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Cobb
LOS ANGELES, CA
Dad. Architect. Writer. Entrepreneur.
Interests: gaming, bourbon, gadgets, big data, multitouch interfaces, game theory, theology, political & analytic philosophy, computer augmented decision support, spycraft, creole cuisine, asian jazz fusion, bbq, electronica, historical fiction, beef cattle, fast cars, and anything that fits into a 19 inch rack.
Recent Activity
I think I may be beginning to understand this type of error. I think it has to do with an insufficient understanding of economics, particularly that of people opting in and opting out of poiltical regimes. B-C says that society is a collective. With respect to the commons, that may be true, but it is also an economy. That means millions of people make billions of choices every day, and there are specific proximate causes for those choices, most of which are not going to be motivaed by 'society is a collective' as an energizing principle. The idea that an expert can come up with the right answer for society has nothing to do with the actual economic acceptability of that answer. One is being presumptuous in deciding the 'best interests' of people, but even if one could determine that with any accuracy, it takes additional effort to convince people that best interest exists and that they should succumb to its dictates. The error of the B-C argument is found in its authoritarian expediency. You shortcut the collective economic will of the people by interjecting the authority of law via democratic elections, which will as a matter of course always allow fewer choices than the people would make as left to their own devices. Therefore even in success, liberty is corroded as democratic processes shortcut available choices made by the people. All of this reminds me of Lani Guinier's "Tyranny of the Majority'.
Toggle Commented 4 days ago on Resisting Bernie at Cobb
1 reply
My problem is with the arrogance of the scope of implementation with no empirical proof that these proposals work and that what works on a small scale will work on a large scale. David Kortin, Murray Bookchine, Noam Chomsky who are these but people with seductive ideas with no implementation in reality. I say they are just another class of lobbyists lining up to have their way with the powers that be in Washington. Theorists with no experience in running anything but their mouths. The very idea that the Federal Reserve controls unemployment sounds to me like wishful thinking from a cabal of authoritarians who wish nothing more than to get their hands on all they think that the Federal Reserve controls and dictates. Academics who wish to control Washington are no better than CEOs who wish to control Washington. I would be perfectly happy for you to point to one town in any state where you have elected officials implementing your most principled policies. Until you do so, then you are just dreaming of authoritarian and anti-democratic power grabs. What city in America has some version of the Fed that has expanded the floor of the cage and mandated a zero unemployment policy? I expect Americans to vote with their feet. That is to say I expect them to find those jurisdictions that are most amenable to their lifestyles and preferences. If they want to find some town where gays can marry, let them move there. If they want to find some town where no meat is served, where no police carry firearms, let them be an example. It's a big country. That means in a large diverse civilization with self-rule, I don't have to get in your way and you don't have to get in my way. But what you are saying is that in order to attain some state of perfection, you must trample all jurisdictions, meaning specifically that you must amend America's disposition to its wealthy people universally and take more from them in order to subsidize your wishes and your privileged class of beneficiaries. You will not settle for anything less than agitation for universal application of your authority, and so you are willing to take any Bernie who comes along to be your Leviathan.
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on Resisting Bernie at Cobb
1 reply
I've recently engaged someone over at Quora who is a supporter of Bernie Sanders for President. This person identifies as a Buddhist Anarchist. Our initial discussion centered around 'overcriminalization of the poor'. This I categorize under some species of the... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Cobb
Americans in the middle class expect too much from politics and not enough from society. So our democratic politics has become a drama around social problems, and social problems are not, by definition, the sort of things that politics and... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Cobb
Nathaniel Rateliff is the greatest American singer alive today. It might take you a while to find that out if your first exposure to him is his new album with his new band, The Night Sweats. You've got to start... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Cobb
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(from the archives - July 1999) I am sitting in a small hotel room near Columbia, Louisiana just a mile from the Ouachita River bridge on Highway 165. We buried my grandmother today. I have been dreading this weekend for... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2015 at Cobb
It's actually very useful for the Stoic to think of how power is abused. Thinking about the promise of American liberty and the usefulness of a Constitution such as ours would be severely tested in the populist era of an... Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2015 at Cobb
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I've downloaded the package. This thing is fascinating to me. I've started some analysis and I'm really hooked. It's exciting, funny, mystifying and sad at the same time from all kinds of different perspectives. It's really struck a nerve not... Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2015 at Cobb
My wife and I promised to do shrooms when we retire. She's the pill popper. So I may just have this kind of Spartan attitude towards the body rather than an Athenian one towards the mind. What is persistent in reality is the evolution of the body, not the revolutionary states of the mind. That being the case, what indeed is exercise for the brain? We don't know, and I doubt that we have an informed theory. We just know what happens when you put chemical x into the body, sorta. My own reticence comes from the very fact that I am deathly allergic to penicillin, so I got no time for Scooby snacks. I have indeed and recently experienced an extraordinary presence of mind under the influence of NO2, enough for me to think it profound. So I understand something of what altered states can be. You also won't hear me arguing against anything Kingsley Amis has said about alcohol and I have taken enough THC to watch clocks go backwards. I suspect I am succumbing to Americanism when I suggest that drug policy be rationally tied to some interest. So what I really wanted to see was the list of 400 substances, their effect and a yay or nay on the prohibition based upon the effect. Lacking that, I can accept an undoctrinaire libertarian rationale. Nevertheless, I expect that most everyone is talking about recreation rather than performance enhancement. Are we?
Toggle Commented Aug 13, 2015 on Whatever Happened to Timothy Leary? at Cobb
1 reply
OK I get that powerful elites want to do whatever the fuck. They're bored with their power and they want to be their own court jesters. Mwahahah and all that power jazz. But certainly that can't be the reason for Progressives. And it seems to go against Marxist ideology that the common man should be provided for if you're going to let them achieve nirvana in their own heads, or at least an alternate reality in which authority is ignored, laying the same counter at the feet of the vanguard that Cnu throws at Nixon. I'll get the cliff notes on Huxley, but surely he's some subset of Borges.
Toggle Commented Aug 13, 2015 on Whatever Happened to Timothy Leary? at Cobb
1 reply
Is there a Left or Liberal or Progressive principle involving the desirability of altered consciousness, a la Timothy Leary, in support of the decriminalization of some drugs, or is it rather a question of liberty? In clean slate, blue sky... Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2015 at Cobb
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I was raised as a Progressive within the 'Talented Tenth' in one of the wealthiest black communities in America. When the black sprinters for the US team were booed at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, I was shocked that the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2015 at Cobb
What gets them started is almost incidental. Anybody can crack and go against their principles. The more interesting question to me is when they manage to make the bad life work for them, do they justify it by having been a victim at first. That's the moral question. I stopped watching a lot of HBO shows because that question disappears after a season, and it's just a bad buy doing bad that you're emotionally drawn to. Not good. So far I like that Elliot is still in over his head, not quite stable, and wrestling with a moral question of what is he doing here. Walter White crossed the line. There were a number of times when he could have gotten out of the game, but he refused to, and dug himself deeper in. Hubris. So he becomes an anti-hero, and people who know his game rightly reject his victim status. I'm waiting to see if Elliot does this. I think at some point he will. Walter White could not be redeemed, and Skyler went off the rails too. At that moment he had no real family worth all that, just as transparently as the family of embezzlers in Better Call Saul. http://cobb.typepad.com/cobb/2012/08/breaking-bad.html http://cobb.typepad.com/cobb/2004/06/evil_wicked_mea.html
Toggle Commented Aug 7, 2015 on Mr. Robot at Cobb
1 reply
It is a fact that I have never seen the movie Pinnochio, so I couldn't use those comparisons directly. However, I did think of it, and we made a few 'real boy' jokes along the way. But there was still nothing about Ava that made me feel much sympathy for it. Maybe if she got swallowed by a whale...
Toggle Commented Aug 7, 2015 on Ex Machina: A Dildonic Morality Tale at Cobb
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One of the most difficult things about being a grownup is watching young people do stupid stuff with their talents and money. If there's anything good about the recent film Ex Machina, it's that it will remind us how vapid... Continue reading
Posted Aug 6, 2015 at Cobb
Today I met the Grandmaster. I didn't expect to, and he didn't let me go. Now I have to reconcile what I have heard with what I know and with what I want and with what I expect. It is... Continue reading
Posted Aug 3, 2015 at Cobb
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I see that there's a movie coming out that's attempting to add the extra glamour that NWA still does not yet have. It is another brick in the wall of the edifice of the non-culture, non-community that is drowning out... Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2015 at Cobb
I read your poem and it made me cry a volcano. I woulda got sloppy with you But I got out of your loop and it's my fault. I'm always trying to be strong So I can be a gentleman... Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2015 at Cobb
I have returned to reading science fiction after overdosing as a precocious teen. I am startled to find how good it has become. I can say without question that the most imaginative and all-encompassing vision of space-faring sci-fi has come... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2015 at Cobb
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I am particularly fond of the term bodewash, for what it's worth. Yet I think that there are appropriate axes of shit that should be navigated with some care. The other night, as my clan-mates and I were engaged in... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2015 at Cobb
People have been asking about the proper means test for national gun registration. I've been thinking about panoptics a bit lately. It's part of the subject of my novel. So this is what strikes me today. First a couple headlines:... Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2015 at Cobb
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On racial unity. Let's say you're a Thai and you love civil engineering, but you live in California and there aren't many around you. You find the best engineering school and join the Thai Civil Engineers. Now you're surrounded by... Continue reading
Posted Jul 27, 2015 at Cobb
Sorry. As I'm writing my novel, I am coming to recognize the difference between writing extensive notes to myself and something that other folks can read. The lacuna between persuasive speech and responsible power is symptomatic of the the problem I call 'aggregation'. I've probably written around that topic without giving an adequate number of explanations. So let me (write for myself and) describe what I mean. I mean that American culture has, in its relationship to democratic politics, a fundamental premise is that, taken from the millions, nickels and dimes can add up to something substantial and powerful. (Woolworth said so and proved so). I've tended to express it as '17 million dollars of respect'. You can get $17 from a million people or $1,000,00 from 17 people. You will be a lot more responsive and responsible to the 17 than you would from the million. I first came across this specific thought when the rapper 50 Cent went platinum with his album Get Rich or Die Trying, which is kind of a sick joke on his 'fans'. The persuasiveness of the marketing that sells 50 Cent requires as much thought as the lyrics in the album, something as pithy as can support a million juvenile fans who spend two hours of labor in all of their young lives to afford to be the proud owner of the album. They become part of the base to whom he shouts out whether they be 'real niggas', 'bitches', 'hos' or 'sucka mcs'. Surely in Getting Rich, there will be no lyric saying that any of those motherfuckers get a refund. And yet the million have created a phenomenon and a genuine star, and he gets the audience he deserves, all those who wouldn't dare ask for their $17 back. This is a mass market of convenience which is ultimately susceptible to corrupt deception. It's not Tylenol, which, when defective reveals a world of painful recourse. The problem with aggregation in markets of convenience is its fundamental irresponsibility. All Obama ever had to be was 'first black President', and he wins. The American electorate? Those motherfuckers ain't getting a refund. I am distinguishing the difference between those aggregations that only require very little thought and effort on the part of the masses, which take long bets on positive change, whether that is voting for Obama or buying shoes from a man who promises to feed the hungry in Africa, or buying a ribbon to put on your car's antenna that promises to cure cancer. The distance between the expertise of the audience that the responsible capability of the performer is vast in this kind of irresponsible aggregation. And I'm saying that the democratic voting system, the American political process has become exactly this kind of infernal engine. You listen to Fox News for free, you rant on Facebook for free, you vote once every four years for free. It is a kind of Stockholm Syndrome in eternal process. "Power to the People" is completely lost. This is the lacuna between persuasive speech and responsible power. They don't even need to be connected for the system to continue operating. Moreover the revealed corruption has no immediate consequence. As somebody wrote yesterday, Hillary Clinton could be videotaped steamrolling a line of ducklings and still be loved and adored but most importantly retain her office for the protection of wildlife. All 'mistakes' can be minimized, when the true path of recourse has only to deal with the 17 and not the million. So whatever the sophistication of the performance, it has nothing to do with the material responsibility. That is why Obama has no business presiding over funerals. Unless...
Toggle Commented Jul 26, 2015 on Benzon on Authentic Eulogies at Cobb
1 reply