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Existence of Dark Matter is the Astrophysical Equivalent of Belief in God

October 13, 2018 12 comments

Here is another one of those posts which I started writing a couple of years ago, but did not get around to finishing till today. Before we go any further, let me clarify a few things. The main point of this post is as follows: belief in anything that is not supported by objective evidence (which can be reproduced by others) is no different from traditional religious belief. The uncritical acceptance of ideas about “catastrophic anthropocentric global climate change” based purely on computer models and string theory based on some clever-looking mathematical equations is the equivalent of blaming storms, famines and epidemics on bearded sky dudes or guys with horns, hoofs and spiky tails- and I plan to write about my thoughts on what passes for “climate change” soon.

Now let us get back to the topic at hand, namely belief in existence of dark matter. Some of you might wonder about my reasons for opposing this idea. Do I not believe that it can exist? So let me quickly clarify that point. In my opinion, there is no reason why dark matter should not exist, in the same manner that matter exists. My problem with the idea of dark matter comes down to two aspects of it that are seldom discussed nowadays. Firstly, scientist invoke dark matter to explain the discrepancy between predictions made by their models about how the universe should behave versus how it actually behaves. This is eerily reminiscent of how people living in previous eras invoked the devil to explain everything wrong with the world that they could not explain.

Did I mention that this type of lazy thinking and attribution has a long history in science. Some of you might have read about how scientists in the 1800s thought that all empty space was filled with Luminiferous aether because their contemporary understanding of electromagnetic wave transmission did not work properly under conditions of a true vacuum. I am not implying that every scientist from those decades believed the universe was filled with this mysterious substance possessing almost magical properties. Yet their equations about propagation of electromagnetic radiation did not square with contemporary experimental data without invoking this concept. Aether met its final demise with Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity in 1905.

But what does any of this have to do with belief in the existence of Dark Matter? Well.. let us start by going back in history to see how this idea came into being. To make a long story short, it all started when astronomers and astrophysicists realized that there might be a discrepancy between mass of observable stars in a given galaxy and their movement within that particular galaxy. Of course, these early observations were full of questionable assumptions and performed using inadequate instrumentation. It was only in the 1970s that astronomers were finally able to say with a high degree of certainty that radial velocity of stars within galaxies (around its center) was far higher than calculated using the approximate mass of all stars or even hydrogen which could be visually observed or measured within each system.

Some other phenomena discovered later such as gravitational lensing of background objects by galaxy clusters, temperature distribution of hot gas in galaxies and clusters and pattern of anisotropies (unevenness) in cosmic microwave background have also been attributed to the presence of dark matter. There are, of course, alternative explanations for these effects, most of which rely on the idea that gravity does not scale like other fundamental forces in the universe. I am not going to go into all of them and their variations, suffice to say that the underlying concept holds reasonably well but many of the derivative ‘complete theories’ do not. But let us be honest about something.. conventional theories about mass, gravity and relativity are also unable to explain observations unless you invoke its Deus ex machina aka Dark Matter.

Which brings me to my second objection to belief in Dark Matter. Simply put, we have not found unambiguous proof for its existence after searching really hard for almost 40 years! And this is really weird because calculations suggest that it should be at least 6-10 times more abundant in the universe than ordinary matter. In other words, we somehow cannot find the majority of mass in the universe even after thousands of academics and their far more numerous slave laborers.. I mean postdocs and graduate students have spent tons of research money, built and operated many new instruments and spent millions of hours on trying to solve this problem. And we are still as far from finding incontrovertible evidence of dark matters, especially its composition, as the day we started down that path. Isn’t that odd?

But.. but.. you might say “wasn’t experimental evidence for existence of neutrons, neutrinos, anti-matter, controlled nuclear fission, nuclear transmutation of elements etc found years after theoretical predictions”? Well.. yes, that is quite correct but with a major caveat. Experimental evidence for all these and more successful came within a decade or so of the first solid theoretical predictions. Moreover, it occurred in an era when there were far fewer scientists and far less research money. Today we have robust and easy accessible instruments to measure them, not to mention that anti-matter emitting and transmuted radioactive elements are routinely used in diagnostic medicine and controlled nuclear fission is used to generate electricity.

So far, first person shooter video games such as Half Life 2 and really mediocre sci-fi shows such as StarGate are the only places where you can see Dark Matter. Do you realize that experimental evidence for the existence and composition of Dark Matter is as scarce as for the ‘Holy Grail’? But why is that such a bad thing, you might ask? Well.. for one, it has become a respectable dogma that justifies the existence of an entire ecosystem of priests and apprentices engaged in constant search for proof. Try getting a job in astrophysics without professing your acceptance of this hypothesis. Better still, try getting funded if you somehow manage to land a job without first expressing your sincere and continuing faith in the existence of Dark Matter.

What do you think? Comments?

Use of Adblock Blockers by Print Media is Speeding their Final Demise

October 11, 2018 3 comments

This is one of those posts that I started writing a couple of years ago, but didn’t get around to finishing till today. While it is almost certain that most of you know what I am talking about, let me write-up a quick introduction. It is common knowledge that print media, especially in USA, is on its last legs. Sure.. the election of Trump in 2016 has resulted in some improvement in profit margin for a few major quasi-national outlets such as the NYT and WP- for reasons that are all too obvious. Yet it is painfully obvious that most traditional outlets for print journalism are on the path of terminal decline. But why is that so, given their long history?

While there are many who blame technological “disruption” the real reasons are far more prosaic. To be clear, I am not saying that technological disruption had no role in ongoing demise of print media. It is, however, more like the 2nd or 3rd last nail in its coffin than what put it in there in the first place. Confused? Allow me to explain.. Print media has been on a downward slope since widespread introduction of Television in the 1950s. But why then, did it appear to be doing OK until the early 2000s, or at least the late 1990s? Two words.. Advertising Revenue. For many decades, the business model of print media has centered around advertising revenue.

Why then did TV or Radio not affect their revenue model as seriously as the Internet? Well.. both legacy media formats did hurt print advertising revenues but neither one could really replace it for certain classes of advertisements. You could not (for example) put personal advertisements, flyers, catalogs or advertise the detailed technical specifications of a product on TV or Radio. But the more important point is that most print media outlets stopped caring about real journalism a long time ago. If you don’t believe me, just Google/Bing/Duckduckgo a scanned newspaper from the 1990s. It is pretty easy to see that most “news” was wire service reprints, syndicated content from larger outlets and what is euphemistically described as paid journalism.

But how is any of this linked to the ongoing demise of print media? For starters, people are still interested in good journalism, opinion pieces, gossip and even activism. Have a look at Twitter (and its alternatives), YouTube channels devoted to opinionated commentary, Reddit (or any its alternatives) and you will see that people today are just as interested in what print journalism was supposed to be about. OK.. let’s cut to the chase- print journalism (especially in USA) lost its soul a long time because it embraced deference to elites, pretense of objectivity, tone policing and other advertiser and corporate friendly policies for decades.

Print media, you see, has been living for borrowed time for decades. The internet merely knocked away the crutches of guaranteed local advertising revenues which had allowed it to forestall its inevitable and terminal decline. This does not mean that it will disappear for ever, as some parts such as large quasi-national newspapers are likely to survive- at least in a recognizable form for the near future. But what does any of this have to do with the topic of this post? As it turns out, a lot more than you think. Regular readers might remember that more than a few of my previous posts say something to the effect of “large institutions in terminal decline often speed up that process by making increasingly disastrous decisions”. And this is not a new idea either.

We have all seen the USA make increasingly disastrous foreign and domestic decisions since the early 1990s. Whether it was extending NATO into Eastern Europe, de-industrialization of flyover country, involvement in disastrous (and highly expensive) wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, using the dollar payment system as a weapon of war, ignoring domestic problems such as increasingly decrepit infrastructure, rising costs of what passes for ‘healthcare’ and higher education etc. In a similar manner, print media has made a series of increasingly disastrous mistakes which have accelerated the speed of its demise rather than stabilizing the situation.

We have all seen those auto-playing videos, increasingly buggy and atrocious user interfaces, click-bait which masquerades as journalism and publishing barely concealed press releases as news items. I could go about their obsession with website views, metric of engagement and anything else that allows them to not fix their core problem, which is the lack of high quality, controversial and adversarial journalism. Now let us turn to their latest fuckup. As many of you might have noticed the proliferation of disruptive and malware ridden ads since 2012-2014 created a huge market for adblocking extensions for web browsers.

Long story short, the poor quality control of ads by Google and other ad-serving networks makes its mandatory for any non-retarded person to use adblocking software. But how has the print media responded to this apparent reduction in revenue from serving horrible auto-playing ads and malware? As it turns out, they decided to the most ‘logical’ thing and alienate their viewers even further. You must have seen popups on many print media that either try nagging you to turn your adblocker off, whitelist them or buy a subscription. But does it really work, especially in the medium to long-term? Of course not!

Only the old or naive are usually trusting enough to fall for such bullshit, and even they stop doing that after being burned out by one too many autoplaying ads and malware infestations. Most other people either apply counter-counter measures or simply stop visiting that site. There are many other places on the Internet where they can get news from Twitter and FakeBook feeds, certain YouTube channels, newsgroups and forums including Reddit, Podcasts etc. The use of measures to counter adblocking software ends up reducing the number of repeat viewers who will keep visiting their site. Sure.. it might appear to increase their profitability for a couple of quarters, but after that it is an even steeper fall.

But the most bizarre part of these corporate policies involves the remarkable lack of thought behind their implementation. Think about it.. would you keep going to restaurants or bars which served very mediocre food and drink but were constantly trying to upsell, even to the point of not letting you enjoy your stay there? Would you keep going to a restaurant where the furniture was full of bedbugs and fleas? Would you go to a restaurant which required an annual membership fee to even look at their menu? Would you go to a restaurant which sold your contact information to telemarketers? So why would you return to print media websites that served autoplaying ads, sold your contact information to spammers and infected your computer with malware- especially if there were other safer and better options to get news, opinions and adversarial journalism?

What do you think? Comments?

Request for Feedback from Readers on Topics for Two Upcoming Series

October 9, 2018 14 comments

While writing an upcoming installment for the series about how Varna and Jati aka ‘caste’ system was hugely damaging to Indians, it occurred to me that comparing how (and why) things turned out the way they did in India and China after 1945 would be an interesting idea. But why is that relevant? Well.. because most people who had acquaintance with the state of both countries in aftermath of WW2 would have put their money on India becoming the more prosperous and developed economy. However that has not been the case for last 40 years, and as things stand today- China had overtaken India on pretty much every single measure of human achievement (technological, military, geopolitical) by truly massive margins.

Sad white losers, like Steve Sailer, might want to believe that this has something do with ‘IQ’ or whatever bullshit he is into nowadays. I, however, see a very different cause for this massive divergence in destinies. In my opinion, it comes down to culture- specifically China being able to get rid of any part of its traditional culture and belief systems which hindered economic and social development. They learned all the right lessons from their ‘century of humiliation’. India, on the other hand, did not learn much (if anything) from being colonized by the British for almost 160 years. I don’t think they ever understood the concept of ‘humiliation’ given their continued eagerness to play the stupid sidekick for any western power who pretends to care.

Sadly, a large number of people in (and many from) India still live in almost total denial of this obvious fact. They keep telling themselves that all the technological and social progress they see in China is not real, or that it is somehow temporary or based on some fraud that will come crashing down any day. They have been repeating this bullshit to themselves and each other for over three decades now. Meanwhile in the real world, China has kept moving past India on almost every single front- even the ones they used to visibly lag as late as the early 1990s. And yet for some reason, most people in India still believe that prostrating them in front of the dying West is a path to prosperity and progress.

I am not suggesting that every action taken by the Chinese systems is sound or worth emulating. It would, however, be stupid to ignore the fact that whatever they are doing has worked infinitely better than whatever Indians are doing. I would go so far as to say that their system has, in aggregate, worked better than any other system we know. There are some in the West who want to believe that China stole jobs and technology from them, and you know what.. they are right. But we forget that the West stole entire continents and a lot of natural resources during age of colonization. The fact that China could modernize so quickly without overt colonization or stealing resources on a large-scale from other nations merely validates the superiority of their system.

The other series I want to write is about how modern environmentalism is a secular doomsday cult. Once again, I have written a few posts mentioning that topic in the past (link 1, link 2 and link 3), but none comes even remotely close to what I really think about that wretched belief system. I mean.. is it not obvious that a belief system based in apocalyptic thinking which requires its believers to constantly feel guilty and perform endless sacrifice and penance to obtain absolution from their alleged sins, headed by white-robed priests who never practice what they preach, is a sad secular reboot of Catholicism?

And how exactly are all those people heading various end-of-the-world cults different from white-robed people doing the same based on esoteric revealed “knowledge” aka computer simulations. Can you say, with a straight face, that running simulations engineered to produce whatever results you want and based on whatever inputs you choose, is science- let alone good science? FYI- I run computer simulations of far simpler, defined and understood physical systems for a living, and am well aware of their limitations even when the results are usually quite close to experimental observations. Anybody who tells you that we can model complex physical reality with very high or total certainty is lying through his or her teeth.

Anyway.. over the next 1-2 weeks, I plan to start series tackling both those issues. Is there a particular issue or sub-topic within those two which you would like me to address in more detail? Feel free to bring them up in the comments. It is getting late and I have to get some sleep now.

What do you think? Comments?

Varna and Jati aka ‘Caste’ System Was Hugely Damaging to Indians: 1

August 26, 2018 23 comments

I have been thinking, for some time, about writing a long-ish series on this controversial topic. To be clear, condemning it is not the controversial part, as any decent human being can clearly see that it was bad. Instead, I will talk about the incredible and systematic levels of damage caused by that system, both in the past and to an a lesser extent, even today. Along the way, readers will find out why I refer to what most western readers call ‘caste’ as Varna and Jati systems. As you will also find out, both those two systems are actually somewhat independent of each other, but combine in real life to create a far bigger fuckup than either one could by itself.

In future parts of this series- I will show you the connection between Hinduism ceasing to be a proselytizing religion and formation of a fairly rigid ‘caste’ system at around the same time (between the 4th-7th century AD). I will also explain why endogenous technological innovation of any sort ceased at round the same time. You will see the connection between the ‘caste’ system and medieval Hindu armies barely using archers (unlike previous eras) and never adopting the crossbow. We will also go into some detail about how belief in the ‘caste’ fragmented Indian society to such an extent that even small invading armies (Muslims) or a smaller bunch of merchants (British) could conquer large parts of India.

In subsequent parts, I will talk about how belief in the ‘caste’ system made it ridiculously easy for foreign Non-Hindu rulers to keep ruling India for centuries. I hope to show you why belief in the ‘caste’ system is so closely linked to the unusually high rate of treachery seen throughout Indian history. We will go into the connection of this belief with the apparent lack of interest in recording real history by Indians. You will find out how this belief affected who was in charge of artillery and why guns were looked down upon as weapons of war. You will also see how this belief retarded the adoption of newer military tactics in India and does (to a lesser extent) even today.

At the risk of making this preamble a bit too long, I hope to show you how this belief system destroyed the ability of Indians to study and figure out other people (especially their adversaries) with tragic results. You will start understanding such oddities as why Indians ignored the printing press for almost 300 years or why Indian kings never built warships during the era of sail even though they had the craftsmen and raw material to do so. Hopefully you will understand why many Indians are obsessed with vegetarianism though they have zero interest in animal welfare.. and yes, it has something to do with ‘caste’ system. Or why they pay so much attention to symbolic and ritualistic bullshit as opposed to actual actions and behavior.

I also hope to cover topics such as how the low social status of skilled craftsman and other people who work with their hands had a huge negative effect on technological progress in India. You will finally understand why China had no problem becoming ‘the world’s factory’ while India struggles (and has historically struggled) with manufacturing stuff. You might also understand why post-1947 India has produced an almost continuous stream of ineffectual and highly corrupt leaders (at national as well as regional levels) with almost no vision or capacity for strategic thought.. and yes, it has something to do with long-term secondary effects of belief in ‘caste’ system.

Well.. we are already at a bit over 600 words and the first topic I want to explore is going to take almost (or over) a thousand. So, I will close this part by talking a bit about the next one. In case you are wondering, the first topic is basically an introduction to the concept of Varna and Jati and how they often overlap and complement each other in ancient India. I will focus on how both evolved from something analogous to ‘class’ and ‘vocation’ respectively to the grotesque system they later became- and why this occurred between 4th-7th century AD. I will also talk about why so many Indians willingly went along with the ‘caste’ system at that time and yet somehow it could not spread outside the subcontinent.

What do you think? Comments?

Conflict Between Right Wingers and Tech Monopolies Won’t End Well: 2

August 19, 2018 5 comments

In the previous post of this series, I put forth the idea that internet monopolies are increasingly behaving like despots who are widely hated and despised, as opposed to being simply feared. In a more ideal world such monopolies would never have been allowed to form in first place or have been broken up many years ago. Oddly enough, strict regulation of some monopolies as public utilities or breaking them up via anti-trust laws was normal practice in USA from the early 1900s to almost the end of the 20th century. But that is another, and very long, story. So let us focus on why the recent attempts by establishment politicians (especially democrats) to get internet monopolies to censor online content will lead to many problems with unforeseen consequences.

As Michael Tracey has noted- the ‘unexpected’ rise and victory of Donald Trump in 2016 over that crooked woman can be seen as the event which made the kleptocratic american establishment start worrying that their long-running scam was coming to an end because of alternative sources of news on the internet. To be clear, Michael used much more restrained language in his piece, but you get the point. All of the hullabaloo by establishment types over “fake news” and “Russian interference in our sacred elections” comes down to having to eat humble pie after losing the election to a reality show clown aka Donald Trump. Some of you might remember that I wrote something similar a few months ago (link 1, link 2 and link 3).

The problem with this approach, as Michael noted in his piece, are two-fold. Firstly, establishment types begging internet monopolies to censor content makes the later create powers which did not previously exist. Secondly, giving internet monopolies tacit approval for such behavior further concentrates power into the hand of a very small number of un-elected people with zero public accountability. Matt Taibbi has also expressed similar views on the deleterious effect of content censorship as decided by tech monopolies in two recent articles (link 4, link 5).

Of course, many idiots on the LIEBral side are short-sighted and delusional enough to believe that anything is OK to #resist Trump because “he is so extreme”- in spite of the fact that his actions so far have been, with a few exceptions, in line with standard republican dogma. These idiots can’t (or don’t) want to imagine the long-term consequences of giving tech monopolies such power, nor do they want to consider what would happen if that power was turned against them- and we have not even started talking about the inevitable blowback to such policies. Then again, excess consumption of soy milk and wearing of pussy hats while marching to protest Trump’s election are not conducive to objective thinking. Trump Derangement Syndrome is real.

Some of you might have noticed that the deplatforming of Alex Jones by internet monopolies has done something which even I once thought was close to impossible. Their concerted actions have made Alex Jones into a respectable martyr for free speech! We truly live in a bizarre world when an alcoholic loudmouth like Alex Jones can become an icon for those who oppose censorship and support free speech. I cannot resist pointing out that the character played by Alex Jones (in a cameo of sorts) in the 2006 movie, A Scanner Darkly, has now become reality. In case you are wondering, he plays a street corner preacher who rants about how the government is actually behind the drug epidemic caused by Substance D, and is then disappeared off the street corner by police in front of a small crowd for exercising his right to free speech.

But coming back to the topic at hand, establishment democrats and SJWs are delusional if they believe that their attempts to shut down gun manufacturers and shops by pressuring financial institutions or getting popular nutcases like Alex Jones kicked off internet monopoly platforms won’t have very serious and long-term consequences. Firstly, such actions do not make the people they were directed against less popular or influential. We no longer live in the era of three national TV channels, two national newspapers and a population that reflexively went along with whatever bullshit the government told them.. you know, the era between mid-1940 and late 1970s. Indeed, the very fact that somebody like Trump could win the presidency in spite of universal disapproval by establishment-types as well as over 1 billion of advertising against him should make them realize that it is no longer a viable strategy.

To compound that, there has been a systemic and very obvious loss of trust in professions and institutions in USA since the start of this century, but especially since 2008. There is a very good reason that fake anti-establishmentarians such as Trump and Alex Jones have flourished within the last decade, and will in all likelihood continue to do so in near future. I mean.. who can blame the masses. They have seen their low-paying jobs become even lower-paid and more precarious, their healthcare costs shoot through the roof with no obvious improvement in outcomes, higher education become a debt trap, housing in areas that are not dying out keeps on getting more expensive and a general sense of there being no better future has set in.

And all this is occurring at the same times when ivy-league parasites are telling them that everything is just great, financialization of every sector of economy is wonderful, globalization and outsourcing is glorious and if things are not working for them- its is all their fault. To make a long story short, the establishment has managed to get a lot of diverse and often irreconcilable constituencies pissed off against them at the same time. We are witnessing some serious political realignment right now. Some of you might have noticed that more than a few positions of the ‘alt-right’ such as support for universal healthcare, basic income etc are distinctly socialist in nature. The point I am trying to make that the anti-establishment constituencies are far more numerous, diverse and hard to fit within the traditional ‘right-left’ model.

One common thread which runs through many of these anti-establishment constituencies concerns their views on corporations and monopolies. To put it bluntly, both the ‘right’ and ‘left’ among these groups do not view corporations in a positive light. Perhaps this might have something to do with them witnessing those entities screw over normal people for all of their adult lives. The point I am trying to make is that establishment democrats and LIEbral SJWs face a far more numerous and diverse collection of groups who hate their guts. In such a situation, deplatforming a nut like Alex Jones makes him a martyr and rallying point for groups who otherwise don’t care about each other.

And this brings us to why Machiavelli wrote about rulers should avoid being hated and despised. See.. the thing with being hated by despised by the general population is that it unites otherwise disparate factions who want to see your head on the end of a pike. Also, treating your populace like crap and screwing them over with arbitrary decision-making makes even the more unsavory elements who oppose you look reasonable by comparison. Perhaps most problematically, it puts those working for you in a peculiar situation, where they are screwed if they don’t follow your orders but place themselves in certain future peril if they follow through.

In the next post of this series, I will write about my thoughts on how the blowback might play out in the current socio-economic-political situation. And yes, such blowback will most likely take diverse and multiple forms.

What do you think? Comments?

Conflict Between Right Wingers and Tech Monopolies Won’t End Well: 1

August 17, 2018 13 comments

Important: Please read this post in its entirety before commenting on it. The reason why I put this notice before writing even the first line of this post will be obvious once you start reading it.

So let us begin..

As many of you know, there has been a lot of talk and claims about whether censorship of large internet platforms by tech monopolies without even the tiniest hint of due process is a good idea or not. In case you haven’t noticed, I recently wrote a couple of posts about it (link 1, link 2) and think that it is an incredibly stupid and shortsighted idea. What I did not spell out explicitly in those posts is my belief that this extreme overreach by corporations based in SJW-istan, aka the Bay Area, will result in some incredibly problematic blow-back and reactions- of the kind that will soon make LIEbral idiots, who are still cheering for corporate monopolies to deplatform even more of their ideological rivals, regret coming up with idea in the first place.

But let us first be a bit more specific about what we are talking about. Many of you might have noticed that, since the 9th of November 2016, there has been a push by establishment democrats and contingent of useful idiot activists to use corporate power to go after “those republicans whose votes gave us Trump”. For example, there has been an unusually concerted effort by establishment democrats and dying corporate media to deplatform gun manufacturers and retailers from the highly oligopolistic financial network they created. It is funny how similar this approach is to failed attempts by american establishment to maintain its terminally declining power by imposing economic sanctions on various countries- from Russia and China to DPRK.

It does not take a genius to figure out that rest of the world (especially the parts which matter) are doing quite well in spite of these sanctions, which have unintentionally exposed the rapidly shrinking power of USA. Even very small countries, such as DPRK, have shown little interest in bargaining with USA. You might have heard that they just went ahead and tested their H-Bombs and ICBMs, before even having a formal meeting with USA. Only countries filled with spineless and white-worshiping idiots (such as India) have gone along with american establishment- so far. But what does any of this have to do with the topic of this post? As you will soon see, a lot.

Moving on to something which is similar and related- we have seen establishment democrats and their cadre of useful idiots go after something called “fake news”, which to be quite blunt can be applied to any piece of news or viewpoint one does not personally agree with. I am old enough to remember how anybody who challenged the official justifications for the failed occupation of Iraq in 2003 was labelled as an idiot or traitor by the corporate media. And we all remember how that worked out, don’t we? And who can forget all the other disastrous attempts at pushing narratives such as ‘there is no housing bubble’ as late as 2007 or how dietary carbohydrates were good for you while fats was bad for you- just to give a few of the more memorable examples of what was forcefully pushed by the corporate media as gospel truth.

An even more troubling, and more recent development, have been the willingness of LIEbral idiots to encourage and cheer on internet monopolies as they deplatform people with due legal process for “hate speech” as defined by whichever petty tyrant employed at said corporation is making the decision. Personally, I support the right of people to say whatever they want- no matter how hateful and unpleasant it sounds. Some of you might also be surprised to know that I not white. So ya.. I am perfectly fine with right of others to say hateful things even if I do not agree with it. In case you are wondering, I draw the line at actual and specific threats. For example: Person A wishing for the death of Person B, from say.. cancer, might be tasteless to some- but it is not illegal nor should it be illegal. But as we saw today, even something like this is now cause for suspension of Twitter accounts.

And this is a problem. Or to be more precise, this type of behavior by internet monopolies has the potential to cause all sorts of problems, blowback and downstream consequences far beyond what they themselves can imagine. Let me explain that sentence a bit more clearly. Some you may might have read ‘The Prince’ by Machiavelli in which he famously writes that it is better to be feared than loved- if one has to make a choice between the two. Most people seem to forget the part where he says that one should avoid being despised and hated (even if one is feared) because having people hate and despise you is how you will lose power or get assassinated. But what does this have to do with the ongoing behavior of internet monopolies?

Let us talk about what Machiavelli said about the reasons which drive the populace to hate and despise their ruler. According to him, taking the property and women (property) of populace by the prince (monopoly) because he thinks that he can get away with it (hubris) will make them hate him because people do not forget material insults. He goes so far as to say that men are more likely to forgive you for killing their parents than for taking from them what they own. According to Machiavelli, a prince (monopoly) who acts in a fickle, frivolous, effeminate, mean-spirited, irresolute manner will elicit contempt from the populace. In other words, depriving people of their property or livelihood and acting like an undependable bitch are surefire ways of losing the goodwill and support of your subjects.

But why does a prince require the support and goodwill of his subjects? I mean, since the prince is technically an autocrat, shouldn’t he be able to get away with anything? Well.. if you have read any history, you will know that rulers who did not take care of the needs of their population were usually the last ones of their dynasty- in addition to having short and troubled reigns. But why is that so? Why is it so important to not be hated and despised by the populace? The short answer is that deep public dissatisfaction with their rulers creates a fertile ground for external invasions, internal power struggles, attempts at assassination etc. But these are just second-order problems created due to a populace hating and despising their ruler. The central problem concerns progressive and irreversible loss of institutional integrity and stability.

In the next part of this series, I will write in more detail about why the wide range of individuals and groups affected by the capricious behavior of internet monopolies pose an unusual challenge to the continued existence of these monopolies. Some of you might heard a saying about the perils of making too many enemies at once, and how the course of events subsequent to making such a decision can be highly unpredictable and even harder to control. And hopefully, you will better understand what I meant by ‘it won’t end well’ and also why I put that warning about reading it in its entirety before commenting on it.

What do you think? Comments?

Freedom of Speech Matters, Even if the Provocateur is Alex Jones: 1

August 10, 2018 12 comments

As I briefly talked about in my previous post on this topic, the willingness of large monopolistic corporations to cut off essential services to an unpopular person without due process is highly problematic. Some of you might say that people like Alex Jones, who are cheerleaders of an ideology which hold private and corporate power to be supreme, deserve to be screwed by the very system they worship. And, Yes.. it is darkly funny and ironic that a prominent cheerleader for libertarianism got run over by large corporations acting as surrogate government agencies.

Some of those who commented to my previous post put forth excuses such as.. “they are private corporations”, “he was doing illegal things”, “Google, FaceBook and Apple are not monopolies” and “Free Speech protection does not apply to private corporations” etc. I for one find the sudden love among LIEbrals for private corporations, private property rights, insights into laws about monopolies and free speech rather amusing. Wasn’t it barely two weeks ago when LIEbrals were loudly professing to believe in exactly the opposite of what they are claiming this week?

Then again, establishment LIEbrals have been enthusiastically kissing the ground which Mueller and his fellow NeoCons walk on for almost a years now. They act as if the failed and highly expensive occupation of Iraq never occurred. They pretend that all these newfound icons did not lie through their teeth about the presence of WMDs in Iraq, how american soldiers would be greeted as liberators, how the occupation would cost less than 60 billion USD etc. And don’t forget all those ‘mainstream’ media outlets pimping fake intelligence in 2002 and early- 2003.

My point is that there is something very wrong and short-sighted about cheering on a bunch of wannabe tyrants just because they are persecuting some unpopular person first. And this raises the even bigger issue of why protection of free speech is so important. Let me begin this part by saying that we have laws to protect free speech because it is implicitly understood that free speech is often unpopular speech. Nobody is going to persecute you if you shout “USA, USA” at some game or “thank some veteran for his or her service”. Protection of free speech is, therefore, exclusively about protecting unpopular speech.

Free speech is about calling an asshole an asshole. It is about openly criticizing unjust institutions and systems. It is about organizing and protesting against injustice and unfair treatment. It is about expressing viewpoints contrary to the popular narrative. It is about expressing a dissenting viewpoint in as colorful a manner as you choose. Free speech, especially unpopular speech, provides a feedback mechanism for society to find out and address problems, both temporary and systemic- if it chooses to do so. As you will soon see, there is a good reason behind my decision to put a photo of Alex Jones alongside MLK, Malcolm X and Larry Flynt in the attached graphic.

I am sure that a few of you might be scandalized by my decision to compare the current travails of Alex Jones to such historical and notable figures such as MLK and Malcolm X. That comparison is however far more accurate than many of you would want to admit. For starters, the biggest controversies surrounding MLK and Malcolm X during their lifetimes centered around what they said and the causes they openly supported. Let me remind you that Jim Crow laws, overt “legal” discrimination against blacks and generally treating them as less-than-human was the accepted way of doing things in USA as late as the mid-1960s. In other words, their speech was unpopular speech.

Now ask yourself, have you heard of any instance of either MLK or Malcolm X being denied phone connections by the Bell monopoly of that era, because of their unpopular views? I am sure many whites would have loved to see that happen, but it did not. But why not? Well.. there were laws and regulations that prevented monopolies such as Bell from denying service to people without due legal process. Long story short, they could not deny telephone connections to anyone who paid their bills on time and did not intentionally damage their rented equipment.

The same was true for gas, electricity and water utility companies. Similarly, it was quite hard for major public venues (even at that time) to deny them space for holding large meetings. Compare that to the situation today. Do you think FaceBook would have let groups which openly protested “existing laws” exist on their platform? Would YouTube keep hosting videos in which someone like MLK encouraged his supporters to break “existing laws” even when those laws were clearly unjust. Let me remind you that majority of whites in 1960s were against civil rights and racial equality.

To put it another way, even somebody like MLK would have been deplatformed by internet and communication monopolies such Google, FaceBook and Apple if they had existed at that time. Let us now talk about Malcolm X, or more specifically what he said in his more well-known speeches. Do you think he would be able to remain of social media platforms such as FaceBook, YouTube etc after his famous ‘The Ballot or the bullet‘ speech? Ever considered that a lot of what he said in his other speeches would have gotten him multiple strikes for “hate speech”.

Or what about Larry Flynt, whose first famous conflict with the establishment was over his decision to publish spread nudes of women in the 1970s. And yes, I know they were very hairy- because it was the 1970s. Was the telephone company able cut his connection because they disagreed with the ‘morality’ of his business decisions? What about the press who printed his magazines? Moving on a bit further, do you remember how he got himself into that famous supreme court case. In case you don’t, he used his magazine to incessantly troll religious and conservative frauds such as Jerry Falwell. He won the case and they made a film about it later.

The point I am trying to make is the laws to defend Free Speech are really about defending Unpopular Speech. There is a reason why the standard for what constitutes Free Speech is set such that it is not easy to suppress it with spurious claims of libel and slander- especially if you are a public figure. To be clear, this does not mean you can libel and slander people in a malicious manner. In fact, I know people who received satisfactory settlements against certain well-known news outlets who had libeled and slandered their good name.

If Alex Jones libeled and slandered people or actually incited violence against specific individuals, he should be sued by the affected individuals and the case should be tried before an independent judge and jury and under conditions where his legal counsel can cross-examine the plaintiffs and their witnesses. In other words, even somebody like Alex Jones deserves the benefit of due legal process. His fate should not be decided behind closed doors and on the whims of some petty and unaccountable tyrants employed by internet monopolies such as Google, FaceBook and Apple.

In the next part of this hopefully short series, I will talk about why corporate media outlets peopled with supposedly “professional” and “objective” journalists are a far bigger hazard to public well-being than an alcoholic clown continuously screaming at the camera and hawking nutritional supplements.

What do you think? Comments?