178 Comments

These are some of your best articles!

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Next article you respond to: Infamous EA Blogger Endorses Far Right Anthropic Theory Touted By Donald Trump

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You really should have leaned into Trump sounding like Trump:

"Okay, folks, let me tell you about this America thing. It's beautiful, really beautiful. We've got these states, right? But they're not just states, they're like different flavors of America. Tremendous flavors.

Take Texas, alright? That's America when it's big and free. So free, you wouldn't believe it. And California? That's when America's doing its Hollywood thing, making movies, inventing stuff. Great innovators in California, really great.

Now, North Dakota. A lot of people don't talk about North Dakota, but I do. It's got oil, so much oil. And it's empty, which is fine, because we fill it with American spirit. And oil. Did I mention the oil?

So, these states, they're not like other countries' states. No, no. They're pure America, just showing different sides. Like water can be ice or steam, but it's still water. America's always America, but sometimes it looks like Texas, sometimes California. It's fantastic, really fantastic.

And let me tell you, America doesn't change. It's too strong for that. But sometimes, you look at it, and you see Texas. Other times, boom, it's California. That's the magic of America. So much winning in every state. It's beautiful, folks. Really beautiful."

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Seconding this as well (still it was really really good and I'm glad you posted it Scott!)

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I disagree - I think coherent!Trump is more funny for how jarring it is.

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Coherent Trump is funny the first time, but I quickly accepted it and moved on. Trumpy Trump is funny every time because there we laugh at the specific performance of Trumpism rather than the mere fact he is or is not being Trumpy.

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My sentiment is something like "having Trump specifically saying all those things doesn't feel very different to me than if anyone said it" but maybe I'm not familiar enough with American politics

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I also found both voices sounding the same, which is understandable in that they came from the same writer, but also understandable since they don't differ on any issues at all.

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Yes, I thought that was part of the joke. No Bidenisms, no Trumpisms, just calm Scott-like philosophizing.

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founding

I think there would have been an additional layer to have the Scott-like philosophizing expressed in the characters' signature oratorical styles, but that would have been a lot more work and probably would have gotten in the way of the philosophizing. This version is good enough for me.

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omgg u dont get it

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Do you have something specific to contribute?

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I said u didnt get it how about a little inner work 🙄

in a practical way the explanation wouldnt hit if its not direct. but also the humor comes from them having a philosophical debate like that which contrasts with reality

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I see. You don’t get it.

I’m well aware how the bit works. Aesthetically I think it would be funnier if Trump spoke like Trump.

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I think it's a lot funnier if he doesn't. The world is full of bad Trump impersonations, I like Scott's Trump for consistently going beyond the obvious jokes.

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Good, really amazing. So good, it can't be anything other than perfect.

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I don't know if it's possible to make these esoteric arguments while consistently sounding like Trump, but I'm very impressed you pulled it off for the first answer!

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I thought he was much more philosophical than the Trump from the boring real world.

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Agree with the idea in principle but the ChatGPT example is unconvincing.

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I keep saying the current level of AI/LLM is not about machines getting really smart, but people, and our expectations of people, are really stupid. LLMs write marketing texts because marketing texts are uncreative copypasta drivel. And this is also a good example how easily one can generate text that sounds like Trump, sort of passing a Trump Turing Test, because there is a very simple script running in his head... you couldn't do this with Benjamin Disraeli...

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This is only a rough reconstruction of the debate based on later commentaries which reference it. The original text was sadly lost in the events after the Battle of Lake Doremos.

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Haha. Very original.

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I hope someone gets Trump and Biden to voice these with AI

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It would probably end up highlighting how little these characters sound like the actual Trump and Biden.

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No it would be funny.

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The link in footnote #4 is not working.

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Now these are policy positions any sane and sensible person can get behind!

"If they do have brothers, then the two lesbians’ brothers are themselves brothers."

This reminds me of the title of the story by Theodore Sturgeon "If All Men Were Brothers, Would You Let One Marry Your Sister?"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If_All_Men_Were_Brothers,_Would_You_Let_One_Marry_Your_Sister%3F

"It will be one hundred forty-four cubits high, made of jasper, with fifty gates, and names written thereon which are the names of the fifty states. And the wall will have thirteen foundations, and on them the names of the thirteen colonies The foundations of the wall will be garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation will be jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst; the thirteenth, an adamant. And the fifty gates will be fifty pearls; each of the gates shall be of one pearl."

I realise this is the description of the New Jerusalem from Revelation, but it is still very beautiful. Maybe all those trillion dollar companies can get together and use their AI riches to build this? If Neom/The Line is going nowhere, then why not give this a shot instead?

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Is anyone else annoyed that it lists emerald, and then later beryl, even though emerald is a kind of beryl?

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No, because see the part about sometimes America is California and sometimes America is Texas, so having two different forms of beryl is very suitable for the multitudiousness of America 😁

I think Walt Whitman should be invoked at this point, from "Starting from Paumanok":

"...With firm and regular step they wend, they never stop,

Successions of men, Americanos, a hundred millions,

One generation playing its part and passing on,

Another generation playing its part and passing on in its turn,

With faces turn'd sideways or backward towards me to listen,

With eyes retrospective towards me.

3

Americanos! conquerors! marches humanitarian!

Foremost! century marches! Libertad! masses!

For you a programme of chants.

Chants of the prairies,

Chants of the long-running Mississippi, and down to the Mexican sea,

Chants of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota,

Chants going forth from the centre from Kansas, and thence equidistant,

Shooting in pulses of fire ceaseless to vivify all."

Also, the part about the different aspects of America and the Wall and the invocation of Chesterton made me think of 'what if both were combined? how beautiful would even North Dakota become then?' in the spirit of what Chesterton has to say about Pimlico:

"Let us suppose we are confronted with a desperate thing—say Pimlico. If we think what is really best for Pimlico we shall find the thread of thought leads to the throne or the mystic and the arbitrary. It is not enough for a man to disapprove of Pimlico: in that case he will merely cut his throat or move to Chelsea. Nor, certainly, is it enough for a man to approve of Pimlico: for then it will remain Pimlico, which would be awful. The only way out of it seems to be for somebody to love Pimlico: to love it with a transcendental tie and without any earthly reason. If there arose a man who loved Pimlico, then Pimlico would rise into ivory towers and golden pinnacles; Pimlico would attire herself as a woman does when she is loved. For decoration is not given to hide horrible things: but to decorate things already adorable. A mother does not give her child a blue bow because he is so ugly without it. A lover does not give a girl a necklace to hide her neck. If men loved Pimlico as mothers love children, arbitrarily, because it is THEIRS, Pimlico in a year or two might be fairer than Florence. Some readers will say that this is a mere fantasy. I answer that this is the actual history of mankind. This, as a fact, is how cities did grow great. Go back to the darkest roots of civilization and you will find them knotted round some sacred stone or encircling some sacred well. People first paid honour to a spot and afterwards gained glory for it. Men did not love Rome because she was great. She was great because they had loved her."

If all truly love America with a disinterested love, then she will bedeck herself in walls of chalcedony and beryl, and become Great Again 😀

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Beautiful poem, thanks for sharing

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I don't mind two forms of beryl. If they said emerald and aquamarine, I wouldn't get annoyed. My problem is that they said one form of beryl and then just beryl.

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Half of my house is made of pine and the other half is made of wood.

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I love that Chesterton quote. Never heard it before. Thanks for sharing!

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TIL that sardonyx is a thing. I thought it was Dogmatix in a caustic mood.

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Dogmatix' evil twin?

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Jun 28·edited Jun 28

No, because he's quoting from Revelation 21v17-21

Translating precious stone names is famously hard because the ancients didn't leave us a labelled box of samples, and because they didn't use the same categories we do. We tend to categorise using chemical composition, which of course was unknown to them. From the literature we have we can generally only say things like "This word means a green precious stone".

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Then why did it get translated as "beryl"? That word just means a chemical composition with no regards to the color. It really annoyed me in the description of ophanim, who were the color of beryl. The color is literally the only thing that matters and they didn't give the color or translate it to any kind of gem with a specific color.

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I'm choosing to read "sardius" as "sardines". The new guys get stationed at the sardine section.

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The late Kontextmaschine had a theory that the dirty little secret behind the Pacific Northwest's idyllic image was a history of incest and child abuse. He backed it up by some local historical research he'd done after moving to the area, but also by the two sci-fi authors who moved to the area and then wrote about seeming-utopias powered by dark secrets. This was one of the stories, and le Guin's "Omelas" was the other.

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Sad that Trump didn't go all the way and endorse the logical conclusion of the SIA--namely, theism and the presence of at least Beth 2 Americans.

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I'm still waiting for a hard-hitting moderator who'll press candidates on whether or not they experience qualia.

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"I experience what I mean by qualia, but how can I know if that's the same thing you mean by qualia? Similarly, that scound - excuse me, my honorable opponent professes to believe in America, but how can I tell, or you tell, whether that's the same thing as what I mean when I say wholeheartedly that I do indeed believe in America?"

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Did we just move into Wittgenstein?

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Can Mary vote Blue without leaving her room?

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Many folks vote Blue without even leaving their graves.

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It is an established Chicago tradition. :-)

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Jun 27·edited Jun 27

I experience a qualium. I vividly experience the redness of an apple, if a red apple happens to be available. In all other respects I am a p-zombie.

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Jun 27·edited Jun 27

I am a q-zombie. I act and speak like a real human, perfectly mimicing how a human would act and appear in every way, just like a p-zombie would. I also have a full human consciousness and experience of qualia like a human would. However, unbeknownst to me, there is no link between the inner consciousness that experiences qualia and the intelligence that acts as if it did, apart from being located in the same body.

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I'm an h-zombie. I act and speak like a real human, perfect mimicry with no internal experience, etc. However, I also act as a horcrux, and should I die, a different person who is currently a real human will become a p-zombie. I had a similar arrangement, and enjoyed qualia until sometime in 2016. when my own h-zombie was killed.

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I am an i-zombie. I act and speak like a sighted human who can see, I say "what a beautiful rainbow!" whenever there is a rainbow outside (and not otherwise). However, I am blind and cannot see.

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I am an r-zombie. I think that I think, therefore I think that I am. Which is to say, to take the plural form, I R.

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The singular is "quale". This indicate that the single conscious observer surrounded by all of us zombies is Dan Quayle.

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This was *insanely* entertaining. Thank you for this, made my day.

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This is priceless.

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I am generally in favor of ritual sacrifice of celebrities, regardless of any demonstrated effects on fertility.

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Another victory for nominative determinism!

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I was more impressed by Biden's argument. I thought it was very romantic how he full of joy he'd be if America actually existed. But nonetheless, he'll work as if all Americans were real.

As for the rest of the debate, my attention span is too short, so I only remember the end.

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> " The Constitution bans any American from holding a noble title. And what title could be nobler than that of “father”?"

Trump to the Presidency! Trump to the Supreme Court! Trump to interpret every other clause of our Constitution in the same way!

> "Let freedom ring from the fungus-forests of Elevennessee to the minarets of Washington DCXVII!"

I am intrigued and wish to read your thirteen-volume magitech fantasy series.

Or in other words...

U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

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Indeed, there is only one Father of the Nation, Patres Patriae, the Father of His Country, George Washington.

And since his apotheosis, now he is at least a semi-divinity, so how can any merely mortal man aspire to that noblest of all titles, "father"?

https://www.aoc.gov/explore-capitol-campus/art/apotheosis-washington

https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/356690

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Washington_%28Greenough%29#/media/File:George_Washington_Greenough_statue.jpg

https://www.mountvernon.org/george-washington/artwork/artists-exalt-george-washington/

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So, Darth Vader, the ultimate "dark father", is a twisted mirror of George Washington?

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For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, so Vader is the opposite of Washington.

Where then, we must ask ourselves, is the anti-America located? Is it a coincidence that there is both a North *and* a South America? I think not! This also answers the point raised above by Shaked about "This implies Jesus can't be American, which is why Trump believes in deporting Hispanics since they have a high risk of being named Jesus": if South America is the anti-America, then the Hispanic Jesus has a high chance of being the anti-Jesus, or Antichrist. This is why the immersion in the baptismal waters of the Rio Grande is so necessary, in order that the sinful impostors be identified!

As St. Paul instructs in Romans 6: 3-5:

" 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."

Those who make it through the Rio Grande are buried with Jesus and once attaining the other bank of the river, on the soil of the USA, are raised through the glory of the Father, who is Washington, so that they may live a new life as true Americans.

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Jun 28·edited Jun 28

Ah, so the waves of refugees are both symbolically and literally seeking salvation, and this is why they approach the USA from the south, even the ones who are from other continents.

The "giant sucking sound" from NAFTA was the sound of our sins - capitalism - heading southwards to find their proper place.

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Perhaps the Anti-America is Argentina and Javier Milei is the anti-Christ? Its GDP is 30th in the world, and it's name means "silver" - coincidence? Like the USA, it's the 2nd farthest country in that direction in the hemisphere.(1) Its currency is unstable and its debt is notoriously unreliable, precisely the opposite of the USA. (2)

1) What's up with Canada and Chile, theologically speaking?

2) Need some reference to Evita the musical and South American Nazis...

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I hear the word "Anti-America" and i want to write a book with that title. A shadow universe with a sinister America, and they've just noticed us. Yeah.

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Can’t find any info about number 2, am confused

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1820_United_States_presidential_election

(There was no election because nobody challenged Monroe)

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No major challengers, I guess...close enough to no election for the joke to work, and be educational, for me at least! But there was an election and Monroe "only" got 78% of the popular vote.

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No, the Democratic-Republicans only got 78%. But the Federalists, who got 19% (and won a state), also supported Monroe. So Monroe effectively got 97% of the popular vote.

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Interesting, thank you! The totals near the top of Wikipedia are deceptive on this point.

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Regarding unaccountable billionaires with root access to our culture I believe we should have a social media well being tax shift, with social media companies taxed according to the self reported well being of their users and the tax credited to the best performers

I think this is likely to only have good effects as well as be unusable to enact censorship

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I feel like this would lead to a world where social media platforms kick off miserable users and compete for the happiest - instead of solving a captcha you have to fill out a survey convince them you're a rich and fulfilled human being living in a state of perfect eudaimonia.

I'm not sure a world where the depressed don't get invited to parties and the rest of us have to maintain a rictus smile for the webcam while browsing our feed is a strict improvement.

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Think of it this way: imagine a proposal to tie information machines to 90% of the population from dawn to dusk with the only active incentive for the info companies being to induce addiction via whatever their algorithms find makes the audience press the buttons the most, and this experiment being correlated with depression rates for teens doubling in one decade

Maybe there's a third option, I definitely don't choose that one. 50-100% of the tax credit could be based on positive delta of self reported well being

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"Trump: I believe there are no fathers in America.

Biden: No fathers?

Trump: The Constitution bans any American from holding a noble title. And what title could be nobler than that of “father”? "

Courting the Evangelical vote, I see: "And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven." -- Matthew 23:9

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This implies Jesus can't be American, which is why Trump believes in deporting Hispanics since they have a high risk of being named Jesus.

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That's patripassionism, Patrick! Jesus is not the Father. The Father is in Heaven and therefore clearly not American.

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Can't we grant citizenship to one aspect of the Trinity?

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The Marines sing of Heaven being under American military occupation. That might be close enough.

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Our manifest destiny is to make the entire world Heaven by basing Marines in every single country on earth. NATO is a holy tool that immanentizes the eschaton. Al Qaeda was right: all our wars are Crusades. Putin and Xi, as with the USSR, are definitionally evil empires for opposing us.

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FYI, duplicate word here: "But it may appear to outside outside observers in one or another of these ways at different times."

Delightful read, thank you!

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Trump's anthropic argument is has a hidden assumption: worlds with one special person and billions of NPCs are as likely/dense as worlds with billions of people.

(Or: he kinda assumes the "prior" is "uniform" in a certain way.)

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The humour of this piece rests on the idea that these men might speak in full, grammatical sentences and be able to carry an argument acrosss several contiguous sentences.

Also, I disagree that Rome is West of Greece. Rome was situated in the Italian peninsula from 753 BC until 475 AD, then subsequently on the Bosphorous and the sea of Marmara until 1453 AD, Rome has since moved around many places. If elected, I pledge to assign a search party to ascertain the current whereabouts of the City, and pledge allegiance to its current inhabitants, if any.

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Sorry, the Fourth Rome has been in Washington DC since at least 1991.

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Then which Rome is in Washington DCXVII?

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Jun 28·edited Jun 28

I'd date it to March/April of 1917 or so (assuming no Russian calendar hijinks), with the Bolshevik Revolution and then the US entering WWI.

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The title was contested through the Cold War, which repeated the division between East and West Romes, until - in a reverse of the previous political split - the older Third Rome in the East surrendered to the newer Fourth Rome in the West.

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Hm... So the odd-numbered Rome was conquered by barbarians but limped along until it completely collapsed, while the even-numbered Rome survived although was somewhat diminished by external rivals.

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Jun 27·edited Jun 27

All roads lead to Rome, assuming you take the correct turn at each intersection. But as is well known, the roads of the Americas form two major disconnected systems, separated by the Darien Gap. The only way, therefore, that all roads can lead to Rome is if Rome itself is in the Darien Gap, easily reachable by road starting anywhere from Nuvanut to Patagonia.

It will be noted that the Eastern Hemisphere also contains some completely disconnected road systems, but we are talking about Western values and any non-western Hemispheres can be safely disregarded.

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The Darien Gap is a district of Colombia, therefore I agree with both you and Evan Þ above, that the New Rome is in Washington.

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But, fact check, Darien is in Connecticut.

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Surely you must mean Disconnecticut.

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Could be dis one, could be dat one.

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I always read it as "Connect? I cut!". That's because it cuts the I-95 interstate in half with miles of malarial swamps and jungle-covered mountains.

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I-91 as the tool of discord?

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To the contrary, the humor of this piece rests on the idea that these men obviously can't!

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Stop trying to make the Eastern Roman Empire a thing!

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Trump and Biden both seem to profess altruistic motives, which we all know don’t really exist. As such, I cast my vote for my mental conception of John McAfee, who pledges allegiance only to the “free” hyper-hand of the market. Incredible read, thanks!!

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As usual, the debate comes down to whether we accept the Self-Indication Assumption.

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For more things related to Biden's closing bit, I refer you to:

- This comment chain (I don't remember if Scott had fleshed out his comment in it prior to this or not): https://www.astralcodexten.com/p/practically-a-book-review-rootclaim/comment/52671041

- A really dumb short-short story I wrote on DSL: https://www.datasecretslox.com/index.php/topic,8984

- Puddleglum's speech in The Silver Chair

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Regarding Scott’s old comment and Biden’s logic: would that apply to Donald Trump? His patterns of perceiving the world are those of a genius businessman, and for such people it’s normal to be super-successful. He can’t be dreaming that, because real genius has a self-evident logic, and even a normal person dreaming of genius would recognise the lack of that self-evidence in their dream. So for someone perceiving the world like Trump does, it’s reasonable to assume he’s probably super-successful. If he isn’t, it’s probably a dream or a conspiracy or something.

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Love it! Many Thanks!

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Jun 27·edited Jun 27

It looks like straight women have it tougher than lesbians in this world. No straight woman with a brother can marry any man, because he'd be her brother's brother. But a lesbian woman with a brother can still try to find another lesbian woman with no brother.

Then again, if hardly anyone can marry anyone, I guess you end up with mass co-habitation and lots of "roommates"!

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Interestingly this section turned out to be most prophetic of the real debate.

"But here’s the deal, there’s a lot of young women who are being raped by their – by their in-laws, by their – by their spouses, brothers and sisters, by – just – it’s just – it’s just ridiculous. And they can do nothing about it. And they tried to arrest them when they cross state lines." -- Actual Joe Biden

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> Washington DCXVII

A missed opportunity to have it be Washington DCLXVI. (Or something related but much larger and on theme... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Number_of_the_Beast_(novel) )

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Original number of the Beast was 616, so I think it was meant to be the number of the Beast + 1.

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A small number of manuscripts have 616 for Revelation 13v18, but this is usually considered a copying error, with 666 the original. Do you have a reason for thinking it's the other way around, or is this an Unsong reference I'm failing at?

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Jun 28·edited Jun 28

Both 616 and 666 are numerological references to the Roman emperor Nero, which is why the two versions exist until it was eventually standardised as 666; it's not precisely an error either way so much as translating the code (to account for local differences in how Nero's name was spelled, NERO vs. NERON as I understand it). My understanding is that the best guess is that 616 was the original, although I'm not an expert.

EDIT: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Number_of_the_beast

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Both are theories held by some scholars. 616 as the original is definitely the minority view (witness all the current Greek and English texts use 666 as the main, 616 as the footnote) due to the few ancient manuscripts, and the discussion among the ancients where they label 666 as the orignal and 616 as a scribal error.

The theory that both are derived from Nero's name caused considerable excitment when it was first proposed in 1830 but people have since realised that achieving both numbers involves odd choices in the spelling and titles. It turns out you can get almost any individual to work if you take similar liberties. The view that 666 is a maths puzzle for Nero is waning, though I don't know whether it's moved into the minority or not. Wikipedia sources the maths puzzle view to Beale's 1999 commentary. I don't have that commentary, but Beale's Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament 2007 rejects the Nero view. Whether he changed his mind in 8 years, or whether Wikipedia has misunderstood/misrepresented him I don't know. Wikipedia is generally less reliable on contentious topics like religion than it is on uncontentious topics like maths.

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"learn more about the our two candidates"

You have an extra word here

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Perhaps the most Jewish writing you've produced

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"Let freedom ring from the fungus-forests of Elevennessee to the minarets of Washington DCXVII!"

Brilliant!

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Honestly this might be my favorite thing you've ever written (in terms of comedy), and that's a very high bar!

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I read this blog for the bafflingly obscure and even by that standard this was bafflingly obscure. Bravo.

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Trump is not that much of a lamdan.

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this is so good

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I love this so much.

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Oh, how I wish I could tune in tonight to something even half this coherent.

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"When we consider America in the context of its vastness and its freedom, we call it "Texas". When we consider America in the context of its innovation and cultural influence, we call it "California". When we consider America in the context of its barrenness and oil-producing-capacity, we call it "North Dakota". And so on."

I could swear I've seen Scott write this somewhere before, but I can't find it on Google. Was it in Unsong?

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author

It's on the aaronsmithtumbler.tumblr.com blog. I admitted it in the footnotes.

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Ah, thank you! I think you may have stuck the footnote on the wrong comment though: I see a 'self-plagiarism' footnote on Biden's preceding comment about not believing in states.

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States resemble confined quarks more than divine attributes. While their existence is prescribed by the theory, we can never perceive them existing independently, as they would spontaneously form larger structures immediately, as proven experimentally by Lincoln - whose discovery was still passed over by the Nobel committee, obviously for him being a Republican.

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I thought it was the proscription against having dead people receive the prize. Unless it was that it didn't yet exist.

But who is to say that it didn't really exist? Sure, Alfred Nobel died in 1895 and designated the prizes in his will, but did they not exist in spirit in Lincoln's time? If the prize was real in 1895, could it not have been real also in 1865? Or 1776? We can MAKE the prize real.

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Dead in what reference frame?

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Jun 28·edited Jun 28

To be fair, Lincoln was merely the P.I. who wrote the paper; most of the actual work of splitting the Union was carried out by people who have since been cancelled.

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The Presidents sound far more erudite than when they are soundbit in the mass media, maybe they are more intelligent than I thought.

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You are an incredible writer. The humor and depth of this piece have opened my eyes to the power of modern literature… Thank you.

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This is glorious!

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I think I preferred the "hardball questions" to the mock debates.

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Agreed. Given the copy+paste from tumblr in the opening, I'm going to assume he's busy with the kids.

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Hilarious! Only thing is these two characters are made to sound a lot more coherent than they actually are!

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Having just watched the real debate, I can say that this was much better than them arguing over who is better at golf.

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Biden bragging about how low he got his handicap while VP is definitely something.

Gavin Newsom is up to 16% chance of winning the election on predictit right now, which is wild. How did Gavin Newsom get to be the default candidate?

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He isn’t, predictit users are idiots. Harris is dramatically more likely to be the nominee than Newsom (yes I have money on this).

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If she gets the nomination, do you think she's electable? A combination of "hold your nose and vote Blue", plus hammering on "she's black and Asian and female, vote for the historic First Female Ever" and usual scaremongering about 'Trump will establish the Fourth Reich'?

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Harris seems to be widely considered unelectable, so Newsom is the only remaining possible choice at the moment, given the paucity of candidates for the nomination (I had to look them up as I didn't remember any, and it seems there were only three who all withdrew), and, as we all know, has the most important asset for winning elections: The Best Hair.

I didn't watch the debate but am reading all the reactions to it, and if Biden did boast that he managed to get his golf handicap down while VP, that reads oddly given all the criticism about Trump spending more time out on the golf course than in the White House. Though I suppose for the VP it doesn't really matter if you're out golfing, so long as you can be contacted should something happen to the President.

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>Biden bragging about how low he got his handicap while VP is definitely something.

One redditor is still not sure that this wasn't really an SNL skit...

I wonder if maybe CNN was actually hosting a surrealist art installation...

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Wow! Whoever said "truth is stranger than fiction, because fiction at least has to make sense" has clearly never read this article. And I mean that in the best possible way. Well done, Scott!

Of all the stuff to show up in here, I never expected Trump's border wall to wander off into the Holy City of the Book of Revelation! This whole thing had me in stitches. Please do more of these!

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This is the greatest piece of comedy I've read in months -- especially because of how incoherent Biden was.

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Mr. Trump's closing argument reminds me a great deal of RA Lafferty's classic story "And Read The Flesh Between The Lines".

- - - -

“Velikovsky was derided for writing that six hundred years must be subtracted from Egyptian history and from all ancient history. He shouldn't have been derided, but he did have it backwards. Indeed, six times six hundred years must be added to history again and again to approach the truth of the matter. It'd be dangerous to do it, though. It's crammed as tight as it will go now, and there's tremors all along the fault lines. As a matter of fact, several decades have been left out of quite recent United States history. They should be put back in for they're interesting, and we ourselves lived through parts of them—if it were safe to do so.”

“When were the several decades left out of United States history, Barnaby?” Cris Benedetti asked him.

“Early, and recent, and present, for I rather suspect that our own contingent present will not be firmly inscribed in the records.”

“You mean that we may not be recorded as real?” Drakos asked.

“Possibly not,” Barnaby said. “I'll give one example: there is the case of a father, son, and grandson from one family, John Adams, John Braintree Adams, and John Quincy Adams, all being Presidents of the United States. I notice, though, that only two of them are now believed in, or are now written in. The best of the three (wouldn't you believe it? it's always the best) has been left out. But the foreshortening was continuous, and part of it, I believe, took place during our own boyhoods. There was much more happening then three times more—than we are allowed to remember. Sometimes it seems that it was a million years and not just a couple of decades left out here.”

- - - -

And, elsewhere in the story, Barnaby Sheen goes into more detail:

“But when you try to compress a hundred thousand years of history into six thousand years, something has to give. When you try to compress a million years, it becomes dangerous. An involuted number series, particularly when applied to the spate of years, becomes a tightly coiled spring of primordial spring-steel. When it recoils, look out! There comes the revenge of things left out.

“Were there eight kings of the name of Henry in England, or were there eighty? Never mind: someday it will be recorded that there was only one, and the attributes of all of them will be combined into his compressed and consensus story.

“There is a deep texture of art and literature (no matter whether it is rock scratching or machine duplication) that goes back over horizon after horizon. There is a deeper texture to life itself that is tremendous in its material and mental and psychic treasures. There are dialects now that were once full vernaculars, towns now that were once great cities, provinces that were nations. The foundations and the lower stories of a culture or a building are commonly broader than its upper stories. A structure does not balance upside-down, standing on a point.

“A torch was once lighted and given to a man, not to a beast. And it has been passed on from hand to hand while the hills melted and rose again. What matter that some of the hands were more hairy than others? It was always a man's hand.”

- - - -

To truly Make America Great Again, her past must be restored from the compression of the involuted number line. There are hundreds of states, or thousands, that should be brought into the United States 4-Manifold; likewise, there are hundreds or thousands more years of American history that should be restored to their rightful place in a single unified timeline, indivisible, with liberty and jutsice for all.

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> "I believe that only those with a spark of American-ness in their soul will survive the journey. I believe the Rio Grande is a spiritual as well as a physical river, like the Jordan or the Rubicon. I believe that if one sets out to swim across the Rio Grande, truly accepting death in one’s heart as a potential outcome, then when one reaches the northern shore one is cleansed of all one’s foreignness, an American by baptism."

Truly stirring, probably my favorite part of the whole bit. It opens up some questions though. What about the people who immigrate overland? I've been to the Canadian border in NY, you can just walk across a dozen yards of cleared brush. Should these immigrants be considered illegal and deported? I suppose crossing the St. Lawrence is comparable to the Rio Grande. If you swim across one of the Great Lakes, are you a Super Citizen? Crossing the ocean would be better still, but I think using a ship would count as cheating. Riding a makeshift raft is kind of a grey area, maybe you have to win a rock/paper/scissors game with an immigration official to stay.

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Clearly we need to tear down the ambassador bridge

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If a ship was good enough to survive the total collapse of the first human civilization, then it's good enough to enter the shining city on the hill.

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Via transubstantiation, the substance of the Canadian border is transformed into the Rio Grande.

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Canada is North America too, so spiritually and de facto it is also part of the United States, it just refuses to openly accept this.

So crossing from Canada to the official United States is a declaration that you have accepted the US into your heart as your rightful lord.

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And Ireland Deiseach, is England without the cricket.

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But with the hurling! Also, we send them all our comedians and chat show hosts (and they're welcome to some of 'em).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cH53rFGcP4

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Ireland's outsized cultural impact, despite its low population and poverty, reminds me of a certain party of the USA:

https://youtu.be/KVN_0qvuhhw

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Canada is further north, therefore closer to God. Moving to Canada is the sin of Pride (hence so many left-wing sexual minorities heading north). But even then, 95% of them stay within 100 miles of the border, because deep inside they know they are not worthy. (1) And this is why Canada makes such a big deal over their First Peoples, who were literally closer to God and living in a state of grace before the Columbian colonization.

1) Except for people in Calgary, somehow, who seem to be more American than most Americans.

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After the real-world debate, I think I’d prefer this one. How big are my chances we are in fact living in this world?

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Are you diary of a sex addict or raises some hell over on Tumblr? Neither, I'm guessing. Going to follow you there. This post was majestic. Bloody majestic.

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So if a Caesarian is a fetus, what happens when someone born via caesarian gets pregnant and has a natural birth. Is the resulting child a person since they were born naturally? Or are they also a fetus of their grandmother since their mother is just a fetus, they can't be anything but?

https://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D7%A2%D7%95%D7%91%D7%A8_%D7%99%D7%A8%D7%9A_%D7%90%D7%9E%D7%95

Also, does this mean that after the grandmother dies, the mother can collect social security money as the grandmother, even if the mother is less than 65? Since if the mother is just a part of the grandmother and not a separate entity, the mother should be considered to be over 65 as long as the grandma was born over 65 years ago. Sure while the grandma is alive, the mother can't get Social security checks, since the grandma is getting the checks already. But once the grandma dies and is not getting the checks, shouldn't the mother get them?

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The idea of abortion is that the foetus is not an independent human person, it is part of the mother's body (and hence subject to bodily autonomy decisions). So it is more in line with tonsils or appendix or amputated body part. We would not continue to pay the old age pension to the pensioner's amputated foot so neither would we pay it to the child of Caesarian section.

Unless they became born again, which is the first birth and establishes them as a new, independent, human person.

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You can't stop paying someone just because a PART of them dies.

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The foetus is part of the mother, not vice versa.

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"Artillect" is a great word! I also like "euconspiracy," (directly inspired by Tolkien's "eucatastrophe"?)

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This is the first time I saw the word artilect back in 2005 https://agi-conf.org/2008/artilectwar.pdf

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How do I tell whether a post is public or not? I thought there was a little picture of a lock on paid subscribers only posts, but I can't find it.

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Jun 28·edited Jun 30

When I go to the archive page, I see the lock on the hidden open thread, but not on this thread. So I assume that this post is public?

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Hi Scott,

Loved this post. Can you once do a “Bentham’s Bulldog’s arguments on God/Anthropics - more than you wanted to know” post?

BB’s perspectives are interesting and engaging. Yet, especially when reading his stuff on “psychophysical harmony” I end up with the feeling that it does not make any sense whatsoever. Same btw when reading Huemer’s/Chappel’s stuff on moral realism, all feels like word games to me, but cant quite put my finger on it. Curious as to your perspective.

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Wait but Why's hilarious parody debate transcript: https://waitbutwhy.com/2024/06/debate2024.html

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This actually is very good, too, and has quite a number of actual quotes from the real debate. Definitely worth the read.

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Btw, I have to say that I'm grateful for the existence of this blog. I found it through a post on Shtetl-Optimized. I only wish I'd found it a lot sooner.

It seems like it attracts a lot of smart open-minded thinkers who are not crazy :). Much like the blogger himself.

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Does anyone know how I can find all Scott's fiction writing on ACX? Like on SSC I could click the 'fiction' tag and read through all the posts like this in chronological order

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"Fiction"? "Like this"? THIS IS FICTION?!

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Tragically

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I preferred this debate to the real thing.

"Re-weave the rainbow" is beautiful. "Re-gnome the mine" is phonically wrong in interesting ways and I like it a lot.

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Trump’s position on marriage is sound as far as it goes. But (as Henry VIII learned to his cost), Leviticus tells us that “if a man shall take his brother's wife, it is an unclean thing.” On this basis, I would go further than the former President and say that no widow or divorcee of a heterosexual union shall be allowed to remarry. Unless, of course, she be brotherless and marry a likewise unencumbered wife.

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Is it worth deepfaking the rest lol

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uj8df2nKn70

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Yes please, I came to the comments hoping some enterprising codexer would do this. Clever framing, Scott's writing voice channeled through Rogan is hilarious.

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You talking to yourself is being proclaimed as literature now?

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Just couldn't stop laughing. Funniest shit I've read in years.

("My" regularly scheduled programming of armchair intellectual "ughs", clever pseudonyms, and general refusal to engage in communicable-accolade, has appeared to have all stopped working in this transient moment of laughing my fucking ass off.)

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I missed the actual debate. This is pretty much how it went, right?

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Jul 1·edited Jul 1

Similar, though Scott's versions of the candidates were much more coherent and civil than the real ones, and Scott's version doesn't have the heated dispute about golf handicaps. :-)

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That makes sense. Thanks.

I don't know how Scott could have overlooked such a pivotal issue.

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LOL! Many Thanks!

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It's clear that we must push for a third-party candidate in this election: Pres. Biden claims a mere river-baptism is sufficient to ensure the purity of the American constituent. I am at least more sympathetic to former president Trump's notion that a wall or virtuous and holy make, inscribed with the magics of our forefathers will repel all such unholy and un-american.

But as illustrated in Le Guine's 'Omelas', the arbitrary suffering of even one cannot justify utopia for any number. And I ask you, friends, is no greater or more arbitrary suffering than to live under force of government, unconsenting? Nay, are not any who do not enter explicitly into a Hobbesian contract with their fellow men under tryranny even by contact? And, further, was not the soul of every American was present in Philadelphia at the creation of this contract?

So I conclude: not even a single may pass through untested, that there exists such a probability (acceptably low margins set at 78 kilo-Google universes' brute-forcing 256-bit) of the corruption of utopia. Thus, northing short of passing through the flaming cherubic swords guarding Eden may suffice, or, if they are otherwise occupied, the full force of God's own judgement, less Christic intercession.

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I’m

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Lolol Scott what is this post?

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