Failure Scopes... a continuation

Failure Scopes... a continuation

One other thought related to the Moleneux / Adams interview I already mentioned.

Any system or ideology has to account for failure, and scope is important here. As I alluded to in my poor handling of the twitter idiot:

LastRedoubt
‏@vfm_5411 LastRedoubt Retweeted Sami Sundell
Removing a mole, and a limb, are merely degrees of removing body tissue…
3:05 PM – 30 Aug 2016

It’s trivial to show that a difference in degree can have a non-linear impact. Slicing off the tip of the finger and you may have a scar, but unless it gets infected, no practical impact on your life. It will, if shallow, likely grow back.

Slice off your hand further back, at the wrist? Now you’re permanently debilitated. As a percentage of your body, neither is that big.

So minimizing the scope of possible failure is important. Look at ecosystems, the design of the internet, and for that matter, the management initiative to push decision making down to the lowest practical level that was seen in some quarters. Ditto the concept of “an army of Davids.” Yes, the odds of any individual decision being a mistake are higher, but they do far less damage when made, and allow good decisions to be vetted. On the other hand, if all decisions are made centrally, when a mistake inevitably happens, it affects everything. We’re not even going to begin to address the finite knowability of what’s going on – no central planner can be omniscient.

In the end, anti-fragile systems thrive by allowing multiple small failures, while also providing a number of alternatives so that successful ones are likely to appear. They also thrive because when changes are made, bad decisions fail faster – again, limiting the scope in terms of not only breadth, but sunk costs.

This also brings us to one other related failure. It’s said that every utopia fails to deal with the “others” who don’t follow the utopian law and lifestyle. Usually, it’s some form of excommunication. Even Libertarianism, in its older, saner format before they went full leftist and anti-individualist in favor of the state, failed at this. Sure, it dealt with individual bad actors very well, but there’s a reason the founders of the US isolated some powers to the central government in the Constitution. Namely – any individual or small collection of individuals cannot deal with a foreign state, and a state cannot effectively negotiate with millions of individuals.

In short – Libertarianism does well at dealing with one, or many, small injuries, but has fewer options than a more traditional state at dealing with an existential threat to the whole culture or nation.

Yes, there’s some handwaving about private entities – which in practice become de-facto small – scale governments of limited power and scope.  But if the US suddenly became a libertarian paradise, something would still have to act as a de-facto state to deal with the threat of invasion from places that were not. And immigration on a large scale, by people who are not willing to integrate / buy the land, but simply take it on their own, via their own army, or however else, IS an invasion. Much the same way the US and western nations are being invaded now, aided and abetted by their own governments.

That said, it’s easy to go too far. I believe in heterogenous computer environments for the same reason I don’t like cloned Christmas trees – but at the same time, you need large enough pockets of common hardware to be able to establish some form of predictability and standard practices. You need, in an ecological sense, pockets of population.

This also reflects sociologically – I believe it was the Putnam study that was intended to prove how diversity is strength, and to the horror of the scientist running the study (he sat on the results a while), proved the opposite. You need towns, at the least neighborhoods or communities, with common culture and standards. To the extent that even in our earliest days the US had non – english immigrants, we also need common assumed standards to bind the different communities and interact between them. In programming, we see the same thing in developing API’s and protocols that different computer systems can use to talk to each other.

In this day and age, the concept of immigrants, no matter how many you believe should come here or not, having to work to assimilate and learn these protocols to interact, is considered “racist” and “bigoted” by the elites who are trying to drive mainstream culture, and have for the last several decades, largely succeeded.

About Last Redoubt

Ex nuke mechanic, jack of all trades.