How should a Guerreriste end his days?

mmghosh's picture

When a BenAli is forced to end his days amidst the deserts of Saudia, easeful and honourable though that may be, accompanied by his gold-heisting lady, one admires the panache, but doesn't necessarily wish to share it.

Naturally, the old cares of the the odd Tunisian [url=]continuing to be shot[/url] are off his shoulders, but it doesn't [i]seem[/i] like the perfect ending.

[i]This[/i], however, is [url=,1518,743998,00.html]magical[/url] - well, near perfect, really. After decades of being paid off not to be nasty to his neighbours, what could be better than this?
[quote]SPIEGEL ONLINE has learned that a luxury clinic near Baden-Baden is being favored.



The United States government's scenario for an end to the political chaos in Egypt appears to be this: President Hosni Mubarak travels to Germany for a "prolonged health check" that would offer the 82-year-old a dignified departure.
The luxury clinic has an excellent reputation, as well as a respected oncology department, and says on its website it offers "first-class medical care" and the "comfort and service of a top hotel." Patients are accommodated in suites up to 200 square meters (2,152 square feet) in size.[/quote]
Its win-win all around. Not only is it good for Mr President, but some of those hard-earned denarii would emerge from their Swiss hideouts to trickle down to real Arbeiter.
[quote]Politicians from Germany's center-right coalition government under Chancellor Angela Merkel have said in recent days they were open to a hospital stay by Mubarak in Germany.
"We need a peaceful transition in Egypt. If Germany can make a constructive contribution in an international framework, we should receive Hosni Mubarak -- if he wants that," said Andreas Schockenhoff, a senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party.[/quote]

A pleasant and gracious exit, and in keeping with the manner of [url=]past Mediterranean potentates.[/url] It has to be said, one wouldn't mind being exiled, loaded, to Baden Baden.

[quote]The bath-conscious Roman emperor, Caracalla, once came here to ease his arthritic aches.[2] Baden was also known as Aurelia Aquensis, in honour of Aurelius Severus, during whose reign Baden would seem to have been well known.[/quote]

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Hang in there hosni, you can do it!!1!



With A Smile On His Face. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .with the last notes of Sinatra singing "My Way" fading out as he does. This flow chart from TV Tropes comes to mind:


. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

You might be confusing self-interest with


petty vindictive spite. If the choice is really between running away from a fight and dying, the Guerreriste has little use for quaint notions of honor.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

ha ha ha


You might be confusing self-interest with petty vindictive spite.

i think that's as concise a summary of his comments here over the years as i've read.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

A safe hidey-hole is often....

Bernard Guerrero's picture

A true Guererriste?

HankP's picture

simple - expiring on a giant pile of hookers and blow as his last dollar runs out.

I blame it all on the Internet

Charlie Sheen - the last Guererriste


If you don't value blow or hookers, this wouldn't maximize utility. 


In my case I've never tried the latter and spent too much time trying the former to value it anymore.


Bernard Guerrero's picture

Unlike the Scientologists, we're flexible on these things.

I'm sure he's far from the last

HankP's picture

but I made an error, ideally you would expire after you spent all the money you could borrow, since the utility of something you don't pay for is infinite.

I blame it all on the Internet

I only got burned by a junkie once


That lesson cost me $100, which seems a reasonable price given the larger amounts I later refused others.  


Another lesson: if your friend has started wearing only long-sleeve shirts in the middle of summer, something might be up.

Never got burned by a junkie

HankP's picture

the only junkie I knew was unfortunately a friend of mine who didn't make it. Never got burned by a friend who became a coke fiend either. Got burned by several friends who became alcoholic, though, but the amounts involved were minor.

I blame it all on the Internet

Never Trust a Junkie

brutusettu's picture

Or so says [url=]Ministry[/url]

I dunno.

Bernard Guerrero's picture

Too many stories of these guys leaving town and promptly going down the tubes and ending up eating catfood.  One would hope that a truly Guerreriste dictator would have though far enough ahead while sitting atop a demographic timebomb like Egypt to set him- or herself up in a bit more luxury than 2000 square feet.  Then again, the old codger's about the age where he may actually have cancer.....


I'd argue that a real Guerreriste wouldn't end up in precisely these straits, though.  A relatively mild toning down of the greed would have worked wonders.  The majority of the country is still really peasants, after all, and the thin middle class on top could have been bought off relatively cheaply prior to all this brouhaha.  Or as Wall Street wags put it, bulls make money, bears make money, pigs get deported to Switzerland.  Or something like that.

I think you over estimate how easy and how


safe it is to dial back on the payola. A guy in Mubarak's position is in many ways like a gambler who owes money all over town. He may be quick, and charming, and not to be f--ked with, but if he starts coming up short, things are quickly going to not go his way anymore. It's not as if he has friends. Meanwhile after thirty years his senior advisors have a jitney-load of kids and grandkids who are all coming of well-paid sinecure age. 


You can try asking several thousand dangerous bureaucratic swine to go and find their own nipple...but don't sit with your back to any doors.


My point is, I think good management can only get you so far with a gov't built out of payola. And after that point it either collapses under its own weight, or you need a good purge.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Well made point.

mmghosh's picture


freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency


Bernard Guerrero's picture

Though this once again points out the need for plenty of advance planning.  If you get to the point where:


a) they're tossing Molotov cocktails and burning you in effigy


b) your rates on bond refis are skyrocketing


c) the U.S. Secretary of State just offered you a helicopter ride


....then you've clearly waited too long.

Reminds me of high school history on the French Revolution.


The conversation about Egypt & corrupt regimes, I mean, not your comment.


It really is hard to understand how a presumably well-educated aristocratic governing class can so callously & carelessly piss off millions of their own subjects that even something like the Reign of Terror could seem mostly justifiable for the first couple years. When the most likely outcome of your own actions involves getting hauled out of bed at night by a mob of angry peasants, you'd think prudence would lead you to throw the mob a bone or two (preferably not your own).


So we tend to blame the Terror on French stupidity, cupidity and arrogance. But in fact the ancien regime was already tottering & only barely held together by a patronage system that the royal household could have messed with only at its own grave peril.


When your power is based on handing out bribes & largesse, you don't just up & quit handing out bribes & largesse.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Mubarak is a real Guerreriste


Even if the reports that he's worth $40-70 billion are overblown (I tend to suspect they are) his London townhouse alone is worth 3-4 mill, they say.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

BG doesn't have it in em


to make sure millions suffer. Give me a break. He's just caught up in a theory.

I'm just jealous


because Wagsteriste hasn't entered our lexicon yet.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

With plenty of hard work, endless...

Bernard Guerrero's picture

....boosterism and a couple of turns as a mod, so you know where all of the skeletons are buried (except Hank's, of course), you too can aspire to having your own faux-philosophical-political-economic movement!  Keep at it!  Vote for me and all your wildest dreams will come true!

You also need a clever, unique logo. Like, say....



"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Also fewer consonants in your name.

Bernard Guerrero's picture

If manish keeps reversing where the double-R is, I'm gonna lose control of this thing.


Oops, gotta go, looks like Anonymous is trying to hack my Hotmail account.

Too many consonants


For the -iste suffix.  I believe you are correct.


That's why I'll make my adjectival form 'Wagsterian'.  As to what that actually means (as Manish wonders below) I'm not sure, but my faith tells me to always put branding ahead of utility.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs



I'm almost done hammering out the tenets of a hobbesististe.

A man must be orthodox upon most things, or he will never even have time to preach his own heresy.


I made that mistake once.



"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Reversing the R's, hacking Hotmail....

Bernard Guerrero's picture

....hacking my Hotmail, being a member of Anonymous, putting on one of those stupid Guy Fawkes masks....?

Just the first one.


I don't drink nearly enough energy drinks for any of that other stuff to even occur to me....

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes


mmghosh's picture


freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

You will have to convince us how you can be sure

mmghosh's picture

that millions suffered under Mr Mubarak in a way that they haven't under Mr Mugabe or Mr Idi Amin.  Or Mr Taylor, for that matter.


I read the Socratic dialogue with Callicles last week.  Highly interesting fellow, that Callicles.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

I'm unclear about the utility


of that comparison.  Are Mugabe and Amin preparing to run for President of Egypt?  That's awfully low bar for dictators you're setting.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

"millions suffer"

mmghosh's picture

a Guererriste dictator (and really, all are such) can also look after the interests of his subjects to an extent, which, I would argue, Mr Mubarak has done.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

"To an extent"


Whether the extent is enough (by Guerrerist standards) can judged by whether it's enough to keep the dictator in power.  And in this case, it appears that it might not have been enough.

In summary, we know a Guerreriste dictator...

Bernard Guerrero's picture

....when we see him inactive in the face of stressful times. :^)

He's also better


than Hitler!

A man must be orthodox upon most things, or he will never even have time to preach his own heresy.


Defining true Guerreristes as successful


sort of undermines the whole argument, doesn't it?  If Stalin was truly Guerreriste but Hitler not, what are you really saying?  Not much.


Now, if you'd be willing to take a list of modern dictators and separate them into Guerreriste and non-Guerreriste categories, tracking their outcomes over the next twenty years or so, that would be interesting.

The other day I heard that ignorance and apathy are sweeping the country. I didn't know that, but I don't really care.

Damn, now...

Bernard Guerrero's picture

"guererrism cannot fail...


... it can only be failed." -- is teh result of the experiment i foresee.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Necessarily so, since the entire philosophy hinges on


having a good working grasp of what is actually in your own self-interest. If you fail, you cannot have been acting in self-interest, by definition.


The fact that most human beings most of the time have trouble pegging down those two words on either side of the hyphen is a weak point in the theory.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes



Most of us are very, very good at knowing what is in our self-interest.  As a species, it's one of our strong points.  The trouble is that most life outcomes are not within individual control.  We just like to pretend that they are.  We also like to pretend that the definition of "individual control" is clear, when it is actually vague and problematic.


My theory is that Guerrerism, like the larger conservatism of which it is a variant, represents an extreme fealty to these twin delusions.  It relies on selective observation and the rear-view mirror.

The other day I heard that ignorance and apathy are sweeping the country. I didn't know that, but I don't really care.

I think only for limited, short-term decisions.


"Should I eat, or should I put out the fire first?" We're good at eating when we're hungry, at not staying out in the sun until toxins melt our livers (some of us).


Biologically, it's worth noting, we're wired to be pretty good at making decisions that get us into childrearing years.


But most of the important decisions we make in life involve complex socio-cultural judgments that will our and our loved ones' well-being years hence. We need to be able to identify third-, fourth-, fifth-order outcomes of our actions and choose between competing moral, ethical, financial & biological needs.


Nobody is very good at all of that.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

We're not good at it


in the same sense that we're not good at jumping to the moon.  When the obstacle is that high, skill is irrelevant.  The trouble is that, for various ego-related reasons, we have an extreme need to pretend that we can predict minor variations in life outcomes*, and even worse, that we can predict them by rigidly applying the tenets of some particular creed or philosophy.


*The difference between, say, Bill Gates and the average American tax accountant is minor in the scheme of things.

The other day I heard that ignorance and apathy are sweeping the country. I didn't know that, but I don't really care.

Agreed, but that kind of decisionmaking is the norm


in any modern society. Faced with impossibly complex, more or less continuous calls on our power of judgment, most of us rely on dumb luck and your basic schlemiehlhood to get us through. Bill Gates? Dumb luck that he studied computing in the 70s instead of, say, the 40s, and dumb luck that the personal computing model began catching on shortly afterword. He certainly made some good decisions based on having blundered into a historic opportunity.


How many people do you know who a) hold down the career for which their college degree prepared them; b) are happily married to their original spouse; c) regularly take advantage of tax loopholes; d) spend a typical day creating powerful works of art that speak for and to their entire generation; e) fully understand and are at peace with the conditions of their life & inevitability of their death; f) are fully cognizant of both worldwide and personal ramifications of their country's foreign policy and/or foreign commerce, and are taking meaningful steps to mitigate & improve same; g) have a reasonably good grasp of the myriad historico-economic forces leading up to the current relative well-being of their family in financial & social terms?


And yet, exactly as you say, we like to pretend that we're able to shape and master all that through the tiny commercial decisions we make in our lives.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I think you guys are missing the point.

Bernard Guerrero's picture

"He certainly made some good decisions based on having blundered into a historic opportunity."


That's all anybody gets, though the magnitude of the multiple opportunities presented to you varies.  But that's precisely where having some vague idea of what you're doing puts you ahead of the dummies who have no idea whatsoever.

I don't think that's strictly true


Often people that are slightly deluded (or shall I say, deluded in a productive way) have a competitive advantage over people who see things clearly.  Too much faith in their rightness gives them a confidence that allows them to convince others of their vision.  This is a particular advantage in business.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

95% dumb luck. Why take credit for the other 5%?


Bill Gates had no "idea what he was doing" when he decided to look into OS for small stand alone machines. It's foolish to attribute his overall success to any specific decision or vision on his part. Just a lucky guy. Or at least, give him credit for a useful temperament, a guy willing to keep doing the same thing every day until luck runs his way. But then we don't invent our own personalities either. What I'm trying to say is, it's possible to put yourself way ahead of what Nixon called "The Doomed," but foolish to imagine you can earn or "deserve" the entirety of your lot in life. Insert Unforgiven quote? Nah, here's a better one....


If the fool would persist in his folly, he would become wise.

--William Blake

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Now we're just haggling over the numbers.....

Bernard Guerrero's picture

That 95%-dumb-luck so vastly overstates the matter as to be laughable.  I've seen plenty of people trip & fall, and a disturbingly high percentage of the time you can spot what they're going to trip over well ahead of time.


Or, to return to my fave joke, outrunning the bear is dumb luck, if you manage.  (Genes, slow bear, etc)  Getting your sneakers on before the other guy, not so much....

We got 95, 95, can I get a 99%?


Look, I'm no determinist or fatalist, but it seems pretty clear to me that most of the activities we spend our energy on (economics, politics, sex, education, entertainment) are games we've invented to exaggerate -- ludicrously exaggerate -- the importance of our own choices. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes


HankP's picture

until you can reliably predict who your parents will be before you're born most of the rest is window dressing.

I blame it all on the Internet

Irrelevant Rawlsianism.

Bernard Guerrero's picture

Once I'm born, I'm born.  I'm not going to be un-born, or re-born.  (I'll die, eventually, but that's after a life as moi.)  The "window dressing" is all that you can possibly affect or impact, so it's the only legitimate point of contention.

You can call it whatever you want

HankP's picture

but it doesn't change the fact that of all the variables influencing who you are and what you can do it's by far the largest. And it has major implications for society whether you want to admit it or not.

I blame it all on the Internet

But it's still window dressing.


The fact that we spend most of our time & energy in this life on window dressing doesn't make it *actually* any more important than it is.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

No, that idea doesn't make much sense, either.

Bernard Guerrero's picture

I can easily picture huge outcome differences in my own life if I had done what was very obviously the wrong, stupid or long-shot thing to do at any number of decision points.  Likewise, I can observe differences in outcome amongst people with very similar social & educational backgrounds (and often enough genetic backgrounds) based on decision-making.  Your determinism, and hank's, doesn't hold up.

It isn't determinism,


it's the fact that we, I mean the gigantically complex socio-economic 'we', spend most of our time making small inconsequential choices seem much more important than they in fact are. A financial example. Bernard shorts Funky McWidgets when everyone else is going long on those suckers. Well, it turns out the Funky McWidget thing is seriously played this year. People are so over FMcW it isn't even funny. Everyone takes a haircut except Bernard, who makes out like a bandit. A bandit with vibrant, luxuriant locks of uncut hair tied back in a jaunty ponytail. He had a little more insight than everyone else, and so now he gets to smirk and flounce his locks at the raquetclub.


The point is who frickin cares? Funky McWidgets are completely useless to anyone but the completely bored and absurdly comfortable top 2% of the world's population. The market to trade shares in things like FMcWs is nothing but a giant board game, or more like an OTB parlor where people can bet on the future value of things of no particular inherent value. Jaunty Bernard makes a fortune basically by accumulation of razor thin margins on millions of tiny, pointless financial transactions. The fortune itself will certainly help Bernard's affairs in the world, but of course it is meaningful only as long as other people agree to continue playing the game. In which case Bernard could easily go and find some other totally unrelated way to pay the bills. Perhaps even doing work that is actually connected to the biological, social, emotional or spiritual necessities of life.


Games. The reason game theory is powerfully predictive is because much of modern life is consumed by silly games. Like the Funky Mcwidget market.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I think you hit on our point of disagreement.

Bernard Guerrero's picture

"Games. The reason game theory is powerfully predictive is because much of modern life is consumed by silly games."


I agree explicitly that much of life, both modern & premodern, is made up of games (or more precisely interactions that take the form of games.)  I just don't think they're at all silly, in the sense that the outcomes drive the creation and acquisition of "the biological, social, emotional or spiritual necessities of life." Your ancestors have been spending their lives playing games of one sort or another since before they came down from the trees.

You may be able to picture, but you don't know

HankP's picture

you may not even recognize the mistakes you've made in the past. It's one thing to act as if you're the master of your own fate, it's another thing to actually believe it.

I blame it all on the Internet

Ye jest.

Bernard Guerrero's picture

My catalog of errors is extensive, sir.  I just make fewer than the average Joe.  (Where is Joe, anyway?)  Granted than some classes of error are more obvious than others, but the biggies are plain enough just from looking at monthly returns, etc.  Still, I'm not going to let you paint me into the opposite corner from the one you stuck yourself in a little while ago.  One need not be "master of one's own fate" (an imprecise and foggy sort of claim) to play the odds correctly.  Nobody here is claiming you can load the dice.

It's like you're writing my biography! nt

HankP's picture


I blame it all on the Internet

Are we allowed to count....

Bernard Guerrero's picture

...little-read blog posts towards d)?


Also, I made this really awesome dragon out of sculpey clay once.

You can count whatever you'd like

HankP's picture

it's not your opinion that I'm talking about.


BTW, looks like you missed out on something.

I blame it all on the Internet

I was talking about....

Bernard Guerrero's picture little-read blog posts. 


Yours are virtually unread, AFAICT. :^)

What you can tell

HankP's picture

is not my concern. However, I find it interesting that you only challenge d) and accept all the other characteristics.

I blame it all on the Internet

Apropos of nothing, I....

Bernard Guerrero's picture

....just got my copy of TurboTax.  As endorsed by The Secretary of the Treasury!


HankP's picture

we're wired to be pretty good at making decisions that get the most genetically capable of us into childrearing years.

I blame it all on the Internet

Says the gambler.

Bernard Guerrero's picture

And I say that as a compliment, mind.  Outcomes are not within our absolute control; I cannot force a plane I'm on not to lose an engine, or a car I'm in not to lose traction on black-ice and crash, by force of will.  I can, however, discern and then play the odds, to whatever extent my resources and abilities allow.  All the world's but a poker game, and all the men & women merely players.....

Life vs. poker


Poker is a simple iterative game with relatively constant wagers.  Life, in poker terms, would be like a game where you're never sure how big the bet is, how many chips you have left, or what half the cards in the deck even mean.  Life is Calvinball.

The other day I heard that ignorance and apathy are sweeping the country. I didn't know that, but I don't really care.

Yeah, sure.

Bernard Guerrero's picture

"Life is Calvinball."


Sure, sure, I agree.  In fact, I think you're torturing my original analogy to death.  Actual life is obviously has more layers of contingency, more occluded data, more vague interpretations than a hand of Texas Hold'em.  Regardless, I'd say the "probabilistic game" analogy works best, and points to the way forward.

Life is Calvinball.


Brilliant. Although it feels more like Mubaraball.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

my point exactly.



“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

This is known as....

Bernard Guerrero's picture

I'd buy "idealism disgused as cynicism." :^) -nt-



"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

It would be

HankP's picture

if it wasn't apparent that well educated people are just as likely to experience it as anyone else.

I blame it all on the Internet

I didn't say....

Bernard Guerrero's picture

Agree, reluctantly.

mmghosh's picture

The point about greed is not knowing when to stop.


A true aristocrat [i]knows[/i] (well, mostly) when the peasants are unhappy enough to look for lamposts;  if wise, he turns them towards barbarians, immigrants, other peasants, natural philosophers, whatever.


Parvenu Guererristes don't, naturally.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

The way to....

Bernard Guerrero's picture

....profit-maximization is knowing when to say when, eh?  Otherwise the [url=]stationary bandit[/url] is forced to become non-stationary.

Did you notice the diary's filed in the "Travel" section?

mmghosh's picture


freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency