“I feel like there is objective truth about why killing is bad, but I don’t understand why.”
I think I get that. I tried to explain “why” in my answer above. “Why” is because you’re built to feel that way. For good, practical reasons.
Your answer is in your own question—“societies that discourage murder will probably fare better than societies that promote it. I don’t understand why murder is bad”.
Our sense of good and evil is shaped by what helped our ancestors survive in competition with other tribes. Societies with less murder—because of people who abhor murder—fared better, resulting in decedents who also abhor murder (us).
People who didn’t abhor murder didn’t form societies or formed societies that were less successful, leaving behind few descendants with those instincts. People mixed, societies formed and disbanded. Over time, people who instinctively and culturally abhorred murder relatively flourished, while those who didn’t relatively diminished.
That’s it—there’s nothing more to the story than that.
All our modern philosophy about good and evil and law is post-hoc justification, regularization, and exploitation of our instinctive disdain for murder (and other evils). Intellectuals among us try to extend our instincts and observations about what makes for successful societies (morals, ethics, law...) in a regular, predictable, and logical way, but have trouble coming up with tight, closed, well-argued positions that don’t lead to perceived absurd consequences. Because the universe isn’t necessarily compatible with our ideas of justice and morality.
You’re an unusual person. I’m glad you found something that works for you. I just learned to relish the “quiet time” that comes from being a few minutes early—use it to rest, meditate, catch up on email, read an article, whatever. Before smartphones (I’m that old) I’d carry a book with me everywhere I went—to have something to read.
Thank you for doing that. I hope the donations have positive effect.
Please don’t use “MM” to mean 10^6. The only other people I know who do that are over 90 years old.
The Romans have been gone a long time. The SI prefix for 10^6 is just one M, as in “mega”.
I fear you’re beating up a strawman. As Gibbon makes pretty clear (and he’s nothing if not the “standard narrative”), Rome rotted from the inside—politically and economically. The barbarians didn’t get anywhere until Rome was practically collapsed from internal corruption.
Rome suffered an extreme case of all the standard things that modern economists write about—public choice failures, protectionism, price controls, government-backed trade monopolies, etc., etc. The political system was inherently unstable and tended to dictatorships.
The founders of the United States studied classical history closely, and consciously attempted to create a structure that would resist those failure modes. They succeeded better than they imagined (IMHO most of the American founders would have been shocked to hear the USA made it even 100 years, yet it’s sort of still running today...sort of) but of course far from perfectly. They were aware that this is a hard problem never before solved in history (altho Switzerland has done pretty well too).
And, as you hint, lead pipes and lead poisonings didn’t help any either. That was just bad luck.
“in order for something to exist, everything must exist, eternally”
Care to explain why? The rest of your comment I understand.
Sigh. To make something work in a competitive world, you need to make it work on all the relevant metrics—at least “good enough” on all of them, and better than the competition on some of them.
Suppose you offer a product that’s measured on 4 metrics (imagine: quality, speed, price, size, ease of use, beauty, weight, …), A, B, C, D.
Some potential customers will weigh some metrics more heavily than others. Some will ignore some metrics completely. But in general you need to do at least 5⁄10 on all of them and better than that on some of them.
Metric A: 7⁄10
Metric B: 8⁄10
Metric C: 2⁄10
Metric D: 10⁄10
That’s a losing product. It’s fantastic on D, but bad on C, and that kills it for most customers. Maybe there are a few people who don’t care much about C and will love the product. But not many.
That’s what happened to Massimo Bottura (C was production quality). You’re the weird customer who doesn’t care about C and notices mainly D.
Probably that’s what happened to your startups.
Sorry—it’s tough. But that’s the reality.
Added: Of course the same is true for other competitions, for example mate selection. Happily most people are only looking for a single mate, so it’s not that difficult to find somebody who values D a lot, C hardly at all, and also measures well on your own preferred metrics.
It’s not that easy for a startup or a YouTuber, who need numbers.
Very late reply: This was a dermatologist who insisted that I had to have a separate appointment for EACH tiny mole to be removed, instead of removing several in one appointment.
I got a new dermatologist after that.
Some people are just thieves. I agree that it’s rare.
English has different words for those two colors, too, “blue” and “cyan”. Also, I don’t think “Eurocentric paint” is a thing. Paint is not an idea.
Don’t go around handing out blank checks, and you won’t have to worry that someone will fill in a huge amount and try to cash it.
Really, that’s what the people in Texas did—they explicitly signed up to a deal where the price per kWh could change without limit, and pre-agreed to pay whatever the rate was.
Because in theory on average it would be cheaper.
It’s kind of like selling fire insurance—sure, you get this nice steady stream of premiums. But every once in a while, unpredictably, a house burns down and you have to pay for it.
It’s fine to do that if you’re an insurance company and have many customers, so you can figure out how many houses you can expect t- statistically—to burn down each month. AND you buy reinsurance (it’s a thing) in case you’re unlucky and all your customers houses burn down at once.
But it’s dumb to just sell ONE insurance policy, hoping your customer’s house won’t burn down, if you can’t afford to pay for it.
Don’t do that.
Auto-pay is fine for things where the amounts are reasonably predicable—your cable bill, say. Not for things that might vary a lot.
For me, it’s being completely focused on a task. To the extent that the task occupies all of my short-term memory, leaving nothing for anything else distracting.
This is, I think, why it’s annoying to be disturbed while in the flow state. The whole house of cards falls down when a disturbance occurs (example: the phone rings) while in flow—something necessarily gets tossed out of short-term memory to accommodate the interruption.
Even for a fairness argument, it seems hard to justify the rent subsidy (the difference between market rent and controlled rents) coming out of the pockets of landlords, vs. the public treasury.
Why pick on landlords?
Yes. This is an argument for paying legislators nothing. New Hampshire has the second largest legislature on the the planet. The pay for members of the NH House of Representatives is $100/year, plus mileage. (it’s not a full-time job).
New Hampshire is a pretty well-run place.
And for paying bureaucrats, esp. senior ones, more. Far more. In Singapore the PM is paid $3M/year, cabinet ministers $2.5M/year (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabinet_of_Singapore). Lower level bureaucrats are paid like corporate managers with similar scale of responsibility (they don’t have large numbers of these people, but the ones they do have are very competent).
Singapore is a pretty well run-place.
See https://www.amazon.com/Where-My-Flying-Car-Memoir-ebook/dp/B07F6SD34R (Where is my Flying Car?, J. Storrs Hall) on this—I find his take on it dead-on.
Hall says growth in energy use per capita flatlined, and that happened mostly because established industries rigged the system to keep themselves on top, and stifled new technologies in a snarl of red tape and regulation. (For the greater good, of course. </snark>)
I think about half of Gordon’s policy RXs are wise, the other half deeply unwise. To the extent public policy has anything to do with growth (a lot, I think) it seems pretty clear US policy circa 1930 (just before the New Deal) worked a lot better than US policy circa 1970.
Whatever pain reverting to public policy circa 1930 would entail seems to be outweighed by the vast increase in per-capita wealth. Several studies have estimated per capita GDP at 3x to 4x what it is today, if the earlier policies had been kept in place.
Every policy proposal needs to be compared to the status quo and not to some utopian ideal.
It seems likely that a well-designed UBI would be vastly more efficient than our existing hodgepodge of welfare and other subsidies for the poor. It would eliminate the overhead of figuring out who should receive them and limiting fraud, and eliminate the disincentives to productivity that we have in place now. Neither is a small gain.
A UBI might also go some way toward settling our vast political bifurcation, by making people feel the world is a bit more “fair”.
An increase in entrepreneurial activity would be nice, but doesn’t drive the case for UBI.
Highly recommended: https://www.amazon.com/Our-Hands-Replace-Welfare-State/dp/1442260718/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=in+our+hands&qid=1601063375&s=books&sr=1-1
If that’s true, the field is broken.
Religion is symbiotic to humans—that’s how it has persisted for millennia, despite being factually mistaken about many important things. Some of us get along fine without it, but we seem to be a minority.
It would be great to have something honest to fill the niche taken by religion, including community, moral guidance, and making people feel better about their lives. I would be willing to donate some money toward the project.
Most religions involve an afterlife—without that the “religion niche” may not be filled. One truthful way to offer this might be to talk about quantum immortality—if the MWI is correct and we can only experience worlds in which we survive, then subjectively (only!) we may each perceive ourselves to be immortal. Cryonics is another option here.
Ideas about destiny and duty seem to play important roles in religions. I suggest something along the lines of “spreading the light of life and intelligence thruout the universe”. Frank Tipler has written a lot about this—mostly nonsense in my opinion, but we could take his vision of the Omega Point not as inevitable, but as a goal we (intelligence in the universe) have a duty to accomplish.
That seems to fit pretty well with long-termism, however defined. We could take it as our project realize Tipler’s dream—to colonize the universe with intelligence, to make the universe an ever-better place to live.
“I’m sorry” is often used as an expression of sympathy—no relation to any apology.
Them: “My mom got cancer”
You: “I’m so sorry!”
(sorry for them, not sorry for anything you did)
To the degree that that cocaine business (like any honest business) creates value, there’s some truth in that. But most of the value is in the high that the customers get when they consume it—it doesn’t create much *economic* value. Except to whatever extent the cocaine makes users more productive (it’s a stimulant, as is caffeine).
But the “subsidy” mostly comes from other inner-city residents—for the most part, they’re the customers (obviously some outsiders come into town to buy, but I suspect that’s a small fraction of the business). So it’s a zero-sum transaction within the inner city, except (as said) for the hedons of pleasure experienced by the end-users.
I think the costs of the drug war (fear, crime, overdoses, toxic side-effects of adulterants, incarceration, destroyed families, etc. - all of which overwhelmingly fall on inner-city poor people) far exceed any “subsidy” to the inner city.
I suspect a stronger argument could be made that the drug war is a key element of the institutional structures that keep the underclass down. Supposedly (from those who were there) Nixon’s War on Drugs was intended to make life harder for blacks: https://www.forbes.com/sites/eriksherman/2016/03/23/nixons-drug-war-an-excuse-to-lock-up-blacks-and-protesters-continues/#5feee3f542c8 https://www.drugpolicy.org/press-release/2016/03/top-adviser-richard-nixon-admitted-war-drugs-was-policy-tool-go-after-anti https://www.vox.com/2016/3/29/11325750/nixon-war-on-drugs https://www.cnn.com/2016/03/23/politics/john-ehrlichman-richard-nixon-drug-war-blacks-hippie/index.html
Cocaine is a stimulant, so wouldn’t that make users *more* productive?
And if it were legal, it would be cheap, so no “crimes to get their next hit”. Despite heavy taxation, the (significant) social harm from alcohol and tobacco doesn’t come from crime.