Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Sunday, September 09, 2012

"Dale Carrico's Problems"; Or, We Call It the Techno Aristocrats!

Earlier today a fellow calling himself "Mark Plus" (no doubt to distinguish himself from all the Mark Minuses in the world), decided to post on his blog about Dale Carrico's problems. He apparently has a "Dale Carrico" tag and everything for just such occasions.

"Mark Plus," in his blogger profile, describes his interests as "Cryonics, transhumanism, firearms, inventive problem solving, TRIZ, sexology, philosophy, science fiction." I never heard about this TRIZ business, but I looked it up and discovered it is about "inventive problem solving" which he already listed, so I guess he's just emphasizing the point, but it also seems to be about trends! and innovation! and flow charts including steps like "Abstracticize!" and "Concretize!" in them, so, you know, it's essentially can-do go-getter white guy crapitalism bs.

Anyway, you know as well as I do that the reason yours truly would have come to the unamused attention of one "Mark Plus" likely has more to do with the "cyonics, transhumanism" part of his list anyway (although I really do love that the list includes "firearms" and "sexology" too -- I mean, could it really get better than this?). So, I'm guessing this self-described "Senior Cryonicist" has noticed my recent critiques of cryonics as a pseudo-scientific faith-based initiative for Robot Cultists (scroll down and feast away).

I must say, after such a promising beginning I was looking forward to an argument from Mr. Plus about where I have gone wrong in these critiques. But, lamentably, my interlocutor was unable to get past the motto at the top of my blog "Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All," whereupon he launched instead into a diatribe about how democracy cannot work because the people (from whom he seems to exclude himself) are too stupid to have a say in the public decisions that affect them -- having such a say in which is my definition of democracy, oft repeated here on the blog and also in my teaching. This topic seems to connect somehow to a second claim he makes but doesn't elaborate about the "elevation of female promiscuity to a high value" that manages to be even more creepy and wrong than the other things he says in this curious post, but enough about that. Mr. Plus expresses confidence that The Future will be a neo-feudal aristocracy, but, you know, I suppose with robots. I am including a picture of Mark Plus as a public service so that we can all know what to look for in the way of Aristocrats in The Future after democracy's "pandering to the world's dumbasses" (from whom he seems to exclude himself) inevitably fails to work.

I am hoping that in future installments of "Dale Carrico's Problems" Mr. Plus will manage to delve past my motto into actually elaborated arguments of mine, where, no doubt, my problems, which are legion, will be laid bare in devastating detail.

And, now, for something completely different (or is it?)…


jimf said...

> I really do love that the list includes "firearms" . . .

Well, he's a libertarian, dontcha know.

> and "sexology" too -- I mean, could it really get
> better than this?

The sexology is the evolutionary psych kind that
Athena Andreadis really knows how to appreciate -- you know, all
about alpha and beta and omega males and their
triumphs and travails. His blogroll includes a site
called "The Spearhead", characterized by P. Z. Myers
as "the MRA version of Stormfront".

( )

jimf said...

> I think we can argue that people with more of the
> general intelligence factor tend to make better decisions
> not only for themselves, but also for stupid people who
> need to become clients of people with better judgment.

William Shockley, meet Charles Murray.

You know, a great many of the >Hists are obsessed with
this "intelligence" thing as a figure of merit for placing human beings
in a hierarchy from "best" to "worst".
"I once lent Xiaoguang "Mike" Li my copy of 'Probability Theory:
The Logic of Science'. Mike Li read some of it, and then came
back and said: 'Wow... it's like Jaynes is a thousand-year-old
vampire.' . . . 'Do you get the same sense off me?' I asked.

Mike shook his head. 'Sorry,' he said, sounding somewhat
awkward, 'it's just that Jaynes is...'

'No, I know,' I said. I hadn't thought I'd reached Jaynes's
level. I'd only been curious about how I came across to other

I aspire to Jaynes's level. I aspire to become as much the
master of Artificial Intelligence / reflectivity, as Jaynes
was master of Bayesian probability theory. . .

When Marcello Herreshoff had known me for long enough, I asked
him if he knew of anyone who struck him as substantially more
natively intelligent than myself. Marcello thought for a moment
and said 'John Conway—I met him at a summer math camp.' Darn,
I thought, he thought of someone, and worse, it's some ultra-famous
old guy I can't grab. I inquired how Marcello had arrived at
the judgment. Marcello said, 'He just struck me as having
a tremendous amount of mental horsepower,' and started to
explain a math problem he'd had a chance to work on with Conway.

Not what I wanted to hear. . .

No, but absolutely what he **deserved** to hear.

jimf said...

And Anne Corwin once wrote about the IQ obsession she
had during adolescence, and how she got over it.
Between the ages of about 10 - 14, I was utterly obsessed with
finding out what my IQ was. Somehow, somewhere along the way, I'd
picked up the notion that Smartness in quantity was the most important
thing a person could possibly have. . .

I had an idea fixed in my mind that only "geniuses" with IQs 150
or above could have any hope of addressing any of the interesting
questions and topics that dominated my thoughts as a geeky little kid:
faster-than-light travel, Grand Unified Theories, etc.

I was terrified of the idea that there might be some cool thing out
there that, no matter what I did or how hard I studied, I simply
wouldn't be able to grasp it. . .

At some point between the ages of 14 and 17 I'd managed to
get over my IQ obsession and move toward a different brain-related
obsession (one considerably less worry-inducing): that of how
brains, and in particular mine, worked at all. I got very into
trying to push the limits of the brain I actually had, rather
than lamenting the probable lack of the imaginary, idealized
brain I'd long thought I wanted. . .

So, I guess what I'm trying to say with all this is: all
we humans can do in trying to make our world (the real
one we all actually inhabit) less precarious for its denizens
is our best. And, yes, we have to do this without even
knowing what our "best" is in advance! In acknowledging that,
while of course it is critical to acknowledge certain limits
(as reality is defined as much by what it is not as by
what it is; no amount of smartness will make square circles
possible or comprehensible), it is equally critical to not
place arbitrary, prejudice-saturated, assumption-heavy limits
on the capacities of ordinary people to both have a say in
decisions that affect them/us and participate in productive

Summerspeaker said...

When you do political mockery, I'm a fan. Scary stuff, but good show. I'll have to link to this one.

Barkeron said...

Hey, a crazed, democracy-hating right-winger and a duo of Libertarians.

How fitting.

joe said...

Isn't this "Mark plus" guy also the one who goes on about "beta males" not getting the ladies because the ladies only like "Alpha's" ?'s all kind of creepy and sad at the same time.

What women wouldn't want a fat, balding middle aged cryonocist for company I ask you?

PS that's my opinion not Dale's so if you want to give out about it come to me.

This guy is emblematic of the kind of outwardly "normal" looking person, who are involved deeply in all this TH, H+ stuff.

sure you meet them and they seem ok, then You let them talk for 5 minutes and you get to the deeply disturbing undercurrent that drives most of the movement.

This clowns contempt for democracy (yes let's have a ruling clique based on IQ alone, I'm sure Marky mark thinks he'll be one of them that's why it's so appealing)

Or his obbsession with "female promiscuity" (everyone is getting some except him)

It's laughable....and nutball crazy.

Dale Carrico said...

For me, the thing that makes the visual irresistible is the tee shirt, and his deliberate choice of that image as his profile pic, his eagerness to reduce his body to a sandwich board advertizing this rather pathetic identification of annoying imaginary liberals with being happy. That juxtaposed with his self-appointed aristocracy was just so right, so very far right.

Eudoxia said...

It has always baffled me how people who have such "forward" views (If you'll forgive the term) simultaneously have such ass-backwards views on things that should be very basic for people living in the industrialized world in These Modern Times - Women's rights being a good example.

Anonymous said...

Not exactly a poster boy for the Longevity Diet...and one has to wonder what sort of horrible future society would see fit to unfreeze this ignoramus. In fact, therein might be a proof of the impossibility of cryonics. A future society so deformed as to see value in reanimating the corpses of narcissistic ignoramuses must itself value narcissism and ignorance so highly that neither the will nor the technology to reanimate said corpses will ever have obtained. It's a self-canceling premise.

Dale Carrico said...

No, I am forced to disagree. There's no reason to think anybody hamburgerized by cryonics would be robo-resurrected even if it weren't also true that it is mostly narcissistic assholes nobody would want to share the future with who are being hamburgerized in this way. Even though your point that these are mostly assholes and freaks is well taken, and I thank you for it, it still seems to me more important to point out that cryonics is pseudo-scientific techno-transcendental snake-oil being peddled to rubes.

Summerspeaker said...

Freaks? Really? Your word choice here illustrates where we part ways. Freaks are my people, not my enemies. I'd hope queer folks would refrain from denigrating deviance, but obvious that ain't the case. Heteropatriarchy resides first and foremost in the existing power structure, not in the so-called freaks the state conditions us to fear.

Dale Carrico said...

There are ways of being a freak that you wouldn't approve of. There are forms of deviance you would not ally with. If you say otherwise you are lying. Perhaps there is no context in which you would ever use the term "freak" as a term of opprobrium, however contextualized, whatever the details, and that is a case worthy of attention on the merits. But your rush to judgment, especially given how well acquainted you are with my actual politics, suggests a lack of judgment easily as bad as the one you are accusing me of. When you pretend my word choice here reveals some deep alliance of my politics with patriarchy or heteronormativity when I am a lifelong secular democratic socialist feminist queer you are just being stupid. You can pretend I'm the big bad enemy if you want, Summer, whatever gets you through the night, let your freak flag fly.

Chad Lott said...

Arguing about freakiness is totally nineties, gang.

Here's the upgrade and the solution:

I apologize for my continued lowering of the tone of the moot.

Dale Carrico said...

This post and Moot have a kinda sorta how low can you go tone from the get go, so I wouldn't worry about it, you know?

jimf said...

> Freaks are my people. . .

S/he will never be, never be
anything but loud, and nitty-gritty.
Dirty little freaks. . .


Summerspeaker said...

There are ways of being a freak that you wouldn't approve of. There are forms of deviance you would not ally with. If you say otherwise you are lying.

Sure, but I would not reject such ways and forms on the basis of deviance. This is critical. The term "freaks" says "these people different from the norm and therefore worthy of scorn, ridicule, and perhaps extermination." I don't want to legitimate that logic in any way.

Perhaps there is no context in which you would ever use the term "freak" as a term of opprobrium, however contextualized, whatever the details, and that is a case worthy of attention on the merits.

Yes, that's my position. Within this society of conformity, invoking the narrative of the deviant supports a stupendous system of oppression. At times such rhetoric can play a useful or even revolutionary role in the short-term, but I view this as a Faustian bargain.

But your rush to judgment, especially given how well acquainted you are with my actual politics, suggests a lack of judgment easily as bad as the one you are accusing me of.

No, it's part of my larger critique of the oppressive narratives and rhetoric you and countless other progressives/radicals employ. If you believe being socialist/feminist/queer/etc inoculates you against practicing oppression, you've missed the point of so much critical scholarship over the last few decades. (There, I made an appeal to intellectual authority! We're all oppressors.)

Summer, whatever gets you through the night, let your freak flag fly.

This I will do.

Dale Carrico said...

The way you just endlessly shoot yourself in the foot, you know, for kids, is a bit like performance art, lame but legible, but politics? Not so much.

Summerspeaker said...

For kids? I think you must have mistaken me for a breeder. Furthermore, if I'm going to shoot myself - as I well may - it won't be in the foot.

Dale Carrico said...

Well, it's a pretty standard joke, you know, for kids! If you are feeling depressed, you really should turn to the resources that the academy and state you so disdain make available to help out and support you -- even in their present embattled and precarious condition. You shouldn't suffer needlessly, and it would be a shame for you to vanish from the world before your time. Nonsensical though so many of your views are, you are clearly a bright person with a lot of promise and your heart is in the right place. There is a lot of good you could do in the world.

Summerspeaker said...

It figures you'd make such a recommendation. Thanks but no thanks. I know how that game works. All of the this is completely beside the point. Great job calling out Mark Plus on political grounds, stop employing oppressive narratives, good luck with your reasonable grown-up super serious politics of supporting the dronemaster - killing people in Pakistan/Afghanistan/Yemen/etc and bashing heads in Chicago is the perfect way to be a trans ally! - bye.

Dale Carrico said...

The actually existing alternative to Obama is no better and in many respects far worse on the very issues that you mention and far worse on many other issues you claim concern you. To fail to support him is to lend support to forces devoted to the opposite of what you claim to care about. There is no way to make that look progressive or sensible as far as I can see. The Executive Branch exists, and one supports best available options through electoral politics while educating, agitating, organizing beyond electoral politics to shift the terms available to the electoral. There is nothing particularly impressive about an inability to walk and chew gum at the same time. Support of a president is not support of their every policy, nor are presidential or even party platforms properly identified with one's best ideals, but represent collective statements about best achievable outcomes in the direction of ideals in stakeholder struggles. If you want to know my attitudes toward Obama's drone wars you need only look at my condemnations of them here on the blog. Helping Romney get elected is hardly a stunning intervention in the service of ending drone wars. If your "bye" is a statement about the suicide we were talking about a moment ago -- it's your life, and that sort of thing is far from a game in my view, certainly not to become fodder for lame dramatic outbursts in comments sections on strangers' blogs. If this "bye" represents instead your dramatization of the moment when in your view I have expressed some presumably unforgivably reactionary attitude compared to your own luminous radicalism that you can congratulate yourself on, I have to say you reveal yourself yet again to be a patently ridiculous person whose politics is hackneyed self-indulgent performance art of no use to anybody in the world. A pity. But not a surprise.

jimf said...

> If your "bye" is a statement about the suicide we were
> talking about a moment ago -- it's your life, and that
> sort of thing is far from a game in my view. . .

You know, if you want a taste of how Realpolitik plays out in
the grown-up world, no matter what the professed goals of heads of
state and their advisors; and also a good bellyfeel of the folks who
are worse off than you are (and, on top of that, it's a pretty good read
as well), have a look at Christopher Hitchens' _Arguably_.

I happened to be reading "The Vietnam Syndrome" on the
bus this morning. Of course, the decision to dump millions
of gallons of weedkiller on Southeast Asia was made during
the ostensibly progressive Kennedy administration. There's
another, closer-to-home, view of that era in "JFK: In Sickness
and by Stealth". (Hitchens also mentions in the posthumously-
published _Mortality_
that one of the regrets he took to his grave is that he never
got to read "or indeed, to write" Henry Kissinger's obituary.)

Or, for something more lighthearted, there's a history of
the blowjob (including the evolution of the term from "blow job"
to "blow-job" to "blowjob") in "As American as Apple Pie".

Meanwhile, check out the YouTube audio recording of Hitchens
interviewing Jessica Mitford at the New York Public Library
in 1988: