The reality of the lizard people

One of the loonier and more wonderful conspiracy theories floating around the Internet is it many of the world’s elite are shapeshifting lizardoid extraterrestrials. This explainer seems to sum it up pretty well.

When I first encountered this idea I was gobsmacked. How could anyone actually believe such a thing? And yet, apparently, many people do – millions of them, if polls on the topic are to be believed.

How humans form and maintain insane beliefs when there are plenty of objective reasons to know better is, I fear, a topic of continuing fascination to me. If only because when contagious and totalizing forms of insanity like Marxism or supernaturalist religions motivate the behavior of mobs they pose a significant threat to my survival.

The lizard-people theory isn’t in that class of danger, but I think cases like it and (for example) flat-Earthism are worth analysis precisely because they’re so implausible and still manage to attract adherents. Extremes like this can be revealing about mechanisms that are harder to see closer to the ordinary.

And indeed when I was mulling over lizard-people theory a few years ago I think I really did get a significant insight about the psychology of belief and what lizard-people conspiracy theory actually means.

Many years ago I read a penetrating analysis of UFOlogy arguing that the reports of people who believed themselves UFO contactees or witnesses were expressing the same sorts of psychological drama that in past centuries would gave been coded as religious experiences – eruptions of nigh-incomprehensible powers into the mundane world.

In this telling, to understand UFO reports and the weird little subculture that has grown up around their believers, you need to understand that for those people the imagery of the cheesiest sort of B-movie science fiction has taken up the same receptors in their minds that religious mythology does for the conventionally devout. What they are really grappling with is mystical experience – altered states of consciousness, mindstorms that are very real phenomena in themselves but one which they lack any context to understand in a rational and generative way.

When I remembered this, I found a fruitful question to ask. That is, what is it about their experience of reality that believers in lizard people are coding in this cheesy SFnal imagery? What are they actually trying to talk about?

The answer came to me almost immediately once I managed to formulate the question. That was the moment at which I realized that, barring one unimportant detail, lizard-people theory is actually true.

The unimportant detail is the part about the lizard people being actual extraterrestrials. But let’s look at the rest of it. The believer says: Our elites behave as though they are heavily infiltrated by beings hostile to the interests of ordinary humans. They hide behind a mask of humanity but they have alien minds. They are predators and exploiters, cunning at hiding their nature – but sometimes the mask slips.

Nothing about this is in any way wrong, once you realize that “lizard” is code for “sociopath”. Sociopaths do, differentially, seek power over others, and are rather good at getting it. The few studies that have dared to look have found they are concentrated in political and business elites where drive and ruthlessness are rewarded.

“Lizard” is actually a rather clever code, if you happen to know your evolutionary neuroanatomy. Oversimplifying a little, humans have an exceptionally elaborate neocortex wrapped around a monkey brain wrapped around a lizard brain. The neocortex does what we are pleased to consider higher cognitive functions, the monkey brain does emotions and social behavior, and the lizard brain does territoriality/aggression/dominance.

What is wrong with sociopaths (and psychopaths – these categories are not clearly distinguished) is not entirely clear, but it is certain that their ability to experience emotions is damaged. The monkey brain is compromised; sociopaths live more in their lizard brain and display a lizard-like ability to go from flat affect to aggressive violence and back again in two blinks of an eye.

So, yeah, aliens. We have a live conspiracy theory because a lot of people can sense the alienness in their sociopathic/psychopathic bosses and politicians – and sometimes the mask slips. Not having any grasp of the language of abnormal psychology, they reach for the nearest metaphor handy. There’s a close relative of lizard-people theory in which which many of our elites are held to be members of an ancient Satanic conspiracy and have become demon-ridden; this is different language carrying the same freight.

It’s not really clear that knowing the language of abnormal psychology would help much. Yes, it might enable people to shed their incidentally nutty beliefs about actual extraterrestrials or demons, but it wouldn’t solve the actual problem that either kind of nutty language is pointing at.

Actually, “lizardoid alien” has useful connotative freight that “sociopath” lacks. Sociopaths are good at manipulating the rest of us precisely because they have an outside view of human emotion – it’s mostly just mechanism to them, knobs and levers they’re not involved in. The SFnal mythology encodes knowledge that the sterile psychological term does not.

Still, neither term solves the actual problem. Which is that we don’t keep the sociopaths, the hostile aliens, away from the levers of power. Indeed, human power hierarchies often reward sociopathic behavior with competitive success.

Maybe we can make a start on that exclusions by understanding the sociopaths to be hostile aliens who need to be identified, othered, and thwarted. So, since explaining this to some of my friends, I’ve taken to using the term “lizard people” when I mean sociopaths, the uncaring predatory monsters who reveal themselves by seeking domination over others.

It’s a start, anyway.

215 thoughts on “The reality of the lizard people

  1. “ the reports of people who believed themselves UFO contactees or witnesses were expressing the same sorts of psychological drama that in past centuries would gave been coded as religious experiences – eruptions of nigh-incomprehensible powers into the mundane world.”

    LOL did you already forget you’re the avatar of the god Pan?

    But seriously, you keep coming up with just-so stories to justify the dehumanization of your enemies. (“It’s not dehumanizing them if they *are* less-than-human!” I can already hear you responding). Who’s the actual sociopath here?

  2. https://imdb.com/title/tt0086822/

    See also the Adipose aliens from Dr. Who. Except slimmed down.

    Note that people buy insurance from geckos these days.

    That said, my TZ’s razor is that if clear proof can be given, if the person will give up their “conspiracy theory”, they are still on the side of reason.

    It was Chesterton that noted the insane have answers for everything. “If I WAS Napoleon, what do you think they would do?”.

    An example: Did MEN go to the moon. Consider a denier. I can prove retroreflectors are at the sites. Assume we can board a rocket and go into very low orbit. And can see footprints, the bottom part of the LEM, the tiretracks from the moonbuggy. Will you then change your mind?

    If the answer is yes, honestly yes, then it is within reason.

    Before you go too far in the other direction, consider quarks and chrodynamic forces. It is an explanation why WE CANNOT SEE naked quarks. Should I reject the theory?

    The smoke and fog usually happen regarding something palentoligical or historical. If there are no written records? If there are are they reliable or fiction? How can we know the age with any certianty (I’m not denying sequence, but it seems they wish to say the meteor that killed the dinosaurs hit on November 23rd, at 2:43 PM GMT).

    As an engineer (dealing with analog), I have to deal with ERROR terms. And whether the error can be cleaned or swamps the data. Theoretically you can determine displacement from acceleration, given perfect accuracy or precision. In the real world before a few minutes you will be travelling faster than light. And error is more than mere noise. So when someone says the earth is 4.5 Billion years old, without a +/-, I’m immediately skeptical.

    The proper questions is “How certain are we” of a stated fact. “How accurate” is the number.

    • On the other hand, how cool would it be if we had that kind of precision for the Dinosaur Killer? If that number holds for ten years, kudos to those guessers. And by making it as precise as possible, they are playing fair and giving their competition a clear target.

    • People buy insurance from lizards because insurance is so boring that the only way advertise it is to be funny. All the big insurance companies do this to a greater or lesser extent. The ads are about what they can do for you, sure, but most of them are also rather goofy – even the ones like progressive that kind of make a joke of the whole subject.

    • >The proper questions is “How certain are we” of a stated fact.

      Something like this, yes. Example. CERN/LHC stated that they found the Higgs Boson. Now I know little about this kind of science, but it isn’t a “look, that fscker is hiding over in that corner!” kind of thing but rather a lot of statistical data you can interpret this way, that way. And one thing I do know is humans. There are high ranking people, generally not hands-on scientists, whose decided to spend a huge amount of money on the LHC and whose career and reputation depends on convincing the public that it was money well spent. So they have to deliver some kind of a cool succes story to the public. So they are going to put a lot of pressure on the hands-on scientists to intepret their data in an optimistic way. They are NOT asked to lie in the literal sense, to falsify the measurements, their professional honor would not allow that.

      But the thing is, experts tend to only care about facts, data, and not about stories or intepretations. The public only cares about stories and interpretations. So the top ranking guys can tell the scientists: “Look, we have to present a much dumbed-down story to the public anyway. They cannot understand all this complicated data. Is it too much to ask to write an as optimistic interpretation – one that is still within the range of possibilities – as possible? It would really help with securing future funding?”

      So I think something like this happens. This means that one should not simply believe or not believe whether they found the HB but rather say I believe it with 80% certainty. Or, rather, not care about the simplified story at all. But that makes communicating with average people kinda hard.

      • This means that one should not simply believe or not believe whether they found the HB but rather say I believe it with 80% certainty.

        I think it’s a bit more complicated than that. The question is not “did they find the Higgs Boson or not, and with what confidence?” The question is, “if the LHC data are not explained by the Higgs Boson being a real thing, what other explanations are there?”

        A lot of data analysis in physics (and in other sciences to the extent they are actual sciences and not politicized) is about ruling out alternative hypotheses. But of course you have to already have some knowledge of what the hypothesis space even is, to do that. The physicists analyzing the LHC data are not, for example, taking any time to rule out the hypothesis that actual lizard aliens zapped some kind of alien rays inside the apparatus to queer the data. But they have certainly ruled out a lot of hypotheses of the form “we did the statistical analysis wrong” or “there was something wrong with the experimental apparatus”.

        So it’s not really a matter of whether or not you “believe” that they found the Higgs Boson, in isolation. It’s not a question of whether the data actually say the Higgs Boson was found, or are just random noise. The random noise hypothesis had already been ruled out with extremely high confidence before anything about the LHC results went public. The alternatives are more like “either the LHC data confirm that the Higgs Boson exists, or our entire understanding of particle physics as embodied in the Standard Model is wrong”. And the probability of the latter hypothesis, given all of the other experimental data that confirms the Standard Model to high precision, is a lot, lot less than 1 minus 80% or so.

        Anyway, the real question with the LHC is not whether or not it found the Higgs Boson, but why hasn’t it found anything else? *That* is what has so many physicists scratching their heads; pretty much all of them were confidently expecting signs of some significant new physics beyond the current Standard Model–supersymmetry was a popular candidate–and so far there have been absolutely none.

        • why hasn’t it found anything else?

          This, btw, points at a much better, IMO, way of looking at the “storytelling” vs. “facts” dichotomy that TheDividualist is describing. It’s not that the physicists fudge about what has already been found, with the LHC or any previous experiment. By the time they announce that some prediction of theory has actually been confirmed, they’ve already done all the necessary homework; they’re not trying to skimp on that.

          What they *are*, IMO, fudging is the level of confidence in what the *next* discovery will be, if only they get more funding for the next big experiment. As I said, pretty much all high energy physicists were confidently predicting that the LHC would find evidence of new physics beyond the Standard Model, and that confident expectation on their part was a significant factor in getting the LHC funded. And now all they have is the discovery of the Higgs, which, although it’s nice to have the last predicted particle of the Standard Model confirmed, does nothing to tell us where to go from here.

          So the proper thing to lower your confidence in is not what physicists say has already been confirmed, but what they predict will be next to be discovered.

    • “What evidence would change your mind?” is the classic Yudkowskian rationality, but it has problems. People doubt something because they have objections, that is, some kind of counter-evidence. Presenting strong evidence in favor of something while counter-evidence exist end up leaving one in a confused state of mind – what explains the counter-evidences, then? So it is better to start with addressing counter-evidence. It might be harder, but it is better.

      It is kind of similar to: never dismiss someone’s anecdotal evidence against some scientific finding by saying anecdotes aren’t data. Explain those anecdotes. The purpose of science is to explain experiences, not to dismiss them.

      • “People doubt something because they have objections, that is, some kind of counter-evidence.”

        Quite often the objections have to do with the conclusions, not the data. The archetypical case is the Creationist’s case. No amount of data can sway the faithful.

        • >Quite often the objections have to do with the conclusions, not the data.

          IDK. Metaphysically speaking, the creationists have their own, internally-consistent explanations for that data, just built on different foundational assumptions. It’s worth remembering that *all* of science is built on top of a number of unproven foundational assumptions.

          • And you don’t see how these could be post-hoc rationalizations to preserve a dearly held belief which is challenged by empirical data?

            Another example is global warming denialism. The effects of global warming imply that unfettered market activity is a cause of, rather than a solution to, major problems in society, so rather than re-evaluate their dearly held beliefs, conservatives and libertarians simply deny the facts which challenge them.

            • Come on, you know you are not being honest on global warming. It is an issue on which everybody is following their own politics, not just the right. From the very beginning, the idea caught among people who were already strongly left-leaning, practically all the proposals to fix it were strongly left-leaning, not even politically neutral ones (nuclear) and so on. The whole has been from the very beginning so over-politicized and never some kind of an apolitical pure-science thing that it is impossible that the right would not see it as a political attack. If its advocates would have put nuclear energy on the list of things that can fix it, that would have looked like a neutral position. But from the very beginning the position was that we are consuming too much and our sins of consumerism are fscking the environment. How could anyone who is not a pre-existing leftist take that seriously? The basic minimum requirement global warming to be a politically neutral thing would have been focusing on, say, research into alternative energy and not on denouncing the two-car garage lifestyle. The issue with GW issue is that from the very beginning the idea was that our living standards have to become lower, our energy consumption has to become lower, not only cleaner. So it smacked of ascetism from the very beginning.

              A year before Greta appeared it was actually dying of this over-politicization: https://archive.fo/NcW8x

              • Global warmunism *is* religion. It requires belief in that which cannot be proven with science, it has its own prophets (Gore, DiCrapio, Thunberg), and it torments non-believers.

              • “Come on, you know you are not being honest on global warming. It is an issue on which everybody is following their own politics, not just the right.”

                On the one hand we have science and observations (warmest year in history etc). On the other hand we have denial and accusations of fraud and lying.

                Tobacco and Creationism all over again.

                • The science and observations you have don’t support the conclusions you wish to draw — you have no answer to the argument “maybe it’s just a natural warming trend, like have happened all over dozens of times before”. The conclusions you wish to draw have no science or observations in support — the very best case requires appealing to a bunch of dodgy computer models that there’s no real reason to trust.

                  But do go on about who’s being rational.

                • On the one hand we have science and observations (warmest year in history etc).

                  On the other we have the continuous failure of its predictions. Or are you going to argue that New York City’s West Side Highway and numerous small island nations really are underwater?

                  B.T.W., in practice “warmest year in history” can be arbitrary declared:

                  It was cold where you live? We’re talking about global averages.

                  Your data base on weather stations doesn’t agree? We need to correct for bias in weather station placement using our secret formula.

                  • > Your data base on weather stations doesn’t agree? We need to correct for bias in weather station placement using our secret formula.

                    Which, by the way, is based on a climate model, all of which are built on the assumptions that the past was cooler, the present is warmer, and CO2 must cause warming.

                    Most weather stations are also poorly sited–often next to an artificial heat source, which exacerbates the problem even more.

                    • > The climate models have been enormously successful in their predictions.

                      So successful that measured GAT fell out of the 95% confidence range for the IPCC model sheaf 6 years ago. If these clowns were actually doing science that would have triggered a massive, basic re-evaluation. It didn’t, of course.

                    • “So successful that measured GAT fell out of the 95% confidence range for the IPCC model sheaf 6 years ago.”

                      Yeah yeah. Read the papers. For predicting warming, you need to predict the driving CO2 concentrations, which depend on economic growth (which is difficult to predict, as we have seen) and the uptake of the oceans, which themselves are a chaotic system. The link between CO2 levels and global temperature were pretty well established in the 1970s (see link above). And that is what counts.

                      That we still have difficulties predicting how people will emit greenhouse gasses has nothing to do with Climate Science, but with economics (and some oceanography).

                      But I remember you have a rather limited grasp of CO2 chemistry as you so eloquently exposed earlier:
                      http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=6607

                      But this is not about the science, but about your ideology which cannot accept a global problem unsolvable by free markets/libertarianism.

                    • >But I remember you have a rather limited grasp of CO2 chemistry as you so eloquently exposed earlier:
                      http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=6607

                      Oh? My prediction in that post was correct.

                      More correct than the CAGW models have been since 2013, for sure.

                    • Ok, so Manhattan and the Maldives are underwater, good to know.

                • > Tobacco and Creationism all over again.

                  Every time with you NPC alarmists, it’s the same tired old arguments. “You deniers are just like tobacco companies denying that smoking causes lung cancer. You deniers are just like neo-Nazi Holocaust deniers. You deniers are just like a bunch of Bible-thumping young-Earth creationists. You deniers are just like the people who doubted that CFCs caused ozone-hole depletion.” ad nauseam.

                  Can’t you stop attacking us personally and start actually at least trying to refute our arguments? Our real arguments, not the ones you imagine we have.

                • On the one hand we have science and observations (warmest year in history etc). On the other hand we have denial and accusations of fraud and lying.

                  In 2012, the Wall Street Journal wrote an article titled “July was hottest month on record”, stating that US continental temperatures finally exceeded the historical peak of 1936’s dust bowl: “In July, the average temperature in the lower 48 states, calculated using the average for each day, was 77.6 degrees [Fahrenheit]—3.3 degrees warmer than the 20th-century average, NOAA said. The previous warmest July was in 1936, at the height of the Dust Bowl, when the average temperature was 77.4 degrees, NOAA said.”

                  If we go to the NOAA website today and look at their series for the Contiguous US, the line for July 2012 now reads that the temperature average was 76.77°F; looking a few lines higher we see that 1936’s all time record was … 76.80 degrees???

                  I don’t know about you, but it’s certainly understandable that an article written just after (Aug 8) the 2012 record month might see a revision … but any revision of truly historical records from the 30’s makes claims of support from “science and observation” quite laughable — and accusations of fraud plausible.

          • “It’s worth remembering that *all* of science is built on top of a number of unproven foundational assumptions.”

            Science is build on the assumption that reasonable people can agree on shared observations. All people can agree on the moon being full, the tide being high or that it is raining where they stand.

            On this assumption, experiments can be build. And experiments give certain results and not others.

            Scientific arguments can be resolved by observations. And observations all reasonable people can agree upon.

            Religious arguments cannot be resolved by anything but power or fashion. Whether or not Mary was a virgin or Sunday is God’s chosen day cannot be resolved in any way that all people will agree upon.

            When you go into their arguments, it always boils down to the fact that Creationists deny certain observations. Mainly, that any evidence of an old earth must be false.

            • > Science is build on the assumption that reasonable people can agree on shared observations.

              No. Science is built on the assumption that the universe is rationally knowable: that the universe follows certain rules and that these rules can be discovered. For the early Christian and Deist scientists, this followed from the belief that God ordered the universe and doesn’t change the rules on a whim. For ESR, the very existence of God is anathema to rational knowability–because what’s stopping God from changing the rules on a whim? But I digress.

              This foundation is solid and objective. Your foundational assumption is based on the subjective experiences of everyone involved, and is therefore slippery and unstable.

              • There is an interesting difference between the idea that the universe is rationally knowable and the idea that it is rationally knowable *for us*.

                This second part is actually pretty weird. There are brains evolved to be able to tell what to eat, fight, fuck or flee from, and then at some point these brains do quantum physics. Are they really supposed to do that? A deist type of possibility just pops out.

                Well, I suppose for those atheists who not only do not think a god exists but positively do not want him to exist, it must be reassuring that beyond a certain point these evolved brains do not actually understand the universe all that well. I mean stuff like the Copenhagen Interpretation. That is a flat out admission of not understanding certain stuff and remains so for 90+ years. 20th century science seems to point at a less rationally knowable universe than 19th century science.

                • “There is an interesting difference between the idea that the universe is rationally knowable and the idea that it is rationally knowable *for us*.”

                  It is crucial to remember that this is really “us”, not “I” or “You”. Humanity as a whole knows much more than each of us individually. As long as the number of scientists does not decrease, science, and “us”, will know increasingly more.

                  Indeed, and we already know for sure that “us” will not be able to know everything about the universe.

                  But not being perfect does not have to stop us from getting as far as we can. So science prods on to see how far we can go.

                • The universe is provably intelligible. Any Turing machine is compatible with any other Turing machine. Human brains are Turing complete. The universe is a form of Turing machine. QED.

                  I recently realized Science is actually based on forcing humans to stop lying. For the most part we all know what the experiment is going to ‘reveal’. However, most lie about it. Without the experiment, it’s extraordinarily difficult to embarrass the liars properly. The power of Science is forcing humans to verbally make plans based on what they genuinely believe is going to happen, instead of whatever happens to be politically convenient for them individually.

                  • Any Turing machine is compatible with any other Turing machine. Human brains are Turing complete. The universe is a form of Turing machine. QED.

                    Any Turing machine is compatible with any other Turing machine. The Rule 110 cellular automaton is Turing Complete. Rule 110 can be implemented using nothing but glass beads. Therefore, glass beads are a universal Turning machine.

                    Uh, I think there’s a mistake in the logic somewhere….

                    • Glass beads plus a computer to do the actual implementing is a computer. You are stating that I’m saying that glass beads just lying on a table somewhere is a computer.

                    • @Alrenous:

                      Glass beads plus a computer to do the actual implementing is a computer.

                      Also Alrenous, in an earlier post:

                      Any Turing machine is compatible with any other Turing machine. Human brains are Turing complete. The universe is a form of Turing machine.

                      Obvious glass beads floating in a void with no surrounding universe aren’t a Turing machine. Unless you mean something other than what Alan Turing did in naming something a Turing Machine (from The Undecidable: “a single machine which can be used to compute any computable sequence”), then simply being embedded in a universe with human brains — ye, even without interacting with the beads — should suffice. After all, the compatibility of all Turing machines strongly implies I don’t need a second such machine to implement calculations…

                    • Glass beads need an energy supply and something to structure their motion to be a Turing machine.
                      I.e. glass beads plus a Turing machine is a Turing machine. So no, the fact that [glass beads without a Turing machine] finds the universe incomprehensible is no way relevant to the fact that human brains find the universe comprehensible in principle.

            • “Science is build on the assumption that reasonable people can agree on shared observations.”

              Sure, among many others, including that there isn’t an intelligent actor involved in the system.

      • Explain those anecdotes.

        Except the scientist most likely wasn’t there at the event described by the anecdote and has nearly no data about it. Some of the most cringeworthy statements I’ve ever heard coming from scientists have been attempts to explain away anecdotes under these circumstances. These tend to involve concepts like “hypnosis”, “mass hysteria”, or “shared mass hallucination”. But if you want to try your hand at explaining, how would you explain the event that occurred near Fatima, Portugal on October 13, 1917?

  3. It’s not really clear that knowing the language of abnormal psychology would help much. Yes, it might enable people to shed their incidentally nutty beliefs about actual extraterrestrials or demons, but it wouldn’t solve the actual problem that either kind of nutty language is pointing at.

    Actually I suspect using more accurate language would paint a huge target on one’s back. The “lizard people” language is useful because it makes the speaker sound like a harmless nut.

  4. Maybe we can make a start on that exclusions by understanding the sociopaths to be hostile aliens who need to be identified, othered, and thwarted.

    Good luck designing a process to do that, which is not going to easily get hijacked by sociopaths. Even now one is more likely to get called a sociopath/psychopath in politics for fighting against the lizard people with any degree of effectiveness, than for being one.

    P.S. Are you intentionally rate-limiting comments?

    • As someone who was once trained as a therapist, I know that a BIG problem in the therapy community is weeding out sociopaths who are drawn to the power therapist wield, the trust given them and the protective coloration they enjoy as “insiders.” I once worked for a psychiatrist who spent seven years in part-time law school so he could get more work testifying for the prosecution in death penalty cases.
      Sociopaths can mimic human emotions they rarely, if ever, feel. The foundation text on sociopathy, the Kernigan and Ritchie of the field is Dr Herve Cleckly’s book, THE MASK OF SANITY. Not the use of the word “mask.” Cleckly could just as easily called it THE MASK OF HUMANITY.

      • Despite the latest movie featuring her being trash, I’m a big fan of Harley Quinn and in particular her relationship with the Joker. One of the reasons why is because before becoming the Joker’s moll, she was his psychiatrist.

        How many times has this played out in real life in mental hospitals? Maybe the doctor-patient relationships are not normally as sexually charged as Joker and Harley’s is, but psychiatrists in general have historically been unprepared to deal with sociopathy, choosing instead to see their patients as good people who haven’t learned to properly deal with psychological trauma. That’s a vulnerability the sociopath can sniff out and exploit.

        Sociopaths can mimic human emotions they rarely, if ever, feel.

        Indeed. A huge problem high-functioning autists like myself have to struggle with is this notion that “autistic/Asperger’s people lack empathy”. Hans Asperger himself referred to the syndrome bearing his name as “autistic psychopathy”. (And then he, being so full of empathy, sent those children who failed to fake empathy to his satisfaction to Spiegelgrund, where they would be cruelly experimented on and/or killed.)

        Judith Butler and the gender theorists — whatever their other sins, and they are many — gave us that wonderful word, “performance”. They used it in relation to gender, but to allistic people, empathy is performance. It mainly consists of performing the right gestures and saying the right things in the right tone of voice. Adopting the right posture. If you do not do these things, then no matter how much you care for another person (or animal, autists form close bonds with animals) or what you do to help them, you are judged to “lack empathy”.

        Meanwhile, the sociopath, who is so emotionally benighted as to actually lack empathy, or even the simple capability to share joy with another person, wins hearts and minds among allistics because of their ability to effortlessly put on the right emotional performance. Ugh.

        • >Judith Butler and the gender theorists — whatever their other sins, and they are many — gave us that wonderful word, “performance”.

          Interestingly, the intersection of Manosphere and NRx also came up with something similar – that we are all dancing monkeys. Human cooperation requires performing certain monkey dances.

          And this is not the first time I see somewhat similar ideas invented by completely opposite worldviews. Most people just dismiss it as the horseshoe-effect of extremes, but I think there is something else going on: a lot of quite cynical ideas are true, but being a cynic is low-status. And people use three different strategies to cope with that.

          One side, mine is basically putting the cynical ideas out there and just deal with it being low-status. The other extreme, leftist idealists, put them out (I think usually explain them wrong but that is beside the point now) and basically do it in a tone of horror or indignation, basically in the tone that these need to be fixed. But the important part is the third group of people, who is almost everybody, the normies in the center, who are just going to flat out deny the cynical ideas. That way, they don’t get the status-loss cynics get, and they don’t have to deal with the very uncomfortable radical idealists saying everything they know and love is bad and needs to be torn down.

          Anyway, it was a bit offtopic, just wanted to say that these are the three ways to deal with stuff like performance. You either accept it and get labeled a bitter cynic, you get indignant over it, or you flat out deny it.

          I don’t think Asperger means lack of empathy. I have a diagnosis too. When the shrink asked me does it bother me if other people suffer I said of course it does. So she asked what would I do about it? I said I would ask them to please go and suffer somewhere else.

          That is, empathy is a concept that is today oversimplified. Its root is to predict the actions of others, something every warlord needed to have. Then from that comes sympathetic pain. Aspergers are not incapable of feeling sympathetic pain. Actually I think you are a political idealist precisely because you feel too much of it. And there is the third aspect of how one reacts to it, what one does.

          My view of Asperger is this. The Girardians and generative anthropologists are right, an incredibly huge amount of human behavior is imitation. A normie, especially a not very intelligent normie can go through life performing nothing but imitation. When Socrates talked about the examined life it was all about trying to emerge from pure mindless imitation. The Sperg is not good at imitation. I don’t know why. Consider the most obvious kind of imitation, learning a sport, a dance, a martial art. Just imitate the teacher. When I was a kid I didn’t know why it goes so badly, as an adult I realized I have to ask the teacher to show me not only how to do it right but also what I do badly because I have no idea where my limbs are. (Protip: every school should have big mirrors in the gym for this reason.) I *think* I am imitating others but in reality I have no idea what I am doing. I think this extends to gesture, posture, tone. Some kind of a feedback is missing. I think it largely reduces to failing at imitation because not knowing what is one actually doing hence not knowing how to correct it.

      • The field also seems to attract people who are terrible at human relationships without being actual sociopaths. I once was friends with a woman whom I eventually decided was spoilt, self-centred and toxic. Loved playing games. She had a superficial gaiety and charm that fooled people for a while. She floored me by announcing she was studying to be a grief counsellor. I swore on the spot that I would never risk consulting a counsellor at my most vulnerable period if that’s the kind of person who could get away with qualifying.

    • Good luck designing a process to do that, which is not going to easily get hijacked by sociopaths. Even now one is more likely to get called a sociopath/psychopath in politics for fighting against the lizard people with any degree of effectiveness, than for being one.

      Yep. Problem with fighting narcissists and sociopaths is that to be effective or at least get to lose-lose equilibrium, you have to become like them. So they win anyway.

      I find it interesting that as of two months ago it was like a wave of people suddenly woke up and became aware of narcissism, BPD, etc. This article by esr was about sociopathy, but it shares the same spectrum as the narcissism/borderline personality stuff.

      • Yep. Problem with fighting narcissists and sociopaths is that to be effective or at least get to lose-lose equilibrium, you have to become like them. So they win anyway.

        No they don’t. A narcissist isn’t fighting for “team narcissism”, he’s fighting for himself.

        • A narcissist “wins” when they cause you pain or degrade you in some way. For a non-narcissist to become like a narcissist is painful, degrading, and distasteful. This is what I meant about them winning when you become like them. Not in any way implying they are fighting for “team narcissism”

          • You don’t have to become (or act like) a sociopath/narcissist in order to fight back against one.

            The best solution is to set things up so the other people around you notice them, too. Once you realize what they are, they’re easy to counter. The one thing you have to do is make sure that they don’t realize it’s one person who’s setting up the situation.

            The more it looks like random chance taking them down, the faster they’re going to fall apart and move on.

            • Yes, but. . . I think you underestimate the human propensity to be willingly deceived. Consider that a Socialist (al la Lenin, Castro, and Maduro) is the presumptive Democratic nominee for President.

              IF the 20th Century ISN’T an convincing argument that all forms of Socialist/Marxist/Totalitarian/Command Economy States reliably produce cesspools of human suffering, THEN no convincing argument is possible.

              People want to believe that their chosen Sociopath will do better this time, so they choose to believe, evidence be damned.

              • Yes, but. . . I think you underestimate the human propensity to be willingly deceived. Consider that a Socialist (al la Lenin, Castro, and Maduro) is the presumptive Democratic nominee for President.

                Winter said something downthread about people biting the hand that wants to feed them…

              • “Consider that a Socialist (al la Lenin, Castro, and Maduro) is the presumptive Democratic nominee for President.”

                Meanwhile, a narcissist kleptocrat who boasts about shortchanging his employees every way he can, has been chosen as a president by people complaining about having no economic outlook in life.

                It works both ways.

                • We must presume that the “narcissist kleptocrat” to whom you refer is the caricature of President Trump painted by the democrat/media complex. You should take your head out of the sand and learn about the *real* President Trump (PBUH), a true man of the people who has brought about an unprecedented era of prosperity and security.

                  • >You should take your head out of the sand and learn about the *real* President Trump (PBUH), a true man of the people who has brought about an unprecedented era of prosperity and security.

                    It’s not unprecedented.

                    It is, however, a condition I had come to think I’d never see again – the low unemployment and galloping growth of 1946-1970, my childhood in the postwar boom years. After the fact I accepted the pessimistic line that the boom years in the U.S. were a consequence of everybody else’s industrial capacity having been smashed flat, making the U.S. a price-taker in international markets. On that analysis, those book years could never recur without a shock at least as great as WWII.

                    Clearly this analysis was wrong. Trump deserves a lot of credit for having seen that “get the fuck out of the way!” was a prescription that could still work when even libertarians like me were becoming resigned to the idea that macroeconomic factors had put a permanent damper on growth rates.

                    In the process, he has successfully denied his opponents any ability to run on economic issues – how do you dare try it when you know the slapback is going to be “record low minority unemployment”? I think this accounts for a lot of the personal hatred directed at him – it’s an exact index of the opposition’s frustration.

                    • I strongly disagree with claims that the US
                      economy is doing well.
                      I know working-age people all over the US,
                      most with STEM or law degrees, and about a
                      third of them are unemployed and another
                      third severely underemployed (e.g. a lawyer
                      who walks dogs for a living). The official
                      statistics aren’t even self-consistent,
                      since they claim that fewer than a third of
                      working-age adults have college degrees,
                      but that most employed people have college
                      degrees. Both those facts can’t be true
                      unless the true unemployment rate is at
                      least 33%.
                      Ironically, Trump claimed, while
                      campaigning, that the true unemployment rate
                      was about 42%. I think that was, and still
                      is, roughly correct. Too bad he had no clue
                      how to fix it. (Neither do I, but I’m not
                      running for president.)
                      It’s especially bad for programmers. The
                      going rate is zero. People are expected to
                      code for free in hopes that an employer will
                      notice and be impressed with their work, and
                      hire them.
                      I also think the true inflation rate is much
                      higher than claimed. Food and clothing are
                      still affordable, but not housing, college,
                      medical care, medical insurance, nursing
                      homes, legal services, child care, or
                      construction.
                      The new Yankee Stadium cost 1000 times more
                      than the old one, and seats fewer
                      spectators.
                      My grandfather worked as a meatcutter and
                      earned $900 per year in the 1930s. But he
                      bought a large house free and clear, despite
                      having five dependents. According to the
                      official inflation rate, that’s equivalent
                      to about $18,000 today. $18,000 per year
                      couldn’t even pay for a two-bedroom
                      apartment around here. It might pay for a
                      one-bedroom apartment if nobody eats or
                      wears clothes. Neither would it pay for
                      (now mandatory) medical insurance for the
                      four children, even if he had no other
                      expenses whatsoever.
                      Inflation would explain why the economy and
                      the stock market seem to be growing, even
                      though they aren’t really. If the trend
                      continues, soon we’ll all be dollar
                      millionaires, but unable to afford a meal.

                      At least computer costs are going down.
                      Maybe we can all live as uploads.

                      It’s undisputed that the US population would
                      be dropping if not for immigration.
                      Americans aren’t having enough babies. Most
                      families simply can’t afford to raise even a
                      single child.
                      Worst of all is the astronomical federal
                      debt and unfunded mandates. The Republicans
                      have long since abandoned all pretense at
                      financial prudence. Venezuela-style
                      hyperinflation is inevitable no matter
                      which party is in power.

                  • “President Trump painted by the democrat/media complex.”

                    Nope, just his own words. A man who can stand for a white wall and insist it is black. A man who can only talk about himself.

                    I do not need any ones opinion on him. I just listen to him talking.

                    • >A man who can only talk about himself.

                      You really ought to watch his State of the Union address. Nary a trace of narcissism in that.

                      I’ve changed my mind about this. I used to think there was a lot of truth to the charge that Trump is vain and narcissistic. Now I think he’s mostly a master showman who often pretends to be more egotistical than he is because he has noticed that myth triggers his opponents into behaving stupidly.

                    • Now I think he’s mostly a master showman who often pretends to be more egotistical than he is because he has noticed that myth triggers his opponents into behaving stupidly.

                      I largely agree, but I think it’s undeniable Trump has a big ego. The disagreement about it is whether he’s using that ego badly (doing stupid/evil/corrupt things) or well (draining the swamp and in general making America great again).

                    • Trump is definitely vain, but having become president, he now *has to* do a good job, because everyone’s opinion of him will be determined by his performance as president. All the real-estate dealings, the gold-plated hotels, etc., fade into irrelevance.

                    • >Trump is definitely vain, but having become president, he now *has to* do a good job, because everyone’s opinion of him will be determined by his performance as president.

                      Yes, he is definitely vain and egotistical. But comparing him with an equally vain and egotistical millionaire also running for President is instructive. Can anyone even imagine Michael Bloomberg basking in the roar of the crowd at the Daytona 500?

                      Whatever else there is to criticize about him, Trump loves America and the vast mass of Americans who aren’t bicoastal urban elites. Drop him at the Daytona 500, or put him onstage at a rust-belt campaign rally, and that shows. Boy does it show. It’s been so long since we had a President so unabashedly patriotic and happy to mix with a blue-collar crowd that I’d forgotten what it was like. Bloomberg can’t touch that.

                      Poor Democrats. They are so doomed this cycle.

              • “(al la Lenin, Castro, and Maduro) ”

                PS: The politics of Bernie Sanders would fit squarely in the center of the German or French parliaments. Nothing remarkable at all. Bot Germany and France are very far from the dystopias painted by these dictators.

                Moreover, history teaches us that tyrants are created by having power over the armed forces, police and the judiciary. Ideology is nothing but a tool to grab the power.

                The idea that Bernie Sanders will be able to grab power over the armed forces and judiciary when elected president of the USA is preposterous.

                • Also, it is a fact of political science (look it up, folks) that the USA is not a democratic regime, but rather a puppet of the plutocracy.

                  Every single candidate in the running for the Presidency is a puppet of the moneyed interests except one: Bernie Sanders.

                  If you are an American and are not supporting Bernie, you are just supporting your own continued slavery.

                  • “If you are an American and are not supporting Bernie, you are just supporting your own continued slavery.”

                    Somehow, I always got the impression that Americans worship success, with wealth the yardstick of success. The candidate attracting the most money must be the best candidate.

                    In many other countries this is different and candidates have to hide that they have money behind them.

                  • Also, it is a fact of political science (look it up, folks) that the USA is not a democratic regime, but rather a puppet of the plutocracy.

                    When you say the US is not a democracy, do you mean simply a pure democracy (akin to the definition James Madison gives for The Federalist Papers: “… a pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, … “, or would it be valid to include governments formed of representatives chosen through democratic methods [i.e. Madison’s “republic”] as being a “representative democracy”?

                    Also, which definition do you mean by plutocracy: a government in which only those who were already wealthy may participate, or a government where participation grants wealth [whether one had this before or not]?

                    If you are an American and are not supporting Bernie, you are just supporting your own continued slavery.

                    Enslavement to whom, and via what control?

                    • What I mean is that in the USA, at the federal level, policy is determined nearly 100% by corporate lobbying, and 0% by the people at large. This was shown by political scientists Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page.

                    • “Political science” is to science what Medieval European medicine is to medicine. In this context, words like “shown” are inappropriate.

                    • This was shown by political scientists Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page.

                      Yet another example of a person citing the Gilens-Page study who knows nothing about it except the title. The study looked at issues where the elite consensus was one way and popular consensus was the other.

                      Upon hearing this liberals tend to assume that the issues were things like tax policy or the kinds of things found in the Green New Deal, because their quasi-Marxist class struggle world view tells them that those are the issues on which elites and the people “should” differ. However, if one actually looks at popular and elite opinion as Gilens and Page did, one sees that there is neither an elite nor a popular consensus on those issues.

                      So what are the issues were elite consensus and popular consensus actually exist and differ? They tend to be things like immigration policy and gay marriage. You know, the kind of issues that got Trump elected.

                  • If you support Bernie, you’re a sociopath, an idiot, and/or suicidal. These are not mutually exclusive, of course.

                    That worthless commie prick praises the dictators responsible for the disasters of Cuba and Venezuela.

                    • I disagree. Many are fine and smart people, just well-meaning consumers of leftist Kool-Aid.

                • Castro is actually an apt comparison. Not many people remember that before he took over Cuba, he denied that he was a communist–and the media were all too happy to indulge him. And then he seized power…

    • Exit.

      Every society has a political formula. It has a natural mind-niche, like taboo words. It is largely arbitrary, as long as it’s simple enough to be understood by most subjects.

      Accept that all governing systems are going to decay and never get better, and put Exit where voting is now. A governing system is legitimate to the extent that you can easily unsubscribe.

      Parasites will infest the system anyway. As long as they are in fact parasites it will make the system work poorly. Whereupon you’ll exit. Exit also makes the decay slower, as leader-class humans aren’t stupid and will often avoid provoking exit.

    • That’s why you don’t “design a process” to do this. This is actually one case where the social activist’s favorite approach to non-trivial problems – “raising awareness!” – might actually work fairly well. Letting people know that some personality types (known for their impairment in the social emotions, broadly speaking) do need to be kept on a pretty tight leash, on both the personal and the institutional level, is what seems to be most important; the adaptations are pretty obvious from there. Sociopaths are not that hard to spot if you’re aware of what you _need_ to look for – even their perceived skill in lying and manipulating others probably derives more from brashness and a weird kind of creativity than any real effectiveness, and might just as easily backfire on them. This might ultimately be good news; it means that we can focus on the problematic attitudes and behaviors, and perhaps give these folks a tailored incentive to do better.

      • I think a huge part of the problem is that with the government as big as it is, and doing as much as it does, one has to be a sociopath to be at all effective. Every major decision the President makes, that many cabinet members make, that even a lot of people further down make, will seriously hurt or kill a noticeable number of people. No matter which way you decide. Any normal person who could actually empathize with the victims of one’s decisions would be driven suicidal eventually. So not only are sociopaths selected for, but non-sociopaths are strongly selected against.

        • I think a huge part of the problem is that with the government as big as it is, and doing as much as it does, one has to be a sociopath to be at all effective.

          Obvious corollary – why does the government have to be as big as it is, and (try to) do as much as it does?

          Pondering this will take you much of the way towards minarchism or anarchism.

  5. > How could anyone actually believe such a thing?

    Your explanation aside, I suspect that as we start to identify specific genetic and structural detail of various mental illnesses we will find that they aren’t discrete things, but rather sets of genetic and/or structural artifacts that are grouped together under the label “Asperger’s”, “Sociopath”, “Schizophrenia” et .al.

    Belief in some of these sorts of theories is a /little/ sorta schizophrenic.

    Then again Hitlary, Meglo Mike Bloomberg, Clinton, Bush, Trump and his fake skin (although he does seem to care more about the “common man” than the others).

    • Is that one of the reasons they hate him so much? Could it be they implicitly know he really cares and for all their “free everything” rhetoric they know that they really don’t?

      • > Is that one of the reasons they hate him so much?

        No.

        They hate him so much because (1) He won, (2) He is rejecting or renegotiating large parts of the post-war (WWII) power structures that give them their power and prestige and (3) Spitting in their faces the way they’ve been spitting in the faces of the conservatives and other non-socialists.

        • If even a quarter of what we’re learning about Left-dominated industries is true, (4) might be that ‘because he didn’t have to degrade himself for 20 years before jumping into the top role.’

        • He is rejecting or renegotiating large parts of the post-war (WWII) power structures that give them their power and prestige

          Well they themselves have been doing that for decades. Generally in a one-sided “we are modifying the deal, pray we don’t modify it further” kind of way.

  6. And now you have exposed the evil behind the mask, I fear for your safety.

    I do hope you aren’t looking for your inner Jeffrey Epstein :)

    • You fear for his safety because he wrote a post on a not-particularly-famous blog about how some powerful people are sociopaths, while based in the US? He’d be in more danger if he mentioned that he put a tax deduction on the wrong line five years ago – at least there’s a slim chance the IRS might do something about that.

        • Social justice mobs are mostly Sandersnistas, and they all think that everyone in charge is sociopathic. I could imagine them sharing this more easily than I could imagine them condemning it, if you took ESR’s name off of it.

          Don’t fall victim to paranoia here. SJW mobs exist, but they’re relatively small compared to the populace, and they tend to bounce off any target who doesn’t require the center-left’s approval to go about their daily life. So they can sometimes get you pushed out of a tech CEO job, but that wouldn’t have worked if he’d been running a gun manufacturer. On top of that, they only tend to target people who are seen as going after oppressed groups. ESR is going after politicians and execs here – they won’t give a damn about that.

          • Sanders is an old school (class-based) Marxist, this puts him somewhat at odds with the Cultural-Marxist SJWs. Witness his tendency to have his microphone stolen from him at his own rallies.

  7. Just as in religions, parables are often useful reflections of reality. They don’t have to be totally faithful depictions in order to be useful.

    “sociopaths live more in their lizard brain and display a lizard-like ability to go from flat affect to aggressive violence and back again in two blinks of an eye.” … “Ability” doesn’t quite get it. Its not totally voluntary.

    If you’re trying to imagine how a sociopath’s emotions might be dysfunctional, I will suggest beginning with “things that are fun for you, are not fun for them”. Dunno if its a universal but anhedonia seems common in sociopaths to me.

    • If you’re trying to imagine how a sociopath’s emotions might be dysfunctional, I will suggest beginning with “things that are fun for you, are not fun for them”. Dunno if its a universal but anhedonia seems common in sociopaths to me.

      Well if Epstein’s clients are at all representative, they seem to go for more extreme and possibly sadistic versions of things ordinary people like.

      • That can easily be explained as: “This is supposed to be fun. Everyone says it’s fun. Why is it not fun? Maybe I’m not doing enough of it. Let’s try a higher dose, surely that will be fun. No? Higher still. I’m at the max dose, when is this going to start being fun?”

  8. Lizard people must exist. Truly.

    Else, how do you explain … Hillary Clinton.

    On a more serious thought. We shouldn’t be too quick to look down on the lizard-believers. They managed to identify, classify, and provide a name for a genuine phenomenon. A catchy name at that. We need that sort of thing.

      • I once read some LaRouche literature (it was around, and I was bored).

        I seem to recall that part of his World Conspiracy was that the British Royal Family was the prime mover behind the international narcotics trade (the modern-day one, not the one from the days of the Opium Wars).

        P.S. I’m getting rate-limited, too.

        • Ah, but the International Lizard People are run by the Gnomes of Zurich, who are run by the Bavarian Illuminati, who are run by the Elders of Zion.

          Who are all controlled by Kevin Bacon.

          Kevin Bacon rules the world, he just doesn’t do much because it requires too much work.

      • Ok, maybe not that monarchy. It was probably better when the monarchs wielded power directly. It was unlikely the properly born heir was a sociopath. Doing everything in the background would make the sociopaths more likely to wield power.

        • “It was unlikely the properly born heir was a sociopath”

          I don’t see why. Conquest and assassination were easy ways to become king, and monarchies had a habit of intermarrying so the genes would stick around once they’d entered the regal gene pool.

        • See, the thing is, you clearly haven’t studied enough history. Historical kings come in three varieties:

          1) Sociopath kings.
          2) Figurehead kings.
          3) Dethroned kings.

          Sociopath kings managed to keep control of their sociopathic courts. Non-sociopaths either were figurehead kings dominated by sociopaths in their courts, or wound up dethroned kings (usually by winding up corpses).

  9. Oh. I had always thought this a placeholder for some other group of people.

    An alias for anti-Semitism, possibly.

    Or a joke to alter the signal-to-noise ratio, and defeat the censors. Who are, or course, lizard men.

  10. I don’t think flat-earthism belongs with the others you mention – when I see it in the wild it’s invariably a token position to be “defended” simply by refusal to concede, thereby damaging the credibility of the opponent who fails to convince the flat-earther to retract his position. The flat-earther falsely implies that he would have recanted if the counterarguments were sound, and so his unchanged belief is evidence that the opponent uses unsound reasoning. In the most effective case, this evidence is parlayed into aspersions on the soundness of reasoning behind unrelated positions the opponent holds; perhaps more commonly it merely wastes time he could otherwise have used to promote those positions.

    The other nutticisms may be honestly believed and justified by some form of reasoning, but flat-earthism is, in my experience, entirely argued in bad faith.

    • Agreed. I’ve met several Flat Earthers in real life, and 2 out of 4 of them I can confirm were narcissists, but all of them were fundamentally dishonest. As for the youtube flat earthers, the dishonesty is dialed up to 11. Like a psyop that was designed by a crew that watched Idiocracy and thought it was already the reign of President Camacho. The production values of the initial crop of videos was too high to be the work of amateur hobbyists. Trolls yes, but paid trolls. Alt-Science was getting too much traction, Flat Earth came along to take it down. Mudflood/Tartaria was an afterthought, but it finished the job. Alt-Science has had the wind sucked out of its sails for another decade or two.

    • I prefer to interpret flat-eartherism as simple performance art. Sure, there are probably a few legit believers. But virtually everybody knows that they are lying and doing so for the lulz.

  11. It’s also important to remember that people lie to pollsters. A lot.

    How many of that 4% were just pulling the polling firm’s chain? Impossible to tell. If some guy spam-calls me and then asks if I believe in the Tooth Fairy, there’s a fair chance I’m going to say yes.

    Another example, but with a different motive for lying: the number of people who will admit owning firearms to some anonymous rando over the phone is grossly incompatible with the number of firearms that we know, from better sources, have actually been sold. Yeah, yeah, some of it is going to be collectors who own a lot of guns, but I would wager a very large sum that it’s not collectors who are buying all those Hi-Points and Kel-Tecs.

    • Also I’d expect most true believers in the Lizard People conspiracy to lie if someone randomly called them an asked them if they believe in Lizard People. True believers may be significantly higher or lower than the reported rate, and I can’t think of any way for us to tell which, or even perform a ballpack guess.

      On the subject of lying to pollers: I’ve heard of a similar example regarding obesity studies. The general story (based on phone surveys) is that southern (US) States are more obese than northern states, but studies that involve actually putting people on scales apparently get the reverse result. The explanation I’ve heard is that obesity is more socially acceptable in the South so southerners are more honest about it.

    • Scott Alexander calls that the Lizardman constant, even though it’s not very constant. Every poll which includes some ridiculous possibility will have some percentage of respondents answer the ridiculous choice.

      • I’d want to know if the polls were done by
        phone. Lots of people are fed up with the
        vast number of unsolicited phone calls. The
        federal do-not-call list is never enforced,
        hence routinely ignored, and it only applies
        to marketing calls anyway, not to charities,
        politicians, or pollsters. So lots of
        people give absurd answers to polls in an
        attempt to deter such unwanted calls.

  12. Interesting connection you have drawn between the idea of lizard people and the reptile brain.
    A trick to help give up smoking is to recognise the lizard propensity for instant gratification. Break the desire/reach-for-a-cigarette nexus, even if just by a few seconds, and refraining from lighting up a cigarette becomes easier. Many political agitators must have their ideas implemented this minute. These people exhibit a peculiar impatience, accompanied by a driving aggression. They attach their impatience to some aim or other, although often enough the aim itself seems just a vehicle for the behavior. Is a driving impatience, for example as indicated in the chant ‘When do we want it? Now’, a useful indicator for the political sociopath?
    As a lizardy aside, this video is fun – Dan Deacon ‘Drinking out of cups’ at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdU635esPpQ

  13. Interesting; I’ve been using the term ‘lizard people’ in a haha-only serious way for some time now. I think the mythology is funny because effectively harmless, but it seemed blindingly obvious to me that it was describing something real. Sociopath-detection circuits (it would not surprise me in the least to learn they overlap with snake-detection circuits) certainly make sense.

    Flat Eartherism and moon-hoax-ism kind of makes sense from this perspective; if you take the sensed bullshittery increasingly flowing from Science(tm) and mythologize the revulsion into its most primal form, you could easily end up idolizing inverted childhood teachings: Earth is Round, Man Landed on Moon, etc.

    • Also the sense that American institutions in their current state couldn’t do something like putting a man on the moon. Heck, the Dreamliner project is massively behind schedule.

    • Moon hoaxism was a genuine revulsion; flat eartherism was started as a psy-op and has attracted mainly sociopaths and narcissists. Possibly because it was such an obvious troll.

      • I do sense that the Flat Earth stuff is some sort of psy-op, but I can’t figure out a motive or likely culprit.

        • Discredit legitimate questioning of “scientific” claims by associating it with obviously false claims like flat eartherism.

          • But claiming scientific data is based on lies and fraud are the core business of Creationism and Flat Eartherism.

            Countering data with fact free opinions and evidence free accusations of fraud is what distinguishes ideological faith from legitimate questioning.

            Legitimate questioning starts with data and evidence, not opinion and faith.

              • To start with Climate Change data:
                https://www.ipcc-data.org/

                You can also go to any major university in the USA, Europe or NASA if you like. They all have repositories of data and publications.

                Or visit Science or Nature
                https://www.nature.com/nclimate/

                That is a lot of data and a lot of publications. So, there is data enough. Denialist have a lot of accusations and opinions, but no data to back them up. It is all fact free “faith” in their ideology.

                “Speaking of which, do you consider Manhattan not being underwater to be data or opinion?”

                People have recently rerun the old climate models of the 1970s. And guess what, if you plug in the CO2 concentrations of the last decades, these early models actually predict the global temperatures pretty accurately.
                https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00243-w

                So, predicting temperatures is very successful. And CO2 concentrations are predictive of global temperature, even when you actually predict the future, which disproves all the “other causes” hand waving.

                On the other hand, predicting particulars is difficult. No one can predict accurately when exactly Australia or California will burn down, or when the UK will flood (again), just that it will become more likely over time.

                We all know it is pretty bad if you drive your car into a tree at high speed. But you will be hard pressed to predict precisely when you will die and from what organ failure. This does not detract from the fact that driving into trees is dangerous. And yes, this argument has been used to detract from the dangers of smoking tobacco.

                • No one can predict accurately when exactly Australia or California will burn down

                  California’s recent big fires have been largely due to bad forest management practices, insisted upon by environmentalists, that restricted controlled burns and logging.

                • People have recently rerun the old climate models of the 1970s. And guess what, if you plug in the CO2 concentrations of the last decades, these early models actually predict the global temperatures pretty accurately.

                  Yes, it’s amazing how easy it is to predict the past.

                • The old climate models of the 70s that predicted a coming ice age, actually predicted warming?

                  I smell something poopy!

                  • >The old climate models of the 70s that predicted a coming ice age, actually predicted warming?

                    The predictions, forever falsified, are forever changing. Only the prescription is constant: bow down, peasants, and submit to your eco-socialist masters.

                    • > The predictions, forever falsified, are forever changing.

                      It’s worse than that. They’re also changing the past… to align with what the climate models retrodict. Remember, Big Brother is always right.

                    • Come on now – you make it sound like some form of blindingly obvious scam.

                • People have recently rerun the old climate models of the 1970s.

                  The ones that predicted global cooling? (I know the warmenists’ current tack is to deny they ever predicted that, but that only works on those too young to remember the newspaper headlines.)

  14. Don’t use the “lizard people” code word. You will use it casually without linking back to this explanation and some nut will start to post the news that ESR actually went nuts and believe in lizard people. This could spread faster than you will be able to explain yourself.

    I’ve witnessed that in my country, where some politician’s words were taken out of context and are still used now, few years later, to discredit him – despite there was plenty of time to explain.

    And “lizard people” is just too easy to exploit to discredit you.

  15. Pingback:

    Vote -1 Vote +1ESR: “How humans form and maintain insane beliefs when there are pl… | Dr. Roy Schestowitz (??)

  16. That’s a neat little interpratation/story you came up with but I don’t believe it fits with the actual psychology and behavior of the people who believe in the lizardman conspiracy.

    As you point out at the start many of these people no doubt started with an experience (e.g. alien abduction) which they needed to explain (why does’t NORAD, spy satellites etc.. notice the giant spacecraft with huge lights that showed up and abducted me) and it (reasonably) didn’t seem plausible that our human leaders would be both capable of and motivated to engage in that kind of coverup.

    But probably most of them believe it for all the usual reasons people believe in massive conspiracies which dictate world events. The lizardman are playing exactly the same role which the jews do for some people, the Illuminati do for others and the CIA for yet others. They provide a sense that the world isn’t as scarily random as it seems. A place where thousands of people can die because a handful of fundamentalists decided to kill americans and no one noticed them first. It’s a world of extreme competence where everything happens for a reason and even if those are sometimes evil reasons it’s much less terrifying in many ways that admitting how little control anyone can exercise over events (if it’s an evil conspiracy there is the hope of defeating it or at least frustrating it’s aims).

    Your theory doesn’t explain why so many other people hold *very* similar views about shadowy cartels controlling the world but often don’t insist that the elites they see on TV or wherever are the ones in control (if the illuminati were the same people we elected to congress it wouldn’t be quite the same theory…they need to be shadowy behind the scenes players).

    Moreover, your theory is self-underming. Presumably the reason sociopaths are more succesful in these positions is that those sociopaths are very good at appearing to be non-sociopaths. If they had creeped out everyone who interviewed them for jobs during their career they wouldn’t be on top. Moreover, while there may be more sociopaths in some kinds of powerful positions it’s a modest (few times?) increase. If these people are reacting to their sociopath spidey sense then it should also be triggering (maybe 1/4 as much) with the people they encounter in their daily lives.

    Overall it seems like you’re stretching hard to make their conspiracy fit the story you want to tell.

    • > The lizardman are playing exactly the same role which the jews do for some people, the Illuminati do for others and the CIA for yet others.

      There are a lot of Jews in the CIA. The categories aren’t so clear cut.

  17. EvoX, who isn’t a fool, is using the poetic metaphor “lizard” people for the bureaucrat type who does not seem to have a normal human soul: https://evolutionistx.wordpress.com/2020/02/10/fighting-the-bureaucracy/ “People who prioritize order above human utility–including their own.” https://evolutionistx.wordpress.com/2017/04/03/why-are-there-so-many-lizard-people-and-how-do-we-get-rid-of-them/

    Orwell saw something similar: “he underlying motive of many Socialists, I believe, is simply a hypertrophied sense of order. The present state of affairs offends them not because it causes misery, still less because it makes freedom impossible, but because it is untidy; what they desire, basically, is to reduce the world to something resembling a chessboard.”

    Some corners of the internet call this type “small-souled bugman”. Again, Orwell too mentioned in 1984 that the type that flourishes the most under that sort of system is somehow insect-like.

    OTOH “sociopath” is an anticoncept. People are *supposed* to care more about the near than the far, about their family and friends more than for strangers.

    Here is a “trolley problem”. Two kids are drowning in a lake. You have 90% of chance of saving one and 60% chance of saving the other, but you can only save one, the other will drown. And the one with the 60% chance is your child, or nephew, the other is a stranger. Wat do? Almost every philosopher tells you go for the 90% chance stranger kid. Every real parent or uncle would go for the 60% chance our own child or nephew. And that makes us “sociopaths” because somehow we do not run a utilitarian calculation but rather care for our own family and friends more than for others.

    Humans aren’t supposed to care much about people outside their Dunbar number. Those who pretend to do are mostly just signalling. Yes, such not caring is causing problems (so is signalling, bigger problems) because modern society is organized fundamentally wrongly, it should be a network of Dunbar-circles. What we have instead is a network of competing Dunbar-circles of elite groups and everybody else is “faceless massses”.

    • Psychopaths are obviously real and communist psychiatrists are obviously liars.

      It’s a bit rich to lampoon them for something they themselves don’t do, though.

      You won’t find the definitions in mental health’s official handbook, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Doctors don’t officially diagnose people as psychopaths or sociopaths. They use a different term instead: antisocial personality disorder.

      So let’s look at the semiofficial definition of APD. It made me laugh.

      I’m going to split it into two parts. First part:

      It is characterized by at least 3 of the following:

      1. Callous unconcern for the feelings of others;
      3. Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships, though having no difficulty in establishing them;
      4. Very low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for discharge of aggression, including violence;
      6. Marked readiness to blame others or to offer plausible rationalizations for the behavior that has brought the person into conflict with society.

      But…that diagnoses everyday folk. You can find whole states full of folk that are callously unconcerned with anyone’s feelings unless they’re going to be punished (often by acting out factor 4) for being unconcerned. It is normal to suck up to the boss and shit on everyone below you. Factor 3: look at the divorce rate. In the modern world, friendships have a half-life of seven years. 6…you have met a human before, right? Apparently these yobbos haven’t.

      The psychopath is defined by the missing two.

      2. Gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms, rules, and obligations;
      5. Incapacity to experience guilt or to profit from experience, particularly punishment;

      Ironically this actually rules out people like CEOs and politicians. If you don’t learn from punishing consequences, you will be rapidly outmanoeuvred and buried by your political opponents. This is also what makes psychopaths useless as soldiers. No discipline.

      Politicians may grossly and persistently disregard your social norms, but duh, they’re your enemy. On the contrary, folk like exploitative bosses and politicians are particularly good at following the relevant social norms. Namely those relevant to keeping their position.

      It’s not a personality disorder. They’re just criminals. Defectors. Deviants. Parasites. Why are jailed criminals dumb? Tail effects. Average and smart criminals figure out how to parasitize legally. Or, in the case of Hillary-style deviants, which laws the police can’t or don’t enforce. It’s merely the extremely normal human condition of what is colloquially known as being evil. Fallen world etc etc.

  18. >> “When I first encountered this idea I was gobsmacked. How could anyone actually believe such a thing? And yet, apparently, many people do – millions of them, if polls on the topic are to be believed.”

    While I don’t doubt that some really do, I suspect others are simply having fun at the pollster’s expense. Call them the 4chan demographic. Who can say how many of the seeming believers are sincere?

    >> “How humans form and maintain insane beliefs when there are plenty of objective reasons to know better is, I fear, a topic of continuing fascination to me. If only because when contagious and totalizing forms of insanity like Marxism or supernaturalist religions motivate the behavior of mobs they pose a significant threat to my survival.”

    Speaking of this: any progress on the ideomania concept?

    • >I suspect others are simply having fun at the pollster’s expense

      I suspect this is number is substantial… particularly as pollsters present as a variant of telemarketer, or even as a scammer (unsolicited calls, often poorly identified, requests PI, etc)

      Out of curiosity, does ‘polling science’ have any way of removing those data points? Or should we simply disregard any response with <20% support?

  19. I’m less worried about ordinary garden-variety sociopaths/psychopaths than I am about the sort whose empathy is malfunctioning without being completely broken. The latter genuinely want to help the innocent and punish the guilty, but have dangerously flawed ideas about what would be helpful and horribly monstrous ideas about what counts as guilt.

  20. Once upon a time in our species’ evolutionary history (predating civilization and science), the world was filled with unknowns. But it was still necessary to contend with reality, despite these unknowns. Hence, myth-based explanations afforded a convenient mechanism of sidelining these issues in order to keep going. And this mental dodge worked so well that it eventually became a trait. And the modern incarnation of this trait is the affinity for “conspiracy theories.”

    Also in this former developmental era (when existential threat was common and often fatal), the individuals that suffered from psychological extremes or dysfunction would like die off early, putting an edge to the evolution of this behavior. Not so today because we live in a time of great affluence in which real hardship and existential threat are effectively extinct.

    • I am more worried about the opposite of conspiracy theories. That is, some kind of naive creduility. A belief that everything happens in the open, in a transparent way, that the official narrative is true or at least meant honestly and so on. This weirds me out especially because it is held not by people who are supposed to somewhat naive, like rural peasants, but urban educated people who should knew better, who were there when something bad happened and meeting was called about how we will communicate it and communicating it honestly as not at all considered.

      There is a story kicking around that the term conspiracy theory was invented by the CIA to discredit critics. I don’t know if that is true, but given that the job of all intelligence services everywhere is to conspire, they even use terms like “our agent got deconspired”, that is an interesting invention if true, denying the whole basis of the organization. Also, what we call today organized crime used to be called criminal conspiracy.

      At any rate, “conspiracy theory” today means “you are a paranoid fool”. The elites got so impertinent with that that when a Russian scientists proposed that the oldest person who ever lived, a 141 years old woman might have assumed her mothers identity in order to commit inheritance tax fraud, was flat out dismissed by the Washington Post as “Russian conspiracy theory”. I don’t have to explain that tax fraud is a pretty common everyday tiny conspiracy that requires no “theory”…

      Back when people discussed CTs more rationally, the general argument was that multiple independent sources cannot lie without some kind of a coordination what exactly that lie should be. That coordination is the conspiracy and it is hard to keep secret, there will be defection etc.

      But I have realized now that lying about raw facts is indeed difficult in a coordinated way, but only experts care about raw facts, most people care about stories spun from said facts. And a story can be false even if based on true facts. And the interesting thing is that it requires no coordination, no conspiracy at all to spin the same kind of story independently, from the same (true) facts. It only requires having the same value judgements, same interests.

      For example, everybody uses the same tricks in their job-seeking resume. Not lying about facts, but spinning true facts in similar ways. To appear smart, conscientous, succesful etc. If you get a resume from a young, inexperienced job seeker and it says “I participated in such and such cool sounding project” you know it means “I didn’t do shit in it” because people who actually do stuff, mention it.

      But what bothers me most is that back when it was possible to discuss CTs in such rational ways, it was accepted that the people “up there” are not saints and they will lie if they can get away with it. Why today “conspiracy theory i.e. you are a paranoid fool” is said in a certain tone that also means “why do you distrust your betters, they are honest people”.

      So the opposite of being a paranoid fool, being a naive, credulous fool isn’t better either and I see definitely more of that today than a few decades ago.

      • when a Russian scientists proposed that the oldest person who ever lived, a 141 years old woman might have assumed her mothers identity

        122, not 141!

  21. Heh, nice !
    (Though I have a feeling that I’ve already met this idea before ?

    “Maybe we can make a start on that exclusions by understanding the sociopaths to be hostile aliens who need to be identified, othered, and thwarted. ”

    Well, the issue here is that I’ve heard numbers as high as 4% of the population for sociopaths / psychopaths. (And this might be *most* of the people today if you include narcissists like a commenter did ?)

    So that’s a *lot* of people that would need to be “othered”. And considering how these situations went in the past, this could turn *really* ugly, fast !

  22. > What is wrong with sociopaths (and psychopaths – these categories are not clearly distinguished) is not entirely clear, but it is certain that their ability to experience emotions is damaged. The monkey brain is compromised; sociopaths live more in their lizard brain and display a lizard-like ability to go from flat affect to aggressive violence and back again in two blinks of an eye.

    The book “The Psychopath Code” [1] makes the case that cluster b mental illness is actually an evolved strategy – that those people are perfectly functional, they’re just predators.

    I thought it was interesting enough (it may or may not be true) to give it a read.

    ___

    1. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1514342022

    • >that those people are perfectly functional, they’re just predators.

      There was a man I once called a friend who, if he liked you, would straight-up warn you “I’m a high-functioning sociopath”. His inability to maintain trust bonds with other people destroyed his life while I happened to be around to watch. He squandered considerable talents of his own; lost the love of a beautiful, intelligent, exceptionally talented woman; betrayed his best friend; and an institution he spent years building collapsed because he was in the end not morally competent to maintain it.

      He was not “perfectly functional” at all. He was subtly and damningly crippled.

      • Moral competence is an interesting term. I ask you to give a whole post to explaining it.

        Much of the movies and comics I grew up on tended to paint a contrast between the rational-efficient choice and the moral choice. Like, you either listen to your brain, reason, efficiency, you want to be succesful, vs. you listen to your heart. (Those movies and comics tended to be American. Maybe it is an aspect of your culture I don’t fully understand. But there is also a deep-seated and I think false view in Europe as well that in order to be succesful, you have to be a back-stabbing type.) And I smelled something wrong with it.

        Eventually I learned it is actually wrong. I think it was reading Plato, which is ironic as he was considered the archetype of the cloud in the head idealist, saying that even a band of robbers could not cooperate if they wouldn’t have a basic minimum sense of justice. They just kill each other over the loot.

        Eventually I learned that efficiency or success, that is, rationality is correlated with morality to a very large extent. Maybe there is a certain level, on the highest ranks of social status, when only back-stabbers win. But to get to that level they have to be trusted and that means they have to act in trustworthy ways. Whether out of principle or calculation does not really matter.

        Social “scientists” talk about people having a Just World Theory and it is false. I used to troll them saying social “scientists” have an Unjust World Theory and it is false. But at any rate, an intuitive sense of justice and success is actually correlated up to the a certain level of success. Beyond that, it might be all back-stabbing, I can’t deny that. But up to that, it pays to be reliable.

        • >Moral competence is an interesting term. I ask you to give a whole post to explaining it.

          It doesn’t need a whole post. My sociopathic friend was morally incompetent because he lacked the ability to maintain long-term trust relationships. The part of his brain that complements the cheater-detection module, the don’t-be-a-cheater subsystem that would have improved his expected value as a partner in reciprocity, was damaged. To be more exact I should probably have said “ethically” incompetent.

          >Much of the movies and comics I grew up on tended to paint a contrast between the rational-efficient choice and the moral choice.

          These stories were destructively wrong. What they were actually trying to do was train children to value the long-term benefits of reciprocal altruism over the short-term gains of defecting to grab a transient advantage. But because their moral philosophy was all fucked up and their language was confused, they probably ended up doing more harm than good. A stiff dose of Ayn Rand might have helped.

          • And yet lately sociopathic lizard people have managed to lie, backstab, and manipulate their way into most positions of power.

            • Exactly. Your sample case for ‘sociopath’ was too dysfunctional to maintain basic life functions, and yet you also claim sociopaths are over-represented in the upper echelons of wealth and power.

              Which is it?

              • The “upper echelons of wealth and power” are largely populated by people who seek power over the lives of others. That’s pretty much the base function of a sociopath.

                There’s a reason why they are strongly over-represented in Law and Political circles. It’s an easy path to vast power over the lives of others.

                They are also over-represented in Psychology (but not as strongly in Psychiatry I think because it’s harder to maintain the illusion of normalcy long enough to get an MD) and of course MBA programs (leading to the executive suite). Many fail by betraying themselves exactly as ESR pointed out, but there are always the ones who fake it good enough to make it to the top.

                By sheer numbers, you’re going to get some really bad eggs at the tops of many corporate ladders.

          • On topic and lightening up, the old novel (later movie ) “Enemy Mine” considers an alien lizard-man (well, egg-bearing) soldier paired to a human soldier, who learn to depend on one another for survival. https://www.amazon.com/Enemy-Mine-Barry-B-Longyear-ebook/dp/B003YUCQBO

            The human in the novel discloses to the alien that “Mickey Mouse” provided the basic ethics lessons he and many other humans had absorbed as a child.

            A contemporary work, (reviewed well here: https://historyforatheists.com/2020/01/tom-holland-dominion/ ) discusses how for Western Civilization, our notions of basic ethics arise out of Christianity. No belief in Christ required — just “belief” in the methods of historical research of one culture versus others in Asia or Africa or Aboriginal Australia. Notions of reciprocity and rationality and reproducible experiments that work the same for Harry Potter AND Vernon Dursley… basic social obligations due to and from both Huck Finn and Nicker Jim … the tensions between Justice and Mercy in Law and Rules as argued by Shylock and Portia — and yes Mickey and Donald.

          • Adam Smith would have been even closer to the mark, perhaps. His “Theory of the Moral Sentiments” clearly lays out the case for the individual benefits of _enlightened_ self-interest – what Smith would later call the uniquely-human tendency to ‘truck, barter, and trade’ which is definitely one thing that psychopaths lack. (These social emotions are ultimately needed for a _whole lot_ of stuff, though – basically everything in the creative, scientific, humour-seeking, broadly pro-social, etc. realm – something that hackers are often known for – ultimately depends on those!) Lacking these social emotions, psychopaths are ultimately limited to “cold” empathy; their innate flavor of empathy is to intuit what others _would_ do if they were trying to take advantage of you in a negative-sum way. This means that they excel at these games (which do come up, e.g. in politics, and in the ‘politicking’ that characterizes large centralized enterprises), but have _no clue_ how to cooperate in potentially win-win contexts. This is how you “spot” psychopaths, in fact; by their astonishing cluelessness, far more than their oft-mentioned manipulativeness or “lack of moral sense”.

            BTW, the book mentioned above is still freely available (in HTML and PDF form) at this link, as made available by the author originally. You’re definitely encouraged to buy a paper copy though, and especially to give it to any potential abuse victims you may know about.

          • You may be overgeneralizing. Or not.

            Was your ex-friend’s scorpion-like (as in the scorpion and the frog) behavior typical of sociopaths in general? Do you have any reason to think so?

            For sociopaths…. Do you betray trust just because, or do you betray trust when you determine it is sufficiently to your advantage to burn that relationship?

            Can a sociopath play Diplomacy?

          • the don’t-be-a-cheater subsystem […] was damaged

            There’s no anti-self-cheating subsystem. There is, however, an aversive-stimulus-avoidance system.

            Normal humans cheat all the time but they also connect their subsequent failure to the cheating. Particularly when directly confronted about it. Their aversion response to the failure is connected to the cheating and eventually they stop. Or at least get clever about it, see: politicians, journalists. Typically this occurs somewhere around the early twenties, which is why most folk don’t keep their high school friends.

            Occasionally the elderly actually learn to cooperate instead of to merely yank their hand back from fires. Everyone else is kind of shitty to be around since they’ll cheat in every way they haven’t yet learned they can’t get away with, which typically means every way that hasn’t lead to a friendship blowing out. In long, read Games People Play.

            Occasionally you’ll meet a relatively nice non-elderly human, but normally they’re a terrified doormat, rather than a proper cooperator.

            Psychopaths continue to cheat. They learn from neither expected nor actual punishment.

            • >There’s no anti-self-cheating subsystem.

              By don’t-be-a-cheater subsystem I meant precisely what was referenced upthread in Adam Smith’s “instinct to truck, barter, and trade.” Normal human beings do have instincts about how to behave in iterated positive-sum transactions, whereas it has been aptly pointed out that sociopaths tent to eventually stiff themselves by not handling those situations well. The sociopath I have direct experience of was an example.

              • I think people who didn’t have the modules for reciprocal altruism and conscience couldn’t be successful CEOs or politicians in most cases. But rising through the power hierarchy in many places requires behaving in sociopathic ways. For example, it’s pretty common in US politics that you need to support something you think is a terrible idea that will hurt a lot of people and do little compensating good, in order to keep climbing the ladder. For a given politician at a given time, that might mean supporting a war he thinks doesn’t make sense, or supporting some program he thinks will do harm, or whatever. I think it’s not uncommon for politicians on different sides of some issue to all be doing this at the same time–some Republicans who need conservative voters swallowing their objections and opposing gay marriage while at the same time, some Democrats who need liberal voters swallowing their objections and supporting gay marriage.

                I wonder to what extent the requirements of getting and keeping power act as a filter, selecting people who are more sociopathic than those around them. And then I wonder how much those requirements encourage people to train themselves to act like sociopaths in particular areas of life.

  23. “How humans form and maintain insane beliefs when there are plenty of objective reasons to know better is, I fear, a topic of continuing fascination to me. ”

    Did you read Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari? he gives a pretty convincing argument why this is evolutionary advantageous.

    About socio/psychopaths in the elite. That is too limited. Sociopaths flock to positions of power and status where callousness is rewarded. They are over-prevalent in (organized) crime, health care (doctors, remember “doctor death”), teaching (the stereotype boarding school teacher of yore), finance, marketing, and politics.

    However, I do not think the “lizard people” is instigated by sociopaths. There is a very specific brain disorder that makes people believe some person, e.g., their spouse, has been replaced by an imposter, alien or demon (Capgras delusion). Just like mystical experiences can be caused by some glitch of the brain, the same can happen with this kind of delusion. Such a brain glitch can give rise to the believe that some people are demons, witches, or aliens in disguise. Just like autism spectrum disorder can give rise to the believe in changelings.

    But all this is much too elaborate for this particular conspiracy believe. People want to see that there is reason and purpose in the world, it must all make sense. Any theory that “shit happens” cannot be believed. Especially authoritarian people cannot believe that the people in power are just as stupid, egocentric, and corrupt as the next guy. So, there must be some conspiracy behind this.
    (side note: Sociopaths are very bad at conspiring, they are much too unreliable and back stabbing for that)

    The funny/tragic thing is, these conspiracy believers will always follow those who abuse them most and they will bite the hand that wants to feed them.

    • “Especially authoritarian people cannot believe that the people in power are just as stupid, egocentric, and corrupt as the next guy”

      I am not sure if it’s “cannot believe” or “cannot admit” but I agree with this. Witness, for example, the ongoing backlash against people trying to expose pedophilic rapists within religious institutions and the way the institutions have protected those pedophiles. Why would any anyone fight against such exposure? because it means attacking a power structure, and that frightens them far more than a few abused children, or even a lot of them. The children can be rationalised away. It’s the structure that’s important.

  24. Is there no position within which the sociopathic mind has a beneficial superiority?
    I imagine a significant chunk of my stock portfolio benefits greatly from such people.

    • [editing is apparently farked]

      I meant to add:

      Perhaps we could better redirect their sociopathic instincts toward the productive.

  25. For once I think you might be overthinking this one, Eric. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t think the Lizard People theory was a tongue-in-cheek reference to the fact that the elites are so self-important and disconnected that they might as well be aliens.

  26. Anyone who believes everything the narrative says is a fool. But anyone who denies everything the narrative says is also a fool. Climate change, conspiracy theory or settled science? Vaccines, miracle or autism generator? Religion, for fools or sages?
    Whatever I believe is true, whatever you believe is a conspiracy theory. Your beliefs have causes, mine have reasons.

  27. I wouldn’t take those “lizard people” poll numbers seriously. Scott Alexander discusses this in his article, “The LizardMan’s Constant is 4%.” No matter what you ask, you’ll get a few percent who answer in the affirmative. For this reason, some pollsters have begun putting the equivalent of “lizard man” questions into their polls to weed out unreliable respondents.

  28. As I understand things, there are not any physical lizard people among us, or recently visitors to our planet. (There are purported other lines of visitors, such as the mis-named “grey”.) Those lizard line who have visited did so some ten thousand years ago. When their lines here ended, they edited themselves into human genealogy and passed into collective consciousness. Scattering some aspect of themselves among the pre-existing peoples of the world. What ever trace remains within us, create some holographic consciousness manifestation in human behavior.

    This may well give rise to those suspected of “reptilian” ethos, though I would like to point out a few things as unfair…

    Saying that the reptilian beings are good or bad are like saying humans are good or bad, or Americans are good or bad, or Texans are good or bad. Let’s say humans squash bugs, hunt lesser beings as prey, and wage war and crime against one and other. Considering this, let’s say some sect of humanity acts out a deep encoding of self superiority or opportunism. Such are times. Where any are civilized they act so in accord, where the savage thrive power becomes unscrupulously so, I expect this to be true anywhere in the galactiverse.

    I come by these insights through a number of stories.

    I call the lizard lines “Galaxians”, though they may also be called “Xolaxians” by an origin story, of Xolaxolous, who is like their great grandfather of first progenitors.

    The Xolaxian origin story goes something like this ….

    A billion years ago, upon a planet deep within the galactic core there was a great being, Xolaxolous, who was comparative to the scale of which we think our dinosaurs. These were not dinosaurs, they were themselves a peoples who had lived upon their world for hundreds of thousands of years. Having grown to the heights of their own civilized culture, and dwindling again to savage simplicity as cosmological instabilities made life increasingly intolerable.

    Ancient beings such as Xolaxolous meditated in long slumbers in a swampy bog. Never quite loosing consciousness for a hundred years, when awaking fully with a start. The tremendous being emerged and stomped upon the land such that the ground shook. Other eyes raised. “Xolaxolous, to where do you go, with such a start?”, “To seed the stars!” Xolaxolus rumbled, “to seed the stars.”

    In his vision Xolaxolous had foreseen the world that had already come to decay would eventually support life no longer. Xolaxolous found twelve mates and sired twelve lines, and after a hundred generations these had ascended to the stars.

    As such a long time has passed, there are many side stories before we finally arrive upon the relavence of Earth.

    Let’s just say, fortunate for us the only physical visitors are pirates who were trying never to be found. If we were really common knowledge we might become a staycation paradise of semian fodder. Fatty human fodder would be more attractive than what passes among us as modern culture (though not necessarily true of all of Man’s history.)

    The galactic scale / timeline looks something like this:

    * We’re a generous 35,000 lyrs from the “center”, of which the “core” is a semi-toroidal expanse ~5-10,000 lyrs thick around a 5,000 lyr dead zone. That means we’re about 20,000 lyrs in the sticks.
    * In the billion years, of the twelve lines only four remained dominant, and they’re roughly larger than common man to three times as “big”. There are pygmese and genetically developed fodder lines though these are freak and rare. There are slave lines genetically engineered with wings, though self respecting Xolaxians are warfaring and appreciate proper bone density.
    * ~75,000 years ago there was a monumental piratical heist. Something referable to as the OmniCrux.
    * those who absconded with this loot ran for 35,000 years
    * these lived as gods upon Earth for ~7,500 years
    * then removed every trace of themselves and return the world to the fate of Man ~10,000 years ago.
    * in their journey some ~18,000 years were lost to time in transit as they were moving as close as possible to the speed of light most of the way.

    There are separate stories regarding the speculation that dinosaurs were an early galactic terraforming expedition, this is eluded to in the stories of Paddock, The Communion of the Distant Dweller. This story does not suggest that humans came of these lines.

    Apparently there were some intermediary beings which destroyed dinotopia (who were not intelligent) to rebalance Earth for mammals and eventually humans. Those intermediary beings were chased off or destroyed by the piratical line in the story of OmniCrux’s heist. Stories suggest we’ve evolved with intermittent encouragement from an ancient base.

    I come to this through:
    * Story of Xolaxolous
    * Paddock and the Communion of the Distant Dweller
    ** bunch of little stories
    * The Heist stories, of which Earth is the inevitable destination
    * How the last of these visitors loved humanity and “became among them” (essentially deciding to die, removing every trace of themselves but for scattered codes within disparate human lines.)

    What might be happening today, what happened to OmniCrux, and what could this all mean?

    My guesses are: Mild schizophrenic reverberation as our primitive minds stumble through our psycho-lexical consciousness; hidden on an ice moon of Jupiter; and probably nothing more than the nagging trauma of unlikely literally true yet suspiciously compelling stories.

  29. I think the lizard people theory maps well on to the general idea that we are being ruled by people who are not on our side.

    David Icke has been accused, rather plausibly, of anti-semitism– Page down to Reception, though he probably doesn’t believe that all Jews are lizards.

    I suspect it’s not just a matter of sociopaths, though they’re a factor. Pretty normal people can behave very destructively when they’re taking care of themselves and their ingroup.

    I’ve checked “notify me of follow-up comments” to see whether I get any notifications. The notifications stopped working for me for comments some years ago, though I still get the occasional notification for comments on old posts and I get notifications for new posts.

    • None of this means I think everyone who believes in lizard people or who talks as though they believe in lizard people is an anti-Semite. I expect that most of them aren’t.

  30. ESR: I’ve been emailing RMS about this Grsecurity GCC and Linux kernel violation issue. RMS feels that “nothing can be done” about Grsecurity. “We decided that” because Bradly Kuhn (who is not a lawyer) said so. This is pathetic, and bullshit.

    The GPL has teeth, but they’re not attached to a jaw.

    Dear RMS; If you don’t want to defend free software in the courts anymore, if you don’t want to be involved at all, maybe you need to make an announcement. People still look up to you as “the head”, but if you want to be an “old decrepit man with no drive” now… you need to tell everyone about your retirement.

    This “we can’t do anything” thought is complete bullshit from Bradly Kuhn, and whatever other morons you’re hanging out with these days: it does NOT come from ANY ip lawyers. You have a good case on the GCC side, and the linux kernel copyright holders have a great case, atleast on the law (now on recovery…)

    You can nail these people (Grsecurity) to a pillar.
    But you won’t encourage that.

    You’ve sold the GPL dream down the BSD river. Why? Because some women complained about your opinions? This is pathetic, get some testosterone injections and fight.

    What are you afraid of? Grsecurity suing you for libel too? They are blatantly violating the GPL. Section 6 and section 4. They are both civilly liable for damages, and (since they’ve made over 1k off of their direct copyright infringement) criminally liable. That is: Bradly spengler aswell as those assisting him.

    Why should any of us (mostly men) programmers have anything to do with Free Software if YOU will not bear your teeth once in awhile and force compliance with the license you have asked us to use: to put fear into those who would otherwise violate it and bar us from the full fruits of our programmatic efforts?

    Tell me that? Or do you just not care if men contribute to Free Software anymore: You think the women will do this hobby for free like the men have? They won’t. You’re living in a dreamworld if you think otherwise (men fall in love with engineering; that’s why they’re willing to do it for free). The same dreamworld where you listen to the likes of Bradly Kuhn, even now, a completely unqualified individual who always tryst to STYMIE and SLOWDOWN any legal action this past half decade (or more).

    I can’t believe 1) some woman complaining and 2) Grsecurity’s libel-lawsuit threats have shut you up, taken you down, and ended Free Software (the share-and-share-alike strain). But that’s what has happened.

    Grsecurity has gotten away with it, every other company knows it, they are BLATANTLY violating section 6 and 4 (of v2 of the GPL), EVERYONE knows it, NOTHING will be done about it. GPL is BSD license, effectively, because the white male programmers are scumbag wimps who won’t even SUE. They won’t even _SUE_. It doesn’t take any physical effort to sue. If you’d bother to register your copyrights lawyers would be happy to help you with getting those statutory damages.

    This is… it’s just beyond words. It’s basically all a lie: everything you’ve claimed to others: because without enforcement the GPL and all it stands for, all you’ve campaigned for, is just … well just as effective as this email.

    With regret,

    • I’ve seen no evidence that RMS reads this
      blog.
      As for why people produce software for free,
      I think it’s largely because that’s become
      the main way to get paying employers to
      notice you. Despite the claims in the
      mainstream media, it’s been a very tight
      market for programmers for the past two
      decades. No matter how good you are,
      there’s someone just as good overseas
      willing to work for less than US minimum
      wage.

      • >it’s been a very tight market for programmers for the past two decades.

        You might be right in general; I don’t know, because I don’t have much visibility into how the bottom 95% of programmers are doing. But the market is not tight at the upper end of the skill scale, there simply aren’t enough programmers that good to meet demand and probably never will be. We know this is true because there are six-figure salaries routinely on offer for software engineers. You don’t start the salary negotiation there in a buyer’s market or if you think you can outsource to Bangalore.

        • It isn’t the 80s and 90s anymore. Past a certain threshold, employers don’t give a shit how well you program. The people making six figs are the ones who bubbled to the top by being “people persons” and playing the game very well. That kind of skill is something you can only get on your home turf and it’s much rarer and more valuable than programming skill in today’s market. Because let’s face it: many of the hard problems in programming are one ‘npm install’ away from a solution. Integrating these solutions together into a cohesive whole that delights the user, makes their job easier, and delivers measurable value to the business is the vast, vast bulk of software development, even at sexy startups and FAANGs. Empathy is key. Wizardliness is a liability because once you rely on a wizard’s skills, that wizard becomes a SPOF.

          • Oh yes, and the six-figure programmer salary also appears to be peculiar to the USA, and a result of the distorted Silicon Valley tech scene, wherein startups are engaged in a gold rush of sorts to snatch up all the top programmers (measured by GitHub stars, TopCoder or HackerRank scores, or other silly metrics) to become “the next FAANG”/”a unicorn” and sweep up that VC moolah. Once that bubble bursts, there’ll be a MAJOR correction in programmer compensation.

            In most other countries, $60,000 a 6ear is a great salary for even an experienced programmer not in an executive or management role. Even our neighbors to the north can’t expect to make much more.

            • Yes, but in these sort of countries our lawyers, doctors and whatever else professions where education matches employement level are also making less.

              (Cases where education does not match an employment level are salespeople. I see 40+ charismatic men and women making better money at doing sales and it is clearly their skill at this was not made at college. There is no defined path to become a salesman or saleswoman. Yes you need natural born charisma. But otherwise what path they get there, what jobs they do before 40, I mean, you cannot be a salesperson at 29 because a 55 years old business owner is not going to take a “kid” seriously. So what do they do until they become 40 and look old enough to be taken seriously I have no idea.)

              • A useful article but you have to be superb, like 95 percentile, at reading between the lines.

                Most obvious example being the praise for Soviet Communism without even mentioning the gigadeaths involved. Very journalist.

          • >The people making six figs are the ones who bubbled to the top by being “people persons”

            This is clearly wrong. I can go to any one of several tech-jobs websites and find $125K and up being offered for purely technical positions by employers who are not Silly Valley and can’t have any idea what the people skills of potential applicants are. The few positions offered that seem to be fishing for people at my skill can easily double that. Which, trust me, I notice.

            • What I’m saying is that even in “purely technical” positions, technical skills are table stakes. What decides whether you, out of a pool of equally technically qualified candidates, get the job are your people skills and your ability to function as part of a team. Not just any team but the team they’re hiring for. It’s considered better to pass on ten good hires than to let one bad hire slip through. Accordingly, applying to programming jobs is mainly trial and error for all but the best of the best.

              As for you, most companies will do some Google and social-media searches, find out who you are and what your political views are, and disqualify you solely based on that. Diversity and inclusion are deeply ingrained corporate values, and your views on race are something a U.S. corporation deems too risky to brook.

        • Again, that’s not my experience. Being
          unable to get a programming job is just as
          common at all levels. Even among the few
          who are even better at it than me. (I’ve
          been rated in the top one or two percent
          by multiple employers.) Perhaps that’s
          because, for legal reasons, most companies
          no longer write letters of recommendation or
          say anything else about their employees,
          good or bad, except to verify how long they
          worked there and under what titles.

          It may be less common among programmers who
          are literally famous, i.e. those who are
          often positively mentioned in the news or
          who have written multiple books on the
          topic.
          Many of those who are drawing six-figure
          salaries are in the bottom 95%, or even the
          bottom 5%. For proof, just read a few RISKS
          digests. Or just use best-selling commercial
          software and see how full of bugs it is.

      • >I think it’s largely because that’s become
        the main way to get paying employers to
        notice you.

        Shame this is legal. It’s forced labour.

        • It’s not forced labor if they don’t
          explicitly ask you to do it. Similarly with
          sports, where the only way to get a paying
          gig as an athlete is to play for free and
          hope a professional team’s recruiter
          notices.

  31. Returning to top-level for deep-nested reply @Jeff Read:

    What I mean is that in the USA, at the federal level, policy is determined nearly 100% by corporate lobbying, and 0% by the people at large.

    I’m going to leave arguing validity of how you interpreted Gilens 2005 to other people;  there’s a deeper issue I have with your thesis. That being the question you are dodging: you are saying that money and/or lobbying organizations being so involved in politics is bad, but I want to hear you describe a better system for realistically distributing political clout. I emphasize the word “realistic” because—whatever theoretical “best system” you or I might design on paper—there is another point of sociopolitical research which interferes with implementing political systems in the modern world: Dunbar’s number.

    Take a moment to consider this problem from the perspective of the politician: at any given time, they will have many thousands — possibly hundred thousands or millions — of people they represent, all of whom want their time and attention on some policy position. Simply out of base psychological necessity, they must have some manner of filter on how their attention is divided, to bring the number of social connections they can attend to back to a manageable number. I’ve never seen a solution which would allow a country like the US to grant perfect, equal access to politicians — all proposals either completely overwhelm the psychological limits of politicians’ social networks, or make the legislature insanely large. Ignore this problem entirely, and the solution could very well end up being “I listen only to my friends”, which is patently worse than “I listen to my major campaign contributors”! [At least with the latter, there is a hope that people can pool their resources into a lobby organization to achieve some level of voice….]

    • Do you really suffer from such a dearth of imagination as to suppose that there is no better system for political influence than the uniquely pernicious U.S. system of legitimized bribery?

      There’s an easy solution to campaign finance: each candidate who makes it to the ticket gets an equal share of a pool of public campaign funds to spend however they see fit to get their message out. This is how most democracies operate. Lobbyists still exist in such a regime, but they are unable to buy policy with campaign contributions. And they and the politicians they influence generally hold themselves to a higher standard of ethics and transparency.

      Alas, “campaign finance reform” is like “health care reform” in the USA: a tangled mess of mock solutions and half-measures to preserve the status quo while giving the appearance of working toward a solution to a problem other developed nations solved, decisively, decades ago.

      • Do you really suffer from such a dearth of imagination as to suppose that there is no better system for political influence than the uniquely pernicious U.S. system of legitimized bribery?

        It’s clear from Alex K.’s post that he suffers from something quite the opposite: the ability to imagine alternate systems and analyze the incentives at play within them.

        How nice it must be for you to have inoculated against this malaise of imagination. And all while exposing yourself to the vector that is this den of openminded posters. Consider this attempt upon your immune system, for example:

        [E]ach candidate who makes it to the ticket gets an equal share of a pool of public campaign funds to spend however they see fit to get their message out. Lobbyists still exist in such a regime, but they are unable to buy policy with campaign contributions.

        The curse of the openminded here is manifest in knowing that that pool of public campaign funds is not the only means candidates have to get their message out. One of the most well-known ways (to the un-inoculated) is to bend the ear of parties who control established means of broadcast, who are willing to disseminate that message for free, or otherwise report on such candidates favorably, due to nothing more than ideological alignment.

        There can even be quid pro quo – sources help the candidate in return for later favors, all off the books. No public spending required. Lobbyists love to play in environments like this.

        And they and the politicians they influence generally hold themselves to a higher standard of ethics and transparency.

        I read this and instantly thought of the middle of the professor’s chalkboard of equations where he scribbled “and some magic happens”. You seem to think lobbyists and candidates have high standards of ethics and transparency. At what point of your plan did you come up with magical ethics fertilizer with which to cropdust the candidacy?

        a problem other developed nations solved, decisively, decades ago

        Stating falsehoods with words like “decisive” does not make them true.

      • There’s an easy solution to campaign finance: each candidate who makes it to the ticket gets an equal share of a pool of public campaign funds to spend however they see fit to get their message out.

        Ya-huh. And 50 years past the implementation of this, a future Jeff Read analog starts demanding “campaign reach reform” forcing everyone to only speak to the same number of people over the same regulated (ie party-controlled) platforms.

        Otherwise, people like you will just move the posts and start agitating on how we have to force regulation on any potential candidate BEFORE they make it to the ticket too. Just not fair otherwise, right?

        And they and the politicians they influence generally hold themselves to a higher standard of ethics and transparency.

        Uh-huh. Citation needed. Every law creates new opportunities for graft. “Finance reform” is just another way to establish where the lines are so people know where NOT to go to do what they’re going to do anyway.

        Or do you actually believe that human morality derives from the laws created? Cause that’s the only thing that would make what you said here make sense.

        Alas, “campaign finance reform” is like “health care reform” in the USA: a tangled mess of mock solutions and half-measures to preserve the status quo

        It’s a tangled mess because what you’re actually running smack-dab into is freedom of expression. Lobbying of government is a 1A protected activity, and your flailing attempts to curtail it will forever run afoul of this reality. It’s a tangled mess because it requires mental pretzel-ing to even begin trying to approach it.

      • Do you really suffer from such a dearth of imagination as to suppose that there is no better system for political influence than the uniquely pernicious U.S. system of legitimized bribery?

        Since you appear not to have read what Alex actual wrote, let me attempt to rephrase it in the possibly vain hope that you’ll real what I write:

        The limiting resource Alex is talking about isn’t how to get money to help the candidate get his message out. It’s the politician’s time to listen to his constituents’ problems.

        • To be fair to Jeff, I don’t think this is really a problem of reading comprehension (or insufficient systems thinking, which I want to believe is more likely), as much as it is one of idealism. When you strip the question of political access down to its absolute core and start analyzing what we know of social psychology from studies like S. Asch, 1951; S. Milgram, 1963; or the aforementioned R. Dunbar, 1992 — the constraints which must be obeyed make this perhaps the ultimate “wicked problem”. It really doesn’t help when (and this is where I see idealism) people seem to want a “timeless and eternal” solution which will completely resolve the issue forever, and that definitely can’t exist.

          None of this should be read as to imply that I think no improvement is possible — there are many, many strategies I have seen which certainly appear capable of granting better political access. The real problem I have with campaign finance reform is that, whether determinant or mere signifier, right now it is the only signal we have of how that political access is actually being distributed. In my mind the loss of that signal outweighs any possible benefit, up to and including definitively and permanently equalizing political access! [After all, just because you can persuade a politician doesn’t mean that you will….]

          • I think part of the problem is people, Jeff in particular, conflating the access problem, with the question of how to fund campaigns.

            The former is a “wicked problem” as you say. The latter is largely a non-problem since once voters know who the candidate is, campaign spending quickly reaches the point of diminishing returns.

      • >Do you really suffer from such a dearth of imagination as to suppose that there is no better system for political influence than the uniquely pernicious U.S. system of legitimized bribery?

        All that does is erecting a weak defense shield against democracy. Democracy and socialism are synonyms, this has been understood since Aristotle: if you want the people who own more property than others to be able to keep it, you have to at the very least mix democracy with aristocracy, giving the rich more votes per capita or something, which Aristotle called politeia or polity. Lobbying does work as a weaksauce substitute for this, but does not work anywhere nearly well enough – for example some certain corporations and rich people can protect themselves through it but the generic upper-middle-class family not.

        No, I fully agree one should be more imaginative about this and not just assume the current system is ideal. The trouble is, Jeff, when imagination only runs to the left of the current system and not to the right of it. That is, imagination running entirely in the direction of stripping the owners of property against the weak defenses they have against those who want to take it i.e. socialism i.e. democracy. To strenghten the defense, I propose something along the lines of monarchy and feudalism.

    • Ignore this problem entirely, and the solution could very well end up being “I listen only to my friends”,

      Which if there’s enough at state, tends to degenerate into people with the resources to do so sending potential “friends” at the politician hoping to gain influence. In fact the word “lobbyist” originally referred to people hanging around the lobbies of DC hotels hoping to befriend politicians.

  32. RMS: didn’t you used to like to fight and argue, and make your opinions known (ex: 1999 linux conference on stage), and engage in legal battles (ex: cisco lawsuit), and win. You seem much more passive now. What happened?

    We have multiple struggles that could be pursued: including a gold-standard legal battle that you would win if you pursed it. But you wont. You just wont. Why?

    This is what some people are saying:
    >You trusted the loudmouthed people again, as your savior, thinking it would work this time around
    As in: they talk alot, but when push comes to shove (ex: Grsecurity) they find a way to do nothing.

    You believe Bradly Kuhn, because he’s one of yours, but he is not a lawyer, he doesn’t know what the _FSCK_ he is talking about. His idea of “good representation” is to try to run out the statute of limitation on any known copyright claim. You have a case, but will not pursue it. Good thing he wasn’t your muse when the Cisco case came around. All the FSF does now is embezzle money and go to gala events.

    Complete frauds now. The donations were so you could pursue more legal actions regarding the GPL, and help others to do so aswell. Same with the donated code: it was expressly so you would take legal action against violators. None of this is done. The money is simply wasted, and the code unprotected.

    “we can’t do anything”
    “we decided we can’t do anything”

    Because the “distinguished technologists” (BKhun) who has a bachelors degree said so. You believe him.

    I have a JD, and a law license. So do others, you ignore everyone else and take advice from BKhun: who gives the worst legal advice I’ve ever seen (1) lets run out the statute of limitation on a known violation and 2) we can’t do anything about these slamdunk cases and 3) Discovery??? What is THAT??)

    On 2020-02-19 03:18, Richard Stallman wrote:

    [[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider ]]]
    [[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies, ]]]
    [[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden’s example. ]]]

    > This is a pure power struggle and it will require Richard to assert his
    > authority. It will need to end with bans.

    If I thought it was desirable to kick them out of the GNU Project, I
    could have done that in October. But I don’t want to do that,
    because thst would be a big loss to the GNU Project too. To dismiss
    people as paricioants is something I will do only as a last resort.

  33. >https://rbt.asia/g/thread/74823956/#q74824547
    >>grsecurity
    >They’ll pay in time, like many other companies, including Cisco, did.

    You really think so? Cisco only payed because RMS had sufficent levels of testosterone then and wasn’t surrounded by white man faggots, who inhabit all of opensource (see: Linus Trovalds, Bradly Kuhn, etc). White men only care about pleasing their boss (at work: their boss, at home “their” wife). They are pieces of shit.

    Now RMS has much less testosterone and even though GRSecurity is violating the GCC copyrights with their GCC patches, he says “haven’t we decided that there is nothing that can be done” and “I’m not part of the FSF anymore”. Because the faggot non-lawyer “technologist” Bradly Kuhn says “nothing can be done” “lets work this all out” “RMS should be ejected because he supported pedophile activism”.

    Free software is _DONE_.
    You all got snookered.

    But one thing you might beable to do is recover your copyrights from the FSF: they claimed they need you to hand them over so they could sue violators, same reason they need your donations. They embezzle the donations instead and sue no one. This is a misuse of the donated items and money and it can be recovered in some states if proven (NY, Cali, etc)

    • How to make the GPL the BSD license:

      1) have white males as the copyright holders.
      2) threaten to blackball them from “the industry”

      White men are /NOT/ human beings (human beings have agency). White men are _ANIMALS_ in human form. Beasts of burden. They WANT to serve “MY Boss” or “My Wife”.

      They’ll never take any action on their own. Shame RMS got bleached on the inside. He used to be a ballsy Jew.

        • This cirno-poster is clearly insane, but I’ve seen verbiage like this before on the internet. Is this some sort of jewish racism or something? How widespread is this, beyond lunatics? It seems everyone is piling on “white men” these days.

          • >How widespread is this, beyond lunatics?

            I’ve never run across MikeeUSA’s precise flavor of nuttery anywhere else before.

            The weird part is that he can actually think when his bizarre sexual/racial obsessions aren’t running his brain. Damn shame that’s “almost never”.

          • … I’ve seen verbiage like this before on the internet. … It seems everyone is piling on “white men” these days.

            It seems to me that there is a fairly widespread social perspective which would argue that it is acceptable to hate those who are in the “highest” social stratus [and unacceptable to ever direct similar hate to those in any lower status]. Couple this with a collectivist perspective which treats people not as individuals but representatives of demographic groups and this can easily take on the appearance of “piling on white men”–e.g. these perpectives would conclude that making a joke about Trump’s appearance is funny, but not a similar joke about members of “The Squad”, since the latter are all members of historically disenfranchised groups and thus in a lower social strata than the former.

      • What the unholy hell did I just read?
        I quite partial to a decent trolling, but this is just incoherent gibberish.

  34. [popped out]

    Anyone whose brother heads the Cuban Communist Party and who leads a hard-left guerilla group.

    That’s just it. Was Castro leading a hard-left guerilla group when he denied he was a communist?

    • When Castro first came out of the mountains leading a hard-left guerilla group and took power in Cuba there were claims that he wasn’t a communist, and that’s the period I’m talking about. Truth be told I’m not sure if Castro himself was saying ‘I’m no Commie’ or if it was friendly people saying it for him or if people were trying to manipulate Castro by offering him stuff if he’d say he wasn’t communist.

  35. It’s ironic that a guy with the kookiest nutty ideas talks about others holding irrational beliefs. Just look at your blog history. You were just floating around the nonsensical idea that coronavirus is a bio weapon. That I am guessing didn’t age well after the new wave of deaths in Iran and Italy. The lack of self-awareness in you is just amazing.

    • >You were just floating around the nonsensical idea that coronavirus is a bio weapon.

      I was ahead of the curve there. Even the mainstream press is now taking seriously the notion that it escaped from the P4 bioweapons lab in Wuhan, especially since this theory has been endorsed by a couple of virologists at a university in South China. (Why they’re not rotting in a Chinese jail after saying that out loud where Xi’s minions can get at them is, I admit, a mystery I have not penetrated.)

      Nonsensical, yeah. Totally. Would you like to try saying something even stupider? You’ll have to work to top that first self-embarrassment, but somehow, somehow…you’ve given me confidence that you’re up to it.

    • >The only proof you presented was your own posts and a vague promise to dig up your sources:

      The prediction I made, and checked later, was that the CO2 excess would not end with the planting season. It didn’t.

      If you want to refute me, do your own homework. Extraordinary claims are the ones requiring extraordinary evidence, and the notion that tapa farming could produce that volume of emissions was absurd to begin with. Anyone even marginally numerate would have noticed that the scale was all wrong for that.

      One respect in which my priors have updated is that I’m now sure the north-central Chinese plume was industrial emissions. I wasn’t at the time, but that was before the full magnitude of the Pearl River buildout was apparent. Today, that bad spot produces a full third of the planet’s human CO2 emissions (the U.S. is, by contrast, a net carbon sink). But there are no Green demonstrations in China, of course; China is already Communist.

  36. > How humans form and maintain insane beliefs when there are plenty of objective reasons to know better is, I fear, a topic of continuing fascination to me.

    Check out the little book Conspiracy Theories by Quassim Cassam

    It’s an interesting analysis, with depressingly little/pessimistic advice. Already-conspiracy-theorists are basically unreachable, unconvertable, and immune to evidence and logic. The only hope is to prevent marginally interested from going all-in, and educating the young in critical thinking.

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