The Projection Racket, Pt. 1

Source: Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark In the course of a hasty sketch of the
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  1. I look forward to more flesh being added to the bone structure ET has created! One additional area ripe for inclusion in the list is the labyrinth of the US Healthcare system. Other than Ben’s note on his personal experience facing it this summer, and the valiant efforts to get PPE to places it might not trickle down, I believe more can be done. Health Care has its own rackets, monopolies, tax schemes, and narratives to shed light on through the ET plaform.

  2. Fantastic news! I am all for (and yet still uncomfortable) with BITFD, but have long wondered what that meant from a practical standpoint for you and Ben. This is great.

  3. Great piece Rusty and looking forward to the series. I am the little c. I am the little l. I am the middle. I want a cooperative game. I want win, win. I dislike the competitive game. I win, you lose. (I hate snakes Jock. I hate 'em.) If we were to have an Independence Day (the movie) alien moment right now, it would be a race to see which country surrendered first hoping for the greatest leniency from the aliens.

  4. Avatar for rguinn rguinn says:

    You and me both on all counts, Brian!

  5. Avatar for rguinn rguinn says:

    It does, and it probably deserves something more in-depth. The problem I tend to arrive at when I try to form a coherent intellectual framework is that even when you eliminate the monopolies, tax schemes and narratives, you’re still left with an insanely complicated issue with unsolved problems and conflicts.

  6. Avatar for rguinn rguinn says:

    Thanks, Dan!

  7. Great work Rusty. If we hope to have any success dismantling mendacious, unfair, systems, I think the whole pack needs to be singing from the same hymnal. Right now BITFD is a cacophony of righteous indignation that is spinning its wheels and occasionally cracking 100 likes on Twitter. I hope ET can bring some focus to these issues and try to loop other groups in to pull the rug out from under institutions that no longer deserve to be considered sacred.

    For example, what if ET collaborated with Kahn Academy to create a top flight, low cost, alternative to traditional, mostly in-person, universities? Perhaps you could even reimagine the entrance exam process to uncover great applicants who don’t shine in the SAT/ACT formats? Has there ever been a better time to attempt such a thing? It would be a huge undertaking, but I bet the pack could pull together a great curriculum and I am certain that there are enough pack members who can influence hiring decisions to create end demand for graduates. I know I would go out of my way to support an effort like that. As far as I know, there is no source of young, hungry talent that has been steeped in a Clear Eyes, Full Hearts approach to life. That’s who I want in the trench with me though.

    FWIW I think ET is a great first step at pulling the rug out from under our woeful “news“ media. That’s a big accomplishment in and of itself. Keep it up!

  8. Avatar for 010101 010101 says:

    The often used phrase “healthcare system” is a bait and switch. The system cares little about your health. Large systems and emotions make awkward bedfellows.

  9. Outstanding note that helps answer a question, clearly, many of us had/have. I’m basically onboard with all of it - as always, I can find a quibble at the margin that’s unimportant to the big picture. That last part explains why no one invites me to, well, anything (I don’t blame them).

    So, it’s from a position of enthusiastic support that I suggest we consider changing the name as BITFD simply sounds destructive; whereas, what we are really talking about is eradicating corruption, legal and moral, while rebuilding institutions with integrity and values that serve the greater good with honesty and sincerity.

    BITFD is not on-message to Epsilon Theory in my opinion as it sounds like wanton rage and destruction, but conveys none of the hope, optimism or community of the pack. Perhaps we should be thinking about something more along the lines of ET’s outstanding “Make-Protect-Teach” description of its social movement to revitalize the foundation of our citizenship.

    BD&BU is my humble recommendation as in Breakdown and Buildup. But my background and limited skillset is not in marketing, so I am convinced the ET pack will come up with much better recommendations than that.

    Looking forward the rest of the series. Thank you Rusty for this note and Ben and Rusty for all of it.

  10. Avatar for rguinn rguinn says:

    I hear you, Mark, but if you would, give us a chance to make the argument for this framing over the course of the series. Just because our goal is peace, liberty and building up doesn’t mean that those must be our ONLY language.

    “I have come to ignite a fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!”

  11. Your credibility is good with me. I will keep an open mind as I read the rest of the series, which I’m really looking forward to.

  12. Avatar for Schase Schase says:

    Rusty, thank you for the much-needed granularity on the volatile term of art, BITFD. Here’s my interpretation: What’s moral is what’s legal and what’s legal is for sale. And the framework for seeing it is negative network effects.

  13. Avatar for rguinn rguinn says:

    This is a really elegant restatement of the problem IMO

  14. Avatar for tobinh tobinh says:

    I’m guilty of push-back against BITFD, so I appreciate the intention not just leave it as a slogan.

    Ultimately, I believe this movement needs to become a political party after the 2020 elections. I think local chapters of ET pack are the next step. I hope there is an international chapter.

    An ET party will not topple the 2-party system at once, but even 2-3 Senate seats might hold the balance of power depending. Even if unsuccessful, the process of campaigning for 2022 will lead to the message’s impact growing, as people will have to grapple with the double-speak of the various parties and an army of influencers arguing against their nonsense.

  15. Avatar for rguinn rguinn says:

    Dr. Hartnell, with the permanent destruction of some of our world’s most valuable history and art that you have witnessed, you have a permanent pass to push back as hard as you want when anyone talks about burning anything down.

  16. If you had asked me a decade ago if I was ok with the notion of BITFD I would have looked at you sideways. If you had asked me in 2016 I would have given some ham-fisted answer about understanding people’s gripes but how ultimately the system was Good and the system Worked. Ask me now and I will happily explain to you why I’m carrying a torch.

    Burning it down was never good for my own business. It still isn’t. I’ve benefited enormously from the existing system and burning it to the ground makes it seem like I’m pulling up the ladder behind me after making it to where I wanted to be. But it’s not. In fact it’s quite the opposite. Unlike the Yay Socialism! crowd, I want to hand out ladders to everybody who asks for one. As long as we have the corruption and stupidity that dominate our politics, our universities, and our corporations, we will never have enough ladders to hand out and they will always, always end up in the hands of the people who look like me, talk like me, grow up in the kind of neighborhoods I did, and have the kind of runway I had. I used to think that happened naturally. But it doesn’t. The system is built to create inorganic outcomes while putting up enough of a facade to make the people within it believe that they got there by merit alone. Maybe some did. In fact, I bet a lot did. But they didn’t compete against the full field. No, the full field doesn’t even know the game exists, so how could they ever be expected to play, let alone win?

  17. Isn’t there an agency problem underlying almost all of these? Conflicting moral goods in these complex systems allows agents to exploit ambiguities and maintain the cloak of righteousness to sleep well at night. There’s no effective process in these arenas to reconcile the conflicting Goods such that the ambiguity is easily exploited.

  18. Very much looking forward to these pieces. The several visceral reactions to BITFD I see on Twitter each time its mentioned by our ET friends remind me of how some react to the “Defund the Police” initiatives. As with most things, the reality is often far, far more nuanced than the slogan would suggest. I’m not the kind to get too wrapped around righteous indignation regarding either of these mindsets. I want to hear what the options are and get to a better place. The Thucydides quote above is spot on, by the way. That entire book itself has several of the most important lessons one can learn about serving something larger than oneself…

  19. Avatar for rguinn rguinn says:

    D_Y, it is scary how much this feels like my own evolution in thinking over time.

  20. I understand that we need to do it, but—being a bear of very little brain—I need explicit instructions.

  21. I completely support BITFD !
    must be the closet anarchist in me…

  22. I didn’t grow up rich. But I had a stable, middle-to-upper-middle class home, in the right kind of safe neighborhood, at the kind of “public” school where the tuition comes wrapped in granite countertops and high property taxes. I was allowed time to screw up, make mistakes in college, and still find my way without ever really having to suffer the consequences others might have been subject to. I had a dad who got up early, put on a suit and tie, and went and hustled every single day. That alone is a privilege beyond the understanding for 16 year old me. At my heart I’m still a conservative, because I believe in freedom and liberty, but man oh man do I no longer treasure the opinions and thoughts of the corporations and the politicians who got us here. The fish rots from the head.

  23. #BITFD is the perfect because it says nothing and requires a search for more info. Make. Protect. Teach. is, well, boring, but I understand the sentiment. It’s also not going to not gonna sell any hats or bumper stickers. It’s about like Ben’s ponytail look going for Sam Elliot and winding up with Wilford Brimley. :-) The “hats and bumper stickers” should be a joke, but I’m not sure how you grab anyone’s attention without #BITFD. I mean if anyone ever came up with a bad title for a movement, who the hell came up with “Defund the Police”? There are some great ideas in the concept, but the marketing there is just awful. BTW, is it possible to get a like button for other comments?

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