Don’t Waste My Time!

Seth Godin is at it again.  Emphasis by me.

The essence of a belief is that we own it, regardless of what’s happening around us. If you can be easily swayed by data, then it’s not much of a belief.

On the other hand, the key to making a rational argument is that your assertions must be falsifiable.

“I believe A because of B and C.” If someone can show you that “C” isn’t actually true, then it’s not okay to persist in arguing “A”.

The statement, “All swans are white” is falsifiable, because if I can find even one black swan, we’re done.

On the other hand, “The martians are about to take over our city with 2,000 flying saucers,” is not, because there’s nothing I can do or demonstrate that would satisfy the person who might respond, “well, they’re just very well hidden, and they’re waiting us out.”

If belief in “A” is important to someone’s story, people usually pile up a large number of arguments that are either not testable, or matters of opinion and taste. There’s nothing wrong with believing “A”, but it’s counterproductive to engage with someone in a discussion about whether you’re right or not. It’s a belief, or an opinion, both of which are fine things to have, but it’s not a logical conclusion or a coherent argument, because those require asserting something we can actually test.

The key question is, “is there something I can prove or demonstrate that would make you stop believing in ‘A’?” If the honest answer is ‘no’, then we’re not having an argument, are we?

Before we waste a lot of time arguing about something that appears to be a rational, logical conclusion, let’s be sure we are both having the same sort of discussion.


A Take on the Forgotten Man

Or maybe it just reminds me of the argument, but this article refers to the hubris of man and the thought that they know so much more than they do.

The article starts out like this:

I’ve always had difficulty understanding the thought processes of people who fancy themselves fit to intervene into the affairs of other adults in ways that will improve the lives of other adults as judged by these other adults.  I understand the desire to help others, and I also understand that individuals often err in the pursuit of their own best interests.  What I don’t understand is Jones’s presumption that he, who is a stranger to Smith, can know enough to force Smith to modify his behavior in ways that will improve Smith’s long-term well-being.  Honestly, such a presumption has struck me for all of my adult life as being so preposterous as to be inexplicable.  I cannot begin to get my head around it.

And then goes to a sports analogy, which is perfect timing for me as I will sit for hours everyday for the next two weeks watching the 2016 Summer Olympics.

I tried to figure out parts of the essay to cut and paste here to give you a flavor for it, but it needs to be read in its entirety.  I will give you the last paragraph, however:

People who would plan an economy, or even regulate an industry, commit the cardinal sin against sound economics: believing that they can consciously improve that which they cannot hope to know. Just as it is utterly ridiculous for me to imagine that I can learn to pitch merely by studying videotapes of Greg Maddux, it is equally ridiculous for politicians or bureaucrats to imagine that they can improve upon the free market with knowledge only of the tiny part they are able to observe. Such conceit is toxic for a free society.

A ‘one-size-fits-all’ $15 an hour national minimum wage is really a ‘one-size-fits-none’ minimum wage

From Mark Perry

The huge variation in cost-of-living around the country is just one more, among dozens of other, reasons that a uniform $15 an hour federal minimum wage is terrible public policy — it’s a blunt, one-size-fits-all, federal government price control that applies uniformly to every community in America with no adjustments for the significant differences in living costs throughout the US.

Great tables in the link, too.

Ransom to Iran

From Ace of Spades:

Here’s the thing: When you’ve staked your political credibility on the massive lie that Iran Is A Partner For Peace, then you have to cover up all of their crimes.

Their crimes are now your crimes– so you are now their blackmailed bitch, covering up all the dirty shit they do.