Even worse…

December 30, 2019

than Hitler?

Hackable tests

December 7, 2019

Paul Graham wrote one of the early web stores (in Lisp) and sold it to (if I remember correctly) Yahoo! (The exclamation point is part of the name, for those of you who are too young to remember.) (They ended up rewriting the web store in Java, because it’s a lot easier to hire Java programmers.) He used the money to found Y Combinator, a company that funds and mentors startups. He occasionally writes interesting essays, like this: The Lesson to Unlearn.

I tried to find a quote to extract, but you really need to read the whole thing.

Smart people

December 3, 2019

The Best People

And that might be the big divide in our country between right and left. Beyond everything else, beyond the screaming and throwing things, the left believes in “Top Men Women” who can design and carry out utopia.

Heaven knows why. I don’t. It is impossible for me to understand why their belief comes from, and I must assume it’s from “assumptions, half digested information and wishful thinking.” I’d also blame the unified media of the 20th century for hiding a lot of the cock ups that “top people” have made on the way to success.  I think WWII set us in this idea that government COULD run things, because people didn’t know (and many still don’t) of all the slips betwix the cup and the lip.  But who knows? The reason could be completely different.

The right, in the US, largely doesn’t believe in “Smart People.”  We know they exist. We just repose no trust in them.  The fact that the media has for decades been depicting as “Smart” people whose conclusions and ideas we were forced (from some life event usually) after examination to consider simplistic and borderline inane, doesn’t help us believe in “smart people.”

So in the end we’re stuck screaming across the divide “We would love perfect and free health care; yes, we think some people would greatly benefit from not having to worry about the daily bread, so they could create great things; yes, we’re all for improving the lot of the homeless and the addicted; yep, sure, some people are rolling in undeserved and misappropriated wealth.

It’s just that we think when we let anyone, smart or dumb try to fix that stuff, what we get is systems where bureaucrats prevent parents from saving their child’s  life; universal income that disincentivizes 90% of recipients from trying to work and reduces them to the level of pets or prisoners of their vices; turns major cities into open sewers that are not safe to walk in, lest you be attacked by a feral human; strips all incentive from the hardest working, most productive people in a society and leaves everyone in equal poverty.”

In other words, we yell across the divide “Yes, yes, we would all love paradise. But we don’t think it can happen, and certainly not in a planned model. The lurching chaotic system of everyone looking out for their own individual interests (which they know better than everyone else) has done better than VERY Smart People TM planning in their lofty towers.

As the saying goes, “read the whole thing.”