node created 2019/09/29
I think we can be reasonably confident that if the American population had the slightest idea of what is being done in their name, they would be utterly appalled.
Compare mathematics and the political sciences - it's quite striking. In mathematics, in physics, people are concerned with what you say, not with your certification. But in order to speak about social reality, you must have the proper credentials, particularly if you depart from the accepted framework of thinking. Generally speaking, it seems fair to say that the richer the intellectual substance of a field, the less there is a concern for credentials, and the greater is the concern for content. One might even argue that to deal with substantive issues in the ideological disciplines may be a dangerous thing, because these disciplines are not simply concerned with discovering and explaining the facts as they are; rather, they tend to present these facts and interpret them in a manner that conforms to certain ideological requirements, and to become dangerous to established interests if they do not do so.
Yes, people who are bullied often respond overly sensitive. That's not because they need to grow a thicker skin, it's because the damn skin has been flogged away by incessant bullying - and that has to stop first before they can recover properly.
Maybe young students must ask their parents the answer to this question. They should ask the principals of schools and colleges, elderly neighbours, relatives, friends, and even the strangers on the road. Once we all start asking ourselves about our apathy, maybe a few hearts will be stirred.
If the totalitarian conqueror conducts himself everywhere as though he were at home, by the same token he must treat his own population as though he were a foreign conqueror.
The difference between real material poison and intellectual poison is that most material poison is disgusting to the taste, but intellectual poison, which takes the form of cheap newspapers or bad books, can unfortunately sometimes be attractive.
Man wants to achieve greatness overnight, and he wants to sleep well that night too.
The ceaseless, senseless demand for original scholarship in a number of fields, where only erudition is now possible, has led either to sheer irrelevancy, the famous knowing of more and more about less and less, or to the development of a pseudo-scholarship which actually destroys its object.
Keep your heart clear and transparent 
And you will never be bound. 
A single disturbed thought, though, 
Creates ten thousand distractions. 
Let myriad things captivate you 
And you'll go further and further astray. 
How painful to see people 
All wrapped up in themselves.
You don't write those books because you hope those things will happen. You write those books because you think they might happen.. but you'd rather they didn't.
Thing is, just like with code, you write good comments by throwing away bad ones. The writing of the bad ones is not optional.
Dreams and reality are opposites. Actions synthesize them.
I fortunately come from generations past that learnt to think using paper. If I have to cut off my right arm to escape computer addiction, I can do that. Generations now and especially in the future will quite literaly be unable to think straight without an electronic device in their hand. To them, life will be brutually stressful with no inner peace to be found because they will be assaulted non-stop by disingenuous companies who have every kind of life-sapping wares to peddle.
Remember, you cannot be both young and wise. Young people who pretend to be wise to the ways of the world are mostly just cynics. Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us. Cynics always say no. But saying “yes” begins things. Saying “yes” is how things grow. Saying “yes” leads to knowledge. “Yes” is for young people. So for as long as you have the strength to, say “yes'.
For the idea of humanity, when purged of all sentimentality, has the very serious consequence that in one form or another men must assume responsibility for all crimes committed by men and that all nations share the onus of evil committed by all others. Shame at being a human being is the purely individual and still non-political expression of this insight.
"Organized Guilt and Universal Responsibility"
Since no one is capable of forming his own opinion without the benefit of a multitude of opinions held by others, the rule of public opinion endangers even the opinion of those few who may have the strength not to share it. This is one of the reasons for the curiously sterile negativism of all opinions which oppose a popularly acclaimed tyranny. [...] public opinion, by virtue of its unanimity, provokes a unanimous opposition and thus kills true opinions everywhere.
Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy.
It is part of the general pattern of misguided policy that our country is now geared to an arms economy which was bred in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and nurtured upon an incessant propaganda of fear. While such an economy may produce a sense of seeming prosperity for the moment, it rests on an illusionary foundation of complete unreliability and renders among our political leaders almost a greater fear of peace than is their fear of war.
Speech to the Michigan legislature, in Lansing, Michigan (15 May 1952)
There are no dangerous thoughts; thinking itself is dangerous.
The interpretation of the pleasure in hunting as pleasure in killing, rather than in skill, is indicative of the person of our time for whom the only thing that counts is the result of an effort, in this case killing, rather than the process itself.
"The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness"
[Bradley Manning] ought to be regarded as a hero... Like the trade agreement, the public has a right to know what's being done to them by their so-called elected representatives, but there's a principle that he's violating, namely that power has to be protected from scrutiny... that's the principle of every dictatorship... you can hear it from the high priests of government. Bradley Manning is violating that.
The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.
You're not a "girl electronic producer". You're a producer. That's it. And you're not a girl, you're a woman. A human. An adult.

Some women seem to infantilize themselves, doing the "listen to me I sound like a 6 year old" blinky eyed baby doll thing, perhaps in order to unsconsciously not appear "serious" or "threatening" to men or others. Fuck that. You are serious and you are a threat. Now join the fray, where you will be praised and you will be trashed. Get out there and produce some great shit.
I think that we have to look back at history and realize that most rebels don’t succeed. We remember the ones that do, but they’re the exception. Most people who rise up and rebel against monolithic systems of power get crushed. And that doesn’t mitigate the magnificence of their lives and their resistance. That’s just a reality. You know, if you take that path, the odds are against you. And yet I think it’s the path that we have to take, because rebellion, especially when we face this monolith of corporate power we call radical evil, there is a moral imperative to stand up to that power with the realization that in all likelihood, especially in a prolonged act of resistance, that power will crush us.

[..]

Hannah Arendt, I think, grasps this when she looks back on her own resistance to the Nazis. I mean, she leaves the University of Heidelberg and she says that she had to unlearn everything she had been taught by Heidegger in the University to become a moral human being. And then she joins—she was not a Zionist, but she joins a Zionist underground movement to smuggle German Jews to Palestine. She’s eventually picked up by the Gestapo, stripped of her German citizenship, becomes stateless—she was almost killed by the Gestapo—and ends up in France as a stateless person.

But she says, number one, I look back on that time period of my life and I say, thank God that I wasn’t innocent, that to be innocent in a time of radical evil is to be complicit, number one. And number two, she says those who are most effective at resisting or not those who say, we shouldn’t do this, this oughtn’t to be done, but those who say, I can’t. And I think there’s something within the DNA—that’s why rebels are very poor—. Once power is attained, rebels very rarely are able to rule, because they have that inability to compromise. You saw it with Che Guevara. I interviewed Ronnie Kasrils in the book, who founded the armed wing of the ANC with Nelson Mandela and becomes the deputy defense minister under Mandela, and he starts criticizing the corruption, the creation of what would be called the new class among the ANC. And then they fire on the miners who are striking—the largest massacre since the Sharpeville massacre—and he denounces his own party, a party that he spent 30 years underground at the risk of his life fighting for. That’s a rebel.

And Kasrils makes an interesting point in the book. He said, I was a rebel, because he’s white, he’s Jewish, he walks out on his own, he actually literally walks into a township—you’re not, as a white person, allowed to be in a township after ten at night—and he doesn’t go back, and he never goes back. And he said, I was a rebel; Mandela was a revolutionary, in the sense that he didn’t rebel against his own. And I think that’s right.

But I think that rebels are absolutely vital. You know, I use that concept from Reinhold Niebuhr about sublime madness. And Niebuhr writes correctly that in moments of extremity, liberals are a dead force. They’re are too ineffectual, too little emotional, too intellectual in order to propel resistance forward, that you need people who are possessed of that sublime madness.
Your silence and self-censorship won't matter in the end. The Soviets often just targeted random people because it chilled dissent overall.

Silent or not, party member or not, you will be dragged from your home in the night and never seen again. This is the reality of what it was like.

So you might as well be brave and speak out against it because that's the only actual defense you have.
To be an effective trader, basically what you do is step in to a transaction between two people and shove them far enough apart that they can't communicate. Then you go to the seller, tell them that you and your buddies are their only market and you will pay them $XYZ for everything they have. A real low-ball figure. Do your best to put them in the fucking poor house.

You then take whatever you bought to the person who was already interested in buying it, and tell them you and your buddies are the only source for whatever it is you bought, and if they want any of it they'll have to pay you $XXYYZZ. An absurdly overvalued figure. Do your best to put them in the fucking poor house.

What's going on is that traders at no point are about facilitating exchanges between two parties. Every step of the way, their goal is to screw everybody who's still holding a single red cent so hard that their fillings fall out, and then collect those fillings -- gold, too, is an investment.
Notice the American focus on individuals and figureheads, single people who you can attack and onto which you can offload your problems. Couple this with partisan feuding which is being fuelled and is causing the left-right divide to grow even more rapidly, you end up with precisely this: Americans bickering and engaged in vitriolic argumentation over whose side is better, without the key issues ever being addressed. Without stopping and thinking about holding your country to account/doing anything about it.

That is the manipulation. And the deception is as you say, those old/young, left/right, tacitly sold on the lie that this perpetual state of war is somehow necessary and driven by anything but your country's massive military industrial complex. A complex which most Americans I've seen don't even deny, but at best shrug/laugh off as "haha, maybe we're the bad guys" but internally justifying and convincing themselves otherwise.

And because of the "us vs them" dichotomy that you've been fed, that internal justification is automatic when thinking about any situation involving America and the Middle East: "are we the bad guys? Well it's us vs them, and they're the bad guys so no, we're the good guys".

And it's that that I believe has lead to your current physical inability to empathise with the killing of innocent human beings in the Middle East. Not tiredness or burnout; just "us vs them".
Corporations exist solely to make money. Amassing economic power. They want, if they could get it out of government, monopolies. They want the ability to defeat their competitors. And if they can use government to do that, they will. Individuals have a whole range of interests.
If I get the call to come in and fix engineering issues, I immediately try to seek out the people who are clearly disgruntled or have already confirmed that they are finishing a 30-day or 2-week notice due to employment elsewhere. If I'm able to identify that they are correctly disgruntled, and simply not causing havoc, I'm going to feed you your employees’ own knowledge. And I'm likely going to charge more than it would have cost for you to simply listen to your employees.

When you do not listen to this relaying of information, and you are still set on hiring outside forces to solve your problem, I will do whatever engineering is required and absolutely shock you in terms of how productive one engineer could be. In reality, this is not because I'm a super genius high-level engineer, it is because I am leveraging your team's engineering against you because you are too fucking thick to see otherwise. This goes back to my writing of "Learn from Your Mistakes." I will give you every tool possible, and perform to the best of my ability, to help you prevent making the same mistakes. If you are not willing to learn, I am more than willing to charge extra the next time you call me.

It is important to note here that I am not trying to take advantage of your situation. Charging more is a direct response to being tired of lessons not being learned. Conversely, I do in fact lower my rates and increase my availability for companies that have proven to learn from their mistakes and adapt. This is because while they still may have a problem or are facing a situation caused by outside forces. Working with those who understand growth both as an employee and as a company simply feels good, and that is exactly what I want to do.
Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm, but the harm (that they cause) does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.
When you say that my concerns are valid but that I am expressing them in problematic ways, you are tone policing. This is a typical technique used by management: First, break up the original complaint into small pieces, then estrange the emotional content from each piece, minimizing and shifting as necessary. It is a useful way of dodging actual responsibility.

The attitude you are displaying, where you would have given a substantiative reply, but only for the way that the complaint was phrased, is a common empty rhetorical technique that comes with tone policing. Odds are strong that you don't actually have any substance to reply with, but you need to ensure that my tone isn't allowed to flourish or even gain sympathy or support.

[..]

Edit: After reading the rest of the thread, you've indicated that you do in fact have coding experience. Okay; in that case, I apologize and retract my guess. But I am then forced to conclude that you have a tremendous lack of empathy for fellow engineers and have decided to side with management, not just in terms of their emotional duplicity but also their manner of speaking-without-saying. I am, as before and as ever, disappointed.
What gets me though is most IT people can't even grok people's facial expressions, but they'll trust anything that claims it measures “the average user”.
We don't know a perfected totalitarian power structure, because it would require the control of the whole planet. But we know enough about the the still preliminary experiments of total organization to realize that the very well possible perfection of this apparatus would get rid of human agency in the sense as we know it. To act would turn out to be superfluous for people living together, when all people have become an example of their species, when all doing has become an acceleration of the movement mechanism of history or nature following a set pattern, and all deeds have become the execution of death sentences which history and nature have given anyway.
"Elemente und Ursprünge totaler Herrschaft" p. 683
Even if it were possible to design a provably correct, impossible to tamper with, anonymous electronic voting system (which seems unlikely to me) it still should NOT be used. Why?

Everyone understands paper in ballot boxes, and how they can be cheated, what to look for. Everyone can assess an argument as to whether this happened based on the evidence presented.

Basically nobody would understand what to even look for in cheating the electronic system. It would be totally my expert says your expert is wrong and so it is/isn't fraud. Having even the possibility of that argument for electoral fraud is completely insane.

It doesn't just have to be fair, it has to be seen to be fair. Really it does. We need to have reason to have faith in our democratic processes most especially when the people you want to win, don't and the result surprises you.

The sooner we get to "Any electronic voting must be used to mark a standard paper ballot which becomes the entire source of truth." The better. Everything else in electronic voting is dangerous, sinister and flat out evil. Oppose it. Loudly. At every opportunity. Especially if you're known as someone who understands computers on some level.
We will beat the machine. We will win.

That primal clarity lives within us still, and you can only sedate a giant for so long.

The primal giant will rise, will crush the machine and the CIA black sites, will crack open Gitmo and devour Hollywood, will defecate on the Pentagon and wipe its ass with Langley, and will howl at the moon and banish the narrative matrix to wherever deleted files go.

And we will be free. And we will be vast. And we will look at each other with unpolluted eyes for the very first time.

And we will go out into the world, the real world, the original world, walking with our original feet and looking with our original eyes.

Our seeds now great forests.

Tortured no more.
The web is for everyone, whatever technology stack they use. The reason we have standards is to enable people to make their own choices about what they do in the privacy of their own servers. We don’t have to use the same libraries, so long as we implement the same standards. It doesn’t matter if you programme with Ruby or PHP or C# or Scala or XQuery, you can build a web application because we have the standards of HTTP, HTML, CSS, Javascript and so on.

Just as in wider society, we need to find compromises that balance the needs and desires of different constituencies. We need to balance the rights that everyone has to code as they wish against the rights that everyone has to have a web that works. We need to make sure that the quiet voices are heard, and support the equal rights of those who tread the less worn paths.
To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle.
What has been created by this half century of massive corporate propaganda is what's called "anti-politics". So that anything that goes wrong, you blame the government. Well okay, there's plenty to blame the government about, but the government is the one institution that people can change... it's the one institution you can affect by participation without institutional change. That's exactly why all the anger and fear has been directed at the government. The government has a defect - it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect - they're pure tyrannies. So therefore you want to keep corporations invisible, and focus all anger on the government. So if you don't like something, you know, your wages are going down, you blame the government. Not blame the guys in the Fortune 500, because you don't read the Fortune 500. You just read what they tell you in the newspapers... so you don't read about the dazzling profits and the stupendous dizz, and the wages going down and so on, all you know is that the bad government is doing something, so let's get mad at the government.
Criminals don't actually don't belong in a concentration camp. That they still form a permanent category in all camps is, from the viewpoint of the totalitarian power apparatus, a kind of concession to the prejudices of society, which in this way can be made to get used to their existence the most easily.
"Elemente und Ursprünge totaler Herrschaft", S. 657
Facebook is special in this regard, because its outward claims toward "connecting people" are so poetically at odds with its actual business of extracting value and attention from them at all costs. Facebook is like a kindergarten run by child molesters.
War is a massacre between people not knowing each other in behoof of people knowing, but not massacring each other.
Google's answer is, wake up, grandpa, this is the new normal. But all they're doing is trying to port a bug in the Internet over to the real world, and calling it progress.

You can dress up a bug and call it a feature. You can also put dog crap in the freezer and call it ice cream. But people can taste the difference.
If something in the exterior world makes you discontent, then it is not that object which troubles you, but rather your judgement of it; yet to blot out this judgement instantly is within your power. And if your dissatisfaction is based on the condition of your soul, who can prohibit you from correcting your views? Likewise, if you are discontent because you are not doing what seems reasonable to you, why not be active rather than discontent? "But something stronger than me is obstructing me." Still, do not be discontent; for the cause for your inaction is not within you. "But life has no meaning for me if this is not done." Well then, end your life, as calm as if you had succeeded; but don't forget to forgive your adversaries.
"Meditations"
The general idea of [the Green New Deal] was to mobilize some kind of cooperative fight to defeat the very real threat of climate change, and to overcome our addiction to fossil fuel and the consequential CO2 emissions and pollution. Many very talented people have created a lot of good ideas and solutions to the oncoming disaster.

I don't think that people realize how much this pandemic is a walk in the park compared to whats coming down the road. I don't think people want to think. I think they want to stick their head in the sand and ignore the fact that there have been many calamities in human history. Perhaps they never heard of the 10s of millions of people who starved to death in Asia less than a century ago. That was a walk in the park by comparison.

Finally, I think that people don't realize how many of the technologies that they so happily embrace (without understanding how they work or where they came from) are the result of the same scientific process that has led 11,000 scientists to tell us that our time to act is growing very short.

That's the general idea of it. And I feel sorry as hell for today's wonderful kids who will have to pay with a miserable life (those who survive) for the willful ignorance of their parents and grandparents.
note how the whole story was flagged off HN
He that is kind is free, though he is a slave; he that is evil is a slave, though he be a king.
These definitions coincide with the terms which, since Greek antiquity, have been used to define the forms of government as the rule of man over man—of one or the few in monarchy and oligarchy, of the best or the many in aristocracy and democracy, to which today we ought to add the latest and perhaps most formidable form of such dominion, bureaucracy, or the rule by an intricate system of bureaux in which no men, neither one nor the best, neither the few nor the many, can be held responsible, and which could be properly called the rule by Nobody. Indeed, if we identify tyranny as the government that is not held to give account of itself, rule by Nobody is clearly the most tyrannical of all, since there is no one left who could even be asked to answer for what is being done. It is this state of affairs which is among the most potent causes for the current world-wide rebellious unrest.
"On Violence"
There's this awesome book called "The Anatomy of Fascism", you should totally read it, 'cause like so much marketing in programming and software and everything is actually like a Nazi propaganda tactic. It's really bizarre.
I find it easiest to live with people that are different enough that you end up needing to use kindness to relate to each other.

After having felt isolated in my previous living situations, I'm now in a complex where we all hang out in the parking lot most afternoons. I'm a software engineer, my neighbors include bus drivers, clerks, landscapers, those who have no visible means of support, etc. It's a nice relaxed environment, which I don't experience when people who are too similar are around.
Behind the blind bestiality of the SA, there often lay a deep hatred and resentment against all those who were socially, intellectually, or physically better off than themselves, and who now, as if in fulfillment of their wildest dreams, were in their power. This resentment, which never died out entirely in the camps, strikes us as a last remnant of humanly understandable feeling. The real horror began, however, when the SS took over the administration of the camps. The old spontaneous bestiality gave way to an absolutely cold and systematic destruction of human bodies, calculated to destroy human dignity; death was avoided or postponed indefinitely. The camps were no longer amusement parks for beasts in human form, that is, for men who really belonged in mental institutions and prisons; the reverse became true: they were turned into "drill grounds," on which perfectly normal men were trained to be full-fledged members of the SS.
"The Origins of Totalitarianism"