implicate the then Russian government in a fake plot to smuggle plutonium into the west.

To make matters even more peculiar, the British government still has not been able to provide evidence that it knows the identity or structure of the compound involved in that incident. As I wrote in my previous post, indirect identification of organophosphate compounds by their ability to inhibit cholinesterases and other related esterases is pretty straightforward. Definitive identification of the compound, though easy nowadays compared to 30 years ago, is substantially more complicated. Having said that, the apparent inability of multiple government labs in nearby British biological and chemical warfare laboratories at Porton Down to provide objective data to support their claims of identifying the compound is odd.

Based on the many peculiarities and oddities of this case in addition to the past history of those making the accusations, it is worthwhile considering another possibility. Maybe the British government, or some faction within its “deep state”, is behind the poison attack on Skripal and his daughter. False flag attacks to generate public sympathy for, or unity behind, a cause are not unknown. Similarly, there is a rich history in the “west” of using false flag attacks to demonize another country. It is also hard to ignore that the “deep state” in UK and USA is the biggest beneficiary of such an attack. Let me explain that point in some detail..

Skripal was an ex-Russian spy who betrayed his fellow officers in the KGB for purely financial reasons. You probably know that he was caught and tried in 2004 and imprisoned for a few years (2004-2010) in Russia before being part of a spy swap deal with UK and USA in 2010. If the government in Russia really wanted him dead, he would not have lived long enough to be part of the spy swap deal in 2010. Then there is the question of why this incident occurred days before the presidential election in Russia. Think about it.. how does such an incident benefit Putin in his reelection campaign? The simple fact is that it does not help him.

Such an incident does however provide the “deep state” in UK and USA with more ammo in their ineffectual campaign to demonize Putin. It is no secret that the USA and its old crippled prison-bitch aka UK are not adjusting well to the emerging world order- an order in which they stand to further lose whatever real or imagined global influence they possessed. It is no secret that the many recent global military misadventures by USA (and UK) such as the failed invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan have been humiliating and expensive failures. Their attempts to extend NATO right upto Russian borders and generally behave as if the world is still stuck in 2000 have not gone as planned.

The pathetic attempts by USA, UK and France (waning western powers) to interfere in other parts of the world such as Syria and part of Africa has been unsuccessful. Furthermore, their dream of turning Russia into some vassal state ruled by west-friendly oligarchs has been a miserable failure. It does not help that the financial crash of 2008 has exposed the many failures of western neoliberalism to their own domestic populations. It is no wonder, therefore, that average people in the west have in the recent past voted for concepts such as Brexit and people such as Trump and other fake right-wing populists. To make a long story short, the traditional elite in the west (especially the USA and UK) are feeling their power slip away irreversibly.

It is therefore not surprising that these mediocrities are trying to reboot the Cold War. The general thought process behind their actions is as follows.. The cold war was good for establishment elites as it allowed them to consolidate their power in western countries and suppress dissent and challenges to their undeserved power. Perhaps, rebooting the Cold War (they think) would let them use the same playbook and turn back the metaphorical clock. Of course, any objective person can see that this hare-brained scheme is going in failure since the underlying conditions across the world have changed a lot since the late 1980s.

Then again, establishment elite have never been the sharpest tools in the shed (link 1, link 2). I mean.. look at how they are reacting to Trump’s election in USA. Not a minute goes by when these idiots are not breathlessly talking about another leak from the “Mueller team”, another “new” link between Putin and Trump or some other similar absurdity. In fact, I have written more than one post about this in the past, including how this obsession is a symptom of a much deeper intellectual bankruptcy among establishment elites in USA.

All of this in addition to the “deep state” fondness for hare-brained schemes which look amazingly impressive on paper strongly suggest that the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter in UK was a false flag operation, which did not work out as originally planned.

What do you think? Comments?

Propaganda and Advertising have Poor Real-Life Efficacy: 1

December 2, 2017 4 comments

The title of this post might, at first glance, seem almost counter-intuitive to whatever most of you desire to believe about the efficacy of advertising and propaganda. After all, why would all those super rich and therefore allegedly “smart” people spend tens of billions on advertising if it was largely futile? Or why would various governments spend even more money and devote a lot of personnel to create and disseminate propaganda. Surely, even semi-competent people would not spend that much money and effort on something of negligible efficacy. Or would they?

Let us start by talking about all the disastrous, expensive and ultimately ruinous wars initiated by “great leaders” and “highly trained generals” throughout human history, such as WW1 and WW2 and the present. Or think about all the giant multi-national corporations (Xerox, Kodak, Motorola, Blockbuster etc) that have failed because their leadership kept on making bad and ultimately disastrous decisions. My point is that there is no evidence that all those supposedly “smart” leaders of large corporations and nations (and their underlings) are even reasonably good at their jobs- in spite of being paid a lot of money and wielding much power.

If all that evidence doesn’t satisfy you, ponder a bit about how a mediocre reality TV star such as Trump won the republican nomination by steamrolling 16 “professional” life-long politicians and then defeated the darling of the neoliberal establishment, aka HRC, in the 2016 presidential general election. My point is that people who are supposed to be “elite” are, for all practical purposes, incompetent posers who just happened to get a lucky break or hit a lucky streak in their past. Their choices and decisions should not, therefore, be interpreted as evidence of deep thought, competence or efficacy.

But what about all those books you have read touting the amazing effectiveness of propaganda and adverting? What about all those documentaries made by Adam Curtis? What about all those books written by Noam Chomsky, especially this one? Surely, all these supposedly brilliant left-leaning “intellectuals” must have some wondrous insight into the power of propaganda and advertising that is not obvious to “non-experts”. Or maybe they want to pretend to believe in something which can explain their own impotence while simultaneously making a decent amount of money and fame?

To make a very long story a bit shorter, I shall now talk about a few examples of what are often considered to be best examples of success for propaganda and advertising to show you that the real reason why most people appear to go along with that crap is very different from what you are willing to accept.

Example 1: Propaganda in World War I

The attempts by all belligerent European governments to sell the idea of fighting WW1 to their subjects.. I mean citizens.. is sometimes seen as the first instance of governments deploying mass propaganda on a large and systematic scale. But was it really effective? Or were the other reasons behind the public support for war? Have you ever considered that the real reasons for public support for that war might have something to do with the expectations and mindset of people in that era?

Ok, let me ask you a question. What percentage of the population, including the “elites”, of that era could even imagine a war on such a gigantic scale going on for four years? If you don’t believe me.. read the correspondences of both soldiers and generals who fought in that war. It quickly becomes obvious that even 2-3 years into WW1, most of those involved in the actual fighting and planning believed that some new military tactic, weapons system or strategy would somehow magically translate into a swift and decisive victory.

Furthermore, the general public in European countries had not lived through such a large war on their soil, let alone one that could last more than a few weeks. Perhaps most importantly, the very high number of deaths and casualties in each participating nation, within even the first few months of that war, made it basically impossible for either the people of those nations or their leaders to settle for anything short of “total victory”. It was really about an uncontrollable and escalating cycle of vengeance at a time when contemporary culture was characterized by social darwinist thinking.

I would go so far as to suggest that the total absence of propaganda during that time would have no worthwhile effect on the conduct, length or outcome of that war. The sheer amount of wishful thinking based on past experiences in pre-modern societies based on social darwinism combined with the high number of children per woman and the second stage of the industrial revolution made every single aspect of that war pretty much inevitable. The government support of propaganda and advertising were, at best, avenues for creating patriotic sounding jobs for the sons of rich and connected people who did not want to risk their lives at the front.

Example 2: Militaristic Nationalism in Japan between 1920 and 1946.

Another important, though less commonly discussed, alleged example for success of propaganda concerns the rise of extreme militaristic nationalism between 1920 and 1946. It is, for example, common knowledge, that the Japanese armed forces fought bravely and often to the last man even in seemingly futile battles such those for Iwo Jima and Okhinawa. Then there are all those accounts of Kamikaze plane attacks and Banzai charges. By any measure, the soldiers and other personnel of the Imperial Japanese forces during WW2 were highly driven and ideologically motivated. But was it due to propaganda?

Many conventional historical accounts of 1920s-1930s era Japan strongly suggest, or just outright say, that the government- especially factions controlled by the military establishment put in a lot of effort and resources to inculcate a certain nationalistic ideology among the Japanese people. This extended from simple censorship of media to elaborate mock training of schoolchildren to fight in wars. But how much effect did any of these traditional and non-traditional avenues of propaganda have on the type of nation that Japan became in the late 1930s and really 1940s?

In my opinion- very little and here is why. Understanding the reasons which led to the Japanese people embracing an extreme right-wing nationalistic ideology predicated in their racial superiority requires us to put ourselves in the world as seen by the average Japanese person in the that era. Japan, you see, went from a medieval feudal society to a modern industrialized one within less than 50 years from the beginning of the Meiji period. By the beginning of WW1, and certainly by its end in 1918, its industrial, academic and engineering achievements had surpassed almost every other country but a few (USA, UK, France and Germany).

All these achievements and competencies had, however, not been helped it increase its global prestige, power or access to raw materials. In contrast, even third-rate European powers like Portugal, Netherlands and Belgium had large colonies in Asia and Africa. The treaty of Versailles simply confirmed that Japan, as an Asian country, would never be welcome as an equal in the imperialist white man’s club. At that time, Korea was the only real overseas colonial possession of the Japanese empire- and it was hardly a desirable one.

But it was a much bigger problem than diplomatic slights at the hands of white European nations. Japan had a large population but only a small part of it was arable or inhabitable. One unintentional, but somewhat welcome, consequences of the industrial revolution in Japan was that many millions of newly educated and skilled Japanese started moving to Korea, China and other East-Asian countries to make a living. There they encountered nation after nation of subjugated Asian people living in a pre-industrial era.

It is therefore not surprising that the idea of racial superiority was so readily accepted by Japanese people in that era. They could see that their country was the most developed and powerful country for thousands of miles in any direction. And yet, this did not translate into any material advantage for them. It is therefore not surprising that leaders spouting right-wing militaristic ideas about conquering and exploiting the resources of surrounding countries became popular in Japan. They were just saying out loud what everyone else was thinking.

In the upcoming part of this series, I intend to talk about why Nazi propaganda appeared to be so effective until the final year of WW2, why soviet propaganda appeared to succeed until the early 1970s and why american propaganda appeared to succeed for decades before entering its death spiral after 2008. Here is a hint.. in all three cases, people appeared to go along with the propaganda only as long as the underlying system provided at least part of what it had promised.

What do you think? Comments?

Russian Hacking Story as a Sign of Overt Elite Intellectual Bankruptcy: 1

January 14, 2017 14 comments

A few years ago, I wrote a two-part series (link 1 and link 2) about how objective evidence throughout human history has repeatedly shown that the so-called elite (irrespective of their era, ethnicity or country) are never actually clever or competent. As I have said in more than a few of my earlier posts (link 3 and link 4), the elite of any given society are almost always greedy con-men and con-women who just happened to get especially lucky at some time in their lives or were born to lucky con-people. The hold of any particular group of elite on power is, therefore, largely linked to continuation of the underlying circumstances which enabled their rise in the first place. A change in underlying circumstances will always push the existing set of elite out of power- irrespective of how secure their hold on power might seem to be.

Readers might be aware of how WW1 and its immediate aftermath destroyed multiple long-lived monarchies and empires- and the elites who supported them. Or consider the rise and fall of communist party elite in USSR and other eastern European countries during the five decades after WW2. Or consider the still ongoing fall in general power and influence of elite from UK and their WASP-y counterparts from USA since the 1970s. I could give you tons more examples- but you get my point. Many cliques of so-called elites have risen and fallen throughout recorded human history. In almost every single case, former elites were never able to regain their previous status in that society. Even worse, the circumstances surrounding their demise always revealed that they did not possess even a small fraction of the ability, power or control they pretended to possess.

But what does elite exposure and failure caused by changing circumstances have to do with the current hysteria about alleged “russian hacking of the 2016 election” which is sweeping establishment democrats and republicans in USA? As it turns out.. a lot!

In the first two paragraphs of this post, I pointed out that changing circumstances always expose inadequacies of the then reigning set of elites- which ultimately results in them being discredited. However, there is often a gap of some years between the first serious exposure of their utter incompetence and their final fall from power and relevance. So what happens between the first widespread public exposures of their incompetence and their ultimate fall? Well.. a lot. For one, the exposed elites will almost always double and triple down on the attitudes and behaviors which were responsible for their initial rise to power. They do so for two reasons. Firstly, they believe that public shows of resoluteness, unflappability and ‘business as usual’ will somehow enable them to weather the ongoing current crisis of legitimacy. Secondly, many of them are actually incapable of thinking or acting outside the box of limited possibilities which they are familiar with.

The prolonged hysteria about “russian hacking of 2016 election” displayed by establishment democrats and republicans falls into both categories. Firstly, their absurdly hysterical reaction to the obviously manufactured allegation is a fallback to an era where “red baiting” was somewhat successful in discrediting other insurgent politicians. It appears that many of establishment critters actually believe that most people in USA are still mentally stuck in the mid-1950s to mid-1980s era. Secondly, and perhaps even more worryingly, it is very likely that they have been unable to come up with a coherent critique of Trump which does not simultaneously expose the fallacy of their neo-liberal belief system. The increasingly strident and absurd accusations by establishment types about Trump being elected because of “russians hacking the electoral system” are therefore only a symptom of a much larger problem- namely, that they are rapidly losing popular legitimacy.

So let us now talk a bit about what actually happened during the 2016 election that is making all these establishment types throw fits of conniption about “russians hacking the election”.

As many of you remember, WikiLeaks was responsible for posting many thousands of emails from key staffers of the democratic national committee (DNC) and later the personal gmail account of John Podesta. While the sources of both leaks are still not definitively known, many believe that east-european hackers were the sources of one (or possibly) both hacked email archives. Of course, it is also possible that the DNC leak came from an insider who was unhappy with how the DNC was run. In any case, these leaks were extremely embarrassing to the upper ranks of the DNC and many powerful establishment figures in the democratic party. The leaked emails revealed, among other things, that the DNC was colluding with the HRC campaign to rig the democratic primary against Bernie Sanders. They also revealed the contents of some of HRC’s infamous paid speeches and the close links of her campaign with important figures in mainstream media.

These revelations, which were largely ignored and buried by the MSM, found a large audience on social media site like FaceBook and Twitter. Now it is an open question if they actually swung the results of the election to any worthwhile extent. As many of you already know, the contents of those leaked emails were not exactly earth-shattering and simply reinforced the already negative perceptions about HRC among the general population. Then again, she was running against a reality game-show host/celebrity with zero experience in any electoral office and even higher negative ratings than her. My point is that the leaked emails should not have been anything more than an interesting sideshow, and we would have seen them as that if HRC had won the election. But she lost the election to Trump, for a number of reasons which I have talked about in some of my previous posts.

HRC and her surrogates were pushing the line that Trump was being helped by Putin even before the election, they have only doubled and tripled down on that meme after his victory. While we can certainly speculate on the possible reasons behind that decision- two stands out. Firstly, it allows them to transfer the blame of losing the presidential election on a mysterious external force and escape personal culpability and the need for self-reflection. Secondly, it gives them an excuse to continue their attempts to de-legitimize Trump after his electoral victory. It is interesting to note that their actions, to date, do not match their stated beliefs. In other words, I would have expected them to lead an actual insurrection against Trump IF they really believed that he was a treasonous puppet of Putin. But their unwillingness to actually stop Trump from becoming the president strongly suggests that establishment democrats do not actually believe what they are shouting from every rooftop.

On a more personal level, the constant attempts by establishment democrats to blame Putin for the rise and victory of Trump are almost comedic. I mean.. isn’t it funny to watch establishment politicians from the allegedly only superpower ascribe such capability, competence and foresight to the leader of Russia- a country which they, as late as last year, dismissed as a “large gas station with some nuclear weapons”. I find blaming establishment republicans Putin for HRC’s loss in the presidential election oddly similar to illiterate villagers in the middle ages blaming the Devil and witches for bad harvests, plagues and other misfortunes. There is also more than a passing resemblance between nervous children seeing monsters under their beds and establishment democrats seeing the hand of russian hackers in everything from occasional power failures and poorly manged TV broadcast streams.

What do you think? Comments?

Eliminating Vectors is More Important than Eradicating Pathogens: 1

September 7, 2013 16 comments

The transmission of infectious diseases from one host to another can occur in a number of ways. Some involve direct physical contact between the two hosts or their bodily secretions and excretions, others involve an inanimate intermediary such as water, food or soil. A small but significant number of pathogens utilize a temporary host, often of a different species from their main host, to jump from one host to the other.

Temporary or secondary hosts that facilitate the transmission of a pathogen are known as vectors.

Most of you are aware that certain genera of mosquitoes transmit malaria and a number of other viruses and parasites. Fleas transmit diseases such as plague and epidemic typhus. Houseflies facilitate the spread of many pathogens that causes gastrointestinal illnesses and ticks transmit the bacterial species that cause lyme disease among many others. I could go on, but this post is about the dynamics of human societies, not medical microbiology.

In the past, I have often compared the true elite (the 0.1 or 0.01%) to mindless pathogens whose purpose for existence seems to center around stealing from and damaging their hosts, regardless of the long-term consequences. But how do they do that, given their rather small numbers both in absolute terms and as a percentage of the total population? Did any genocidal tyrant ever personally kill even a tiny fraction of the people who died under their rule? How many Jews did Hitler kill with his own hands? what about Stalin? How many people did Stalin kill with his own hands? How many Indians did Churchill personally kill? In all of the above cases, and every other instance of genocide, those who gave the orders were almost never involved in carrying them out.

The same is true for leaders who order their nations into war, CEOs who fire thousands of people, bankers who steal trillions from millions.

The success of such ‘endeavors’ depended around their ability to commandeer the temporary loyalty of a minority of the population who carry out their orders and wishes. Without these people, or should we say.. vectors, the malicious wishes and desires of the elite would be little more than pipe-dreams. They would have no ability to influence anything beyond their immediate environment and even then they would probably be quickly killed off by the first few people they tried to harm or steal from.

The elite in every social system are therefore completely dependent upon the continued existence of a much larger number, though still a minority, of vectors to carry out their malicious designs. I should also point out that exterminating one group of elites often results in another bunch filling their spots and continuing the malicious behavior, if in a somewhat different direction.

Exterminating vectors and their progeny is the only foolproof way of destroying elites.

But who are these vectors in human societies? How can you identify them? How did they arise in the first place? What motivates them? What is going on inside their little heads? What is their survival strategy? How do you break them? How do you destroy them? How do you prevent their reemergence?

Vectors in human society can be identified by the nature of their jobs, their level of enthusiasm for their vocations and the underlying motivation for doing whatever they do. Vectors work in jobs, occupations and vocations that directly (or indirectly) serve the elites, implement their dystopic visions, enforce their ideas and collect rent for them. Vectors are also distinguishable from other non-elites by an unusually high degree of enthusiasm towards their often openly dystopic and inhumane vocations. Many of them are true believers in the inherent goodness of whatever they do and believe that the elites really embody virtues. Almost every single vector sees himself (or herself) as morally superior to the people they are robbing, abusing and killing.

One of the most peculiar and distinguishing feature of vectors is their high levels of devotion to their own family and children. All vectors are great “family” men and women. They invest a lot of themselves in the upbringing of their progeny. As you will see later on, this presents a particularly interesting and exploitable vulnerability.

In the next part of this series, I shall list the most commonly encountered vector subtypes, what they do, why they do it and what motivates them.

What do you think? Comments?

What Both Orwell and Huxley Got Wrong

July 30, 2013 6 comments

Most of you have either read or are familiar with the basic premise of the best known works of George Orwell and Aldous Huxley. In case you are still wondering, I am talking about 1984 and Brave New world. I am also reasonably sure that you have read many “expert” opinions about which of these two fictional dystopias is closer to present day reality. Some see Orwell as being more prescient, others thinks Huxley was more accurate and then there are those who think both got some parts right. But this post is not about who got it more right. Instead, I will examine one unconscious, but very crucial assumption, that is common to both books.

Did you notice that the elites in both books are very intelligent, hyper-competent, very disciplined and restrained in their personal greed.

Have you ever wondered why both dystopias have elites that are remarkably alike? And could either dystopia function for any extended period of time without that feature? In Huxley’s book the elite alpha are literally bred to be like that, while Orwell talks a lot about careful selection and whetting of people for positions in the Inner Party. Both also describe the elaborate precautions and constant pressures to keep things that way.

But is that realistic or feasible under any set of conditions? And how do you reach that state to begin with?

As I have said in many of my previous posts (such as 1, 2) the elites in every single society, that we know of, attained their position mainly through chance and luck. They are NOT the smartest, most competent, most creative, most capable or even the most greedy or sociopathic. They just got lucky for a variety of reasons such as birth parents, era and country they were born in or chance meetings with people who had the right complementary abilities.

Scamming others in believing that they deserve their position and riches has been the only real “special” ability of elites throughout human history.

The ability to con and steal from others is the only thing elites have ever been really good at. Basically every single elite from someone in the ruling class of the first Mesopotamian or Egyptian Kingdoms to an associate at Goldman-Sachs or other “financial” institutions are, first and foremost, CONartists. This also applies to the heads of every large institution with a steep hierarchy- from temple head priests in bronze age kingdoms to upper management in corporations, universities and municipalities. Even institutions operated under paradigms other than capitalism (of any flavor) tend to be led by the same type of people. Do you really think that the elites in USSR or Mao-led China were that different from their counterparts in “western” capitalist countries?

And this brings us to the next logical question: How long can a bunch of CONartists keep up the facade of high intelligence, competence, discipline and manage to restrain their greed?

Luckily we can use history to answer that question. Large institutions can persist, and even flourish, irrespective of what they do as long as they can create enough surplus to redistribute to even their most junior members. To put it another way, even fairly dysfunctional institutions can escape collapse and widespread defection as long as they grow fast enough. But why is this surplus or growth necessary? Conversely, why do large institutions decay start decaying without that surplus or growth?

Well, here is why..

In every large system, the undeserving elite always take the biggest portion of any surplus created by the institution they head. Consequently, only amounts of surplus large enough to temporarily saturate the appetite of elites will ever reach the majority of the people in said institution. Even then, the insatiable appetite of the elites and their ability to extract rent from their own followers quickly returns that institution to square one. Once that occurs, the followers start losing trust in the abilities of their elites. Without further large surpluses, things end in one (or more) of the following three ways: Slow collapse, Internal Coup or Conquest.

Only a continuous stream of ever larger surpluses such as those experienced by western europe (~1800-1990s), north america (~1800-2000s) or east asia (~1950s-2000s) can provide the means to keep everyone in the system somewhat content. This growth also provide the means to literally paper over the mistakes of elites and make them appear intelligent, competent, disciplined and altruistic. But such conditions cannot last forever and elites show their true nature once those surpluses start drying out.

As I have also previously said, elites react to reduced opportunities for external growth by doubling down on repression and rent extraction at home. It is always easier to steal than create something new. This process of domestic parasitism usually starts slowly, but keeps on accelerating and intensifying till it becomes their main source of livelihood. It might appear stupid and short-sighted, but try telling that to cancerous cells. Eventually the entire system becomes unstable, dysfunctional and fragile due to a combination of elite parasitism and defensive responses by the majority. Did I also mention that this pattern of events has repeated itself throughout human history.

The biggest obstacle to making those fictional dystopias function is therefore not technological. It is far more simpler.. How do you convert cancerous cells into intelligent, competent, disciplined and restrained people? especially when being a cancerous cell is far more profitable in the short-term.

What do you think? Comments?

Ideological Filters and Predictions about the Future

August 28, 2012 8 comments

It is hard to spend any significant amount of time on the internet and not come across a few overt, and not so overt, predictions about the future. The majority of such predictions display a high degree of certainty and are the products of ideologically committed minds aka zealots. I would go so far as to say that a high degree of ideological, monetary or emotional investment in any particular world view by the ‘prophet’ is the best indicator his predictions will turn out be grossly incorrect.

It is hard to predict the future accurately, especially if you have tunnel vision and ideological autism.

The more accurate predictions about the future are based on the recognition of certain largely ignored aspects of physical reality and human beings:

1. It is impossible for individuals or groups, irrespective of their ability, to reliably create a desired long-term outcome of any significance.

The world is incredibly complex and has too many hidden feedback loops to make it behave in a predictable manner. Case in point- Eugenics was an idea that seemed right until some guy with a funny mustache came to power in 1930-era Germany. After that, a belief that was the mark of progressive thinkers quickly became something few sane people would associate themselves with. Similarly nuclear weapons, which were developed by the USA to dominate and enslave the world, quickly became the means by which the USA and other western countries lost that ability. I could think of many more beliefs, ideologies, actions, inventions and discoveries which ended up doing the opposite of what they were intended to achieve, but that is best discussed in another post.

2. Complex systems do not display linear behavior outside a narrow and constantly changing range.

I have discussed this in a few previous posts in more detail, but will summarize it once again. Trends that link ‘x’ to ‘y’ and/or assume constant rates of change over time are ephemeral. For example any prediction that the Chinese GDP (in USD) will exceed that of the USA in any given number of years assumes that the either or both countries will still exist at that date in their current form and that world trade will still occur in USDs. It also assumes that the nature of the economy and governance in both countries will remain roughly similar to what it is today. Such predictions are akin to predicting world events in 1955 based on the “best” information available in 1940.

3. Modeling the behavior of people based on widely held beliefs about their motivations and abilities usually turns out to be wrong.

In previous posts I have said the best explanation why the rich want more money is linked to their conscious or subconscious desire, to deprive others rather than enjoy their wealth. While this explanation does against conventional beliefs of why people accumulate money beyond the point of rational usability, it is a better fit to evidence. Now consider the implications of believing in either viewpoint on modeling human behavior for the purpose of predictions. If you believe that rich people want more money for reasons other than depriving others then giving them more money could be seen as a way to benefit the society that made them rich. So how has that worked out in practice? Has giving the already rich more money benefited the societies that made them rich or has it just made the rich more greedy and arrogant? If the elites of western countries were so smart and competent, why did they lead their countries into mostly humiliating and horrendously expensive disasters such WW1, WW2, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan? Could it be that the elite are lucky egoistic pretenders and bullshitters who are drawn to situations which expose their incompetence or react in ways that ensures their downfall?

Of course, all predictions are also based on the continued existence of human beings in a familiar biological form. I will explain what I am hinting at in a future post.

What do you think? Comments?

Categories: Uncategorized