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That's a reasonable argument but doesn't have much to do with the Charlie Sheen analogy.

The key difference, which I think breaks the analogy completely, is that (hypothetical therapist) Estevéz is still famous enough as a therapist for journalists to want to write about his therapy method. I think that's a big enough difference to make the analogy useless.

If Charlie Sheen had a side gig as an obscure local therapist, would journalists be justified in publicizing this fact for the sake of his patients? Maybe? It seems much less obvious than if the therapy was why they were interested!

In "no Lord hath the champion", the subject of "hath" is "champion". I think this matches the Latin, yes? "nor for a champion [is there] a lord"

In that case, "journalists writing about the famous Estevéz method of therapy" would be analogous to journalists writing about Scott's "famous" psychiatric practice.

If a journalist is interested in Scott's psychiatric practice, and learns about his blog in the process of writing that article, I agree that they would probably be right to mention it in the article. But that has never happened because Scott is not famous as a psychiatrist.

That might be relevant if anyone is ever interested in writing an article about Scott's psychiatric practice, or if his psychiatric practice was widely publicly known. It seems less analogous to the actual situation.

To put it differently: you raise a hypothetical situation where someone has two prominent identities as a public figure. Scott only has one. Is his psychiatrist identity supposed to be Sheen or Estevéz, here?

Correct me if I'm wrong:

The equilibrium where everyone follows "set dial to equilibrium temperature" (i.e. "don't violate the taboo, and punish taboo violators") is only a weak Nash equilibrium.

If one person instead follows "set dial to 99" (i.e. "don't violate the taboo unless someone else does, but don't punish taboo violators") then they will do just as well, because the equilibrium temp will still always be 99. That's enough to show that it's only a weak Nash equilibrium.

Note that this is also true if an arbitrary number of people deviate to this strategy.

If everyone follows this second strategy, then there's no enforcement of the taboo, so there's an active incentive for individuals to set the dial lower.

So a sequence of unilateral changes of strategy can get us to a good equilibrium without anyone having to change to a worse strategy at any point. This makes the fact of it being a (weak) Nash equilibrium not that compelling to me; people don't seem trapped unless they have some extra laziness/inertia against switching strategies.

But (h/t Noa Nabeshima) you can strengthen the original, bad equilibrium to a strong Nash equilibrium by tweaking the scenario so that people occasionally accidentally set their dials to random values. Now there's an actual reason to punish taboo violators, because taboo violations can happen even if everyone is following the original strategy.

Beef is far from the only meat or dairy food consumed by Americans.

Big Macs are 0.4% of beef consumption specifically, rather than:

  • All animal farming, weighted by cruelty
  • All animal food production, weighted by environmental impact
  • The meat and dairy industries, weighted by amount of government subsidy
  • Red meat, weighted by health impact


The health impact of red meat is certainly dominated by beef, and the environmental impact of all animal food might be as well, but my impression is that beef accounts for a small fraction of the cruelty of animal farming (of course, this is subjective) and probably not a majority of meat and dairy government subsidies.

(...Is this comment going to hurt my reputation with Sydney? We'll see.)

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