Quote of the day—tdiinva

Since nanny Bloomberg has chosen to limit his citizens self defense option his failure to call in the Guard is failure to live up to his obligations as their nanny.

November 19, 2012
Comment to Bloomberg F-Bombs Request for National Guard Aid.
[Via a link from Sebastian.

It’s a fundamental problem of being a nanny with a scope larger than a few children. Just because a nanny is an appropriate solution in some situations does not mean is is possible to scale it up and make it work at a much larger scale. If it did work we would see both biological and manmade systems organized much differently than we do. Both evolution and the free marketplace would have created systems with central control to dominate over those systems that pushed the decision making to the lower levels rather than pushing it up. Your brain doesn’t control the details of cell metabolism and your web browser doesn’t control how the mouse determines if it has been moved.

I’m channeling Thomas Sowell as best I can with the following.

The problem is one of information. You, a fully functional adult, know more than anyone else about your situation and what is best for you. You know a lot more about your family than people not in your family. You know more about how to do your job than people that don’t do you job. You know more about your community than people outside your community. And you know a lot more about your situation than does the mayor of your city, the governor of your state, and the president of the country. Central planning fails because the people with the most information about the situation are not making the decisions.

Even if it were possible for all the information needed for making optimal decisions were to be communicated to the central planners they cannot process the information nor come up with innovative alternatives that the individuals and small groups closer to the problem can.

One might be tempted to say that central planning failed in the past because of this fundamental problem but we have much better communication and processing power than we did even a decade or two ago. Central planning can work now that we have computers. Those people are wrong.

Even ignoring the obvious SkyNet dystopian scenarios look at the way engineers solve control problems in complex systems now. Heinlein was a visionary in many ways but “Mike” the computer in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress will never be implemented as Heinlein envisioned it—handling payroll, air flow, mass launchers, communications, and a thousand other things.

Whether it is a large software program, a cell phone network, or a sewage treatment plant the far cheaper, better performing, and feasible solution is to delegate “authority” to very small subsystems to solve the issues that are local. The video driver in your computer is given a command to set the background to a color and output text at certain coordinates on the display. The video driver “knows” how to control the chips of the graphics board to change the color of the display and what address in memory corresponds to the coordinates of the screen. The local cell tower “knows” signal strength of your phone, the number of other cell phones it is handling, and communicates with nearby cell towers to enable a clean handoff such that you don’t have a service interruption as you move from location to location. The components of the sewage system control air and water flow rates, agitation, and chemical balances without knowledge of the price of electricity or the growth rate of the town it serves.

At each subsystem level the information and the resources are available such that they can do the right thing to operate their area of responsibility in a manner that is a tradeoff of performance, time to implement, initial cost, and operating cost.

Bloomberg and other central planners do not and cannot have the information to even approximate optimal decisions and they deny resources to those that do have the information. The result is a dystopian world that has the potential to be just as catastrophic as one where “SkyNet” has all the information and resources to create Elysium but instead makes the decision to destroy humanity.—Joe]

6 thoughts on “Quote of the day—tdiinva

  1. The Central Planner, then, would do well to hire several engineers like you, Joe, who understand how systems work, and have you set up the structure of commanders, generals, sergeants and pawns, and so on, all the way down to individual counselers, such that it really could be made to work, very much like a large corporation.

    But your extremely well-presented technical explanation does not address the motivation of the Central Planner, which is to makeele dependent on him. Once people are dependent on the Central Planner and under his thumb, neither the structure nor the results, or anything else, are relevant so long the Central Planner is maintaining his power. People could be starving by the millions, eating each other, and Central Planning, having its power, will have been fulfilled.

    Again; the more important point, the relevant point, is that we are talking about the struggle between liberty and reason on one hand (the sanctity of human rights, of self determination) verses coercion and confusion on the other.

    Once you get bogged down arguing any of the details of the Enemy’s rationalizations, he’s got you in his trap;

    Liberty is right and coercion is wrong. Therefore anyone advocating coercion is wrong, and is to be be dismissed out of hand on that basis.

  2. Your comment presumes facts not in evidence. In my view mayors, governors, presidents are public servants not “leaders”. Hence there are no orders to be given except to preserve the ability of individuals to make their own decisions without coercion by others.

  3. Your view is correct of course. That is the ideal for which this country was founded, but of course the office holders want to be leaders. Our servants have taken control of the household. They want to be commanders– organizers and shapers of society. They want us under their thumbs, guided not by our conscience but by their will, as we (as a society) look to them for approval and validation. They’ll come up with any rationalization required to justify imposing their will on others. Attack the rationalizations and they’ll squirm around until they are proven right in their own minds, or until we compromise our position. It doesn’t matter.

    What matters is the motivation behind the will to control, and in turn behind the rationalizations used to justify it and sell it to others as something good and wonderful. Until we address that will, defining it for what it is, we can’t win. We’re headed for a war between the self-righteous, who are hypocrites and don’t see it (arguing over the future outcomes of this coercive action verses another, i.e. Republicans and many church leaders who use subtle pressure and intimidation to keep their flocks in line) and the un-righteous, who see the hypocrisy of the self-righteous and therefore see themselves as superior for being open about their un-righteousness.

  4. Billll, you should be ashamed of yourself. Bloomberg didn’t keep out the National Guard in order to help out the looters.
    He couldn’t let them in because they didn’t have union cards.

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