This election is a good reminder of the basic principles of democracy: stupid people vote. Not only that, any democracy is ruled by a stupid majority.
Think about it. If you believe that you are of above-average intelligence, and who of us doesn’t, then by definition there is a majority of voters more stupid than you. And since stupid people generally don’t recognize their own stupidity, almost every one of us is faced with a stupid majority.
However, if you are stupid, and you know it, you can rest assured that there is a smart majority out there to make the decisions for you.
But the average person, of average intelligence, the average person has a great responsibility. They have the deciding vote. They decide whether the majority is smart or stupid. Our fate rests in their hands. May they choose wisely!
But they can’t. They are only of average intelligence.
So we are doomed to be ruled by a stupid majority. But that is not altogether a bad thing. All the political systems where only smart people make decisions have failed very badly. It is the stupid people who save us from ourselves.
(And I bet you thought a post with this title would be about Trump supporters. Or Clinton supporters. Fooled you!)
This screenshot from scripting.com is pretty much how I first learned the the 9/11 attacks. A low-res picture on a news website from my office in Hamburg. 3 in the afternoon. The next day I was able to put my thoughts into words. More or less.
And next day came the headline in the Hamburg newspaper “Americans! We are with you!”, and at the same time, the first clue that the attackers came from Hamburg. All I knew then was that my country and world would never be the same again. I was far away, and grateful for the internet where I could at least try to fathom how the country I had left a few years before was changing. Without me.
And today. My son who was an 1 year old then is now 16, nearly an adult. My country started two wars in revenge that solved nothing, made everything worse, and haven’t really yet ended. Mission not accomplished. The current round of politics and presidential candidates don’t seem to offer much hope of any improvement.
So I think I’ll just listen to The Rising a couple times through to remind of me of how I felt and how things could have become better. But didn’t.
Today is our 33rd anniversary. In 4 months it will be 33-1/3. Then it will be a LP record.
This happened over 9 years ago, I think it’s safe to tell the story now.
When my wife bought our first restaurant, she set up a corporation (GmbH) for the new business. However, our lawyer was lazy, or slow, or something, and for our start of business the registration of the GmbH had not yet been approved by the local court. No registration, no firm, no business loan could be paid out. With a 7-figure purchase price due that day.
No problem, says the bank, we’ll book the purchase from your private account, even though our account balance was more like 3 figures and not 7. We’ll increase your overdraft limit until the GmbH gets registered. No problem.
So to this day I have a screenshot of electronic banking with an balance that day of minus one million Euros.
We thought that was pretty funny until we tried to buy groceries and our bank card got denied. We had to call the bank again to increase our limit a bit more so we could eat.
The past few weeks I’ve been trying out 1999.io, the new blogging software by Dave Winer. You can either try it out at his site my.1999.io (you just need a Twitter ID to log in) or you can install the server on any system that can run Node. Being a server guy I of course installed my own (on a cheap 3.50€‚/mo VPS), and used it to write my last few blog posts.
I like it because because it’s simple. And simple. Simple to write with, simple to work with.
It’s simple to write with. You just open the editor page and type. To update your text, you just click on it and type. There are some simple formatting options, but nothing that gets in the way. When you update, though WebSocket magic anyone reading your post immediately gets the update.
And on the server it’s simple to work with. There’s no database, just files in open formats readable as text, JSON, OPML, RSS, HTML. Formats you can use for other purposes if you are so inclined. Even the HTML files for each post contain the JSON for the post, which I first thought was redundant but now see is brilliant. It’s like the web page contains it’s own DNA and can re-create itself.
These open formats allow one to do things with the output that go beyond the server. For instance, I copy the output of my server to an S3 bucket at 1999.papascott.de, which can probably handle load better than my cheap VPS . It’s not yet coupled to my main blog on Jekyll (right now I’m using copy and paste), but I imagine it wouldn’t too much cleverness to achieve that.
I hope someday to be able to use 1999.io as a blogging central, with the ability to send my posts to my blog, or Twitter, or Facebook, or Medium, or wherever, but keeping my original posts for myself. I’ll let those big silos show my work, but not own it.