F*^k me, he’s good

F*^k me, he’s good November 6, 2013

Say what you like about Brand, when he gets going, there ain’t no stopping him. (Rather unspecified) Revolution!

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  • Wow, and I thought he was just a pretty face!

  • labreuer

    He could make use of the line:

    One definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result

    • I think that, without offering anything particularly concrete, he has broadly got a strong point in that. Same old same old.

      • labreuer

        Sure; he just took a long time to say what the one line says quite succinctly. There’s a nearby concept, whereby people try slightly different tactics, expecting a different result. Sometimes it works, but sometimes it doesn’t. After trying enough slightly different tactics without success, though, it’s time for a bigger shift. This reminds me of simulated annealing, which is a search algorithm for sufficiently optimal solutions, which does both ‘local’ searches (trying slightly different tactics) as well as bigger ‘jumps’. When the solution space has certain properties, this kind of search is very efficient.

  • ThePrussian
    • Don’t get me wrong, I was mainly commenting about his eloquence and performance and his rhetorical take-down of the Pax. I think his claims are seemingly inherently problematic, though I am interested in the idea that (UK) politics is like some monolithic tanker with no chance of changing direction in any meaningful way. I think in that he is spot on. However, he does seem unable to coherently define an alternative direction.

      • ThePrussian

        Ah, good to know. I can see that position. :-)

        I just think that disordered stuff like Brand’s was kinda ignorable during the good times. These are not good times and I don’t like anyone poking holes in democracy. It really is no small thing that we can get rid of our leaders by the ballot and not the bullet.

        • Yeah, I agree with Jonathan about his eloquence. I disagree with Brand’s solution. He has none.

    • labreuer

      I’m curious; do you think Brand was identifying real problems? If so, is anyone on a better track to A) raise awareness; B) search for a solution, than he? I read both articles you linked and both seemed to respond with Jeremy’s “but, but, work within the system”, which is a denial that maybe the system is stuck in a state which won’t be left without some sort of bigger kick than usual. “Do the thing which hasn’t been working so far” is not a very encouraging message.

      • ThePrussian

        Well, to take the “in the system” thing, Brand is full of it. He’s a product of the system, he’s kept going by the system, he doesn’t have the guts or the means to topple it. But I know the kind of people who do. They are not nice.

        And, yes, I could find plenty of people with better grasp of our troubles and with better solutions. Yaron Brook, just for starters.

        • Aah, but look, we are talking about it. And others are too. So in some way, he has succeeded!

          So, yes, we could have something less nebulous like the Venus Project, but it seems that Brand spouting off on national television can do more for challenging the status quo than ideas which have been around for decades….

          • ThePrussian

            Again, when the status quo he is challenging is democratic liberalism, I don’t want it challenged.
            If one wants to talk about reform of, say, the banking industry, I can offer a lot of suggestions and how they could be implemented. But none of those require attacking the fundamentals of a free society. Brand is playing with fire here.

        • labreuer

          WP: Yaron Brook is “president and executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute”—this does not inspire confidence in his ability to make things better. Having read Atlas Shrugged, I would predict that he is perfectly happy with the status quo in the UK. Ayn Rand thought that people who didn’t have the personal motivation to be great in the world deserved to get whatever lot in life her ideal philosophical system would give them. So I’m not seeing this Yaron Brook accomplishing anything along the lines of what Brand wants. Why did you bring him up?

          When it comes to Brand operating “within the system”, that seems like a non-starter argument. If you say that people within a system can’t change the system, then… only invaders can? This doesn’t make sense, so perhaps I’ve misheard you. This does remind me of the Black Mirror episode, Fifteen Million Merits. A critic of the system gets absorbed into it. Perhaps you’re thinking this will happen to Brand? That seems a bit unlikely, given that he’s refusing to play along—at least when it comes to voting.

          I see a potential strength with Brand’s approach: get fewer and fewer people to vote, until a candidate comes up who is worth voting for, at which point he could try and get everyone to vote, vastly changing the dynamics by vastly increasing the voter participation rate. However, I can see a bunch of potential problems with this approach, and not being well-versed in politics and social dynamics, I really just don’t know whether this is a plausible scenario.

          • I think Rand and Brand are indeed polar opposites.

          • labreuer

            BTW, if you find Brand sufficiently interesting, I would highly recommend that Black Mirror episode.

          • ThePrussian

            I’ll skip over your misrepresentation of Rand, and point out that Yaron Brook has consistently presented a sane program for getting gov’t out of the business of bailouts, stimulus, cronyism and the rest of it – and, moreover, that he was doing so long before the 2008 unraveling. Try listening to any of his presentations; you might be pleasantly surprised.

          • labreuer

            Ok; what’s Yaron’s track record? I don’t care a whit about mere ideas; I want to see implementations in the real world, where one has to confront reality and the compromise that comes with democracy.

            I’m not necessarily in favor of Big Government, by the way. I would actually prefer that power be spread among citizens as evenly as possible, which e.g. requires fantastically better education than at least exists in the US. I find that people like Yaron Brook—at least as portrayed by sometimes-questionable Wikipedia—tend to forget that not all people are born into an environment that enables one to succeed in laissez-faire capitalism. It’s just not clear that self-interest is sufficient to e.g. eliminate slums and ghettos. But enough of that: let’s see what Yaron has actually accomplished—or if not Yaron, other members of the Ayn Rand Institute.

          • ThePrussian

            To be fair, you did ask who was better at raising awareness and providing a program to sort out these problems. I don’t want to get into a long debate here, but if we are talking about the confluence of big gov’t and big business, Brook has presented a solid analysis of its problems and disasters, and how one could disentangle the two, and how that would lead to a restoration of power to the average citizen.

          • labreuer

            True; I asked:

            I’m curious; do you think Brand was identifying real problems? If so, is anyone on a better track to A) raise awareness; B) search for a solution, than he?

            I’m not sure I want to spend the time to sufficiently learn the issues to form a truly educated opinion of Brook; it’s much easier to gauge a person by his actions than his ideas, because reality constrains actions and their results a lot more than it constrains ideas.

            While I did find Brand a bit annoying—he could have said what he did in a much more compact fashion—he was also funny (important if you want to reach a wide audience) and did point out that working within the system as others wanted him to would likely not accomplish anything. It would be make-work.