Here we have a listing of the various excessive and unnecessary jargon we use in our rants
The Deep State by the Numbers – using the cool Moloch Slayer method of numbering the overlapping concepts for clarity and to save time on definitions
Racism by the Numbers – using the cool Moloch Slayer method of numbering the “isms” for clarity and to save time on definitions
Socialism by the Numbers – using the cool Moloch Slayer method of numbering the “isms” for clarity and to save time on definitions
Homelessness by the Numbers – using the cool Moloch Slayer method of numbering the non “ism” words for clarity and to save time on definitions
Hedberg’s Law – named after comedian Mitch Hedberg – this is the tendency for an expert to branch out and make public pronouncements on (semi) related fields where he or she has no expertise. The original joke was “Wow Mitch – you’re a great comedian, you tell great jokes – do you write? To which I reply ‘That’s like saying “You’re a great chef, you prepare great food, do you farm?”‘”. An example would be an economist who opines on foreign policy or a psychologist who opines on disease transmission.
The opinions may well be insightful and valid but the expert is using the status and notoriety derived from their field of expertise to comment on areas of lower knowledge. Therefore there is a high likelihood that anything a “pundit” says about a topic will be based off of only general, or non-specific knowledge about that topic.
Gresham’s Law – originally this means “Bad Money Drives Out Good Money”, or “Legally overvalued money drives out legally undervalued money” (legally valued meaning something like 14 oz of silver being interchangeable with 1 oz of gold as a matter of law). It is often used to mean “Bad ideas will drive out good ideas” or “Toxic people will drive out good people” when there are no ratings or way to weight ideas.
Nominal fallacy – (see Wikipedia) – incorrectly assuming that by naming something you have explained it, or “the error of believing that the label carries explanatory information”
Asymmetric Insight – the belief that you understand an adversary’s motives better than they understand themselves (HT: Arnold Kling)
Gel-Mann Amnesia – this happens when a person reads a newspaper story concerning a topic where that person has some expertise – and finding numerous errors. However, after reading that article that person reads other stories in areas where the person possesses no expertise he assumes there are no errors in those articles
Overdetermined – a situation where there are multiple causes for an outcome to happen, each of which was sufficient to explain the outcome, i.e. “Rasputin’s death after being poisoned, shot, stabbed and drowned, was overdetermined.”
Toxic Flattening – originally from Chad Orzel – this means
“This is a variant of the flattening of ideological groups that happens a lot on social media, and creates the impression that the political poles are full of self-contradicting idiots. If you spend too much time on Twitter and Facebook and the like, you end up seeing a political coalition taking sets of positions that look completely incoherent— to take an example that bubbled up this weekend, that we urgently need to transition to renewable energy and also that it’s outrageous to suggest building solar panel arrays to generate electricity. That’s not a pair of positions that makes a whole lot of sense together.
But the existence of those two positions within left-of-center social media does not, in fact, mean that all liberals are illogical idiots. What you’re seeing is mostly an illusion: a flattening of a broader coalition that contains a group of people who are pro-renewable-energy and a group who are anti-solar-farm, but few people who espouse both of those at the same time. (That overlap set is not zero, alas, but that’s a whole different religious argument…) Unless you’re really carefully keeping track of which people say which things, though, both sets of posts look like they’re coming from some amorphous Left that’s both very strident and very stupid.”
Preference Falsification – the act of misrepresenting/lying about one’s wants and desires due to perceived social pressures – i.e. one will voice a popular opinion about a given topic in public, but a different opinion about the same topic in private
Garrison State – notion is that a technology can have unevenly dispersed benefits over time – in the case of the internet the first few years (the young period) had huge net gains. Over time the costs and threats accumulate dramatically in the form of spam, hackers, ransomware attacks, crypto miners, etc. Inordinate amounts of resources must be spent to stay safe, reducing the net gain of the internet dramatically in the “middle aged period” until the net benefit of the technology turns negative.
During WW1 some people thought that it was possible to live in a world of king and kaiser if you were armed to the teeth with huge standing armies, domestic spying and secret police, two ocean navy, etc (and turned into a militarized “garrison” state), but it was cheaper and better in the long run to install democracies instead of monarchies, and make the world “safe” for democracy
Shiri’s Scissor – from the Slate Star Codex short fiction piece “Sort by Controversial” – a topic can be “Shiri’s Scissor” or “a scissor” if it is
- easily understandable (i.e. can be accurately summarized in a few minutes or a few paragraphs and requiring no expert knowledge)
- has no possibility for compromise/splitting the difference
- self reinforcing to some degree – i.e. no one realizes that it is polarizing until they meet someone else with the opposite viewpoint
The Brett Kavanaugh hearings were the original impetus for the concept.
Footgun – originally a term from the field of software development – a footgun is an enticing idea/piece of software/device that, upon further examination will only hurt your overall efforts, i.e. it’s sole purpose will be to shoot yourself in the foot. Similar to “Good from far, but far from good”
The Constrained vs the Unconstrained view of human nature – as first posited by Thomas Sowell in his book “A Conflict of Visions” – defined (taken from the wikipedia description)
The unconstrained (utopian) vision
Sowell argues that the unconstrained vision relies heavily on the belief that human nature is essentially good. Those with an unconstrained vision distrust decentralized processes and are impatient with large institutions and systemic processes that constrain human action. They believe there is an ideal solution to every problem, and that compromise is never acceptable. Collateral damage is merely the price of moving forward on the road to perfection. Sowell often refers to them as “the self anointed.” Ultimately they believe that man is morally perfectible. Because of this, they believe that there exist some people who are further along the path of moral development, have overcome self-interest and are immune to the influence of power and therefore can act as surrogate decision-makers for the rest of society.
The constrained (tragic) vision
Sowell argues that the constrained vision relies heavily on the belief that human nature is essentially unchanging and that man is naturally inherently self-interested, regardless of the best intentions. Those with a constrained vision prefer the systematic processes of the rule of law and experience of tradition. Compromise is essential because there are no ideal solutions, only trade-offs. Those with a constrained vision favor solid empirical evidence and time-tested structures and processes over intervention and personal experience. Ultimately, the constrained vision demands checks and balances and refuses to accept that all people could put aside their innate self-interest
Motte-and-bailey fallacy – a form of argument and an informal fallacy where an arguer conflates two positions that share similarities, one modest and easy to defend (the “motte”) and one much more controversial and harder to defend (the “bailey”). The arguer advances the controversial position, but when challenged, they insist that they are only advancing the more modest position.
Conflict Theory vs Mistake Theory – originally detailed in this Slate Star Codex post – this can be explained by
Mistake theorists treat politics as science, engineering, or medicine. The State is diseased. We’re all doctors, standing around arguing over the best diagnosis and cure. Some of us have good ideas, others have bad ideas that wouldn’t help, or that would cause too many side effects. Conflict theorists treat politics as war. Different blocs with different interests are forever fighting to determine whether the State exists to enrich the Elites or to help the People. Mistake theorists view debate as essential. We all bring different forms of expertise to the table, and once we all understand the whole situation, we can use wisdom-of-crowds to converge on the treatment plan that best fits the need of our mutual patient, the State. Who wins on any particular issue is less important creating an environment where truth can generally prevail over the long term.
Conflict theorists view debate as having a minor clarifying role at best. You can “debate” with your boss over whether or not you get a raise, but only with the shared understanding that you’re naturally on opposite sides, and the “winner” will be based less on objective moral principles than on how much power each of you has. If your boss appeals too many times to objective moral principles, he’s probably offering you a crappy deal.