The reason I dislike political power games played with naked Realpolitik instead of established rules of engagement is that I've spent time playing these games and despite winning plenty I found that I didn't like the person I was becoming as I became better at winning them.
And the people who are exceptionally good at playing them unencumbered by their conscience (or blinded by their fervor) are generally not people you would ever want to spend time with or trust in any way.
Trying to solve the problem of handling opponents who insist on Realpolitik when you don't want to play Realpolitik because of the externalities it imposes on everyone is something I've been thinking about since I was 15 and I have no good solutions yet 20 years later.
This is because it's a winning strategy that completely sidesteps nicety in favor of pragmatism.

However, it comes with costs. The costs escalate every conflict significantly because there are no rules and we can't have nice things anymore.

It's defecting in game theory.
This isn't me complaining about Trump again. I think this predates him significantly and things have just escalated to a very stupid place.

It's unclear to me whether there was ever a different way of doing things actually.

Maybe I'm just shouting into the wind.
I sometimes wonder if WWII was this big culture shock unifier that made things feel very different for a while and we're settling back into the normalcy of human affairs.
There is a lot to be gained in terms of living in a pleasant civilization if we draw some up some boundaries, everyone agrees to respect them, they actually do respect them, and you accept outcomes gracefully. America has lost this art (if we ever really had it).
You can technically win a game of football by shooting everyone on the opposing team and then credibly threatening to shoot everyone who doesn't agree that you won the game, but it wouldn't be very fun to watch.
And of course then your opponents will be bringing their own guns to the next game.

Now instead of football you just have a war zone, and your precedent establishes a new normal.

This is what Realpolitik does. It turns every conflict into an anything-goes power struggle.
This is moral and even necessary when you're literally engaged in a life or death struggle with your survival on the line (war is war, after all), but one of the perks of civilization is that we get to avoid that by playing nicely with each other.
Governance competitions should not be played by the same rules as warfare, and if they are, you're a stone's throw from warfare anyway because the only escalation left to you when the dust settles is literal violence.
The point of having governing bodies is so that we don't NEED to have life or death struggles over laws. That's literally their job. Discuss and decide. We agree to play by the rules. This requires everyone to play by the rules for the game to not feel rigged.
Dragging ourselves into Realpolitik forces violent outcomes and then we may as well not even pretend to be a civilized society. Guns make the rules. Might makes right. Words are just noise.

I would prefer not to live that way. What would you prefer?
If you think this sounds fun, let me assure you that you probably do not have the biggest gun in play, nor would it be as fun or exciting as you might be imagining.

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More from @liminal_warmth

20 Nov
I need to start a thread of times people have told me the tarot pulls were ridiculously accurate for them because it happens often.

On the internet. With one card responses. With strangers. Without being able to cold read them. Without any warmup questions.

TAROT IS WEIRD
Read 7 tweets
19 Nov
Did I tell you guys I got catfished TWICE in Phoenix?

It was very dumb both times and very annoying

Fell for it once (I’m a sucker sometimes) and the second was too weird for it not to be obvious
The first one was just some girl messaging me who wanted to exchange pics before our planned date which seemed reasonable but didn’t wanna do video at the time because “she was a mess tonight”—she escalated, I felt compelled to reply, and then she ghosted on the date day.
That was dumb, lesson learned.

The second one was soooo much weirder—good story here.

So this girl messages me and she’s 22 which is way younger than I’d normally date.

But she was cute so I chatted a bit.
Read 15 tweets
19 Nov
From the back of my journal, after I put the last words of the last entry down, a letter to myself written in 2013 that I’d forgotten about falls out of the keepsake pocket.

I open it with no memory of the contents.
I read it and my heart hurts. It’s painfully earnest, honest, and sincere. Past me writing to future me with wishes of well being.

Sadly, the questions I hoped to have answered by now and some of the hopes I had for my life have not come to pass.

Others are going wonderfully.
My takeaway is that I’ve changed a lot less in the last 7 years than it might feel like I have internally, for good or ill. 😔

Still worried about the same things. Still grasping for the same answers.
Slightly more self assured, wiser, and perhaps a little harder.
Read 4 tweets
18 Nov
1/ Let's talk about Science, Magic, and Fiction today.

I just finished reading Carl Sagan's Demon Haunted World and I have many thoughts to share about the overlap of what is known and what is not right now.

Also on Modern Science in general. I trust y'all will keep me honest.
2/ First, some background on the book itself: This was recommended to me as a good read for a skeptical take on myth, magic, and superstition when I was asking for counter-balancing research and writing on the metaphysical (magic? emergent phenomena?) research I'm doing.
3/ Carl Sagan is largely known to me as "that science guy from the 70s" but I'm aware he's widely revered and accepted as an expert in astronomy and astrophysics, and there was actually a lot in his book I loved and agree with.

Unfortunately, there was also a lot to be desired.
Read 53 tweets
18 Nov
Scenes from my life right now: Waking up in the dark and then slowly watching the sun rise over the mountains somewhere in Arizona. I don’t remember where really. It doesn’t matter. North of Phoenix a bit maybe.

Roll out of bed and watch the sun rise while I play on Twitter.
No need to start the generator for coffee today like I would most mornings because I found a cheap overnight RV park to dump my tanks and plug into shore power.

I’ll shower today for the first time in three days while I have easy heat, but it doesn’t bother me anymore.
I think about heading for Nevada. It’s a long drive. But it’s en route to where I’m headed for thanksgiving and I wanna see the desert there.

I vaguely know where I plan to spend the night before heading even further into the desert tomorrow.
Read 6 tweets
9 Nov
1/ Okay I'll take a short break from coding to talk about this this morning since apparently it's interesting and I will do my best (as usual) to make it as not cringe as possible... because the point of talking about this isn't "gee guys, look at me!"
2/ But rather to talk about the very weird experience of going from feeling bad about your body and attractiveness for most of your life to suddenly not and how it's confusing and exciting and challenging.
3/ So as you can probably imagine, I've had a very complicated relationship with my body and my physical appearance for the first 30ish years of my life.

Let's unpack that for a sec. I had "girlfriends" all through grade school and middle school but was also very much a nerd.
Read 61 tweets

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