Cosmopolitans Stay In The Lobby


“This is how I exited a decaying modernity.”

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The Four Blind Men, the Elephant, and Alan Kay

“I made one other resolution this year: Get better enemies.”

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The Backchannel is the Message


“If you look back at particular incidents of modern witch hunting, there’s a pretty consistent theme: it’s okay to break the rules to catch a witch.”

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The New Confessional is The Porcelain Throne


“You’d be easily baited into arguing the professed ideals instead of the lack of consistency in practicing them. It makes it easy to dismiss detractors as being anti-what-we-stand-for instead of anti-hypocrisy.”

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What I Believe

A week or two ago I wrote up a post on Tumblr, entitled “What I Believe”. It was my attempt at a work-in-progress accounting of my politics, philosophy, and worldview. I’m cross-posting it here. Hopefully I can cajole the other authors into writing similar posts, and we can compare and contrast our differences. That would be fun!

While I’m at it, worth mentioning: We have an irc channel! If you want to say hi, point your client to and hop into #status451.

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Days of Rage

“People have completely forgotten that in 1972 we had over nineteen hundred domestic bombings in the United States.” — Max Noel, FBI (ret.)

Recently, I had my head torn off by a book: Bryan Burrough’s Days of Rage, about the 1970s underground. It’s the most important book I’ve read in a year. So I did a series of running tweetstorms about it, and Clark asked me if he could collect them for posterity. I’ve edited them slightly for editorial coherence.

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So You Want to Move to the European Union

Welcome back, coastal elites! In the wake of the 2016 US presidential election, many of you have expressed interest in moving to Canada or one of the 28 member states of the European Union. I can’t help you with Canada, but as it happens, I’ve lived in Belgium for the last seven years and finally became a permanent resident last week. This has meant having to learn the ins and outs of one of the more opaque bureaucracies in the world — there’s a reason it’s the rudest word in the Universe — but if someone as pathologically disorganized as I am can pull off emigration, so can you.

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Your Leaders Work For You, Not You For Them

Most people think about their superiors in the wrong way.

Most people have this attitude, in politics, or business, or whatever, that the leaders are heroes who will solve all your problems and vanquish the fiends that are keeping you down. The real world does not work like this, and to those people, leaders are constant sources of disappointment.

Some people, on the other hand, see leaders as bullies, thieves, tyrants, who would dominate and to whom you owe nothing but resistance.

These are naieve fantasy attitudes. In the real world, problems are messy, and no one person could ever come in and solve them. Most leaders are not tyrants, and the ones who are rarely look like the kind of comic book Nazi stereotype everyone’s obsessed with.

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Journalistic Innovation

“As we’re all journalists now, the marginal cost of producing journalism is zero. Hey look, I’m doing it right here, right now! How much did you all pay me? Exactly.”

A lot of technological innovation has followed the same pattern.

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Minimum Viable Citizen

I’m a big fan of economic freedom. The freedom to buy and sell what I want, and to not buy and sell what I don’t want. And this is more than just a thinly veiled support of the free market. Private corporations make you buy things you don’t want all the time.

How many of you have television service? You probably pay a cable subscription in exchange for a ton of channels. But how many of those channels do you watch?  If you’re typical, probably not more than a dozen. So how is it fair to make you pay for over nine thousand channels when you only watch a handful? This is called bundling, and the folks over at Marginal Revolution talk about it all the time. Or, more precisely, they talk about unbundling.

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