The Mezunian

Die Positivität ist das Opium des Volkes, aber der Spott ist das Opium der Verrückten

Let’s Laugh As Spoiled Brats Whine ‘Bout Brexit

Spoiled brats whine ’bout how the evil idiotic public through evil democracy doesn’t give them what they, the supposedly superior elites, want, & while doing so prove exactly why the idiotic public shouldn’t listen to the e’en stupider elites.

Washington Post in particular had a stupid article on the issue, where they basically make fun o’ democracy by pointing out some random effects that could’ve had an effect on the results, but to which we have no evidence they do, & them simply stating that they don’t know why certain people supported a certain way. Maybe you could be actual journalists & ask somebody, dumbasses.

Indeed, e’en as someone rather skeptical o’ e’en referendums as instruments o’ democracy (see later), this article talking ’bout how people went to extreme depths to get to a polling station belies that idea that this was simply absentminded voting. Usually we criticize the vulgar masses for neglecting to vote. The only connection this article made to the “leave” side was that it characterized them as caring mo’–‘gain, without any evidence to back this up. E’en if that were the case, the fact that the other side didn’t e’en care that much could say something ’bout that side.

Meanwhile, “Ethicist” (read: person highly paid off heavily-tax-funded college for spewing mindless drivel) Jason Brennan was so riled up that he decided to write a whole book Against Democracy & decided to exploit Brexit as a way to whore his book to the mass media.

He claims that “[t]o have even a rudimentary sense of the pros and cons of Brexit, a person would need to possess tremendous social scientific knowledge. One would need to know about the economics and sociology of trade and immigration, the politics of centralized regulation, and the history of nationalist movements,” but that “there is no reason to think even a tenth of the UK’s population has a basic grasp of the social science needed to evaluate Brexit.”

Curiously, Brennan doesn’t bother to offer a slice o’ info, other than some anecdotal story ’bout dumb Britons Googling questions ’bout what the EU is–without any evidence that those same questions were posed by people who voted “no,” or were e’en people who voted @ all, or were e’en the majority. Possibly his lack o’ economic enlightenment on Brennan’s part is ’cause anyone who actually has read much economics knows how simpleminded it is ‘hind its pretty graphs & how much o’ an utter failure it has been @ predicting anything.

Indeed, London’s stocks have been growing, as e’en Krugman had to admit (while arguing that this will still have some disastrous consequences for some vague future). He then defends economists alarmist ’bout short-term consequences as essentially lying for the public’s good, since the public is apparently too dumb for subtle messages (so much for the enlightened elites guarding the public gainst their bad tendencies) for being well-intentioned, e’en if wrong.

Then we get this hilarious end, typical o’ Krugman:

Unfortunately, that sort of thing, aside from being inherently a bad practice, can all too easily backfire. Indeed, the rebound in British stocks, which are now above pre-Brexit levels, is already causing some backlash against conventional economists and their Chicken Little warnings.

Commenter ReaganAnd30YearsOfWrong gave the perfect response:

Krugman thinks economists still have credibility. Seriously.

But back to Brennan: he describes his point in the way most thorough scientists do: some clumsy metaphor ’bout a doctor who apparently knows nothing ’bout medicine & is basing his views on “prejudice” & “whishful thinking” putting a gun to your head & forcing you to use his treatment. That social sciences like economics & politics are significantly less certain than chemistry–hence why they’re called “soft sciences”–is apparently beyond this brilliant “ethicist.” He contrasts this with monarchy, which is apparently knowledgeable doctors doing such to serve their own interests (actually, that’s meritocracy; last time I checked, monarchs don’t have to pass civics tests to be born to the right family). He then offers some made-up “epistocracy” as a 3rd option–an option that he describes incredibly vaguely so that you have to buy his book to actually know what it is, which no one in their right mind would do. All he says is that it involves some reapportioning o’ voting power based on knowledge. Since what is & isn’t “knowledgeable” is ultimately decided by humans, that makes this a circular-logic affair–a brilliant basis for a political system (not surprising from a market thumper, since markets work the same way). Presumably, he implies that colleges–¡which produced such brilliant minds as Brennan, as well as Mankiw, George W. Bush, & pretty much every politician!–determine voting, which would make them electoral manipulators, if not outright oligarchs.

He then admits that he has no evidence that this system would be any better than “democracy” (it should be pointed out that Brennan makes an outright contradiction when he variously calls western societies “democratic” & “republican,” while, accurately, distinguishing these 2 concepts), &, in fact, has no evidence for anything. Essentially, this “ethicist” is just pissing into the wind (that must be the “horse-piss” Marx warned us ’bout).

He then concludes the article by complaining ’bout an unproven (a’least by him in this article) rise in “angry, resentful” “nationalist, xenophobic, & racist” movements that pad out their word count with redundant words, & claims that they are low-information voters, which he also provides no evidence for. He seems to imply that those who voted for Brexit are these stupid racist assholes–my own much mo’ concise term for what he said–without any evidence proving that Brexit voters were particularly racist or stupid–he only proved that some Britons became mo’ curious ’bout what the European Union was hours after voting, without any knowledge o’ what side those Britons preferred or whether these Britons e’en voted @ all, & without any evidence that these Britons were anywhere close to the majority.

Not included in this article is any serious look @ the reasons given for Brexit, though the internet, being the internet, is hardly free o’ it. For instance, Steve Keen @ that den o’ the resentful bigoted peasants, Forbes, offers some reasons–ironically, including the lack o’ democracy in the European Union. Brennan himself offers no economic insight on why Brexit might be bad; but considering he’s the writer o’ Markets without Limits, we can guess that he himself is a “low-information voter,” by his own definition, since not e’en the most raving market-thumper economist would e’er support such a thing.

But e’en the liberal critics o’ Brexit rarely talk ’bout the specifics o’ why Brexit would be so bad, other than that some o’ the people who support it happen to be racists, which is such an obvious ad hominem attack–‘specially for a college-educated “ethicist,” whom you’d s’pose would have a solid understanding o’ logic 101, which only shows how o’errated such “prestigious” colleges are when they turn out such dopes as Brennan. Rarely do they e’en discuss the questions o’ how democratic the European Union is or the way it limits deficit spending, or simply the fact that it has failed to improve Europe’s recessions & unemployment problems for almost a decade–&, in fact, has done worse than the US. This last criticism could be applied to economists in general, as well, although they could use the alibi that some governments ignore them, anyway.

Actually, sadly, the only coherent left-wing criticism o’ Brexit I heard was from a slap-dash website from anarchists (which, granted, still adhominems Brexit by pointing out people who supported it–ignoring that such corporate conspiracies as gay marriage have also been funded by rich people), wherein they point out that the assumption that austerity would’ve been prevented–or would be ended–by a lack o’ Britain involvement in the EU is foolish.

That’s a common problem I’ve seen ‘mong “free trade” supporters, & the fact that many o’ the people I’ve seen complain ’bout Brexit, such as Brennan, Krugman, & Noah Smith, ‘mong others, are big proponents o’ “free trade,” that may ‘splain this. “Free trade” pushers, in addition to applying an immensely propagandist & dishonest label (usually this is “free” for people with money, but quite restricting on governments to the behest o’ bigger organizations, like the EU itself, as well as usually involving stronger restrictions in terms o’ copyright), oft simply insult “free trade” skeptics rather than actually engage any o’ the ideas they present. I’m reminded o’ economist Charles Wheelan in Naked Economics–admittedly a book meant for the “dumb masses,” & thus dumbed down e’en further than Samuelson or Mankiw–essentially just criticizes skepticism o’ “free trade” as “they throw rocks @ windows,” in reference to the NAFTA protests in Seattle. Similarly, here, rather than engage critics o’ Brexit, they would rather depict them as the most vulgar o’ racists–e’en Steve Keen, who not only attacks racists in the linked article (which doesn’t mean much by itself), but also says he supports open immigration, while criticizing aspects that have nothing to do with race @ all. Which, in a sense, is simply a way for them to hypocritically demonstrate their prejudice gainst the average working class people–the depiction o’ them as resentful ignorant racists is an ol’ stereotype. But then, the major hypocrisy o’ western culture is the way it demonizes racism, but upholds rich supremacy, e’en though e’en economists admit they can’t prove that people who are poor did anything themselves to deserve it, & that one’s wealth is heavily influenced by aspects they can’t control, such as one’s wealth @ birth.

That’s the most mystifying part o’ so many o’ these laissy lib & economist “meritocrats” so critical o’ the “dumb masses”: these so-called “meritocrats” are usually dumber than the average person. That &, no different from Brennan’s monarchy doctor analogy, their true goal is to serve themselves, not the majority for whom they reveal they hold nothing but contempt.

To be fair, I thought The Atlantic’s article was rather balanced–as good a summary o’ the issues as you could probably do in such short space. They e’en mention what I think is a legitimate critique o’ referendums as a form o’ democracy: that narrowing questions to just “yes” or “no” still stifles & manipulates the public. (The Anarchist Writers page does the same, creating an odd situation in which moderate liberals & anarcho-socialists agree.)

I would actually say I have mixed views ’bout both the European Union & “free trade”–not the least o’ which being a less Orwellian name for the latter. For 1, one could point out that this “democracy” in regards to an international issue excludes others in the world, which is the ethical equivalent o’ a plot o’ private land within a country voting within itself to secede from its country so it doesn’t have to obey its laws. As The Anarchist Writers article points out, it’s simply the replacement o’ neoliberal superstitions with nationalist superstitions–& superstitions are still superstitions. Honestly, to call anything limited within a certain nationality “democracy” is as erroneous as calling voting ‘tween just a small elite “democracy”–it’s what we call “oligarchy.” The very definition o’ “democracy” is that it includes everyone; thus the only true “democracy” is international. Anyone who praises national democracy but criticizes oligarchy is simply a hypocrite, since they follow the same logic. & anyone who supports socialism–or a’least has skepticism toward income distribution–are just as hypocritical for assuming that the current distribution o’ nations is just simply due to historical tradition.

That said, forcing the public to not be superstitious–& I will agree that the masses can be superstitious–won’t fix anything, ‘specially since we can’t assure that the elite won’t be superstitious, as can be proven by their love for simplistic “economic” models. & that said, nor should one mindlessly support what the masses believe just ’cause they believe in it. That would be corrupt–a self-perpetuating circle o’ the masses following the masses simply ’cause the masses say so: a circle jerk.

But we already have the best solution that could already exist: democracy with freedom o’ speech. We let the majority decide & we try to urge & educate the majority as much as possible, without forcing gainst them.

But perhaps ‘stead o’ simply throwing ad hominem attacks @ skeptics & trying to crush public will when they dare to defy them, supporters could try to have a slight semblance o’ compromise & maybe such extreme rebukes gainst them wouldn’t happen.

But then ‘gain, the fact that the so-called experts refuse to be reasonable might just be evidence that having the public rely on them to help them is futile–‘specially when they think so li’l o’ the public. Quite the opposite, it shows that the public refusing to submit to the will o’ an elite that despises them so much is the smartest decision they could e’er make.

Posted in Politics

A Nostalgic Look @ Sonic 3D Blast

Or, as it’s called in Europe: Sonic 3D: Flickies’ Island.

Since I’ve been talking ’bout ol’ Game Boy Advance, I might as well write ’bout the other games for which I have strange nostalgic stories.

Though my family had a Genesis, we only had a few games, & only 1 o’ which I cared ’bout & involved Sonic: Sonic 3D Blast. As strange as it’ll sound, this was the only Sonic game I’d played or known ’bout for a while, till playing Sonic 3 a few years later. I didn’t play any o’ the other ol’ Sonic games till I was a young teen, on some GameCube collection.

‘Cause o’ this, this game has still been rather embedded in my mind as the iconic Sonic game; & in particular, the “Green Grove Zone Act 1” song is to me the prime Sonic song, not the forgettable “Green Hill Zone.”1 But in truth, just ’bout every song in this game makes me ooze with nostalgia.

Seriously, the 1st 30 seconds o’ this video encapsulates a huge part o’ my childhood. Also, look @ the rest o’ that video to see some fine cutscene animation. That shit’s Pixar-quality.

So, having grown up adoring this game as a kid, I was surprised when I saw so many people on the internet not like this game so much—in fact, thinking this game is shit & blaming it for all the embarrassing lameness, furry fetishes, & shoddy sprite comics that apparently later plagued the series.

Here are just a few review headlines from GameFaqs:

  • You could’ve worked on a real 3D Sonic game instead, Sega.
  • Not a blast. Not 3D. Not really even Sonic. What the hell is it?
  • Close, but no Cough Drop [ed: ¿What the fuck does that mean?]
  • Not quite a blast – more a snap, crackle and pop
  • Where the franchise first jumped the shark – in glorious “3D”
  • It’s okay, but not up to the usual standard
  • I guess Sonic Isometric Blast was not catchy enough [ed: this is a good point, to be fair]
  • The most ridiculously average game I will ever play.
  • A Mediocre Effort From Sonic Team and Traveller’s Tales
  • Play it for the bosses. The rest sucks.
  • Picking up birds isn’t fun in this game.. [sic]
  • A great game, if you like headaches
  • The Controls Suck
  • Mediocrity never tasted so bland

There’s e’en a hack o’ this game that lets you remove the Flickies, whom you need to collect from defeated enemies to go through checkpoints & exits in the normal game. ¿Why? That’s the whole point: without the Flickies, it’s just a lame straightforward line to the exit, with no challenge @ all.

This ‘splains why I liked Sonic 3D Blast mo’ than Sonic fans. Sonic fans apparently despise exploration—or anything that gets in the way o’ going in the straight line. This game’s also much slower than the 2D games, which does sort o’ go gainst the main gimmick o’ the series. Granted, I quite like being able to tell where I’m going, so I didn’t mind that too much. Also, to be fair, the 1st Sonic the Hedgehog game had quite a few slow platforming sections, too. I mean, it wasn’t as if “Labyrinth Zone” was a rocket race. That level also had obnoxious music that droned on for the million minutes you had to spend in it—fuck that level.

Looking back, Sonic 3D Blast is mo’ like a mediocre Mario game than a Sonic game, which is why I rather liked it as a kid, since I always preferred Mario to Sonic. That said, I’ll admit it hasn’t aged well. While the game’s not so fast, Sonic’s movements still are, which makes him feel slippery & hard to control, ‘specially if you’re used to Mario’s steadier controls. (‘Gain, to be fair, the 1st Sonic the Hedgehog game had this exact problem). The isometrics mixed with these controls make actual platforming sections a huge pain in the ass.

But I still stand by this game’s soundtrack is some o’ the best Sonic music e’er—2nd only to maybe the Japanese soundtrack for Sonic CD.

Recommendations:

I’d only recommend watching a speed run o’ this game, honestly, if you don’t have any strange nostalgia for it. Otherwise, you probably won’t give a shit.


Footnotes:

1 I will defend my belief in 2 points:

  1. The composer for the Genesis version o’ Sonic 3D Blast, Jun Senoue, was much more o’ a consistent composer for Sonic games than the composer for the 1st game, Masato Nakamura.
  2. This song got a remix in Sonic Adventure (also composed by Jun Senoue), so it wasn’t as if this song was some ugly forgotten bastard child.

Posted in Video Games

Brilliant Economist Paul Samuelson’s Objective Scientific Theory for the Net Productivity o’ Capital

Paul Samuelson is the most influential American economist ‘mong people who have actually read economics (i.e. doesn’t include the average dope who claims Paul “Baby-Sitter’s Club” Krugman or Helicopter Milton Fucking Friedman as filling that role). He wrote the most influential American textbook, the creatively-named Economics, for half a century. Then he let some drunken slob William Nordhaus dumb it down by shoving in mo’ references to the need to maintain market freedumbs & other propagandist noise that gets in the way o’ Paul Samuelson’s sexy curves o’ relationships based on assumptions that he himself within the text admits are probably wrong.

Thus, we will getting this from the 1976 edition, a classic that was unsoiled from Nordhaus’s lecherous grip (&, as a bonus, cost only $5 on Amazon, as opposed to $200 mo’ than I’d e’er pay for a fucking economics book–¡just look @ how that price drop causes the substitution effect to come into place!) To be specific, we’ll look @ page 600 for 1 o’ Samuelson’s sadly underrated theories that proves the net productivity o’ capital:

To see this, imagine two islands exactly alike. Each has exactly the same primary factors of labor and land. Island A uses these primary factors directly to produce consumption product [sic]; she uses no produced capital goods at all. Island B, on the other hand, for a preliminary period sacrificed current consumption; instead, she uses some of her land and labor to produce intermediate capital goods such as plows, shovels, and synthesized chemicals. After this preliminary period of sacrificing current consumption pleasures in the interests of net capital formation, she ends up with a varied stock of capital goods, i.e., with a sizable amount of capital. Now let us measure the amount of consumption product [sic] she can go on permanently producing with her land, labor, and constantly replaced capital goods.

Careful measurement of Island B’s “roundabout” product shows it to be greater than Island A’s “direct” product. Why is it greater? Why does B get more than 100 units of future consumption goods for her initial sacrifice of 100 units of present consumption? That is a technological engineering question. To sum up, the economist traditionally takes the following answer as a basic technical fact:

There exist roundabout processes, which take time to get started and completed, that are more productive than direct processes. [All bolding mine; italics in original.]

A few points to note:

  • In Samuelson’s fantasy archipelago, Island A’s resident feeds herself on dirt, while Island B magically makes shovels & synthetic chemicals through only dirt & her brute force.
  • This “preliminary period of sacrificing current consumption pleasures” becomes threatening to the whole productivity o’ the operation if it leads Island B’s resident to starve to death before finally producing food–& considering how long it takes to make shovels out o’ dirt, that’s a likely scenario.
  • Samuelson’s vague ’bout what “equal primary factors of labor” is, but I’ll assume it’s time spent working. Otherwise we might have to imagine someone not only creating shovels out o’ dirt, but also doing so while only holding said dirt up to their mouth & opening & closing their mouth–& I don’t think a simple time difference in scheduling these actions would change the outcome much, other than the aforementioned starvation problem.
  • Samuelson spews random #s that have no basis in the 1st paragraph &, ‘pon asking rhetorically how he arrived @ those #s, turns that rhetorical question into a real question (something I’ve ne’er seen before, but intrigues me on a literary level immensely) by noting that “this is a technological engineering question,” which means that Samuelson essentially admits that his #s were completely made up.
  • Samuelson “sums up” by simply noting that economists take some arbitrary, & quite vaguely worded, claim as a traditional given. Acute readers will note that this does not “sum up” this entire thought experiment so much as have nothing to do with said story. “To sum up my story, economists believe for reasons completely unrelated to my story @ all that there are some circular actions that take any real # o’ time–which is to say, they are any kind o’ actions–that are mo’ productive than just eating dirt.” (I may have misinterpreted something.)

    I don’t know why people bitch ’bout economics being “boring”: if you pay attention, it’s hilarious.

    Still, you can’t argue with his central point: if you had a choice ‘tween an island in which you just eat dirt all day or an island in which you can use magic to create all kinds o’ tools & chemicals out o’ just dirt, ¿why would anyone want boring ol’ Island A?

Posted in Politics