An administrative announcement.
Which was an homage to https://ello.co/dredmorbius/post/dlz9c2z6x-tvkd7rxtxwpw
Which was an homage to a long-lost G+ post (prolly somewhere on IA's WBM).
When I establish my Manufactory of Fine Psychocerametry, I shall seek out a fair plot of unimproved land. And hang upon it a shingle:
40 Acres and an Ass
Some further profile migration #administrivia:
I'm trying to rationalise settings between my various currently extant Mastodon profiles:
(There's another former instance on a now-dead server, keep reading.)
Things are slightly borked presently.
One convention I've followed is that ⭕ typically indicates my active profile, ❌ various inactive ones.
Again, toot.cat is my new primary. mastodon.cloud is my old, deprecated profile. mastodon.social is another back-up account. And the since deceased mammouth.cafe was my original home on the Fediverse:
Just a general note: if your approach to coversation is that you're going to club me over the head with whatever pre-formed, reinforced-concrete belief systems or ideology you've already ingested, formed, cured, and coated in diamond-titanium cladding, we'll be having Very Short Discussions. And likely similarly for relationships.
The more so if you're going to do so from ignorance or Telling Me What I Think or Who I Am. Also, come to think of it, in ignorance.
If you do wish to explore questions, even from widely differing sides, with an aim at uncovering some greater truth, or even simply understanding one anothers' viewpoints more clearly, there is likely to be far greater interest in discussion.
I do not claim to be right on All Things. More importantly, I put an extreme importance on Not Insisting on Being Wrong. That's combined with an (I hope) somewhat well-tuned Bullshit Filter, and, as I enter my senility, a somewhat diminished patience with same.
Put more simply, it's the difference between rhetoric and dialectic.
It's the old story of the Sophists versus the Philosophers, more at .
(I'm also a sucker for good stories, bad puns, cute cats (there is no other type), relevant news, arcane philosophy, and miscellaneous other amusements, etc.)
For more on the Sophists, see the Stanford Online Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
I'd also recommend the HoP episode:
J.M. Dillon and T. Gergel, The Greek Sophists (London: 2003).
G.B. Kerferd, The Sophistic Movement (Cambridge: 1981).
COVID-19 Informational Resources
COVID-19 trends by region, country, state/province, U.S. metropolitan area, or U.S. county:
Financial Times Covid-19 tracker:
CovidTrends; New cases (weekly average) vs. total cases, by country:
Worldometers Coronavirus live statistics:
US realtime state Rt estimates and tracker:
The Economist excess mortality tracker:
Imperial College London Covid tracking 7 estimation model (US):
Our World in Data Coronavirus tracker:
Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus map (US):
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1610 - Present
(Dates of coursework irrelevant.)
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Hard news and CWs: my practices and tips
Having blown out a bunch of non-CW'd toots in the past day or so:
I don't obsess on p*l*t*cs and hard news, but I'll follow and comment, hopefully intelligently, on notable stories and issues, among numerous other topics. Unfortunately this may mean further amplifying major stories.
I do typically hashtag both general and US-centric, as well as other regional issues of law, leadership, legislation, campaigning, and litigation. Filtering the Usual Suspects should be effective. As hashtags aren't effective except on Globally listed toots, this creates a conflict in visibility and filtering.
CWs in long threads are not without consequences and have major usability issues. I avoid them for these reasons.
I do strive generally for substantive commentary. Hopefully there's some comfort in avoiding the Two Minute Hate / shriekfest.
I don't pursue unwanted conversations, and appreciate the same from others. If I note that I'm getting bored or tired of a discussion ... that's generally a sharp understatement.
In the event this toot isn't already filtered or blocked, some tips:
Yes, muting or blocking is entirely fair; tend to your own needs first. I'm a fan: https://toot.cat/@dredmorbius/104371585950783019
Lists are a powerful feature of numerous clients. A curated feed of known trusted, safe, and personally-conformant profiles is useful. I make heavy use of lists myself (mostly graded by interest level).
Mastodon and Glitch-soc both allow adding, removing, and rearranging pinned streams. You don't need to have Notifications, Home, Local, or Global feeds visible if you find them unsettling.
I've taken to reconfiguring my own clients for broader and narrower views freqquently in recent weeks, sometimes seeking more content, sometimes less and a calmer feed.
Keyword filters can also be used, with varying effectiveness.
I reserve the right to discuss serious or heady topics. Some appreciate this, some not. Your response is your business.
I'm hoping my own toots will regress to more typical topics and natture. I fear that outside events may thwart this. While I'm not a slave to external events, I'm an active observeer and participant.
re: Hard news and CWs: my practices and tips
I think on these (and far too many other) points constantly. My understanding has evolved considerably, much of it recently, in middle life.
CWs and Weber's Monopoly on Legitimacy
Max Weber defined government, in a much misinterpreted prase, as "the only human community which lays claim to the monopoly on the legitimated use of physical force". ALL TERMMS ARE SIGNIFICANT. Far too many readers focus on "use of physical force", but any playground bully, mean drunk, or capricious idiot can use violence. Government requires legitimacy, typically only bequeathed by the governed, and a monopoly on that legitimacy, meaning no other agent can make a countering claim within a given region.
The definition is reflexive and tautological:
Rather than casting this as a monopoly on force, it's far more useful to consider this a monopoly on legitimacy.
The model is, as all models are, wrong. But it is, as some models are, also useful, in two principle ways.
One is that it provides a useful lens through which to consider govenment, governance, and polity, stripped of most ideological or structural biases. We can ask how, or whether, a democracy, personality cult, autonomous collective, theocracy, dictatorship, representational republic, monarchy, company town, oligarchy, or other forms have legitimacy and/or monopoly over use of force.
The other is that in being so widely misquoted, misinterpreted, and misrepresented, it is a highly useful bullshit filter for identifying those who are either ignorant of what they speak, or are intentionally attempting to mislead, in discussions of governance.
This includes virtually all Rothbardian/Randian/Misian Libertarians and their "nonaggression principle", notably Charles Koch and Penn Gilette, both of whom explicitly cite this as the foundation of their belief. From a false premise all that follows is false.
CWs ... Weber's Monopoly on Legitimacy
There's much else, of couse, to consider, and this includes pointing out omissions and issues with the definition.
Legitimacy in general cannot be merely asserted but is conferred, though not always willingly or consciously. Warlords and tyrants are conferred power through threats of or actual violence. Democracies and republics through will of the people expressed through votes. Theocracies based on the interplay of beliefs, rituals, and often, coercion, convincing, voting, or affirmation. Family and tribal units through birth or marriage into, tradition, and often simple acceptance. Sortition systems are based on chance, practice, and assent to both.
There's also the questions of what governments do, to what ends, by what means, how consistently or coherently, and with what effect, which go beyond Weber's definition. But he does establish the basis on which this occurs.
And of course, the mechanisms and consequences of loss or transfer of legitimacy, monopoly, or capacity to impose will.
CWs ... Common Weal
Common Weal, often written as one word, commonweal, but which I separate to highlight both elements. The notions are not frequently encountered and may seem old-fashioned. They are to me the essence of community.
The common element is clear.
Weal has connotations of both health and wealth, in the sense of overall welfare, sharing roots with will, "to wish, desire; be willing; be used to".
Common weal is the sense of a shared interest, striving, and achievement of health, weaalth, and prosperity within a society, that very real thing Margaret Thatcher so famously and falsely claimed did not exist. The only way a society can not exist is if it is not defined by a common weal.
The alternatives are a mob, separate factions, host-parasite, or predator-prey relationships
Fuck my inability to type on a soft keyboard without errors.
@dredmorbius I had a good cackle at this. Thank goodness he wasn't using comic sans... 🤣
@dredmorbius i think philosophy is actually far more rhetorical than logical. Will make a separate toot arguing this position.
@Gotterdammerung Would that be philosophy-as-practiced or philosophy-as-defined?
I'd argue that there's a great deal of what's cast as philosophy which is in fact rhetorical. Probably especially in the Continental school, in the past couple of centuries.
There's a vast amount that's really theology, starting during Roman times, and extending through ... at least the Renaissance, probably to at least the Enlightenment. (Speaking of Western tradition here.)
But there's also much, including quite a bit of the theological material, which concerns reason, logic, perception, and establishment of truth. Much of that's now been subsumed into science as opposed to philosophy, though not entirely all.
@dredmorbius both my good sir. Philosophy as practiced and as defined.
This redefinition of philosophy as a rhetorical practice led me to the following conclusion:
In Philosophy Proper, truth is absolute.
The history of Philosophical truth is contingent.
Therefore, there is no such thing as Philosophy Proper. Only philosophers!
@dredmorbius 'an h'
CWs ... Common Weal
@dredmorbius While you correct misunderstandings of Weber, perhaps it would not be amiss to correct a (common) misunderstanding of what #MargaretThatcher said: her argument was not to deny the existence of society, but to point out that it doesn't exist separate from individual men and women.
re: CWs and Weber's Monopoly on Legitimacy
@dredmorbius Well... I'd say "from a false premise, we cannot assume the conclusion is true" (although it still could be, e.g. "the sun will rise tomorrow because the giant white stallions which pull it around the earth are very very reliable, believe me" proceeds from numerous false premises through questionable logic to a true conclusion) -- i.e. it does not at all establish the truth of the conclusion -- but I think that's probably what you meant.
On your actual point: YES.
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