Sunday, October 3, 2010

I'm Smarter than You

...and even I don't think I can run your life.

Socialists baffle me.  To the one, the modern socialist is characterized by an elitist attitude that other people are too stupid to manage their own lives.  (And I don't care if you disagree.  My anecdotal evidence has achieved statistical significance.)

They're also uniformly just above average intelligence.

Here's the thing, people: You know how you feel, watching all these stupid people making stupid decisions?

That's exactly how I feel about you.

The difference is that I recognize there are more intelligent entities out there.

Two very intelligent entities which I respect very much are evolution and market economy.

"Those aren't intelligences!"

Yes they are.  They're alien intelligences, but they're still intelligences.

"Evolution can't be an intelligence, it's an automatic, non-thinking process!"

What do you think neurons firing in your brain are?  You have very complex machinery, but nothing about you makes you special.

"But but but"

No buts.  Go find an -applicable- definition of intelligence.  (That is, one which can actually be tested.  Turing tried, everybody agrees it was a nice try, but it ultimately failed.)

They're intelligences, albeit alien ones.

(Intelligent design?  Well, yes, but not the way its proponents were hoping.)

Fine.  We can call them computers if it makes you happier.  They're still smarter than you, though.

What the fuck makes you think you're smarter than a supercomputer composed of billions of parallel-processing nodes?  What makes you think you can organize things better?

You can't.  Period.  You can't even hope to write rules to get the results you want with some kind of regulated market; this programming language is too complex for you, and reacts not just to the code you've written, but the code it thinks you might write.  You cannot hope to grasp what the effects of your regulation will be.  What the fuck makes you think you should be writing it?

"But this regulation is simple" No it isn't.  I can point to unexpected results for very simple experiments until my fingers fall off.

The market economy is alien.  Want to see an alien intelligence at work?  Look at evolution.

Imagine isolated populations of rodents.  You decide to introduce a rule, to cause the rodents to self-regulate their population: Any population which gets above a certain size is exterminated and repopulated.  Your theory is that over time, the populations will stabilize at a certain level.

Well, you're right: You introduced a simple rule, and it worked.  The populations stabilize instead of reaching the extermination point.

Great, you say!  What issues were there?

Well, none, unless you count the fact that they stabilize by the fact that the rats start cannibalizing each other's young at much higher rates, and bear larger litters than ever before to try to compensate for the fact that most of the young get eaten.

The alien intelligence of evolution solved your problem: Overpopulation.  Is the situation actually any better than it was before your "simple rule," or did your supposedly simple rule just cause an even bigger problem?  Was your rule really as simple as you thought it was, or was it just a simplistic approach to a complex problem?  Would a more complex set of rules resolve the problem, or cause new ones you just haven't seen yet?

The market economy is exactly the same way.  You can't solve its problems with simplistic rules.  You cannot even solve its problems with complex rules.  And even if you dream of a communist utopia, all you're really doing is imposing a really convoluted set of rules to the market economy; it keeps trucking and cannot be killed.

The best you can hope for is to impose some rules which are -fundamental-.  Not simple, fundamental.  Fundamental is a rule like "You can't kill anyone, or hire anyone to kill anyone."  It addresses a single concept, which is universally bad.  A simple rule, by comparison, would be "Everyone gets healthcare."  This doesn't address a concept, doesn't even -consider- the concept; it's a shotgun approach to a complex issue which is going to require many thousands of regulations to get functioning, and which is going to be constantly fighting the market mechanisms in ways its designers never expect and never predict, such as shortages of doctors, or excesses of incompetent doctors produced by an educational framework thrown up ad-hoc to train unexceptional people to be doctors, or a complete end to all independent medical research funding, or or or.

You're not smarter than the alien intelligence, you cannot control it.  Do not attempt to.  It can and will annihilate you.

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