- 1 Introduction
- 2 Anonymous
- 3 Adams, Scott
- 4 Alcorn, John
- 5 Arreeda, Philip
- 6 ARROW, Kenneth
- 7 Astral Codex 10
- 9 Bayly, Joseph
- 10 Bayly, Timothy
- 11 The BBC
- 12 Berlin, Isaiah
- 13 Blackwell, David
- 15 CANNON, William.
- 16 Chesterton, G. K.
- 17 CHU, HYON S.
- 18 Cicero
- 19 Connolly, Gray
- 20 Cox, Sir David R.
- 21 Crawford, Jason
- 23 Dawry, Travis
- 24 Dennett, Daniel
- 25 Dick, Philip K.
- 26 DIPLOCK, Lord
- 27 Domingos, Pedro
- 29 Enzensbergert
- 31 Faulkner, William
- 32 Feynman, Richard
- 33 FischerKing
- 34 Flanagan, Caitlin
- 35 Follows, Tracey
- 36 Foster, Michael
- 37 Franco, Francisco
- 39 Gelman, Andrew
- 40 Genghis Khan
- 41 Gibbon, Edward
- 42 Glaeser, Edward
- 43 Goethe
- 44 GOLDMAN, Samuel.
- 45 Golub, Ben
- 46 GORDON, Leslie McAdoo
- 47 Graham, Paul
- 48 Grant, Ulysses S.
- 49 Gude, Hans
- 51 Haeckel, Ernst
- 52 Hanson, Robin
- 53 Harpending, Henry
- 54 Harrington, John.
- 55 Haywood, Charles
- 56 Rob Henderson
- 57 Hippocrates
- 59 The Incredibles (movie)
- 61 KASCHUTA, Alex
- 62 Kennedy, John F.
- 63 Krauss, Lawrence
- 65 Lenin, Vladimir
- 66 David Levy, famous comet-hunter
- 67 LLoyd_Jones, Martyn
- 69 Machiavelli, Nicholas
- 70 Macaulay, Thomas
- 71 Massie, Thomas
- 72 MELKONIAN, Raffi
- 73 Mencken
- 74 Mouton Rothchild
- 75 MUSK, ELON
- 77 Napoleon Bonaparte
- 78 Nietzsche
- 80 Paglia, Camille
- 81 Pascal, Blaise
- 82 Peterson, Jordan
- 83 Prince Philip
- 85 Rasmusen, Eric
- 86 Roosevelt, Theodore
- 87 Rumsfeld, Donald
- 88 Ryle, J. C.
- 90 Sailer, Steve
- 91 Samuelson, Paul
- 92 Schumpeter, Joseph
- 93 Shaw, George Bernard
- 94 Silverglate
- 95 SINCLAIR, Upton
- 96 Smethurst
- 97 Solzhenitsyn, Alexander
- 98 Sowell, Thomas
- 99 Spurgeon
- 100 De Stael, Germaine (Madame)
- 101 Stalin, Joseph
- 102 Stout, Rex
- 103 Strauss, Johann
- 104 SUMMERS, Larry
- 106 TABARROK, Alex
- 107 Traldi, Oliver
- 108 Trotsky, Leon
- 109 Twain, Mark
- 111 Valery, Paul
- 113 Whyvert
- 115 Yeats, William
- 116 Yglesias, Matthew
- 118 The Z-Man
- 119 Zhu, Yuanyi
- 120 For the Future
- Quantity has a quality all of its own.
- "Just showing up is 90% of success," or "Just being there is half the battle," perhaps modified from Woody Allen.
- "Be friendly to everyone. But have a plan to kill them.’ — attributed to an unidentified Secret Service agent.
- Wikipedia says: "Verba volant, scripta manent is a Latin proverb. Literally translated, it means "spoken words fly away, written words remain".This proverb originates from a speech of senator Caius Titus to the Roman Senate;" "Verba volant, scripta manent."
- "Disappointent, or His_appointment"?
There is a certain type of social insecurity, shyness, modesty that actually conceals exaggerated egocentrism: people secretly believe the world revolves around them, everyone is paying attention to them and their actions, constantly judging and criticizing the smallest details.
"Moi parle pas mais moi comprends tout" (https://twitter.com/Fixpir/status/1447133952448344066)
The first gulp of the glass of science makes you atheist, but at the bottom is always God.
A bear knows seven songs, and they are all about honey.
Economics is the study of how to get the most out of life.
Das Leben ist kein Ponyhof. (Life is not a pony farm.)
Men want women, but don’t need them. Women need men, but don’t want them.
The proverb appeared in Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde, written in 1385. Later, George Herbert modified it this way: “Whose house is of glass, must not throw stones at another.” And in 1736, Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Don’t throw stones at your neighbors, if your own windows are glass.” https://www.almanac.com/fact/where-did-the-saying-people-who-live
" `What is the sonne wers, of kinde righte,
Though that a man, for feblesse of his yen,
May nought endure on it to see for brighte?
Or love the wers, though wrecches on it cryen? 865
No wele is worth, that may no sorwe dryen.
And for-thy, who that hath an heed of verre,
Fro cast of stones war him in the werre!
I remember my days in DC. I don’t think the women had any plan.
It’s like when they work in an office: no real strategy for getting promoted, taking charge. They wait thinking some gent will just say “it’s your turn!” and anything they want—marriage, promotion, whatever—just happens.
Women will always and forever rely on men.
"The tactic is by now obvious:
1. Make topic taboo.
2. Normal people shy away from it.
3. Topic mostly discussed by weirdos and edgy people.
4. Point out how suspicious it is that everybody who talks about topic is a weirdo or edgy."
Twitter May 12, 2021: "Some of the worst advice ever given:
1. Be yourself (total loser philosophy)
2. Follow the science (as if you could)
3. Pursue your passion (no one pays you for having fun)"
“That’s my background and my question. I will now retreat to the background, and learn.” Very nicely phrased and useful.
From "The Uneasy Case for Copyright: A Look Back Across Four Decades," Stephen G. Breyer: “Do not tell the class you are talking economics. Anyone who does not understand economics and applies it in antitrust is not properly teaching the course. But anyone who lets the class know that they’re talking economics is not a law school professor.”
From a blog post quoting Sandel JPE 2013, the original being Arrow 1972. “Gifts and Exchanges.” Philosophy and Public Affairs 1(4): 343 – 62.
“Like many economists,” Arrow (1972, pp. 354–55) writes, “I do not want to rely too heavily on substituting ethics for self-interest. I think it best on the whole that the requirement of ethical behavior be confined to those circumstances where the price system breaks down . . . We do not wish to use up recklessly the scarce resources of altruistic motivation.”
Astral Codex 10
"You listed some funny facts about this disorder, but this disorder is really serious and killed my grandmother". I have a lot of trouble being serious, and this has served me well in getting people to read and enjoy things I write. But almost everything in medicine has killed at least one person's grandmother. :
---[https://astralcodexten.substack.com/p/webmd-and-the-tragedy-of-legible WebMD, and the Tragedy of Legible Expertise "What does running a medical database teach you about why everything sucks?"]
The problem for artists is not that popular culture is so bad but that it is so good, at least some of the time. Art could no longer confer prestige by the rarity or excellence of the works themselves, so it had to confer it by the rarity of the powers of appreciation. --https://astralcodexten.substack.com/p/highlights-from-the-comments-on-modern
"Criticism is the manure in which pastors grow best ." http://baylyblog.com/blog/2004/06/criticism-manure-which-pastors-grow-best
It’s often the case that particularities of our leadership can scandalize sheep who like to think of their pastors as perfect fathers, unlike their own. -- https://warhornmedia.com/2021/02/06/john-macarthur-his-wealthy-and-important-trustees-should-all-be-fired/
Commenters under these posts have noted the tendency of individual Christians to compare their own local pastors to national celebrities to the detriment of their trust of their local pastors. After all, the sins of their own pastors are obvious whereas the sins of their pastoral heroes are not. --https://warhornmedia.com/2021/02/06/john-macarthur-his-wealthy-and-important-trustees-should-all-be-fired/.
"1930: the BBC's news announcer said, "there is no news" and piano music was played for the remainder of the 15 minute segment." https://twitter.com/BBCArchive/status/1383693028213198850
"“eggs are broken, but the omelette is not in sight, there is only an infinite number of eggs, human lives, ready for the breaking. And in the end the passionate idealists forget the omelette, and just go on breaking eggs.”
Basically, I’m not interested in doing research and I never have been....I’m interested in understanding, which is quite a different thing. And often to understand something you have to work it out yourself because no one else has done it. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Blackwell#cite_note-NYT-Grime-2007-07-17-11)
1963 “Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking”
Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.
Chesterton, G. K.
“In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, ‘I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.’ To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”
- Chesterton is not alone in the observation. It is found throughout our literature and theatre. In Robert Bolt’s “A Man for All Seasons” Sir Thomas More uses a similar argument to famously challenge his reformist son-in-law. The poet Robert Frost comes to the same conclusion in “Mending Wall.” Scripture is replete with its warning, beginning in Proverbs 22:28, “Do not move an ancient boundary stone that your fathers have placed.”
People generally quarrel because they cannot argue. And it is extraordinary to notice how few people in the modern world can argue. This is why there are so many quarrels, breaking out again and again, and never coming to any natural end.
If our social conditions curtail manhood and womanhood, we must alter the social conditions. We must not go on quietly in a corner making men unmanly and women unwomanly, that they may fit into their filthy and slavish civilization.
Religious liberty might be supposed to mean that everybody is free to discuss religion. In practice it means that hardly anybody is allowed to mention it. --Autobiography
We are ruled by secret societies which have no names even among the initiate.
My own political philosophy is very plain and humble; I can trust the uneducated, but not the badly educated.
- Chesterton's Emancipation of Domesticity" essay on motherhood.
CHU, HYON S.
Here's how neo-Marxism works:
1) pick a variable. For Marx it was labor. For Nietzsche, will to power. For Kendi, it's race.
2) divide the population by this variable
3) blame one side as oppressor, the other as oppressed
4) feign oppression to wield the mob of the oppressed --Twitter (2021)
“Poor is the people that has no heroes, but poorer still is the people that, having heroes, fails to remember and honour them.”
Slightly altered from his Twitter rules:
. 1. Please be polite and do not fight.
2. Do disagree, but do not swear, blaspheme, or abuse.
3. I write as if my late parents are reading, so please be respectful.
4. You always have control over how you conduct yourself.
5. A more civil society starts with you.
Cox, Sir David R.
From "Statistical Significance," David R. Cox, Annual Review of Statistics and Its Application, 7: 1-10 (2020):
To claim a result to be highly significant, or even just significant, sounds like enthusiastic endorsement, whereas to describe a result as insignificant is surely dismissive. To help avoid such misinterpretations, the qualified terms statistically significant or statistically insignificant should, at the risk of some tedium, always be used.
Most people don't read → if you read books at all, you are more educated than most
Even among those who read, most haven't read a book on X. If you read one book on X, you know more about it than the vast majority
Read 2–3 books on one topic, and you're practically an expert. [--Twitter, 2021]
In spreadsheets you see the data but the code sits behind it.
In a programming language you see the code but the data sits behind it.
"“A scholar,” said Daniel Dennett in 1995, “is just a library’s way of making another library.”" (James Gleick, The Information)
Dick, Philip K.
“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”
After all, that is the beauty of the common law; it is a maze, not a motorway.
Morris v. C.W.Martin, 1 QB 716 (Diplock, L. J. , 1966). A bailment case.
An extremist is someone who thinks a moderate is an extremist of the opposite persuasion.
It's easy to forget that every cognitive bias is the flip side of a heuristic that works.
The goal of cancel culture is to cancel culture.
"Resentment of billionaires is rooted in our Neolithic minds' inability to intuitively understand that one person's positive impact on the world may be many orders of magnitude greater than another's."
So we belong to a class that neither controls nor owns what matters, the famous means of production, and it does not produce what also matters, the famous surplus value (or perhaps produces it only indirectly and incidentally . . . ).
“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts."
- "Most truth is grasped as a sort of sudden insight. Writing it down is always a problem b/c it only approximates the discovery. And then the written word becomes the plaything of lesser intellects, who tie themselves in knots trying to explicate it. And therein lies most academia." (2021, Twitter)
- "From an anthropological perspective, the Antifa phenomenon is quite useful. Can’t remember another time when Nietzsche’s concept of slave morality raging against the beautiful was more openly on display." (2021, Twitter)
The school is now so flush that its campus is a sort of Saks Fifth Avenue of Quakerism. Forget having Meeting in the smelly old gym. Now there is a meetinghouse of sumptuous plainness, created out of materials so good and simple and repurposed and expensive that surely only virtue and mercy will follow its benefactors all the days of their lives. The building’s citation by the American Institute of Architects notes that the interior is lined with “oak from long-unused Maryland barns” and the exterior is “clad with black locust harvested from a single source in New Jersey.”...
College admissions is one of the few situations in which rich people are forced to scramble for a scarce resource. What logic had led them to believe that it would help to antagonize the college counselors? Driven mad by the looming prospect of a Williams rejection, they had lost all reason...
These aren’t parents in the public-school system; they are consumers of a luxury product. If they are unhappy, they won’t just write anonymous letters. They’ll let the school know the old-fashioned way: by cutting down on their donations. Money is how rich people express their deepest feelings...
Many schools for the richest American kids have gates and security guards; the message is you are precious to us. Many schools for the poorest kids have metal detectors and police officers; the message is you are a threat to us. --https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2021/04/private-schools-are-indefensible/618078/, The Atlantic (2021).
“In China you have a State-run media, in the US you have a media-run State”
If a positive comment about men triggers you, you’re seriously twisted.
When women hold power in a church—whether officially or unofficially—two things tend to happen:
1. They strive to include anyone agreeable, regardless of error;
2. They strive to exclude anyone disagreeable, regardless of orthodoxy.
This a great question: "Is it a general occurrence that if you ask your wife how her day was that she will go into every little possible detail about what she did, what she talked to other people about, and what happened but never actually tell you how her day was?"
That's how a normal woman tells you how her day was. The description is the conclusion, which to a man seems like a joke w/o a punchline. She took you on her journey & in doing so she thinks you feel what she felt as she went thru it. Therefore, she thinks you'll just get it.
- From The Worthy House, without source, said to be from 1961:
The great weakness of modern states lies in their lack of doctrinal content, in having renounced a firm concept of man, life, and history. The major error of liberalism is in its negation of any permanent category of truth—its absolute and radical relativism—an error that, in a different form, was apparent in those other European currents that made ‘action’ their only demand and the supreme norm of their conduct [i.e., Communism and National Socialism]. . . . When the juridicial order does not proceed from a system of principles, ideas, and values recognized as superior and prior to the state, it ends in an omnipotent juridicial voluntarism, whether its primary organ be the so-called majority, purely numerical and inorganically expressed, or the supreme organs of power.
"Theoretical Statistics is the Theory of Applied Statistics"
Econ is econ and is special in its own way, but Sturgeon’s law applies universally. Most published statistics articles are completely irrelevant to the world, even to whatever application area they are nominally targeting. Bad statistics articles are irritating in a different way than bad econ articles, which in turn are a different sort of irritating than bad poli sci or sociology articles. It’s an interesting thought: we tend to compare different fields based on the different characteristics of their best work, but another dimension is to compare the different characteristics of crappy but well-respected work in each field.
- "She sent a letter pointing out problems with a published article, the reviewers agreed that her comments were valid, but the journal didn’t publish her letter because “the policy among editors is not to accept comments.” ", July 28, 2021, blogpost:
The journal in question is called The Economic Journal. To add insult to injury, the editor wrote the following when announcing they wouldn’t publish the letter:
My [the editor’s] assessment is that this paper is a better fit for a field journal in education.
OK, let me get this straight. The original paper, which was seriously flawed, was ok for Mister Big Shot Journal. But a letter pointing out those flaws . . . that’s just good enough for a Little Baby Field Journal.
This is disputed. I take this from Wikiquote's article at https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Genghis_Khan:
[What, in all the world, could bring the greatest happiness?] "The open steppe, a clear day, and a swift horse under you," responded the officer after a little thought, "and a falcon on your wrist to start up hares." "Nay," responded the Khan, "to crush your enemies, to see them fall at your feet — to take their horses and goods and hear the lamentation of their women. That is best." As quoted in Genghis Khan: The Emperor of All Men (1927) by Harold Lamb, Doubleday, p. 107.
- Decline and Fall, Ch. 21, part 5:
If the emperor had capriciously decreed the death of the most eminent and virtuous citizen of the republic, the cruel order would have been executed without hesitation, by the ministers of open violence or of specious injustice. The caution, the delay, the difficulty with which he proceeded in the condemnation and punishment of a popular bishop, discovered to the world that the privileges of the church had already revived a sense of order and freedom in the Roman government.
- Decline and Fall, Ch. 53, part 1:
They held in their lifeless hands the riches of their fathers, without inheriting the spirit which had created and improved that sacred patrimony: they read, they praised, they compiled, but their languid souls seemed alike incapable of thought and action. In the revolution of ten centuries, not a single discovery was made to exalt the dignity or promote the happiness of mankind. Not a single idea has been added to the speculative systems of antiquity, and a succession of patient disciples became in their turn the dogmatic teachers of the next servile generation. Not a single composition of history, philosophy, or literature, has been saved from oblivion by the intrinsic beauties of style or sentiment, of original fancy, or even of successful imitation. ...m, a panegyric or tale; they forgot even the rules of prosody; and with the melody of Homer yet sounding in their ears, they confound all measure of feet and syllables in the impotent strains which have received the name of political or city verses. The minds of the Greek were bound in the fetters of a base and imperious superstition which extends her dominion round the circle of profane science. Their understandings were bewildered in metaphysical controversy: in the belief of visions and miracles, they had lost all principles of moral evidence, and their taste was vitiated by the homilies of the monks, an absurd medley of declamation and Scripture. Even these contemptible studies were no longer dignified by the abuse of superior talents: the leaders of the Greek church were humbly content to admire and copy the oracles of antiquity, nor did the schools of pulpit produce any rivals of the fame of Athanasius and Chrysostom.
An Ed Glaeser aphorism just now from his Markus seminar, improved a bit:
"It's not Trust in Authorities: it’s the Trustworthiness of Authorities, that matters. A good government nobody trusts is better than a bad government *everybody* trusts."
Ich bin der Geist der stets verneint.
"I am the spirit that always denies, or negates." Faust part I.
@SWGoldman, January 8, 2021:
A lot of people who thought they were part of the con now discovering that they were the marks. Which is exactly how a con works.
An underappreciated reason to keep economic theory programs vigorous and strong is that a LOT of the best scholars in other fields started out wanting to do theory. Like, a lot of amazing people. The prospect of doing theory is like a honeypot for a certain kind of curious, high-powered person, who can then be redirected more productively. (Twitter, 2021)
GORDON, Leslie McAdoo
"He keeps digressing, and there are digressions from the digressions, which he digresses from to digress." On Twitter, about a boring prosecutor during a sentencing hearing.
While helping 12 yo prepare for exams, I've also been teaching him what's real knowledge and what isn't. E.g. how distillation works is real knowledge. The fact that the thing that gets dissolved in a solution is called the solute isn't. (Twitter, 2021)
- "One advantage companies that are still run by their founders have over other companies is that founders have the confidence to be unconventional. Employees worry they'll get in trouble if they do things differently. Founders don't." (Twitter, 2022)
Grant, Ulysses S.
As we approached the brow of the hill from which it was expected we could see Harris' camp, and possibly find his men ready formed to meet us, my heart kept getting higher and higher until it felt to me as though it was in my throat. I would have given anything then to have been back in Illinois, but I had not the moral courage to halt and consider what to do; I kept right on. When we reached a point from which the valley below was in full view I halted. The place where Harris had been encamped a few days before was still there and the marks of a recent encampment were plainly visible, but the troops were gone. My heart resumed its place. It occurred to me at once that Harris had been as much afraid of me as I had been of him. This was a view of the question I had never taken before; but it was one I never forgot afterwards. From that event to the close of the war, I never experienced trepidation upon confronting an enemy, though I always felt more or less anxiety. I never forgot that he had as much reason to fear my forces as I had his. The lesson was valuable.
U.S. Grant, autobiography, on the Battle of Belmont, https://www.gutenberg.org/files/4367/4367-h/4367-h.htm#ch20.
- Hans Gude (1825-1903):
- "You, my compatriots in Norway, have no grounds for complaining that we have forgotten the dear, familiar and specific character with which God has endowed our land and our nation. That is so firmly entrenched in our being that it finds expression, whether we like it or not. Do not, therefore, insult us further."
Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.
Biggest trend in my world over the last 50yrs:
50 yrs ago, intellectuals were top prestige; journalists, judges, activists, inventors, etc aspired to be that.
Today, activists are top prestige; intellectuals, journalists, judges, inventors, etc aspire to be that.
"Henry’s Buffalo," West Hunter blog:
We were up late around the fire as all the participants took turns telling the story of the day. Of course everyone told the same story, since there was only one, but somehow we were all attentive to each new version.
Epigrams, Book iv, Epistle 5.
Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason.
Compare: "Prosperum ac felix scelus/ Virtus vocatur" ("Successful and fortunate crime/ is called virtue"), Seneca, Herc. Furens, ii. 250.
From a 2018 book review at Worthy House:
Such men lack consistency, because they simply don’t have the intellectual horsepower to maintain it, while they quickly and without noticing contradict themselves if it’s needed to get shiny baubles such as the praise of those they realize to be their intellectual or social betters.
“Many have discovered an argument hack. They don’t need to argue that something is false. They just need to show that it’s associated with low status.” https://quillette.com/2021/04/03/persuasion-and-the-prestige-paradox-are-high-status-people-more-likely-to-lie/
"There are ticks in woods now." Why did God create ticks? Perhaps the tick will be justified some day like the flea, by a poem. Ars longa, vita brevis. With a zero discount rate, a good poem justifies even the Black Death. https://buff.ly/3dpjpHE 10:29 AM · Apr 18, 2021·Buffer
Professor Eric Rasmusen Replying to @erasmuse I rightly used "Ars longa, vita brevis",to digress, but it has multiple meanings, like a Chinese poem. One is "Art lasts forever, but life is brief." Ars longa, vita brevis - Wikipedia en.wikipedia.org
Professor Eric Rasmusen @erasmuse The original, in Greek, is "There's a lot of technique, but only a short life to learn it in", which I at 62 appreciate.
The Incredibles (movie)
"The Incredibles- If Everyone Is Special, No One Is," Lessons from the Mouse blog (2017).:
On the car ride home, Dash says “Our powers make us special,” to which Helen (Mrs. Incredible) says, “Everyone is special, Dash”. Dash retorts back to her, “Which is another way of saying that no one is.” This is not just the opinion of a frustrated little boy, he is parroting the frustrations of his father who later on is arguing that a 4th grade graduation ceremony is silly (in his words, psychotic) because, “They keep celebrating new ways to celebrate mediocrity, but if someone is genuinely exceptional, they shut him down because they don’t want everyone else to feel back!” And lastly, this theme comes to a head when Syndrome is planning on giving everyone superpowers with his tech and claiming, “When everyone is super, no one will be.” ... Not everyone is special, understand, everyone is important, everyone is valid, and everyone is even significant, but not everyone is special.
[https://alexkaschuta.substack.com/p/observing-the-empire-from-afar%7C Observing the empire from afar. Three decades' worth of America-gazing from one of its long forgotten provinces, Romania ] (2020):
The average Romanian knows the following about Americans:
- They are stupid and uncultured, though they somehow also have the best universities and lead the world in scientific research.
- They are fat and lethargic, but their work ethic is second to none, and they never take vacations.
- They have guns, though they shouldn't, though they probably should because criminality is very high.
- The evils that befall them was caused by something terrible they did, either now or in the past, though it would have been great to have them “conquer” us just once.
* It's hard to emigrate there, but it shouldn't be, because it's also highly desirable, being the "land of opportunity."
[https://alexkaschuta.substack.com/p/observing-the-empire-from-afar%7C Observing the empire from afar.
Three decades' worth of America-gazing from one of its long forgotten provinces, Romania ] (2020):
The American paradox may have a simple solution: America is the only country to have generated so much excess it now exports its own self-loathing, in industrial quantities, 24/7.
If you make someone "Homelessness Czar" their job is to preside over homelessness, not eliminate it.
Kennedy, John F.
“I never met a man like this,” Kennedy remarked to another reporter, Hugh Sidey of Time magazine. “[I] talked about how a nuclear exchange would kill 70 million people in 10 minutes, and he just looked at me as if to say, ‘So what?’” -- https://www.history.com/news/kennedy-krushchev-vienna-summit-meeting-1961
Instead of a theory of everything, string theory is a theory of anything, which means it's a theory of nothing.
"The Worse, the Better." He did not originate this quote. I have a separate page on it.
David Levy, famous comet-hunter
“Inspiration before Outreach — because if you don’t INSPIRE your audience, outreach will go nowhere.”
I spend half my time telling Christians to study doctrine, and the other half telling them doctrine is not enough.
“Prudent archers...set their aim much higher than the place intended, not to reach such a height with their arrow, but to be able with the aid of so high an aim achieve their plan."
--Book IV of The Prince
From The History of England, Volume I, chapter 2:
It is creditable to Charles's temper that, ill as he thought of his species, he never became a misanthrope. He saw little in men but what was hateful. Yet he did not hate them. Nay, he was so far humane that it was highly disagreeable to him to see their sufferings or to hear their complaints. This, however, is a sort of humanity which, though amiable and laudable in a private man whose power to help or hurt is bounded by a narrow circle, has in princes often been rather a vice than a virtue. More than one well disposed ruler has given up whole provinces to rapine and oppression, merely from a wish to see none but happy faces round his own board and in his own walks. No man is fit to govern great societies who hesitates about disobliging the few who have access to him, for the sake of the many whom he will never see. The facility of Charles was such as has perhaps never been found in any man of equal sense. He was a slave without being a dupe. Worthless men and women, to the very bottom of whose hearts he saw, and whom he knew to be destitute of affection for him and undeserving of his confidence, could easily wheedle him out of titles, places, domains, state secrets and pardons. He bestowed much; yet he neither enjoyed the pleasure nor acquired the fame of beneficence. He never gave spontaneously; but it was painful to him to refuse. The consequence was that his bounty generally went, not to those who deserved it best, nor even to those whom he liked best, but to the most shameless and importunate suitor who could obtain an audience.
‘A government cannot be wrong in punishing fraud or force, but it is almost certain to be wrong if, abandoning its legitimate function, it tells private individuals that it knows their business better than they know it themselves.’ (unkonwn source)
- Twitter (2021):
Who could have foreseen that the response to the very lackluster performance of the vaccines would be to force people to take them, to force the people who took them to take more of them, and for the CEO of the company profiting most from them to call their critics criminals?
The brief I was reading recited the *entire* procedural history of the matter before saying "Our Problem is X. We need you to do Y. Right away. Because otherwise, Z is going to happen to us, which will make us very sad." (Twitter, https://twitter.com/RMFifthCircuit/status/1436042316125548548 (2021).
- As democracy is perfected, the office of President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
- I know some who are constantly drunk on books as other men are drunk on whiskey.
- Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats
- An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it makes a better soup
- A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.
From Wikipedia: In 1973, Mouton was elevated to "first growth" status after decades of intense lobbying by its powerful and influential owner, the only change in the original 1855 classification (excepting the 1856 addition of Château Cantemerle). This prompted a change of motto: previously, the motto of the wine was Premier ne puis, second ne daigne, Mouton suis. ("First, I cannot be. Second, I do not deign to be. Mouton I am."), and it was changed to Premier je suis, Second je fus, Mouton ne change. ("First, I am. Second, I used to be. Mouton does not change.")
- From Twitter: “The most common error of a smart engineer is to optimize a thing that should not exist.” To look for an interior rather than a corner solution.
what Napoleon said when asked how he came to be Emperor: “I came across the crown of France lying in the street, and I picked it up with my sword.”
- "It is hard enough to remember my opinions, without also remembering my reasons for them!"
- "There comes a point in the history of society when it becomes so pathologically soft and tender that it steps in on behalf of those who harm it, criminals, and it does so quite seriously and honestly. To punish: that appears somehow unfair." --Paragraph 20, ''Beyond Good and Evil.
There is no female Mozart because there is no female Jack the Ripper. --https://www.aei.org/carpe-diem/the-best-sentence-i-heard-today/
The example of Alexander's chastity has not made so many continent as that of his drunkenness has made intemperate. It is not shameful not to be as virtuous as he, and it seems excusable to be no more vicious. We do not believe ourselves to be exactly sharing in the vices of the vulgar, when we see that we are sharing in those of great men; and yet we do not observe that in these matters they are ordinary men. --Thoughts, 103.
If you think tough men are dangerous, wait until you see what weak men are capable of.
Very good. Weak men cannot withstand their fears and passions. A coward will commit atrocities out of fear.
“How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the test?” Asked of a Scottish driving instructor in 1995.
“Damn fool question!” To BBC journalist Caroline Wyatt at a banquet at the Elysée Palace after she asked Queen Elizabeth if she was enjoying her stay in Paris in 2006.
“We don’t come here for our health. We can think of other ways of enjoying ourselves.” During a trip to Canada in 1976. “It’s a vast waste of space.” Philip entertained guests in 2000 at the reception of a new £18m British Embassy in Berlin, which the Queen had just opened.
“If it has four legs and it is not a chair, if it has got two wings and it flies but is not an aeroplane and if it swims and it is not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it.” Said to a World Wildlife Fund meeting in 1986.
“I would like to go to Russia very much – although the bastards murdered half my family.” In 1967, asked if he would like to visit the Soviet Union.
“The problem with London is the tourists. They cause the congestion. If we could just stop the tourism, we could stop the congestion.” At the opening of City Hall in 2002.
“You must be out of your minds.” To Solomon Islanders, on being told that their population growth was 5 per cent a year, in 1982.
“Your country is one of the most notorious centres of trading in endangered species.” Accepting a conservation award in Thailand in 1991.
“I wish he’d turn the microphone off!” The Prince expresses his opinion of Elton John’s performance at the 73rd Royal Variety Show, 2001.
“Any bloody fool can lay a wreath at the thingamy.” Discussing his role in an interview with Jeremy Paxman.
“It’s not a very big one, but at least it’s dead and it took an awful lot of killing!” Speaking about a crocodile he shot in Gambia in 1957.
“It is my invariable custom to say something flattering to begin with so that I shall be excused if by any chance I put my foot in it later on.” Full marks for honesty, from a speech in 1956.
- See Aphorisms--Rasmusen.
When you’re dealing with productive inefficiency instead of allocative, you move from triangle losses, which are small, to rectangle losses, which are big.
Celebrity preachers: Trample on the Cross to pick up a crown.
Unpopular preachers: Trample on a crown to pick up the Cross.
Just as high-IQ men come unarmed to a battle of wits, ss strong men come unarmed to a battle of fists. Raw talent is not enough. One must know how to use it. And be willing to use it.
Andrew Carnegie (repeated by his friend Mark Twain) said about undiversification: "Put all your eggs in one basket-- and then WATCH THAT BASKET." The Buffett-Munger method is "Watch for a one really good basket-- and then put all your eggs into it."
Quoteinvestigator tracks down the source of the Carnegie quotation.
- We should treat young men as men, with all the privileges and responsibilities attached thereto, but tell them they are too foolish and experienced to deserve the privileges or carry out the responsibilities.
- Come to think of it, that applies equally to young ladies.
- Instead, we tell young people they are just as good as the middled-aged, but treat them like children.
People who don't care, don't quarrel. They just let each other be wrong and make mistakes. Love leads to fights.
- The cosmopolitan man has no Country, the timeless man has no Time.
We desire to set up a moral standard. There can be no delusion more fatal to the Nation than the delusion that the standard of profits, of business prosperity, is sufficient in judging any business or political question--from rate legislation to municipal government. Business success, whether for the individual or for the Nation, is a good thing only so far as it is accompanied by and develops a high standard of conduct--honor, integrity, civic courage. The kind of business prosperity that blunts the standard of honor, that puts an inordinate value on mere wealth, that makes a man ruthless and conscienceless in trade, and weak and cowardly in citizenship, is not a good thing at all, but a very bad thing for the Nation. This Government stands for manhood first and for business only as an adjunct of manhood.
Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don't know we don't know.
Ryle, J. C.
"A true Christian is one who has not only peace of conscience, but war within. He may be known by his warfare as well as by his peace.”
How to square the circle of indulging in the kind of petty grievances that most fascinate people with upper-middle-class disdain for Trump-like feuding? And how to make our pique sound important?
The answer to both appears to be to position one’s personal gripes as part of the cosmically important war on racism and sexism, while conversely labeling Trump’s obviously individualistic feuds as racist.
Thus, the upper reaches of society have been egging on everybody who isn’t a straight white male to dredge up and dwell on ancient memories of social unease in middle and high school. But instead of getting too specific about that mean girl in eighth grade who said snippy things about your shoes, you are encouraged to blame your embarrassing memories on whiteness in general.
"Feud for Thought," Taki's Magazine (2021).
- The problem with economics these days is not so much the various models as that economists believe that having models lets them get away without knowing much about the real world.’
How can you tell who is a marginalized community? If they are legally protected, then they are marginalized, but if you are allowed to discriminate against them, then they aren’t marginalized. Is that so hard to understand?
“I don’t care who writes a nation’s laws—or crafts its advanced treaties—if I can write its economics textbooks. The first lick is the privileged one, impinging on the beginner’s tabula rasa at its most impressionable state.” (1990)
See the Schumpeter page.
Shaw, George Bernard
George Bernard Shaw wrote in 1903: ”The roulette table pays nobody except him who keeps it. Nevertheless a passion for gaming is common, though a passion for keeping roulette wheels is unknown.”
If you’re going to do any kind of important (therefore controversial) work, you can really only care about what approximately 10 people in the world think about you. Choose those people carefully.
From @HASilverglate (Roughly. I’m sure he said it better)
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”
Me: "It's hard to get a man to understand something when his TV invitations depend on his not understanding it.”
Me: "It's hard to get a man to understand something when his party invitations depend on his not understanding it.”
Salvation is not an invitation from a buddy, but a summons from a king. (Twitter, 2021.)
A decline in courage may be the most striking feature which an outside observer notices in the West in our days. The Western world has lost its civil courage, both as a whole and separately, in each country, each government, each political party, and, of course, in the United Nations. Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling groups and the intellectual elite, causing an impression of loss of courage by the entire society.
Without any censorship, in the West fashionable trends of thought and ideas are carefully separated from those which are not fashionable; nothing is forbidden, but what is not fashionable will hardly ever find its way into periodicals or books or be heard in colleges.
A fact which cannot be disputed is the weakening of human beings in the West while in the East they are becoming firmer and stronger -- 60 years for our people and 30 years for the people of Eastern Europe. During that time we have been through a spiritual training far in advance of Western experience. Life's complexity and mortal weight have produced stronger, deeper, and more interesting characters than those generally [produced] by standardized Western well-being.
Therefore, if our society were to be transformed into yours, it would mean an improvement in certain aspects, but also a change for the worse on some particularly significant scores. ... After the suffering of many years of violence and oppression, the human soul longs for things higher, warmer, and purer than those offered by today's mass living habits, introduced by the revolting invasion of publicity, by TV stupor, and by intolerable music.
There are meaningful warnings which history gives a threatened or perishing society. Such are, for instance, the decadence of art, or a lack of great statesmen. There are open and evident warnings, too. The center of your democracy and of your culture is left without electric power for a few hours only, and all of a sudden crowds of American citizens start looting and creating havoc. The smooth surface film must be very thin, then, the social system quite unstable and unhealthy.
"A World Split Apart," delivered 8 June 1978, Harvard University
"We seem to be getting closer and closer to a situation where nobody is responsible for what they did but we are all responsible for what somebody else did."
"There is something very comforting in the thought that Satan is an adversary: I would sooner have him for an adversary than for a friend."
De Stael, Germaine (Madame)
“Tout comprendre c’est tout pardonner.” To understand all is to forgive all.
- FakeBuddhaQuotes tells us that this is not quite what she said. She actually wrote “Car tout comprendre rend très indulgent, et sentir profondément inspire une grande bontée.” Close enough for credit?
“A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.”
“Those who vote decide nothing. Those who count the vote decide everything.”
“Education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.”
“When there’s a person, there’s a problem. When there’s no person, there’s no problem.”
“Quantity has a quality all its own.”
“The Pope! How many divisions has he got?”
“In the Soviet army it takes more courage to retreat than advance.”
"On the way uptown in the roadster, I reflected that there was one obvious lever to use on Helen Frost to pry her in the direction I wanted her; and I'm a great one for the obvious, because it saves a lot of fiddling around. I decided to use it." Rex Stout, The Red Box, Chapter 7 (1937) (Nero Wolfe mystery)
Die Fliedermaus, libretto in German and English:
EISENSTEIN: Nein, mit solchen Advokaten No, with advocates like this Ist verkauft man und verraten, One is sold short and betrayed, Da verliert man die Geduld. Making one lose patience.
BLIND: Rekurrieren, appellieren Petition, appeal, Reklamieren, revidieren, Complain, review, Reziepieren, subvertieren, Prescribe, subvert, Devolvieren, involvieren, Devolve, involve, Protestieren, liquidieren, Protest, liquidate, Exzerptieren, extorquieren Excerpt, extort, Arbitrieren, resümieren! Arbitrate, summarize! Exkulpieren, inkulpieren, Exculpate, inculpate kalkulieren, konzipieren Calculate, draft Und Sie müssen triumphieren! And you must triumph!
EISENSTEIN: Ach, wie rührt mich dies! Ah, how this stirs me!
ALFRED: Glücklich ist, wer vergisst, Happy is the person who forgets, Was doch nicht zu ändern ist. What can't be altered anyway. From Die Fliedermaus: Glücklich ist, wer vergisst, Was doch nicht zu ändern ist. (Happy he, who forgets, What, can't be altered anyway.)
- Summers, Lawrence H. 2003. “Economics and Moral Questions.” Morning Prayers address, Memorial Church, September 15. Reprinted in Harvard Magazine, November–December 2003.
“We all have only so much altruism in us. Economists like me think of altruism as a valuable and rare good that needs conserving. Far better to conserve it by designing a system in which people’s wants will be satisfied by individuals being selfish, and saving that altruism for our families, our friends, and the many social problems in this world that markets cannot solve."
A price increase is a message about scarcity. Price controls are like shooting the messenger." quoted in May 5, 2008 issue of Forbes.
I've never heard a good argument for why a long-gone philosopher's problematic views matter for evaluating their plausible ones. People seem to have this sense that problematic-ness kind of like infects someone's whole corpus somehow. That's just conspiracist contagion reasoning. --Twitter (2021)
You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.
"When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years." Mark Twain, "Old Times on the Mississippi" Atlantic Monthly, 1874.
- A parody of Ben Franklin by Twain. I heard it in a better version than Twain's: "Never put off till tomorrow what you can put off till the day after tomorrow."
Un poème n'est jamais fini, seulement abandonné.
A poem is never finished; it's always an accident that puts a stop to it—i.e. gives it to the public. Often quoted in W. H. Auden' s paraphrase, ‘A poem is never finished, only abandoned’ . <.br> See also "Lecode n'est jamais fini, seulement termine"
The Age of Science draws to a close; there dawns the Age of Silence. --https://twitter.com/whyvert/status/1359273098663575560
The first half of "The Second Coming":
Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity. The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.
There are big tranches of the world where people do redefinitions and treat that as doing analysis. April 8 tweet.
"For the American ruling class, society is just a Walmart in the middle of a ghetto riot. The winner is the one who manages to carry off the most stuff before the store burns down." https://www.takimag.com/article/the-politics-of-smash-and-grab/
War and Peace is a byword for hard highbrow literature, but if you think about it it's basically a long adventure novel with lots of explosions.-- @yuanyi_z
For the Future
Later maybe I will go to this format:
- A: Alcorn, Anonymous, Astral Codex Ten.
- B: Bayly, Joseph; Bayly, Timothy; BBC.
- C: CANNON, CHESTERTON, Connolly, Cox.
- D: Dawry, Dennett, Dick, DIPLOCK, Domingos.
- E: Enzensbergert.
- F: Feynman, Flanagan, Follows.
- G: Gelman, Genghis Khan, Goethe, GOLDMAN, Grant.
- H: Hippocrates
- K: KASCHUTA, Kennedy.
- L: Lenin, Lloyd_Jones,
- M: Martyn, Machiavelli, Macaulay.
- N: Napoleon.
- P: Paglia, Prince Philip.
- R: Rasmusen, Rumsfeld, Ryle.
- S: Schumpeter, Joseph Silverglate Sowell, Thomas Stalin, Joseph Stout, Rex
- T: TABARROK, Trotsky.
- W: Whyvert
- Y: Yeats, Yglesias.
- Z: The Z-Man, Zhu.