Thus Spake Kyle

Kyle Rowland, the only person under 27 whose opinions I seek out on politics and society (he has sharpened and challenged my thinking, I usually agree with him about 95%), responds to my questions:

It is difficult to estimate the importance of the riots, because we get tangled in the thorny discussion of symptom vs root cause. I think it is surely true that these riots are caused by a grave and deep problem with our country’s worldview/ideology but it seems to me they are the canary lying prone against the bars of its cage, not the deadly gas itself.

Seven is a fair rating for covid-19 on your scale. Once again, I am dismayed by what the dysfunction heralds: it is clear that the nation will survive however badly it mangles the response to covid. There will be tougher challenges in the future.

The riots shorn from all context are a 3. If we consider the economic and political context along with the broader “BLM” movement, I would say a 5. I think there’s a good likelihood that this will enlarge and sustain very dangerous ghettos, but the dysfunction will surely be isolated. The fear of hordes breaking into the suburbs is unreasonable, this behavior just isn’t viable in places where people respect and appreciate the police.

“Also, how much responsibility do you think I bear for what people do with books and ideas they hear on my show? I’d say less than 5%.”

How much responsibility does a sherpa bear for a climber carried away in an avalanche? Every man must decide what he is willing to risk.

Been thinking of Peter Thiel’s practical insight — you get a lot more done when people aren’t actively trying to oppose you. Looking at other online communities I see the same pathological dynamics as in the lukeosphere.
The uninteresting problem is that online communities have more than their share of confrontational people. The interesting problem is the cost of mobility. Once upon a time the ocean floor was covered with a thick mat of biomass which supported many organisms. this broke down when highly mobile burrowing creatures evolved, they broke down the mat and destroyed their own biome. When you can make a mess and leave it for others to clean up, you do it — even when it collectively leaves everyone much worse off. People are now capable of jumping social groups with cartoonish speed, but the relevant problems seem to emerge well below this level of mobility. Return to the old ways seems unlikely, but perhaps technology could eventually solve the problem. maybe it already has – credit score, for instance, might be a good-enough proxy to measure whether someone is in the habit of making messes and bouncing away.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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