Do What You Do Best

Scott Adams could benefit from some of the best advice ever given to Garrison Keillor:

Every time Chet came on the show, he’d sit backstage and jam with Paul and whoever wanted to join in, Johnny Gimble, Bill Hinkley, Howard Levy with a harmonica, Peter Ostroushko, and the tunes would flow along from old-time to swing, one tune emerging into another, “Just as I Am” into “Stardust,” Stephen Foster, George Harrison, “Seeing Nellie Home,” “Banks of the Ohio,” and maybe Recuerdos de la Alhambra, Boudleaux Bryant, “Freight Train,” one sparkling stream, it was all music to him. He held his guitar like a father holds a child, he was happy, the genuine article. He loved jamming backstage, where he wasn’t obligated to be Chet Atkins and could be a man in a crowd of friends. He had made his way in the country music business though his real love was jazz, and when he sat backstage with the others, a sweet equality prevailed in which strangers were old friends—the music made it so.

I envied that and asked Chet once if I should learn to play guitar and he said, “The world does not need another mediocre guitarist. Stick with the monologue. Nobody else does what you do.” So I did.

Chet gave me good advice: “Never read anything anybody writes about you. No matter what they write, you won’t learn anything from it, and you’ll probably read something that’ll be a stone in your shoe for months to come.” I could see the reasoning, which was the same as what LaVona Person told me in the eighth grade: It’s not about you. It’s about the material. Don’t make it be about you.

That Time of Year: A Minnesota Life, Garrison Keillor

The world does not need another mediocre political commentator, Scott. You’re not a great predictor. You’re not a great persuader. You’re not a great podcaster. You’re not a great hypnotist. You’re not an economist.

You’re a great cartoonist, one of the greatest ever. Stick with the cartoons.

DISCUSS ON SG


Pad for Performance

And elevate for excellence. Bill Belichick’s system illustrates the effort and the level of detail that are required to set yourself apart, even among the most successful:

As the son of a coach, and a lifelong football devotee, Brian Ferentz figured he could handle every possible expectation that came with his new job as a low-level offensive assistant in New England. He would live the Patriots’ infamous 20/20 coaching existence, working up to 20 hours a day, for about $20,000 a year. He knew he would become an anonymous cog in a high-functioning machine, spending his days—and most nights—swamped in grunt work while receiving little credit for his toiling. But he also knew he had gained entry to a coaching laboratory that could change the trajectory of his life, starting in 2009.

He expected it would be hard. He didn’t expect … an art project? But the team assigned him the NFL equivalent of one, immediately. Bill Belichick summoned Ferentz to his office, where he’d school him on one particular—and particularly tedious—process that New England emphasized more than any other team. Belichick called it “padding,” his method of diagramming plays from opponents. It served to gauge football knowledge, inform game plans and teach the nuances of an infinitely complex sport—part torture chamber, part proving ground, part barrier to entry and part football seminar all wrapped into one exercise.

Every NFL team charts its opposition, on some level, to varying degrees. And other coaches, like Bill Parcells, made their entry-level assistants pad. But while those familiar with the process claim not to know its origin—whether it started with Parcells; Belichick; Belichick’s father, Steve; top-secret Patriots assistant Ernie Adams; or elsewhere—all agree that no one embraced the method, or gleaned more value from it, than Belichick himself.

Ferentz understood the extent immediately. Two words popped into his mind: “holy” and “s—.” A man who once considered himself ready for every nuance of the job was now doubting whether he could do it. He would scour film of upcoming opponents and diagram their offensive plays in staggering detail, then take those diagrams, cut them out, place them into booklets and hand them over for review. Some games took eight hours, depending on the number of plays and the complexity of the scheme, while others could be completed in closer to four. With four or five games to review each week, his mass of other responsibilities and actual coaching, he started to add up the math for a 17-week season, only to stop because he had to pad again.

The “pads” were sheets of paper, 8½ x 11 inches, with a horizontal line dividing the page. They sketched one diagram on top and the other on the bottom. The assistants filled in four plays on each sheet by using both sides. They noted the down and distance; field position, quarter and time remaining; numbers for each of the 22 players and their assignments….

Thirteen years later, Ferentz is Iowa’s offensive coordinator. He’s still a coach, and one who never expected to embrace that “miserable, terrible, awful” process that once forced him to question both his chosen profession and, at times, his existence. Instead, he came to view one specific process, from all of New England’s myriad approaches, as the primary element that built the nebulous, mystical aura known as the Patriot Way.

He’s now a padding proponent. Lifetime membership.

It’s not an accident that both JRR Tolkien and Umberto Eco demonstrated near-psychotic attention to detail in the process of creating their great literary works. Tolkien’s philological depths are rightly famous; it’s less well-known how Eco built a virtual monastery so that he could time how long it took to walk from point A to point B in order to ensure that the conversations in The Name of the Rose fit the amount of time that was required for the traversal.

My level of success is orders of magnitude below the two great writers of the 20th century, but one thing I have noticed is that a) I make a habit of writing design drafts as well as keeping lists and spreadsheets, and b) I always have a much better idea of what is going on, and what needs to be done, than nearly everyone else involved in a given project. I’m regularly astonished by how little most people know about what is required of them to simply do their jobs correctly.

So, to up your game, I highly recommend getting in the habit of writing things down and regularly noting what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, who is doing it, and when you should check on them to see if they are going to deliver it on time. Think of it as padding for life.

DISCUSS ON SG


Transcending 18th-Century Chains

Dan Wang’s annual letter indicates that China is transcending the 18th Century conceptual framework that has resulted in the enslavement of the formerly Christian West to Satanic post-Christian torpor. While the West finds itself trapped in the outdated chains of self-serving Jewish interpretations of the Enlightenment philosophies, China is forging a more practical path forward by rejecting the most foundational assumptions of the failing neo-liberal world order.

An important factor in China’s reform program includes not only a willingness to reshape the strategic landscape—like promoting manufacturing over the internet—but also a discernment of which foreign trends to resist. These include excessive globalization and financialization. Beijing diagnosed the problems with financialization earlier than the US, where the problem is now endemic. The leadership is targeting a high level of manufacturing output, rejecting the notion of comparative advantage. That static model constructed by economists with the aim of seducing undergrads has leaked out of the lecture hall and morphed into a political justification for only watching as American communities of engineering practice dissolved. And Beijing today looks prescient for having kept out the US social media companies that continuously infuriate their home government.

It’s interesting, is it not, to see how three years after I appeared on CGNT’s Dialogue and explained some of the fundamental flaws of Ricardian free trade on Chinese state television, and pointed out how the USA literally could not lose a trade war against China, that the CPC has explicitly rejected the orthodox classical concept of comparative advantage. I’m not saying that the case I explicated was the reason for that rejection, but it wouldn’t be surprising to learn that it was a contributing element, however minor.

It’s also clear that China is very likely to dominate the global economy going forward, as the USA sinks into a morass of meaningless conversations about conversations, and technology designed to enforce a rigid monoculture of SJW-approved goodthink.

Beijing recognizes that internet platforms make not only a great deal of money, but also many social problems. Consider online tutoring. The Ministry of Education claims to have surveyed 700,000 parents before it declared that the sector can no longer make profit. What was the industry profiting from? In the government’s view, education companies have become adept at monetizing the status anxieties of parents: the Zhang family keeps feeling outspent by the Li family, and vice versa. In a similar theme, the leadership considers the peer-to-peer lending industry as well as Ant Financial to be sources of financial risks; and video games to be a source of social harm. These companies may be profitable, but entrepreneurial dynamism here is not a good thing.

Where does Beijing prefer dynamism? Science-based industries that serve strategic needs. Beijing, in other words, is trying to make semiconductors sexy again. One might reasonably question how dealing pain to users of chips (like consumer internet firms) might help the industry. I think that the focus should instead be on talent and capital allocation. If venture capitalists are mostly funding social networking companies, then they would be able to hire the best talent while denying them to chipmakers. That has arguably been the story in Silicon Valley over the last decade: Intel and Cisco were not quite able to compete for the best engineering talent with Facebook and Google. Beijing wants to change this calculation among domestic investors and students at Peking and Tsinghua.

Internet platforms aren’t the only industries under suspicion. Beijing is also falling out of love with finance. It looks unwilling to let the vagaries of the financial markets dictate the pace of technological investment, which in the US has favored the internet over chips. Beijing has regularly denounced the “disorderly expansion of capital,” and sometimes its “barbaric growth.” The attitude of business-school types is to arbitrage everything that can be arbitraged no matter whether it serves social goals. That was directly Chen Yun’s fear that opportunists care only about money. High profits therefore are not the right metric to assess online education, because the industry is preying on anxious parents while immiserating their children.

Beijing’s attitude marks a difference with capitalism as it’s practiced in the US. Over the last two decades, the major American growth stories have been Silicon Valley (consumer internet and software) on one coast and Wall Street (financialization) on the other. For good measure, I’ll throw in a rejection of capitalism as it is practiced in the UK as well. My line last year triggered so many Brits that I’ll use it again: “With its emphasis on manufacturing, (China) cannot be like the UK, which is so successful in the sounding-clever industries—television, journalism, finance, and universities—while seeing a falling share of R&D intensity and a global loss of standing among its largest firms.”

As Michael Hudson has repeatedly demonstrated, financialization is fatal for both an economy and a society. It is fundamentally parasitical; it does not fertilize the growth of healthy productive companies, but rather, preys ruthlessly upon them and prevents them from growing to maturity.

The fact that the Chinese have consciously rejected the false promises of financialization and free trade is potentially one of the most important historic developments of the past 100 years.

DISCUSS ON SG


What is Death?

In which I answer Cicero.

Someone pointed out on last night’s Darkstream that they’d like to see more veriphysics, and as I just happened to be casually reading a little from The Tusculan Disputations after finishing Stanley Payne’s excellent biography of Francisco Paulino Hermenegildo Teódulo Franco Bahamonde, I thought some of you might be interested in my instinctive reaction to the following paragraphy.

And yes, I am aware of how lah-di-dah that sounded, but it happens to be the truth. If it makes you feel any better, that was probably just a subconscious response to a recent binge of the underrated Nancy Varian Berberick and her forays into Dragonlance.

The first thing, then, is to inquire what death, which seems to be so well understood, really is; for some imagine death to be the departure of the soul from the body; others think that there is no such departure, but that soul and body perish together, and that, the soul is extinguished with the body. Of those who think that the soul does depart from the body, some believe in its immediate dissolution; others fancy that it continues to exist for a time; and others believe that it lasts for ever. There is great dispute even what the soul is, where it is, and whence it is derived: with some, the heart itself (cor) seems to be the soul, hence the expressions, excordes, vecordes, concordes; and that prudent Nasica, who was twice consul, was called Corculus, i.e. wise-heart; and Ælius Sextus is described as Egregie cordatus homo, catus Æliu’ Sextus—that great wise-hearted man, sage Ælius. Empedocles imagines the blood, which is suffused over the heart, to be the soul; to others, a certain part of the brain seems to be the throne of the soul; others neither allow the heart itself, nor any portion of the brain, to be the soul; but think either that the heart is the seat and abode of the soul; or else that the brain is so. Some would have the soul, or spirit, to be the anima, as our schools generally agree; and indeed the name signifies as much, for we use the expressions animam agere, to live; animam efflare, to expire; animosi, men of spirit; bene animati, men of right feeling; exanimi sententia, according to our real opinion—and the very word animus is derived from anima. Again, the soul seems to Zeno the Stoic to be fire.

The Tusculan Disputations, Marcus Tullius Cicero

It’s always both amusing and frustrating that the ancient philosophers so seldom managed to actually stay on their own stated topic for more than a sentence or two.

This is, in my opinion, what death observably and undeniably is:

A cessation of an intelligence’s interaction with a material plane of reality, as observed by intelligences still inhabiting that plane. This cessation of interaction occurs in company with various quantifiable changes in the physical body of the recently transformed intelligence and is subsequently followed by the decomposition of the body.

There is no need to delve into definitions of the soul, its purported existence, or its subsequent fate, in order to understand what death is. Indeed, before one delves into those complicated and potentially ineffable things, one would do well to first complete the original task one has set oneself.

DISCUSS ON SG


Scott Adams Doubles Down Again

If you ever wanted to know how far a Gamma will go to avoid admitting that he was wrong despite conclusive evidence that he was wrong from the start, just review the Scott Adams post-vaccination rationalization dance. And as an economist, it’s fascinating to see him argue that making a logical assessment based on the known probabilities is not “a rational decision”. DISCUSS ON SG


Off Limits

In which a former fan discovers that a comedian is actually a comedian.

During one of Owen’s livestreams, he delved into the JFK assassination and how the video that everyone sees was created by a Jew after the fact and that no raw footage of the incident exists for public consumption to this day. In the comments of said video, I mentioned that my mother remembered seeing it herself. Now, I was mistaken and I probably just remember it that way when my mother was just saying that she remembers the news report of what happened that day. She lived on a pig farm and was probably either at school or doing chores when it happened for all I know.

Owen replied to my false comment by calling my mother a liar.

But it’s SusanTube comments. And nobody cares about those. The only thing lower than SusanTube comments is Reddit comments.

The next day, however, Mr. Smith took a screenshot of that comment, posted it on his stream, and said that while he didn’t know who I was, he was certain that my mother was a “fucking liar”.

It’s one thing if he attacked me. That would be legit, especially if half of your streams just involve you yelling at your fans for being stupid morons and that the world is flat, there is no space, and there would be Utopia if everyone was like you.

(That last part may be unfair. Whatever, it stays.)

So I did the only sane thing I could think, traveled to Washington state, set his ducks on fire, and pissed in his goat milk. And then I sent 1 million emails to Vox Day about how he’s partnered with a violent pony snatcher.

No, that’s not right. I did no such thing. I did, however, write him a letter explaining that my mother was not a liar and that I was probably just misremembering what she told me.

I even told him that I wasn’t interested in an apology. I just wanted him to understand that my mother was off-limits.

First, Owen is a comedian. That’s literally what he does. He’s an entertainer. As an economist, he’s a very good comedian. As a nuclear physicist, he’s a good comedian. As a game designer, he’s a good comedian. Are you starting to recognize a pattern there? Stop a) expecting him to be anything else or b) projecting your own ideas about what you’d like him to be on him. You be you. Let Owen be Owen. And for the love of all that is good and beautiful and true, stop expecting any of the rest of us to be anything beyond what we happen to be.

To paraphrase the immortal Douglas Adams, we’re just, like, zese guys, you know? We’re not prophets, we’re not seers, we’re not the hidden masters of the secret gnosis, and with the exception of Jordan Peterson and Scott Adams, we’re not pretending to be.

DILBERT, CORRECTED

Second, WTF? How is Owen, or anyone else, to understand that this guy’s mother is off-limits when the guy brought her into the situation in the first place? Either Owen is wrong, or this guy is wrong, or this guy’s mother is a liar. And until Owen is presented with evidence that the guy’s claim about the mother is correct, Owen is perfectly justified in continuing to state that the woman is, as he apparently believes, “a fucking liar”. If you bring X into the conversation, you have absolutely no right to protest when the other parties respond to your claims about X. That one’s on you, sport.

Third, even if the guy’s mother is a liar, so what? My mother lied with craftsmanship and an effortless fluidity that can only be described as artistic. She had me convinced until I was nearly 30 years old that the crust was, in fact, the healthiest part of the bread. She clearly got the talent from my grandfather, who had one of my brothers believing for decades that his black hair, bronze skin, and high cheekbones were the result of a Black Irish ancestry. I admire and aspire to their level of parental duplicity, which is why meerkats are increasingly known around the world as “the piranha of the Serengeti”.

And, of course, meerkats are the reason they can’t have desert penguins at the zoo.

DISCUSS ON SG


Mailvox: Not My Problem

Sometimes I ask for source because I would like to learn more about what you are sharing.

Is using Google really that difficult for you? Do you really believe that you are uniquely special among the thousands of readers and therefore should be spared the difficult effort of copying, pasting, and searching the relevant text for yourself?

And has it ever occurred to you that if I answer one “source” request, then I will have to answer hundreds more, almost every single time I post anything?

So, no, I will NEVER provide sources upon request, even if it’s because you would like to learn more and not because you are a critic hoping to quibble over the legitimacy of the source.

Your ignorance is not my problem.

DISCUSS ON SG


Bait-Mute-Block

I posted the following on Gab this morning for purposes that any member of the Dread Ilk – or House Dread as one of the Bears has dubbed you all – will probably recognize.

The worst thing about social media, in my opinion, is the way it encourages gammas and midwits to believe that they have the right to force their unwanted opinions on others.

This is incorrect. You have the right to express your own opinion on YOUR OWN posts. You do not have any right to express your opinion on MY posts or on anyone else’s, which is why the Block and Mute features exist and why I make extensive use of them.

If someone does not ask for your opinion, do not give it to them. And above all, do not attempt to correct those who do not ask for correction. First, experience indicates that you are probably wrong, and second, you are not the reality police.

In addition to the 409-and-counting likes, it inspired 153 comments, which included the expected amount of outrage from the gammas and midwits angry that their “right” to comment, correct, and critique my posts was being denigrated. Interestingly enough, of the 46 accounts I muted and blocked on the basis of their responses, only THREE of them were from accounts that followed me. Here is a small sample of their reactions.

  • I guess @voxday doesn’t believe in healthy debate, only single sided arguments. And I have no desire to just listen to other’s opinions without being able to challenge them.
  • @voxday uum, you do realize you are posting in a PUBLIC forum yes? Sure, you have the right not to listen and mute/block whoever, but you dont have the right to tell people they cant respond to your public posts. Go ahead and block mute the whole damn world for all I care, but as long as you are posting publicly, people can and will respond and if you dont like it, you are free to leave.
  • Want to know what a beta cuck looks like? Check out this garbage from @voxday Don’t comment or give your opinion on my post Vox Day. Your opinion isn’t welcome here, this is MY thread. Ffs
  • The “right”? Check the functionality of the private platform: anyone has the “right” to comment on anyone else’s posts – that’s what this type of place is. Just as you have the right to block…
  • @voxday Nobody asked for your opinion.
  • Your wrong, I have the right to express my opinion anywhere I wish to, you have the right to not listen. I guess you could like an intellectual coward box yourself into an echo chamber of one with the block feature you speak so highly of, however this will only serve to make you more sensitive (that is weaker) to things you don’t want to hear.
  • Who are you, to boss us around ? If I want to comment on someones idiocy, I will. I don’t need their invitation or permission. Unless I’ve already been blocked, I DO have a right to express my views , wherever I’m not prohibited from doing so. When someone posts a comment on Gab, it’s an implicit invitation to reply.
  • So what you’re saying is: You want to broadcast your own opinions but are too scared to discuss them with people who disagree with you, while you’re happy to take validation from people who agree with you, because your opinions can’t survive outside of your echo chamber?
  • This has to be the dumbest & most vomit-inducing post I’ve seen on Gab, and also the most characteristically Vox Day post on top of it all.

If these responses don’t make you grateful for SocialGalactic, I don’t know what will.

DISCUSS ON SG


Why the Vaccine Nazis are Winning

Karl Denninger points out that, as usual, a reactionary and tactical approach is defeated by an offensive and logistical approach:

The pure bloods need a plan, milestones, and victory conditions. They need logistics and tactics to support them. But they need a few other things:

Stakes

Line in the sand

Boundaries

An outline of the enemy’s battle plan

These guidelines can be applied to life’s daily battles. Clown world won’t quit, perhaps this mindset will come in handy in other ways. There’s not a pure blood leader at the moment to implement and direct logistics. What follows gives individuals ideas for what to do until a leader or leaders arise.

Concrete victory conditions are essential. The concept of “return to NORMAL” can be expressed by things like:

No masks.

Laws against vaccine mandates.

No social distancing.

Laws against vaxports.

Pure blood victory conditions are diametrically opposed to Karens. There can be only one winner for each. Milestones track progress towards victory. Once a victory condition is decisively met, that particular battle is over. When all are decisively accomplished, the war is finished.

Stakes is number one on the list because everyone needs a reason to fight. Concrete stakes are better than vague doom and gloom. Stating stakes crystalize what happens if one side fails.

“If they can make my kids wear a mask, they can make them get the shot.”

If you want to win, you need a line in the sand that you stick to. No cucking. Cucking means it was never a line in the first place. The line has to be compatible with victory conditions. If you are a go along to get along type of person, be honest with yourself. For example, if you are planning to get the shot rather than lose your job, set your victory conditions and line appropriately.

Boundaries means what someone is willing to do and not do. The list of “will dos” forms a list of possible tactics. Now is the time to plan when to employ them.

Finally we come to the most important part of winning a war: Knowing your enemy’s battle plan.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” –Sun Tzu, Art of War

Karen’s battle plan was outlined above. Based on it, pure bloods can predict what happens after General Karen directs a logistical maneuver and when pure bloods take the offensive.

The gaslighting campaign of the past two years is a successful tactic. We’ve all experienced it many times now, but look at it in the context of Karen’s battle plan.

Someone mentions reality or a scientific fact around a General Karen (like Fraudci or Pants ter) and the next thing out of their mouth is gaslighting. Pure bloods scramble to explain why what the General stated is bull. More gaslighting, fear porn, and shaming follows.

“But I don’t want to kill Grandma,” the pure blood stammers. It’s a poor tactic and plays right into Karen’s logistics. Gaslighting allows their battle plan to proceed because the pure bloods are distracted and defending instead of going on the offensive.

Now you know what to look for and what to expect. Don’t be shocked when it happens…again.

As soon as pure bloods have victory conditions and logistics and tactics to support them, they join the battle. Until then it’s a one sided battle into cattle cars.

The fundamental problem is that most people, and virtually all conservatives, are unwilling to lift a finger until they are personally affected, even in the event that they can see the trouble coming down the road. And by then, it’s too late for anything but reactionary tactical action.

Astute readers will also note how the purebloods have been losing the tactical battle due to their insistence on dialectic.

DISCUSS ON SG


How to Bring Down the Vaccine Regimes

Follow the rules. That’s it, just follow the rules exactly:

Four words: “Follow the rules exactly.”

That’s it? That’s it.

Any system? Any system.

There are reasons for this. These reasons are universal.

First, every institution assumes voluntary compliance in at least 95% of all cases. This may be a low-ball estimate. Most people comply, either out of fear or lack of concern or strong belief in the system and its goals.

Second, every institution has more rules than it can follow, let alone enforce. Some of these rules are self-contradictory. The more rules, the larger the number of contradictions. (There is probably a statistical pattern here — some variant of Parkinson’s law.)

Third, every institution is built on this assumption: partial compliance. Not everyone will comply with any given procedural rule. There are negative sanctions to enforce compliance on the few who resist. They serve as examples to force compliance. Conversely, very few people under the institution’s jurisdiction will attempt to force the institution to comply exactly with any procedural rule.

These three laws of institutions — and they really are laws — offer any resistance movement an opportunity to shut down any system.

Remember, they need your economic involvement with their system in order to function. So, all of the mandates and laws putting pressure on you to comply always have an out – after all, you don’t need to go to that movie, that restaurant, that sporting event. Many people who have been collecting unemployment and stimulus checks have even learned that they don’t necessarily need that job at the office. And you certainly don’t need to take out that loan, which is the US system’s Achilles Heel; the system literally depends upon an ever-growing pool of credit market debt paying interest.

But they need you. That’s why even the most evil corporations are suddenly “pausing” or ending their vaccine mandates, because so many productive individuals have chosen the perfectly legal option of accepting one of the various penalties rather than submitting to the economic and social pressure.

And if every single person had applied for an exemption rather than quitting or submitting, there is a very good chance that the corporate mandates would have been removed even faster.

DISCUSS ON SG