Lawyer Argues We Should Ignore Inconvenient Laws

The law is for squeebs

Ilya Somin calls himself a lawyer, and he probably is one, too. Therefore what he says about the law must be right.

Convinced by Somin’s arguments, I will later this week head off to Sweden and set up shop on the streets. Why? Well, as embarrassing as it is to admit, I am unemployed. And I’ve heard Sweden has a heck of a welfare system. Once I make it past the border, they’ll have to take care of me. Give me food, a comfortable place in which to eat it, dignity. It’s their responsibility since they have more than I do.

Of course I will be breaking the law by crossing Sweden’s border, and they may seek to call me an “illegal immigrant” or even, Heaven forfend, a criminal. I prefer the term “undocumented worker,” incidentally. And I might even try to find work, if somebody will offer it to me. The Swedish government had better not try to kick me out, either, else I’ll sick Somin on them. Then—look out!

Somin would tell those mean hateful racist Swedes “Illegal Immigration is Easily Justified Under a Weak Presumption in Favor of Obedience to Law.” He says, “If obeying a law is inconvenient and violating it is unlikely to harm anyone, [most people] believe that violation is morally justified.”

“Strict compliance” of laws we disfavor “would be annoying and inconvenient”. And this includes all those “violations of various federal regulations that ordinary citizens and small businesses routinely run afoul of.” He forgets to mention that ordinary citizens have no idea of the number and extent of federal laws, which increase yearly in number, reach, and severity of punishment. But everybody knows crossing a border without permission is illegal.

From this he concludes, “If you apply this theory to illegal immigration, it becomes clear that illegal immigrants have a much stronger case for violating immigration laws than native-born citizens do for their routine violations of the speed limit and various petty federal regulations.”

Far as I can tell, his “theory” is that you only have to follow those laws which you don’t find annoying and inconvenient. And that you can ignore those laws which you have concluded won’t harm others.

The anarchist in me likes this. Piracy has always had an appeal. “A short life but a merry one!” is my cry. Besides, if Sweden leaves me to rot in this country, full of progressive head hunters gunning for heretics like myself, it would (Somin’s words) consign me to poverty and oppression “through no fault of [my] own, merely because [I was] born on the wrong side of a line on the map.” And that’s just not fair.

Hey! Sweden! You rich so-and-sos. Gimme! And make it quick.

Update My jet lag is making me miss the obvious. Somin likens illegally crossing borders to speeding. He forgets that speeders get tickets, and that repeat offenders lose their licenses or even go to jail. Somin is a lawyer.

Science for the State; Or, Lysenko Lives

Bette Davis eyes

Bette Davis eyes

Jim Fedako (who wrote this piece; send him email) is a business analyst and homeschooling father of seven who lives in Lewis Center, OH.

It sometimes seems that every regime needs to find its justification in science. Ideology is fine, to a point. But the final arbiter of legitimacy resides, or so it seems, in science. So what of science?

The Soviet Union had its ideological foundation in dialectical materialism—that edgy methodology that combines, you guessed it, dialectics and materialism. In essence, so the theory goes, matter moves from one state to another in an endless ascendancy from the lower to higher.

I know, blah, blah, blah. Just a load of muddled nonsense. But it was the Soviet religion. And everything had to be justified through it.

So in the 1920s, along comes this quack by the name of Lysenko. According to Wikipedia, he rejected

Mendelian genetics in favor of the hybridization theories of Russian horticulturist Ivan Vladimirovich Michurin, and adopted them into a powerful political-scientific movement termed Lysenkoism.

Helena Sheehan picks up the story noting that Lysenko

subsequently became famous for the discovery of “vernalisation,” an agricultural technique that allowed winter crops to be obtained from summer planting by soaking and chilling the germinated seed for a determinate period of time.

More muddled nonsense. But since Lysenko and his nonsense—er, theories—fit the nonsense that is dialectical materialism, he became a sweetheart of the state bureaucracy.

And as Lysenkoism grew in power and prestige, so did the pressure on those who dared object. Alternate theories were rejected and proponents forced from positions and jailed, and sometimes even sentenced to death. Mendelian genetics was pushed from the halls of academia into the hushed-hushed backrooms where no one listened, except spies for the state.

There were two other results of Lysenkoism worth noting: food shortages and waste. But, hey, what’s a few cracked eggs among friends, especially when the omelet is for the state?

The key to my opening statement is not that science needs to justify the state. The key is that the state needs to find the science that will justify its (the state’s) existence.

So the state creates its justifying science and, lo and behold, that very same science justifies the state. In Lysenko’s words,

Long live the Party of Lenin and Stalin, which discovered Michurin for the world and created all the conditions for the progress of advanced materialist biology in our country.

Glory to the great friend and protagonist of science, our leader and teacher, Comrade Stalin!

Does any of this sound familiar? In the 1930s, the state adopted Keynesian economics. It did not do so because the system made sense. No, the state adopted Keynesian economics because it justified the state and the state’s profligate ways.

Keynes was the Lysenko of the Roosevelt administration. The state declared Keynes a genius and worked to control his opposition. No Siberian Gulags, just academic ones. But the chilling result was the same here as in the Soviet Union. The state’s science became the science, and science and state lived happily ever after. For a while anyway.

When Stalin died, Lysenko was first discredited by Khrushchev.

Nevertheless, Lysenko was to find favour again, and at that with Khrushchev, for his researches into composting and breeding dairy cows with high butter fat, themes both dear to Khrushchev who wanted to raise the USSR’s milk output.

In the end, the Soviets finally recognized that Lysenko was a fraud, though it took a half a century.

Here in the United States, it took us almost the same amount of time to begin to question Keynesianism. And just like Lysenkoism, Keynesianism fell out of favor only to subsequently return to favor once again—nothing like more butter fat to whet the appetite of the political class.

Of course, Keynes is gone—his long run ended years ago. But Keynesianism lives on through its adherents. And Paul Krugman is the most visible one we have today.

But Krugman is just another Lysenko—peddling nonsense that justifies the state. As one of its most prominent and vocal proponents, Krugman is an influential activist for the political class and the status quo. So, of course, he is blessed by the state.

Most importantly, Krugman is willing to see more than a few eggs cracked in order to serve up a state-sized omelet—I think he calls his special omelet the Laureate, but I am not certain of that.

Every state needs justification. And the justifiers are always welcomed and cheered by the state. So we should not be shocked that a false science—a science that props up the state—is embraced by the state and associated sycophants.

But we must always remember that in the end, the nonsense is revealed for all to see, with the proponent receiving his due discredit. But how long do we have to wait? And what will be the final result? Only time will tell.

Boys’ Toys V. Girls’ Toys: Researchers Still Trying To Prove They’re The Same

Not quite the one I saw.

Not quite the one I saw.

Last Thursday I was at the warthog park at the butt end of 57th street on the East river, reading and enjoying the rare sunshine. Nannies and moms (mostly nannies) filtered in with their charges, mostly babies and kids under four or five.

The toys kids are bought come in fads. It was marbles in my day, and card games when my kids were young (those special packs with monsters on them). The kids in the park, those who could walk, all had the same green plastic mini-scooter.

The park has benches around the edges and in its interior are a couple of raised areas of dirt and sand which are bounded by brick. A statue of a warthog is in the middle.

One boy, helmeted naturally, started tooling around and around and around the park solely for the sake of tooling around. Soon another boy joined in. Later a third boy came but he started circling in the opposite direction. The first pair of boys, a Tall one and a Young one, came to the Third boy. Tall said, “Do you want to be friends?” Third said, “Yes.” And Tall, excited as he could be, said to Young, “He wants to be our friend!”

Meanwhile, some girls had come, too. They were off in a corner of the park opposite where I was, sitting near their nannies and playing with some bright plastic thing I couldn’t make out.

The boys circled and circled until Tall had the happy idea of crashing full speed into the brick and tumbling onto the dirt. Young saw this and copied. He flew backwards onto the cement, whereupon he started laughing and laughing. This was the funniest thing he had ever done in his life. He was doubled over in mirth.

His nanny (I’m guessing) came over thinking he was hurt. When Young saw her he popped up and took off on his scooter. And then Third came and crashed.

The Tall crashed again. Full speed into the brick—bam!—and thrown off. Then Young, then Third, and so on, for quite a while. Sometimes they would fall into the dirt, sometimes on the cement, but always they would fall laughing.

After a while, probably because of exposure to one too many movies, they started crashing and falling in slow motion, complete with explosion sound effects, exaggerating their demise, limbs everywhere.

It was time for me to go, and I noticed as I left one of the girls in the corner was standing waving her finger at another of the girls, a mean look on her face. The girls never took part in the crashes.

And now I read of “scientific” “research” which tells me I didn’t see what I saw, or that if I did see what I saw, it was partly my doing. Toy choices of children, we are told, “don’t actually reflect innate preferences” but the preference of their parents and society. I am part of society.

Boys and girls aren’t different, scientists say, but they are genderfied into thinking they’re different by society. Why, hasn’t research “shown” that there are “no sex differences in the preferences of babies for looking at objects versus faces”? And thus, since myopic girl babies and myopic boy babies tend to look or not look at the same things in a constrained unnatural setting, that because therefore that I have eight inches and seventy pounds on my mate, plus a whole different set of plumbing, must mean nothing. At least in the sense that these manifest dimorphisms could possibly play any role in our behavior.

Now since this is Happy Week (Day 2) at WMBriggs.com, I won’t tell you what I think of the minds of researchers anxious to deny the absolute incontrovertible unalterable fact that males and females are different. Boys and girls know they don’t look like one another, and they know they act differently. It is therefore profoundly cruel to attempt to erase, ignore, or medicate away these natural incommensurabilities.

Since I love my enemies, even the enemies who drug boys to make them behave more like girls, I won’t suggest that they should be flogged for their crimes. No, sir. Next time I see an “educator,” I will hug her and tell her that I love her, even as I remind her that she is complicit in spreading the most pernicious pig-ignorant harmful lies and that she is contributing mightily to the downfall of civilization.

Alchemy Hour

It’s Happy Week here at WMBriggs.com: seven full days1 bursting with smiles, bonhomie, and the unadulterated love of my fellow man, no matter how wicked—but no! Joy begins as of now. So, without more and further ado—at last, at last!—some news worth cheering.

Announcing the brilliant opening of Alchemy Hour, Clothiers to the Stars! in Maplewood, New Jersey.

The store was built and is owned and run by my Number One son (same first name as his old man, who in turn had the same first name of his old man, who in turn, etc., for many generations) and his lovely wife Julia.

It's that time.

It’s that time.

Now you know Yours Truly. But unless you are one of the half-million (plus or minus, give or take) who have read Mine Tomorrow: Polon Percival and the Political Ploy, you won’t know my son. Where his old man is industrial grade vinegar, Number One is cherry blossom honey. Organic, naturally. And if his father’s muscular mix of English-Austrian (German)-Irish-Polish blood gave him the love of endless argument, an infusion of a Dutch-Danish corpuscle cocktail produced mellowness and jollity itself in his offspring. In other words, don’t hold me against him.

Julia sings opera and knows a good half dozen languages and has exquisite taste in clothing. You know how seriously we take clothing here, so I mean this as high praise. For instance, do not do this; at least, not anywhere within eyeshot of me.

I’ve seen, many times, Julia suggest an outfit to someone who would look at it and say, “No way.” Until the someone put it on and realize it was perfect. Plus, the shop has many unique items from south of the equator. Julia is from Brazil and makes trips there to bring back exotic stock. She also has lined up several super secret sources of seamstresses who make their own wares. You won’t be able to find at Macy’s what you can discover at Alchemy Hour.

Stop by when you’re in town and let Julia fix you up with something unexpected and astonishing. You can follow them on Twitter (@shopalchemyhour) or on Facebook.


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1Somebody count and see how long I last.

Posted in Fun

Let’s Find And Fire Those Who Support Same-Sex “Marriage”

It’s our way or no way.

Please read to the end of the end. You wouldn’t want to miss anything important.

Bigotry against traditional marriage is unacceptable. Those espousing the unnatural unions of two same-sexed persons hold logically indefensible positions. They should not therefore be allowed to keep their jobs.

It is impossible to justify holding beliefs about same-sex “marriage”. Only religion bashers and hateful discriminators do. Saying you are against traditional religious belief is like saying you want to lynch a black man for the color of his skin, especially when you consider modern science proves that people are born religious and lack free will and thus have no choice but to be religious. And if somebody is born a certain way, then anything they do in that way must therefore be right. Religious people who insist on the sanctity of tradition are just that way.

This is the Twenty-first Century and you would have thought by now religious intolerance would have been banished. But it has not been. There are still people among us who hold irrational and hateful opinions against the natural law! These people should be written out of polite society. Ostracized.

Yes, it now cool to be for traditional marriage, but being against it should lose you your job. We need to find out who each of these prejudiced people are. Name them and shame them. Being against traditional marriage is being against equality. Being against traditional marriage is being against freedom. Nobody should be allowed to be for unnatural unions, not in this day and age.

Those who have supported same-sex “marriage” in the past must pay. We need organization at the large scale. We must mobilize Twitter and Facebook armies which threaten the employers of these bigots with boycotts. Companies must not be allowed to associate with the hateful. If they won’t fire their employees, we just won’t do business with them.

Especially those companies with bigots in positions of powers and those with numerous religious employees must be held accountable. If business do not fire bigots, then these business give the appearance of supporting bigotry. They are complicit with and in that bigotry. Having any employee on staff who holds the wrong political opinion is as if that businesses itself is discriminatory to religion and tradition. This is or should be illegal. These people ought to be jailed.

Every business must issue policies of non-discrimination against those who hold religious beliefs. We cannot let intolerance stand.

Those who have been found to support same-sex “marriage” in the past must be located. Most of them surely left traces of their hatefulness. Their blog posts must be rooted out. See if they gave money to groups like GLAAD. Emails they have written in support of their bigotry must be made public. Conversations they have made when in the place of their employment must be publicly aired.

We must be merciless in our attacks. These people—these scum—had their chance to recant and they blew it. Continued support for same-sex “marriage” is now intolerable, and tolerate it we won’t. Yes, the bigots who supported same-sex “marriage” had freedom of speech on their side. But believing in freedom of speech cannot be a trump card. Freedom of speech doesn’t exclude having to deal with the consequences of what a man says. Now these anti-social people must face the consequences.

It is our right to punish those who disagree with us. We must exercise that right to the fullest of our abilities. No stone must be unturned. We will find everybody who is or was against us and destroy them. It is our right. It is the marketplace speaking! No attack is too strong.

If anybody has given money to despicable groups like GLAAD, and if they don’t when confronted of their hate-speech give a higher amount to a religious organization that promotes genuine marriage, then they’re out.

If anybody who has made public statements in support of unnatural unions, they must recant and make twice as many public statements in similar venues saying they now understand that a marriage can only be between a man and a woman. Else they’re out.

There is no excuse in the hate-filled anti-religious to say their opinions are a matter of their personal business. Their “personal” business affects the rest of us. Hiding behind “privacy” is absurd.

Join me in signing this post, which now functions as a petition. It’s time to end the discrimination. Let your voice be heard!

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You get the idea (Update: I really hope you get the idea): EVERY argument, descriptor, and “solution” was pulled from arguments the foolish made in hounding Eich to his doom. I cleaned up the language of course. Progressives are notoriously vulgar.

E-Lynching The Politically Incorrect: Mozilla Edition

Just make it stop!

Just make it stop!

The most vile sanctimonious ignorant bigoted contemptuous hateful stunted intransigent insolent arrogant unsympathetic cowardly sniveling brutes are found today almost exclusively among progressives, especially its younger varieties. This is the crowd which boasts of something they call “tolerance”, a word which defined by its effects must mean “do what you’re told or else.”

Or else what? Or else you will be destroyed. E-lynched. Hounded by packs of snarling snotty nincompoops unencumbered by the burdens of thought and reason and unrestrained by decency and commonsense. A rabble which feeds on hate and delights in cruelty, ruffians intent only on demolishing and demonstrating what they believe to be their superiority. For a generation that knows only irony this is truly astonishing.

The latest and surely not the last victim of the howling mob is Brendan Eich, inventor of Javascript and late of Mozilla, the publishers of a web browser I no longer use. Eich’s crime?

There was none. There was no crime. Eich did nothing wrong.

His tormentors, however, are full of sin. These include the employees of Mozilla who first erupted into irrational public petulance and their vulgar and eager imitators on the Internet. Eich had recently had a disagreement with the board of Mozilla, an organization he co-founded, some of whom fretted of his leadership skills. It might have been from they (or those who recently resigned) who sought to sully Eich’s name. It may have been from the political arm of the IRS. Who knows? In any event, Eich resigned yesterday.

The Mozilla organization, true to the breed, had this to say about Eich’s ouster:

Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn’t live up to it. We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it’s because we haven’t stayed true to ourselves.

We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act. We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry. We must do better.

Brendan Eich has chosen to step down from his role as CEO. He’s made this decision for Mozilla and our community.

Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech. Equality is necessary for meaningful speech. And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard.

Our organizational culture reflects diversity and inclusiveness…

This is so poor it could only have been written by someone inflicted with a modern university education. “We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right”. Right? Right? Right that none except those willing to publicly espouse the belief-of-the-moment shall be employed?

“Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech.” The thing about lying boldly is that the lie is more likely to be believed than a lie uttered shyly. I’ve long warned that progressives are holding truth “to a different standard” and that “freedom of speech” is being redefined as freedom to think whatever you like but not freedom to utter or act on these thoughts.

It therefore does no good to shove the Constitution under the nose of a progressive (easy to do, their noses are always aloft). He sees the words but thinks they mean all speech but “controversial” speech is free. What’s controversial? Opinions which differ from his. Has nobody noticed campus speech codes and calls to arrest scientists who do not agree with the party line? Worse is coming.

“Brendan Eich has chosen to step down from his role as CEO.” Eich “chose” to step down in the same way a convicted man “chose” to mount the stairs to the hangman’s noose. No other option was possible. Doing what you’re told is what a progressive means by free will.

“Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech.” A lie, a bold in-your-face self-contradictory preposterous lie. It is the same lie progressives who joined the e-lynch mob told themselves. “We’re stringing you up to support your right to free speech!”

“Equality is necessary for meaningful speech.” Tripe. It is because there is inequality there needs to be free, unimpeded speech.

“Our organizational culture reflects diversity and inclusiveness…” It is fitting Mozilla ends its performance with a punchline bereft of all mirth. The only emotion left for us, the sane remnant, is sadness; sadness over the suicide of a once-great culture.

The Philosophy of Probability and Statistics (Book. Sort Of.)

I'm going to add another one to the stack.

I’m going to add another one to the stack.

I have decided to let you, dear reader, help me finish my book, which I have tentatively entitled The Philosophy of Probability and Statistics. This is about the seventeenth version of the title, so it might change again.

I’ve been working on this book piecemeal for some time, but not consistently enough (I’ve been spending more time on another one, a more popular version about over-certainty). So I decided to release it as she is, in separated segments. In a sort of fashion. Kinda sorta. More or less.

Today, an outline. Comments more than welcome.

There’s chapters and fragments of chapters and bare notes floating all over my hard drive and on odd pieces of paper. Putting them up will force me to gather them into something resembling coherence.

The writing will be in Latex, in raw code. Maybe I’ll PDF a few, links at bottom of posts. Luckily, PPS is not a math book. Mathematics is useful to probability, and there exists a mathematical subdivision called measure theory which makes great purpose of it, but I am interested in probability as measures of evidence, probability as she is or should be used for real-life matters. In this sense, probability is not mathematics; therefore I don’t need as much of it as is ordinarily used. Meaning reading Latex code won’t be that difficult for the uninitiated.

Incidentally, there is no difference between probability and statistics, except that the latter is a name for data. So I’ll mostly use probability to mean what people usually mean of either subject.

The new category tag PPS has been added to note posts which are part of the book. Click it to see all post (just this so far).

Rough gross mysterious outline:

1. The way it’s done now has lead to an (unnoticed) epidemic of over-certainty. Logic and probability belong to epistemology, which is the study of what we can know. Truth exists, relativism is silly but understandable, skepticism is stupid and not understandable, Gettier problems aren’t. I am not a Bayesian, but I love much of it.

2. Logic, which isn’t formal. Logic is the study of the relations between propositions. Let’s return to syllogistic logic to educate initiates. Symbolic and mathematical logic, fine things, can be saved for adepts. Math and symbolic logic are formal because they constrain the range of propositions. With freedom comes responsibility!

3. Probability, which is logic, it is its natural extension, or rather, its completion. Every results which holds for logic therefore holds for probability; thus probability isn’t formal until its propositions are constrained. Probability is not (of course it is not) relative frequency, a fallacy which mixes up epistemological propositions with ontological ones, and neither is it subjective. Beliefs, decisions, acts are not logic therefore are not probability. Probability is rarely quantifiable.

4. Causality and Induction, which is fine. Logic is the not the proper language of causality, therefore neither is probability. Causality has four dimensions (formal, material, efficient, and final). Logic-probability can measure relations between causal propositions, but again beliefs etc. are not logic. Induction is fine and rational. Induction is rarely quantifiable. Grue is no problem.

5. Observational propositions, which are statistics. An observational proposition is “I saw m people in the drug group out of n become well, and r people out of s in the placebo group become well.” This is statistics as she is normally thought of. Measurements, except in exceptionally rare circumstances, and possibly not even then, are finite and discrete. Again, not all probability is quantifiable.

6. Probability models, most of which aren’t deduced, but some are. Deduced models aren’t models, but optimal and true statements of probability. Deduced probabilities aren’t well known, aren’t well developed, and will save your soul. Non-deduced, i.e. assumed, habitual, or customary, models are killing science softly and slowly and with a smile. And they lead to endless and incorrect debates about truths of models, which we know are false.

7. Over-certainty, which is parameters, p-values, hypothesis tests, estimation, credible and confidence intervals, and premature jumps to infinity. Domine exaudi orationem meam, let the Cult of Parameter end!

8. Predictive statistics, probability leakage. If you’re going to use a non-deduced model, then at least do it so it can be verified, which means use the model in a predictive sense (Bayesians say “predictive posterior distributions”).

9. Models to decisions to verification. Since probabilities aren’t decisions or acts or beliefs to be useful they must be transformed to decisions acts beliefs. Verifying probabilities is not the same as verifying decisions, since by definition probabilities are true statements and therefore not in need of verification. But decisions can be good or bad, as long as you understand what good and bad are.

10. Examples like time series, regression, and so on will be spread throughout. But maybe a special chapter with the regular suspects. There are thousands of procedures and I can’t hope to do more than a handful.

This not a recipe book, but a starting point for somebody to write one. One step at a time!