Escape from the UpsideDown and Why Cthulu Only Swims Left

I’m still recovering from my cultural tourism expedition to the Land of the Two Tribes.  Sure, I’m once again able to type “u” for “you” when tweeting or txting, but my brain is still bent from the experience.  It was a lot like being trapped in the Upside Down, or going through Alice’s looking glass, where everything is reversed.

Although there is supposed to be parity in representation of both tribes at SSC the loudest, most frequent and most vehement voices come from the Red Tribe.  I include libertarians and conservatives in the Red Tribe.  I really don’t believe in libertarians at all– I don’t think they actually believe in themselves.  95% of their counterargument consists of  “so you think I’m a conservative?  Ha! You’re wrong!  I voted for Gary Johnson!  Take that!

By their votes shall ye know them.

The Red Tribe UpsideDown is a blatantly terrible place with none of Carroll’s gentle whimsy.  I was miserable there.  Everything I knew was flipped and turned inside out in stylized torturous pretzel logic– Liberals are really fascists, anti-racists are really racists, truth is lies,  science is fantasy, knowledge is delusion, progress is reactionary.  Any amoral, inhumane policy, no matter how vile,  can be justified as a utilitarian good.  But the greatist problem for me…is from high school government class– if all men are created equal– why is the red tribe so positive that they are more equal?  To me that is the basic difference– the Blue Tribe is egalitarian–the Red Tribe is not.

One of the tropes commonly lamented in the Red Tribe UpsideDown is that Cthulu only swims left.    I guess the idea is that somehow if Cthulu could be forced to swim to the right then the Red Tribe could magically establish beachheads in contemporary culture and demography.  But that will never happen because of the Second Law.  The Red Tribe can never return to the lower entropy state of 90% white America, which seems to have become a sort of conservative fantasy Land of Green Ginger or an eternal Brigadoon, like a tesseract to a previous Golden Age.  The main reason Cthulu only swims left is entropy.   Other reasons may be technology, education, and increasing social complexity.  But I think socio-entropic decay of conservatism has to be the most important, and the most irreversable.

What can NEone say except–

Iä Cthulu cf’ayak’vulgtmm, vugtlagln vulgtmm

Glory [to] Cthulu! [We] send prayers [to thee], answer [our] prayers.

18 thoughts on “Escape from the UpsideDown and Why Cthulu Only Swims Left

  1. Ah. But you chose the easy way out. You are telling me all that is wrong about the conservative tribe. Of course that only proves what a loyal member of your own progressive tribe you are.

    The challenge however, is to see the places where they might be right and we might be wrong.

    Because there must be such places. Because if there weren’t, then Mother Nature would have adversely selected them into extinction a long long time ago.

    And she in her 13.8 billion year wisdom….. didn’t.


    • Hasn’t yet. That is my entire point– the CCP is failing in the 21st century adaptive landscape. Its how Nature works. H.sapiens and Neandertal Man had a CCP too, once upon a time. Now Neandertal DNA is a minor part of ours. That is where conservatism is headed…extinction/incorporation.


  2. I’d believe it if you were talking about religion. Everywhere in the scientific world I see the relentless decline of religiosity. The rise of secularism. And I can see that science is a genuinely (and super-powerful) new insight into the nature of the world. Naturalism vs supernaturalism; evidence-based rationalism vs blind faith in ancient authority.

    But how can conservatism be heading for extinction when it is about change vs not change? Boldness vs caution? Keep the insights of the past vs embrace the radical and new?

    It’s obvious that the optimum strategy must be NEGOTIATED COMPROMISE. Use the best insights of both sides to arrive at the best mix of virtues. Even if the democratic process leans one way then the other in the ever-changing wind; The fact is that the path of optimal survival will always be to try to find the narrow path that keeps the best from the past while expanding horizons wherever we can, into an uncertain and ultimately unforeseeable future.


  3. Half the population is below average IQ; by definition. They simply can’t be the super-competitive innovators your prescription would require. Maybe it’s inevitable we will drift into guaranteed minimum income or some similar method of maintaining economic demand in a robot world.

    But long before we get to that point we will pass another point. We can at least bring all the outsourced jobs back to the developed world, shortening the supply chains. (and in this the conservatives are right) Even if it is robots replacing cheap third world labor, it is still bringing the INCOME back home. And there the economic demand of the still-employable will create some more jobs, personal service or otherwise. Maybe we’ll find new forms of consumption that will use the less-nnovative just for the pleasure and psychological support they bring to give us the human touch. I don’t know. But I am sure the first losers in the robot revolution will be the cheap labor thirdworlders.


  4. Here’s an example of a personal service job: I went for my regular exercise walk today, and just for incentive, I made the target of my trip a local cafe that just opened, where I sat for half an hour with a cappuccino and muffin; while chatting to the nice couple that ran the cafe. Then I walked home.

    By your model, why would I do that when I could have bought my coffee at a coffee machine? Cheaper, faster, more efficient. A nice robotic machine could have given me a half-decent coffee. In some versions, could have even pre-ordered it on my cellphone.

    But freakin tech ain’t everything. Some of it is the aesthetics of the human contact.


  5. Third world jobs is not just a question of PRICE. That’s why I emphasized the length of the supply chains.

    Stand back look at the world. Do you see the long chain of container ships slowly moving from port to port across the oceans. Do you have any idea how much capital is tied up in the containers full of stuff and the warehouses full of stock we need to cope with unexpected variations in demand?

    Now imagine supply on demand from a robot+3D printer fab in your own city. Imagine how efficient and fast-responding it is. Only one or two days of back stock.


  6. Tell you something else. A large part of the outsourcing of labor was never about minimizing costs for 1st world markets. We could always afford to pay more and let tariffs protect domestic jobs. It was about earning the export income we needed to pay for the petroleum imports. ie, The oil countertrade.

    That’s why so much of it ended up as a three way trade with OECD buying oil from OPEC who bought cheap manufactures from China who invested the surplus in US debt. So China built up a $3Trillion bond reserve.

    That’s why I think a lot of the incentive for globalization will disappear when the oil trade sinks below the solar+EV horizon. And without the discipline of needing to pay for oil imports, everyone will just want their own robot factories. Why wouldn’t you?



  7. I had a think about your assertion that

    “3rd world humans waaay cheaper than robots for a long time”

    (See I do take you seriously)

    Can’t see it myself though. Once you realize most cars could have some self-driving capability by the end of this decade. That means situational awareness hardware will be mass produced. So lidar, radar, acoustic ranging and stereo vision. The massive rise in machine learning for pattern recognition.

    And then you’ve got robots mass-producing robots. That kind of process leads to a crash in the price down to the cost of raw materials plus a small premium for IP.

    I think the days of human labor selling itself cheaply to penetrate mature mass markets is ending. Very soon. Around a decade.


  8. To me it just doesn’t make sense to transport “Stuff” over global distances when robots can manufacture anything, anywhere. And in principal, only the knowledge – information – how to do so needs to be transmitted.


  9. Thinking about this Wired article makes me wonder if we’re not really moving towards a 2-tier economy. On the one hand a physical economy, run almost entirely by superhuman but narrow-AI machines. Effectively automating all repetitive tasks, either by deliberate software engineering, when we know how, or otherwise through machine learning from massive data.

    The other kind of economy would be overwhelmingly human and would serve our social or biological needs. This economy could not plausibly be completely automated, because it ultimately derives from our need for one-other.


  10. No, what happened was you turned up, threw a bunch of buzzwords around, didn’t bother to develop any points you were making, ignored requests for clarification and after behaving badly finally you were a rude little toddler to someone who is an established academic. Having worn out your welcome, you got indefinitely banned – if the ban is ever lifted, you can go back.

    I’m not surprised to see you spinning this as “they were too stupid to appreciate my genius!” because that’s mainly how you carried on: I’m a genius with a pony and I worked on the Obama campaign and I know all about social physics! What’s social physics? Oh I can’t be bothered to explain that, but let me just repeat that Liberals and Conservatives are literally becoming two different sub-species of the human race!


    • look…this is my blog. No one speaks here w/o my approval.
      You understand nothing about my banning…I killed a mockingbird, or at least took a random villanous potshot at it. It was harmless and hardworking and basically benign…and im very, very sorry, but i can’t undo it.
      It was a profound unkindness.
      I wasn’t banned for saying terrible things– you ALL say terrible things at SSC, like the utility good of killing-terrorists-families. That is part of the rationalist ethos as I understand it, the ability to discuss terrible things.
      I am an empiricist. I cant survive at SSC, its like trying to live in the UpsideDown as a human girl.
      Here is a definition for you–social physics means the empiricists will eventually triumph over the rationalists.
      Happy naow?
      Remember, I only visited SSC to try to understand conservatives. I can’t.
      Like I hypothesized, its probably genetic.
      I dont want to comment at SSC– it was awful for me there. How are you not getting this?
      Now go away and leave me alone.


  11. […] So my experiment was a fail.  I had wanted to scale the empathy wall between liberals and conservatives after reading Hoschild’s book.  I was so wrong.  As it turned out I lasted less than 2 months at Slate Star Codex.  First, almost no one would admit to being a conservative.  They all claimed membership in the “grey Tribe”, which is really just plausible deniability for Red Tribe, because they still vote with Red Tribe.  Second, when I looked at the composition of the commentariat– SSC was ~90% male, ~75% ASD (autism spectrum disorder), and ~90% white.  But they were ALL “rationalists”.  Apparently at SSC, the “politics of reason” rule the comments.  Now what rationalism apparently allows for is a safe space to nuture outrè Red Tribe ideology, like “punching SJWs” and burning university campuses to the ground.  I accidentally wound up surveying the upper tier of the Charlottesville Unite the Right marchers, the polo shirt tiki torch brigade. […]


  12. […] I tried to talk about social physics and complexity science and was unsuccessful.  I think Cthulu swims left because of the Second Law.  But SSC commenters would rather not engage with those ideas.  Not sure […]


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