Fragilistas

“he defaults to thinking that what he doesn’t see is not there, or what he does not understand does not exist. At the core, he tends to mistake the unknown for the nonexistent.

The fragilista falls for the Soviet-Harvard delustion, the (unscientific) overestimation of the reach of scientific knowledge. Because of such delusion, he is what is called a naive rationalist, a rationalizer, or sometimes just a rationalist, in the sense that he believes that the reasons behind things are automatically accessible to him. And let us not confuse rationalizing with rational– the two are almost always exact opposites. Outside of physics, and generally in complex domains, the reasons behind things have had a tendency to make themselves less obvious to us, and even less to the fragilista. This property of natural things not to advertise themselves in a user’s manual is, alas, not much of a hindrance: some fragilistas will get together to write the user’s manual themselves, thanks to their definition of “science.”

So thanks to the fragilista, modern culture has been increasingly building blindness tot he mysterious, the impenetrable, what Nietzsche called the Dionysian, in life.

Or to translate Nietzsche into the less poetic but no less insightful Brooklyn vernacular, this is what our character Fat Tony calls a “sucker game.”

In short, the fragilista (medical, economic, social planning) is one who makes you engage in policies and actions, all artificial, in which the benefits are small and visible, and the side effects potentially severe and invisible.”

p. 9-10

The Soviet-Harvard Delusion

“And such antifragility-at-the-cost-of-fragility-of-others is hidden– given the blindness to antifragility by the Soviet-Harvard intellectual circles, this asymmetry is rarely identified and never taught. Further, as we discovered during the financial crisis that started in 2008, these blowup risks-to-others are easily concealed owing to the growing complexity of modern institutions and political affairs. While in the past people of rank or status were those and only those who took risks, who had the downside for their actions, and heroes were those who did so for the sake of others, today the exact reverse is taking place. We are witnessing the rise of a new class of inverse heroes, that is, bureaucrats, bankers, Davos-attending members of the I.A.N.D. (International Association of Name Droppers), and academics with too much power and no real downside and/or accountability. They game the system while citizens pay the price.

At no point in history have so many non-risk-takers, that is, those with no personal exposure, exerted so much control.”
p. 6-7