Monday, October 23, 2017

Words Poorly Used #112 -- Condolences

There is no right thing to say to the survivors of a loved one killed in military circumstances.  It is a set of circumstances that have no logical foundation.  It is a place arrived at through a series of forced choices.  Yet we have a POTUS who is a true child of the television culture, but who cannot come up with appropriately unoriginal things to say.  If he watches a lot of television, doesn't he see the police procedurals where the protagonists say "sorry for your loss" and go on to the next agenda item.  Why does he think originality and spontaneity are needed?  The word, "condolences" is not the word poorly used, but the class of utterances that are offered as condolences are, in too many cases, poorly used.  The KISS principle applies -- Keep it simple, stupid!

 -- Kilgore Forelle

Uniquity IV

Nobody asked but ...

The biggest obstacle for general artificial intelligence (GAI), where machines can actually learn from external stimulus, is that humanity is networked imperfectly but is unique in each of its nodes.  Humanity is a giant, fallible information system.  It is difficult to see something like this because of its scale.  I first became struck with the idea at the Knoxville World's Fair in the 1970s.  The most popular exhibit was that of China.  I don't remember where we stood with regard to Nixon's overtures to this vast Asian culture, but to my generation the network in that part of the world had been no man's land since FDR had handed China to Mao.  Suffice it to say that the China exhibit in Knoxville was ripe with the shock of the new to us Americans.  The thing that struck me most of all was the exquisite attention to detail (a skill that most Westerners had underdeveloped because of the demand for speed in productivity).  At the time the population of China was said to be above 800 million, whereas we Yanks were still between 100 and 200 million.  The oriental attention to detail was possible because there were so many more Chinese engaged in so many facets of productivity.  The specific objects which fascinated me were paintings on the inside of small bottles.  Somewhere among 800 million possibilities, someone would come up with the idea of painting on the inside of a bottle.  Then the idea spread in some degree among the nodes of a relatively isolated network.  The same calculus applies to Chinese acrobats, if you have ever seen them.  With such vast numbers of possibilities the chances of there being people who could concentrate enough to become great acrobats was exponential.  Creators of GAI are small in number, so the question is whether there will be enough innovation, networked in an auspicious way, to produce GAI.  While this is a problem with quanta, the nature of the predicted result must depend on qualia from the possibilities of billions of unique units.  I have tried in this series to interest you in the vast uniquity, every unit is unique.  GAI is predicated on the idea of a vast sameness.

 -- Kilgore Forelle



Tuesday, October 17, 2017

J. S. Mill's Methods I

Nobody asked but ...

From Dictionary of Philosophy
Mill's methods: Inductive methods formulated by John Stuart Mill for the discovery of causal relations between phenomena.
Method of Agreement: If two or more instances of the phenomenon under investigation have only one circumstance in common, the circumstance in which alone all the instances agree, is the cause (or effect) of the given phenomenon.
 -- A. Cornelius Benjamin 
 -- Kilgore Forelle


Yalta Bibliography III

Nobody asked but ...

I also have written about Yalta, along with my alter ego, Verbal Vol, in previous posts to EVC.  Here are the links:

 -- Kilgore Forelle


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Process Eats Product

Nobody asked but ...

There is no music that is free of the instrument.  Interface dictates product.  Consider this quote, "An elective despotism is not the government we fought for" from James Madison.  Doesn't the current POTUS personify this misallocation of human resources?  Didn't re-election become Job One as the votes were being counted in November 2016?

-- Kilgore Forelle

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Cincinnati III

Nobody asked but ...



 -- Kilgore Forelle

Cincinnati II

As a matter of general principle, I believe there can be no doubt that criticism in time of war is essential to the maintenance of any kind of democratic government … too many people desire to suppress criticism simply because they think that it will give some comfort to the enemy to know that there is such criticism. If that comfort makes the enemy feel better for a few moments, they are welcome to it as far as I am concerned, because the maintenance of the right of criticism in the long run will do the country maintaining it a great deal more good than it will do the enemy, and will prevent mistakes which might otherwise occur.
 — Robert Taft

— Kilgore Forelle


Cincinnati

Nobody asked but ...

It has been a long time, but as usual I enjoyed Cincinnati tremendously.  Cincinnati was one of my influences in my youth.  It was the largest city within reach of my Kentucky home, and it, along with Boston, was among my two favorite European-style American cities.  When I graduated from college, I began my professional career in the Queen City.  This, the home of the Tafts, is where I learned standing on my own, responsibility, freedom, individualism, voluntaryism, and choice.  Cincinnati is a great town for these qualities.  I follow with a Chōku (a Japanese verse form that starts wit a Haiku, but continues with an indeterminate number of pairs of 7-syllable lines) dedicated to Cincinnati:

Cincinnati pig
Porkopolis, Ohio
Eden Park, the Reds
Krohn Conservatory, the
heights of Mt. Adams, Skyline,
the buildings and the Chili
Union Station, Music Hall
Salmon P. Chase, William Taft
Zoo, Botanical Gardens
Moerlein India Pale
The seven hills, named for Rome,
I studied spontaneous
organization UC,
United Dairy Farmers
The Newport Aquarium
Architecture Cinci-style
Residence Inn, Lytle Park.
 -- Kilgore Forelle


Saturday, October 7, 2017

Words Poorly Used #108 -- Information

It's just a system.  It is independent of ideas of right and wrong.  Data goes in and it gets transformed in the process that awaits it.  The output is a direct result of the process.  The process can be tinkered with to produce relatively true or false information.  The output is just in formation -- in a formal structure.  That formal structure, presentation, sometimes fools its patrons -- if it looks orderly (and truth should be orderly) then it must be true.  Watch out for data dressed formally.

-- Kilgore Forelle

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

I Need To Concentrate ...

(To the tune of "You're All I Think About These Days," sung by Patty Loveless, written by Gary Scott Burr)

I try to think about Freedom
Owning
Self-posession through the day
I try to think about indiv-
idu-
ality built in the clay
I try to think about ideals
And real deals
Anything to get me through
I need to concentrate
Free will, I think about these days

I try to contemplate the cosmos
Mottoes
Self-possession through the night
I try to rely on my brain
All reigns
Finally going out of sight
I try to avoid the headlines
News whines
Every time I think I might
I need to concentrate
Honesty, I think about these days

My mind wanders where I will
When it sets on what to do
I well know what I should say
I well know what I should do

I try to think about Rothbard
Life's hard
Tardigrades, Robert Heinlein
I try to think about don't-do's
Real news
Quotations and well-wrought lines
I try to think about podcasts
The past
But I guess I should have known
I need to concentrate
Voluntarily I think these days
Voluntarily I think these days

Murder

Nobody asked but ...

Are we in an echo chamber?  Certain sounds are coming back.  Sounds like, "We must control guns because guns kill," are everywhere.  How effective have been all such prior cries?  And yet a madman smuggles 2 dozen firearms into a perfect vantage point to kill 58 people (and counting).  High vantage points are associated with projectile deaths -- let's outlaw all structures over the average human height -- tall structures kill.  Below, from an article based on Center for Disease Control statistics, "5 things cause two-thirds of U. S. deaths:"
Five things kill more people in the United States than anything else: heart disease, cancer, lung disease such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis, stroke and unintentional injuries such as those on roads or caused by medication overdoses. {emphasis added}
Wow!  Neither firearms nor illegal drugs are on that list!  Why don't we find something that is associated with heart disease and outlaw it.  Obesity comes to mind.  Why don't we find something that is associated with unintentional injuries, like automobiles, and ban them.  Let's outlaw death, let's outlaw guns!  But wait, isn't murder already against the law?

 -- Kilgore Forelle


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Yalta Bibliography II

 -- Charles L. Mee, Jr.

Seven Fateful Moments When Great Men Met to Change the World, By Charles L. Mee Jr.

Yalta Bibliography I

Nobody asked but ...

The Yalta Conference of 1945 has been shrouded by inattention from mainstream historians.  As I find writings on this neglected but critical point in history, I will share the references here in this Blog.

Seventy years ago, during the week of February 4-11, 1945, the most momentous conference of the Second World War was held at Yalta in the Crimea between Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin. Their decisions have affected much of the world ever since.
 --  Richard M. Ebeling

THE GHOSTS OF YALTA STILL HAUNT THE WORLD,
The Future of Freedom Foundation, web site, February 4, 2015


 -- Kilgore Forelle


The Yalta Fault Line

Nobody asked but ...

Is it a coincidence that one of the most seismic occasions in human cultural history occurred at a place that is characterized by catastrophic geological phenomena.  The Black Sea is a stunning medley of tectonic effects, happening over geologic time scale epochs.  But the outcomes of the Yalta Conference in 1945 have reverberated throughout the latter half of the 20th Century and the first part of the new millennium.  It should be enough to say that the Cold War emanated from Yalta.  The history books are nearly silent about this conference in the Crimea, but the mid-century rise of both Stalinism and Maoism can be traced directly to deals made at Yalta.  Humanity will continue to feel the ripples throughout their entire future.

 -- Kilgore Forelle

Monday, October 2, 2017

Catalunya

Nobody asked but ...

Catalunya!  How dare such a region express its independence!

https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/976/cpsprodpb/4D89/production/_98094891_8ec64a5a-ec35-46d9-a7ea-50daa7b60b1c.jpg

 -- Kilgore Forelle

The Golden Rule

Nobody asked but ...

I don't get it.  Isn't the Golden Rule simple and straightforward enough?  I heard a young girl in the Ophthalmologist's waiting room this morning, "Why can't people just treat each other as they would like to be treated?"  There's the confusion -- why do people suspend the Golden Rule?  Why do they take killing implements, with malice of forethought, to a high floor of a hotel overlooking an open air concert, to shoot more than a quarter of a thousand people?  Too soon?  Then, when is it a good time to address why the Golden Rule is observed too often in its breach.  Children and thoughtful adults want to know.  Gun control is not the answer -- guns do not observe the Golden Rule to the good or the bad.  It is people who forget the Golden Rule.

 -- Kilgore Forelle


Friday, September 29, 2017

Words Poorly Used #107 -- Humility

We often use humility to mean un-self-centered and objective, not acting on an assumption of superiority.  Most dictionaries, however, say that the word comes from the Latin word for low.  I cannot accept the gradation of humans that presents them as prisoners of a caste system.  I think what we are looking for is a better word that says "down to earth," "level-headed," "even handed," "unassuming," "objective," "worthwhile," and so forth.

-- Kilgore Forelle

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Anders Chydenius

Nobody asked but ...

Years ago, when I first signed up for Facebook, as I recall, there was an opportunity to establish a nom de guerre.  So I chose Anders Chydenius.  Despite this boost in exposure, he has remained obscure to this day.

I am somewhat convinced that his birth name was not Chydenius, because that looks like an obvious latinization after the academic fashion of 18th century Europe.  But the sources I find are not forthcoming on the issue.  I suppose it is possible that his father had already gained the latinized surname through his membership in the clergy.  The title of Chydenius' modern collected works says much about his claim to fame -- Anticipating The Wealth of Nations: The Selected Works of Anders Chydenius, 1729–1803 (Routledge Studies in the History of Economics).  He was a forerunner and co-runner to John Locke.
Our wants are various, and nobody has been found able to acquire even the necessaries without the aid of other people, and there is scarcely any Nation that has not stood in need of others. The Almighty himself has made our race such that we should help one another. Should this mutual aid be checked within or without the Nation, it is contrary to Nature.
So, he spoke for division of labor, free trade, open markets, and non-intervention in two sentences.  He also wrote, "The exercise of one coercion always makes another inevitable," therefore, he clearly understood the principle of unforeseen consequences and predicted the advance of unchecked government.  I think I will keep the alias, on Facebook.

 -- Kilgore Forelle

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Tipping Point VI

Nobody asked but ...

How will the avatar of general artificial intelligence (GAI) handle the associative parts of the 10 Commandments.  What will be his guidelines on killing, lying, stealing, coveting, and fornication?  Are these norms built in to human nature, but disposable for non-human nature?  Will the association norms be different based on the fundamental associations human to human, human to machine, machine to human, and machine to machine.  Which type of consciousness can best handle the permutations?

 -- Kilgore Forelle

Tipping Point V

Nobody asked but ...

If general artificial intelligence, GAI, comes to pass (computers learn to program themselves based on consequences in their own environment, toward individual collections of experience) will its owners have human nature?  Will, for instance, owners of GAI have fight or flight instincts, self-preservation and species preservation impulses, territorial imperative?  These are parts of all known cases of animate consciousness, not just human nature.  Will GAI agents have particular human behavior like an understanding of ownership, hoarding, knowledge of impermanence, authoritarianism, and pursuit of power for power itself.  As the technological offspring of humans, how could GAI individuals fail to have human traits?

 -- Kilgore Forelle

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Ireland #3

Ireland is under the radar.  So the nation quietly approaches over our shoulders.  Ireland never meant to set the world on fire, it meant only to expel interlopers.  Ireland and the Irish people are content with what they have been dealt ... which has become quite a lot, actually.

This despite the probability that the Irish diaspora is among the largest in the world, per capita of the peak population in the native land -- Wikipedia has said this:
[The diaspora] ... consists of Irish emigrants and their descendants in countries such as the United States (see Irish Americans), the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, South Africa, and nations of the Caribbean and continental Europe, where small but vibrant Irish communities continue to exist. The diaspora contains over 80 million people and it is the result of mass migration from Ireland, due to past famines (especially the Irish Potato Famine), poverty, and political oppression. The term first came widely into use in Ireland in the 1990s when the then-President of Ireland, Mary Robinson began using it to describe all those of Irish descent. Notable people of the global Irish diaspora are United States presidents John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton ...
 --  I have heard that more than 40 million of the USA's population has some Irish ancestry.  I count myself among that number, as my father was a Carigan and my mother was a Ryan.  Half of me arises in the lost province of Ulster, from Protestant stock, and the other half comes from the Republic where the Catholic church is predominant.

Irish-Americans today outnumber the inhabitants of Ireland nearly 9-to-1, and the combined population of the Irish island (including UK territory, Northern Ireland) by more than 6-to-1.  So, even though many had to leave Ireland because of a combination of illegitimate rule and famine (which in turn was likely caused by the illegitimate rulers), as many stayed to sue for freedom as could manage.  Today, more than 4/5th of the island, politically, has both freedom and a native land.  My point is that even though large portions of the native inhabitants had to leave, those who remained did not let their depopulation stand as an excuse for surrendering to the the invaders.

Nearly every place in the world has pockets of separatist or secessionist spirit, but the majority of Ireland itself has shown a tendency to resist invasion with low profile libertarianism.  I used to write a blog at Nolanchart.com titled "The Easter Rising," and that name referred to the Easter occupation of the General Post Office (GPO), an arm of the British Empire, in Dublin in 1916.  The English forces crushed that uprising but it was the forerunner to the founding of the Free Republic of Ireland in 1922.  The interlopers from the UK maintained an extortion of territory, called Northern Ireland, in the aforesaid Ulster province.

I named my column after this signal event because the Irish seem to me to be the most libertarian culture, not country, but culture.  When the Irish talk about nation, in my view, they talk about common birth and culture, certainly not territory or government.  Here I use territory as the political jurisdiction of a government as opposed to the beautiful land that is coterminous with the state known as Ireland.

A recent entry at Wikipedia states that Ireland's government has about 300 thousand employees, at all levels.  Meanwhile, the USA federal government alone has over 4 million.  It would be interesting to see how many of the Irish bureaucrats are holdovers from the British bureaucracy that held sway for more than 800 years.  As we know in this country, from the FDR era alone, once established government entities hardly ever go entirely away.  It looks like there are 14 private sector Irish people for every Irish public sector employee.  Comparable Figures between the USA and Ireland are difficult to find.

As time goes by, it seems to me, bureaucracies tend to embed themselves by hiding from popular scrutiny.  They achieve this by ever refining the arcane know-how that is necessary to navigate their bailiwick.  The number of government bureaucrats is hidden from the general constituency.  By the same token, the general constituency finds workarounds to limit the effect of government.  Bureaucracy and constituency become two ships passing silently in the night.  I expect that the Irish culture has gone much farther along this road.  Bureaucracies never go away, they just appear to be occupied by ever more picayune details, to the point that the minutia has a fineness that is overlooked by the most fussy.

The point is that the only place in Ireland where I even saw statist functionaries was in the confines of the American TSA at the Dublin Airfield (outgoing).  Otherwise, the country was a grand retreat from the sense of constant officious herding that I get at home.  As an interesting sidenote,  I have seldom met a more agreeable genus of people in the street than in Ireland.  But, though the USTSA employees were mostly Irish, they had been converted into mean-spirited wretches by the process of harassing would-be passengers to America.

Of course we were already being herded, since we were on an organized tour.  But here is the difference, our tour was voluntary.  Given the history of Ireland, I guess you could say the same thing about the Irish.  Once the technology of travel reached a certain tipping point, it was easier voluntarily to join the diaspora than to stick around and be treated like a dirty dog.  Nowadays, there seems to be a nice balance of population and wealth and enjoyable living, so the Irish have no chip on their shoulders, except for those who toil as authoritarian minions for the American Transportation Safety Administration.

 -- Verbal Vol

Tipping Point IV

Nobody asked but ...

How deeply woven into the nature of things are humans?  We have only been around for a snippet of cosmic time, but we carry the imprint of all that has gone before.  We have the same biological building blocks as the trilobite and the triceratops, as well as Roy Rogers' wonder horse, Trigger.  It is folly to presume that we do not share cellular likeness to life forms all over the galaxies.  How then shall silicon-based forms, such as computers, replace us?  We have a toe hold!  To be sure, robots will have no particular incentive to keep us around, but how shall they stamp us out?  The good thing is that they probably have no overwhelming incentive to wipe us out either.

 -- Kilgore Forelle

Monday, September 25, 2017

Tipping Point III

Nobody asked but ...

Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil have called it a Singularity -- that point at which the question of getting sucked in to the black hole, or the AI takeover, becomes a foregone conclusion.  Let me first admit that Kurzweil has gone, in the last decade, from an oversimplification, to a more nuanced view.  Singularity advocates see this whole idea as a single point at which all former paradigms are replaced wholesale by all new paradigms.  I, instead, see similar changes, but in a far less monolithic event -- AI will take over some areas quickly, and others much more slowly, some never at all.  Right now, there are areas in which machine knowledge is superior to human knowledge.  There are other areas in which human knowledge is embryonic, and where we can't even know what the concrete questions are.  The devil is, however, still in the details.  I have no question that GAI can plumb the depths of detail faster and better than humans.  But I still wonder about knowing which questions to ask.  A principle question for me is will natural laws be uprooted -- an abstraction?  Or will humans be replaced by alternate intelligent organic forms first.  Nobody is telling me that the rules of natural selection are being short-circuited.

 -- Kilgore Forelle

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Tipping Point II

Nobody asked but ...

Will the GAI* emerging individuals have a DNA-like heredity?  Will they have the impulses of Ghandi or Hitler -- will they inherit the genocide gene, the logic of species purity?  If so, whom will they eliminate or enslave?  Will it be humans, tardigrades, or roaches?

  * general artificial intelligence

 -- Kilgore Forelle


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Tipping Point

Nobody asked but ...

If general artificial intelligence (GAI) is ever to rise above order taking, there will be a tipping point at which that occurs.  As of now, AI requires stepwise instructions from humans, but then, in GAI, the computer will write, and more importantly decide its own, instructions -- becoming a voluntaryist.  The most telling succeeding event will be what the GAI creatures will decide to do with humanity.  What do you see in our past that would recommend our continuation into the future?

 -- Kilgore Forelle


Baby Boom Bubble

Nobody asked but ...

A friend pointed out that everything the U. S. Government touches turns into a bubble.  I was part of one this week when I had cataract surgery on my right eye.  I'll be back for the other in several weeks.  I am part of a giant crop.  I was born in the middle of the U. S. involvement in WW II.  My father was an adjunct of Army Intelligence.  So, I am a front ender in the "Baby Boom."  The boom itself is a government-action bubble.  But the bubble takes on a life of its own.  An ever expanding array of conditions are being harvested in the fields of America's seniors.  And the competition is stiffening.  I had a surgical gown with its own HVAC in the prep room.  I could set the thermostat to suit.  The nurses were doing handsprings to make me happy.  Hospitals are competing with very expensive goodies.  The costs of the services must go up, or the number and breadth of services must increase.  Projected to a logical end, baby boomers will be in the system 24/7/365.  Medicare will pay.  Taxpayers will pay for Medicare.

-- Kilgore Forelle

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

I Am libertarian + voluntaryist + individualist + ...

Nobody asked but ...

I was asked in my writing group last Monday, "what is a libertarian?"

  • First of all, notice the lowercase "L" in "libertarian."  I cannot speak for other libertarians, but the lower case, in my case, means I am not a member of the national Libertarian Party (LP), nor of any of its regional, state, or local affiliates -- they are a political party, not a philosophy.  I am apolitical,and I am registered to vote as an independent, but I have no expectations of politicians, in general.  The libertarian philosophy is based on the non-aggression principle (NAP) which holds that one may not initiate violence against any person, place, or thing.  Please appreciate that this does not bar self-defense or defense of any person, place, or thing.  
  • By virtue of what do I also call myself a voluntaryist?  A voluntaryist believes that all transactions between or among individuals should be voluntary for all individuals.  This includes all individuals in a specific agreement, and excludes any who are not bound by that voluntary agreement.  
  • And how would I describe an individualist?  An individualist believes that all individuals are created equal.  Further, an individualist believes that all relationships should be on a 1-to-1 basis among individuals.  No two individuals are alike in all respects, therefore dealing with others always involves unique needs and characteristics.  I cannot be pegged by the 3 labels above, however, because, to paraphrase Walt Whitman, I contain multitudes.  Each individual is the only one of her kind in all the universes.  
I am convinced that there is no discord among these three tracks of philosophy.

 -- Kilgore Forelle


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Which Are the Reliable Sources

Nobody asked but ...

Where do you go to get reliable accounts of news, weather, and sports?  I recently surveyed my students in 4 computer literacy classes regarding this information.  On reviewing the results, I stressed to them that a "good" source was no better than its reliability, and furthermore its alignment with the goals of the seeker.  Sources should be tested against reality on a regular basis to determine if they are reliable for the uses to which they are put.  My students seemed to prefer local TV channels for a reliable mix of local, state, national, and international news -- they also felt that most local stations did not have hidden agenda.  I told them a good place to begin elimination was with any sort of cable news.  As far as weather is concerned, the pick was the Weather Channel's web page, but I didn't get much argument when I suggested that weather was a hit and miss proposition.  Recent hurricanes were examples -- mainstream weather reporters underestimated Harvey and overhyped Irma.  I also saw reports that perhaps the criteria for adjudging storm severity were off kilter.  Most of the determinants on hurricanes are related to overwater characteristics, but not much overland metrics apart from storm surge.  Lastly, there was nearly unanimous selection of ESPN.com for sports.  People liked the breadth and depth.  I can even learn of rugby results at ESPN!

 -- Kilgore Forelle

Words Poorly Used #106 -- Consensus

It rears its ugly head again.  I'm talking about the populist tendency to subsume the existence of substantial discord by uttering a stupid statement containing the word, "consensus," or its equivalent.  Today, I saw this in print, "most scientists today will agree ... "  What possible difference does it make what scientists agree on?  Isn't science about disciplined observation, not some polling process?  In fact, it is the scientist who is going in the most unique direction, who is on the path less taken, who will make the next new discovery.  He should be in a minority of one until the bulk of his field have reviewed the findings and found them to be supported by repeatable evidence.  How many scientists will agree on something has nothing to do with the scientific method or the existence of a phenomenon.

 -- Kilgore Forelle


Yellowstone

Nobody asked but ...

A current educational experience reintroduces me to the vastness of geologic time.  The primary lesson is that consequences often develop over geologic timescales, not those of human lifetimes.  I see that the world, regardless of the natural effects of humans, proceeds in a way that is nearly oblivious to our small presence.  Does the Earth care who is POTUS today, or what he may do with regard to the Paris Accord?  Nah.  I have often taken comfort in the idea that the Yellowstone Super Volcano could, at any time, render most of our quotidian concerns beside the point.  It sobers the mind when otherwise gripped in the throes of emotion.  But now I know that even an eruption of Yellowstone is but a hiccup in geologic time, disappearing altogether in cosmic time.  99.99999999999999999999999999...% of the cosmos will never even know any POTUS's name.

 -- Kilgore Forelle


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Things I Do

Nobody asked but ...

Friends and I meet monthly, and we call ourselves, informally, the logic group.  The inevitable question came up but what do you do about it? I begin to make a mental list of things I do:
  • I continue to parent my two daughters, although they both near their mid-century.  I am still their father.  They hold special places in my heart.
  • I grandparent my eight grandchildren.  The oldest will be thirty soon.  It's more easy to do.  Not being forced to parent makes our relationships voluntary, and I stress voluntary ideas with them.
  • I have two great-grandchildren.  I am still trying to understand this relationship.
  • I live on a farm with 10 rescued animals, two horses, four dogs, and four cats.
  • I blog and write columns at Everything Voluntary dot Com. 
  • I author and maintain a Facebook group, Another 2000+ Libertarian Quotes. 
  • I facilitate a Facebook page, Libertarian Podcast Exchange.
  • I am a voluntary participant in a study on aging at the local university.
  • I hold learning sessions on critical thinking and computer literacy.
  • I organize a group of people who discuss philosophy once a week.
  • I read.
  • I study.
  • I am a voluntaryist.
  • I am an individualist.
  • I am the only me in the multiverse.
  • ...


 -- Kilgore Forelle

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Words Poorly Used #105 -- Insurance

A substantial part of my jagged career was spent in the vineyards of the property and casualty insurance business.  I learned that, in its principled form, true insurance was only possible where every unit was equally exposed to a loss.  The textbooks told me that flooding was not an insurable peril because only the people who expected flood would buy it.  The private sector insurance industry, therefore, does not voluntarily underwrite flood insurance (they do, by the way, cover non-flood water damage -- anybody's pipes can burst).  The politicians, for the sake of euphemism, call flood reimbursement "insurance."  It is actually subsidy of reckonless risktaking.

-- Kilgore Forelle

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Academia

Nobody asked but ...

I must admit that I am a college faculty member.  Worse yet, I work as an adjunct instructor for a state-funded community/technical system of colleges.  But let me hasten to add that there are many independent thinkers among my colleagues.  The wrong-headedness that rolls out from campuses is the work of a small part of Academia.  There is a cautionary rule of thumb that says the unnecessary work done tends to expand to fill the time allotted.  This is an expansion of Parkinson's Law, "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion."  I disagree somewhat -- a good deal of work never gets done because the stealing of time makes a fictional abundance of time appear to be available.  In fact, time is filled by the looping of the most trivial pursuits available; for instance, meetings and the minting of organs designed to generate meetings.  I ran into a case of this bureaucracy this week.  I was advised by a minion of "Big Publishing," that by virtue of my selecting an "end date" for my courses, I have shut off all student  access after that date to eText resources bought and paid for by the students.  (I rest assured that the fine print on the web pages that contain "I agree" check boxes renders contractual the small theft).  As a bibliophile who never sold a textbook back to the bookstore, I may be overreacting ... but I don't think so.  The sales rep for the publisher told me, "Unfortunately due to copyright laws, [keeping your eText] is not possible." This is both untrue, in an equity sense, and incomplete, in an explanatory sense.

 -- Kilgore Forelle


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

CYA

Nobody asked but ...

Now I get it.  First, Mitch McConnell made a speech criticizing POTUS, then POTUS tweeted some insults directed toward Majority Leader McConnell.  This is an elaborate dance.  Now both POTUS and MLOTSOTUS have reciprocal excuses.  Congress is not moving efficiently and effectively.  The Oval Office is not coordinating cohesively.  Both luminaries have their heads stuck up their own elimination canal, but each would have you believe that there is another orifice attached to a body not moving fast enough.

 -- Kilgore Forelle


Make Haste, Waste, Confusion

Nobody asked but ...


I know this POTUS needs a fence post in the ground.  Without one, he will never have more, he will repair no fences.  But his tweetstorm admonitions for speed are counterproductive.  What is he, a muleskinner?  The way he curses the mules and urges them to greater speed would make it seem so.  More than one congressperson and many citizens are wondering, what are the plans?  As an anti-state guy, I am as opposed as any to central planning, but if we are going to have government action anyway, I prefer planned action as opposed to empty action, or worse, helterskelter action.  POTUS does not care about content, substance, or consequences, therefore it is quite easy to urge haste when one can ignore the knock-on effects.  POTUS only seems to be concerned with looking busy and notches on his dealmaker's gun-grip.

 -- Kilgore Forelle


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Words Poorly Used, Another Devil's Dictionary #3


  • Clarity -- in politics, that which is to be avoided at all costs.
  • Unnecessary -- anything spouted by a former political minion who has been handed the pink slip.
  • Crudit -- That which is claimed by a politico when trying to cover a disaster by characterizing it as a great triumph.
  • Canard -- an unfounded rumor or story, usually related to a political disaster, usually in 180 degree opposition to any segment of truth.
  • Damage Control -- the default mode of any politician.
  • Spin -- see Damage Control.

Words Poorly Used #104 -- Clarity

POTUS keeps having a legislative and executive agenda, but he appears to fear any kind of specificity regarding details.  Is this so that he can claim that any misshapen mess represents a success of deal-making?  The word misused in this case is "clarity."  It is misused in that it is not pursued where it should be.  Politicians like to keep their powder dry, to use an old piece of figurative language.  They prefer to let the unforeseen consequences occur, then take credit for whatever has happened.  If they practice clarity beforehand, they would be constrained to a logical outcome.  But their motto obviously is always take credit, never take blame.  A stark example was shown this week when congress persons pointed out that there were no details about tax reform.  That is by design; no matter what happens to the effort, everybody can claim clairvoyance.

 -- Kilgore Forelle


Monday, September 11, 2017

Job Description

Nobody asked but ...

If you were the top political adviser to a politician, how much sense would it make to say that the advice-recipient made the worst political mistake in modern history.  The recently departed top advisor made such an admission on television this past week-end.  What did he think his job description was?  If it was not to advise against epic political mistakes, then how did he justify his position?

 -- Kilgore Forelle

Families and Groups

Nobody asked but ...

Leo Tolstoy once wrote to the effect that happy families were the same, while unhappy families were all different.  I think, though I revere Tolstoy, that the half about happy families is untrue.  I see every indication that every family is different, just as are the people who make up those families.  I do not believe that there are "happy" or "unhappy" families.  There are families that undergo constant change, and there is an infinite supply of adjectives that apply to families.  Everything that is true of families is also true of any other multi-individual group.

 -- Kilgore Forelle

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Storm Watch

Nobody asked but ...
When I was a kid, we only saw Hurricanes on newsreels at the movie house -- always showing palm trees bent near double.  Same for blizzards, droughts, and floods, except for the palm trees.  After the fact, become history subsumed into the parade of human affairs, they were shown in grainy black and white.  Nothing to fear.  Move along, folks.  Now we get days of warnings, graphics, and hyperbole.  I have a friend on Daufuskie Island, in South Carolina, who says the worst part is the waiting.  I suspect the waiting would be tolerable without the handwringing and flatscreen teevees.
-- Kilgore Forelle

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Words Poorly Used #103 -- Charity

With repeated catastrophes, one cannot be on the scene helping in most cases.  Sometimes we can only donate money or time through surrogates.  It is frustrating trying to assist charities.  Like all organizations, they have pockets of management dysfunction, pockets of people problems.  This is also the reason why big government bureaucracies have so many fail points, many egregious fail points.

-- Kilgore Forelle

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Whodunit

Nobody asked but ...

I count among my major influences several writers who specialize or specialized in detective fiction, aka pulp fiction.  I have come to consider many of the purveyors of this lurid fiction to be among the finest literary practitioners, literature producers, and philosophy masters.  Who are some of these knights of the pen?   To name a few, Dashiell Hammett, Mark Twain, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Raymond Chandler, Ross McDonald, Sue Grafton, Benjamin Black, Noah Hawley, Arthur Conan Doyle, Henning Mankell, Stieg Larsson, Ruth Rendell, and Michael Connelly.  Each of these creators have a thing in common -- each have created a highly idiosyncratic individualist protagonist.  These characters are standalone loners who value unique moral codes; private eyes, insurance investigators, medical examiners, opportunists, uncollectivized hangers-on in police departments, dilettantes, agency operatives, newspersons, computer hackers, portraits from life's other side -- the Continental Op and Sam SpadePudd'nhead Wilson, Porfiry PetrovichPhilip Marlowe, Lew Archer, Kinsey Milhone, Quirke, Nikki Swango and Gloria Burgle, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Kurt Wallander, Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist, Inspector Wexford, and Hieronymus Bosch.   I am part of a philosophy discussion group where a friend commented that those of us who are considerate are each on our own moral quest.  The above listed authors and characters are most definitely on individual moral quests.  I am transfixed by how each of them sees his or her own constellation of morals, rights and wrongs, responsibilities, consequences.

 -- Kilgore Forelle

Paradigm Shift II

Nobody asked but ...

Can we bootstrap ourselves into another paradigm?  It says here I don't think so.  With Rome, it took the Visigoths.  With the British Empire, it took Mahatma Ghandi.  With IBM, it took Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.  With FDR, it took the grim reaper.  With the camel's back, it took a last straw.  Although internal forces can build to immense pressures, it nearly always takes an unexpected pressure from an external source.  Systems unaffected by external forces have tremendous internal forces for maintenance of the status quo.  Many people voted a certain way in recent elections because they wanted to get to a new paradigm.  They voted for candidates who would "drain the swamp."  They voted for candidates who would work "from within the system" to cure it of its ills.  They voted for candidates who were going to be so unorthodox that they would be like Samson destroying the temple.  They voted for candidates who were going to be  so pure of motive as to emulate Jesus driving the money-changers from the temple.  Nice try.  None of these elections will be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

 -- Kilgore Forelle


Monday, September 4, 2017

Paradigm Shift

Nobody asked but ...

Tha USA has been in a paradigm since the Civil War, that of the military industrial complex.  I don't see how we make a paradigm shift away from that.  We are too fat and happy with our comic book heroes, drugs legal and illegal, video games, reality television, cable news, and professional sports spectacles.  What could make us change?  Entertainment is not going to get drastically better.  POTUS is not going to do anything new -- maybe a bit more scandalous, but not new.  Our technology has plateaued, but based as it is on endless war, we'll just punch ourselves out.  The cultural makeup of the country is a dichotomy of a dying European segment and a burgeoning non-European segment.  We don't know whether to fish or cut bait.

-- Kilgore Forelle

Words Poorly Used #102 -- AI

Putin and Musk are holding forth on the future of AI.  They, and most the rest of us, act like AI is a stage play that is evolving toward a tightly plotted ending.  Observations:
  • AI is in the Stone Age.  We've been wrestling with the mouse for over 3 decades.  That is glacial change.
  • There is little NI (Natural Intelligence) among our popular leadership.  AI will be politicized, so that PI will stay in the hands of incompetents.
  • We will try to weaponize AI, thereby stalling it as we did with atomic research.  The same is happening on several scientific fronts -- genetic, environmental, and mememetic (educational) spring to mind.
  • "Strategery" and dumbing down has doomed our civilization.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Words Poorly Used #101 -- Criteria

Many people confuse criteria with filters, others dispense with criteria altogether.  Criteria actually are critical thinking stations in determining truth.  They are existential, distinguishing the "is" from the "isn't," and the "may be."  The world underestimated Hurricane Harvey because the presumptive category-system of predicting a storm's impact measured the wrong things, and/or not enough of the right things.  It turns out that most of the government measures are filters strictly for size and speed and direction that may answer over-the-ocean questions but hardly address any on-land questions other than a single point of when plus where.  How many systems askew of true criteria do we maintain?

-- Kilgore Forelle

A Better Catastrophe

Nobody asked but ...

Does your system of knowledge contain the concept of a "better catastrophe?" Well apparently POTUS's does. He said, while waving the state flag of Texas (for whatever reason), "We want to do it better than ever before."  Do what?  And if "we" did "it," how would we know that we had done it.  How much capacity do we, the people, have for buying snake oil from this charlatan?



 -- Kilgore Forelle

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Pay It Forward

Nobody asked but ...

This morning, a woman, a stranger in the car in front of me, paid for my breakfast at the drive-through.  And I wondered in writing on Facebook, "Thank you, but what is that all about?"  Several respondents told me it was "Pay it forward."  I appreciate the gesture, but I don't feel right about buying someone breakfast.  I want to pay it forward in another way.  Where is my heart, and what do I want to see thrive?  Then I thought of EVC.  If everybody reading this just skipped one breakfast -- or not -- and paid the amount forward to EVC, we would be doing much more than buying a fat guy in a pickup truck a breakfast burrito.




 -- Kilgore Forelle

Cognitive Bias #4 -- Overconfidence

Nobody asked but ...

Self-appointed experts, aka politicians, seem to be the worst.  Here's an example:  Everybody I talk to, and I talk to a lot of people, say that there is climate change.  So, I have educated myself about it.  Many scientists have found some statistical proxy or computer model that replaces the work of getting a true average temperature for the whole planet, an average temperature that has been adjusted for all change over time and a pretence of knowing all future things.  So, I think that the consensus must be what it is made out to be by a majority of scientists (including those in unrelated fields).  This thing is decided by popular vote, isn't it?

 -- Kilgore Forelle

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Houston, TX (Continuing)

Nobody asked but ...

This is a catastrophe. This is a disaster. This is the greatest amount of rain ever recorded in a locale in the history of meteorology. How can POTUS say, “We want to do it better than ever before.” Dams are about to burst! Doesn't POTUS understand that what is happening is beyond his prodigious capacity for self-deception. It's not about politicians, and their grandiose claims. Can't this fool address reality every once in a while? It is a catastrophe. It is a disaster. And it still will be no matter how many times POTUS waves his magic tongue. Better than what?


 -- Kilgore Forelle

Brilliant Women

Nobody asked but ...

I was born into lines of brilliant women.  My great-great grandmother went to court in the 19th Century to challenge the presumption that only primogeniture applied, 7 decades before women's suffrage came to Kentucky.  My great grandmother, an Acadian, made a childhood trek in the 19th Century from Petit-Rocher, Nouvelle Brunswick to Milton, MA.  My paternal grandmother, from Liberty, KY, had awesome social skills, along with her daughter -- if a great celebrity visited the Bluegrass, they would be sitting in a place of honor on the dais.  One time, my grandmother got a ride in the POTUS' car in a pre-Dallas motorcade.  My maternal grandmother was the kindest person I have ever known, but she could navigate Boston, MA, as though it were a playground.  I got my lack of fear of urban transit from her.  I got my love of big cities from her.  My mother was a poet, and a grandly independent woman.  Both of my daughters are geniuses -- one a computer scientist and the other a hydrologist with 3 degrees.  One of my granddaughters is a brilliant flautist and straight-A student.  My second granddaughter, just now a teen, is a wondrous wit, a scoring machine at basketball, a thespian, and a blistering finisher in cross-country running.  The youngest granddaughter, eleven, also a thespian, has the greatest sense of humor of all, the social skills of her great-great grandmother, and a natural overflowing confidence.  My great-granddaughter, five, is brimming with charm and brightness.  Why would any good man wish that they were trapped in a class that was deemed second-rate?

 -- Kilgore Forelle


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Houston, TX (continued)

Nobody asked but ...

Is citing disasters as a justification for the state kind of ghoulish, or is it just me?  Is this a really in poor taste instance of the broken window fallacy?   POTUS is there waving a Texas flag, wearing a "USA" ball cap, standing on some sort of riser.  Why doesn't he get down and hand out some diapers, bottled water, or food to the embattled inhabitants, instead of grandstanding?  He claims, “We want to do it better than ever before.”  But it looks like the same old pandering BS from here.  Maybe they can get Brownie to come back.

 -- Kilgore Forelle


Monday, August 28, 2017

Cognitive Bias #3 -- Choice-supportive

Nobody asked but ...

http://mentalfloss.com/article/68705/20-cognitive-biases-affect-your-decisions
This may be my most egregious bias.  I have a great deal of trouble reversing field after a choice of any kind.  Reversals only take place after some sort of random collision with reality.  We see evidence that I am not alone, scattered throughout my neck of the woods.  Moldering, derelict automobiles and tractors outnumber anything but ragweed.  It is hard to admit a mistake, sure, but it is doubly hard to alter the status quo.  If it weren't for this tendency, we wouldn't have any political conservatives at all.  This would not be an entirely good thing.  If we had no conservatism in the species, the average life expectancy would be about a week, and we would still have all of the junk autos and tractors.  Knee-jerk is as bad as stick-in-the-mud.  Where it really worries, however, is in politics.  How is POTUS going to climb down from that improvised "fire and fury" speech?

[author's note:  It has been awhile since the last installment in this series.  The reason is that I had intended to make a podcast series as an expanded companion.  So I was holding at #2 pending my publication of podcasts #1 and #2.  But I have been procrastinating (for good imaginary reasons known only to me).  At this point, due to subsequent developments, I have become busier than ever -- I am teaching 4 sections of a college course on computing, and I am involved in 10 distinct projects at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.  Now it appears unlikely that I will do a podcast in the near future.  At any rate, I have decided to resume this written serial, because the delay is getting ridiculous.]

Houston, TX

Nobody asked but ...

As usual, when some kind of catastrophe strikes -- Hurricane Harvey in this instance -- anti-market types will pipe up with "I'll tell you so" shots such as "Who will save the people of Houston now?  The market?"  My response is "Exactly!"  If the market doesn't arise in Houston post-Harvey, Houston will remain a wrecked city ad infinitum.  Any adherent of Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson knows that in any event, there is always a short term and a long term.  Certainly, the market must cause the long term recovery of Houston.  This is not to say that government has no role, but it is just one of the methods of allocation of resources that a market provides.  The state is not a replacement for the market, it is a mechanism of the market.  And the market is not constrained to use the state in any element of its phenomena.  But what about the short term, the statist cries?  To be sure, the Coast Guard is doing good work, but it is outnumbered by a wide margin with both formal and informal volunteers.  And all rescue workers must use resources provided by the market.  Where does the bottled water come from?  The parts and fuel for the helicopters?  The food for the victims?  The cots?  The clothes?  Government doesn't have the time it takes to assemble these resources.  The market has been assembling resources since the dawn of man.

 -- Kilgore Forelle


Sunday, August 27, 2017

Words Poorly Used, Another Devil's Dictionary #2

Pardon -- a POTUS ploy used to uncatch a caught henchman so that said henchman may hench again.

Political Ego -- a power more potent than a thousand suns, but which will resist all attempts at harnessing for good until the end of time.

Science -- a catchall which may be cited to bolster a generalization which may not have any science behind it.

Swamp -- a festering miasma which continues to expand at a pace that exceeds that at which we discuss draining it.

Crony -- a scoundrel who is in until he is out.

Words Poorly Used #100 -- Pardon

A pardon should be given to correct a miscarriage of justice, not to perpetrate another injustice.  A pardon under the law is to make the law more humane, not to unleash the lawless upon the land.  The spoils system is there, advisedly or not, to reward the faithful, but its rewards should never relieve the true felon.  Once again, the mighty have shown that they spit on the constraints of social grace.

-- Kilgore Forelle

Friday, August 25, 2017

Words Poorly Used #99 -- Anarchism

The suffix "-ism" denotes a belief or action system.  This is a concept hampered, nearly to destruction, by internal conflict.  Anarchy is.  Whether you believe in it or not is immaterial.  Anarchy is.  Whether you act to gain it or not is immaterial.  The thing to believe in and to act upon is voluntaryism.  It encompasses anarchy, it is independent of any form of -archy.  If one lives the life of voluntary, individual one-to-one agreement, no -archy need apply.

-- Kilgore Forelle

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Triple-happenstance

Nobody asked but ...

Have you ever heard a phrase similar to "bad news comes in threes?"  It seems to be true, but it says here that this is not a mystery but a vagary of human communication.  Why does it seem that there are 3 reports of shark attacks?  Well, the swimming season opens, and soon there is a shark attack or sighting.  It's news (first time in the season).  A second attack occurs and it's confirmation of the news and a harbinger of a potential trend.  A third attack occurs and it is confirmation of the trend.  By the time the fourth attack occurs, the trend has already been exploited, so the newshounds have gone off to sniff out new trends.  We saw a troubling version of this phenomenon recently.  The "rally" in Charlottesville caused the newshounds to perk up their hounding instincts.  Lo, and behold, another "rally" (an unfortunate occurrence of event labeling) was held in Boston.  Even though there was no real connection between the two events, the media treated them as the same trend.  Many panties were wadded.  One guy even lost his job.  Now, we need to BOLO (be on the lookout) for contenders for event #3.  Let us not have our jimmies rustled by every gathering of 3 or more humans.

 -- Kilgore Forelle


Finer Clay

Nobody asked but ...

That's it! I have decided which libertarian quote is my very favorite:
If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or do they believe that they themselves are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind?”
Frédéric Bastiat
Isn't it true of everyone who presumes to pretend to lead the collective?  It is true of people who want to put up statues, as it is of people who want to tear down statues.  None of us -- none(!) -- are made of a finer clay.  One must realize that we are all voluntaryists.  We have no special purpose beyond our own space and time, and our voluntary one-to-one associations with others.  Through improvement of these few linkages is the only way we can improve the lot of our species.

 -- Kilgore Forelle

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Eclipse

Nobody asked but  ...

The free market is the Sun, while regulation is the Moon.  From time to time,  the smaller, closer body may shield the very much larger (by orders of magnitude), farther body from our view.  But for a few moments, we see the world as upside down, out of reconciliation.  The raindrop becomes an ocean that would threaten the Earth with flood.

-- Kilgore Forelle

Principles


Part of the challenge of lifelong learning is to understand that the goal is not to add to your collection of "well what do you know's", but to assimilate your new knowledge with the creation of, revisiting, modification of, or withdrawing (shedding) from your current set of principles.

It does one no good to regard new information as just "interesting," one needs to test that new learning against the structure, the principles, of one's information system.

For instance, my information system is built, in the main, on the principle that all human interactions should be one-to-one and voluntary on both sides.  An incorporated principle is the Golden Rule.
I have other principles that are complementary to the above.  I believe that I am personally responsible for myself.  I believe that I own my space and time.  I believe that unnatural violence is always wrong.  I believe that it would be wrong to infringe on others' space and time unless they give them voluntarily in full view of consequences.

What is the structure of your principles.  First of all, your principles should be connected, each to each of the others.  This is the way the Internet is structured.  If a node on the Internet becomes inoperable then all of the undamaged nodes can still reach all of the other undamaged nodes.  The Internet can survive the temporary nonavailability of any node, part, or segment, short of total loss.

Voluntary individuality works the same way.  For every relationship that a voluntaryist keeps, all of the dependencies should be strictly on a one-to-one footing.  All features of the relationship are voluntarily agreed upon between the two parties.  Each party is able to maintain as many similar relationships, independently, as she chooses.  One-to-one relationships do not require license from some 3rd party individual or collective.  In software engineering, my professional calling, we refer to a system having high cohesion and low coupling.  Cohesion is the degree to which an object fulfills a single function (desirable).  Coupling is the degree to which an object is dependent on more than one other object (undesirable).

As one's set of principles is an interlocking complex, effectiveness and efficiency are raised by high cohesiveness, but low coupling.  Let's look at some examples.  

The non-agression principle (NAP) is a mainstay of libertarian voluntaryism.  It is cohesive in that it governs only one aspect of any human relationship.  Is it violent?  Yes or no?  I define the NAP as prohibiting violence, in all cases.  If the relationship is violent it cannot be under the NAP, because it does not follow the principle.  The rest of this piece concerns itself with coupling.

There are a few critical subsets of the principle.  Has the individual initiated the violence -- as children may insist, "he started it it?"  And, did one party act in self-defense.  Note that self-defense does not comply with the NAP; it is only an exception by which the perpetrator may not be condemned (dependent on the clear cut definition of the behavior).  I repeat, for clarity in a seldom acknowledged fact, self-defense does not comply with the NAP, it is merely a condition under which the NAP may not be applicable.  Likewise, non-initiation is not an excuse for ignoring the NAP.  It is merely a possible mitigation for analyzing the NAP.  If either party initiates violence, the NAP is moot -- it cannot be stretched to fit the case.

Some people will say that the NAP is not a pacifist doctrine, but despite popular opinion to the contrary, it is pacifist.  The composition fallacy often arises because self-defense (in a true sense) is a natural right, and it appeals to common sense when considering complex or fuzzy cases.  Some extend this composition fallacy to cover retaliation (committing delayed violence in retribution for an earlier violence).  It is not true that capital punishment or any form of revenge is under the wing of the NAP.

The NAP is a principle that requires very careful and close parsing or expression.  This is true as well for its associated principles: self-defense is a natural right and if violence is initiated then the NAP is out of the question for the initiator.

The purpose of a principle is to set a plan for action for similar cases in the future.  The NAP, for instance, gives us a narrowed selection of choices when we encounter violence from another or feel compelled to initiate violence.  But all cases do not fall into neat rows.  The ability to deal with fuzziness arises from a multitude of highly general (one size fits most) principles, along with very few and very specific exceptions.

Every event in the present and past should be reviewed with principle in mind.  Important questions are these:
  • Does the event invoke a principle?
  • If the event is not within the four corners of a principle, are there associated principles that account for the differences?
  • Are there other principles that come into play?
  • How do these other principles relate to the primary principle?
  • How clear is each of the principles that apply to the event?
In consideration of the last question above, let's look at an example, the Golden Rule:
  • The Golden Rule is "Treat others as you wish to be treated."
  • Treat others as they’d like to be treated.
  • Treat yourself as you’d treat someone else.
  • Don’t let other people treat you badly.
  • One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated (negative or prohibitive form).
  • What you wish upon others, you wish upon yourself (empathic or responsive form).
As we can see the Golden Rule covers its own scope, but there are related maxims outside of its literal scope.  The individual must decide for each rule and the area covered by it.

Lastly, we might considered the mathematics of interacting entities.  If two individuals interact on one principle, there are 4 possibilities; both are right or A is right while B is wrong or A is wrong while B is right or both are wrong.  If two individuals interact on 2 related principles:

Principle Y True Principle Y False Principle Z
True
Principle Z False
Individual A TRUE TRUE TRUE TRUE
Individual B FALSE FALSE FALSE FALSE
Individual A TRUE FALSE FALSE TRUE
Individual B FALSE TRUE FALSE TRUE
Horizontally, there are 16 cases, while vertically, there are 16 cases; 32 in total.  By adding one related principle, we have increased the possibilities by eightfold.  

If we add a third related principle, we multiply by 8 again, arriving at 256 different sets of agreement/disagreement.  The same kinds of multiples show up if we increase the number of individuals.

It is very daunting to keep multiples of principles straight, or multiples of individuals straight.  That is why a voluntaryist wants to keep interpersonal relationships on a one-to-one footing, and principles as close to Ockham's Razor as possible.  My version of Ockham's Razor is:  the simplest set of matters which fits all of the facts, no more, no less.