Snippet 1: Almost Everyone Ever Has Been and Will be Irrational

Fundamental hypothesis:

Differences in rational skills are small, across time and socioeconomic demographics.

The Democrats aren’t fundamentally more rational than Republicans, 17th century Tories aren’t fundamentally more rational the 17th century Whigs, or 19th century Marxists, or 16th century Catholics.

This also applies to “Enlightenment” era philosophers vs “Dark Age” philosophers.

It’s possible that different ideologies spawn frames that have more realistic maps, but not by virtue of the rationality of the people.

Perhaps this happens by virtue of the rationality of a few founding outliers on the irrationality – rationality spectrum.

However, the rationality of these outliers likely aren’t the reason that people adhere to the ideology. And these outliers in each era aren’t gifted with a rationality beyond the outliers of previous eras. Given a large enough population, these broad aggregations leave you with roughly the same distribution of rational and irrational people.

Much of this is informed by an observation that “education” is often not genuinely correlated with a real desire for or respect for rationality in day to day life, where by rationality I, of course, mean the desire to bring the map closer to the territory above other considerations.

Even those of us who seek to be rational mostly horribly suck at it.

…to be determined whether this is reasonable and if so, what it means.

Snippet 0: Bloodlines in Consensus

A snippet is a post that I whip up real quick without really thinking it through.

I’ve been reading up on modern European history, prompted by a dive into Unqualified Reservations and sustained by a realization of how little I actually know.

One thing that’s not surprising is how important consensus in the line of succession is. Nature abhors a vacuum, especially a power vacuum.

One thing that is a little surprising is how often the line of succession must go through blood relations.

Take The Time of Troubles – decades of power grabs between the Rurik and Romanov dynasties in early 17th century Russia. Eventually a group of nobles convened and elected the crippled, quiet 18 year old Michael I as tsar, at the protests of his mother. Michael I happened to be a nephew to the last Rurik tsar.

Or the Gunpowder plot of 1605, where the Parliament bombers planned to holster King James’ nine year old daughter as a new Catholic king after overthrowing the government.

These are the cherry picked examples that brought this thought to my mind: perhaps there’s something about the concept of a royal blood line that made it very easy for people to accept legitimacy.

The thought is that systems of government exist because they’re effective consensus mechanisms, allowing populations to more efficiently use resources and propagate.

And the traditional way to establish consensus is to use a symbol of legitimacy that beckons to the intuition of the people, i.e. blood line. As long as the symbol resonates with the people (or at least the people who care enough about politics), things work out.

No conclusion or anything more interesting about this yet.