Software Doesn’t Fail. Socialism Does.

From IRC:

asciilifeform: Virtually everything that passes for ‘software’ in three+ decades is precisely this. Duct tape over hardware defects.i
bounce: Fixing that is going to be expensive though. Means rebuilding lots of stuff from the ground up. N’mind that the current tide is that of “Oh we’ll fix it in software nohow.”
mircea_popescu: Last I heard, the USG was throwing money into the street because “Gotta spend.” Since when is expensive a counterargument? What is this, the 80s and fucking Reagan ?
asciilifeform: Like every disagreement with physical reality, this one will make itself felt. And the harder derps run, the more painful the gravel in the face will be.

bounce: Nothing ended up here. Could use a bit of bezzle. Say, to build a harder-to-snoop phone.ii
asciilifeform: Not a money problem. The ‘fix’ is not available off the shelf.
mircea_popescu: See, people go “O, anything Obama does you hate him for it.” Yes, we do. and Bush too, and so on and so forth. Mysteriously, “everything” they do never includes a “We will spend one trillion dollars to fix our software-hardware. All of it.” Try that, see who hates you then. But no, they’ve tried “everything” : banged head on wall, sat on hot stove, kicked shin against all corners…. nothing in this house works. Worst house ever!

asciilifeform: No need for trillion. 10^7 would suffice – but it’d have to be spent on doubleplusungood crimethinkers, and that’s a no-go.iii
mircea_popescu: Fuck that shit. War on drugs, poverty, people far away that don’t like us and think we’re stupid… Shit, how about a war on bad software and hardware ? Unlike the foregoing, these AREN’T rules of the fucking world.
asciilifeform: They had one. Microshit won the contract. And we know the rest.
bounce: Don’t need a war either. Just bring together the means. Some bezzle, gather together the people that can do the block-building, ship’em off to shenzen, open-source the results.
asciilifeform: I shit thee not, MS Winblows is one of the two (afaik) NSA-approved OS. The other being a mystery meat by ‘Green Hills Corp.’
mircea_popescu: Not that dude. When they wanted to send a guy to the moon they didn’t give GM “the contract.” If they had, the Soviets would still be a thing, painting the moon red. BTW, know the moon painting joke ?iv

asciilifeform: Aye. Moon, incidentally, is trivial in comparison.
mircea_popescu: Yes, it is. but it didn’t USE TO BE. Do you know why ?
asciilifeform: ?
mircea_popescu: Fucking Kennedy. Once it’s done it’s trivial.v Before it’s done it can’t be done. Ask any virgin.
bounce: That’s some seriously ambitious necrophilia.
mircea_popescu: Lol My words! they has been taken out of context! and given unforeseen boners! But anyway, that’s why the entire “press” derped and occasionally still derps about Kennedy = US royalty. Because that guy was the last US president to go “Fuck you, do something useful with your time.” That is the royal superbity.

Quite right. It’s coming up on 51 years since John F. Kennedy was assassinated and exactly that long since the US had a Commander-in-Chief deserving of the title – a man who could be the strong shepherd his nation needed. Not that it mattered much, the seeds of US destruction were sewn by the north winning the Civil War and ushering in Big Government as a result. FDR just sealed the deal by making the federated states legally socialist in the 1930s, and therefore dooming the nation to fail as all other socialist regimes always and everywhere do, just as soon as the US’ natural wealth and post-war momentum wore off… Not that the closing act of America’s global relevance could be anything other than what we’re currently witnessing. This is why socialism is known as that painful transition between capitalism and capitalism, y’know? And doubly so at scale.

So here we find ourselves, watching the predictable lulz of yet another implementation of the same broken software. But why are the US’ lulz so predictable?vi Because history demonstrates that societal organizations work, or don’t work as the case may be, a lot like software, to which Paul Niquette so accurately details:

Software either works or it does not work. To be said to work, software must do what it is supposed to do. A specification determines what software is supposed to do — and by implication what software is not supposed to do. Software that does not work has not failed. It did not work in the first place. To be said to fail, software would have to work in the first place then not work in the second place. Software does not do that.

Software necessarily does the same thing in each sequence of cases — the right thing. If what the software does in a given sequence of cases complies with the specification, the software is said to work — for that sequence of cases. Not doing what it is supposed to do in a given sequence of cases does not mean the software has failed. Instead, it means software did not work in the first place.

Socialism most certainly predates Lenin and Marx – and undoubtedly even the “first” socialists, the Mazdakites of 5th century Persia – and yet it has never worked to provide the equitable utopia of fairness, niceness, and endless streams of free goodness its revolutionary adherents imagine. At least not for long.

Socialism fails every single fucking time. As such, as per Niquette, it cannot be said that socialism works in the first place, despite (or perhaps because of) its widespread attractiveness.

The hardware of society, the human flesh and blood, is obviously capable of working properly, or else we wouldn’t have babies. But working software, that which makes us human and that which separates us from the animals, is not infinitely diverse, and quite evidently precludes socialism.

No matter what the children say.


___ ___ ___

  1. This is exactly why strong hands neither upgrade software nor use newer hardware.
  2. The recent “should the FBI have golden keys to mobile devices or not” shmozzle demonstrates how, just like with the LMO food “debate,” the digital security debate is similarly structured to confuse and ultimately sidestep the issue. With the existing infrastructure and available hardware, no phone, phablet, or otherwise will ever be anywhere near secure. Your best bet is still a laptop for reading logs, a camera for taking pictures, an iPod for listening to music and audiobooks, and a dummy phone for calls and texts. Yes, security is less convenient. Get used to it.
  3. Eg. Stan himself.
  4. The minister comes to the American president: Mister President, the Russians have already launched their spaceship!
    President: Yes, yes, let them!
    A few days later: Mister President, the Russians have already landed on the moon! President: Yes, yes, calm down!
    In a week: Mister President, it’s the Russians, the started painting the moon red! President: That’s fine, just fine!
    In a month: Mister President, the Russians have painted half the moon red, we’d better do something too!! President: No, no, don’t worry!
    In two months: Mister President, the Russians have finished painting the moon, the whole moon is red now!! President: That’s great, now send our spaceship up there to write Coca-Cola on it!
  5. See… what Satoshi pulled off.
  6. Like the lulz of Ethereum being so predictable?

59 thoughts on “Software Doesn’t Fail. Socialism Does.

  1. aaa says:

    And what makes you think “older” (older than what?) is better? More importantly do you have the means to maintain older software? Becauses no, it doesn’t ever “just works”. You’re going to encounter a bug, or worse, a security issue some day.

    • Pete D. says:

      And what makes you think “older” (older than what?) is better?

      What makes me think that older is better is that the most intelligent and respectable people in infosec use older software (and not just OSes) and, in particular, older hardware. Older than what? Than the latest, glitziest fad.

      More importantly do you have the means to maintain older software?

      If you read Niquette, there’s no issue in running older software… if it worked in the first place. Older hardware is admittedly trickier, though yes, I do have the means.

      Becauses no, it doesn’t ever “just works”. You’re going to encounter a bug, or worse, a security issue some day.

      The latest crop of security issues (Heartbleed, etc.) entirely affected those running “updated” versions of software. We saw this with bitcoind in particular, where v0.9 was open to HTTPS attacks (and earlier versions weren’t) because agents like Mike Hearn want to promote security theatre rather than security. This is an ongoing concern, where malicious actors promote the use of weak crypto and weak digital security. We can and will do better.

  2. aaa says:

    It’s exactly the contrary. Older hardware is easy to manage, older software isn’t. What you are preaching is extremely irresponsible.

    > The latest crop of security issues (Heartbleed, etc.) entirely affected those running “updated” versions of software.

    No, it does not. Heartbleed is more of the exception.
    Security issues on old software are found all the time, and you better be able to manage them before you claim you should use “older” software.

    And don’t bring DJB into this. He knows what he’s talking about, you clearly do not. You are the enemy he’s describing.

    • Pete D. says:

      Security issues on old software are found all the time, and you better be able to manage them before you claim you should use “older” software.

      Compare PGP with any other “end-to-end encrypted email” and see the difference between software from the early 90’s and the endless stream of compromised turds since.

      And don’t bring DJB into this. He knows what he’s talking about, you clearly do not. You are the enemy he’s describing.

      Orly? I’ll bring DJB anywhere I damn well please. Because I can. And I don’t give a shit what “aaa” has to say on the matter.

    • aaa says:

      So CVE-2006-0049 or CVE-2008-0166 does not exist in your world.

      Not that you’re following your mad rules anyway, signing from a *Mac* with a fancy GPG GUI. Though it’s based on an outdated version of GPG, vulnerable to CVE-2014-4617 (albeit a minor issue for a client usage).

    • Pete D. says:

      Eh, what can I say, you’re right?

    • DONT BE A DUSHE says:

      Software doesn´t fail socialism does… OMG what a tard!! anything manmade is subject to failure! except your posts of course… they never fail in showing how retarded a man can seem before turning 30…

      Pete Douchenski, the one of “Fuck the Poor”, when are you going to educate yourself on the subjects you write about before posting? or at the very least when are you going to understand that everything you write about so lightly is infinitely more complex?

      when you grow up I guess… : /

      PS: at least accept you were wrong with your moronic post, and do not hide the comments that prove it, stop being an arrogant douche!

    • Pete D. says:

      anything manmade is subject to failure!

      Subject to failure != failing every single fucking time, and in short order to boot.

      “Fuck the Poor”

      Letting private parties, local communities, and/or families take care of each other as they see fit != fuck the poor. Let’s say you stop being such an emotionally defensive tard and come back after reading a bit about logical fallacies, neh? It’s plain to see that the issue really isn’t socialism itself but rather socialism at scale when run by large states. It’s size that corrupts.

      stop being an arrogant douche!

      Ya, that’s not happening. Fuck you.

  3. […] a $trillion the year after that! Not like their dollars could be used for anything useful, like sane computing environments or anything. It’s not like their money, as it lacks both vision and leadership, has any use […]

  4. […] is indistinguishable from all the other various and sundry forms of “victimhood” that socialism so inevitably produces. Today, the perverted rationalism of equal outcomes, rather than the […]

  5. Brandon Morin says:

    Let me preface this by saying I have no doubt you’re a very intelligent and competent dude, but to broadly assert that socialism fails every time betrays a limited understanding of socialism capacity and theory. First, you have to understand the context in which what we would qualify socialist thought emerges.

    As you pointed out, Mazdak can be classified as a proto-socialist. As a Zoroastrian prophet, he was a part of an incredibly wealthy culture (speaking relative to the times). Marx himself was born in Germany, a wealthy industrial powerhouse on the wealthiest continent in the world at the time. These theories are designed for a society that has developed the industrial capacity substantial enough to generate excess, a concept linked to post-scarcity economic theory.

    Your attempt to disqualify socialism is rooted in a logical oversight on your part because the example you look to, the Soviet Union, was not a society that had the industrial capacity to generate excess. Remember Lenin’s NEP? An acknowledgement of economic reality of the environment, excess and profit must be generated so that the economy can develop and grow. Tito’s Yugoslavia was despised by the Soviet Union for it’s participation in what the leadership determined to be revisionist. Mao’s China followed a similar trend with the reforms of Deng Xiaoping, as is Cuba more recently with the incorporation of a private housing market and mild retail privatization. If anything, the only thing total state socialism has proven is that it cannot generate growth.

    Now let’s look at how socialism has evolved and is performing today. China’s GNI grew 1309% from 1990 to 2013 thanks to its hybrid market-socialist/state-capitalist model. Obviously this has led to a huge gap between rich and poor, more extreme even than the United States. But the Chinese state now finds itself in a position where so much excess wealth is being generated now that they will probably start looking at more public service investment in the near future (the legitimacy of the CCP rides on it). In Europe, the Nordic model has produced the most prosperous nations in Europe when weighed against indicators such as the HDI, GDP/hour worked, gender equality, and other indicators more relevant to quality of life.

    To broadly claim that socialism fails without examining its proper context and its successes is academically lazy, and betrays a rigidly static view of ideology. Pure and simple.

    • Pete D. says:

      If anything, the only thing total state socialism has proven is that it cannot generate growth.

      This is an interesting point.

      HDI, GDP/hour worked, gender equality, and other indicators more relevant to quality of life.

      I disagree that quality of life is something to be measured and compared. It’s too subjective. This is barely distinguishable from the “happiness literature” and about as meaningful. I much prefer culture, arts, and theatre as symbols of a society’s success.

    • Brandon Morin says:

      So… You judge a society as successful if it has enough money for a vibrant arts scene but not enough to alleviate the effects of poverty?

      Call me crazy, but I don’t think the first of us started forming this grand experiment I call society just so we can finger-paint together.

    • Pete D. says:

      Call me crazy, but I don’t think the first of us started forming this grand experiment I call society just so we can finger-paint together.

      Firstly, this sentence is broken. Secondly, there’s no “us” here that started “this grand experiment.” There were some Revolutionaries whose legacy lives on, but like all terrible things, this too shall come to a fitting end. And it’s not like I just wanna see the thing burn, La Serenissima is quite actively creating an alternative. And we’re winning. Thirdly, a properly functioning society is free to alleviate poverty just as it’s free to provide karate classes to kids. Soup kitchens and homeless shelters have nothing to do with a successful society because no one will remember them. Not that it’s bad per se, just nothing to do with success. Fourthly, it matters not at all what you call anything for as long as you conflate finger painting and some bullshit “vibrant arts scene” with what’s in the Louvre and what’s playing at the opera house. Society is quite specifically here to produce greatness. And greatness is shall produce. That’s what’s worth living for. That’s what’s worth fighting for.

      P.S. You so crazy!

    • Brandon Morin says:

      I’m sensing that you have a very narrow view of what would get qualified as art. My example of finger-painting was both a metaphor and an example of prehistoric “art” produced by early societies (who had no concept of opera or symphonies). Judging a society by its tangible indicators; how well it treats it’s people, how much inequality based on superficial gender expectations it allows, the degree of poverty prevalent in the economy, the expansion of human capital… these are the best means to show how successful a society is. I’m not sure how you could justify the success of a society based on opera attendance, number of tourist attractions set up in an arts gallery, or anything else that literally has no bearing on societal well-being. By that logic, the Soviet Union was pretty peachy-keen if you want to weigh their contribution to Realist art.

      And there certainly was an “us”, not too sure how you think societies like Rome, Greece, Mesopotamia, China, etc all sprung up. I assure you, those early groups of people got together not so they could rehearse ballet or plan the symphony season, they banded together to survive and thrive.

      I could even point to a number of societies that had quite active artistic sectors that were, for all intents and purposes, failing societies. The Western Roman Empire, the Han dynasty, Tsarist Russia, Pre-Meiji restoration Japan…

    • Pete D. says:

      Judging a society by its tangible indicators; how well it treats it’s people, how much inequality based on superficial gender expectations it allows, the degree of poverty prevalent in the economy, the expansion of human capital… these are the best means to show how successful a society is.

      These are, in fact, the single worst means to show how successful a society is. Why? Isn’t that unfair, Pete? Allow me to quote MP here:

      Be so kind then, to believe whatever you will, but never speak to anyone about something that can’t be measured. They who provoke you to speak on such matters are ill intended, whether knowingly or just stupidly, and they who fall for it are damned, in the most moral sense of that term.

      There’s nothing concrete about equality, poverty, etc. There’s no endgame and thus no concrete way of approaching the subject; no way of breaking down the objective into bite-size pieces.

      As to art itself, there seems to be still more confusion here. Attendance or numbers of anything has absolutely nothing to do with the greatness of the art produced. The quantity of the viewers matters far less than their quality. And the quality of the viewer is determined, in turn, by their own greatness. As such, more than anything else, to quote Goethe:

      All high works of art are expressions of humanity.

      As these highest expressions of humanity, art has nothing to do with “the people” and everything to do with the expressed qualities of the best that a society has to offer. Since the best can in no way be the average, much less the sum thereof, art is an expression of those distinguished few who make or break a society.

      This is incidentally why contemporary US “art” is so lulzy.

    • Brandon Morin says:

      Sorry, if you mean to tell me there’s nothing “concrete” about inequality or that it can’t “be broken down into bite-size pieces”, then you’re essentially claiming that the people who compile the relevant data and calculate the GINI index, 20:20 ratio, Palma ratio, and the Hoover/Theil index are compiling nonsense and you’re ignoring key areas of focus of not only the front-runners of economics, but any modern economist as well.

      Might as well claim that there’s nothing concrete about climate change while you’re at it.

    • There is no such thing as “excess”. The relationship between the Golden Crescent and pre-WW2 Germany is spurious. On it goes, calling others “inteligent and competent dudes” is poor disguise for the fact of the matter : whether you yourself are intelligent or not we will never know, because you have stupidly chosen to belabour under a pile of nonsense, and that colors everything you do.

      Get out from under there, wash up, try again ?

    • Brandon Morin says:

      Excess value generated and extracted as profit, sorry if that might be just a little too advanced for an “ìnteligent” and astute reader such as yourself. The relationship between the golden crescent and pre-WW*1* Germany only becomes spurious if you directly compare the 2, but I’m sure an attentive reader such as yourself would have observed that I said they were very wealthy societies with high productive outputs relative to their respective times and economic environment.

      I think this might be a case of pot calling the kettle black, because rather than show that my argument was buried under non-sense all you’ve elected to do is engage in ad hominem and fixate on a non-existent typo. We may never know for sure if I’m intelligent or not, but I’m starting to sense a degree of pomposity paired with a heaping dose of arrogance.

    • It’s not “too advanced”. It’s too stupid. DK fucking sufferers, I swear…. Listen dorky, go advance a little, not a lot and certainly not “too”. Do that by learning any sort of actual craft. Then armed with the understanding of how words actually work try and apply your “excess value” nonsense to the world see how often the results contradict and find out why.

      In particular, are you excess ? Because that’s what you seem to me : excess, extracted as a loss. What now ?

    • Brandon Morin says:

      Well, so far all you’ve got is some spastic ad hominem and no supporting arguments outside “I’m stupid”. Explain what’s wrong with my reasoning or shut your arrogant, factually devoid ass the fuck up.

    • Saifedean says:

      “China’s GNI grew 1309% from 1990 to 2013 thanks to its hybrid market-socialist/state-capitalist model. ”

      China grew so much because it emerged from being a completely socialist economy. Under a pure socialist economy, China was one giant slave camp where tens of millions of humans wasted to death. When a modicum of economic freedom was introduced, these slave-camps improved drastically. What this marvelous growth-rate suggests is NOT that a ‘market-socialist/state-capitalist’ model is great; but that it works infinitely better than socialism, and, of course, that a purely market system would be far superior.

      You, on the other hand, do not ‘work’ as an intelligent human being. You are just another worthless socialist/marxist/keynesian/Dempublican overeducated retard produced by the mass indoctrination apparatus of the socialist state you wroship, with the regular tired, trite, retarded pro-government arguments canned into the rancid feces between your ears.

    • Brandon Morin says:

      I don’t worship a socialist state at all, I just value empiricism in my economics. Consider that the growth in GNI occurred in a 23 year period while the US, in that same period, only managed to pull off growth of 188.03%. Their models have shown that when the resources of the state are deployed in such a manner that spurs growth, it’s hugely beneficial. This wasn’t just China’s case, the practice of state-capitalism has helped reverse the destructive effects of radical liberalization in post-soviet Russia, build the Republic of Korea into a modern country after a destructive war with DPRK, we do, and post-ww2 Japan.

      Just because I care about more economic indicators than GDP growth doesn’t make me a socialist, it makes me a realist.

  6. […] Socialistania, “money” is an evil no good very bad word. It’s not to be uttered any more than […]

  7. […] to contribute something, it’s just that our current flavour of socialism, both tragically and unsurprisingly, doesn’t provide them that […]

  8. […] being a title bestowed upon Bitcoin for three very important murders: killing nihilism, killing socialism, and killing involuntary taxes. From these all too necessary deaths will come untold life, art, and […]

  9. […] are all possible, and not just under a socialist regime like Stalin’s Russia. These are possible today. Maybe not where you live right now, but man […]

  10. […] the the top-down socialist economies of the world need anything at all right now – scrambled as they are by […]

  11. […] of both candidates as the “face of change” was more than sufficient to demonstrate the moral decline and general ineptitude of the once proud nation. […]

  12. […] Guitar” in Riga.vii Because even a “mixed market economy”viii is so very much in the socialist vein, […]

  13. […] is the essence of the incentives built in to democracy, which so elegantly descends into socialism before unmasking the totalitarian dragon lurking […]

  14. […] live in the suburbs, and no, I don’t shop at Costco. And yes, I minimise the amount of broken software and hardware I use.iv But even still, though I rail against the bezzle, I still earn it and use it […]

  15. […] despite saying “Shutdown : done”, the broken software did no such thing. It continued to chew up memory until I told to it actually stop. So trustworthy, […]

  16. […] In Socialistania, “money” is an evil no good very bad word. It’s not to be uttered any more than “Merry Christmas” is to a stranger in December. Both expressions are seen to be insensitive and politically incorrect simply because they’re so precise. Not only is Jesus not all of our saviour but how could a single number represent all that a human being has to offer? […]

  17. […] I don’t really grok what “unseemly interests” is would seem to map to something vaguely socialistoidian, which is to say that Bitcoin doesn’t give away free shit to people who didn’t earn it. […]

  18. […] paradox belongs not just to modernism and its descendents, but also to the socialist barnacle attached to its ‘progressive’ hull. That the state has taken on the roles formerly […]

  19. […] with the other BRICS nations, and it’s generally a force to be reckoned with. Unlike the decrepit, socialist West, China is leading the world forward with an active, socialist […]

  20. […] All of which matched the posted checksums and downloaded the expected file format. I dunno what’s so special about “Firefox 29.0 for Mac” but someone seems to think that it’s a prime opportunity to reel in lazy suckers who don’t want or trust the latest “updates.” […]

  21. […] whole lot of doing anything meaningful and anything productive of any lasting quality. When you let socialism and coerced equality run amok, there’s little to no incentive for the greatest men to even […]

  22. […] entertainment, let’s look at what the Unabomber got right about “leftists” (i.e. socialists) and what he got wrongvi […]

  23. […] that socialism in all its forms, not just the Nordic nationalist form, killed at least 20x more people in the […]

  24. […] there had to be something, something there worth salvaging, despite the sclerotic culture and necrotic mental infections, was there not […]

  25. […] Let’s break this down. “Cultural elites”iii most assuredly do not view unexpected developments as degeneracy. What we – and yes, I include myself firmly in this much despised camp – view as degeneracy are the expected developments ; that is, the highly predictable and completely foreseeable destruction wrought by making good things “accessible” and “easy-to-use.” This is why it drives us nuts when metatards screech about how “Socialism hasn’t worked yet because we just haven’t tried the right formula. But it will!“ […]

  26. […] is bad per se and it therefore failed out of some cosmic moral imperative (y’know, like socialism actually does), it’s that it’s a fuckton of work to be master and after a few […]

  27. […] ! The US never “won” the Cold War. Hell, it’s still fighting the shit out of the socialist mind-virus as we speak, but now instead of fighting the enemy with-out, it’s fighting the enemy with-in, […]

  28. […] signal relay!” Sounds pretty silly, doesn’t it ? So while, yes, Bitcoin started out as software and, yes, most computer/ph0ne users are accustomed to their software being updated on a regular or […]

  29. […] now see that humanity is too short on von Brauns and too long on repeating the mistakes of history socialism for extra-planetary habitation to be a realistic objective this millennium, never mind this […]

  30. […] men who, at not even 40 years of age and as survivors of that other great socialist “experiment” of the 20th century, are themselves watching history repeat for the second time in their […]

  31. […] a related note, isn’t it ironic that the very contrary assumption as to the availability of this epistemological data, that incentives are externally obvious and […]

  32. […] currency status with which to reinforce their mayogendered mass in the battle against the vicious vortex of human complexity, stupidity, and unpredictability. Not like it’s done the UStards any […]

  33. […] The result was that, over time, as always and everywhere happens with fundamentally broken software implementations, the sewage set in and demagoguery found its proper footing, leading to all kinds of dumb […]

  34. […] you believe it’s only been 25 years since the Great Soviet Torch of Self-Serving Stupidity hopped, skipped, and jumped its way across the Bering Straight to the Americas ? Feels like […]

  35. […] the “idealist” (read : socialist) mind. […]

  36. […] AGA, which is already living hand to mouth, and it won’t be long before the populist “experiment” in the elitist tradition that is art finds itself on the chopping block and the […]

  37. […] as he was when he applied the same hollow toadiness to Castro. But learning lessons isn’t the socialist way, y’know ? […]

  38. […] latest hail mary and the failed MaidSafe enterprise, at the very least. Because maybe broken ideas will work for us! We’re […]

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