Cite Me, Invite Me, Please Don’t Rob Me – Killing Intellectual Subversion

Let’s assume that you devoted decades of your life to guiding your beloved children to independence, joy, peace, and success. There are dozens of ways for other people to ruin your children with crime, immorality, or even legal forms of aggression. Whether your children ended up maimed for life from assaults, bankrupt from corrupt spouses, or on the couches of psychologists from relational and psychological abuse – you would feel as if your life’s most precious work was violated. This is similar to what we experience when corrupt people violate and steal our intellectual work. The difference is, parenthood is so common that most people can relate to the violation of their children. Because fewer people have chosen to spend decades of their lives in spreadsheets, books, deep thought, experiments, revisions, writing, and painstaking formulation, intellectual violation is poorly understood.

The most obvious indicators of insufficient empathy are not even diatribes from socialists who foolishly demand the end of intellectual property. Blatantly callous norms are captured in the language used to describe intellectual subversion, such as academic dishonesty and academic misconduct. It’s as if we set loose a gaggle of nursery school babysitters into the adult population whose sole purpose is to protect our most corrupt peers from even experiencing guilt for their fraud. Their attitude:

“Woops! Well, nobody is perfect, you know! A little dishonesty here, a little misconduct there – completely conducive to a normal society. And of course, it’s only relevant for academics.”

Intellectual subversion extends far beyond academic institutions. Direct victims include independent researchers, professionals in various fields, analysts, journalists, fiction writers, comedians, software developers, historians, engineers, and scientists. They are the creators, and violating them does not just harm them. There are severe consequences for intellectual consumers, and the progress of humanity itself. In reality, there is no level of intellectual subversion that is acceptable; we must detect and punish it with vigor.

Intellectual subversion is the disruption of society’s system of creation and discovery. There are multiple tactics that frauds use:

  • Bribery – offering a creator money, contracts, privilege, reputation, or promotions if they use their creative talents to produce content or results that satisfy a predetermined agenda
  • Cheating – helping a creator to gain an edge by providing them with resources and information that their competition does not have, and that will surely damage their competition. Coworkers can be cheated by cronyism when management provides their favored employees with opportunities and resources denied to the ones delivering the results.
  • Deception – giving false information to resource providers in order to gain advantage in competition. For instance, an entertainer can currently buy one-hundred YouTube likes for five dollars. So a person with a $50,000 marketing budget can buy a “viral” video with one-million likes. In this way, purely idiotic ideas make untalented hacks famous while genuinely good creations are crowded out of the public’s attention.
  • Fabrication – falsification of data and evidence
  • Impersonation – assuming the identity of a creator to give them an advantage. Shadow writers are paid impersonators, but they make their agreements without coercion.
  • Plagiarism – the reproduction of another creator’s work without crediting, citing, or acknowledging them
  • Sabotage – interfering with the completion of or attention to another creator’s work
  • Appropriation – taking the ideas, methods, findings, and conclusions of the original creator and rewording them without crediting the creator. This is an insidious form of intellectual subversion that combines sabotage and masked plagiarism. It’s not necessarily illegal, because we can’t copyright an idea.

All of these tactics destroy the lives’ work of creators – robbing them in ways that a common thief could never fathom. They also rob the public of the best creations, and lift up incompetent people who then destroy the work that they stole with their inexperience and unfamiliarity with the content. The public not only loses access to the best creations; the intellectually subverted creations they consume are only distorted shades of the original. The process of intellectual subversion also breaks the chain of creation. The original creator with all the knowledge and skills to refine and adapt the work efficiently and superiorly is cut out of the future of the creation.

There are over one-hundred citations and credits in Economic Sovereignty. I would be glad to discuss the results, collaborate, or present to any interested party. I believe that I speak for all creators when I kindly request for readers to cite me, invite me, but please don’t rob me. Everyone loses when intellectual subversion is perpetrated – society at large and the thieves included. When the public discovers the truth, the thieves should be made infamous and lose any advantage they robbed from the devoted lifetimes of honest creators. We will kill intellectual subversion by bringing consequences to the thieves – including the ones who technically did not break intellectual property laws. Making them infamous by exposing their fraud, and persuading the public to choose genuine creations will go a long way.

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Can Third Parties Destroy Elections? Truth from Math Expertise Made Simple.

Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, the Major Third Party Candidates in the 2016 US Presidential Elections

It is election season and a hot topic on social media is whether or not Gary Johnson and Jill Stein will throw the election to Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. A meme illustrates the claim from the perspective of casual third party activists:

Ignoring the disparaging, Orwellian insult of co-opting kind Mr. Rogers to express the false superiority of the creator, is it true? Even people with bad character can offer truthful messages. To answer whether or not third party candidates would throw the election to a major party, the mathematics of probability are required. Unfortunately, the meme maker treats an inductive problem like a deductive, axiomatic one. In other words, their model entails about 120 million likely voters, who must vote for one of four candidates, and who are all guaranteed to vote, no matter who is on the ballot. That’s not reality. In reliability engineering, we were expected to pick up statistical math on our own and immediately apply it to real world problems. It was an incredibly easy topic, and a stress-free break from courses like operational methods. When I saw this meme, I immediately constructed the correct solution.

There are two generalized events to compare:

  1. Trump vs. Clinton with no third parties (T = Trump, C = Clinton)
  2. Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein (J = Johnson, S = Stein)

These are two sets of mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive events, meaning that one (and only one) must win:

  1. Only one of two candidates must win: P(T ∩ C) =  0 and P(T U C) = 1
  2. Only one of four candidates must win: P(T ∩ C ∩ J ∩ S) =  0 and P(T U C U J U S) = 1

So the question then becomes what is the probability of Trump or Clinton winning with or without third party candidates in the race? Based on polls, we know that Johnson and Stein cannot win, hovering at 9% and 3% respectively. When Ross Perot took 18% of the popular vote in 1992, he did have an impact on election results. So people who are interested in taking this seriously must now ask – how will votes for Johnson or Stein tip the election to Clinton or Trump. That is the only rational outcome of a vote for Stein or Johnson, since they cannot win. If all four candidates were hovering around 25%, we would be having a different conversation. But that’s not the reality.

In order to answer how Stein and Johnson will tip the election, we would consider a handful of voter types:

  1. Committed to Trump
  2. Committed to Clinton
  3. Committed to Johnson
  4. Committed to Stein
  5. Leaning Trump
  6. Leaning Clinton
  7. Leaning Johnson
  8. Leaning Stein
  9. Abstain
  10. Write-in

That set of ten possibilities contrasts sharply with an election where the third parties are not on the ballot:

  1. Committed to Trump
  2. Committed to Clinton
  3. Lean Trump
  4. Lean Clinton
  5. Abstain
  6. Write-in

To answer whether or not Stein and Johnson will throw the election to Trump or Clinton, a serious investigator would need to analyze how the following groups would change without the third parties on the ballot:

  1. Committed to Johnson
  2. Committed to Stein
  3. Lean Johnson
  4. Lean Stein

Would they all abstain? How much of each group would ultimately commit to Trump or Clinton? Is it fair to say that most of Stein’s voters would go to Clinton, and most of Johnson’s would go to Trump, and a comparable number of each would abstain? Where would a researcher find such data? We would also need to perform conditional probability calculations to determine how the third party candidates would impact the election. If our assumption about the transference of third-party voters holds, then Stein may leach 1.5 – 3% from Clinton and Johnson may leach 4.5 – 9% from Trump. When we consider the electoral college, and the fact that the votes in swing states are going to decide the election, the calculations become even more complex. A few percentage points in the national electorate may not make a difference at all.

So what’s the honest answer to whether or not the third parties will destroy this election by taking genuine political convictions and redirecting them to Trump or Clinton wins? We simply don’t know. The only thing we know for sure is that since neither Johnson nor Stein can win, those who vote for them will either have no impact or they will influence a Trump or Clinton win. Unless somebody shows you their homework – and constructs the problem exactly as it was stated here, they are deceiving you. They need to create a mutually exclusive set of events, with conditional probability, and then adapt it to the electoral college, and compare the scenarios with or without third parties in the race. That’s a very complex problem, but complexity is the nature of modeling the real world accurately, compared to propaganda from people with next to no understanding of mathematics.

Alvarism does not endorse any of the candidates, as a nonpartisan nonprofit think tank. We do insist that claims like this are treated honestly. Nothing good for America will occur by misleading voters about the realistic impact of their choices. This may frustrate those who are wedded to third parties, and with that frustration, I can sympathize. Libertarians like Rand Paul have been working within the Republican party to increase the real influence of their voters. He is an example of a different path to the same destination for libertarians. Before we assert that third parties are the solution for frustrated voters, let’s remember what happened in Germany when a minority of many third parties was sufficient to win their nation. Our leaders are reflections of the electorate, no matter how they are organized under multiple parties. Political change begins with understanding civics, understanding the alternatives, and then affecting change at the local level, in caucuses, and through nonprofit action to which elected officials must respond. Economic Sovereignty details political visions in Chapter 2. It will empower citizens to realize the origins of political bias, and to start engaging in meaningful ways. When we treat problems like this critically, honestly, and practically, every citizen wins.

Pseudo-anonymous Superheroes

Bane vs. Batman in Batman: The Dark Knight Rises

Is a person who hides their true identity a cowardly menace or a noble hero? Why might a typical citizen consider hiding their true identity? History, movies, and literature provide us with endless examples. Those who saw Batman: The Dark Knight Rises were treated to a spectacular variation of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, with French Revolution kangaroo courts, Jacobin “liberators,” and the Reign of Terror captured through Information Age atmospheres. The villain, Bane, and the hero, Batman, both wore masks, but towards different ends. Bane wore a mask to terrorize, instill fear, and evade responsibility for his crimes. Batman wore his mask to protect the people he loved from reprisal, and as an ultimate act of humility – he wanted all of his achievements to be known by a symbol, so that Batman could be anybody, like a flag is to a Nation.

In the real world, spies, activists, authors, public figures, and celebrities must consider using pseudonyms (fake names). Pseudonyms include pen names (noms de plume), stage names, screen names, ring names, nick names, aliases, superhero identities, or regnal names of monarchs or popes. In the digital age, a false screen name can be useful for anyone to protect against identity theft, corporate, foreign, and domestic government surveillance.

The difference between heroic and villainous usage of aliases is not just notable in epic films. In the real world, examples of villainous uses of pseudonyms include jilted lovers’ vengeance, voter fraud, petty theft, bullying children, terrorism, illegal alien smuggling, human trafficking, prostitution, black market transacting, and other gang-related activities. Heroic or innocuous uses of pseudonyms include marketing, branding, sales, exercising principled privacy, avoiding business identification collisions, paparazzi avoidance, humbly emphasizing the message while relegating the person behind the message, and protecting friends, family, and career from malicious intimidation and character assassination from political, business, and ideological opponents.

Some of the most celebrated or hated people in our history have used pseudonyms: C.S. Lewis, George Orwell, Mark Twain, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Stalin, Lenin, Trotsky, and Malcolm X. Almost every entertainer chooses a pseudonym.

In American history, there have been those who have tried to crush anonymous speech. The Supreme Court ultimately defended it. In McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission (514 U.S. 334), the court held that prohibition of anonymous political or campaign speech is unconstitutional. They affirmed the value of anonymous speech with three main points:

  1. It discourages ad hominem attacks: “Anonymity thereby provides a way for a writer who may be personally unpopular to ensure that readers will not prejudge her message simply because they do not like its proponent.”
  2. It encourages open discussion: “The interest in having anonymous works enter the marketplace of ideas unquestionably outweighs any public interest in requiring disclosure as a condition of entry.”
  3. It offers safety from reprisal: “The decision in favor of anonymity may be motivated by fear of economic or official retaliation, by concern about social ostracism, or merely by a desire to preserve as much of one’s privacy as possible.”

Considering the arguments of the Supreme Court for anonymous speech, how much more American can the concept of anonymous speech, superheroes, and pseudonyms get? We have long ago determined that the benefits of anonymous speech outweigh the risks. So why is there a trend led by educators and progressive politicians to destroy this spirit of free and anonymous speech? Do they not have access to history books, court records, or the movie theaters? Have they not considered that this topic has been thoroughly adjudicated for centuries?

Animosity towards pseudonyms is thus un-American, but attacks on free speech itself are completely anathema. The oppressors of free speech cannot tolerate pseudonyms. A person hiding their identity and deemed to be violating the laws and rules, would require authorities to demand the mask come off for justice.

The Wisdom of Pseudonyms

If the Supreme Court arguments were not compelling enough to understand the value of anonymous speech, then attempts to destroy free speech should be. Ultimately a person who is trying to unmask a superhero wishes to destroy him. It is tacit admission by the censor that they are wrong, and the only way they can affect their willpower is to destroy the messenger. They cannot defeat the superhero in discourse, with facts and reason, so they will use every form of ridicule and social aggression to destroy the people who oppose them. If they have the real identities of the superheroes, then they can even charge them with perception crimes, and blacklist them from jobs. Is it any wonder why the most legendary thinkers and authors in history have used pseudonyms? These situations do not change much through the centuries, even if we tend to forget what’s true.

How to Use a Pseudonym

If you are considering the use of a pseudonym, you may find these helpful:

  1. Choose your correct gender and culture. Unless you’re an expert actor and want to invest time into living up to a false gender or culture, you’re going to be uncovered eventually. Your persona won’t “feel right” to observers. You won’t fake it well.
  2. Never share Personally Identifiable Information (PII) such as date and place of birth, biometric records, medical, educational, financial or employment information. New computer algorithms can identify you from clear photos of your face. So use fake photos or cover your face.
  3. Decide the purpose of your alias. What are you trying to achieve? Are you influencing some policy? Are you speaking dissent in a hostile forum? Are you collecting information from opposition? Are you spying on the spies who are spying on you? Pick an agenda for your superhero identity and stick to it. Remember, when you use a pseudonym, you are a symbol, you are not fully yourself.
  4. Seed the persona with false information to throw off spies and antagonists. Use fake locations, PII, and even say things you don’t believe but don’t necessarily violate the agenda of your symbol. Play devil’s advocate. Make it so that even the most determined snoop either thinks you’re crazy, or can’t figure you out because of so much conflicting information. Enact organized chaos. Your snoops mean you harm. They are deceiving you. You must beat them at their own game of deception, or they will surely succeed in harming you.
  5. Keep people who don’t belong away from your alias. You do not want to engage people who do not service the purpose of your alias – whether on your side and spreading the value you contribute, or in opposition to you. Minimize your threat surface.
  6. Seed your speech with unique phrases. When you invent phrases that nobody else has used, you can trace your message all the way up to national exposure. People will steal your message, call it their own, and you will discover that you have succeeded in influencing the entire nation!

Be Satisfied

If the last suggestion is depressing and you feel like you want credit for your hard work, then pseudo-anonymity might not be for you. You will have to humble yourself, watch others steal your anonymous ideas, and be satisfied that you made a difference. It’s a price you must pay for anonymity. Pseudonyms are tools. Just as a knife can be used to save a human being in surgery, or kill them in a crime, aliases can be heroic or villainous. Never let opponents intimidate your right to anonymity and free speech. Choose to be Batman, and not Bane. With your noble mask on, you will do a great service for your neighbors, and for the integrity of discourse that maintains a civil and liberated society.

How to Use the News in The Information Age

“He who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.” – Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Norvell, Jun. 11, 1807

We’re supposed to use the news to understand the world beyond our direct experience. That simple purpose is often neglected, as people unconsciously take stories for granted. I’m often asked by my audience where I find the time to discover such great information. My secret has nothing to do with spending more time than them. It has to do with leveraging self-awareness, analytical thinking, memory enhancement, simple technologies, wise friends, and valuable sources. Increasing cognitive skills, and developing a beneficial social network will take patience and devotion. Developing technology skills and finding better news sources can be achieved in one weekend. The following practices comprise my formula for success.

Self-Awareness & Analytical Thinking

We must be aware of our own bias, and then seek out sources that support and oppose it. The reason we are spending time on the news is to gain an accurate understanding of the world beyond our direct experience. We need diversity in our news diet. Feeding from one kind of source will leave our minds malnourished and increase our bias. If we approach the news to serve our feelings, ego, and entertainment then we will not get much out of the experience. We’ll become our own worst enemies, and our understanding will be less accurate.

We have to divorce our identity from the stories we hear. If we mingle our own ego with the events in the world around us, we will feel as if conflicting information is a personal attack. When that happens, we have no chance of being reasonable and fair. Our prospects of accurately understanding the situation can go to zero very quickly without self-control. It is a great challenge to regulate our feelings and distance ourselves from the story, but we must always do our best.

We need to know ourselves. We need to identify our dispositions on politics, religion, culture, and class. What political parties do we vote for most of the time? What news sources do we typically access? What are our familial and cultural backgrounds? What are our religions, philosophies, morals, and worldviews? What kind of financial and class backgrounds do we have? Once we know our leanings, we can select a diverse array of sources for news. For instance, it would be benefit an atheist to follow a Christian news source and try to see things from their perspective.

We must be rational when we consume news. If there is information that makes us uncomfortable or angry, we must be patient and logical. It helps to discern the reasons for our anger before we get trapped in an irrational conflict. Consider the source. How was the information obtained? Is it hard evidence, or just hearsay? Is it a video that has been truncated? Be wary of incomplete information, as it could be an indicator of half-truth propaganda. The smallest omission can change an entire story. One way that a news organization can produce false perception is to simply not report important facts. This is why it is wise to check more than one source on stories we wish to deeply understand.

We must study common fallacies and propaganda techniques so that we can identify them in practice. In my experience, every ten minutes of news presents at least a few fallacies or propaganda tactics. A journalist does not have to deliberately make those mistakes. The sensational nature of commercial news encourages a certain level of fallacy and propaganda. Rivalries and conflicts drive ratings and revenues.

Finally, we must put case studies and personal interest stories in their proper place. We often listen to stories about people, incidents, and special events, and then make generalizations based on the dramatized narratives. For instance, we may hear a dozen stories about murders in our metropolis and come to a false conclusion that we live in a very dangerous place. Yet the murder rate is very low, and we are not likely to be in a scenario that would even expose us to such dangers. If we hold generalized beliefs, they must be justified with generalized evidence. An array of stories can toy with our emotions and beliefs, and create unjustified stereotypes in our minds. At the same time, generalized evidence like statistics can be erroneously constructed. When reviewing statistics, we have to question how they were made.

Simple Technologies

Centralize Your News with News Aggregators

You can spend a lot of time waiting for web pages to load, or fishing through printed pages. If you’re not using a News Aggregator you’re spending too much time on the news. These apps go to the websites that you want to read and extract the content from them for you to browse. Not only are they faster than browsing the web, they also collect the latest articles from all of your websites in one location.

If you have Microsoft Outlook, then you already have one of the best News Aggregators. It will download your articles automatically if you tell it to. Your database can be enormous, and you will be able to search through articles in the same way you search through emails. If you load feeds from multiple websites, you can read the same stories from different sources to help eliminate spin and bias. Learning how to use this feature of Microsoft Outlook is very easy.

If you do not have Microsoft Outlook, there are many free News Aggregators for any device. Some software like FeedReader allows you to set up SmartFeeds that automatically pull articles from your sources with keywords. If you are following a certain story, they can do the leg work for you.

Create Your Own Digital Archive

The web can be fickle. Valuable information can disappear overnight, even from major sources like CNN. If you hope to recall notable articles later, especially for research, you’ll need to make copies of the articles on your local computer or personal cloud. The best technology for this is Microsoft OneNote. It allows you to copy and paste text and images from web pages, and it will automatically insert the original link. It will also give you the ability to take screen clippings for content that is harder to extract.

Once you have your own digital archive, you’ll be able to organize it, search through it, and access your sources with ease and confidence. Think of it as a huge filing cabinet filled with organized notebooks, and compacted to a small spot on your personal computer.

Social Networks

You can follow people that you trust on Twitter. Facebook allows for a more personalized interaction between trusted friends. Choose your sources wisely. Social networks are not substitutions for publications. Academic, government, think tank, and news organizations spend a lot of time and money to deliver information. The social network only acts as a filter and lead generator amongst your trusted friends. If you know that a certain friend is tracking particular issues, be sure to share related content with them. They will appreciate it and return the favor. If you’ve already created your own digital archive as previously described, you can even search for older gems related to your friends’ interests, and help them out by pointing them to older items of value.

Always Write Digitally

Always keep a local copy of your own writings, and create them digitally. When they are digital, they are searchable, easy to share and edit, and you can back them up for security.

Wise Friends

Develop a network of friends who have different political, religious, cultural, and economic experiences. People from different walks of life can be very helpful to you. Don’t dismiss a friend’s opinion because they disagree with you. You should however, keep news-friends who think critically and are rational, intellectually honest, and fair. Everyone suffers from fallacies, and propagandistic thinking from time to time. Help your friends to avoid these mistakes by advising them when you see flawed thinking. Be willing to tolerate different ideas and agree to disagree. If you grow comfortable with your own flawed thinking habits, then you will only attract people who agree with you. You could find yourself in a hollow echo chamber. The value we seek is information exchange. If your end of the exchange is not logical, accurate, deep, and mature, it will not be valuable to people who differ from you.

Lastly, don’t be intimidated by deceptive and dysfunctional people who might wander into your circle. There are many bad actors who will spoil the pot, attack you personally, and try to discourage you. It’s unlikely that you’ll change them, so never forget that you’re exchanging information – not recruiting tribal members. The only thing you can directly control is your pattern of thoughts and actions. Confront bad actors with dignity, conviction, zeal, and honesty.

Valuable Sources

Not all sources are equal in value or purpose. You should follow more than just raw news sources like Reuters, CNN, Fox News, or the New York Times. Add some collegiate journals, think tanks, government sources, and trusted public figures to your News Aggregator. Be open minded to new sources and test them out. You never know what value you might find. The feeds listed at the end of this post will get you started.

Memory Enhancement & Happy Discovering!

In the 20th century, false beliefs about memory were popularized by D. G. Treichler, Edgar Dale, Paul John Phillips, and many professors. They claimed that people remember 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see, 50% of what they see and hear, 70% of what they collaborate upon, 80% of what they do, and 90% of what they teach. There is no empirical evidence to support these ideas. Empirical evidence has shown that stress is correlated with memory. That means the more pressure that you put upon yourself, or that others put upon you, the more likely you are to remember something. If you are apathetic, you won’t remember very well. If you are enthused about a topic, you’ll do better.

Because pressure aids memorization, stress can lock horrible experiences in your memory. Ironically, extreme stress and trauma has a tendency to make your memories less accurate but more vivid. Eustress (positive stress) can act as a poison as well. If you’re listening to a comedy news show, and receiving shallow, inaccurate messages, the positive stress is going to do a better job at locking the falsehoods into your head.

Remember that the purpose of spending your time on the news isn’t to entertain yourself, gratify your feelings, or to get a comedic experience. Those motivations will dumb-down your news and decrease the accuracy of your understanding. If you want to be entertained, spending your time on a stand-up comedian or watching a movie will do a better job. Investing time in news consumption should pay off by giving you an accurate understanding of the world that is beyond your direct reach. Anything that decreases accuracy is going to hamper your understanding – including fallacy, propaganda, distractions, entertainment, or your own biased interpretations. Take Thomas Jefferson’s advice and concern yourself with truth and accuracy. Happy discovering!

Sample Feeds