Scott Alexander and the Nexus of Wrong

The SSC commentariat read the wrong article again.  Shouldn’t be reading Rauch and Wittes on how Trump and the GOP are dangerous to the Rule of Law– they aren’t.  Trump/GOP loves laws, and is working diligently to make many more pro-redtribe laws– on restricting immigration, restricting voter rights, gimme tax cuts for the 1%, etc.  No, what Trump and the GOP are doing is destroying democratic norms in the pursuit of Constitutional Hardball.

Here is a game theoretic analysis of what is happening– Constitutional Hardball and the Calculus of Selfishness.   Like the article suggests, the only way to fight our way back to normative behavior is to model forebearance and tolerance.   But given that the liberals will probably be more inclined to retaliation I doubt that will happen.  Refusal to consider Garland, killing blue slips, evidence of the destruction of normative behavior, and when liberals get control of the house, retaliation strategies will rule– the rise of TFT on the blue side of the isle.

Rauch and Wittes are actually implementing the strategy Tushnet suggests here:

Not surprisingly I was pleased to see that my idea of constitutional hardball plays a role in Levitsky and Ziblatt’s book on How Democracies Die (op ed here). Here I want to reflect on strategies once the game has started and you want to get it to stop. Levitsky and Ziblatt’s book has the obvious prescription for Republicans — the remnants of the “establishment” should do what they can to change the players on their side. For Democrats, though, their strategies involve policy prescriptions, not “moves” in the immediate game. What can Democrats do on a day-by-day basis in the game of constitutional hardball when their ultimate goal is to reinstitute the norms that Levitsky and Ziblatt treat as essential to sustaining a democracy?

Tushnet has been developing his theory of constitutional hardball for quite a while– since at least 2003.  Politics, history, philosophy, humanities– all things I was spectacularly uninterested in and should have paid more attention to– I only ever chose coursework in science and math.  I expect I’m not alone in this.  Now I have to pay attention.   We all have to pay attention.   That is what Trump is good for, really.  A call to attention for the slow frog-boiling death of democratic norms.

I do however, adore game theory– especially complex adaptive games and the Cooperation/Competition Paradigm.  Its my hypothesis that constitutional hardball evolved as a strategy on the Right because of cultural and demographic evolution.  How exactly is the Right supposed to respond to cultural and demographic disenfranchisement?  We aren’t going to see the invasion of cooperative strategies like Pavlov or Snowdrift IMHO.  John McClain, much like John the Baptist, is a lone voice crying in the wildneress.  The conservative public intellectuals that could have tried to lead that movement have left the party.  I think we are going to see a collapse.  Whether the collapse emerges as a civil war or a putsch, or in some even more exotic form, remains to be determined.  It seems somewhat unfair that the liberals are now expected to rescue the system by modelling forebearance and tolerance, those stellar virtues– indeed the Left’s base may revolt.  But if liberals embrace an AllD strategy like the GOP has, its Game Over isnt it?

I was so completely mistaken about the purpose and content of SSC– I initially thought it would be a good place to develop empathy for the Right, à la Arlie Hoschild.  But its not a place for discourse or discussion.  Its more like a game preserve or a zoo with Scott’s niceness/kindness protocols allowing for the perpetuation of Rightwing eumemes and doomed archaic conservative ideology.  I really failed…I came away wholly despising the SSC commentariat.

Eventually white people will be a minority…and if the US is still a democracy, they absolutely will lose power.

But then again…maybe the US will be something else.


8 thoughts on “Scott Alexander and the Nexus of Wrong

    • u have to give a time window– if u start with the initial composition America is 99% immigrant– euros immigrated to a minimally populated quasi continent that had been demographically emptied by virgin soil epidemics.


  1. Anyway, none of this matters. AI is about to devour everything electronic. The human mind is on the edge of obsolescence. Overall, it was nice knowing you.


    • i loathe that stupid paper clip argument. it kills brain cells.
      Why would a silicon based agent have the same goals and motivations that carbon based watery organ sacks do? if human thought is biochemical and electrical what would silicon thought be made of?


      • I’m back, somewhat. 🙂 Some developments in AI just remind me that time is running out for the human-comprehensible world – Deep Mind breakthroughs, GANs that can fake anything – and I’ll have a spasm response where I try to drop everything, in favor of “singularity-relevant” actions meant to maximize the chance of a “friendly” outcome. And I just had one of those.

        When I say that AI is about to eat everything electronic, I didn’t mean that some great virtual brain is going to hack into everything as an expression of its will to power, though we could actually come to that. I just had a vision of human society dissolving amidst a swarm of chatbots and deepfakes, run by server-farm AI. It may be that what happens inside the data centers is already more important than anything outside them.


      • this will happen first.

        But u are correct…the reason we are definitely going to have a fresh world war starting in Israel neighborhood is exactly what you, Taegan Goddard, and Mathbabe Kathy O’Neil describe.
        In the pre-BigData age pundits talked about “low-information” voters. Those same voters have masses of information now, a lot of it fake, manipulative, obviously wrong information.
        Now the LI voters can choose what to believe.
        Have you read James Lee’s new paper?
        On heritability of behavior?
        we are getting closer…


      • Would it be a cheap shot to bring up the invasion of Iraq at this point? I don’t remember Alex Jones or Kremlin trolls playing much of a role in making that happen…


      • lol, completely unrelated except the general redbrain tendency for warfare and inability to grasp complexity…OIF was all redbrain wishful thinking and possibly the lower IQ gradient linked to conservative tendency. Liberal democracy is a weak strategy unable to invade any Culturally Stable Strategy with Islamic infrastructure and memetic integrity. Read your Maynard-Smith.
        When muslims are democratically empowered to vote, they will vote for Islam, and never for secular democracy.
        Seems simple enough doesn’t it?
        Its all evolution…evolution of culture, of demographics, of technology…


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