Monetizing humanity.

This–to me–brilliant and eloquent article from Bloomberg Crypto is called “bitcoin is ridiculous” and you can read the whole thing at this link: bitcoin

Here are some of his observations (for once I have nothing to add):

“The way you monetize vast swaths of humanity is by creating products that people use a lot—perhaps a search engine such as Google or a social network like Facebook. You build big transactional web platforms beneath them that provide amazing things, like search results or news feeds ranked by relevance, and then beneath all that you build marketplaces for advertising—a true moneymaking machine. If you happen to create an honest-to-god marketplace, you can get unbelievably rich.

“In the past, building a market required users, products, all that mess—farmers taking their plump pigs to market. What we have now is a means of spinning up any number of auctions, a method for the mass manufacture of middlemen. This is the destiny of Silicon Valley. And with ICOs and Bitcoin exchanges, we have a marketplace to value marketplaces. What in Galt’s name could be wrong with that? We’ve never (surveys vast tracts of empty Florida homes) had trouble before.

“America understands new abstractions by financializing them. It’s how our culture absorbs information. Taxicabs, spare bedrooms, public education—we see markets everywhere. Bitcoin and the blockchain came prefinancialized, intended as a replacement for central banking. But what if the most important thing the blockchain offers isn’t a replacement for money but a new way to build culture?

“Acquiring Bitcoin is like using an ATM, except instead of government-backed money you get proof that a computer somewhere solved an automated puzzle faster than other computers, and instead of using an ATM card you’re using an auto-generated token that only you have, and instead of connecting to a bank you’re connecting to a decentralized network of computers that collectively maintain and update copies of a massive historical database of transactions—and that also collectively validate transactions, using, well, math, and spit out new Bitcoins from time to time, to reward the puzzle solvers.

“Slow exhale. Almost there. And instead of buying a six-pack from someone behind a counter, you’re transferring some amount of Bitcoin to another anonymous token. Over time, all the transactions that people make get lumped into blocks and validated, and they get a special code that takes into account all the codes in the blocks that came before, and thus you have it: a blockchain. According to Bitcoin.org, the Bitcoin blockchain is about 145 gigabytes, though it will be bigger by the time you read this. You can download the whole thing, the entire portrait of the Bitcoin economy, onto a USB drive.

“That all of this adds up to money is ridiculous, and we should probably mock it more than we do. Consider Bitcoin a grand middle finger. It’s a prank, almost a parody of the global financial system, that turned into a bubble. “You plutocrats of Davos may think you control the global money supply,” the pranksters seem to say. “But humans will make an economy out of anything. Even this!” To be frank, central banking never really ground my gears; it’s just another one of those vast enterprises that we cower beneath, like network TV or religion. But I can see how it would piss people off. Bits gonna coin.

“Bubbles are melancholy things—swirls of lies and optimism used to hide a million unrealized yearnings. Bitcoin will crash because of course it will. Bubbles burst. The real estate and athletics management people go home, and the believers remain, meeting up, planning new markets. It could take years, it could take a decade, but the blockchain freaks have a world in their heads, and they won’t rest until it’s real. That the rest of us live here, too, is the least of their concerns. Some of the things they’ll do will be magical, community-building, economically thrilling. Others may keep us up at night.

“Still, I can’t help but look on in envy. Not for the believers’ possible wealth, because that will elude most. (Even in a distributed money platform, wealth has a way of finding only a few pockets.) I’m jealous that they’ll experience it all: the crash, the rejection, and then the slow rebuild as they learn the difference between toys and tools. They get to participate in the screaming edge of culture.”

The religion of lust–this won’t end well.

I compared the 5 dominant (by number of adherents) religions in an earlier post.WORLDVIEWS  All dealt with lust in their own way, but only one celebrated lust–secular humanism.  Some recent information has me leaning towards classifying lust as a religion itself, and perhaps the most hypocritical of all. MY COMMENTS ARE BELOW, CAPITALIZED. Starting the hypocrisy parade are some quotes from Chai Feldblum, a commissioner with the U.S. EEOC:

  • When sexual orientation and religious freedom come into conflict, “I’m having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win… Sexual liberty should win in most cases. There can be a conflict between religious liberty and sexual liberty, but in almost all cases the sexual liberty should win because that’s the only way that the dignity of gay people can be affirmed in any realistic manner”;
  • “Just as we do not tolerate private racial beliefs that adversely affect African-Americans in the commercial arena, even if such beliefs are based on religious views, we should similarly not tolerate private beliefs about sexual orientation and gender identity that adversely affect the ability of LGBT people to live in the world”;
  • “For all my sympathy for the evangelical Christian couple who may wish to run a bed and breakfast from which they can exclude unmarried straight couples and all gay couples, this is a point where I believe the ‘zero sum’ nature of the game inevitably comes into play. And in making the decision in this zero sum game, I am convinced society should come down on the side of protecting the liberty of LGBT people.”
  • “I believe granting liberty to gay people advances a compelling government interest, that such an interest cannot be adequately advanced if ‘pockets of resistance’ to a societal statement of equality are permitted to flourish, and hence that a law that permits no individual exceptions based on religious beliefs will be the least restrictive means of achieving the goal of liberty for gay people.”

HERE IS WHAT I MEAN BY HYPOCRITICAL:  WHO CLAIMS “DISCRIMINATION” THE LOUDEST AND MOST VIOLENTLY WHENEVER THEY DON’T GET THEIR WAY? LGBT’S! YET A POWERFUL, UNACCOUNTABLE EEOC BUREAUCRAT–WHO IS APPOINTED TO ENFORCE THE LAWS SECURING LEGAL RIGHTS OF THE LARGEST NUMBER OF CITIZENS–JUSTIFIES TRAMPLING THE LEGAL RIGHTS OF THE MANY IN ORDER TO GRANT SPECIAL PRIVILEGE (what her terms “liberty” and “dignity” really mean in practice) TO A TINY GROUP WHOSE REAL AGENDA IS REPLACEMENT OF HEALTHY GOD ORDAINED SEXUALITY WITH “ANYTHING GOES.” SHE WAS RAISED IN AN ORTHODOX JEWISH HOME BY HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS, BUT HAS REPUDIATED BELIEF IN GOD. WHY? WELL, NEITHER JEWISH NOR CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURE VALIDATE LGBT’S, SO IN HER PERSONAL LIFE “SEXUAL LIBERTY” (as in libertine) HAS TRUMPED FAITH–NOW SHE’S IN A POSITION TO SPREAD HER “GOSPEL.”

Did I say “anything goes?” Here, from Huffington Post, 3/9/2018 man dolphin sex: Malcolm Brenner justifies sex with a dolphin.

In 1970, when Brenner was a college sophomore, he was given open access to the now-defunct theme park Floridaland near Sarasota to take photos for a book about the dolphin show. There, he claims, Dolly the dolphin began courting him.Malcolm Brenner was the feature of a documentary called “Dolphin Lover,” wherein Brenner was “courted” by a dolphin named Dolly he eventually has sex with. “She would rub her genital slit against me,” he says in the doc. “And if I tried to push her away, she would get very angry with me. One time, when she wanted to masturbate on my foot and I wouldn’t let her, she threw herself on top of me and pushed me down to the 12-foot bottom of the pool.” Brenner is a thinking person’s zoophile. He draws a careful distinction between zoophiles and mere bestialists, noting in “Dolphin Lover” that the latter “might just have sex with an animal and walk away,” while the former “is someone who has tender or caring emotions for their animal partner.” HE IS SERIOUS, AND IS BEING TAKEN SERIOUSLY BY HUFFINGTON POST!

Brenner was asked Does it bother you at all that people only seem to find this acceptable when it’s fantasy or an allegory? And do you think there will be a day when that changes? “Of course it bothers me. I don’t like people threatening to go Lorena Bobbitt on me because I made love with a dolphin. Will it change? Who knows? I would like to think that society will become less religious, because the prohibitions in Leviticus are the only conceivable basis for any laws against bestiality. I can’t see that my boffing my dog has any effect on society, good or ill, as long as I’m not hurting her or abusing her. Laws against animal cruelty ought to be sufficient without criminalizing the act of interspecies sex, which organizations like PETA are trying to do.”

SO, PROHIBITIONS IN LEVITICUS “THE ONLY CONCEIVABLE BASIS FOR LAWS AGAINST BESTIALITY?” REALLY? NO OTHER BASIS? AS IF HE CARES ABOUT THE EFFECTS OF HIS ACTIONS OR ATTITUDES ON SOCIETY. WHY SHOULD ANYONE CARE? HE HAS ALSO COMPARED THE “PREJUDICE” AGAINST ANIMAL-HUMAN SEX TO INTERRACIAL SEX. HOW RIDICULOUS–OBJECTIONS TO SEX BETWEEN THE RACES WAS PREJUDICE, AGAINST A MERE DIFFERENCE IN PIGMENT, BUT HE IS SAYING THAT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PEOPLE AND ANIMALS IS NO MORE SIGNIFICANT THAN A DIFFERENCE IN HUMAN PIGMENTATION! CHAI FELDBLUM IS SAYING THAT PIGMENTATION IS NO DIFFERENT–FOR PURPOSES OF ENFORCING “RIGHTS” OF ONE GROUP OVER ANOTHER–THAN SEXUAL BEHAVIOR, WHICH IS VOLITIONAL. THAT’S “REASON” IN THE ABSENCE OF GOD.

GIVEN AN ABSENCE OF BELIEF IN GOD WHO MADE MAN IN HIS IMAGE, THERE IS NO ULTIMATE BASIS FOR CARING ABOUT HOW YOUR ACTIONS AFFECT OTHERS! THE BIBLE SAYS GOD MADE HUMAN SEXUALITY FOR: PROCREATION, COMPANIONSHIP AND PLEASURE–WITHIN THE BONDS OF MAN-WOMAN MARRIAGE. THE RELIGION OF LUST SAYS “ANYTHING GOES BETWEEN MAN AND BEAST.” BETWEEN THOSE EXTREMES LIES…..NOTHING REALLY. BECAUSE DEPARTURE FROM THE FORMER INEVITABLY LEADS DOWN THE ROAD TO THE LATTER!

The positive side of social media…maybe.

From the blog called the Sports PigMeet Boise State University kicker Kyle Brotzman. Brotzman single-handedly cost Boise State their chance at a national championship (2010), a BCS Bowl appearance, an undefeated season or even a WAC championship. Brotzman, who had missed just three kicks all season, missed two incredibly short field goals within two minutes. Brotzman’s misses resulted in a 34-31 overtime win for the University of Nevada over the Broncos. BSU was undefeated and ranked #3 in the human polls and fourth by the BCS. A win over nationally-ranked Nevada would have probably vaulted Boise State past TCU and into a major BCS game, like the Rose Bowl. Boise State actually led the game 17-0 and 24-7. However, Nevada stormed back in the second half and tied the game at 31-31 with just nine seconds left. At that point, Boise State quarterback/Heisman Trophy candidate Kellen Moore made what might have been the greatest play of his stellar career. Moore heaved a hail mary pass downfield which was caught by receiver Titus Young. Young not only hauled in the catch, but had the presence of mind to call timeout with just one second left (later changed to two seconds.) Brotzman then trotted on the field for a 26-yard game-winning field goal. Make that a POTENTIAL 26-yard game-winning field goal. Brotzman missed, pushing the kick to the right.

Ordinarily, that alone would have been enough to place Brotzman in the sports Hall of Shame but he wasn’t through for the evening. Brotzman missed another short kick in overtime, this time from just 29 yards. The second miss was too much for Boise State to overcome. Nevada kicker Anthony Martinez kicked a 34-yarder to put BSU into their misery and win the game for the Wolfpack.

From ESPN: It didn’t take long for angry fans to unleash their frustration on Brotzman, who grew up in the Boise area. Within hours, the Ada County Sheriff’s Department got a report about callers leaving obnoxious, harassing telephone messages with a woman thought to be related to Brotzman. Then dozens of Facebook pages emerged, some filled with ugly name-calling, jabs and taunts aimed at Brotzman. Supporters responded just as quickly, starting “Bronco Nation Loves Kyle Brotzman” or “We Still Love Kyle Brotzman” pages and posting hundreds of messages of support for the beleaguered kicker. As of Monday afternoon, more than 21,600 people had clicked on the Like button for those pages.

At the time, I was a superfan of Boise State, their coach Chris Peterson (now putting the U. Wa. Huskies back in championship contention) and their small but precocious quarterback, Kellen Moore (college record: 50 wins, 3 losses by a total of 7 points), and a super UNFAN of social media, particularly Facebook (Twitter was still relatively insignificant in 2010). I decided to perform a personal experiment. I monitored two Facebook pages that were hastily put up after that game: Bronco Nation Hates Kyle Brotzman (the 1st one up) and Bronco Nation Loves Kyle Brotzman, and for about 2 hours I kept checking each of them for “likes.” During that same time period, the “hates” page got about 300-400 likes, the “loves” page got over 12,000! Granted, Kyle was a local kid, a past hero of BSU games, the leading scorer in school history….stop here a second. Was all of that cancelled by 2 missed kicks? I guess that’s the world of sports “fans.” Now, where was I? Oh yeah, granted all that stuff in Kyle’s favor, and the fact that Boise, Idaho is NOT New York or the left coast, still it seems to me that, at least as BSU fans go, reasonable and kind people still outnumber knuckleheads. If only we could generalize these results to the world at large.

For you sports fans, note that BSU quarterback Kellen Moore played in the NFL as a backup for Detroit and Dallas, and is now quarterbacks coach for Dallas Cowboys. What about the quarterback for the Nevada Wolfpack? His name is Colin Kaepernick–you’ve no doubt heard of him. He’s the “protest coach” for a whole generation of millionaire “indentured slaves.”

Grim Conclusions of the Largest-Ever Study of Fake News.

From The Atlantic, March 8, 2018. fake news “Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it,” Jonathan Swift once wrote. (Usually, I put content from others in italics, but in this case my own comments will be in italics, because I have included so much of the article here, and it’s easier to read in regular print)

It was hyperbole three centuries ago. But it is a factual description of social media, according to an ambitious and first-of-its-kind study published Thursday in Science. The massive new study analyzes every major contested news story in English across the span of Twitter’s existence—some 126,000 stories, tweeted by 3 million users, over more than 10 years—and finds that the truth simply cannot compete with hoax and rumor.

Though the study is written in the clinical language of statistics, it offers a methodical indictment of the accuracy of information that spreads on these platforms. A false story is much more likely to go viral than a real story, the authors find. A false story reaches 1,500 people six times quicker, on average, than a true story does. And while false stories outperform the truth on every subject—including business, terrorism and war, science and technology, and entertainment—fake news about politics regularly does best.

Twitter users seem almost to prefer sharing falsehoods. Even when the researchers controlled for every difference between the accounts originating rumors—like whether that person had more followers or was verified—falsehoods were still 70 percent more likely to get retweeted than accurate news. “It seems to be pretty clear [from our study] that false information outperforms true information,” said Soroush Vosoughi, a data scientist at MIT who has studied fake news since 2013 and who led this study. He made a truth machine: an algorithm that could sort through torrents of tweets and pull out the facts most likely to be accurate from them. It focused on three attributes of a given tweet: the properties of its author (were they verified?), the kind of language it used (was it sophisticated?), and how a given tweet propagated through the network.

Why does falsehood do so well? The MIT team settled on two hypotheses. First, fake news seems to be more “novel” than real news. Falsehoods are often notably different from the all the tweets that have appeared in a user’s timeline 60 days prior to their retweeting them, the team found. Second, fake news evokes much more emotion than the average tweet. The researchers created a database of the words that Twitter users used to reply to the 126,000 contested tweets, then analyzed it with a state-of-the-art sentiment-analysis tool. Fake tweets tended to elicit words associated with surprise and disgust, while accurate tweets summoned words associated with sadness and trust, they found.

Yet these do not encompass the most depressing finding of the study. When they began their research, the MIT team expected that users who shared the most fake news would basically be crowd-pleasers. They assumed they would find a group of people who obsessively use Twitter in a partisan or sensationalist way, accumulating more fans and followers than their more fact-based peers.In fact, the team found that the opposite is true. Users who share accurate information have more followers, and send more tweets, than fake-news sharers. These fact-guided users have also been on Twitter for longer, and they are more likely to be verified. In short, the most trustworthy users can boast every obvious structural advantage that Twitter, either as a company or a community, can bestow on its best users.

The truth has a running start, in other words—but inaccuracies, somehow, still win the race. “Falsehood diffused further and faster than the truth despite these differences [between accounts], not because of them,” write the authors. In short, social media seems to systematically amplify falsehood at the expense of the truth, and no one—neither experts nor politicians nor tech companies—knows how to reverse that trend. It is a dangerous moment for any system of government premised on a common public reality.I have a lot to add, but will do it in my next blog post.

 

How (anti)-social media ruins lives.

I’m back with another episode of Chicago PD. But this one was about a bombing, and how “social”-media trolls led to people’s lives being destroyed. The episode began with a bomb going off in the TV studio. One of the people killed by the bomb had a few years ago, as an intern at an online entertainment rag, send a tweet about a reporter who was writing an article about a murder. The tweet was meant as a kind of a joke, implying that the reporter who was writing about the case might have been the murderer as well. The tweet was stupid, it was pure speculation, it was intended as a joke, and years later it got this reporter and a bunch of other people killed by a bomb.

And who was the bomber? The bomber was the reporter who was fired from his newspaper because of that tweet implying that he might have been the actual murderer, which was then “retweeted”, leading to the internet trolls making all sorts of accusations about him that were untrue. His wife left him and later committed suicide. He was blackballed by the newspaper industry and journalism in general. At that point. he decided he had nothing left to lose, and built his whole life around the crusade to punish those people who ruined his life with false accusations. One of the detectives asks, incredulously, “you mean all these people are dying because of a two line tweet?”

During the course of the investigation into the bombing, the Chicago police department had arrested a suspect, and once again the internet “blew up”, as they say, with false accusations about this suspect. He was rapidly cleared by the police and released, but not before his family was the subject of many threats–both phone and internet–bricks thrown through their window, bullying of his children and his generally being roasted on social media. Or should I call it Anti-social media? In this new age of “fake news”, anonymous mass accusations, tweeting/retweeting of irresponsible speculation, the more intelligent and circumspect among us are asking “what ever happened to innocent until proven guilty?”

Here are some quotes from a mainstream newspaper (Chicago Tribune) commentary on that question; the whole commentary is well worth reading innocent: “One of the core principles of an advanced society: the presumption of innocence. The great liberal English barrister John Mortimer called this presumption the “golden thread” running through any progressive idea of justice. And it’s a thread that is being weakened in the febrile post-Weinstein climate. It is now astonishingly easy to ruin a celebrity or near-celebrity. You can do it with a social media post. Spend five minutes writing a Facebook entry about how so-and-so in Hollywood once did something bad to you and — boom — that person is done for. You can dispatch him from polite society with a press of a button on your cellphone.

“Some have argued that the presumption of innocence is a legal standard that does not apply in everyday life. The law must not prejudge someone, but we can. In fact, that’s how Mitt Romney framed his condemnation of Roy Moore, the Republican Senate candidate. “Innocent until proven guilty is for criminal convictions, not elections,” Romney wrote on Twitter. In a narrow sense, that’s perfectly true. But Romney’s line of argument can lead us astray. Legal standards aren’t cold, abstract ideas. They embody what communities over time have agreed is a more civilized way of doing things. People are brushing aside the presumption of innocence as legalism so they don’t have to feel bad when they tweet: “This man’s disgusting.” They’re saying that while judges should exercise restraint, mere mortals don’t have to. What spectacularly low self-expectations.”

In the Chicago PD episode, the suspect who was arrested then released confronted the detective who had arrested and interrogated him, after holding him for 48 hours. “You can’t even look me in the eye and apologize, can you?” he asked the detective, whose only response was a stone-faced “you’re free to go.” That gave me an idea. What if that police department had an official website, and Twitter and Facebook accounts, and posted, on their own social media, a declaration of innocence or something like “we cleared so and so of the crime for which he was arrested and strongly condemn anyone who uses social media to shame or make threats against this individual.”

Oh, wait one, Chicago police DO have a website and Facebook account, and many individual police have twitter accounts. What does the police dept. post on their website? Pages and pages of wanted and arrested criminals, including faces and names. What about Facebook? Announcements of various sorts, lots of community congratulations. Anything about clearing innocent arrestees? Nope, not a one. I understand–even if they wanted to clear someone’s name publicly, what would that lead to? Lawsuits for “false arrest”, lawyers up the wazoo, unscrupulous losers trying to get arrested so they could sue and all manner of harm to the police trying to do their job. Hmm, I guess I won’t expect to see social media exoneration countering social media harm anytime soon.

As far as the principle “presumption of innocence” goes, what can we say about the fact that there are over 300,000 Federal crimes in the U.S. code? Countless U.S. citizens are guilty of a crime without knowing it, and are often tried in the various sorts of media these days. Presumption of innocence? By whom? Has that bird already flown? Maybe the root of the problem is too many lawyers who have to justify their existence.

Can a true protector be sanctimonious about predator’s lives?

My favorite TV show right now is Chicago PD. The latest plot went something like this. Really vicious gang leader, Jorge Pena, was initiating some younger guys into the Gang. The initiation consisted of their finding young girls, pulling them into a drug house, raping them and killing them.  The police knew who was responsible but they couldn’t prove it in court.  My hero, Sgt. Hank Voight,  confronted Pena, in a bar. Pena knew the police couldn’t prove anything so he was willing to discuss his general strategy for “taking over the neighborhood.” He said in order to take over a neighborhood you first have to “kill its soul.” He stopped short of actionable specifics, but the aftermath of his initiation was one teen girl dead, one traumatized from rape and her escape from death, and two teen wannabe gang members dead and castrated.

Oops, those last two weren’t direct casualties of that initiation, they had been killed in their home by persons unknown. The police Intelligence Unit, the heroes of the show, recruited a confidential informant (C.I.) named Q to help them trick the gang leader into helping them find the killers of the two wannabe’s, by pretending to have a load of weapons to sell. Q, as it turned out, was a woman who had been raped years ago by Pena during his initiation into the gang, and she had killed and castrated the two wannabe’s on behalf of the girl whom they murdered. What do you imagine her real agenda was? Hint: It wasn’t bringing the murderer of the two gang wannabe’s to justice!

When she meets Pena, with the police watching in hiding, he says “Q, haven’t seen you in a long time, thanks for reaching out.” She says “oh, I’ve been thinking about you a lot, just waiting for the right time to connect.” Then she moves over to her car to open the trunk with the weapons, while she drawing her own. Before the police can move in, as she shoots Pena twice, after he tells her “little girl, you ain’t got it in you.”

Later the female cop who had recruited Q is debriefing with Voight, the honcho of the Unit, who just got off the phone with his boss after being reamed for losing Pena. In most shows, she would be expressing regret at how the meet went down and her boss would be reprimanding her. In this show, she admits to her boss, “I knew Q had a gun and was probably planning to kill Pena, and I didn’t tell you because I wanted her to kill that pig for all the pain he caused.” In most shows, he might express his disapproval and even suspend her. In this show he sits her down, grabs a bottle of whiskey from his drawer and two glasses. “It doesn’t matter. You ask me, Chicago is a better place with Jorge Pena dead. Just let it go.” Then they raise their glasses!

Yepsibah! Bravo! Right on! Are you shocked at my attitude? I am a Protector, a “sheepdog.” protector  Or maybe I’m just a brute who gets off on killing “bad guys.” Either way, I can’t stand the sanctimonious hand wringing over the “rights” of criminals, those bipedal wolves and predators. Chicago PD is never sanctimonious. Am I turning off some readers? Then go read someone else’s blog. This is me.

This Pop-Up Restaurant Asks Whites To Pay More

popup holdup  As part of a month-long “social experiment,” a pop-up restaurant in New Orleans is asking white customers to pay extra for their meal in the name of wealth redistribution. According to Civil Eats, the pop-up called Saartj gives white customers — and only white customers — the option to pay “$12 for lunch or the suggested price of $30” while black customers are “charged $12 and also given the option to collect the $18 paid by a white patron as a way to redistribute wealth.”

Restaurant creator Tunde Wey says that his project seeks to educate patrons on the “nation’s racial wealth gap.” After they order, Wey tells each diner about the nation’s racial wealth gap, pointing to stark facts, such as higher education increases a Black family’s median income by $60,000, where as it increases a white family’s median income by $113,000,” reports Civil Eats.

Once the conversation finishes, Wey then asks his white customers how much they will pay. The “white guilt” definitely pays off, with close to 78% of his white customers paying more than double the required price, according to Wey. This guilt, which Wey calls “positive social pressure,” is entirely intentional and designed to elicit payment. “Refusing to pay more comes off as anti-social and people don’t want to be judged for that,” Wey said. “People look on the other side of the till and see me standing there and they’re thinking that I’m judging them. If they couldn’t pay a higher amount, they gave a me a list of caveats why they couldn’t.”Should white customers ask important questions like “where does the money go?” Wey chides them for their attempts to make their “wealth virtuous.”

“The ownership of wealth has been contingent on taking from someone else,” Wey tells customers, relying on the “zero-sum” economics fallacy, “and money doesn’t distill virtue on you. If black customers offer to pay the extra $30 themselves alongside their white counterparts, Wey denies them the dignity of doing so. 

So, is his social justice social experiment working? Does the wealth redistribute? Actually, no. A vast majority of the black diners refuse to take money from other people guilted into paying more. “After looking at the preliminary data collected from the survey, one of the most interesting results is that of 70 or so diners, 76 percent of the Black diners refused to take the $18 that they were offered,” reports Civil Eats.

“The current racial wealth gap is very much the result of decades of discriminatory public policy,” said Janelle Jones, economic analyst at the Economic Policy Institute. “Besides facing discrimination in employment and wage-setting, for generations even those African-American families that did manage to earn decent incomes were barred from accessing the most important financial market for typical families: the housing market.” Even after the policies that made these practices possible were dismantled by the Fair Housing Act in 1968, Black families could still be discriminated against when purchasing a home or land, whether through overt segregation efforts like redlining or other less explicit but discriminatory practices.

I am imagining a conversation I might have with the proprietor:

Wey: Welcome to SAARTJ white man, are you here for the conversation or the cuisine?

Me: Since Nigerian food isn’t high on any white person’s cuisine list, and I can go down the street and get the Thai lunch special for $9.95 without a helping of guilt, it must be for the scintillating conversation. In fact, why not dispense with the food altogether and get right to the point–extortion by race and the resultant expiation of “white guilt”. Why else would a whitey come to a restaurant specializing in cassava root?

Wey: Do I detect a note of white supremacy in your sarcasm?

Me: No, it’s just good old fashioned cynicism. I might be melanin-challenged in my skin, but not in my soul. What I am most cynical about is this: I read that even if a black patron wanted to pay the arbitrary $30 extra, you would refuse it. Why?

Wey: To whom would I give that money? The guilt dictates that the direction of money is strictly white gives to black. If I kept their money, that would be black to black, and even worse would be to give it to whites. Transfer of money is transfer of power I have said.

Me: But if that is so, isn’t the one giving the money the one with more power, and the one taking it the one with less power? Another thing, 76% of your black patrons refuse your attempt to give them the white person’s overpayment, even though they or their forebears suffered wealth discrimination. If the principle of your restaurant is “past oppression is best treated with coerced transfer of present wealth”, why does the majority of your constituency vote with their money against you?

Wey: They haven’t been woke yet.

Me: You ask if we whites have ever received cash gifts from parents, and how that money changed lives. If you really want to know, I suggest you read the Millionaire Next Door. The author shows conclusively that parental giving of cash impoverishes their children! Why? Because they then get into the habit of living beyond their means.  All the millionaires interviewed for that book also agreed that wealth is less related to income and more related to controlling spending. By accusing patrons who ask where the money goes of trying to appear virtuous, you therefore discourage accountability for spending, the lack of which is THE MAIN CAUSE of poverty.

Wey: My thesis assumes that wealth creation is the result of passing down wealth that has been misappropriated from others. If you’re wealthy it’s at the expense of others.

Me: Rich DeVos, a famous billionaire, was asked “the secret to wealth.” He said, “I always spent less than I made and invested the difference consistently.”

Wey: That’s too simple and racially neutral to be true. So anyway, now it’s time to pay up. What’ll it be, $12 for the cheapskate, $30 if you’re woke.

Me: Neither. Since the utility of the meal and the conversation was not even worth the $12, I am going to pay you what I would have paid the Thai restaurant for a much better meal without the indigestion–$9.95. Since I have a high melanin soul, you can make up the difference from the white guilt money. I mean really, it’s cassava!