The Theoretical Foundation of Social Engineering Practice

Not that long ago a problem was identified. Interest was expressed in an explanation of the problem. This is an attempt at the explaining.


To get to the root of how this problem is in the now, we have to go to a time before now.

Henry Brokmeyer, whose originating energy among the St. Louis Hegelians was now being felt everywhere in Cambridge, had his first exposure to Hegel around 1848, When Brokmeyer was a student at Brown Uiversity and Frederic Hedge was the Unitarian minister in Providence. Hedge had printed short but well-chosen bits from Hegel in his 1847 Prose Writers of Germany; Brokmeyer would have seen there Hegel's electrifying claim, a claim that also caught Walt Whitman's eye, that "the history of the world is the progress in the consciousness of freedom … The scheme is this: the oriental world knew that one is free [that is, the ruler]; the Greek and Roman world knew that some are free [the ruling classes]; but we know that all men, in their true nature, are free, that man, as man, is free"1

Time goes on. In 1858 Brokmeyer acquires a disciple in William Torrey Harris. These two men took the writings of Hegel and built a religious social reform movement out of Hegel's writing in much the same way many other religious persons in the American continent have done before and after them. Like some other religious reformers they managed to occupy local political offices for some time. Brokmeyer was Lieutenant and then acting Missouri governor. Harris was assistant St. Louis superintendent of schools.

After the war of Northern Aggression the Hegelians in St. Louis were sufficiently rooted that they would invite esteemed speakers of the time, like Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1867, to preach at them. This is not atypical behavior among religious reformers.

The philosophical program then emerging in St. Louis was a serious, extended, civic-minded effort to address the problems growing out of the Civil War [sic] and Reconstruction, and the destiny of of America and the place of St. Louis in it, by applying Hegelian thought  specifically Hegelian dialectic to them all

Brockmeyer identified the position of the American South as that of "abstract right"; the North's position he considered "abstract morality." The synthesis would be a new "ethical state," a new union emerging from the tragic conflict.2

In the 1870's this group of religious reformers migrated from St. Louis, the gateway to America's frontier to Cambridge, Massachusetts. There they set down roots at Harvard and MIT,  the gateway to America's political "elite".


Although I did not see it at first, I soon found that it was in each case nothing but the abstract genus of which the conflicting terms were opposite species. In other words, although the flood of ontologic emotion was Hegelian through and through, the ground for it was nothing but the world-old principle that things are the same only so far and not farther that they are the same, or partake of a common nature — the principle that Hegel most tramples under foot. At the same time the rapture of beholding a process that was infinite, changed (as the nature of the infinitude was realized by the mind) in to the sense of a dreadful and ineluctable fate, with whose magnitude every finite effort is incommensurable and in the light of which watever happens is indifferent. This instantaneous revulsion of mood from rapture to horror is, perhaps, the strongest emotion I have ever experienced. I got it repeatedly when the inhalation was continued long enough to produce incipient nausea; and I cannot but regard it as the normal and the inevitable outcome of the intoxication, if sufficiently prolonged. A pessimistic fatalism, depth within depth of impotence and indifference, reason and silliness united, not in a higher synthesia, but in the fact that whichever you choose it is all one — this is the upshot of a revelation that began so rosy bright.3

The popular is frequently intellectually inaccessible to particular individuals. William James personally struggled deeply with the concept of faith4 and similarly struggled with accepting the program of the Hegelian brand of religious reformers. It took nitrous oxide intoxication temporarily reducing his mental faculties in a particular way to grasp the Hegelian program as its proponents did.

The appeal of and the effect on idiots of particular idiocies is not always knowable to persons who are not idiots without their being lowered into idiocy through chemical or religious intoxication, and even then it may take a particular species of intoxication to grasp a particular species of idiocy. This mean that while the a person may recognize social engineering being deployed and even in cases be able to distinguish between hired and honest idiots, the mechanism by which the idiocy attaches to honest idiots being socially engineered is elusive and is treated as a black box.

Problema 1

The Hegelian wave which seems to me only another desperate attempt to make a short cut to paradise, is deluging the College this year and will, if I am not mistaken, completely sterilize its votaries.5

The populist form of Hegelianism offered academics at Harvard all of the structure of a religious social program without the theological particulars that made other religious reform programs divisive. The popular Hegelian dialectic of:

  1. Thesis and Antithesis
  2. ???
  3. Synthesis/Profit

Offered a structure for shaping social outcomes by culturing the appropriate polarization in disputes. Activists trained in methods derived from this tradition can be counted on to reliably attack by framing both poles of the debate they want to have as movements. This is why the activists at Mizzou focused on Tim Wolfe personally as agent capable of directing the University against them. This is why the social engineering attack on Bitcoin was framed as the duelling plans of XT and Blockstream but is framed as the duelling plans of "Classic" and "Core" now. Allowing foundational bedrock of any sort into the "debate" must be disallowed for the popular dialectic to work. The goal of the "debate" isn't for either side to win. The goal is a imposing any change at all between the poles in the debate, merely for the sake of having movement.

This is also why movements like the Oregon militia are presented as aberrations. Denying them the thesis-antithesis structure offered when building narratives for desirable activists is the social engineer's way of marginalizing their voices. Why would those for whom the dialectic offers a path to paradise offer the path to their enemies.

Since the St. Louis Hegelians colonized Harvard's mind there's only been 13 decades for America's "elite" to play with applications of the popular dialectic as a strategy to herd idiots.

Problema 2

Malicious stupidity, or malpidity, spread and cultured through the dialectic as a social engineering tool has effectively reduced English into a pidgin. Conversations nearly always happen in parallel, and only in parallel. People speaking English as a foreign language for purposes of trade are the only string still keeping the vocabulary of the English language from completely dissolving. The extent to which American academia's bought into the Hegelian idiocy is evident in both their rejection of the chance for an independent American intellectual tradition out of William James' legacy and why:

Although historical anachronism is always a danger in a revisionist approach, it does seem that James often was insufficiently aware of the importance of liberating social movements contemporary with his public life. … Nonetheless, as the generations of thinkers subsequent to James knew all too well, the individual is a social category, contexted over and over again by the swirling factors of institutional and communal history.6

William James, who operated one of the few actual campus "safe spaces" in the history of the United States when he offered his Harvard office without restriction to W.E.B. Du Bois to escape the endemic Yankee racism of Harvard, is in the revised history of American academic a person who was "insufficiently aware" of social movements. A campus full of Hegelians too absorbed in the dialectic's potential to engineer social outcomes to engage their Black American classmate as a human being because they hadn't thesis-antithesis synthesized it yet are history's heroes of justice, while the individual who did something is a villain for rejecting the Hegelian's path to paradise.


Insanity never changes.

  1. Richardson, Robert, D. William James In the Maelstrom of American Modernism. (2006) p. 211  

  2. Ibid p. 213  

  3. William James, "Subjective Effects of Nitrous Oxide"  

  4. There is substantial irony in the popular legacy of William James as a primarily religious thinker.  

  5. William James, Letter to Xenos Clark, December 1880  

  6. John J. McDermott. The Writings of William James. p. xi  

Some Quick Meta-Qntra Updates

  1. On November 12th Qntra ceased to utilize Quantcast's services for determining an approximate visitor count, for reason relating to Quantcast's interface "going retarded."
  2. Qntra has been back online for a few days now after several days of downtime.
  3. Frontend and backend improvements continue. It is a distinct point of pride that Qntra is ready to take Bitcoin news to the GPRS internet connection of Africa and the rest of the under served world.

Qntra Style and Draft Content Guide

Please see:

Now that Qntra has just a bit more than a year's worth of content behind it and processed a number of submissions, there's a more solid idea of just what Qntra is about. This guide is going to cover two subjects: the formatting of submissions and the content of submissions. The guidelines for formatting submissions are open to comment and effective immediately. The content guidelines are open for comment and will go into effect after there has been time for the dragons of #bitcoin-assets to mull them over. Continue reading

Notes on Building Bitcoin-qt on OpenBSD

This week I embarked on the experiment of seeing how much Bitcoin client you can build on OpenBSD. I might as well use this space to consolidate the mental notes on the process I used. Some particular details have likely slipped my mind already, so consider this an abridged guide. The version I ended up building with this process was 0.7.2, it builds fine with or without upnp support and with or without QR code support. Going earlier in version to 0.5.3 or the 0.6 series should be fine too, you just might have to make some different changes in the source and flags.

Building any later version which uses leveldb for blockchain storage might not be possible on OpenBSD. The Bitcoin source tarball for later versions includes its own leveldb source and hammering that into a shape that will compile into something useful on OpenBSD is a challenge too far. Note that around the 0.8 release with the move to leveldb is when the effort on Bitcoin in the OpenBSD work in progress ports tree dropped precipitously.

  • Your first order of business is acquiring a source tarball from somewhere. Ask a friend. Download it from Github. However you acquire it is your business.1
  • To minimize headaches I installed the version of BDB this version of Bitcoin-qt expects:
    pkg_add unzip
    curl -O
    cd db-4.8.30.NC/build_unix
    ../dist/configure --prefix=/usr/local --disable-replication --enable-cxx --enable-shared=yes
    make install

Now that there's a base it's time to extract the tarball, fire up a text editor and start chopping at code. It's fire up the text editor and chop because reading is good, and understanding is good.2

  • The first change is to wallet.cpp as described here. In OpenBSD world rand() is the shitty C standard compliant deterministic random and arc4random() is the good random. As the man page explains arc4random isn't based off of arc4 anymore so the mnemonic is now "A Replacement Call for Random" and the backend remains liable to change in the future. The need for this will likely be changing after OpenBSD 5.7, but until then this change is explicitly necessary.
  • For the second change we consult the Bitcoin Foundation's patchset for bitcoind particularly its BDB database configuration patch. Simply read the changes and make the changes. This protects against the great blockchain fork of March 2013's dilemma.
  • For the third change we consult the foundation's Alert snipping patch. The patch cannot be used as is because the alert code's been move around since version 0.5.3 but it still informs of changes that can be made in 0.7.2 to remove the system. I futzed with the public key strings in Alert.cpp and deleted from main.cpp most of the alert invocation code. It is especially important though to remove the parts where your version would impose a denial of service penalty on nodes sending it bad alerts. Removing the Alert stuff is critical for making sure your node can function as is indefinitely into the future.
  • Update: Originally I neglected that in protocol.cpp you need to add#include <netinet/in.h>
    #include <sys/socket.h>
  • In the makefile change the invocation of -libboost-thread to -libboost-thread-mt and LIBS += -lrt when qmake gives you a makefile.

Address compiler errors as they come up. If everything worked out well the result should be a functioning version of Bitcoin-qt which will take advantage of multiple cores on your machine and as far as I can tell work. For initial sync you will want to do it from the network in the wild to make sure it is actually a Bitcoin implementation. Built against LibreSSL 2.0 it should make it past the first wedge block 168001 fine. Mine is still in the syncing process.

Expect it to die a few or a lot of times as it hits the 512 MB RAM limit during initial sync. You can avoid this by letting OpenBSD give it more memory, but the reason memory usuage is bloating so much are bastard fatherless blocks fed to you which fill your memory as you get fed more and more blocks you lack the precedent to verify. It is both kinder and faster to let malloc() kill the process when it hits them memory limit, and then just script restarting it.

When in doubt about something read. OpenBSD has wonderful manual pages. The depth and quality of documentation they contain is beautiful.

  1. There's multiple ways to do things. You are responsible for making your own decisions. I offer these notes without warranty and with the disclaimer that I am an amateur when it comes to building software assembled by other people. Building dependencies you choose from ports or doing pkg_add it's your call.  If instead you just really want to gamble there are places for that.  

  2. Also I can't emphasize this point enough, but I am an amateur to the point I haven't had occasion yet to learn the unix patch utility. Maybe if I had I'd submit this to the ports tree, but my actual self is the one putting this information together so…  

Bowl Season

So Mizzou's regular season ended with a hard fought loss against Alabama. As close as the game got in the third quarter… the most notable trend of the game was that it was like a third grade team playing a first grade team. Just the disparity in size between the players that both teams were able to summon to man the line. It's hard to win a game of chess if your opponent's pawns are invincible, and it's hard to make plays in football when you can't control any space on the field. At least if Mizzou keeps making the conference championship game, maybe it might become possible for them to some day recruit some giants so they can make plays too. Whooping the shit out of Minnesota on New Years Day in the citrus bowl might help too.

Oh, that's right I titled this bowl season. The definitive preview of the Bitcoin Bowl is up and gives an overview of UCF and North Carolina State. If nothing else the two teams seem to be evenly matched. It seems right that a co-champion of the AAC would match up well against a team from the middle of the ACC in the standings. I just don't know if the thing is going to be interesting enough for someone to stake the bet on BitBet. I haven't seen line betting odds on the game yet, but they'll probably be close.

For Posterity

Hash: SHA512

[quote author=Vod link=topic=881488.msg9723874#msg9723874 date=1417576969]
[quote author=feverpitch link=topic=881488.msg9723860#msg9723860 date=1417576809]
And just why the hell are you disclosing something of this nature? Not that I condone or know what DPR did, but working in close proximity to lawyers for most of the day, I have a lay understanding that you probably shouldn't be openly disclosing this type of thing to anyone, let alone on the internet.

I'd say it sets a good precedent. It's nice to know when justice is happening, even if we don't know why in this case.

Even though this is a private forum, it still has to obey laws. I find that comforting.

This is an abominable precedent. When the subpoena arrives, the subpoena should go up. Not to mention that this thread was born well after the prosecution's discovery should have been submitted to the defense in the Ulbricht case.

Maybe this is the first time Theymos experienced a formal subpoena, but I have trouble believing that this is the first time he experienced a law enforcement inquiry. Especially considering the FBI and Treasury Department showed up at my front door because I used DBordello's BTCPak service way back in the day, Per:

Whatever DPR or Ulbricht or the Alleged suspect did, the rule of Just law is paramount and people in the position to disclose requests for this information ought to disclose these requests as they are received. Sure, running or patronizing a darknet drug market is one of the stupidest things a Bitcoin user could do, but it is also very shitty for a trusted member of the community running a venue to just go "Hey I got a subpoena" without offer its contents.
Version: GnuPG v1.4.11 (GNU/Linux)


It's amazing how fast these weeks are moving now

Bitcoin price continues to bounce with another USMS auction coming up soon. As time winds down $817 by this Christmas seems increasingly unlikely supporting the idea that on price, this is just a lost year for Bitcoin. Of course a lost year in price growth is a chance to build infrastructure for the next climb, so behold tiny bits of design that have slowly found their way into Qntra: Continue reading


It's getting cold. The air is becoming almost unbearably dry. At least it looks like Buterin's waterfall might be on the verge of breaking. Qntra continues to grow in both content and presence. Once the persistent DDoSing became manageable the growth in Qntra's traffic and presence has been encouraging. Now, if this present $300 to $500 price movement is analogous to late 2012's $4 to $6 movement which precedes an early 2015 surge… happy times.