Monday, January 30, 2023

Collectivism's two fatal flaws

The psychological concept "Dilution of Responsibility" was stumbled upon when hitchhikers on less traveled roads were offered rides more quickly than hitchhikers on very heavily traveled road.

Dilution of responsibility

I am the proud father of four children. There is a five-year gap between #2 and #3.

My two oldest children played soccer. My oldest child was blessed with awesome coaches. The second oldest child's coaches were, charitably, mediocre.

I decide that the only way to ensure #3 and #4 had good coaches was to become a soccer coach.

My first three games as a newbie soccer coach were humbling. My team's opponents were coached by fathers whose kids had been playing for two years (and this was their second year of coaching). Many of my pet theories went down in flames.

I deployed the players on my team two-by-two, like a six on a dice.

The teams with the more experienced coaches lined them up, single-file down the center of the pitch.

When the other team was driving the ball up the center of the pitch, my team watched and, individually, decided that the ball was closer to the other girl and neither girl deigned to break into a sweat and challenge the opponent moving the ball.

The other teams, in contrast, had been instructed "Sophia, if the ball gets past the girl in front of you, your job is to move toward the ball and take it from the other player. Then you kick it up the field."

Yeah, we were crushed. My girls were "participating" and our opponents were as committed as Kamikaze pilots. It wasn't the quality of the girls. It was the clarity of the instructions and the ambiguity vis-a-vis the room for variable interpretation.

The Prisoner's Dilemma non-dilemma

The Prisoner's Dilemma is a very basic introduction to game-theory.

Two suspects are caught under very suspicious circumstances. The police separate the two suspects and offer each an identical deal.

If neither you nor your partner "rat" you will both probably get one year in prison.

If you rat and he does not, you turn State's evidence and walk free and he serves 10 years.

If he rats and you do not, you serve 10 years.

If both of you rat, then both of you serve 7 years.

Looking at the "matrix" it is clear that it is highly advantageous to the probable perps to both keep their mouths shut. One year served by each perp is a total of two years.

But they always, both "rat" resulting in a total of a fourteen year obligation between the two of them.

The reason is simply. The person making the decision, in reality, has no control over what the other person does. Whether the other person "rats" or not, the individual always benefits from ratting on the other. One row of the matrix has him walking free rather than serving a year. The other row in the matrix has him serving seven years instead of ten.

The Collectivists cry a million tears and tell us that the Soviets failed because they were not pure "Socialists". Ditto for Venezuela and the Norks.

It is not that the Soviets weren't "pure". The problem is that Socialism (or other Collectivist hooie) can only function when the actors function in ways that are not typical of most humans. Examples might include cloistered religious groups and military units on patrol where the failure of one fighter can result in the annihilation of the entire unit.

One must question the sanity of people who are so blinded by the glory of their theory that they hold up its failure as evidence, nay proof, that humans are so flawed that they must be replaced by...more "evolved" humans that will validate their pet theory.

Virtually all therapy aimed at improving emotional health emphasizes separating those items that we can control from those items that we can influence from those items that are totally beyond our control. Inability (or stubborn unwillingness) to make those separations is a symptom of mental illness.


  1. I despise rats.
    You didn't even have to offer much.
    Rats would rat out 3 of their sources so they could stay free and use.
    They always kept either their best source or the one they feared.
    I hate rats.

  2. One must despise a system of "justice" that will punish someone based solely on the word of another person.... a person who has been coerced with threats of incarceration. It makes their testimony totally and completely untrustworthy. It's why judges, lawyers and their entire profession are generally looked down upon and often hated.

  3. The last paragraph was very interesting to me. Wheels a turning, now. Had not heard that succinct of a statement before.

  4. Zealots are everywhere. I don’t get it. The socialists killed more people in WW2 than the Germans did. They killed more jews than the socialists did. Yet Germany will always be held to account for the holocaust. The Japanese killed more Chinese, Koreans, Mongolians and amassed a body count greater than that of the Germans…and 3/4 of a century later, Obama bowed to them and apologized for America’s role in WW2. The Chinese killed tens of millions of people…and our politicos sell out to them every day.

    Crime and punishment are in the eye of the beholder…

    1. In no - zero - respect can the halfrican be held as paragon of virtue. Actually, to mention him, I think your marble went futz at that specific time.

      On the other hand, it makes perfect sense since the vagaries of the human experience seems your point.

  5. I’ll keep my mouth shut. If you don’t, and we both live another 10 years, you won’t live much longer.