Local Validity as a Key to Sanity and Civilization

(Cross-posted from Face­book.)

0.

Tl;dr: There’s a similar­ity be­tween these three con­cepts:

  • A lo­cally valid proof step in math­e­mat­ics is one that, in gen­eral, pro­duces only true state­ments from true state­ments. This is a prop­erty of a sin­gle step, ir­re­spec­tive of whether the fi­nal con­clu­sion is true or false.

  • There’s such a thing as a bad ar­gu­ment even for a good con­clu­sion. In or­der to ar­rive at sane an­swers to ques­tions of fact and policy, we need to be cu­ri­ous about whether ar­gu­ments are good or bad, in­de­pen­dently of their con­clu­sions. The rules against fal­la­cies must be en­forced even against ar­gu­ments for con­clu­sions we like.

  • For civ­i­liza­tion to hold to­gether, we need to make co­or­di­nated steps away from Nash equil­ibria in lock­step. This re­quires gen­eral rules that are al­lowed to im­pose penalties on peo­ple we like or re­ward peo­ple we don’t like. When peo­ple stop be­liev­ing the gen­eral rules are be­ing eval­u­ated suffi­ciently fairly, they go back to the Nash equil­ibrium and civ­i­liza­tion falls.

i.

The no­tion of a lo­cally eval­u­ated ar­gu­ment step is sim­plest in math­e­mat­ics, where it is a for­mal­iz­able idea in model the­ory. In math, a gen­eral type of step is ‘valid’ if it only pro­duces se­man­ti­cally true state­ments from other se­man­ti­cally true state­ments, rel­a­tive to a given model. If x = y in some set of vari­able as­sign­ments, then 2x = 2y in the same model. Maybe x doesn’t equal y, in some model, but even if it doesn’t, the lo­cal step from “x = y” to “2x = 2y” is a lo­cally valid step of ar­gu­ment. It won’t in­tro­duce any new prob­lems.

Con­versely, xy = xz does not im­ply y = z. It hap­pens to work when x = 2, y = 3, and z= 3, in which case the two state­ments say “6 = 6” and “3 = 3“ re­spec­tively. But if x = 0, y = 4, z = 17, then we have “0 = 0” on one side and “4 = 17” on the other. We can feed in a true state­ment and get a false state­ment out the other end. This ar­gu­ment is not lo­cally okay.

You can’t get the con­cept of a “math­e­mat­i­cal proof” un­less on some level—though of­ten an in­tu­itive level rather than an ex­plicit one—you un­der­stand the no­tion of a sin­gle step of ar­gu­ment that is lo­cally okay or lo­cally not okay, in­de­pen­dent of whether you globally agreed with the fi­nal con­clu­sion. There’s a kind of ap­proval you give to the pieces of the ar­gu­ment, rather than look­ing the whole thing over and de­cid­ing whether you like what came out the other end.

Once you’ve grasped that, it may even be pos­si­ble to con­vince you of math­e­mat­i­cal re­sults that sound coun­ter­in­tu­itive. When your un­der­stand­ing of the rules gov­ern­ing al­low­able ar­gu­ment steps has be­come stronger than your faith in your abil­ity to judge whole in­tu­itive con­clu­sions, you may be con­vinced of truths you would not oth­er­wise have grasped.

ii.

More gen­er­ally in life, even out­side of math­e­mat­ics, there are such things as bad ar­gu­ments for good con­clu­sions.

There are even such things as gen­uinely good ar­gu­ments for false con­clu­sions, though of course those are much rarer. By the Bayesian defi­ni­tion of ev­i­dence, “strong ev­i­dence” is ex­actly that kind of ev­i­dence which we very rarely ex­pect to find sup­port­ing a false con­clu­sion. Lord Kelvin’s care­ful and mul­ti­ply-sup­ported lines of rea­son­ing ar­gu­ing that the Earth could not pos­si­bly be so much as a hun­dred mil­lion years old, all failed si­mul­ta­neously in a sur­pris­ing way be­cause that era didn’t know about nu­clear re­ac­tions. But most of the time this does not hap­pen.

On the other hand, bad ar­gu­ments for true con­clu­sions are ex­tremely easy to come by, be­cause there are tiny elves that whisper them to peo­ple. There isn’t any­thing the least bit more difficult in mak­ing an ar­gu­ment ter­rible when it leads to a good con­clu­sion, since the tiny elves own lawn­mow­ers.

One of the marks of an in­tel­lec­tu­ally strong mind is that they are able to take a cu­ri­ous in­ter­est in whether a par­tic­u­lar ar­gu­ment is a good ar­gu­ment or a bad ar­gu­ment, in­de­pen­dently of whether they agree with the con­clu­sion of that ar­gu­ment.

Even if they hap­pen to start out be­liev­ing that, say, the in­tel­li­gence ex­plo­sion the­sis for Ar­tifi­cial Gen­eral In­tel­li­gence is false, they are ca­pa­ble of frown­ing at the ar­gu­ment that the in­tel­li­gence ex­plo­sion is im­pos­si­ble be­cause hy­per­com­pu­ta­tion is im­pos­si­ble, or that there’s re­ally no such thing as in­tel­li­gence be­cause of the no-free-lunch the­o­rem, and say­ing, “Even if I agree with your con­clu­sion, I think that’s a ter­rible ar­gu­ment for it.” Even if they agree with the main­stream sci­en­tific con­sen­sus on an­thro­pogenic global warm­ing, they still wince and per­haps even offer a cor­rec­tion when some­body offers as ev­i­dence fa­vor­ing global warm­ing that there was a re­ally scorch­ing day last sum­mer.

There are weaker and stronger ver­sions of this at­tribute. Some peo­ple will think to them­selves, “Well, it’s im­por­tant to use only valid ar­gu­ments… but there was a sus­tained pat­tern of record highs wor­ld­wide over mul­ti­ple years which does count as ev­i­dence, and that par­tic­u­lar very hot day was a part of that pat­tern, so it’s valid ev­i­dence for global warm­ing.” Other peo­ple will think to them­selves, “I’d roll my eyes at some­one who offers a sin­gle very cold day as an ar­gu­ment that global warm­ing is false. So it can’t be okay to use a sin­gle very hot day to ar­gue that global warm­ing is true.”

I’d much rather buy a used car from the sec­ond per­son than the first per­son. I think I’d pay at least a 5% price pre­mium.

Me­taphor­i­cally speak­ing, the first per­son will court-mar­tial an al­lied ar­gu­ment if they must, but they will fa­vor al­lied sol­diers when they can. They still have a sense of mo­tion to­ward the Right Fi­nal An­swer as be­ing progress, and mo­tion away from the right fi­nal an­swer as anti-progress, and they dis­like not mak­ing progress.

The sec­ond per­son has some­thing more like the strict mind­set of a math­e­mat­i­cian when it comes to lo­cal val­idity. They are able to praise some proof steps as obey­ing the rules, ir­re­spec­tive of which side those steps are on, with­out a sense that they are thereby be­tray­ing their side.

iii.

This es­say has been bub­bling in the back of my mind for a while, since I read that po­ten­tial ju­ror #70 for the Martin Shkreli trial was re­jected dur­ing se­lec­tion when, asked if they thought they could ren­der im­par­tial judg­ment, they replied, “I can be fair to one side but not the other.” And I thought maybe I should write some­thing about why that was pos­si­bly a harbinger of the col­lapse of civ­i­liza­tion. I’ve been mus­ing re­cently about how a lot of the stan­dard Code of the Light isn’t re­ally writ­ten down any­where any­one can find.

The thought re­curred dur­ing the re­cent #MeToo saga when some Democrats were de­bat­ing whether it made sense to kick Al Franken out of the Se­nate. I don’t want to de­rail into de­bat­ing Franken’s be­hav­ior and whether that de­gree of cen­sure was war­ranted per se, and I’ll delete any such com­ments. What brought on this es­say was that I read some un­usu­ally frank con­cerns from peo­ple who did think that Franken’s be­hav­ior was per se cause to not rep­re­sent the Demo­cratic Party in the Se­nate; but who wor­ried that the Democrats would po­lice them­selves, the Repub­li­cans wouldn’t, and so the Repub­li­cans would end up con­trol­ling the Se­nate.

I’ve heard less of that since some up­stand­ing Repub­li­can vot­ers in Alabama stayed home on elec­tion night and put Doug Jones in the Se­nate.

But at the time, some peo­ple were re­ply­ing, “That seems hor­rify­ingly cyn­i­cal and re­alpoli­tik. Is the idea here that sex­ual line-cross­ing is only bad and wor­thy of pun­ish­ment when Repub­li­cans do it? Are we de­cid­ing that ex­plic­itly now?” And oth­ers were say­ing, “Look, the end re­sult of your way of do­ing things is to just hand over the Se­nate to the Repub­li­can Party.”

This is a con­cep­tual knot that, I’m guess­ing, re­sults from not ex­plic­itly dis­t­in­guish­ing game the­ory from good­ness.

There is, I think, a cer­tain in­tu­itive idea that ideally the Law is sup­posed to em­body a sub­set of moral­ity in­so­far as it is ever wise to en­force cer­tain kinds of good­ness. Mur­der is bad, and so there’s a law against this bad be­hav­ior of mur­der. There’s a lot of places where the law is in fact evil, like the laws crim­i­nal­iz­ing mar­ijuana; that means the law is de­part­ing from its pur­pose, fal­ling short of what it should be. Those who are not real-life straw au­thor­i­tar­i­ans (who are sadly com­mon) will cheer­fully agree that there are some forms of good­ness, even most forms of good­ness, that it is not wise to try to leg­is­late. But in­so­far as it is ever wise to make law, there’s an in­tu­itive sense that law should re­flect some par­tic­u­lar sub­set of morally good be­hav­ior that we have de­cided it is wise to en­force with guns, such as “Don’t kill peo­ple.”

It’s from this per­spec­tive that “As a mat­ter of prag­matic re­alpoli­tik we are go­ing to not en­force sex­ual line-cross­ing rules against Demo­cratic sen­a­tors” seems like giv­ing up, and maybe a harbinger of the fall of civ­i­liza­tion if things have re­ally got­ten that bad.

But there’s more than one func­tion of le­gal codes, the way that money is both a store of value and a medium of ex­change but these are differ­ent func­tions of money.

You can also look at laws as a kind of game the­ory played with peo­ple who might not share your moral­ity at all. Some peo­ple take this per­spec­tive al­most ex­clu­sively, at least in their ver­bal re­ports. They’ll say, “Well, yes, I’d like it if I could walk into your house and take all your stuff, but I would dis­like it even more if you could walk into my house and take my stuff, and that’s why we have laws.” I’m never quite sure how se­ri­ously to take the claim that they’d be happy walk­ing into my house and tak­ing my stuff. It seems to me that law en­force­ment and even so­cial en­force­ment are sim­ply not effec­tive enough to count for the vast ma­jor­ity of hu­man co­op­er­a­tion, and I have a sense that civ­i­liza­tion is free-rid­ing a whole lot on in­nate al­tru­ism… but game the­ory is cer­tainly a func­tion served by law.

The same way that money is both medium of ex­change and store of value, the law is both col­lec­tive util­ity func­tion frag­ment and game the­ory.

In its func­tion as game the­ory, the law (ideally) en­ables peo­ple with differ­ent util­ity func­tions to move from bad Nash equil­ibria to bet­ter Nash equil­ibria, closer to the Pareto fron­tier. In­stead of mu­tual defec­tion get­ting a pay­off of (2, 2), both sides pay 0.1 for law en­force­ment and move to en­forced mu­tual co­op­er­a­tion at (2.9, 2.9).

From this per­spec­tive, ev­ery­thing rests on no­tions like “fair­ness”, “im­par­tial­ity”, “equal­ity be­fore the law”, “it doesn’t mat­ter whose ox is be­ing gored”. If the so-called law pun­ishes your defec­tion but lets the other’s defec­tion pass, and this hap­pens sys­tem­at­i­cally enough and of­ten enough, it is in your in­ter­est to blow up the cur­rent equil­ibrium if you have a chance.

It is co­her­ent to say, “Cross­ing this be­hav­ioral line is uni­ver­sally bad when any­one does it, and also we’re not go­ing to pun­ish Demo­cratic sen­a­tors un­less you also pun­ish Repub­li­can sen­a­tors.” Though as the saga of Se­na­tor Doug Jones of Alabama also shows, you should be care­ful about pre­emp­tively as­sum­ing the other side won’t co­op­er­ate; there are sad lost op­por­tu­ni­ties there.

iv.

The way hu­mans do law, it de­pends on the ex­is­tence of what feel like sim­ple gen­eral rules that ap­ply to all cases.

This is not a uni­ver­sal truth of de­ci­sion the­ory, it’s a con­se­quence of our cog­ni­tive limi­ta­tions. Two su­per­in­tel­li­gences could ne­go­ti­ate a com­pro­mise with com­pli­cated de­tailed bound­aries go­ing right up to the Pareto fron­tier. They could agree on mu­tu­ally ver­ified pieces of cog­ni­tive code de­signed to in­tel­li­gently de­cide fu­ture events ac­cord­ing to known prin­ci­ples.

Hu­mans use sim­pler laws than that.

To be clear, the kind of “law” I’m talk­ing about here is not to be con­fused with the enor­mous mod­ern morass of un­read­able reg­u­la­tions. Think of, say, the writ­ten laws that ac­tu­ally got en­forced in a small town in Cal­ifor­nia in 1820. Or Democrats de­bat­ing whether to en­force a sanc­tion against Demo­cratic sen­a­tors if it’s not be­ing en­forced against Repub­li­can sen­a­tors. Or a small com­mu­nity’s el­ders’ star-cham­ber meet­ing to de­bate an ac­cu­sa­tion of sex­ual as­sault. Or the laws that cops will en­force even against other cops. Th­ese are the kinds of laws that must be sim­ple in or­der to ex­ist.

The rea­son that hunter-gath­erer tribes don’t have 100,000 pages of writ­ten le­gal­ism… is not that they’ve wisely re­al­ized that lengthy rules are eas­ier to fill with loop­holes, and that com­pli­cated reg­u­la­tions fa­vor large cor­po­ra­tions with le­gal de­part­ments, and that laws of­ten have un­in­tended con­se­quences which don’t re­sem­ble their stated jus­tifi­ca­tions, and that dead­weight losses in­crease quadrat­i­cally. It’s very clear that a su­per­ma­jor­ity of hu­man be­ings are not that wise. Rather, hunter-gath­er­ers just don’t have enough time, en­ergy, and pa­per to screw up that badly.

When hu­mans try to ver­bal­ize The Law that isn’t to be con­fused with writ­ten law, the law that cops will en­force against other cops, it comes out in uni­ver­sally quan­tified short sen­tences like “Any­one who defects in the Pri­soner’s Dilemma will be pe­nal­ized TEN points even if that costs us fif­teen” or “If you kill some­body who wasn’t at­tack­ing you first, we’ll ex­ile you.”

At one point some­body had the bright idea of try­ing to write down The Law. That way ev­ery­one could have com­mon knowl­edge of what The Law was; and if you didn’t break what was writ­ten, you could know you were safe from at least the offi­cial sanc­tions. Robert Hein­lein called it the most im­por­tant mo­ment in poli­ti­cal his­tory, declar­ing that the law was above the poli­ti­ci­ans.

I for one rather doubt the Code of Ham­murabi was uni­ver­sally en­forced. I ex­pect that hunter-gath­erer tribes long be­fore writ­ing had a sense of there be­ing Laws that were above the de­ci­sions of in­di­vi­d­ual el­ders. I sus­pect that even in the best of times most of the The Law was never writ­ten down, and that more than half of what was writ­ten down was never re­ally The Law.

But un­for­tu­nately, once some­body had the bright idea of writ­ing down The Law, some­body else had the bright idea of writ­ing down more words on the same clay tablet.

To­day we live in a post-le­gal­ist era, when al­most all of that which serves the true func­tion of Law can no longer be writ­ten down. The gov­ern­ment le­gal­ist sys­tem is too ex­pen­sive in time and money and en­ergy, too un­re­li­able, and too slow, for any sane vic­tim of sex­ual as­sault to ap­peal to the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem in­stead of the me­dia jus­tice sys­tem or the whisper­net jus­tice sys­tem. The civil le­gal­ist sys­tem out­side of small claims court is a blud­geon­ing con­test be­tween en­tities that can af­ford lawyers, and the real law be­tween cor­po­ra­tions is en­forced by mer­chant rep­u­ta­tion and the threat of start­ing a blud­geon­ing con­test. If you’re in a lower-class neigh­bor­hood in the US, you can’t get to­gether and cre­ate or­der us­ing your own town guards, be­cause the po­lice won’t al­low it. From your per­spec­tive, the func­tion of the po­lice is to pre­vent open gun­fights and to not al­low any more effec­tive or­der than that to form.

But so it goes. We can’t always keep the nice things we used to have, like writ­ten laws. The priv­ilege was abused, and has been re­voked.

When re­mains of The Law must in­deed be sim­ple, be­cause our writ­ten-law priv­ileges have been re­voked, and so The Law re­lies on ev­ery­one know­ing The Law with­out it be­ing writ­ten down. It isn’t even re­cited in mem­o­rable verse, as once it was. The Law re­lies on the com­mu­nity agree­ing on the ap­pli­ca­tion of The Law with­out there be­ing pro­fes­sional judges or a prece­dent-based ju­di­ciary. If not uni­ver­sal agree­ment, it must at least seem that the choices of the el­ders are try­ing to ap­peal to The Law in­stead of just naked self-in­ter­est. To the ex­tent a vol­un­tary as­so­ci­a­tion can’t agree on The Law in this sense, it will soon cease to be a vol­un­tary as­so­ci­a­tion.

The Law also breaks down if peo­ple start be­liev­ing that, when the sim­ple rules say one thing, the de­ciders will in­stead look at whose ox got gored, eval­u­ate their per­sonal in­ter­est, and en­force a differ­ent con­clu­sion in­stead.

Which is to say: hu­man law ends up with what peo­ple at least be­lieve to be a set of sim­ple rules that can be lo­cally checked to test okay be­hav­ior. It’s not ac­tu­ally al­gorith­mi­cally sim­ple any more than walk­ing is cheaply com­putable, but it feels sim­ple the way that walk­ing feels easy. What­ever doesn’t feel like part of that small sim­ple set won’t be sys­tem­at­i­cally en­forced by the com­mu­nity, re­gard­less of whether your civ­i­liza­tion has reached the stage where po­lice are seiz­ing the cars of black peo­ple but not white peo­ple who use mar­ijuana.

v.

The game-the­o­retic func­tion of law can make fol­low­ing those sim­ple rules feel like los­ing some­thing, tak­ing a step back­ward. You don’t get to defect in the Pri­soner’s Dilemma, you don’t get that deli­cious (5, 0) pay­off in­stead of (3, 3). The law may pun­ish one of your al­lies. You may be los­ing some­thing ac­cord­ing to your ac­tual value func­tion, which feels like the law hav­ing an ob­jec­tively bad im­moral re­sult. You may co­her­ently hold that the uni­verse is a worse place for an in­stance of the en­force­ment of a good law, rel­a­tive to its coun­ter­fac­tual state if that law could be lifted in just that in­stance with­out af­fect­ing any other in­stances. Though this does re­quire see­ing that law as hav­ing a game-the­o­retic func­tion as well as a moral func­tion.

So long as the rules are seen as mov­ing from a bad global equil­ibrium to a global equil­ibrium seen as bet­ter, and so long as the rules are mostly-equally en­forced on ev­ery­one, peo­ple are some­times able to take a step back­ward and see that larger pic­ture. Or, in a less ab­stract way, trade off the reified in­ter­est of The Law against their own de­sires and wishes.

This men­tal mo­tion goes by names like “jus­tice”, “fair­ness”, and “im­par­tial­ity”. It has an­cient ex­em­plars like a story I couldn’t seem to Google, about a Chi­nese gen­eral who pro­hibited his troops from loot­ing, and then his son ap­pro­pri­ated a straw hat from a peas­ant; so the gen­eral sen­tenced his own son to death with tears run­ning down his eyes.

Here’s a frag­ment of thought as it was be­fore the Great Stag­na­tion, as de­picted in pass­ing in H. Beam Piper’s Lit­tle Fuzzy, one of the ear­liest books I read as a child. It’s from 1962, when the memetic col­lapse had started but not spread very far into sci­ence fic­tion. It stuck in my mind long ago and be­came one more tiny lit­tle piece of who I am now.

“Pen­darvis is go­ing to try the case him­self,” Em­mert said. “I always thought he was a rea­son­able man, but what’s he try­ing to do now? Cut the Com­pany’s throat?”
“He isn’t anti-Com­pany. He isn’t pro-Com­pany ei­ther. He’s just pro-law. The law says that a planet with na­tive sapi­ent in­hab­itants is a Class-IV planet, and has to have a Class-IV colo­nial gov­ern­ment. If Zarathus­tra is a Class-IV planet, he wants it es­tab­lished, and the proper laws ap­plied. If it’s a Class-IV planet, the Zarathus­tra Com­pany is ille­gally char­tered. It’s his job to put a stop to ille­gal­ity. Fred­eric Pen­darvis’ re­li­gion is the law, and he is its priest. You never get any­where by ar­gu­ing re­li­gion with a priest.”

There is no sug­ges­tion in 1962 that the speak­ers are gullible, or that Pen­darvis is a naif, or that Pen­darvis is weird for think­ing like this. Pen­darvis isn’t the defi­ant hero or even much of a side char­ac­ter. It’s just a kind of judge you some­times run into, part of a nor­mal en­vi­ron­ment as pro­jected from the au­thor’s mind that wrote the story.

If you don’t have some peo­ple like Pen­darvis, and you don’t ap­pre­ci­ate what they’re try­ing to do even when they rule against you, sooner or later your tribe ends.

I mean, I doubt the United States will liter­ally fall into an­ar­chy this way be­fore the AGI timeline runs out. But the con­cept ap­plies on a smaller scale than coun­tries. It ap­plies on a smaller scale than com­mu­ni­ties, to bar­gains be­tween three peo­ple or two.

The no­tion that you can “be fair to one side but not the other”, that what’s called “fair­ness” is a kind of fa­vor you do for peo­ple you like, says that even the in­stinc­tive sense peo­ple had of law-as-game-the­ory is be­ing lost in the mod­ern memetic col­lapse. Peo­ple are be­ing ex­posed to so many so­cial-me­dia-viral de­pic­tions of the Other Side defect­ing, and view­points ex­clu­sively from Our Side with­out any leav­en­ing of any other view­point that might ask for a game-the­o­retic com­pro­mise, that they’re los­ing the abil­ity to ap­pre­ci­ate the kind of anec­dotes they used to tell in an­cient China.

(Or maybe it’s hor­monelike chem­i­cals leached from plas­tic food con­tain­ers. Let’s not for­get all the psy­cholog­i­cal ex­pla­na­tions offered for a wave of vi­o­lence that turned out to be lead poi­son­ing.)

vi.

And to take the point full cir­cle:

The men­tal mo­tion to even­hand­edly ap­ply The Rules ir­re­spec­tive of their con­clu­sion is a kind of think­ing that hu­man be­ings ap­pre­ci­ate in­tu­itively, or at least they ap­pre­ci­ated it in an­cient China and mid-20th-cen­tury sci­ence fic­tion. In fact, we ap­pre­ci­ate The Law more na­tively than we ap­pre­ci­ate the no­tion of lo­cal syn­tac­tic rules cap­tur­ing se­man­ti­cally valid steps in math­e­mat­i­cal proofs, go figure.

So the le­gal metaphor is where a lot of peo­ple get started on episte­mol­ogy: by see­ing the lo­cal rules of valid ar­gu­ment as The Law, fal­la­cies as crimes. The un­usu­ally healthy of mind will re­ject bad al­lied ar­gu­ments with an emo­tional sense of prac­tic­ing the way of an im­par­tial judge.

It’s ironic, in a way, be­cause there is no game the­ory and no moral­ity to the true way of the map that re­flects the ter­ri­tory. A pa­per­clip max­i­mizer would also strive to de­bias its cog­ni­tive pro­cesses, alone in its ster­ile uni­verse.

But I would ven­ture a guess and hy­poth­e­sis that you are bet­ter off buy­ing a used car from a ran­dom math­e­mat­i­cian than a ran­dom non-math­e­mat­i­cian, even af­ter con­trol­ling for IQ. The rea­son­ing be­ing that math­e­mat­i­ci­ans are peo­ple whose sense of Law was strong enough to be ap­pro­pri­ated for proofs, and that this will cor­re­late, if im­perfectly, with math­e­mat­i­ci­ans abid­ing by what they see as The Law in other places as well. I could be wrong, and would be in­ter­ested in see­ing the re­sults of any study like this if it were ever done. (But no stud­ies on self-re­ports of crim­i­nal be­hav­ior, please. Un­less there’s some rea­son to be­lieve that the self-re­port met­ric isn’t mea­sur­ing “hon­esty times crim­i­nal­ity” rather than “crim­i­nal­ity”.)

I have no grand agenda in hav­ing said all this. I’ve just some­times thought of late that it would be nice if more of the ex­tremely ba­sic rules of think­ing were writ­ten down.