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.

My programming language is better than yours 

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

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 @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 

@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?

@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.
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@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.

@cjd @dazinism @clacke @Wolf480pl On the red/blue team thing, the US has been far more politically divided in the past even since the civil war. I'm far more worried about the decline in perceived legitimacy of the federal government. But FDR was far more charismatic than Trump and at least as disdainful of the separation of powers. He tried to get a bill through Congress that would have let him appoint a bunch more judges to the Supreme Court.

plpol 

@freakazoid
Meanwhile in Poland, the ruling party passed such a bill overnight a couple years ago.
@clacke @dazinism @cjd

@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.

...

@cjd @clacke @dazinism @Wolf480pl The fact that the Eurozone, EU, and Schengen are not the same thing just means it's a dysfunctional state, not that it's not a state ;-)

I think we can at least agree that they're in an unstable region of configuration space right now, and something needs to change. I think that restricting internal freedom of movement or trade would be economically devastating and essentially take Europe out of the running as a world power.

@freakazoid @dazinism @clacke @cjd

With regard to freedom of movement - I don't know enough about economics to be able to assess how bad it'd be to restrict it.

As for freedom of trade - I think you're the first one here to suggest restricting it, and I think you can have freedom of trade without being a single state, and with each member having their own currency.

Also, I don't think being able to pick and choose some of the EU-related treaties without accepting other ones would necessarily be an unstable configuration.

And even if some models are impractical to implement in EU right now, I'd like to explore the configuration space in an abstract way, to see what configurations are theoretically possible.

@Wolf480pl @cjd @clacke @dazinism AFAICT the instability comes from having a common currency without automatic wealth transfers, which can result in deflation and potentially default within individual member states.

One can definitely have freedom of trade without a common currency, but having your own currency means you can do the equivalent of enacting tariffs by devaluing your currency. With restrictions on tariffs, the likely outcome is competitive devaluation.

@dazinism @clacke @cjd @Wolf480pl In fact, something similar happened in the US under the Articles, only with external tariffs instead of currencies: states couldn't charge tariffs on trade among themselves, but they could charge tariffs on goods coming from outside. But the goods would just come in through whatever state had the lowest tariffs, so it was a race to the bottom. This was one of the biggest impetuses behind the Constitutional Convention.

@freakazoid @dazinism @clacke @cjd

Hm... in Poland we recently had deflation for a moment. But we're not in Eurozone. We still have our own currency... so why are we not devaluing our currency to create the effect of tarrifs? (if we did that, we'd have inflation, right?)

@Wolf480pl @cjd @clacke @dazinism It's an interesting question. The NBP seems unwilling to drop their benchmark interest rate below 1.5% for whatever reason. Poland has a significantly lower debt to GDP ratio, including for private debt, than even Germany, so maybe they didn't consider a couple years of deflation to be that big a problem?

1.5% is still a pretty low rate historically, though; it was a record low for the NBP. And the Zloty did drop 11% against the dollar during that period.

@Wolf480pl @cjd @clacke @dazinism Actually I guess it was about 27% against the dollar, but it was relatively stable against the Euro, so it seems like things in Poland may have been affected more by what was going on with the rest of Europe than anything else.

Devaluation is hard to define with modern fiat currencies. Lowering interest rates has the effect of discouraging holding of it, plus the way central banks lower rates is by increasing the supply, usually by buying government debt.

@dazinism @clacke @cjd @Wolf480pl If you define the value of a currency by CPI, then by definition it wasn't devalued. But CPI looks at a specific set of prices. It appears to have been declining food and energy prices that caused Poland's deflation, not declining wages. Unemployment appears to have peaked in Poland just before the inflation started and has declined ever since. Which may actually be the reason the NBP didn't feel the need to lower rates further.

@freakazoid @cjd @clacke @dazinism
pretty sure there were at least 2 cases of Polish parliament refusing to implement some EU directive, but I don't remember off the top of my head, so maybe I'm wrong.

@freakazoid @cjd @clacke @dazinism
ACTA may've been one of those cases, but I'm not sure if it went through Europarliament, or if treaties like this go through a different path.

@Wolf480pl @dazinism @clacke @cjd There are apparently several different paths. I was going by Wikipedia's description of the "Ordinary Legislative Procedure". "Regulations" take effect directly, while "Directives" need to be implemented by each national parliament, but are still binding AFAICT. Modifications to the Treaty of Lisbon, and I think international agreements like ACTA, need to be ratified by national parliaments.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European

@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

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