My programming language is better than yours 

Realizing I prefer javascript (despite it being slow!) because it carries a "promethean fire" esthetic. It's designed to make it really easy for a beginner and then lack of a rich standard library encourages a "everybody build a piece" attitude.

This is a deep philosophical question: If we're improving every day, then Prometheus is a hero (but so is the snake), if we're degenerating (Plato, Bannon) then Promethius is a Sorcerers' Apprentice.

My programming language is better than yours 

@cjd Unfortunately, people keep building the same pieces over and over. And they build tiny pieces, stick them into NPM, then use a weak password, get phished, sell their account, or get angry and delete their package, breaking everything else.

To say nothing of the joy of dependencies that suddenly develop conflicting dependencies.

My programming language is better than yours 

@freakazoid
I get it, I personally really like libraries written in C because I know the programmer passed a minimum bar of entry... But without JavaScript the majority of js developers would not suddenly become excellent Haskell programmers, they would probably not be developers at all. So from the perspective of the whole industry (or society at large) I think more developers are better, even if they're worse πŸ˜‰

My programming language is better than yours 

@cjd @freakazoid
Only if those mediocre developers don't create negative externalities.

My programming language is better than yours 

@Wolf480pl @freakazoid
That's basically the fundamental question. Prometheus stole fire from the gods to help humans, who certainly were worse at using it than the gods.

So is Prometheus a hero or a villain ?

If Prometheus is a hero, it's hard to avoid concluding that the snake in the genesis story is also the hero.

But if Prometheus is the villain then it's hard not to reason yourself into Anarcho-Primitivism.

My programming language is better than yours 

@cjd @freakazoid
IMO, you're generalizing too much.

Each of those cases is different, and it might be quite possible that giving people fire is ok, but giving them asbestos isn't. Where does JS lie on the fire-asbestos spectrum?

My programming language is better than yours 

@cjd @freakazoid
Also, I don't understand why you equate what the snake did with what Prometheus did.

The snake gave people freedom. It pushed them out of choicelessness. Made them realize that things don't have to be the way they are, and that everything has a reason. That it makes sense to ask "why".

The snake is clearly a hero (or a tool in God's hands, whichever you prefer).

Well ok, if you are an anarcho-primitivism you may argue that choicelessness is a good thing and the snake is a villain, but otherwise, I don't see why you couldn't have a choiceless fire-using society which worships Prometheus and hates Snake, or a society in systematic mode which doesn't use fire or any higher technology.

My programming language is better than yours 

@Wolf480pl @cjd Couple of things: first, I think it's instructive to view these stories in terms of the goals the people teaching them had through the ages. It's not like people started with Prometheus and the snake and then decided how to interpret them; they had the thing they wanted to teach and then came up with (originally) or decided to use the stories to get across whatever they wanted to get across.

My programming language is better than yours 

@cjd @Wolf480pl Second, (and now I'm doing exactly the opposite of what I just said), fire (or more to the point cooking) dates back to H. erectus, and it's almost certain that H. sapiens never could have evolved without it. Any hypothetical society without fire would have had to discard it and would need to live in a pretty favorable location to be able to obtain sufficient nutrition without cooking.

My programming language is better than yours 

@Wolf480pl @cjd In other words, Prometheus pre-dates not just Snake but the Garden of Eden, if you think the Garden of Eden was populated by H. sapiens.

It's possible the hunting of big game (and thus war, since big game hunting doesn't seem otherwise beneficial) started with H. sapiens, which would point to the Garden of Eden being populated by H. erectus and Prometheus preceding it.

My programming language is better than yours 

@cjd @Wolf480pl Actually big game hunting was probably precipitated by an ice age, then continued afterward because groups that stayed good at it were better able to kill other people as well, so anyone who went back to small game as soon as they could got killed or joined the groups (potentially involuntarily) who hunted big game.

My programming language is better than yours 

@Wolf480pl @cjd Hmm, I guess that assertion obliterates anarcho-primitivism, doesn't it? If H. sapiens is defined by big game hunting and war, then there was never a time that didn't have organized violence.

Which is not to say we shouldn't abandon war, just that link between war and civilization doesn't go the direction anarcho-primitivists think it does. In fact, agriculture and civilization would have *reduced* violence.

My programming language is better than yours 

@cjd @Wolf480pl Since human history shows a long term, steady decline in death by violence in concert with the growth of agriculture, industry, urbanization, and technology generally, I'd say anarcho-primitivism has it exactly backward.

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My programming language is better than yours 

@freakazoid @cjd
I wonder how Mongol Hordes fit into this picture.

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My programming language is better than yours 

@Wolf480pl

Not sure about how this picture is framed.

Why does hunting big game = war

Also I dont think agricultural societies = peaceful societies.
Theres been very violent societies that practiced agriculture also hunter/gatherers that weren't aggressive. Also, as suggested, the inverse.
@freakazoid @cjd

My programming language is better than yours 

@dazinism @cjd @Wolf480pl It's just a theory I once read as to why humans have hunted big game for so long even when it was not the most efficient way to get protein that was available to them. The tools and techniques of big game hunting also work well for killing people. It could certainly be wrong, but nomadic hunter-gatherer groups that came in contact would have been competitors more than, say, nomadic herders.

My programming language is better than yours 

@Wolf480pl @cjd @dazinism And agrarians aren't nomadic, so they would only run into other agrarians if they were trying to expand their territory or had to move for whatever reason.

Of course, agriculture was a prerequisite for large scale war, but I think the scale of such wars was more than offset by the much reduced frequency. On average, of course.

My programming language is better than yours 

@dazinism @cjd @Wolf480pl Agriculture also created the surplus necessary to have a ruling class, and the dominance that came with that, of course. I just had that long monologue thread about agriculture and feudalism. But it also created the surplus necessary for trade.

My programming language is better than yours 

@freakazoid
All sounds like a rather bleak theory of the human condition, where out of group interactions are driven only by harsh utility

Is this theory based primarily on one thing you read, (do you recall what?)

I like to think that theres always been more possible reasons/options for interaction than just trade or war- certainly for me this is the case.
I think that theres evidence that this has also been the case historically
@cjd @Wolf480pl

My programming language is better than yours 

@dazinism @freakazoid @cjd

I think by Occam's Razor, there's no reason to think there are other reasons for interaction, until shown an example that can't be explained by "harsh" utility.

Can you enumerate some of those other possible reasons?

My programming language is better than yours 

@Wolf480pl @dazinism @freakazoid
This same question arrives again and again. Did we fall from grace or are we better every day ?
Plato clearly believed that we fell from grace, from the perfect republic with the perfect Philosopher King.
Lots of lore around this belief of fall from grace. The innocent and peaceful hunter-gatherers wiped out by the cruel and mechanistic Europeans is a really common belief system.

re: [thread], pol 

@cjd @dazinism @freakazoid
it's funny how ideas like "it used to be better" and "don't change things, you're making everything worse" are usually ascribed to right wing, while left wing is all about progress... yet these days what appears to be a left wing group also says it used to be better in the past, but it means much further past.

Is it all because we only remember the good parts of what it was like in the past?

re: [thread], pol 

@Wolf480pl @dazinism @cjd That's not "remembering". It's mythology.

re: [thread], pol 

@freakazoid @cjd @dazinism
I meant a form of "remembering" which includes transitive memory, i.e. things that you remember that other people said from what they remember, etc.

But yeah, mythology seems appropriate.

re: [thread], pol 

@Wolf480pl
@dazinism @freakazoid
I think the difference of belief between "fall from grace" and "better every day" is at least as important a spectrum as right vs left. You see fall from grace thinking in leftist ethnic guilt and also in rightist traditional family. On the better every day side the left has scientific socialism and the managed society and the right has ethnic pride.

re: [thread], pol 

@cjd @dazinism @Wolf480pl I don't know anything about "managed society", but people are terrible at science and even if they weren't, the economic calculation problem is not solvable even in theory, so "scientific socialism" as I understand it is not achievable, and there are all kinds of ways that pursuing such a thing could get us into a really bad place.

Left libertarians are also "better every day" folks.

re: [thread], pol 

@Wolf480pl @dazinism @cjd Maybe I'm misunderstanding what "ethnic pride" is, but isn't it reactionary at its core? Or is it not because it doesn't advocate a return to ethnostates but segregation within multicultural states?

re: [thread], pol 

@cjd @dazinism @Wolf480pl Of course, segregation is also reactionary.

re: [thread], pol 

@freakazoid @cjd @dazinism
not sure what exactly you mean by ethnostates, but isn't the fall of Yugoslavia an example that ethnostates are a more stable solution?

re: [thread], pol 

@Wolf480pl @dazinism @cjd It shows that you can't make a multicultural state simply by fiat. Ethnostates are a "local maximum" just like tribes are. The multicultural states that have formed did so either because people chose to live together or because some empire or dictatorship managed to force them to live together long enough that they got used to it. Often that was enough better (or not sufficiently worse) than what came before that it didn't require so much effort.

@Wolf480pl @cjd @freakazoid @dazinism The balkanization of Balkan could be viewed more directly as evidence that people *believe* ethnostates to be more stable. But as social constructs are built on feedback loops, that may very well turn out to mean that they are, in fact, more stable. πŸ˜€

As I understand it though, the main problem with Yugoslavia was that the unifying force and idea was a personality cult around Tito, and the disintegration following his death was slower than might have been expected. A multi-ethnic state forged without force and with a more sustainable unifying idea than one person would stand a better chance.

@clacke @cjd @freakazoid @dazinism
But to have a unifying force, don't you need common values? And once you have common values, doesn't it become a single culture?

@Wolf480pl
I'm a bit pessimistic on the future of the EU because the US, with a single common language and national back story, still at some point it almost disintegrated and was only saved by a brutal show of force. Also the north and south have gravitated into the blue team and the red team who still fight like cats and dogs.
@clacke @freakazoid @dazinism

@cjd @dazinism @clacke @Wolf480pl The US did not end up in a civil war over cultural differences; it ended up in a civil war because the South was economically dependent on slavery, and the North was unwilling to share in the burden of weaning them off of it despite being just as responsible for it as the South. The "show of force" and reduction of states' rights has probably prevented a lot of conflict since then, but at huge cost and a missed opportunity to learn to live together better.

@Wolf480pl @clacke @dazinism @cjd The EU seems to have two main challenges: the Eurozone members have too much sovereignty to be able to share a single currency, and they haven't figured out how to handle refugees. Both require a central government that can redistribute wealth.

Racism is also obviously a huge issue, both against the people coming from the Middle East and North Africa as well as against eastern Europeans.

@cjd @dazinism @clacke @Wolf480pl Brexit is obviously a big threat to the EU's future, depending on how it pans out. But it's also an opportunity for the EU to actually decide how departure should work, providing an "escape valve" that can prevent or mitigate future crises.

I had thought racism against Muslim's in France was a huge problem, but from looking at the Wikipedia page it tends to get overblown in the media here and Muslims integrate really well in France. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in

@freakazoid @Wolf480pl @clacke @dazinism
Based on my limited experience from Paris and the outer-lying region, I observe that a French person is a very particular thing. "Les enfants de la RΓ©publique" are something created by a very strict education system which begins very early. Here, there is such a thing as a French Muslim, a person who is indeed French but is also indeed Muslim. Not the same thing as a person who migrated here from a French territory.

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@cjd
IMO EU isn't supposed to be a single state. I'd rather it be an economical (and maybe millitary) alliance, aggregating the bargaining power of member states against giants like US, Russia, and China.

Haven't dug into it, but it looks like most of the major issues stem from the freedom of movement assumption. Now, I still think freedom of movement is a nice thing, but maybe we need to revisit its pros and cons, or tweak it a bit.
@clacke @freakazoid @dazinism

@Wolf480pl @dazinism @clacke @cjd Whether or not it's supposed to be a single state, it is. They have a parliament that passes far-reaching laws. They have a single currency and each member is allowed to issue debt that is considered (whether or not it's justified) to have the backing of the entire union. They have few to no internal border controls and strong(ish) external border controls. They are far more of a state than the US was under the Articles of Confederation.

@cjd @clacke @dazinism @Wolf480pl The EU has two clear choices given this fact: accept that they're a state, or accept that they've made themselves a state and undo that. The latter is probably a bad idea with Pax Americana on the way out.

@freakazoid @cjd @clacke @dazinism
>They have a single currency

That's Eurozone, not the whole EU. Many EU countries do not have Euro as their currency.

> They have a parliament that passes far-reaching laws.

Which then need to be ratified by each member state's own parliament before they enter into force.

>They have few to no internal border controls and strong(ish) external border controls.

That's Schengen Area, not EU. It mostly overlaps, but there are countries outside of EU which are in Schengen, and EU members which are not in Schengen.

@Wolf480pl @dazinism @clacke @cjd I can't find evidence of a ratification process beyond passing the Council (55% of states representing 65% of the population) and Parliament. Members get latitude in how they actually implement legislation via their own internal legislation, but that's the most I can find. It's more authority than the central government had under the Articles of Confederation. The Articles required unanimity.

...

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@Wolf480pl @dazinism @cjd @clacke Specific values need to be shared. "Culture" is not a binary thing; you don't either have a single or different cultures. You have sets of values with different levels of compatibility. There are also values that are required to live with people who don't have all the same values as you. These values tend to develop over time as groups with differnt values live alongside one another.

@freakazoid
And then these values suddenly disappear if you give people "social media".
@clacke @cjd @dazinism

re: [thread], pol 

@freakazoid @dazinism @Wolf480pl
Hmm, interesting question:
Examples of ethnic/nationalistic pride with which I have some experience include French, Zionist Jewish, Turkish, Muslim, Chinese, American, and European/"White".

American pride stands out as perhaps the most non-ethnic. Some groups want an ethno-state, some have one, some (Muslim) seem largely uninterested. Hard to say if it's reactionary, but it's definitely optimistic.

re: [thread], pol 

@freakazoid @Wolf480pl @dazinism
My personal opinion of "scientific socialism" can be summed up in James C. Scott's Seeing Like a State. But that ideology continues to exist and I would argue that lots of "lets just pass a law" ideas (for which the Left is known) are rooted in this thinking.

re: [thread], snark 

@cjd @freakazoid @dazinism
461 pages is pretty short for a summary...

re: [thread], pol 

@cjd @dazinism @Wolf480pl Oh yes absolutely. This is a common issue with people who pride themselves on being intellectual - they tend to overestimate the capacity of intellect to overcome problems. At least when it fits with their worldview. For things that don't they're perfectly happy to point out all the problems with human arrogance.

re: [thread], pol 

@Wolf480pl @dazinism @cjd This is why I like the idea of keeping interventions simple, transparent, and as measurable as possible rather than either avoiding them entirely or allowing unlimited intervention for any purpose. Try something. If it works, great. If it doesn't, get rid of it and do something else. When the sum total of interventions in any given area becomes complex, replace them with something simpler.

re: [thread], pol 

@cjd @dazinism @Wolf480pl (This can work really well with finance, too - avoid any instrument you don't *personally* understand really well.)

re: [thread], pol 

@Wolf480pl @dazinism @cjd It's science in that it acknowledges the limits of our ability to actually measure or fine-tune the effect of interventions in society. It can easily depart from being science depending on what we call "measurable". I do not believe economics, for the most part. In particular macroeconomics is unfalsifiable, and things like GDP include economic activity we know is bad like cleaning up after Deepwater Horizon.

re: [thread], pol 

@cjd @dazinism @Wolf480pl (Not that they shouldn't have cleaned up, just that there's no way that should increase GDP. The total damage of the spill, which is not actually measurable, needed to be subtracted out.)

re: [thread], pol 

@Wolf480pl @dazinism @cjd I think you're probably better off not even trying to make it scientific, or even measuring except in the case of easily measurable things like prison populations, birth rate, etc. I considered not even including the term "measurable" since they really don't need to be as long as they're simple and transparent. Then people can just decide if they're happy with it because they understand it.

re: [thread], pol 

@freakazoid @cjd @dazinism
so measurement by a vote? Interesting concept :P

At the same time, it kinda resembles medicine, where there's very few things you can measure, and anything depends on everything. From a physicist's point of view medicine isn't a science :/

re: [thread], pol 

@cjd @dazinism @Wolf480pl What you can do is have "evidence-based" interventions. Again, provided they're simple and transparent. UBI and EITC are obvious ones. We don't know the impact of EITC on employment but since there's no cliff and it increases at the beginning we can guess it probably encourages it (which may or may not be good, but it's better to debate about that than about what effect it even has).

re: [thread], pol 

@Wolf480pl @dazinism @cjd Another example is a carbon tax. We know a carbon tax will encourage switching to alternatives. We don't know how much or how fast, so we can just ratchet it up gradually until we get what we want. We may have no idea how much was due to the tax, but who cares?

Cap and trade, on the other hand, requires setting caps and measuring emissions, and it gets gamed to hell and misses all kinds of other emissions.

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re: [thread], pol 

@freakazoid @cjd @dazinism
I think it's science in that it tries to perform experiments in controlled conditions.

re: [thread], pol 

@freakazoid @dazinism @cjd
Do you by chance know what complexity class is that economic calculation problem in?
Or have any links where I could read more on this topic?

re: [thread], pol 

@Wolf480pl @cjd @dazinism It's not a computation problem. It's an information problem. The Wikipedia page is as good a place to start as any. The criticisms are primarily of the way libertarians have interpreted it, which is to say that "free markets" are always better than any kind of central planning, which is not what it says at all.

Hunter gatherers and agrarians 

@cjd
Stumbled into this recent blog post, which I found an interesting read & is somewhat related to what we'd been chatting about

Living and Working together (1/3) The Social Brain Hypothesis Revisited – Unvirtual - unvirtual.us/2019/08/19/living

@Wolf480pl @freakazoid

Hunter gatherers and agrarians 

@dazinism @Wolf480pl @cjd Interesting. The article doesn't mention anything about how they handled conflict among groups, but this page says they ran away if they met any aggressive groups. That works right up to the point where there's actual resource pressure. They seem to want to blame agriculture, but it seems more likely to me that it was warfare and the need for protection that was the root cause of hierarchy and inequality.

Hunter gatherers and agrarians 

@cjd @Wolf480pl @dazinism I suspect one could probably find peaceful agrarian societies that happened to live on particularly fertile land that then took a long time to become crowded and for whatever reason rarely got raided and had such high productivity that it was easy to recover from raids.

Hunter gatherers and agrarians 

@freakazoid @dazinism @Wolf480pl
I think despite whatever effort researchers can make to be impartial, research will always tend to confirm the biases of the researcher.
I suspect the reality is that some immediate-return societies were idealic at some times (e.g. when resources were plentiful), others weren't, some were in some ways but would horrify us in others.

Hunter gatherers and agrarians 

@cjd
Yeah I agree, think all research & presentation has bias, even if the researcher/author cant see it. This always needs consideration

I think that human societies & interactions are complex & its best to avoid generalisations about how humans behave, & why, unless backed up by **a whole lot of data** from a lot of sources (who have a verity of very different biases) with limited, weak counter theories/evidence
@freakazoid @Wolf480pl

Hunter gatherers and agrarians 

@cjd

Theres widely accepted theories that dont stand up very well to investigation

Tangentially related to our talk of trade/war Graeber, an anthropogist examined the historical record on money/debt/trade

There is no truth to the widely excepted claim that money replaced barter

nakedcapitalism.com/2011/08/wh

Some stuff about quantifiying everything there too

Recommend the book
@freakazoid @Wolf480pl

Hunter gatherers and agrarians 

@dazinism @Wolf480pl @cjd The thesis seems to be that, because some societies already had money at the beginning of the written historical record, and because there were still societies using barter for a long time after, it cannot be that money replaced barter? I don't follow that reasoning. You can certainly choose a narrow definition of "money" that by definition must have been created by governments, but that doesn't really tell you anything.

@freakazoid @cjd @dazinism The thesis to me seems to be that everyone keeps saying that currency replaced barter, but in reality this has never been observed, rather barter occurs where currency has been in use but then failed.
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