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> And I guess the guy who killed him thought he was saving the world from
> another fascist, but may instead have created a martyr whose party may now
> do better in the election as a result.
Oh, for goodness' sake, one certainly doesn't need to kill fascists to prevent,
weaken, or eliminate fascism. Fascism exists all over the place, and is even
seen in the sunny, and intellectually enlightened, most pleasant, south-western
British Columbia, Canada, where I live -- we've had a surprisingly large number
of Nazi's here, though the overwhelming mass of people opposes them strongly,
and sometimes tries to stamp them out with fascist tactics like denying them
But fascism is demonstrably a mathematical mistake, and being the most
politically naive person I know, -- not entirely an accident, since I remain
fond of Descartes' naive realism, though actually a slave to pragmatic
pragmatism myself -- sorry, rambling again -- being the most politically
naive person I know, as I started to say, I delude myself with the delusion
that once this mathematical error is pointed out to the fascists they will
quietly disband and go about their separate ways, no longer any threat to
anyone or anything.
The mathematical error is a neglect of the importance of error-covariance. It
is explained on my homepage, (all too inadequately, sad to say), with a
stock-market prediction example (roughly, don't hire the triplets to predict
the market, they won't correct each other's mistakes but will reinforce them,
and also then mistakenly believe their consensus bodes well for accuracy),
instead hire three very different people to do it, so they are only likely to
agree when all three are right about something. On my home page I take many
more words to say this, and have only an artificial example, but there is a
telling little table, so it's better than nothing. If tolerant but determined,
try visiting it at www.SocialTechnology.Org/dpwilson.html.
'Fascism', for those whose formal education glossed over this stuff, is an
exact literal translation of 'solidarity', and means "like people standing with
like", similar people, e.g. all "racially pure" Germans, for example, standing
by to support one another, while casting out all those who differ, Jews, Slavs,
Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals, etc. -- the ancient Roman fasces, or bundle
of (very similar) sticks, (ancestor of the bassoon, the "ill wind that nobody
blows good"), is the appropriate imagery here, as the name implies.
But in any system more complicated than a dead stick, similar people, things,
processing units, vitamin pills, and so on, make similar mistakes. The
mathematical term for 'making similar mistakes' is 'error covariance'. A
simple example should suffice.
I take two or three small multivitamin pills a day. But not all of the same
brand and composition -- three different brands and compositions, in fact.
More bottles to purchase, open, and remember to keep straight, so a nuisance,
but clearly a safer way to go.
Biochemistry is not an exact science, and this fact sometimes creeps over to
the technological correlative of biochemistry, the similarly named branch of
chemical engineering that makes all these vitamin pills. So occasionally the
manufacturers screw up a batch and instead of taking a few milligrams of
niacinamide, for example, you get a few milligrams of nicotine or some other,
very similar, extremely toxic pyridine derivative (did I remember that example
correctly? I once did study a little biology and a little chemistry, but that
was in some previous century or other).
So if you do what I don't, and take one large or three little vitamin pills of
the exact same brand, composition and batch number, you get three times as much
nicotine and still no niacinamide. The smokers on the list might see that as a
good thing, neglecting as they do every day the fact that nicotine is quite
poisonous. What I do, on the other hand, is much safer and better and wiser
in all respects (perhaps the only area of human life in which I display such
virtues), since I will continue to get the vital daily dose of niacinamide from
two of the three different brands of pills, and instead of three times the
batch-screw-up dose of nicotine, as the other person gets, I will get only the
one. (Actually I think niacinamide, while nice, is not quite so vital as I
The three-different-pill regimen has demonstrably lower level of the dangerous
substance nicotine, but it has this lower level precisely because it has a
demonstrably lower level of the dangerous property error-covariance, which is
much more poisonous than nicotine.
This is not an artificial example, merely one dimly remembered -- but there are
real examples (somewhere, I've seen them) of people getting very sick,
eventually, or even dying (rare) because they took a single large pill from one
source of chemicals, when they would have been quite OK had they taken several
small pills from several unrelated sources.
Say, that's not a bad example, I should add it to my ever-changing,
rarely-very-good, homepage, where it might help to delude people into thinking
I really do have the answer to all of society's problems, through careful
error-covariance minimisation and combinatorial matching based on the results.
There now, that's a sentence just as long and incomprehensible as most of the
ones on that never-adequate homepage, which I shall immediately go and update,
and improve the overall health of it, with a dose of the most essential
vitamins and minerals, if you ladies and gentlemen will excuse me for a moment.
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