Showing posts from 2022

FTX, Cryptomania and Fake Wealth

In October 2021, Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) was on the cover of Forbes magazine. Forbes estimated his net worth at $26.5 billion, making him one of the richest people in the United States, despite being only 29 years old. By October 2022, his wealth had declined considerably, due to the crypto-crash of the preceding year, which saw bitcoin fall from over $60K to less than $20K. However, his net worth was still over $10 billion. On November 8, 2022, his wealth fell to less than one billion, due to the collapse of his company FTX and its associated tokens. By November 11, his net worth was estimated to be zero. Of course, this “wealth” never really existed. It was just an illusion. That illusion was created by two things: hype and the fallacy of composition. The fallacy of composition is the false assumption that what is true of the parts is also true of the whole. A single unit of an asset class has a market value. The asset class as a whole, or any large amount of it, does not have a

Irrationality is the Root Problem

Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of ads on YouTube for Matt Walsh’s new documentary on gender ideology: What is a Woman? . While I agree with the general message (gender ideology is crazy), I find the ads irritating. In the movie, Matt interviews various SJWs, such as activists and professors. He asks them to define “woman”. This simple question puts them in an awkward predicament. We can see the pain on their faces as they struggle with cognitive dissonance. They are required to believe that a trans-woman is a woman. This eliminates the meaning of “woman”, making it impossible for them to give a definition. (See The Trans Paradox .) Even the activists at the “Women’s March” struggle to define “woman”. Matt Walsh does a great job exposing the irrationality of the SJWs. He forces them to confront the absurdity of their beliefs. But couldn’t someone do exactly the same thing to Matt Walsh by asking him to define “God”? Matt Walsh is a Christian. He believes in a magic man who lives in t

White Erasure in Advertising

The other day, I got into an argument on twitter with some leftists who denied that whites are being erased in mass media. They did the usual left-wing tactic of denying that it was happening, while also saying that it was good. It does give leftists cognitive dissonance that the big corporations are on their team. Their denial of obvious reality inspired me to track the ads I was shown on YouTube. I kept a notebook beside my bed, and whenever I watched YouTube videos in bed, I wrote down the ads. I will present my findings here. First, I will give a list of all the ads I was served, and a brief description of each. Advertiser Content Dentyne Black father and son. Scotiabank Indian man CIBC Black woman and white woman Fossil Black man with white woman eBay Lesbian white woman (J Shia) Shoppers Drug Mart Black woman Siggi's Yogurt

Bootnecking Modern Civilization

Modern civilization lifted “nature’s boot” off humanity’s neck. Nature’s boot, to put it simply, is the harsh struggle to exist. In nature, most organisms die without reproducing. That is necessary to prevent populations from exploding. It’s not the design of some benevolent creator. It’s just how things happen: populations increase until competition limits them. All species have the capacity for excess reproduction, so all species have the capacity for exponential growth. No species could evolve that does not have that capacity. Premature death prevents most organisms from reproducing, and thus prevents the exponential growth of populations. That’s the boot that modern civilization has lifted off humanity’s neck. In modern civilization, most children live to adulthood. For most individuals, life is not a desperate struggle to survive. Life is relatively easy. However, the removal of nature’s boot has created new problems. These new problems are counter-intuitive, because the human

Status Pyramid Schemes

“America First” is the latest right-wing movement to degenerate into an utter cringe-fest. This should not be surprising, because it is just another instance of a recurring pattern. Ideological movements are fashions. (Ironically, even “traditionalist” movements are fashions.) They are like pyramid schemes, asset bubbles, and passing trends. They arise by crowd dynamics, and they eventually collapse due to crowd dynamics. People are conformists, but they don’t just follow the herd. They want to be at the front of the herd, not at the back. Also, people don’t form one huge herd, culturally. They clump into different herds, and those herds compete. People want to be part of a herd, but they also want to stand out. People are complicated. From these complicated social desires, crowd dynamics emerge. When a fashion starts, it only appeals to a few people: those who really want to stand out from the crowd. If the fashion grows, it appeals to more and more people, because most people want

Answering Ancap Questions

An anarcho-capitalist named “Dennis” was commenting on my blog, and we had a voice discussion . As a follow-up to that discussion, he left some questions in a comment. I’m going to respond to his questions here. Do you think it’s just a fluke that every civilization converged upon rules that condemn murder theft rape and assault? Doesn’t that hint at some universal underpinning in our natures? Perhaps something to do with our mirror neurons, our herd/social natures and the empathic brain regions that are required for that? (Another example being our innate sense of fairness that even babies have.) Do you think it’s just a fluke that every civilization converged on a central authority to enforce those laws? No, of course it’s not a fluke. Every civilization has to solve the same problems of cooperation. And every civilization solved those problems with the state. Every civilization has laws that solve problems of cooperation. E.g. the law against murder solves the prisoner’s dile

Circles of Control and Freedom

Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage. — The Smashing Pumpkins, Bullet with Butterfly Wings After listening to the Adam Lanza recordings, I started thinking about different types of anarchism. For part of his short life, Lanza was a cultural anarchist. He believed that culture was imposed on people during childhood, by a process that he called “bullying”. There is some truth to that view. Norms of belief and behavior are imposed on children by a combination of censorship, indoctrination and incentives. Children are not “free” to develop their “own” beliefs, behaviors and identities. Instead, they have beliefs and behaviors imposed on them, and their identities are shaped by the social environment. However, Lanza’s critique of culture was one-sided and naive. He did not appreciate the importance of culture: that we depend on it to survive. He also believed in an idealized pre-cultural version of human nature, which he called the “feral self”. The truth is that human

Russia and Ukraine Statistics

In this essay, I will review some demographic and economic statistics that are relevant to the war in Ukraine. I will not say much about the war itself. Both Russia and Ukraine are in a demographic decline. Both have had below-replacement fertility for a long time. Both have shrinking populations with a high median age. In 1900, the Russian fertility rate was over 7 children per woman. That was during a time of high child mortality, and almost no birth control. In 1920, the fertility rate was still very high: about 6.5. In 1930, it was still roughly 6. Child mortality rates started declining around 1910, and by 1930 the population was growing rapidly, due to a combination of high fertility and lower child mortality (although still high by modern standards). At this time, Ukraine was part of Russia. There was a famine in Ukraine in 1932-1933, which killed millions of people. This is normally blamed on the Bolshevik government for its mismanagement of the economy and its confiscation


This is a brief sketch of a theory of motivation. Motivation drives action. It also causes the experiences of pleasure and pain. We experience pain when motivation increases, and pleasure when motivation decreases. Motivation is generated by emotions, such as hunger, thirst and lust. Emotions generate motivation, and motivation generates action. Each emotion has a biological function. Hunger motivates eating. Thirst motivates drinking water. Lust motivates sex. Some emotions react to stimuli. For example, if you are pricked with a pin, then you will experience pain. The pin activates sensory receptors in the skin (nociceptors), which send a signal to the brain, where it generates an emotional reaction. That reaction will motivate you to act in a way that avoids the noxious stimulus. Behavior can be divided into two broad categories: avoidance and pursuit. Some emotions generate avoidance behaviors. Fear is a generic emotion that motivates avoidance. Other emotions, such a