Worthiness, and the Common Good.

Worthiness, and the Common Good.

I just ran into this, which dovetails nicely with the core moral principle Razorfist was discussing regarding intellectual property: I’m not a fan of the word “deserve”. In many contexts, these days, it conveys (or breeds) a sense of entitlement, ingratitude and possibly selfishness. Instead, I’ve adopted the term “worthy”. I don’t deserve nice things. However, I am worthy of them. Whether it be time spent at the gym, a better pair of shoes, a cleaner home, et al, I don’t deserve it. I am worthy of it. Should, of course, I put forth the effort…

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Socialism, and Sophistry

Socialism, and Sophistry

For one boardgame that I play, looking around for other sources of strategy and knowledge, I came across a mailing list dedicated to the game which I largely ended up ignoring for years until it absolutely blew up because the original designer was looking to republish the game and decided to do so with a very, very, no-good and bad person. This is not what this post is about. In the process of the back and forth, most of the crowd, much like the forums at BGG over the GMT and colonialism issue, took to virtuously penning how awful it…

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Property Rights

Property Rights

The Didact, in his excellent Memorial Day wrapup for Monday, reminded me that I wanted to cover this commentary by Razorfist on Intellectual Property. The Didact notes: I used to be a libertardian, so I had a lot of sympathy for the idea of doing away with IP rights entirely, but I was never fully convinced by the arguments against IP. Looking at the arguments given by the Razorfist, he makes a very compelling case that the product of a man's mind is indeed his property. And I agree with him. I do think that reasonable limits have to be…

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Being Alive vs Living

Being Alive vs Living

Unfortunately, as I wrote it, the quote that inspired my most recent post on safety was utterly forgotten. During the Battle of Belleau Wood in WW1, First Sargeant Daniel Daly, 73rd Machine Gun Company, USMC, exhorted his men with the call "Come on, you sons-o'-bitches! Do you want to live forever?" before charging the Germans. Interestingly, Daly himself apparently disputes that, and claims he said "For Christ's sake men—come on! Do you want to live forever?" In either case, this quote was immortalized in lore, to the point that RA Heinlein used a similar line in his novel Starship…

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Safety Third - Covid Edition

Safety Third - Covid Edition

A While back I'd written a post on safety being important, but not the most important thing. Safety has to serve repeatably getting things done, and is not an ultimate virtue in and of itself. Put another way, there is a difference between staying alive, and living. Every choice involves risks, and one of the most common causes of death is slipping in the shower or bathtub. A guy can die as a result of simply falling over in his house and hitting his head. While I'm not in the "just a flu" or "it doesn't exist" crowd - there's…

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Self Defense is an Illusion - Good and Evil

Self Defense is an Illusion - Good and Evil

Over at Wasteland and Sky JD Cowan reviews Nightblood and generally likes it, but does spend some time pointing out a trope that was all too common in Vampire fiction of the time: The "Crucifix only works if you have faith" trope is in this book. It barely features, and I'm sure it was only put in because it was all the rage at the time, but it doesn't change the fact that it makes no sense. It is a misunderstanding of the monster itself. "Faith" has nothing to do with why a Crucifix repels vampires.…

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Style is Part of the Substance

Style is Part of the Substance

Alexandru Constantin notes that not only is much of modern fantasy shallow in substance, but it also posesses no depth of style, rendering it almost unreadable. Most of all, all three of the books had pedestrian writing that lacked any hint of style. The prose felt like early young adult, middle school grade, nothing fancier than early Animorphs, and the plot and characters felt stolen from a overwritten D&D module. But to get back twitter and the whole point of this post. I posted about giving up on most fantasy because the writing sucks. People responded, we had…

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Risk-Shifting

Risk-Shifting

A long time before reading Taleb's Skin in the Game with his much broader application of the concept, I'd already realized that authority and responsibility had to match. Authority without consequence / responsibility for one's choices was the ultimate "power corrupts", and responsibility without any authority was to be a slave to the whims of others. One example of how some dodge consequence is by offloading the risks onto others. Take "companies too big to fail." They get the profits when doing well (and fat salaries even when not), but when they implode, others lose their jobs, and the taxpayers get…

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