Sam Alito: "Omni Sub Papa!"

Ladies and gentlemen, we got him in.

By a 58-42 vote, has become the 110th Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Alito is also the fifth Catholic judge currently sitting — joining , Clarence Thomas, Anthony Kennedy, and Chief Justice .


We are now one step closer to outlawing Protestantism, forever.


Ia! Ia! Pontifex Benedictus fhtagn!

See more on Blogs for Bush, bRight & Early, Confirm Alito Now, GOP Bloggers, Iowa Voice, Michelle Malkin, Public Rendezvous, Right Wing Nation, Right Wing News, and for extra gloating, Kos.

Questioning Elkind on Cognition and Identity

My recent series Liberal Education (parts I, II, III, and IV) is partially based on the readings and discussions for the class I am taking in Adolescent Psychology. One book in particular that has been interesting is All Grown Up and No Place to Go by .


Our professor requires us to come prepared with written questions based on the week’s assigned reading, so those are below the fold.

Cognitive Development (25-53)

Elkind (31): “Boys are more likely to be competitive and achievement-oriented, and to measure themselves against an absolute standard. In contrast, girls are more socially focused and tend to evaluate themselves from the perspective of their empathy for others and their interpersonal skills.”

Question: Does this lead to boys being superior in low-network-density operations, while girls would be superior in high-network-density operations? Specifically, would education be more effective if it centered around “free play” for boys and “gossip” for girls?

Elkind (36): “Formal operations aid and abet such attachments by enabling young people to idealize the person to whom they are attracted.”

Question: What are the religious implications of this? Specifically, would cultures that do not encourage formal thinking not have idealized views of heaven, or hell? For example, is the reason that “heaven” does not appear in the Bible until the Maccabees Rebellion indicate that pre-Greek Israel was cognitively underdeveloped, and unable to imagine such a place?

Elkind (50): “Young people become very idealistic once they have attained the level of formal operational thought.”

Question: The flip-side of this is that people become less idealistic as they age. Is this an indication that formal operations weaken as an influencer of human thought? Would this be entirely because of additionally socialization, or would genetic factors be in play? For example, UNL’s John Hibbing has argued that politic beliefs are influenced by genetics as people age. Would idealism be adversely affected by genetics as people age?

Elkind (51): “We can help young people become more realistic by encouraging them to engage in community service. Some schools make such service a requirement for graduation. When young people volunteer to work with the young, or the elderly, or in environmental clean-up efforts, they learn the difference between merely expressing an ideal and the effort that helps make it a reality.”al

Leaving aside the notion of forced volunteering, Elkind’s justification for community service is interesting. Is community a service an activity that increases agitation while emphasizing “concrete” thought. Would this encourage the rise of evolutionary strong ideologies, that energize their followers while deafening them to competing viewpoints?

Elkind (53): “In general, most people return to the faith of their parents once they become young adults and particularly when they become parents. But other teenagers, particularly in our increasingly secular society, have had little or no religious training as children and, in the absence of effective parenting, turn to gangs for leadership, guidance, and a sense of community.”

Interesting that the rulesets of secular society are less able to control behavior than the rulesets of a more religious society. Is this true in general/

Cognitive Development (18-24, 189-214, 215-238)

Elkind (24): “The new morbidity is but one measure of the stress experienced by contemporary young people. There are many other, nonfatal behaviors that officer evidence of the crisis of contemporary youth. Our teenage pregnancy rates are the highest of any Western country, almost seven times that of the Netherlands…”

Yet teenage pregnancies are the lowest since 1948. What kind of “contemporary” crisis is this?

Elkind (198): “The peer group has no intrinsic power; it exercises power only when it feels a parental vacuum and when the teenager lacks a healthy sense of personal identity.”

Would folk and trade- based identity groups also have more power than peers?

Elkind (200): “If we were sitting around a table with a group of people and we all wrote our troubles on a piece of paper and exchanged them, most of us would choose our own problems over those of the other people.”

What does this say about the ability of people to “rationally choose” the friction in their lives? Is this evidence that one’s identity or adaptions becomes tied to the problems one faces, or merely that there is a “fetishism of difficulties”?

Elkind (221): “Teenage drinking is not a new phenomenon, and certainly alcohol was not unknown to adolescents of the modern era. Nonetheless, the percentage of young people who are drinking today is greater than ever before. In part this is a reflection of our postmodern perception of adolescents as sophisticated and the acceptance of this perception by the larger societies.”

At least some teenage drinking was legal in the United States until Federal reforms in the 1980s. How does this growing infantilization of adolescents square with Elkind’s thesis of societal sophistication?

Elkind (225): “That is to say, because adolescents in the postmodern world experience more loss than was true for teenagers in the modern world, they necessarily suffer more depression than did earlier generations of young people.”

Elkind fails to distinguish between psychic loss and physical loss. Contemporary youths doubtless face less physical loss than those in past ages, because death rates continue to plummet. However, a liberal culture may encourage more psychic or social loss, by weakening the rulesets that keep people together.

Elkind (229): “French sociologist Emile Durkheim argued that suicide was the result of a condition that he termed anomie — a form of withdrawal that separated the individual from social contact and created a sense of isolation from the rest of society (1950).”

Could an empirical test of this view be done now in Japan, analyzing the suicidal tendencies of otaku compared to the general population

We Can Win a Global War with Two Fronts. We Will Lose a Global War with One.

Full Spectrum Struggle Is Not MBA Struggle,” by Dan, tdaxp, 8 May 2005,

QDR: China Tops Iraq, Osama?,” by Noah Shachtman, Defense Tech, 23 January 2005, (from DNI),

The Counterrevolution in Military Affairs ,” by Ralph Peters, The Weekly Standard, 6 February 2006, (from TPMB).

Months ago, I wrote:

Whether you are an army or a movement, you are attacked where you are weakest by someone else where they are strongest. They will exploit their advantage over you where they chose. Over and over again, this is how wars start. It’s how battles start. It is how any conflict starts.

It’s still true. Even if it means agreeing with the and Rumsfeld. Even if it means disagreeing with Shactman and Peters

The details of my thinking have changed slightly, but the message is the still the same: we must win. We are trying to win the Wars for Globalization, to finally end all wars as we have known them and spread prosperity and happiness throughout the world. We have two strategies for doing this:

  • first, keep global capitalism so countries will suck each other into the global system,
  • and second, “take care of” states that treat their people horrifically, or their neighbors badly

We will never be perfect in either of these, but we must maintain our leads in both. Our ability to keep global capitalism going will be better than the enemy’s ability to harm it, and our ability to process rogue regimes will be better than their attempts to spread. Not perfect, but enough to keep the correlation of forces going with us and maintain forward progress.

The greatest threat from rogue states comes from infiltration by terrorist groups like al Qaeda. The greatest threat to the world economy comes from a large nation doing something stupid and dangerous, like China invading her neighbors in a conventional war.

The solution is obvious: keep weakening al Qaeda and similar groups while keeping China at peace. This is a much smaller task than the two ocean war America fought in the 1940s, or the two hemisphere stand off she faced for forty years. With minor restructuring, we can even make victory easy — if imperfect.

Yet now two critics both argue that we should abandon one fight, in order to focus on the other.


There is, in short, not a single enemy in existence or on the horizon willing to play the victim to the military we continue to build. Faced with men of iron belief wielding bombs built in sheds and basements, our revolution in military affairs appears more an indulgence than an investment. In the end, our enemies will not outfight us. We’ll muster the will to do what must be done–after paying a needlessly high price in the lives of our troops and damage to our domestic infrastructure. We will not be beaten, but we may be shamed and embarrassed on a needlessly long road to victory.

We must be realistic about the military requirements of a war with China, but we also need to grasp that, for such an enemy, the military sphere would be only one field of warfare–and not the decisive one. What would it take to create an atmosphere of defeat in a sprawling nation of over one billion people? A ruthless economic blockade, on the seas, in the air, and on land, would be an essential component of any serious war plan, but the Chinese capability for sheer endurance might surprise us. Could we win against China without inflicting extensive devastation on Chinese cities? Would even that be enough? Without mirror-imaging again, can we identify any incentive China’s leaders would have to surrender?


But it does not require, apparently, a wholesale change of direction. Terrorist-type threats will get some new attention. But the Defense Department isn’t about to optimize for that threat, the way it did for the Soviet Union. Big money will continue to be spent on fighter jets designed to duel with the Soviets and destroyers designed for large-scale ground assaults. Grunts on the ground won’t get much more than they do now. The war on terror may be “long.” But, apparently, it’s not important enough to make really big shifts.

Schactman’s paper is the easiest to deal with. Of course we aren’t optimizing for one overarching challenge: because there are two overarching challenges. Focusing on one core-competency might be the MBA way of doing things, but it would be deadly for a great power. In warfare, optimization isn’t about being the best you can be in one thing: it’s about being better than your enemy in all things.

Peters’ claims confuse our goals with China, and so require some unraveling. Peters plans for a war that would require US occupation of China: an impossible task. The purpose of building up to deter China isn’t to conquer her, but to prevent her for attacking her neighbors. The war with China, itself, would be the disaster, nearly as much as allowing her to occupy whatever neighbor she wished. Our build-up should thus be geared to avoiding the need for a war with China, by maximizing our ability to destroy her offensive forces rapidly.

Liberal Education, Part IV: The Mitochondrial Peace

“Don’t let the forest grow over that path you came there by.
But you will, so…

So hurry up and run to the one that you love. “

Bright Eyes, “Make War

“The devoted were wearing bracelets
to remind them why they came:
some concrete motivation
when the abstract could not do the same.
But if all that’s left is duty, I’m falling on my sword;
at least then i would not serve an unseen distant Lord.”

Pedro the Lion, “Secret of the Easy Yoke

“Stay the way I am today and serve to more disaster…
He could tell a fairy tale that’s happy ever after…
Just relax and green of grass will grow here for a change.
Maybe then we’ll last a million years or more.. or more.. or more..”

Guster, “All The Way Up To Heaven

“Have you ever tried to neck with an earwig?
Oh, your body is a home to your friends.
You’ve a tick for each nipple and a leech for each finger
And a parasitic love that never ends.

Do you have any love left for me?
I’m small, but that’s a start.
Eat me up with your love.
Burrow your way to my heart.”

Darkest of Hillside Thickets, “Burrow Your Way To My Heart”

Liberal education is a fertile land for ideologies. The Sahara was once fertile, too.

Ideas evolve. Some evolutionary analysis of ideas looks at memes,” which is just a term for anything that is imitated. The ideas, which compete through a form of natural selection, have the same goal of any other evolutionary organism: thrive.

Specifically, evolution is a battle for niches. The full range of environments where a species might exist is its fundamental niche. It actually exists in a realized niche. The realized niche is almost always smaller than the fundamental niche, because of enemy species — “natural enemies” — that are impeding the thriving of a meme.

So from this we can derive another evolutionary requirement of species: to destroy and preempt enemy species to increase the size of its realized niche to include the entire size of its fundamental niche.

Human ideologies were allowed to thrive when the rise of learned rulesets caused by liberal education weakened the human cognitive immune system. The human mind went from thinking concretely about issues like folk, kin, and trade:


to thinking abstractly, one open for any number of rulesets:


The golden age of liberal education was a boom-time of memes and ideologies, when the focus is on reproduction and not competition. Like a virgin land, the soil of the human mind in a society beginning to liberally educate seems to give enough for everybody.

But that ends. Liberal education will cease being a revolutionary force as it becomes a status quo. Ideologies will focus more on fighting each other for valuable resources and less on cultivating new lands, just as business gets more brutal as a product evolves from the growth state to the maturity stage.

The natural goal of an ideology is to rebuild a cognitive immune system, with it on the inside and everything else on the outside.


In physical things, mitochondria achieved the same feat. They needed some sort of weakened cells in order to invade and subvert the living thing. But later, after they had infested themselves, they became symbiotic to the larger cells and needed strong cells to protect against future invaders.

A Cell with Mitochondria
The Cell is so subverted that it ca no longer exist without them

From an evolutionary standpoint, the fate of liberal education is clear. It will be subverted by an ideology that will cover up the path it came in by. The new ideology will allow critical thinking only so long as it does not threaten the ideology itself. Ultimately, it will fashioning a form of “liberal” education that would fall apart without the ideology.

In a post commenting on this series, Mark Safranski wrote:

there has been, at all levels of education, a retreat from that ideal in the public sphere. There we see movement toward required indoctrination of multicultural-leftist attitudes or rote mastery of facts without a concomitant critical analysis ( in some schools, both at once).

From an evolutionary perspective, the reply is “of course!” Just as one sympathetic to a return to pre-mitochondrial cells might have said two billion years ago

“There has been, at all levels of energy allocation, a retreat from that ideal in the cellular sphere. There we see movement toward required supply of the mitichonria’s needs or rote endocytosis of all foreign organisms (in some cells, both at once)”

The most logical future would be a universalist — “catholic” — system of ideologies that are closely related but specialized for different sub-niches. Just as cousins may compete against each others but against strangers, the ideological future is one that will have debate within one narrow family of ideologies.

Because a more successful species is one with less mutation — because mutation threatens it by future near-kin competition — this future ideology should attempt to minimize liberal education to just what is necessary to spread to the people. This means that the ideology will be relatively uncomplicated (less memetic code to mutate) and be tuned to subvert the natural human mind (specialized for its niche).


The ideology will be a learned ruleset, so it will be powerful for the first decades of life, but it will naturally be complementary to the biological human desires which unfold as one lives.

We already see evolutionary attempts at this. Human identity is based of folk, kin, and trade, and we already see ideological belief rulesets that try to latch on to some of these:

Ruleset + Folk: neoconism-theoconism
Ruleset + Kin: Christian Right, Iraqi Sunnis
Ruleset + Trade: khemer rouge, anarcho-syndicalism

Because this ultimate ideology is a symbiotic to humans, it will be evolved to help humanity thrive. As Curtis noted:

Most of us don’t weave our own cloth or forge our own tools, thus we don’t need to know how to do those things. With cheap products, we don’t need to know how to repair our own possessions as long as we can buy replacements without too much effort. (We don’t rebuild cars but buy new cars, or repair televisions but buy new televisions, etc.) There are creators of these things; but the ratios are different now, since fewer creators can supply for more consumers.

The ultimate ideology will be largely one spread through mostly illiberal education, since the truly symbolic thought that allows much of the creativity of capitalism can be reserved for a very small fraction of the population. The rest will be taken care of by a subspecies of the larger ideology — a cousin to the mass ideology.

This does not have to be good or bad. Just inevitable.

Liberal Education, a tdaxp series

Liberal Education 1: The Petty Troika
Liberal Education 2: Liberation and Rulesets
Liberal Education 3: Infection
Liberal Education 4: The Mitochondrial Peace

The Scope and Methods of Political Science

You know it’s a good class when you’re upset that it’s not required of all students in the first semester.

This semester I am taking a “research and methods” course which focuses on epistemology in general, and writing a research design in particular. In other words, this class is practical. I was in two classes that required research designs last semester — International Politics and the “interesting” International Law — and in both cases I was essentially flying blind. For I.P. I deconstructed one I found in a journal and came up with something, but it is extremely valuable to know what steps to go through.

I have some writing experience already, but it is very nice to be able to learn the standards and practices of the field that I am supposedly studying.

More of the rant, and my boring notes, below the fold..

While I would have had to take Research Methods (statistics) if not for my previous work (I ended up taking human cognition and instruction instead), if I was King of the Department I would require these three classes of all new graduate students in the first semester

  • Research Methods
  • Scope & Methods
  • Introduction to Political Science

The last one would be a new course, that would spend a week on the major subfields of the discipline (international politics, comparative politics, American politics, etc) and major interdisciplinary opportunities (genetics, educational psychology, geography — of which only genetics even has a prayer here).

Sadly, in the current regime students have to wait until the second semester to take the insanely useful scope & methods class.

But such is life…

Anyway, the boring notes:

Hypotheses and Operationalizations

Preliminary Research Design Due on February 17th
length: 3-5 pages, typed and double spaced
“write a mini version of your research design”

Short Introduction
– 1 paragraph
– research question “Why do people hate Congress?”

Literature Review
– place your work within the existing work
– creswald right on his example, but wrong on his method


“One major approach is the realistic approach…”

“Another approach is…”

use the lit review to anticipate of your research

Research Design
– part 1: describe hypothesis
– part 2: describe methods and operationalizations

So what?


Focus most on intro (1 paragraph), literature, research question, hypothesis, and methods.

“You can talk about the literature in terms of dependent variables and independent variables. This way you can write your topic even if it is new.”

The most important thing is to get a good hypothesis and have already started thinking about how to do this work.


A hypothesis is an assertion of an association between two or more properties
– types of associations are covariation (correlations) and causation

To “prove” causation
1. x has to precede y in time
2. x must be correlated to y (who knows!)
3. Identifies a causal linkage
4. can’t be a spurious relation (no 3rd variable causing both)

4 Different Types of Conditions
1. Necessary Conditions (without x, no y)
2. Sufficient (if x, then must y)
3. Indirect Causation (x -> a -> y)
4.Multiple Causation (x -> y, a -> y, b -> y)

Major Types of Properties
1. Dependent Variable (DV) – must vary, normally called “y”
2. Independent Variable (IV) – “explanatory variable,” causes change in y
3. Intervening Variables – dependent on x, but explains y, conditions relationship
4. Antecedent Conditions – (terminological confusion by van Evera?)

Hypotheses Themselves
Theoretical Population
– the community of interest

Forms of Hypotheses (from handout)
1. As x increases, y tends to increase (or decrease)
2. One category of x implies one category of y, while a different category of x implies a different category of y.
3. One category of x is more likely to imply a category of y than is a different category of x
4. One category of x implies more of y than does a different category of x

Common Errors in Writing Hypotheses
1. poor formulating
– bad: “poor people are alienated from the political system
– good: “poor people are more likely to be alienated from the political system”
– bad: “prejudiced individuals are more likely to believe blacks are inferior”

2. relationship unclear
– bad: “economic development is related to literary levels”
– good: “economic development is positively related to literacy levels”

3. statement lacks generality
– statements should be true across individuals and times

4. words to avoid
– will, might, may, could
– should, ought, better, worse

Example Introduction (?)

Aliens: scary, mysterious, possibly non-existent. The existence of aliens is unknown, but so is the existence of the answer to this question: would aliens hate Congress more than earth-born beings? In this research design, I seek to determine whether a non-extraterrestrial origin of beings correlates to a despisal of the United States Congress..

Of Senators and Seuss

With apologies to Chirol, as well as myself and some others


More below the fold…

Of course, Attorney General can be as bad as the liberals….


In other news, as a South Dakotan living in Nebraska, I am thrilled to announce that (D-SD) and (D-NE) have announced their support for Justice for the Supreme Court. As the other senators of Nebraska (Chuck Hagel) and South Dakota () are Republican, this probably means my states are 4-for-4 “4” confirmation!

The Books Biz Borrowed: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

Review of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by

His name is Christopher John Francis Boone. He knows all the countries of the world and all of their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. And he is the most unlikely hero of any novel I’ve read as long as I can remember.

The Curious Incident is the narrative story of a 15 year old autistic boy that finds his neighbors poodle stabbed through the middle with a garden fork. He sets out to find the dog murderer and has to come to terms with his relationship with his parents.

I have been reading quite a bit about autism lately and Haddons novel seems as true to form as anything I’ve read from the autistic community. The first-person perspective puts you into the brain of this boy and helps to understand how autitistic people think of the world around them, how they interpret their surroundings and go about their daily lives.

For example…

“I said that I wasn’t clever. I was just noticing things how things were, and that wasn’t clever. That was just being observant. Being clever was when you looked at how things were and used the evidence to work out something new. Like the universe expanding, or who committed a murder. Or if you see someones name and you give each letter a value from 1 to 26 (a=1, b=2, etc) and you add the numbers up in your head and you find it makes a prime number, like Jesus Christ(151), OR Scooby-Doo(113) or Sherlock Holmes(163) or Doctor Watson(167).”

The book is filled with mathematical strangeness and examples of how life can be organized like a math problem. Each chapter is a prime number (89, 97, and 101 are consecutive).

I’ve been reading less and less fiction lately, but this is a book that I intend to read again. It is intelligent, moving, and memorable. If you read this book, you will never be able to forget it.

posted by Biz

Liberal Education, Part III: Infection

“Drink and get drunk with me, Melanippos. Why do you suppose
that when you have crossed great Acheron’s
eddying stream you will see the sun’s pure light again?

Alcaeus, “Fragment 38a,”

“A little Learning is a dang’rous Thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring:
There shallow Draughts intoxicate the Brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.”

Alexander Pope, “An Essay on Criticism

“The problem with rules is
they alienate the criminals when whose to say
if what they did was wrong that day.
If you’d open your mind up
you’d see that there is nothing that’s always wrong.”

Pedro the Lion, “Nothing

The petty troika of folk, kin, and trade are genetically driven, and that means they should obey the same rise in genetic factors that Dr. Hibbing has uncovered in his research. Within the context of a particular sex, evidence for genetic correlation of attitudes and beliefs is weak until 20 years of age. After that the relationship increases, until genetics take up 2/3rds of the reason for believing something….

The Sociailizable Moment and the Genetic Lifetime

Therefore, the extent to which concrete thinking deprives a person of meaning begins after the second decade, and gradually increases after that. Liberal education causes cognitive dissonance

The Consistent Moment and the Dissonant Lifetime, under Liberal Education

Liberal education has another main effect: while liberal education relies on generating rulesets, by weaking the existing rulesets of students (which are hitherto focused on obeying authority figures), it decreases the control that adolescents are under and increases their freedom of action. In other words, while liberal education creates cognitively dissonant rulesets among adults, it weakens existing rulesets among adolescents. The effect of this is seen during the emergency of formal, symbolic logic among students, which begins in early adolescence.

Ruleset Strength During Adolescence Collapses Under Liberal Education

The combination of this collapsing ruleset strength combined with a latter increase in cognitive dissonance is dangerous for a society. It creates two separate cadres — adolescents and adults — who are harmed by liberal education in two different ways.

Liberal education, by destroying existing rulesets while not able to create strong new ones, acts like a Leviathan engaged in drive-by cognitive regime change. It is an ideological movement without a SysAdmin follow through. And just as blowing up a country with an incompetent reconstruction effort opens the door to dangerous insurgencies.

In other words, liberal education makes independent thinkers “drunk” on its questioning, without sobering them with more knowledge.

Another analogy: liberal education weakens the cognitive immune system to dangerous memes both during adolescence (when liberal education has smashed an existing, controlling ruleset) and during adulthood (where liberal education forces one to derive meaning from rulesets at all).

Foreign memes excluded by a cognitive immune system

By interfering with the ability of adolescence to adopt socially-stable rulesets, and switching the loyalties of adults from folk, kin, and trade to rulesets, it allows these foreign memes to enter the thought process and become part of an individual’s orientation

As Viri Use RNA to spread their DNA, Memes use Rulesets to Spread Themselves

Of course, people people compose the State, the entry of potentially catastrophic ideologies into the minds of the people enters those same ideas into the cognitive loop of the State

Just as cancer spreads through the body through bone marrow, ideologies spread through the State through societal rulesets

Once these ideologies have entered the mind, either during the weakened immune system of adolescents or during the cognitive dissonance of adulthood, they enter into Darwinian competition against each other in the arena of the wider society.

Liberal Education, a tdaxp series

Liberal Education 1: The Petty Troika
Liberal Education 2: Liberation and Rulesets
Liberal Education 3: Infection
Liberal Education 4: The Mitochondrial Peace

Liberal Education, Part II: Liberation and Rulesets

“The soul’s escaping, through this hole that it’s gaping
This world is mine for the taking
Make me king”

Eminem, “Lose Yourself

“Over and over again this cycle of Destruction and Creation is repeated until we demonstrate internal consistency and match-up with reality.”

John Boyd, “Destruction and Creation

In the previous post I described how kin (one’s family), folk (one’s people), and trade (one’s primary work-task) give identity to humans…


Identity is not just a type of name, a handle for an individual, but is part of the definition of the individual.

Recall what Ortega y Gasset said

I am myself and my circumstance

Or for that matter John Donne

No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine own were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

In other words, while there is a “person” or “self that relates to folk, kin, and trade, folk, kin, and trade are part of the self


In my post on Quality, I had earlier referred to this “self” as “meaningful existence,” so this meaningful self could also be diagrammed as an entity and its attributes


Of course, reality is more complicated than this. These “soft” or implicit relations exist along with “hard” or “explicit” relations, such as being under the police power of the State, being under the military protection of the State, working under the rules set by the State, and living in family structures allowed by the State, etc. Visually:

The Meaningful Existence of the Self and the State

The diagram above would be a good description of Ba’athi Iraq, because it shows “traditional” structures as still meaningful, within the context of the State’s attempted monopolization of violence.

A more developed state will use liberal education, in the context of everything else, to improve its legitimacy. Instead of allowing the petty troika to co-exist with the State’s police and military, the state will attempted to sublimate all things under rule sets generated under the State — rule sets which people will then accept.


The United States and other developed countries are at this stage. Once explicit controls have become implicit, the larger society “just works.” The petty troika has been replaced by generated rulesets that the State finds increases its own power.

The goal of liberal education is to liberate the individual from the petty troika, allowing him to be defined by the generated rulesets he accepts, all within the context of the state


A wider view:


Under liberal education, the self of the citizen focuses on generated rulesets, just as the self of a child may shift from his mother to his nanny.

Through liberal education — through its substitution of the ties of folk, kin, and trade, the State seeks to reinvent the selves of its citizens around rulesets which focus on the State.

Liberal Education, a tdaxp series

Liberal Education 1: The Petty Troika
Liberal Education 2: Liberation and Rulesets
Liberal Education 3: Infection
Liberal Education 4: The Mitochondrial Peace

Get a Job, Hobo

Last month I gave a shout-out to Sibby Online for linking to my pet project, The Jim River Report. Now that Brendan of I Hate Linux has done the same (and harranged me for a return favor as well), I’ll do the same. As reported on another tdaxp blog, Brendan is trying to beg his way to fiscal solvency – or at least blogospheric notoriety.

Considering Brendan is an employed professional pursuing a master’s degree on a company’s dime…

Artist’s Conception of Brendan of “I Hate Linux”

… I’m more sympathetic to the latter quest than the former, but a link to JRR certainly deserves something.

Update I agree with JawsReport, and with ZeonFlash

No digg….because I’m too busy getting ready for WORK