Democracy


#820

I don’t know if we’ll actually get rid of 45 before 2020, but there’s a good chance he’s not going to have a fun next couple of years.


#821

That didn’t take long https://www.axios.com/attorney-general-jeff-sessions-submits-resignation-70ee7f2e-bfb7-4a2c-bdf3-46f277a83e6b.html

Things are about to get real interesting


#822

didn’t waste any time with that one! he’s clearly scared of being investigated now that the house flipped, so he’s building his depth chart.


#823

there are no sighs of relief here but i’m breathing more fully.


#824

As much as I want to be hopeful, I don’t think the Democrats are able to provide an adequate counter-response to the GOP. To quote paraphrase someone online “they will a game of checkers to a gun fight” because they are so on invested in civility and decorum instead of actually being an effective counter measure or getting things done. The GOP has proven time and time again they have no interest in operating in good faith.


#825

So somehow I have ended up following Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Instagram, and watching her story on a whim I learned that on her welcome tour around DC she happened upon climate change activists protesting in front of Nancy Pelosi’s office—and joined them! She really brightens my day.


#826

From a friend:

As a games scholar, I can’t help but think about this in terms of my scholarly expertise. A game only exists so long as all of the players are bound by the same rules. When one player, or group of players, decides to break, change, or subvert the rules in order to gain advantage, the game either ends, or transforms. Without a shared consensus on the rules, any outcomes of continued play are invalidated, obsolete, and without meaning. If you’re a member of the group of players who has cheated to win, there is little incentive to return to the previous set of rules, and a strong incentive to further corrupt the game in order to preserve your advantage. If you’re a member of the group of players who continue to abide by the rules you have several choices. You can keep playing the game by the rules, even though you no longer have a path to victory, and hope that the cheating players will eventually decide to start playing by the rules again. You can attempt to enforce the rules, often through an appeal to a higher external system of authority. You can start to cheat and subvert the rules as well (essentially agreeing to play this new and different game), and hope the the resulting “arms race” doesn’t completely destroy the things that you liked about the original game. You can take your game pieces and start a new game without the cheaters and spoilsports who have gone on to play their own different game.

To complicate this metaphor, in the game of America, we have never had equal footing for all groups of players, and the two largest historical factions have always had to pick which player group they want to represent, at the expense of others. For all of our history, we have struggled to balance the playing field for the majority of people, to recognize when the rules of the game have produced unfair advantages and disadvantages, and to attempt to collectively negotiate updates to the rules of the game that allow more people the opportunity to experience victory. In competitive games, this would be the equivalent of a balance patch: we “buff” some characters, classes, and abilities, and we “nerf” others, in order to preserve the game’s fun for everyone. In our current political moment, we’re experiencing a rash of players who have found ways to exploit the game, who are angry about how we’ve re-balanced things, and are willing to use the civic equivalent of cheat codes to create and preserve their advantage, at the expense of the rest of us.

Right now, as the midterm elections draw near, we’re going to see if it’s possible to keep playing the same old game by the same old rules, and hope that our faith in those rules is not misplaced. Perhaps we will reclaim enough authority to start meaningfully enforcing those rules again. But I worry that enough people have gotten a taste for playing with cheat codes activated that the old rules of the game can no longer adjudicate meaningful outcomes for all players. The remaining options are frightening, because they require everyone to rethink the basic assumptions that have allowed our imperfect democracy to deliver prosperity and security for many of us.

So: vote, but be aware that following the rules hasn’t been sufficient to keep the game balanced for a very long time.


#827

Funny, I was just saying something similar in a conversation yesterday.

I used to work for an online RPG development studio, and for quite a while had to interact directly with players.

Most players are there for the game, or to socialize together in the context of the game. A few are there to ruin the fun for other people, for their own amusement. under the cover of online anonymity. While the actual game rules of an online RPG can’t be circumvented unless there’s a bug, the social contract of the game depends on people playing it in good faith. It can be difficult to deter someone who doesn’t care what happens to their character or their account.

What we see with the alt-right, “owning the libs” and “triggering the SJWs” is the same sort of behavior without as much – or sometimes, any – cover of anonymity.


#828

There was some interesting research done in a game I used to play. This Loyola researcher basically created a near-silent character who played only PVP games and who played strictly by the rules of the game (get points and only points) while everyone else had little social subgames with player-made rules. Players hated him and tried really hard to police his behavior.

A lot of it rings true of norm breaking in our current political system. Basically… Someone comes by and surrenders all forbearance (Trump, McConnell, Reid) and we then get stuck in a finite zero-sum game rather than a dynamic game built on player norms built on top of an open system where stress used to be managed by norm-bending behavior rather than through straight up norm-breaking behavior.


#830


'a nation of immigrants