Observations of the Random sort

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Mo
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Mo » 17 Oct 2018, 16:02

JasonL wrote:In coaching and in business decisions and probably in public policy as well, I am a believer in giving the most weight to the quality of reasoning and process of executing plans over a series of decisions that mattered and much less weight to outcomes. This is the Joe Flacco is not better than Dan Marino analysis.

If we are debating an important policy like say healthcare and one guy is just saying 'Socialism always fails!!!!!' that guy isn't serious. If the other side is just "single payer works everywhere!" that isn't serious either. "Here's where we are, here's what doctors are being paid, here's the global norm for comparable services, here's total investment in new stuff, here's what it looks like in price capped places - I value innovation over universality so I think the tradeoffs should be A, B C." That's serious. If that guy tries something and it doesn't work, we can implicate how the tradeoffs worked or failure to see another variable or something, but we would not want to say "socialism fails" guy was right.
I agree. But it’s not like the pro-war crowd covered themselves in glory. Basically it was Saddam = bad guy + 9/11 means anything can happen so we have to get rid of Saddam. Ignoring that Saddam, for the most part, ignored getting involved in international terrorism.
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Jennifer
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Jennifer » 17 Oct 2018, 16:14

Mo wrote:
17 Oct 2018, 16:02
Ignoring that Saddam, for the most part, ignored getting involved in international terrorism.
And ignoring that al-Qaeda and Saddam never got along anyway, and that the UN weapons inspectors in Iraq didn't find the dread WMDs -- yet somehow, the people arguing that we should invade Iraq insist they were wrong for the right reasons and thus have nothing to learn from their mistake which wasn't REALLY a mistake.
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JasonL
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by JasonL » 17 Oct 2018, 16:18

Mo wrote:
17 Oct 2018, 16:02
JasonL wrote:In coaching and in business decisions and probably in public policy as well, I am a believer in giving the most weight to the quality of reasoning and process of executing plans over a series of decisions that mattered and much less weight to outcomes. This is the Joe Flacco is not better than Dan Marino analysis.

If we are debating an important policy like say healthcare and one guy is just saying 'Socialism always fails!!!!!' that guy isn't serious. If the other side is just "single payer works everywhere!" that isn't serious either. "Here's where we are, here's what doctors are being paid, here's the global norm for comparable services, here's total investment in new stuff, here's what it looks like in price capped places - I value innovation over universality so I think the tradeoffs should be A, B C." That's serious. If that guy tries something and it doesn't work, we can implicate how the tradeoffs worked or failure to see another variable or something, but we would not want to say "socialism fails" guy was right.
I agree. But it’s not like the pro-war crowd covered themselves in glory. Basically it was Saddam = bad guy + 9/11 means anything can happen so we have to get rid of Saddam. Ignoring that Saddam, for the most part, ignored getting involved in international terrorism.
Correct. Do not disagree at all. I was more pushing back against what I think is a bad general argument of the form "people who made statements that correspond with how things turned out are 'right' in a way that should conclusively refute reasoning of people who were 'wrong'.

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Aresen
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Aresen » 17 Oct 2018, 16:32

Jennifer wrote:
17 Oct 2018, 16:14
Mo wrote:
17 Oct 2018, 16:02
Ignoring that Saddam, for the most part, ignored getting involved in international terrorism.
And ignoring that al-Qaeda and Saddam never got along anyway, and that the UN weapons inspectors in Iraq didn't find the dread WMDs -- yet somehow, the people arguing that we should invade Iraq insist they were wrong for the right reasons and thus have nothing to learn from their mistake which wasn't REALLY a mistake.
Of course not, if John Bolton gets his war with Iran, the serious people will know it is the right thing to do. And those who point out that it will be an even bigger clusterfuck than Iraq don't understand the realities of the world.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Jennifer » 17 Oct 2018, 16:44

Aresen wrote:
17 Oct 2018, 16:32
Jennifer wrote:
17 Oct 2018, 16:14
Mo wrote:
17 Oct 2018, 16:02
Ignoring that Saddam, for the most part, ignored getting involved in international terrorism.
And ignoring that al-Qaeda and Saddam never got along anyway, and that the UN weapons inspectors in Iraq didn't find the dread WMDs -- yet somehow, the people arguing that we should invade Iraq insist they were wrong for the right reasons and thus have nothing to learn from their mistake which wasn't REALLY a mistake.
Of course not, if John Bolton gets his war with Iran, the serious people will know it is the right thing to do. And those who point out that it will be an even bigger clusterfuck than Iraq don't understand the realities of the world.
If I'm understanding Jason's logic, the only lesson to be learned from the Iraq debacle is that we should trust the US government when they say we really need to invade this small nation -- even when the government's claims are based on bullshit recognizable as bullshit at the time. Because even though the government was wrong, it was wrong for the right reasons. (Dunno exactly what those reasons are -- something about tradeoffs and variables -- but they were RIGHT.)
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JasonL
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by JasonL » 17 Oct 2018, 16:46

YOu don't understand my logic.

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Mo
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Observations of the Random sort

Post by Mo » 17 Oct 2018, 16:53

Jason’s logic is that:
We should invade Iraq because he provides safe harbor to terrorists and our experience with the Taliban in Afghanistan shows that’s no longer a tenable solution
Is a superior argument to:
War is bad

Similarly Jason argues that:
Overthrowing Saddam will create an unstable vacuum where chaos will reign and without a powerful, albeit unsavory, governing body, unmanageable warlords will rule the day able to harbor dangerous elements
Is a superior argument to:
Saddam is bad and killed babies in incubators. We should overthrow him.

He says don’t look at the outcome, look at the argument

Looking at the outcome is when the lottery winner tells you that spending money on Powerball is a good investment because that’s how he got rich.
Last edited by Mo on 17 Oct 2018, 16:53, edited 1 time in total.
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Jennifer
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Jennifer » 17 Oct 2018, 16:54

JasonL wrote:
17 Oct 2018, 16:46
YOu don't understand my logic.
Perhaps I would if you answered my earlier question: what tradeoffs and variables did the wrong-for-the-right reasons Iraq War boosters overlook at the time? Saddam and al-Qaeda's mutual dislike was apparently irrelevant, the UN weapon inspectors' inability to find any of the dread WMDs was irrelevant -- so what were the relevant factors?

Or, conversely, what tradeoffs and variables did the right-for-the-wrong reasons war opponents overlook? (I'm not talking about the knee-jerk "Anything Bush does must be wrong, because it's Bush doing it" types, but the ones who, for example, pointed out that Saddam and al-Qaeda were enemies, or that the UN weapons inspectors found nothing -- why were they wrong to focus on this stuff as opposed to whatever the war supporters kept trumpeting?)
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Mo
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Mo » 17 Oct 2018, 16:57

Jennifer, Jason is saying that just because someone was right, doesn’t mean they are worth listening to. Which frankly, all of us agree on. Some people discard it when the people who are right agree with our priors.
his voice is so soothing, but why do conspiracy nuts always sound like Batman and Robin solving one of Riddler's puzzles out loud? - fod

no one ever yells worldstar when a pet gets fucked up - dhex

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Jennifer
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Jennifer » 17 Oct 2018, 17:01

Mo wrote:
17 Oct 2018, 16:53

He says don’t look at the outcome, look at the argument
Yeah, except the pro-war boosters tended to overlook such arguments as "the UN weapons inspectors have found nothing" and "Saddam and al-Qaeda are not and were not allies." Unless the wrong-for-the-right-reasons guys are now pretending "War is bad" was the ONLY reason anybody opposed the Iraq War at the time? Even those who supported the initial invasion of Afghanistan -- yet when they opposed dragging Iraq into it they were suddenly all a bunch of knee-jerk "war is always bad" hippie pacifists?
Jennifer, Jason is saying that just because someone was right, doesn’t mean they are worth listening to.
Agreed in general -- your Powerball analogy is a good one -- but I'm interested in the specifics of the Iraq War in particular: "War is bad" was NOT the only argument against that war.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by thoreau » 17 Oct 2018, 17:16

"War is bad" is not a sufficient argument, but it should go into the cost-benefit analysis.

Many people pointed to the weakness of the purported evidence for WMD programs, the paucity of evidence that Saddam Hussein was harboring terrorists who would attack the US, and the known antipathy between Saddam Hussein's government and Al Qaeda.

Many people pointed to the likelihood of sectarian and ethnic violence in the aftermath of "victory."

I would say that the biggest mistake of the pro-war crowd was to basically ignore all of these arguments, but I'm not the best one to offer a charitable take on their mistakes. I would be interested in hearing the most charitable possible take on their mistakes. It has to be something other than "People who just say 'war is bad' are not making good arguments." The insufficiency of "War is bad" is a weakness of some elements of the 2002-2003 dovish side, not a weakness of the hawkish camp. What were the mistakes of the hawkish camp?
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by JasonL » 17 Oct 2018, 17:18

I'm not wading into this very far Jennifer because there's no point. What I will say is there are better and worse versions of the invade argument. I had a specific set of concerns and a set of assumptions about the range of potential outcomes. I weighed those incorrectly and was wrong in my assessments, but those lessons are specific to that set of conditions. At a high level I was worried that deterrence of Saddam had effectively fallen to zero based on years of indulgence, that the desert is very large and you can hide anything in there, that his brinkmanship had effectively denied realistic chance of positive verification strategies, and that while his relationship with AQ per se was bad, there are lots of people who might like to copycat the strategy of AQ with a more substantial payload. I didn't see an effective way to deter non state actors through other than military intervention. So, downside of sitting still to me was something like that.

At a high level I made a significantly wrong assumption about the ability of factions to create governing coalitions that would effectively contain the most aggressive bad actors. I was wrong in both the level of damage those bad actors could deal in the near term and, more significantly for long term thinking on this type of thing - I was wrong about the simple willingness of factions to form coalitions to prevent it all from burning down when they had a chance. This is the side of the ledger where I was very naive. I have had to evaluate where my premises here came from and I think it's something like - I have a profound dislike for the idea that "man eats man chaos" is the most probable outcome of "remove the boot standing on people's necks". It's an implicit argument in favor of totalitarianism as being generally better for the human condition and that's really gross. That distaste colored my assessment of the range of outcomes.

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Shem
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Shem » 17 Oct 2018, 17:26

Jennifer wrote:
17 Oct 2018, 16:54
Perhaps I would if you answered my earlier question: what tradeoffs and variables did the wrong-for-the-right reasons Iraq War boosters overlook at the time?
He didn't answer because he's not actually interested in having that argument, wasn't trying to start it, and clarified that he didn't actually mean it that way when Mo asked him about the post that seemed to argue it. He was using it as an analogy.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Jennifer » 17 Oct 2018, 18:45

thoreau wrote:
17 Oct 2018, 17:16
I'm not the best one to offer a charitable take on their mistakes.
I'd personally be a lot more charitable to the McArdle-esque "We were wrong, but for the right reasons" types if they'd remove the second clause of their sentence, and also remove the second clause from the "You were right, but for the wrong reasons" when talking to those of us who were not knee-jerk anti-war, but said "Yeah, invading Afghanistan was the right call because they no-shit are harboring Bin Laden, but dragging Iraq into it will be a spectacularly bad mistake, for reasons which are still being debated here in 2002 or '03, but will be obvious to all but the most hardcore John Bolton types by the time 2008 or 2009 rolls around." IOW, to those of us who were right for the right reasons.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Jake » 17 Oct 2018, 18:56

INTERMISSION.

I interrupt this discussion just to say that I wish you'd all move to Oregon and run for governmental positions. While reading this discussion, I've been once again reminded that you Grylliader types tend to think longer and deeper about policy consequences than a goodly number of the real-life politicos I know. I think that if you were in a government *I* lived under, whether I disagreed with your conclusions or not, I could feel pretty damned secure about the amount of consideration and fact-weighing that went into your decisions.

Additionally, and maybe above all, even when you get riled up with each other (or me!), it's eminently clear that you are generally coming from a position of "it's important to base decisions on facts, even when those facts are inconvenient for my favored outcomes". Right or wrong, agree or disagree, I wish more people in real life (especially those in positions of power) could discuss things like I so often see here on the Gryll.

(When I'm swept into office as Benevolent Emperor of Cascadia, you'll all be in my cabinet, yes? Please say yes.)

We now return you to your regularly scheduled discussion. :)

END OF INTERMISSION.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Aresen » 17 Oct 2018, 22:16

Jake wrote:
17 Oct 2018, 18:56
I interrupt this discussion just to say that I wish you'd all move to Oregon and run for governmental positions. While reading this discussion, I've been once again reminded that you Grylliader types tend to think longer and deeper about policy consequences than a goodly number of the real-life politicos I know. I think that if you were in a government *I* lived under, whether I disagreed with your conclusions or not, I could feel pretty damned secure about the amount of consideration and fact-weighing that went into your decisions.

Additionally, and maybe above all, even when you get riled up with each other (or me!), it's eminently clear that you are generally coming from a position of "it's important to base decisions on facts, even when those facts are inconvenient for my favored outcomes". Right or wrong, agree or disagree, I wish more people in real life (especially those in positions of power) could discuss things like I so often see here on the Gryll.
Why do you hate America, Jake?
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Mo » 18 Oct 2018, 04:54

You say this now Jake, but wait until we spend 8 hours in a city council meeting trying to ban mayo.
his voice is so soothing, but why do conspiracy nuts always sound like Batman and Robin solving one of Riddler's puzzles out loud? - fod

no one ever yells worldstar when a pet gets fucked up - dhex

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Jennifer
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Jennifer » 18 Oct 2018, 05:15

Mo wrote:
18 Oct 2018, 04:54
You say this now Jake, but wait until we spend 8 hours in a city council meeting trying to ban mayo.
Whoa there now, Mo. Mayonnaise's bad reputation is not its fault, but due to decades of ignorant misuse: it's supposed to be an ingredient, not a condiment.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Ellie » 18 Oct 2018, 10:31

Mo wrote:
18 Oct 2018, 04:54
You say this now Jake, but wait until we spend 8 hours in a city council meeting trying to ban mayo.
*already preparing to show up and disrupt the debate* MAYO 4 LIFE
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Aresen
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Aresen » 18 Oct 2018, 10:58

Whole council meetings spent on abortion, daylight savings time, and the oxford comma.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Mo » 18 Oct 2018, 11:48

I don't think anyone here is pro DST
his voice is so soothing, but why do conspiracy nuts always sound like Batman and Robin solving one of Riddler's puzzles out loud? - fod

no one ever yells worldstar when a pet gets fucked up - dhex

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thoreau
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by thoreau » 18 Oct 2018, 11:49

The real debate is over whether the entire world should just be one big time zone.
"ike Wile E. Coyote salivating over a "4000 Ways To Prepare Roadrunner" cookbook without watching his surroundings, the Road Runner of Societal Inertia snuck up on them both and beepbeeped them off the mesa."
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tr0g
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by tr0g » 18 Oct 2018, 12:15

Aresen wrote:
18 Oct 2018, 10:58
Whole council meetings spent on abortion, daylight savings time, and the oxford comma.
At least while we're pedanting out on the oxford comma, we're not passing legislation.

Also, mayo is both a condiment and an ingredient and infinitely superior to Miracle Whip.
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JasonL
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by JasonL » 18 Oct 2018, 12:22

Mo wrote:I don't think anyone here is pro DST
I’m team people make too big of a deal about it.

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nicole
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by nicole » 18 Oct 2018, 12:41

Mo wrote:
18 Oct 2018, 11:48
I don't think anyone here is pro DST
I thought I was the only one who was anti DST
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