War on Drugs

Any group that is willing and able to kill people indiscriminately is a State. States are usually monopolistic and territorial. They collect rent from people living within its territory.

So when there are two States in a region and it collects rent, either the States fight or they merge into one. Often they do a bit of both.

There are many ways to collect rent. If people see you as legitimate, they will pay rent out of a combination of fear and respect (this is why income tax requires you to declare your income, it is proof of fear and respect). Some times you have to sell an ideology (e.g. equality) to collect the rent.

However if you are a second State in a region, often you will have to sell your services. Often this involves doing things the first State doesn’t allow e.g. selling drugs, prostitution, extra-judicial punishments.

Tobacco and government started regulating each other because of this. Tobacco sales was a type of rent. People needed it periodically. So now we have Tobacco-government mergers in which the corporation that sells Tobacco is so heavily regulated it might as well be considered a unit within the government. I can easily imagine a tobacco company in the past (e.g. East India Company) which had its own military which killed people indiscriminately.

Pharmaceuticals and government are similarly attempting mergers around the world. The governments would rather have people pay a regular rent for medicines they (think they) cannot live without. I wouldn’t be surprised if we they sell regular medication we don’t even need but we buy anyway because of fear.

It is easy to turn your customers into soldiers who will kill on your behalf anyone you call your enemy. Imagine if your customers need a medicine (or heroin) they (think they) need or they will die. They will fight against any group you tell them will take away that right.

e.g. Look at LGBTQQIAP groups who need special medication (e.g. hormones). Imagine you tell them Nazis will take away such medication or make it expensive. These LGBTQQIAP groups will fight to kill if necessary to remove the group that may take away their access to medication. Often you don’t even have to bring up the medication threat. You just need to convince the LGBTQQIAP groups that the Nazis are anti-LGBTQQIAP. See Martin Shkreli.

Mergers between State and Religion used to be common in the past and may be are making a comeback. But in the modern world mergers between State and ideology is more common. People can be possessed by an ideology (e.g. democracy/human-rights) enough to create a State-subject relationship described above.


The real takes more effort than the unreal. How fast a group recedes into the unreal is a good measure of its future decline.

In Cargo Cults, the tribe makes artifacts that look like a plane but it does not fly. They do this in the hopes that eventually the people who made the real planes would come back and help them.

In movie sequels and prequels, often the story simply has the same characters, and a theme as the original. They do this in the hope that all it takes for a great movie is to have the same characters and a similar theme.

Near the end of stock market bubbles, it doesn’t matter how much a stock makes for every dollar a would be hostile takeover would have to pay. Everything recedes into the mere appearance of great companies.

Fake it till you make it is the mantra of startups that fail 9 out of 10 times. The hope is that if we make things that look like a plane but does not fly eventually people who know how to make planes fly will show up, and help the fake plane fly. See Elizabeth Holmes and her fake blood testing machines.

At the bottom of it all, is the unstated belief that nothing is real. Everything is marketing, appearances and pretension. There is no need for understanding, technique, correctness. There is no time for quality testing. Why should we make sure anything works? Might as well just pretend you did everything right, and then blame another person when something does not work.

असतो मा सद्गमय ।

Little Known Technique Cults Use

Cults can predict and even control everything that happens to you and your world. Got sick? That is because you recently didn’t do what the cult asked you to do. Communism in Russia ended? The cult predicted it long ago, it happened because Russia didn’t do things like the cult wanted.

Cults slowly mislead people into thinking everything that happens is predicted or controlled by them.

It starts simple.

Are you uncertain or worried about something that you shouldn’t be worried about because you feel the outcome is not knowable (it is knowable) but you wish the outcome would turn out the way you want it to? If the outcome is really going to turn out the way you want it to, the cult will tell you that outcome will happen if you submit to the will of the cult. If the outcome is not going to turn out the way you want it to, the cult will tell you it won’t turn out the way you want it.

Over time you begin to believe in the predictive and controlling power of the cult.

And then come all the non-causal predictions and correlations interpreted as causations. If you already religious this sort of magical thinking comes naturally.

Bayes Theorem Revisited

Let O(X) be the odds that X happens.

O(Prediction|Clue) =
    (|Prediction=Present and Clue=Present|/|Prediction=Absent and Clue=Present)*

Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems like rarer the clue, the more effective it is at making the prediction plausible. A rare clue that only happens together with the prediction is the best updater of the prior odds.