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Links 7/16: Grad, Div, and URL

I’ve previously disagreed with the restrictions on suboxone prescribing. Now the Obama administration has relaxed some of those restrictions, almost tripling the number of suboxone patients doctors can treat from 100 to 275.

Very big (n = 15,000) Romanian study on sex differences in intelligence finds not only no mean difference, but no difference in variance.

Operation Cherry Blossoms At Night was an Imperial Japanese plan to release biological warfare agents in Southern California during World War II. There were actually lots of these plans, but a series of coincidences and setbacks prevented any of them from getting off the ground. Also, I feel like the name of that operation is another example of World War II’s hamhanded writing.

A previously unknown kind of low-grade inflammation might explain why anti-inflammatories like aspirin help prevent cancer. This is important because there are a lot of things which seem vaguely inflammatory but don’t work off the normal inflammatory systems we know about and the discovery of new forms of inflammation offers a lot of promise for understanding these.

It’s hard to lower my faith in humanity after – well, after 2016 – but the Twitter comments on this @dril tweet about the Keebler Elves might have managed. Warning: kind of high-context.

A political science journal experiments with triple-blind studies – ie those where peer reviewers judge the methodology before knowing the results and finds that it “encourages much greater attention to theory and research design, but raises thorny problems about how to anticipate and interpret null findings.”

The Paradox Of Disclosure – when surgeons disclose to their patients that their professional incentives may bias their recommendation to pursue surgery, this makes patients more likely to accept those recommendations. Linking to the Marginal Revolution commentary rather than the original for the spectacular pun at the end.

The National Holocaust Museum and Auschwitz Museum would like to remind you that it is insensitive to catch Pokemon on the premises.

The Big Question In Global Education is apparently why Vietnam breaks the trend of test scores tracking national development levels – Vietnamese students outperform their relatively weak economy. But this seems pretty easy to explain if we take a Hive Mind style approach where national intelligence levels determine national economic development levels, then adjust for the fact that Vietnam has been communist for a long time and so will economically underperform its IQ. China probably would have been the same kind of outlier twenty years ago.

Psychiatrist and psychodynamic therapist Nat Kuhn reviews my review of Unlearn Your Pain.

First evidence that genetically engineered mosquitoes can decrease disease from an experiment in Brazil where they helped reduce dengue fever > 90%.

How Not To Name Your Child: Five Golden Rules by Phoenicia Hebebe Dobson-Mouawad. I keep trying to convince my friends that giving your child a “unique” “meaningful” name might seem cool today, but that the kid may not share your aesthetics and will have to live with the results for the rest of their lives (or until they’re old enough to pay legal fees).

Reddit: one of Republican VP candidate Mike Pence’s many interesting characteristics is that his daughter has no reflection in mirrors.

Kentucky counties that ban alcohol see increased methamphetamine use, possible substitution effect.

Putting this one in the “no long-term effect of education” folder – whether you took high school courses in a subject has minimal effect on your grade in college courses on the same subject.

A Mormon multimillionaire wants to build a utopian planned city based on a sketch of Joseph Smith’s in the middle of Vermont.

Ethnic groups in Africa seem to have done about as well regardless of which side of artificial national borders they were on, suggesting that it’s ethnicity-specific factors rather than national institutionals which contributes more to success in Africa.

A randomized controlled trial in The Lancet finds that behavioral activation therapy is as good as cognitive behavioral therapy for depression, even though it’s a simpler subset of the latter. Some discussion on Reddit, including worries that it might solve the immediate issue but not give people the skills they need for later.

The deepest cave in the world, in Abkhazia, goes over a mile below the surface.

For some sort of tribal reason the hard left really hates the musical “Hamilton”. Also on the subject of the left being anthropologically interesting: Joan Walsh Is Not A Feminist.

David Chapman continues his long effort to convince us that there is a thing called meta-rationality and that it is very important.

Barack Obama’s half-brother will be voting for Donald Trump. Key quote: “Obama believes strongly in the institution of marriage — so strongly that he has at least three current wives, although press reports have put the number as high as 12.”

Racial dot map of the United States.

Population aging will decrease annual economic growth rates 1.2 percentage points this decade – note that this implies our economy is otherwise much stronger than we would think by comparing it to past years’ statistics. I’ve lost the study now, but I also remember seeing people claim that almost all of Japan’s recent stagnation is due to an aging population rather than more purely economic factors.

Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump

Related: Anonymous Mugwump does the literature review on immigration and open borders that so many of you have been wanting. Conclusion: economic effects of immigration relatively unequivocally good, main possible problem is that more open immigration decreases remittances that immigrants send to their home country.

Weird Sun Twitter now has a blog.

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933 Responses to Links 7/16: Grad, Div, and URL

  1. Mary says:

    Phoenicia strikes me as particularly bad, because even at a glance I can see the nickname “Phoney.” though she doesn’t mention it.

    • Randy M says:

      I think we passed the “uncommon without being a burden” name test for our daughters: Lark, Aria, & Rowan. But just in case they have more conventional middle names.

      • Steve Sailer says:

        The main thing in choosing a name for a son is that (trust me) he won’t want a name that turns into a girl’s name during his lifetime. Evelyn Waugh, for example, had enough worries about his masculinity without bearing a Christian name that was becoming so fashionable as a girl’s name that his first wife was also named Evelyn (or She-Evelyn as he referred to her during their brief marriage).

        Richard, in contrast, is a name you can have confidence in.

        • Earthly Knight says:

          This is the sort of noxious gender-role nonsense that I’m glad is going the way of the dodo. There are beautiful androgynous names, like Jaime and Lindsey, and I hope that thirty years from now no one will have to refrain from using them because of concerns like this.

          • LHN says:

            It may happen, and I’d be in favor. But thus far “androgynous” seems to just be a region in the midst of the transition from boy’s name to girl’s.

          • Steve Sailer says:

            Are you absolutely convinced your unborn son will agree with you?

            Children actually have minds of their own. They don’t always agree with their parents.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            If my children are anything like me, they’ll be proud that I didn’t make the decision on the basis of how knuckle-dragging bigots might react.

          • Steve Sailer says:

            “But thus far “androgynous” seems to just be a region in the midst of the transition from boy’s name to girl’s.”

            Yeah, it mostly seems like an indication that your parents weren’t savvy enough to notice which way the winds of fashion were blowing when you were born. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was part of Evelyn Waugh’s grudge against his father Arthur Waugh, who seems like a pretty good guy.

            Here’s an extreme test case: Madison Bumgarner, a baseball pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, was the Most Valuable Player in the 2014 World Series.

            But even in the liberal San Francisco Bay area, has Madison Bumgarner’s popularity had any effect on the trend toward “Madison” becoming a girl’s name?

            Note that Bumgarner is about as masculine as you can get: 6’5″ 250 pounds, currently leading the National League in innings pitched, drives a truck, hits more home runs than just about any other pitcher, has a hilariously non-effete last name, and is nicknamed “Mad Bum.”

            I don’t know. It would be fun to look at Social Security records for children born in northern California in 2015 to see if there were more boy Madisons due to Madison Bumgarner’s 2014 post-season heroics, or if the trend toward Madison being a girl’s name is impervious to even Bumgarner as a role model for boy Madisons.

          • Steve Sailer says:

            “If my children are anything like me, they’ll be proud that I didn’t make the decision on the basis of how knuckle-dragging bigots might react.”

            You know, children aren’t always like you, so please don’t feel compelled to saddle them for life with names that they might not appreciate just to prove wrong some guy on the Internet.

          • Douglas Knight says:

            I don’t know about Northern California, but there were 72 boy Madisons born in America in 2015, compared to 40 the previous two years, after a long decline from the peak of 269 in 1995, a peak caused by the same force that created the girl’s name. You have to go back to 2005 to find as many boy Madisons.
            There were more than 1000 girl Madisons born in the state of California in 2015.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            There’s no reason to think that my children would be less likely to appreciate Jaime or Lindsey than, say, Douglas or Richard (which, incidentally, is an old man’s name). The only real fear is that the aforementioned knuckle-draggers might try to take revenge on them for having dared to violate sacred gender norms while still in the womb, but, fortunately, these are mostly aging white folk who will be irrelevant or dead by the time my offspring are old enough to go out into the world. It’s strange, you think you are speaking in their best interests, but the only interests you actually represent are prejudice and conformity.

          • Wency says:

            “Noxious nonsense”, good stuff. Something tells me that boys will mock perceived femininity in other boys for the remainder of humanity’s existence as a species. A feminine name is just one avenue for doing so. I suppose the culture can change so that names are not perceived as masculine or feminine, but if the “Androgyny-OK” culture interacts with the “You have a girl’s name!” culture, feelings will be hurt.

            It’s all a matter of taste. I knew a man named Beverly. Took abuse for it his entire life. Hated his name. Then for some reason he named his son Beverly, Jr. Maybe he decided it builds character.

            There’s a certain irony to it — giving a girl’s name to a boy could be preparing him for a grittier existence. A boy named Suzanne has been through some shit. He might be better prepared to land on Omaha Beach than if he we were named Richard.

            I’d still prefer Richard for my son’s name though.

          • Steve Sailer says:

            Bumgarner Power!

          • Steve Sailer says:

            And he said, “Son, this world is rough
            And if a man’s gonna make it, he’s gotta be tough
            And I knew I wouldn’t be there to help ya along
            So I give ya that name and I said goodbye
            I knew you’d have to get tough or die
            And it’s the name that helped to make you strong”

            He said, “Now you just fought one hell of a fight
            And I know you hate me, and you got the right
            To kill me now, and I wouldn’t blame you if you do
            But ya ought to thank me, before I die
            For the gravel in ya guts and the spit in ya eye
            ‘Cause I’m the son-of-a-bitch that named you Sue”

            Well what could I do? What could I do?
            I got all choked up and I threw down my gun
            And I called him my paw, and he called me his son
            And I came away with a different point of view
            And I think about him, now and then
            Every time I try and every time I win
            And if I ever have a son, I think I’m gonna name him..
            Bill or George! Any-damn-thing but Sue!

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Gbtm-93oqE

            Johnny Cash rapping Shel Silverstein’s “A Boy Named Sue,” 1968

          • Guy says:

            Baby names: quite possibly the worst place to express your politics.

          • hlynkacg says:

            @ Steve Sailer
            I’m glad you posted that, cause If you hadn’t I would’ve.

            @ Guy
            I couldn’t agree more.

          • MawBTS says:

            Baby names: quite possibly the worst place to express your politics.

            “Hi, boys and girls! This is my son CthulhuAlwaysSwimsLeft, and it’s his first day of school! See you later, Cuthie, I hope you make friends!”

          • PedroS says:

            EarthlyKnight said “fortunately, these are mostly aging white folk who will be irrelevant ”

            Do you have any data showing higher social acceptability of androgynous names among e.g. African-American or Hispanic youth vs. aging white (or black) folk?

            Regardless, don’t you think parents have a duty to avoid names that might make their offspring more vulnerable to taunts/bullying by other kids? Should a white parent name their daughter Malcolm X or Muhammad Ali as homage to the breaking down of gender and racial barriers? Will it be “harmless” if she is taunted by racists for having an “urban” name?

            What if the child is then taunted by “right-thinking folk” and derided for cultural appropriation?

            Will the child feel less bullied, and happier, just so her parent may bask for a few years under the light of self-righteousness?

          • Rowan says:

            Being male and wanting to have a masculine name seems about as much a matter of “noxious gender-role nonsense” as wanting to wear trousers instead of a dress, or, hell, wanting people to use “he/him” pronouns. I’m not aggravated by how unmasculine my name is because I’m some kind of “knuckle-dragging bigot” or because of my experiences with same, I’m aggravated because I have a male gender identity (and I’m lucky enough to be cis so this mild aggravation is the worst gender identity problem I have). What’s wrong with wanting to perform the gender one identifies as? Why would you sabotage a son’s ability to do so?

          • Guy says:

            @Maw:

            I mean, I think you can do worse than politics (example: the “name” field of the birth certificate is not the proper place for your grocery list, even if said list does not change).

            But politics is a pretty bad thing to put there. Poor little Cthulie.

          • J Mann says:

            Earthly Knight – did you read the linked article by Phoenicia Hebebe Dobson-Mouawad? What did you think about it?

            It gave me pause – I’ve always liked “Socrates” as a first name (and unlike PHD-M’s parents, always planned on a more common middle name in case it doesn’t go over well with my son), but she may be right that it’s selfish vanity.

          • Whatever Happened to Anonymous says:

            Do you have any data showing higher social acceptability of androgynous names among e.g. African-American or Hispanic youth vs. aging white (or black) folk?

            Funny thing, just yesterday in my (spanish speaking) workplace, we were discussing about gender ambiguous names, the only two we came up with were French in origin.

          • LHN says:

            Richard (which, incidentally, is an old man’s name)

            Richard’s been on a decline for decades, but it’s still the #155 boy’s name, with about 2700 born in the US in 2015 vs. #485 & 605 for Jaime. (Lindsey– and Lindsay– aren’t in the top 1000 for boys, having dropped off the chart after 1987, so numbers aren’t available.) I have no particular opinion about anyone giving any of the names to their kids, but Richard hasn’t really graduated to “old man’s name” yet, at least in the US.

            Meanwhile, I’m personally reached the age where old men’s and especially old ladies’ names have started coming round again. Just about all the top ten girls’ names conjure up fragile widows or Victorian ladies in my head– except Harper, which I only even associated with Harper Lee. And “Jake” is a big guy with a cigar (who thinks these kids today need to get a job and a haircut), not a preteen. But that’s just me getting old.

          • onyomi says:

            How can one predict your boy’s name might, in your son’s lifetime, turn into a girl’s name (and that seems to be the usual direction; not the reverse) (Assuming the transition hasn’t already, obviously begun)?

          • The Nybbler says:

            @onyomi

            As Steve Sailer points out, you can stick with very safe names like Dick or Rod or John. You can also try to guess by the sound of the name; anything that ends in ‘a’ like “Andrea” is right out, for example. If the name already exists in male and female form you’re probably OK; you risk the ambiguous nickname (e.g. “Chris” and “Pat”) but that seems less devastating. But watch for homophones; “Francis” can be a problem, stick with “Frank”.

            Names which sound like poncy British aristocrat names are probably the worst. Eveyln and Leslie for instance. Even if they don’t switch genders (e.g. Cedric, Lord Fauntleroy), the poor kid still sounds like a poncy British aristocrat.

            Unusual names like “Rowan” are dangerous in that they don’t have a clear gender identity and could go either way.

            Or you could ignore all this gender role nonsense and name your boy Sue. But don’t be surprised if he pops you in the mouth for it when he grows up.

          • ad says:

            What examples can you give of traditionally female names becoming androgynous?

          • onyomi says:

            “As Steve Sailer points out, you can stick with very safe names like Dick or Rod or John.”

            So just make sure to name your son after a penis and/or toilet. Makes sense.

          • MC says:

            Steve,

            Not sure if you’re aware of this, but Madison Bumgarner once dated a girl named…Madison Bumgarner:

            http://www.si.com/sportsman/2014/12/09/madison-bumgarner-sports-illustrated-sportsman-profile

          • Earthly Knight says:

            Regardless, don’t you think parents have a duty to avoid names that might make their offspring more vulnerable to taunts/bullying by other kids?

            I think it’s a mug’s game trying to predict what will make your children get taunted fifteen or twenty years from now when half of schoolchildren are named Jesus, Mohammed, or Arjun, and that the name is unlikely to make much difference in any case. It’s a mistake to assume that the motivation for taunting has anything to do with the content of the taunts– by and large children tease their peers because they don’t like their personalities, and will fasten onto whatever characteristics of the target are handy to make them feel bad. Bullies are clever, and will always find something.

            Children should be given whatever names are most aesthetically appealing and personally resonant, without worrying too much about other people’s opinions. (I also don’t think highly of giving your child a weird name for the sake of giving your child a weird name).

            It’s funny that I’m being accused of injecting politics into child-naming, when in fact I believe that names should be chosen for their aesthetic value alone. I just like the name Jaime. Ironically, it’s the conformist swine who live in fear of what others might think that are really politicizing the matter. I guess after years of letting society dictate your choices you become so habituated to servility that anyone who displays a small amount of independence seems like they’re making a political statement.

            What’s wrong with wanting to perform the gender one identifies as? Why would you sabotage a son’s ability to do so?

            Again, I have no reason to think that a future son would prefer a name like Richard to a name like Jaime. If it bothers him that much, he’s free to change it.

            did you read the linked article by Phoenicia Hebebe Dobson-Mouawad? What did you think about it?

            I have a somewhat unusual name. It’s really not that big of a deal. “Socrates” sounds pretty pretentious to me though.

            Richard’s been on a decline for decades, but it’s still the #155 boy’s name, with about 2700 born in the US in 2015 vs. #485 & 605 for Jaime.

            The average age of a Richard is around 60. I do not see why absolute rank should matter.

          • LHN says:

            The average age of a Richard is around 60. I do not see why absolute rank should matter.

            I’d expect commonness among peers (and maybe celebrities?) would affect a kid’s perception more than overall distribution. But I could be wrong.

            (Though the median Lindsey is about 50, albeit with a two-humped distribution that means that it’s more like “sixtyish or thirtyish”.)

          • TheWeirdInquirer says:

            @Earthly Knight

            I don’t fully understand how this community works, but one generic rule (as in, assignment credibility, status and acceptance to comments) seems to be empiricism. Backing up opinions with something more solid than wishful thinking.

            So, EK, do you have any empirical reason for thinking that the demographics replacing aging white folk are more progressive on gender? Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Muslims? Are there any signs of a trend like that?

            Aren’t Hispanics the very people who invented the concept of machismo? Aren’t there serious complaints about misogyny in Black rap lyrics? Hoes etc. And let’s not even start on Muslims. Asians seem to be certainly mellow… dunno, maybe you may be right on that account. Although the Asian-Americans I personally know are all called like Anglo-Normann nobility, Raymond, Claire etc. but that can certainly change, of the these four they are the most likely to follow changing white political trends.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            @ TheWeirdInquirer

            Some of the other commenters here seem to think it’s a law of nature that naming a boy child Jaime causes other kids to pick on him, presumably on the basis of correlations they observed in school a decade or more ago. What is the evidence that such a law exists and is immune to demographic changes and the evolution of gender norms?

            A couple of other points:

            –The non-hispanic black share of the population will be static for the foreseeable future. Almost all of the change will be in the growth of the hispanic and Asian shares of the population.
            –Members of other cultures are likely to be less well-versed in the nuances of anglo-american naming conventions. Round up a few Indian kids and ask them if Jaime is a boy’s name or a girl’s name!

          • Psmith says:

            No offense, but

            Oh come on. I’m on the substantive side of boring traditional names, but this is a bit much.

          • William O. B'Livion says:

            I named my daughter after the toughest broad I ever knew.

            And yeah, in certain contexts my Aunt would have been ok with being called a broad. Then again she might just have hit you with something hard and heavy. She was like that.

            Maxium 16: Your name is in the mouth of others: be sure it has teeth.

          • Tibor says:

            @Earthly Knight: I would say that schoolchildren are in a way more bigoted than adults. Differences from the average are usually treated quite harshly in a children’s collective and it does not matter so much what their parents tell them, I think. The children want to fit in, be a part of the group of other children. Individualism and “fuck you, I will do what I want” is something that comes later, so in effect children are much more conformist than probably any other demographics. They are also a group which might possibly be the most “gender segregationist”. This is not something they pick at home (well, maybe in religious muslim families), it just seems to be the way kids work. Young boys tend to avoid young girls, especially when there are other boys around … until they start getting attracted to them.

            That said, being picked on by other schoolchildren might not be so bad. It will probably help the kid develop a sense of individuality and independence. Later in life a more unique name can be useful. My name (which actually is Tibor) is very atypical in my country (I think the only country where it is really common is Hungary and my parents gave it to me despite there being no Hungarian connection in our family at all). Since it is unique, people remember it (also if people call your name, you can be sure they are talking to you 🙂 ), which can be useful. Frank Zappa’s daughter’s name is Moon Unit Zappa. A particularly useful name in showbusiness (she is a singer).

            It is also interesting to note that in many countries in Europe (umm, at least the Czech republic and Germany) there are laws which restrict which names you are allowed to give to your children (and changing your name in adulthood is also less easy than in the US). Basically, if the name is uncommon, you have to prove that it is in use somewhere. I think you are also not allowed to give a uniquely female name to a male child or the other way around. Personally, I think this is an unnecessary paternalism, but that’s how it is.

            Also, I think that English has more unisex or unclear names than Czech, German or Spanish. Most female names in Czech or Spanish end with -a, most Czech and German male names end with a consonant and Spanish names either with a consonant or -o. German female names usually end with -e or -a. English seems a bit more versatile (although most female name still seem to end with -a). But this is more an impression based on what I remember, I did not look the names up.

          • Sandy says:

            @Earthly Knight:

            Members of other cultures are likely to be less well-versed in the nuances of anglo-american naming conventions. Round up a few Indian kids and ask them if Jaime is a boy’s name or a girl’s name!

            They’ll all say Jaime is a boy’s name, because their understanding of that name is influenced by Anglo-American culture and Jaime Lannister is the most famous Jaime in the world.

            Speaking as a former Indian kid: round up a few of my peers and ask them if Hillary, Madison and Ashley are boy’s names or girl’s names. The vast majority of them will say they are all girl’s names, because again, they are influenced by Anglo-American culture and that culture has showed them predominantly (perhaps exclusively) female Hillarys, Madisons and Ashleys. They turn on the news and see Hillary Clinton is running for President. Message received: Hillary is a woman’s name.

            I’ve only vaguely scrawled through this tortured comment thread, but I believe that poster you were replying to was asking if you have any reason to believe the demographics replacing old white people are more socially progressive than the group they’re replacing, and you replied with something about naming conventions. This seems like a strange reason. I cannot really speak for East Asian or Hispanic cultures, but India is full of unisex names and names that went from predominantly male to predominantly female (but never female to male, much like America). My own name is considered unisex in North India but exclusively male in South India. Even so, I would not delude myself into thinking the fungibility of names means India doesn’t have gender roles a lot more iron-clad than America, or that India is more socially progressive in this regard. Indian names aren’t even that fungible, really; Wikipedia claims Kajal is a unisex name, but any Indian boy named Kajal would be mocked mercilessly by his peers.

            I’m always confused by the (invariably) white progressives who talk about demographic replacement like it’s some kind of inevitable coup d’etat for the progressive cause. White people are the most socially progressive group on the planet. I have grave misgivings over whether that’s a good thing, given the wide reach and influence of Western culture, but it is a fact that on the whole, white people are the most socially progressive group on the planet. It might be a coup d’etat for the Democratic Party’s cause, but that’s hardly the same thing. I don’t even like Freddie deBoer, but sometimes I sympathize with his railing about this kind of thing.

            It is really only white people who obsess about this sort of stuff, and they spread it like metastasis. Hispanic people didn’t start banging on about the “Latinx” categorization until Anglo institutions thought it would be a good idea to teach them critical race theory and Foucault. Why would they? It’s not even a word in Spanish, a language that has no gender neutral nouns at all.

          • Nornagest says:

            I still feel like “Jaime” is an exclusive men’s name and should be pronounced “Hy-me” rather than “Jay-mee”, but pop culture and Wiktionary are not on my side for this one.

          • Whatever Happened to Anonymous says:

            For whatever it’s worth, “Hi meh” is how it’s pronounced in Spanish and it’s an exclusively male name, so if what you want is just to name your hypothetical eventual son “Jaime” and not make a stand against the evils of restrictive naming conventions, you should be totally fine.

          • Sandy says:

            The Spaniards and Portuguese took the root words for “Jacob” and “James” and modified them for their tongue. So Anglos pronounce it “Jay-mee”, while Hispanics pronounce it “Hy-mie”.That’s true in pop culture as well — Jaime Lannister uses the first pronunciation, but Young Justice’s Jaime Reyes is a Mexican kid and he uses the latter pronunciation.

            The Wikipedia page for the name “Jaime” has a list of famous fictional and real Jaimes; all the Anglos named Jaime seem to be female with the exception of the Kingslayer, while all the men named Jaime seem to be exclusively Hispanic.

          • LHN says:

            @Nornagest On the other hand, the main Jaime I was aware of growing up was Jaime Sommers, who could run sixty miles an hour, tear open a vault door, and won the Miss United States contest (even if it later turned out that the fix was in), and she pronounced her name “JAY-mee”.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            @ Sandy

            I’m always confused by the (invariably) white progressives who talk about demographic replacement like it’s some kind of inevitable coup d’etat for the progressive cause. White people are the most socially progressive group on the planet.

            You’re mistaken. In the US, Asians, hispanics, and whites all support gay marriage at the same rate. On economic issues, hispanics and asians are both substantially more liberal than whites.

          • Anonymous says:

            In the US no one uses the phrase “demographic replacement” except the paranoid right. Certainly not white progressives.

          • Whatever Happened to Anonymous says:

            Well, not explicitly, but stuff like “This is what America will look like by 2050 – And it’s Beautiful” does have a very pro “change in the ethnic makeup of the population” ring to it.

          • Sandy says:

            Setting aside the idea of gay marriage as the barometer for social progressivism, here’s an interesting tidbit from that article:

            The majority of Asian Americans born in the U.S. accept homosexuality while those that were born outside of the U.S. do not.

            Curious. Why do you imagine a group of Asians born, socialized and educated in an Anglo-majority country accept homosexuality while their counterparts in Asia don’t? You’ve also conspicuously left out black views on homosexuality, even though they are the most politically influential racial minority group in the country.

            Hispanics are also more likely than any other group in the US as well as the nation at large to say abortion should be illegal in all or most circumstances. Is that no longer one of those defining issues of social progressivism?

            On economic issues, hispanics and asians are both substantially more liberal than whites.

            Would come as a surprise to me; those Socialist Party of America proles camping outside Columbus Circle every other weekend always seem white as snow. I don’t suppose you have a handy poll to this effect? Or is this just conflating support for the Democratic Party with economic liberalism? I can’t find anything for Asians, but there’s one poll that says Hispanics support increasing the minimum wage, with the added note that Hispanics are over-represented in minimum wage jobs. Does it count as an expression of liberalism if it aligns with your self-interest? Asians increasingly support a clampdown on affirmative action, which is a decidedly non-liberal view to hold. I still wouldn’t doubt that most Asians vote Democrat.

            There’s also other polls that say Occupy Wall Street was 81% white and that Bernie Sanders dominated in the states that were most heavily white and lost by landslides in multiple states with large minority populations that refused to vote for him. Also another poll that says 75% of Hispanics believe in the bootstrap theory of economic success while only 58% of the American public at large does. Again, I’d like to see some polls.

            Also, America isn’t the center of the universe — Muslims in Britain were five times more likely than everyone else to say homosexuality should be illegal and eight times more likely to say women have a duty to obey their husbands. They still find themselves at the center of progressive movements in the UK for some unfathomable reason, but whatever. The broader point that should perhaps be made is that most of this socially progressive stuff consists of Western constructs that white people shipped out to the rest of the world, with consequences either liberating or disastrous depending on your point of view. Hence why Che Guevara falls in love with the historical materialism of a German Jew and Nehru decides Fabian socialism is a good system to plague India with.

          • Sandy says:

            In the US no one uses the phrase “demographic replacement” except the paranoid right. Certainly not white progressives.

            I don’t think I’m paranoid, and I think fears about “demographic replacement” are overblown to some undefinable extent, but even if I should have used different terminology, it is true that there’s a general thought among white progressives (or at least the prominent media-borne ones) that America would be a much better place if those old white non-coastals just disappeared or stopped voting so much, and that the future will happily be more accommodating of such desires.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            You’ve also conspicuously left out black views on homosexuality, even though they are the most politically influential racial minority group in the country.

            This is because, as I noted earlier, “the non-hispanic black share of the population will be static for the foreseeable future. Almost all of the change will be in the growth of the hispanic and Asian shares of the population.”

            Hispanics are also more likely than any other group in the US as well as the nation at large to say abortion should be illegal in all or most circumstances.

            This is true, although the difference is small, on the order of about 5%. But really, you need to start by giving a non-tendentious definition of what you mean by progressive so that we can judge whether Asian-Americans and Hispanic-Americans are it, I’m not interested in playing whack-a-mole.

            Asians increasingly support a clampdown on affirmative action, which is a decidedly non-liberal view to hold.

            Here is a poll of Californians suggesting Asian-Americans are much more likely than whites to support affirmative action, at 69% versus 57%. I’m not sure what you mean by “increasingly support a clampdown,” but I’m positive that those are weasel words that have nothing to do with what we were talking about.

            There’s also other polls that say Occupy Wall Street was 81% white and that Bernie Sanders dominated in the states that were most heavily white and lost by landslides in multiple states with large minority populations that refused to vote for him. Also another poll that says 75% of Hispanics believe in the bootstrap theory of economic success while only 58% of the American public at large does. Again, I’d like to see some polls.

            You seem to be confusing two claims here. Your original claim:

            1. “White people are the most socially progressive group on the planet.”

            …is false (reading “the US” for “planet”), for the reasons given above: Asian- and Hispanic-Americans are at least as socially liberal on average as white Americans. The superficially similar-sounding but actually quite different claim:

            2. The most socially progressive people in the US are white.

            …may well be true, but it doesn’t have nearly so direct a connection to how demographic changes will affect the ideological composition of our country.

          • Lumifer says:

            @ Sandy

            it is true that there’s a general thought among white progressives (or at least the prominent media-borne ones) that America would be a much better place if those old white non-coastals just disappeared or stopped voting so much

            Why, let me quote our own Earth Knight from a post of his in this very thread:

            but, fortunately, these are mostly aging white folk who will be irrelevant or dead by the time my offspring are old enough to go out into the world.

          • Nornagest says:

            Can we go back to the names discussion?

          • Alonso says:

            Just to butt in, if I may, here in banana republic land, Sócrates, Aristóteles, Aristófanes, Aquiles and any other assortment of hispanicized greek names tend to come from the countryside, so hearing you guys say Socrates seems pretentious gave me a chuckle. On the naming topic in question, I’ll just name any male kids using greek kings with the firstborn being Alexander Darius (italicized).

          • vV_Vv says:

            @onyomi

            How can one predict your boy’s name might, in your son’s lifetime, turn into a girl’s name

            Traditional male names, especially the ones associated with prominent historical male figures in your culture, seem a safe bet.

            I wouldn’t expect John, Mark, George or Muhammad to turn into girl’s names in the foreseable future.

          • LHN says:

            Though Robin Hood evidently wasn’t sufficient to prevent that one from shifting over.

            (Now I’m wondering if anyone’s done the story as a gender-flipped “Robin and Marion”, or a same-sex Robin and Marian.)

          • PedroS says:

            EarthlyKnight said

            “You seem to be confusing two claims here. Your original claim:

            1. “White people are the most socially progressive group on the planet.”

            …is false (reading “the US” for “planet”), for the reasons given above: Asian- and Hispanic-Americans are at least as socially liberal on average as white Americans.”

            Now you HAVE to be trolling: how can you accuse Sandy of confusing two claims when you admit to interpreting his/her/their “White people are the most socially progressive group on the planet.” as ““White people are the most socially progressive group in the US.” ? Don’t you realize how that shows a US-centric view of things, even more remarkable as Sandy clearly identifies as “a fromer Indian kid” and may therefore be expected to use the word “planet” with the obvious meaning of “world”, instead of the parochial US-centered view of “world” as another word for “US” (as in “the baseball World series” where no teams from outside North America compete)? And early in the same comment you accused him/her of “playing whack-a-mole” with the definition of “social progressivism”: am I the only one who sees some irony in that?

          • Earthly Knight says:

            Remember that we’re discussing demographic trends in the United States. Hence, if Sandy’s claim was that the average white person in the world is more socially progressive than the average Asian or hispanic person in the world, he wasn’t saying anything relevant. I believe that he did intend to refer to the US, though, because he immediately followed that comment with: “it might be a coup d’etat [sic] for the Democratic Party’s cause, but that’s hardly the same thing.”

          • sweeneyrod says:

            @PedroS

            “white people are the most progressive group on the planet” is not a relevant claim in a discussion about the US (which is what seemed to be going on, I don’t really care to try to understand the argument in much detail). Also, it’s a somewhat misleading claim. White people are the most progressive group only in as much as Westerners are, and they are mostly white. If you dispute this (i.e. you think that non-white Westerners aren’t as progressive as white ones) then that means you are claiming “white people are the most progressive group in the US” anyway.

          • I am the Tarpitz says:

            I don’t think it’s ageing bigots you need to worry about; it’s peers at school. Kids, especially boys aged maybe 8 to 15, can be horrible to each other, and will seize on any possible angle in the quest for a vulnerability. I don’t think social changes will lead to boys that age being disinclined to mock any perceived masculinity deficit; that they may be more likely to grow out of such attitudes and behaviours is neither here nor there.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            –I’m not convinced that having an androgynous name has ever played a major causal role in bullying. When I was in school, it always seemed to me that kids got taunted chiefly because the other kids didn’t like them, and that the content of the taunts was often epiphenomenal.

            –I am given to understand that boys who are gay or perceived to be gay by their peers are bullied a lot less than they used to be (certainly racial bullying has grown less common). This suggests that the way children enforce compliance with gender norms is malleable, and will continue to evolve along with the rest of society.

            –I suspect that the aging bigots are often the ones teaching their kids that men are named Mark and women are named Sally and that’s just the way God intended things to be. I mean, it’s possible that the thought of teasing a classmate for having an androgynous name occasionally springs unbidden into a child’s head, but at least some of them must be learning it at home.

          • I am the Tarpitz says:

            If you’re right about the reduction in bullying of kids who are or are perceived to be gay, I would be a little surprised and very pleased. It’s 15 years since I was at school (and then presumably in a different country to you, and at a highly atypical school even for my country), so I can’t claim to have up-to-date personal insights. I think the interaction between things people are bullied about and causes of bullying is complex, but I don’t think the things people are bullied about are generally irrelevant to the fact of the bullying. My perception of the transmission mechanism is that it’s primarily a matter of internal culture, from older children to younger and so on. I’m not sure parents are necessary for its continuation, and I certainly knew kids whose parents were emphatic as to the unacceptability of discrimination against gay people, disabled people and so on who nevertheless merrily joined in a culture of bullying along those lines.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            Homophobic bullying on the decline in British schools. Secular decline in bullying in US schools. Trump candidacy has encouraged a sharp rise in bullying.

            I suspect that bullying will never disappear entirely from the world. But neither is it immune to changing social trends. If you were bullied when you were young, chances are that it’s because the world used to be run by bigots and social conservatives who taught their offspring that members of other races, religions, and sexual orientations are inferior, and that strength, dominance, and conformity are virtues.

          • I am the Tarpitz says:

            The general decline in bullying is encouraging; the evidence for the other two is… pretty thin. Three sixth forms in one town over 6 months? Frankly, my experience was that most people had grown out of that stuff by 6th form age anyway. And the other sample is entirely self-selecting, which it at least has the decency to acknowledge.

          • Randy M says:

            these are mostly aging white folk who will be irrelevant or dead by the time my offspring are old enough to go out into the world.

            I hadn’t realized you were such a caricature of triumphant progressivism.

            Do you have any data showing higher social acceptability of androgynous names among e.g. African-American or Hispanic youth vs. aging white (or black) folk?

            Shush. Only white men can be bigots. Any macho behavior among middle eastern or hispanic males is a product of their oppression.

          • LPSP says:

            I’d like to bring up that, as much as it is irrevocably true that only boy’s names turn into girl’s names over time and never vice-versa, there is a corresponding transformation that occurs only to girl’s names and never boy’s: they become *frumpy*.

            In my great grandmother’s generation, Brenda was a perfectly normal and likeable name, so she named her daughter Brenda Ann. Needless to say my grandmother wasn’t very happy and changed her name to just Ann at the first opportunity. Nowadays a girl wouldn’t be seen dead called Brenda, nor would any prospective parent consider it as a name.

            This is a different process from simply becoming old-fashioned. Veronica, Agatha, names derived from flowers, these names go out of fashion but they remain respected and can come back into fashion. This is the worst that can happen to a male name. Roderick may be a bit too much for the modern boy, but Rod is totally respectable.

            In conclusion, I think the sorts wailing and gnashing against the prospective of gender-sliding only occuring to male names – out of fear of having to do something to correct for it – need not worry. Both genders suffer from their own curse in turns of nomenclature, gradually rendering once-serviceable titles wimpy, frumpy and obselete.

            @vV_Vv: Kek, George is already being used as a girl’s name in England. Muhammed is the only one of those names I’d call iron-clad.

          • The original Mr. X says:

            @vV_Vv: Kek, George is already being used as a girl’s name in England.

            Is it? I’ve lived in England all my life, and I’ve never met a female George.

          • Publius Varinius says:

            @LPSP: I don’t see any evidence that the “frumpiness” phenomenon you describe is in any way unique to female names.

            For example, the name Elmer is not merely out-of-fashion, but downright frowzy (frumpy is gender-loaded, so it needs a masculine pair). Also, it has no respectable pair like the one for Roderick.

          • Nornagest says:

            There was a female George in the American television series Dead Like Me, but that was supposed to be funny.

          • LPSP says:

            Improvement that needs to be made to SSC no. 1: Have a reply button at the bottom of a comment thread as well as the top. Better, have a reply button that roams the entire length so you don’t have to scroll a minute.

            Anyhoo. Mr. X, yes. My step sister had two Georges in her class. I’m not saying it’s rampant, and it’s certainly more contained in the girl’s-only private school sector. But the idea that George will never change and is a resolutely-male name like Richard is laughable.

            PV, Elmer is just any other old-fashioned name. Boys can get mocked for it, but it isn’t suicide like a feminine name. Ask around boys if they’d take Elmer over Sally, Theodore over Candice, Albert over Jane. They’ll never decay like Evelyn.

        • Steve Sailer says:

          Looking up famous people named “Evelyn” on Wikipedia, it’s apparent that “Evelyn” was basically a British aristocratic boys’ first name that got taken over as a classy-sounding girls’ name. The youngest famous male Evelyn is a Rothschild born in 1931. Here’s Wikipedia’s list of male Evelyns:

          – Evelyn Baring, 1st Earl of Cromer (1841–1917), Consul-General of Egypt from 1883 to 1907
          – Evelyn Baring, 1st Baron Howick of Glendale (1903–1973), Governor of Kenya from 1952 to 1959
          – Evelyn King (politician) (1907–1994), British member of Parliament
          – Evelyn Owen (1915–1949), Australian inventor of the Owen submachine gun
          – Evelyn Pierrepont, 1st Duke of Kingston-upon-Hull (c. 1655 – 1726)
          – Evelyn Seymour, 17th Duke of Somerset (1882–1954)
          – Evelyn Waugh (1903–1966), English satirical novelist, whose first wife was also named Evelyn
          – Evelyn Webb-Carter, former advisor to Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and current Controller of the Army Benevolent Fund
          – Evelyn Wood (British Army officer) (1838–1919), British Field marshal, Victoria Cross recipient
          – Evelyn Robert de Rothschild, British financier and member of the prominent Rothschild family.

          I suspect this is a general trend: that upper class-sounding boys’ names tend to turn into girls’ names over time.

          Here in the U.S., we see this pattern with “Madison.” My guess would be that “Hamilton” will be more likely to turn into a girl’s name than “Jackson.”

          • Alejandro says:

            There is an Agatha Christie novel fromt he early 1950s where the gender ambiguity of Evelyn is a plot point, in that everyone assumes that someone with the name Evelyn must be a woman but it turns out to be a man. That matches well with the latest notable male Evelyn being born in 1931.

          • MC says:

            Not sure about that. Hamilton has “ham” in it, which implies fat. Girls would much rather be thought tomboyish (“Jack”) than fat (“ham”).

          • James Kabala says:

            Ex-surnames, especially ones that end in y, are the most dangerous. It is true that y is not an explicitly female ending, and there are male names such as Henry and Anthony. But overall Kelly, Lindsay, Courtney, etc. sound as if they should belong to the same gender as Mary (once by far the most popular female name), Emily, Sally, Dorothy, or Lucy.

            Ex-surnames that end in n (which also tends to be a female ending, although sometimes with a silent e – Ann(e), Helen and its numerous variants (Ellen, Eileen, Elaine), Catherine, Christine/Kristen, Irene) are also risky. Evelyn and Madison made the leap. Peyton is trending that way despite Manning. Ryan was at risk but seems to have been preserved as a male name, at least for now.

          • Guy says:

            @MC:

            But isn’t this whole conversation about how the children in question get no say in the matter?

          • Steve Sailer says:

            “Hamilton has “ham” in it, which implies fat.”

            Good point.

            Madison can be dimunitized into Maddy, an unobtrusively feminine nickname, but Hamilton would turn into Hammy, which isn’t as good.

            In general, pop culture doesn’t drive American children’s names all that directly or instantaneously. For example, the popularity of “Dylan” peaked decades after “Like a Rolling Stone.” Bob Dylan certainly didn’t hurt the longterm popularity of “Dylan” but trends in sound and spelling seem to be more important than pop culture one-offs.

            If “Splash” in 1984 caused “Madison” to peak in 2001, it may have less to do with the sheer cultural power of a hit movie than with screenwriters being more in touch with trends in fashion than are average people.

          • AlphaGamma says:

            The interesting one I thought of is Meredith, which was originally a Welsh man’s name (it means “splendid lord”) but has become a woman’s name. The last notable male Meredith was born in the 1920s.

            On the other hand, without the Anglicised spelling, as Meredydd or Maredudd, it has remained a male (though distinctly Welsh) name.

          • switchnode says:

            James Kabala:

            Emphatically not the case on your second point—an overwhelming proportion of male names from the last ten years end in N. See e.g. here, here. (Wattenberg’s blog—that first link—can be content-farm-y, but her statistics posts are pretty interesting.)

        • Steve Sailer says:

          From Wikipedia:

          Madison is a surname of English origin, which has become a popular given name in the United States.

          Madison … is a variant of Mathieson, meaning son of Matthew …

          Madison is also used as a given name. As a name, it has become popular for girls in recent decades. Its rise is generally attributed to the 1984 release of the movie Splash.[2 — starring Darryl Hannah] From a practically non-existent girl’s name before 1985, Madison rose to being the second-most-popular name given to female babies in 2001.[3] It has since declined in popularity as a girl’s name, however, slipping to seventh place by 2009.[3]

          As a masculine given name, Madison can be found within the top 1,000 names for boys in the United States up until about 1952. Madison returned to the top 1,000 ranked boy’s names in 1987, remaining there through 1999, and it also was the 858th-most-common boys’ name in 2004, but it remains uncommon as a boy’s given name.[3]

          • Steve Sailer says:

            Girls names are much more driven by fashion.

          • Not Particularly Anonymous says:

            Contrarily, there seems to be a huge fashion in boys’ names currently for the name “Caedan” (and its variants Cadan, Kaidan, Kaden, Jaden, Jayven, etc.), and this in an area with roughly zero Gaelic cultural influence to explain the popularity.

          • Steve Sailer says:

            As you suggest, male names/spellings are more fashion-driven than in the past, but I don’t know whether the Fashion Gap between the sexes is closing or if both sexes are just speeding up in turnover due to baby name websites and the like.

        • Psmith says:

          Very good point.

          Going by the same general principle, there’s a lot to be said for giving your kids boring names with many possible nicknames, as opposed to weird names you happen to think are beautiful or meaningful (“it’s Swahili for ‘unity’!”) or whatever. Give them something they can make their own rather than something indelibly marked with your aesthetic sense at around the time of their birth.

          In conclusion, Team Boring Names (Especially For Boys) for life. My parents had the good sense to exercise this principle in naming me (more or less, anyway), and knowing some of the possible alternatives that came up for discussion I am mighty thankful that they did.

        • Steve Sailer says:

          “Richard, in contrast, is a name you can have confidence in.”

          By the way, that was intended as a joke.

        • Steve Sailer says:

          Why give a non-Hispanic boy the Spanish name “Jaime” (e.g., math teacher Jaime Escalante of “Stand and Deliver” fame) but insist it be pronounced as if it were spelled “Jamie?” Why not name him “James” and let him choose among “James,” “Jim,” and “Jamie?”

          Another factor to consider is ease of spelling for other people. I learned early in life that the name “Steven” was troublesome for people because they couldn’t tell from my saying it if it were spelled “Steven” or “Stephen.” And they had a hard time remembering from reading it how to spell it. So I just use Steve, which is simple for everybody to spell and pronounce.

          (Similarly, my last name “Sailer” is hard for people to remember how to spell properly — “Sailor,” “Saylor,” “Seiler,” etc. — so I often de-emphasize it.)

          • Outis says:

            I think Earthly Knight should name his son Stefen with an “f”, but then call him by the nickname “Stephe”, pronounced like “Steve”.

        • Hyzenthlay says:

          There’s no way to be sure that a boy’s name won’t turn into an androgynous/girl’s name.

          I predict that in the future there will be girls named Henry, Richard and Dick, and men will have completely run out of names and be so afraid of accidentally naming their kid something androgynous that they’ll start giving them identification numbers instead.

          • The Nybbler says:

            I’ve known a female Phil and Mike, so you may be right. But some of those numbers are going to start sounding awfully sissified in short order.

            Alternatively, it may not go that far. We might end up with men keeping the names which mean “male organ”. I’ve known one Roderick Richard Johnson, I shudder at the thought of a world when nearly every boy is named that.

        • LPSP says:

          Update: a conversation with my mother today reminded me of a very old example of George used as a girl’s name – the tomboy character out of The Famous Five series of children’s books went by that name, and at least in rural 60’s/70’s Doncaster it caused a minor trend.

          • Emma says:

            George in The Famous Five series is actually named Georgina. It was rather common to create female names by adding suffixes like -ina or -ette to male names.

            She prefers to be called George for the same reason that she’s happy when an adult thinks that she’s a boy. Probably that when they think she’s a boy they are more likely to let her do stuff that she wants to do.

          • LPSP says:

            At the risk of being chewed out for being snarky: thanks for agreeing with me.

      • Douglas Knight says:

        Those names differ by orders of magnitude today: Aria = 10x Rowan = 100x Lark. The name Aria is 10x as common in 2013 as in 2007.

        Moreover, out of the blue, we have Game of Thrones: there are 1/3 as many Aryas as Arias.

        • Randy M says:

          I know they differ in popularity, and Rowan is more gender ambiguous, but they are all similar in being short, easy to spell (until the GoT Arya confusion… daughter was named after it was written but before it was ubiquitous), and euphonious, at least to me.

          • Creutzer says:

            The funny thing is that the actress who plays Arya actually makes a phonological distinction between “Arya” and a hypothetical “Aria”: The former, she pronounces with y as a consonant, hence only two syllables and a vocalised r.

          • Dahlen says:

            The former, she pronounces with y as a consonant

            Consonant? Wouldn’t that be a semivowel?

          • Creutzer says:

            Semi-vowels are consonants. But the important thing here is not the phonetic type of consonant, but rather the phonological status: It functions as a consonant because it’s a syllable onset which triggers vocalisation of the r in the coda of the preceding syllable.

    • onyomi says:

      I think the syllable count of the first name+last name is something to take into account. I think the ideal total is probably between 3 and 5 syllables for first+last name. Like, if you have a three-syllable last name, don’t give your child a three-syllable first name. “Scott Alexander,” sounds good, for example, as does “Jonathan Swift.” But “Jonathan Alexander” feels a bit too long, and “Scott Swift” a bit too short to roll off the tongue.

      • Steve Sailer says:

        Good point.

        I always thought Alexander made a good middle name and in fact a friend followed by advice and gave his son that middle name. I sure hope that worked out for the poor kid!

      • Acedia says:

        I really appreciate this post because it’s the first time I’ve seen someone other than me express it, and having both my first and last names be one syllable has always bothered me. My name has no rhythm! If you have a single syllable surname your given name should be at least two.

      • Subbak says:

        Also, four syllables (or longer) names should be avoided, don’t use diacritics (I mean, I’ve got one in both my first name and last name, and obviously the last name part couldn’t be helped, but if you can think about a no-diacritics option), and if possible pick something that people speaking another language won’t systematically mispronounce (most likely because it looks like a local name).

        All those are things my parents did not do, obviously. I’m called Nathanaël, which I constantly struggle to explain to English-speaking people, is not Nathaniel. So I just go by Nat (not Nate. The first syllable in my name sounds like the last one in “banana”).

        Other rule I can think of based on people I know: don’t hyphenate your kid’s first name if you don’t want them to go through life with acronym as a name. If you hyphenate family names, try to make the three initials not form an easily pronounceable acronym.

        • Guy says:

          GOB weeps.

        • onyomi says:

          I think a four-syllable first name is fine if you have a one-syllable surname: Alexander Swift sounds fine to me, for example. (Though that person will probably end up going by Alex or something)

          There is a version of this for Chinese names. Most Chinese surnames are one-syllable, but some are two. If I were a Chinese person with a one-syllable surname, I’d give my child a two-character given name. But if were surnamed Ouyang or Ximen, I’d pick a one-character name.

        • Loquat says:

          Well crap, now I feel kind of bad for agreeing to a 5-syllable name for my impending kid. On the other hand, we’ve already picked out a 2-syllable nickname and I expect most relatives will follow suit on that because nobody wants to be using the full 5 all the time.

    • Emma Casey says:

      My question to people in this thread is: did you not go to primary school? Or have you forgotten what that was like? People seem to be talking like it’s only elderly bigots who react badly to strange names, rather than all schoolchildren.

      • hlynkacg says:

        I remember, and I agree. I even have the lived experience of having gone through school with an unusual name. (my Mom was a bit of a hippy ;))

        A couple people pointed out at the top of the thread that he was setting the kid up for a lot of grief, but apparently that’s the knuckle draggers talking.

        My personal thoughts are pretty much in line with Johnny Cash’s and seeing as somebody has already linked to A Boy Named Sue I’m just going to let this dog lie.

      • Over9ine000 says:

        The idea has also been expressed that a little bullying is going to “toughen kids up” and be a benefit later in life. Research seems to show the opposite, that bullying can cause lasting psychological damage, e.g. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23426798

        It should be trivial to pick something safe, just look at the data for common names the year your child is born and don’t go too far down the list. Your child is not a prop for you to use in expressing creativity or performing social signaling. If they want an unusual name they can adopt one when they are old enough to decide for themselves.

        • Steve Sailer says:

          One thing to keep in mind is that childhood itself is not a small chunk of a person’s life. Furthermore, children may well feel emotions more strongly.

      • chris says:

        My name is “Christopher”, and I got repeatedly called “Chris Piss”. Where that came from I have no idea; it’s not like I pissed myself or anything. The lesson I glean from this is that 1) kids are mean for no reason at all with as little ammunition as possible and 2) my peers were not the brightest that this was the best they could come up with.

      • Earthly Knight says:

        Forty years ago, whenever a white man announced his engagement to a black woman, invariably, some well-meaning friend or relation would whisper into the bridegroom’s ear: “Are you sure about this? Have you thought about how badly your kids will be teased in school?” And, twenty years ago, whenever a lesbian couple considered coming out of the closet, some well-meaning friend or relation would whisper into their ears: “Are you sure about this? Have you thought about all the “Heather has two mommies” cracks your kid will have to deal with?”. I do not mean to say that there is an exact analogy between what the children of interracial and gay couples in this country have gone through and the plight of young boys named Lindsey. But it’s close enough that you should feel some discomfort. Is the whisperer really doing the couple a service, or is she instead working as the lickspittle for bigots, quietly and hypocritically enforcing the norms she reports?

        So, instead of instructing would-be parents how to kowtow to bullies, why not use your voice to tell the parents of bullying little shits to discipline their children better? Probably no one will listen to you in either case, but at least then you’ll be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

        • Artificirius says:

          While you do raise an interesting point, contrast to parents who use their children to further their social/political agendas at rallies, etc.

        • Guy says:

          Notice how the parents are not the target of the bullying. If Nick names his kid Kalel, nobody cares about Nick. They care about Kalel. This key point distinguishes the problem from the others you cite.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            I have no idea why you think this matters. If you like, we can stipulate that no one will give the white father any guff for marrying a black woman, but the kid will be teased mercilessly. Still seems pretty clear that the father isn’t doing anything wrong, and that the whisperer is an asshole.

          • Jiro says:

            If you like, we can stipulate that no one will give the white father any guff for marrying a black woman, but the kid will be teased mercilessly.

            Although in that scenario the parents aren’t literally the target of the bullying, the parents suffer consequences from having to give in to the bullying, which is similar. Not marrying has a pretty big effect on the parent. Whether the parent gives a child a particular name has no effect on the parent; the child suffers all of the consequences.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            That sounds like a version of Creutzer’s objection, below.

        • Creutzer says:

          In the case of names, the problem is also trivial to avoid. That’s a big difference there.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            It’s not going to be trivial to hide your kid’s skin color. But it might be trivial for a lesbian to keep her sexual orientation secret from her child’s classmates, if, for example, all she has to do is avoid bringing her partner to PTA meetings. Point is, she shouldn’t have to– it’s society that’s in the wrong, not her. I think the general principle at work here is something like this:

            Don’t Let the Terrorists Win: Parents need not give in to bigoted or unjust demands in order to prevent their children from being teased in school.

            And, as a corollary:

            Don’t Blame the Victim: It is wrong to advise or expect parents to give in to bigoted or unjust demands on the pretext that it will prevent their children from being teased in school.

            It seems to me that the appropriate course of action is instead to see to it that the bullies are disciplined, and to make sure that any adults who encourage or condone the bullies’ behavior know that they’re human garbage.

          • Nornagest says:

            A lesbian couple is presumably getting something more important than a political point out of being a lesbian couple.

            It is shitty — no, it’s reprehensible — to deliberately use your kid as a proxy for your politics. If just having a kid is going to be taken as a political statement — interracial couples in the wrong time or place, for example — then it can’t be avoided. But if you can avoid it, you should.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            The difference we’re contemplating here isn’t between the mother being with her partner and not being with her partner, though, it’s between bringing her partner to PTA meetings and telling her to stay home. You seem to have a pretty expansive notion of what constitutes a political statement, but as far as I can tell bringing your significant other to a PTA meeting is as much a “political statement” as giving your child the name that sounds most fitting to you. Do you think the mother is obliged to hide her sexual orientation from the other parents in order to protect her child from being teased? If not, how is naming your child Jaime any different? I mean, it’s ultimately the same troglodyte gender norms punishing the child in both cases.

          • Nornagest says:

            I doubt PTA meetings are all it takes, for one thing. Kids talk, they have their friends over, their parents often socialize largely with each other. To effectively hide that Heather has two mommies, both Heather and her mommies have to build their lives around it, pretty much from day one.

            But you’re going to say that’s fighting the hypothetical. And indeed I don’t have any principled way of drawing a bright line that says this is a mere political game and that’s something that shouldn’t need to be hidden — even though I still think you should have that intuition, and I’m frankly appalled that you don’t. (I rarely take stands like this, by the way. Congratulations, I guess.)

            So I’m going to fall back on utilitarianism. The upside of naming your boy “Sue” is very dubious, and its magnitude is murky even if you accept all the premises behind it. Its downside is well known to anyone that’s ever heard a Johnny Cash song. By contrast, concrete positives and negatives of staying in the closet for the sake of your child should be clear, and the negatives (given above considerations) clearly outweigh the positives in my eyes; there might be some kind of positive normalizing effect if you don’t, but that’s really just a kicker.

            (“Jaime” is probably fairly benign for now, though, thanks mostly to Jaime Lannister.)

          • The original Mr. X says:

            If the issue is “finding a name that sounds right”, why not just call your boy Jamie? It sounds exactly the same, and it doesn’t get your kid bullied. Win-win.

          • Steve Sailer says:

            Jaime is cultural appropriation of a Hispanic name. At present, Hispanics don’t play SJW games too hard, but how do you know in the future your child won’t have to go through life with a name that makes all right thinking progressives edge away in disgust at your family’s insensitive non-Hispanic white privilege?

          • Nornagest says:

            Moral panics usually don’t last too long, and I don’t think schoolyard bullies are sophisticated enough to grasp them anyway. I didn’t really grok ethnicity until at least ten or twelve, and I was a precocious child.

        • Outis says:

          Earthly Knight: Not all norms deserve to be torn down. Most don’t. Even most of the arbitrary ones. A culture needs norms, and if you tore them down, they would just be replaced by new ones, often just as arbitrary.

          Imagine that you were actually able to make it so that no name takes on denotations of masculinity, or femininity, or foreignness, or oldness, or anything else in particular. No difference that children could amplify into disparagement and taunting, as they inevitably would. Assuming that this were actually possible, what then? What reason would you even have to give your child a name instead of another? Don’t say “you like it better”, because by definition it is no longer possible to like any name better than any other. What is even the point of names, then? Let’s just give our children numbers.

          You are making the same mistake of people who say that nobody should make assumptions about others based on what they wear, when the very reason why they themselves chose to wear something unusual is to communicate something. But communication is impossible if others cannot react to it. Then we might as well all wear uniforms.

          • Cord Shirt says:

            Well, the issue with clothes is people pick them for other reasons as well, such as comfort (temperature management), comfort (fit), comfort (softness/nonscratchiness), comfort (nonallergenicity), durability, and purely aesthetic appeal. The more you are for whatever reason constrained by those other considerations, the less you’re free to choose clothes purely for communication, and the more of an imposition it is if/when others interpret your clothing choices solely as communication.

            With names, I’m not aware of as many other considerations. I can only think of aesthetic concerns, such as “right number of syllables to sound good with surname” and euphony…so I agree with you on names far more than I do on clothes.

          • Caddyshadrach says:

            Outis – I second this. The whole idea that all things are equal and either fungible by individual will or by the inscrutable whim of nature is not one that holds up for me. Some things are constructs, but not everything is. And not all existing constructs are bad.

            Names are a construct, but they are also important signaling devices. To a great extent, they create and support our identities. They anchor us in families and communities and in some cases carry vital cultural or ritual significance. Most of that is constructs, too, but those constructs create the better part of our reality, or at least our ability to function within it. I’m all for liberating and elevating select attributes of the human psyche, or some slice of the population, that have been unfairly suppressed. But I don’t believe I’m a troglodyte for not believing all existing cultural norms can or should be erased, even those imposed at birth without the specific consent of the individual. Even if some aspect of my personality has been suppressed by my culture, there’s a threshold wherein the “self” is still quite happy to be what it is. No one should be forced exist at a threshold that’s intolerable to them, but I don’t want to give up the constructs that make me who I am, even if they seem unfair in some abstract way to others. To truly do so is not a standard I think anyone can meet.

          • Randy M says:

            With names, I’m not aware of as many other considerations. I can only think of aesthetic concern

            Really? It seems to me that in the past names were chosen primarily for other reasons, such as to honor an ancestor or relative with the name, or to highlight some characteristic associated with the name the parent hoped the child would embody. Or, sometimes, to memorialize some aspect of the pregnancy or childbirth, but thankfully that’s not done so much anymore. (I’m thinking of Bible stories where it was said something like “He is called X, meaning great suffering, for I bore him in great pain.”

          • Cord Shirt says:

            Other concerns than communication. I was thinking “honoring a relative” or “highlighting a characteristic the parents want the child to have” fell under communication.

            Hmm…maybe not, if the parents are more focused on their own feelings about it. And/or if they feel like the name will *directly* affect how the child turns out (like in a “magical thinking” sort of way).

            I guess too you might feel torn between wanting to communicate to your family or subculture “I honored Uncle Egbert” and wanting to communicate to the general culture “I gave my kid a ‘normal’ name.”

            …which has often traditionally been “solved” by choosing a “compromise” name that starts with the same letter or sounds otherwise similar, like “Irving” for “Israel,” “Sarah” for “Sorcha,” “Robert” for “Egbert” (hey, they both end with “Bert”), or seems to have the same meaning.

            Earthly Knight, what do you think of this tradition? I can see where someone might feel like it was cowardly, if actually they really wanted to name their kid Egbert and felt pressured, due to expected bullying, into choosing Robert instead. But another person might really *want* to communicate both those things…

          • Earthly Knight says:

            @ Outis

            Don’t say “you like it better”, because by definition it is no longer possible to like any name better than any other.

            This strikes me as false. Words are going to have aesthetic qualities even when they are stripped of all empirical associations. I have no idea whether the name Flugggglg is masculine or feminine, young or old, foreign or American, but I do know that it’s hideous. (Well, I kind of know that it’s not American, but you get the point).

            I don’t have any interest in stripping names of their connotations, nor do I think that children with unusual names are guaranteed to be taunted for them, as if this were a law of nature.

            @ Cord Shirt

            I said above that I think names should be chosen on the basis of aesthetic quality and personal resonance, the latter of which includes tributes to relatives. The important thing is not giving your child a name out of slavish obedience to social norms or to cater to the whims of bullies yet unborn.

          • The original Mr. X says:

            Or, sometimes, to memorialize some aspect of the pregnancy or childbirth, but thankfully that’s not done so much anymore. (I’m thinking of Bible stories where it was said something like “He is called X, meaning great suffering, for I bore him in great pain.”

            I once met a girl from South Africa whose name meant Surprise.

          • Cord Shirt says:

            @Earthly Knight:

            My question was about *non*-slavish obedience to social norms. I mean, you said you don’t want to eliminate connotations…so what about someone wanting to use them to send a message to the community?

            Picking a “normal” name is a message to the community that you want to be a member in good standing. Picking an “abnormal” name is a message that you put other priorities above being a community member in good standing. And some people do. Sometimes I do. I respect and support that choice.

            Another issue that comes up is when different communities interact. Remember the discussion of this in Freakonomics etc.? Someone named “Eliezer Yudkowsky” was probably raised to be a member of a religious Jewish community. Someone named “George Herbert Walker Bush” was probably raised to be a member of an “old money” WASP community. People will draw these conclusions based on these names. They’ll gain some information from them…even if Eliezer is also a good example of how that information is far from the whole story. 😉

            Naming your kid “George Herbert Walker Bush” sends messages both to the “old money WASP” community and also to other nearby communities, that you plan to raise your child as a member of the “old money WASP” community. And that you put loyalty to that community above other signaling possibilities.

            And if I’m an old money WASP, maybe I react to “George Herbert Walker Bush” with, “Someone from my ingroup!” If I’m not, maybe I think, “Someone from a different community, better consult my past experience with that community.”

            All of this is just…the use of names for communication. I don’t think anyone should “slavishly knuckle under” to any choice in particular, but I do think they should be aware these connotations exist. Like, “Don’t blunder along unaware of the messages you’re sending. Take control of them.”

          • Earthly Knight says:

            Yeah, I don’t really think you should be using your child to send any kind of message at all. It’s a human being, not a bloody telegraph machine.

      • Guy says:

        I remember well a high school classmate with a long eastern European surname (I believe it was Polish, but I really have no idea). I watched her shift from correcting teachers after they mispronounced it to preemptively telling them what to say. It was clearly unpleasant.

        • Magicman says:

          I have an rare and unusual name and I definitely felt that it singled me out as a child, however as an adult I think it’s great. My feeling is children don’t pick on each other because of names but when picking on people every point of difference is an attack vector.

          • Winfried says:

            Rare and unusual is fine, just don’t go with weird alternative spellings.

            I have had a lifetime of difficulties over the spelling of both my first and last name.

            Now I just give NATO phonetic alphabet over the phone to skip a few steps of missed emails and extra paperwork.

  2. Timothy Scriven says:

    I take it that this is partly an open thread. I wanted to broach a topic that I find quite irritating- claims in the rationalist community that money doesn’t influence politics all that much premised on papers which show that expenditure by candidates during elections has minimal effect.

    1. Why donations give influence even if they have little impact on results.

    Let’s start with an initial, fairly weak argument. Corporations wouldn’t be spending money on elections if they didn’t think it gave them some special influence over policy, and since they have little ulterior motive to spend the money on donations and lobbyists beside influencing policy, and since they’re the ones who actually get to sit in the rooms, I’m inclined to believe them.

    Now another factor here is that candidates certainly believe that they gain an advantage from fundraising. We know this because they spend enormous amounts of time doing it.

    And there are other advantages to candidate fundraising besides winning elections. Fundraising allows candidates to have bigger teams during elections, meaning that more party operatives owe them favours, which can be advantage for internal advancement. Whether or not these campaigns help them win votes, they can turn these members into ‘big names’, which also gives them leverage in the internal party political process. Members of marketing teams need the fundraising to go on so they can keep their jobs, so they have every incentive to put a strong case to the candidates about the importance of fundraising as well.

    2. Other ways that money matters in politics aside from fundraising and donations.

    Elites of all kinds tend to go to a relatively small number of schools (which cost money) go to similar events and have massively overlapping social circles. Money is a factor in access to all these things. They form what C.W. Mills called ‘the power elite’ an interconnected group of economically and politically powerful people. Naturally they tend to develop a shared culture, and a shared ‘accountability’ to each other through the normal social mechanisms such as snubbing, favours etc. There’s a reason Bush went to Yale and there’s a reason Chelsea Clinton married an investment banker.

    Also, even leaving aside the sophsticated stuff about power elites and their circles, politicians themselves are almost always wealthy and have the expectation of being wealthy after they leave office, and so their self-interest will be reflected in their decision making around things like taxation, investment rules etc.

    The ultimate example of this perhaps is the cushy post-politics appointments a lot of politicians get in the corporate or lobbyist sector. Believe me, politicians seen as corporate friendly are more likely to get these appointments.

    The final reason why money matters in politics is that, actually, big corporations do have real leverage over localities, states and countries. Even a hypothetical good and perfectly uncorrupted policy maker just trying to maximise utility would have no choice but to aim to appease these entities, at least to some degree. While there may be ways to reduce this leverage, it would require enormous political capital to do so, so. Thus, in the meantime, special interests have enormous power over politicians even if they are purely altruistic and do not care about re-election.

    • MawBTS says:

      I think the argument is that money and politics have a nonlinear relationship – that there’s no obvious way to convert dollars into votes.

      Hillary Clinton has outspent Donald Trump by more than $150 million so far. No good – his post-convention bounce still put him ahead.

      You’re right that you need certain “table stakes” to even get into politics. And money is very successful at buying the allegiance of “think tanks” and public intellectuals (which can conceivably influence voters).

      • Saul Degraw says:

        Post-convention bounces are normal even for candidates who lose big like Dukakis in 1988 and Mondale in 1984.

        Volatile summer polling is also typical.

        We know that the Dem Convention received more viewers than the GOP convention by a magnitude of several million. We know that HRC has a much more disciplined game and knows how to repeat Obama’s GOTV efforts (which are more than calling people up and reminding them to vote.)

        We don’t know how Trump’s Russian comments are going to hurt him or help him. We don’t know what HRC’s post-convention bounce will be (if any). One advantage Trump has is that he does much better with whites without college degrees than HRC. Traditionally Democrats have done okay with this demographic in all areas except the South. The question is will they come out and vote for Trump in droves and is this group large enough to stem the tide on HRC’s other demographic advantages.

      • Jill says:

        Donald Trump is an outlier, having been given 2 billion dollars worth of free media coverage by the press. He is not typical at all.

        However, the effect of his being a billionaire, on voters, is another kind of effect of money on politics.

        • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

          So the Big Money bogeyman is still dwarfed by the press, then? Perhaps you’re worrying about the wrong thing.

          • Jill says:

            What do you think Big Money contributed to politics gets spent on? Political propaganda disseminated by media, that’s what. They are very overlapping problems. You can’t elect your fave politician by just handing them money and they put it in their pocket. They have to use it on political propaganda in order to get voters to elect them.

            It amazes me that plenty of people believe there is big money corrupting politics but who don’t realize that it has to be spent on propaganda to get voters to vote the politicians in.

            But of course, it shouldn’t amaze me. America is such an on-the-surface active-but-not-reflective culture that no one here believes in propaganda even when they’re constantly immersed in it. It’s like the water around a fish. Seems normal to everyone.

          • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

            I haven’t seen any sign that the fish around here are unaware of water. What’s baffling everyone is your repeated (and repeated, and repeated) claim that Newt Gingrich invented water in 1994, and before that we were swimming around in something else.

            The point remains that the power you’re worried about is in no way a creature of Big Money; it’s inherent in the power of mass communication, and exists regardless of whether Big Money happens to be renting it out at the moment.

          • Silva says:

            What do you (Paul Z.) think mass communication is made of? In Moldbuggian parlance, Brahmins work for Optimates.

        • E. Harding says:

          “2 billion dollars worth of free media coverage by the press”

          -If you had 2 billion dollars worth of disproportionately negative coverage, would you be able to handle it, much less exploit it the way Trump has?

          • ii says:

            Probably? Getting hounded seems to work out in one’s favor if one can spin it as an attack against one’s support base as Putin’s approval rates show.

          • I am the Tarpitz says:

            I think Trump is unusual but by no means unique in this regard. There aren’t many politicians who could pull it off, and I doubt I could if I was somehow in that situation. For most people, it would be a huge disadvantage; for the right kind of skilled operator, it’s a huge advantage.

        • Civilis says:

          How much free media coverage do incumbents get, just by virtue of being in office?

          I remember in the run up to the 1996 presidential election, Sen. Bob Dole, World War II vet, couldn’t participate in some commemoration for the second world war because he was a candidate for president and thus it would count as a political endorsement. On the other hand, the President of the US had no such problems.

          It’s also popular to talk about ‘reasonable restrictions’ on second amendment rights. In light of the spree of copycat crimes and the recent revelations about the DNC’s tight relationship with Big Media, isn’t it time to talk about reasonable restrictions on first amendment rights? I say this sarcastically, because any such restrictions will only benefit the powerful at the expense of the weak.

          • Gil says:

            On your third paragraph, in all seriousness, loser-pay plus anti-trust and possibly libel lawsuits might do the trick.

          • Civilis says:

            All of those benefit the truly privileged, those in power, at the expense of the general public, at least in their simple forms.

            Loser pays makes it riskier to sue someone or some group the larger and richer it gets. The more powerful you are, the easier it is to defend yourself in a suit and the more expensive it is to fail to sue you.

            Anti-trust law is disproportionately applied against those that are out of favor with those in power.

            I’m not sure how reforming libel law relates to either the seeming increase of copycat crimes or the recent revelations about the DNC’s incestuous relationship with many major media outlets, admittedly. I do know that places with more strict libel laws tend to have multiple cases of those laws being used by those in power to silence critics.

      • Taradino C. says:

        As a poker player, I must beg you not to contribute to the abuse of the term “table stakes”, which originally meant the opposite of what startup culture seems to think it does: it’s a cap on how much you can win or lose, not a minimum you need to meet to play. (During a hand, you can only play with the stakes you have on the table; your opponents can’t force you out by betting more than you have.)

        Consider using “ante” or “minimum buy-in” instead.

        • LPSP says:

          It’s funny, because I think people use the term “ante” now when they mean stakes. There’s been a complete reversal of roles. I put it down to ante sounding exciting and engaging, ergo positive, ergo it gets the “nicer” meaning, while stakes sounds harsh, unforgiving, a burden, ergo negative and it gets the “less friendly” meaning.

          Just another variation on the label treadmill. Words intended to sound positive inevitably become seen as pretentious and waffling, words intended to sound kind and mindful become vulgar insults. Meanwhile words intended as put downs are eventually taken as badges of honour by their original targets, and phrases designed as back-handed compliments become entirely self-used signals for modesty and good humour. Idiot, autistic, redneck, stubborn.

    • Wrong Species says:

      Do you have any evidence to back up your argument? If you don’t, why should I believe you over the studies?

      • Timothy Scriven says:

        Wrong Species, I don’t think you’re quite getting the post. It’s not a matter of ‘believing it over studies’, there are no studies which suggest that money doesn’t influence politics (far too broad a topic to have a single study on) instead there are studies which suggest that money doesn’t influence the outcome of elections. I’m not challenging those studies, I’m challenging the inference that some people have made from the studies which suggest ‘quantity of donations don’t change the outcome of elections’ to the claim ‘money doesn’t influence politics’. Each of the paragraphs challenges this inference by showing evidence, based on publicly observable things, that suggest money can influence politics without changing the outcome of elections.

        • Wrong Species says:

          But you aren’t just suggesting that money can influence politics without changing outcomes. You make the claim that it does actually happen. You haven’t supported those claims.

          • Timothy Scriven says:

            I’m not sure that’s the best way to read my post, but I’m too tired to go into a conceptual argument so let’s have an empirical one. Let me now defend the stronger claim that money does in fact influence American politics, instead of just the weaker claim that spending not influencing elections does not entail money not influencing politics.

            Well first up it looks to me like there’s considerable evidence that has been provided in post already. E.g., if corporations weren’t getting results they wouldn’t make donations. That’s an argument, it seems like a strong argument to me, and if it is a strong argument it provides good evidence.

            Secondly there’s this: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayFulltext?type=6&fid=9354311&jid=PPS&volumeId=12&issueId=03&aid=9354310&bodyId=&membershipNumber=&societyETOCSession=&fulltextType=RA&fileId=S1537592714001595#cjotab_

            A viral study that we’ve no doubt all heard about. Now there’s been a lot of stuff that’s come out since saying that the truth is more complicated than what the paper says, and I myself tend to agree, but it’s hard to look at the numbers and not think that wealthier Americans have substantial extra weight in a way which is not consistent with median voter analysis of politics.

            I’d add that the study I’ve linked to I choose because it captured the popular imagination. There are many, many other demonstrations of the same thing, but I think that one is a good place to start the discussion.

          • Salem says:

            if corporations weren’t getting results they wouldn’t make donations. That’s an argument, it seems like a strong argument to me

            No, it’s a weak argument, because it can’t explain the magnitudes, as I explained below. US corporate donations to candidates and PACs are tiny, less than corporate charitable donations, and should be explained in the same way – in terms of symbolism, publicity, expressiveness, and tax treatment. If this was an effective way of getting results, why does the vast majority of money come from hobbyists, large and small?

            What corporations do spend lots of money on is lobbying.

            it’s hard to look at the numbers and not think that wealthier Americans have substantial extra weight in a way which is not consistent with median voter analysis of politics.

            But what does this have to do with money in politics? There are any number of ways that US politics can better serve the preferences of wealthy Americans that have nothing to do with money in politics. E.g.:

            – Politicians, who tend to be wealthy, use the slack in the system to favour their personal preferences.
            – Influential media is written by and for the wealthy.
            – Wealthy people are more politically knowledgeable and have “better” political ideas.
            – Wealthy people have more spare time to become politically involved.
            – Wealthy people and politicians are socialised similarly and have similar class backgrounds.
            etc etc etc.

    • Jill says:

      There’s plenty of dark money in politics that unaccounted for in these studies. E.g. it might look like Eric Cantor lost to someone who had less in donations. But the guy he lost to was Koch sponsored. Appearances are deceiving.

      7 things Eric Cantor spent more on than David Brat spent on his entire campaign
      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2014/06/11/7-things-eric-cantor-spent-more-on-than-david-brat-spent-on-his-entire-campaign/

      The Dark Money Machine That Beat Eric Cantor
      http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/24300-the-dark-money-machine-that-beat-eric-cantor

      • j r says:

        “The Dark Money Machine That Beat Eric Cantor”

        Ooh… dark money. Sounds scary.

        I love that article. Mostly, because it doesn’t contain one verifiable fact about “dark money” or undercover contributions or influence in the Cantor defeat. This is the closest it comes:

        …conservative groups spent nearly $22 million to broker and pay for involved advertising relationships known as sponsorships with a handful of influential talkers including Beck, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh…

        And that’s a claim made about “conservative groups,” not any groups that get money from the Kochs or any that supported Brat.

        Do you really believe this stuff? I have my partisan/ideological beliefs, but geez, I try to maintain some modicum of logic and reasonably high hurdle of proof before I buy into things.

        • Jill says:

          Yes, I do. How could you possibly know whether you really ” try to maintain some modicum of logic and reasonably high hurdle of proof before you buy into things.” You are Red Tribe. Most people are Red Tribe in the U.S. Most people surround themselves with members of their own tribe who all believe that they ” try to maintain some modicum of logic and reasonably high hurdle of proof before you buy into things” when they actually do nothing of the kind.

          This board itself is a Red Tribe Love Fest to a very high degree.

          • The Nybbler says:

            Jill, you need to recalibrate your tribal detectors.

            Try this. Go to this page

            http://monsterhunternation.com/best-of-mhn/

            Search for “Gun Related Stuff” and “Politics, Fisking, and Idiot Trolls”

            Read the posts you find there, and the comments.

            That is a “red tribe lovefest”. Don’t forget to read the “about” page.

            http://monsterhunternation.com/about/

            For more thought and less vitriol (but still all-red), the political and cultural posts on Sarah Hoyt’s blog will do nicely. If you do go there, please do not post; they will hurt you.

            This blog is pretty darned Blue, although if you accept the existence of the Grey Tribe as a separate entity, it’s well-represented here. But that’s an offshoot of Blue.

          • Exit Stage Right says:

            At least you’ve been persuaded that the Red Tribe is capable of love

            Baby steps, people!

          • Artificirius says:

            Growth mindset?!

          • Jill says:

            If you folks want me to understand what you are saying, please say what you mean rather than saying the Red Tribe is capable of love, or growth mindset, or a few other nonsense syllables.

          • Jill says:

            Whatever this blog may be, it is certainly not pretty darned Blue, although it is not to the Far Right of Attila the Hun, as some blogs are.

            I guess since we are such a Right Wing country, with the GOP dominating state legislatures, both Houses of Congress, state governorships, and SCOTUS until recently, people who are not to the Far Right of Attila do think of themselves as in the Center.

          • Anonymous says:

            If you mean “right wing” say “right wing” not “red tribe”. They aren’t synonyms.

            The Red Tribe is most classically typified by conservative political beliefs, strong evangelical religious beliefs, creationism, opposing gay marriage, owning guns, eating steak, drinking Coca-Cola, driving SUVs, watching lots of TV, enjoying American football, getting conspicuously upset about terrorists and commies, marrying early, divorcing early, shouting “USA IS NUMBER ONE!!!”, and listening to country music.

            The Blue Tribe is most classically typified by liberal political beliefs, vague agnosticism, supporting gay rights, thinking guns are barbaric, eating arugula, drinking fancy bottled water, driving Priuses, reading lots of books, being highly educated, mocking American football, feeling vaguely like they should like soccer but never really being able to get into it, getting conspicuously upset about sexists and bigots, marrying later, constantly pointing out how much more civilized European countries are than America, and listening to “everything except country”.

            (There is a partly-formed attempt to spin off a Grey Tribe typified by libertarian political beliefs, Dawkins-style atheism, vague annoyance that the question of gay rights even comes up, eating paleo, drinking Soylent, calling in rides on Uber, reading lots of blogs, calling American football “sportsball”, getting conspicuously upset about the War on Drugs and the NSA, and listening to filk – but for our current purposes this is a distraction and they can safely be considered part of the Blue Tribe most of the time)

            If you find yourself reaching for a spacial metaphor and you are talking about tribes you are doing it wrong. Attila the Hun’s tribe in this scheme was 無 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mu_(negative)

          • Jill says:

            I assume those are Scott’s definitions of the Red and Blue Tribes? Not everyone defines them so. Some other people define them more like Dem vs. GOP voting tribes.

          • Anonymous says:

            That’s true. Some people like to make up their own special snowflake definitions and then wonder why they have trouble communicating.

            Good job doubling down instead admitting you were wrong. I’m sure your patients love that aspect of your personality.

          • onyomi says:

            This blog is very, very Blue-Grey, culturally speaking. Which is not the same as “left-wing.”

          • Jill says:

            Anonymous, it’s not a snowflake definition just because it’s not the one you agree with.

            I guess for this board, given that you are defining Red and Blue the way Scott does, I should go back to my Trigger Warnings about non-Right Wing views, and forget about the Blue Tribe vs. Red Tribe distinction.

            Since tons of maps are made with “Blue States” and “Red States” according to Dem vs. GOp votes, most people do not use Scott’s definition. And no one can convince me that there are more Dems here than GOP voters. Not a snowball’s chance of that.

            There are so many people with Anonymous in their handle here. I need to remember that you are one of the ones I should never read the comments of, as you go out of your way to be consistently insulting.

          • Sniffnoy says:

            I assume those are Scott’s definitions of the Red and Blue Tribes? Not everyone defines them so. Some other people define them more like Dem vs. GOP voting tribes.

            “Red Tribe” and “Blue Tribe” are explicitly Scott’s terms. That he introduced. If you use them in a different manner, you are just communicating unclearly.

            If I am mistaken in my initial claim, and they are in fact older and used differently elsewhere… that is still irrelevant, because this is how we use those terms here, and if you use them otherwise here, you are still just communicating unclearly to the people here.

            Remember: The purpose of words is to describe reality, and to communicate with each other about that reality. Words have no independent meaning in and of themselves. If you are focusing on what such-and-such a word really means, you are making a mistake. Similarly if you take the fact that one word has multiple meanings as indicative of these things really being the same. Etc.

            At the risk of going all “read the sequences”, might I recommend reading through Eliezer Yudkowsky’s “A Human’s Guide To Words”? Because it really seems like you might be making an elementary mistake here. If you want to just skip to the most relevant posts, they’re probably “The Parable of Hemlock, Disputing Definitions, Feel the Meaning, and The Argument from Common Usage.

          • Jill says:

            This is an amazing board. Yes, lecture me on the meaning of words. This board is a study in condescension. Do I need to get a dictionary of Scott’s definitions of terms, in order to communicate here? Because we are not allowed to use terms the way they are most commonly used, as in Red State and Blue State?

            Perhaps I don’t think things like whether someone drinks Coca Cola or eats steak or not are important distinctions.

            But I’ll use Right vs. Left and Dem vs. GOP now, since people here have somewhat more of an idea of the common meanings of these terms.

          • Exit Stage Right says:

            Red Tribe and Blue Tribe can be so easy to mistake with stuff they’re not. Thats part of why I think Moldbug pushed Brahmin/Vaisya, they tend not to get conflated with other words because they’re unfamiliar.

            Right-wing Blue Tribe is an accurate description of many. But its not particularly surprising when a person gets confused by it. I know people can be averse to N-RX but even if you completely disagree with it philosophically I feel like Brahmin/Vaisya can still be helpful concepts

          • Nornagest says:

            @Jill — I have said before that they’re misleading coinages and Scott would have been better off going with something else, but they are local coinages. Red state/blue state is what Scott was riffing on, but political leanings are a correlate of the cultures he described, they don’t define them. (“Prius Tribe” / “Pickup Tribe” as suggested by Agronomous is not a bad substitute.)

            In all seriousness, a glossary might not be a bad idea at this point.

            @ESR — I don’t like Moldbug’s typology because he doesn’t have a clue what half the cultures on his list actually look like.

            Granted, neither do I, but my half is not the same as his half.

          • j r says:

            Yes, I do. How could you possibly know whether you really ” try to maintain some modicum of logic and reasonably high hurdle of proof before you buy into things.”

            It’s not that hard if you try. I make falsifiable claims about the way that the world is and falsifiable claims about the future and then I check to see if those claims turn out right or wrong. Then I adjust my

            It’s not the perfect system, but it’s better than outsourcing large portions of your critical thinking to tribal politics.

            I won’t reply to the “red tribe” claim, as it is an obvious exercise in projection.

          • Randy M says:

            This board is a study in condescension

            Jill…. let me be nice. I feel that many of your posts are also condescending, such as above where you describe Americans as ignorant of the propaganda they swim in. So, I am not sure that you are best positioned to call it out in others.
            For instance, why would you think it is condescending to correct someone on how particular terms are used in the comments section of a blog by someone who coined the terms? Yes, they are repeatedly disagreeing with you–why is that necessarily condescending?

        • Jill says:

          Yes, I am aware that there are Red Tribe Love Fest sites where people are to the Far Right of Attila the Hun. But that doesn’t mean that this isn’t a Red Tribe Love Fest site also.

          • Seth says:

            Jill, I suspect you’re running into the problem that the phrases you are using are heard differently from what you intend. In analogy, it’s bit like saying “This is a Catholicism Love Fest” to group of mostly evangelical Protestants, if to you Catholicism was just a common word for Christianity.

            The comments tend to lean right, but not in a religious, nationalist way, which is what is meant in part by “Red Tribe”. It’s more an intellectual, abstract, Libertarian-ish way.

          • Jill says:

            Thanks for that take on how I am perceiving things, Seth. I am certainly not cognizant of all of the different sectors of Right leaning people, although I am learning.

            So far, it sounds to me like Libertarianism– aside from formal definitions of it– is pretty similar to Republicanism, except for not loving wars against countries that are no threeat to the U.S., and not necessarily being as socially conservative.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Jill:
            (in the U.S.) it’s important to distinguish between:
            – 1. The broad mass of people who identify themselves as Libertarian
            – 2. People who identify as Libertarian and are trying to affect change through politics
            – 3. People who actually have developed coherent political ideologies which can be described as Libertarian.

            3. Is definitely not a “bog standard” Republican. 2 is far more likely to be pitching themselves towards people who vote Republican, because those are the “closest” votes. 1 is going to be all over the map.

            There are definitely elements to a “true” Libertarian which are both appealing to and have been co-opted by the average Republican politician. But that is really different than being committed to the broad sweep of the ideology.

          • Seth says:

            @Jill – the joke is “Libertarians are Republicans who like to smoke pot”. And that does get to the cultural distinction, in a nutshell.

            Anyway, I’ve come up with a better analogy. Think of the people who say that Obama is a “socialist”. Read charitably, they’re attempting to say that Obama believes that government can at times make society better, via providing services where the private sector fails or is insufficient. Many people do not believe government can ever do good, and that’s a too-common viewpoint. But using the word “socialist” in that context is very confusing, since it’s a definition meaning much more than Obama’s mild position.
            But objecting to the word often gets into an argument where they’ve redefined “socialist”, and mean something different from a standard political science definition.

          • Nornagest says:

            Read charitably, they’re attempting to say that Obama believes that government can at times make society better, via providing services where the private sector fails or is insufficient.

            I don’t think that’s charitable at all, inasmuch as it implies motivations that are completely wrong. No one short of anarcho-capitalists actually disagrees that government can sometimes be a force for good — even Ayn Rand wanted cops and a military — and most of the people accusing Obama of being a socialist are not anarcho-capitalists or even serious libertarians.

            The charitable reading of “Obama is a socialist” is “Obama is expanding the public sector into places I don’t think it belongs, and justifying it with public-interest arguments that I don’t buy”. Simple as that.

          • Jill says:

            Hi, Seth. Yes, I have gotten into the socialist argument too.

            That is one of the great polarizers– this way of seeing the opponent tribe and their politicians as much much more extreme than they actually are. Many times people just won’t give that up. Perhaps it’s part of the need to stay in your ingroup where you feel comfortable. You don’t want to think that your outgroup is reasonable in any way, or else you might be tempted to change tribes– which would turn your social and emotional world upside down– as you would be isolated away from the people and news sources you have trusted for decades.

      • S_J says:

        You know what I find odd about “money in politics” stories?

        When an article says that a rich New Yorker wants to invest $50 million to take a big political campaign directly against the current citizens-group that dominates one political cause…and no one seem to think that he is “dark money” that is “corrupting politics.”

        http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/crime/2016/07/everytown_for_gun_safety_michael_bloomberg_s_anti_gun_group_is_taking_on.html

        The citizens-group that Bloomberg is campaigning against is the NRA.

        Most donations to the NRA, or to affiliated political-advocacy groups, is done in small amounts by members of the NRA. Most of the political clout it has is from 4 million or so members who are single-issue voters, and a larger number of voters who consider the NRA to be their friend.

        On the other hand, the organization known as Moms Demand Action is mostly funded by Bloomberg. (Similarly, the Brady Campaign lived for many years mostly on grants from the Joyce Foundation.)

        This almost makes me think that “dark money” is something that is used by people who the journalist disagrees with, and not by people who the journalist agrees with.

    • Jill says:

      There are plenty of paid political ads and lots of paid political propaganda that does not mention a specific candidate’s name. But it affects the election.

      We are constantly immersed in propaganda in the U.S. That’s what big money in politics pays for, is propaganda.

      This year’s presidential race is an outlier. The vast majority of the money spent in politics is spent on GOP candidates. Which is why the GOP dominates both Houses of Congress, most state legislatures, most state governorships, and SCOTUS until recently. If that’s not an effect of money in politics, I don’t know what is.

      Only when a GOP candidate screws up royally in the eyes of voters–like when McCain picked Palin as a running mate, or when Romney made his 47% comment, do Dems win. No amount of money can override completely shooting yourself in the foot in those ways.

      Trump is riding on the fear and anger of people who want to say Eff You to the establishment, plus he’s so entertaining that the media gives him billions worth of coverage.

      $2 Billion Worth of Free Media for Donald Trump
      http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/16/upshot/measuring-donald-trumps-mammoth-advantage-in-free-media.html?_r=0

      Just because the media donated to him in media coverage, rather than cash, doesn’t mean they didn’t donate to him.

      • E. Harding says:

        “Only when a GOP candidate screws up royally in the eyes of voters–like when McCain picked Palin as a running mate, or when Romney made his 47% comment, do Dems win.”

        -Uuuh… you realize there was a thing called the “Great Recession”, right? Palin couldn’t and didn’t affect that. McCain overperformed fundamentals due to his “war hero” credentials. And that Obama had incumbency advantage in 2012 as the economy was, slowly, but painfully, crawling out of the Great Recession at the time, and Obama had (at the time) fulfilled his pledge to end the Iraq War. Yes, Romney’s being an elitist hurt him dearly. His peak in the FiveThirtyEight NowCast model was at 43.9% on October 12. By comparison, Trump’s present performance in the FiveThirtyEight NowCast model is… 52.9%.

        “Just because the media donated to him in media coverage, rather than cash, doesn’t mean they didn’t donate to him.”

        -You do realize the only media figures known to man in favor of Trump work at Fox News? The rest of the media is giving Trump only negative advertising.

        • suntzuanime says:

          Didn’t CNN hire his old campaign manager? I remember there being a whole kerfuffle about how could CNN hire a Nazi who beats women.

          • E. Harding says:

            Corey? Yes, he was a Trump delegate. But as CNN is totally biased against Trump in every other way (anecdotally; I don’t watch it), hiring him was almost certainly just a tactic for them to improve ratings.

        • Some Troll's Legitimate Discussion Alt says:

          fulfilled his pledge to end the Iraq War.

          Obama tried to extend the occupation. The Iraqi government showed him the door.

          • brad says:

            If the Iraqi government can show you the door, it’s not much of an occupation is it?

            FWIW, but for saying occupation rather than war, I agree with you.

          • herbert herbertson says:

            It’s funny, though; some people on the right accuse him of not genuinely trying to extend that occupation in order to blame him for what they see as the negative results of the withdrawal. See, e.g.

          • Some Troll's Legitimate Discussion Alt says:

            @herbert
            Not before ISIS they didn’t. The liberal left about faced on this a couple of times too.

          • herbert herbertson says:

            FWIW, the article I linked was before ISIS proclaimed itself the caliphate, and before Sinjar.

          • Some Troll's Legitimate Discussion Alt says:

            They should find a better use for their time machine than shitposting about Obama in the press then, because it mentions ISIS in the secone sentence.

          • herbert herbertson says:

            Ergo, the FWIW. It was during a time where ISIS existed and was known to political junkies, but before it became a household name (the Sinjar massacre).

          • William O. B'Livion says:

            No, he didn’t.

            I was THERE at the time.

            The Iraqi government wanted to “renegotiate” the Status Of Forces Agreement (which is middle-east speak for “we need more bribes and some stroking”), and Obama would NOT call the PM (al-Maliki) nor make any substantive move to renegotiate the SOFA.

            Iraq “showed us the door” because Obama wanted out of Iraq but didn’t want to look like he was running away.

        • Jill says:

          WEll, you do have a point. Bush’s Great Recession and his invasion of Iraq and protection of his business partners in Saudi after 9/11 were also too deep a hole for the GOP to crawl out of in the 2008 election.

          No, most media does not give Trump only negative advertising. Almost all of the coverage is actually neutral. The press mostly just lets him appear on TV or call in to the TV station to speak his piece. Hillary has gotten far more negative press coverage– which is to be expected, given that we are immersed in Right Wing propaganda in the U.S.

          Study: Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, gets the most negative media coverage
          Updated by Jeff Stein on May 20, 2016, 10:39 a.m. ET
          http://www.vox.com/2016/4/15/11410160/hillary-clinton-media-bernie-sanders

          • E. Harding says:

            “Hillary has gotten far more negative press coverage– which is to be expected, given that we are immersed in Right Wing propaganda in the U.S.”

            -Can you please not insult our intelligence? Every person I’ve seen in the entire press, left- and right-wing, except in Fox News, seems to be the type who’d never vote for Trump in the primaries.

            https://marginalcounterrevolution.wordpress.com/2016/07/29/now-for-the-democratic-convention-fourth-night/

            If I had my way, Deiseach and Jill would switch places.

          • Edward Scizorhands says:

            You guys remember that person you’d see on Internet BBS fights who’d constantly post passages from the Bible as proof of something (unrelated to Bible studies) and everyone else quietly rolls their eyes and ignores it?

            That’s this.

          • Yakimi says:

            Jill, do you happen to be a fan of Glenn Greenwald, that impeccably progressive, implacable critic of corporate media bias? You might this recent interview of his interesting, in which he discusses the media’s attempt to portray Trump as an enabler of Russian espionage.

            OK, so, I am glad you asked about that because this is the conflict that I am currently having: The U.S. media is essentially 100 percent united, vehemently, against Trump, and preventing him from being elected president. I don’t have an actual problem with that because I share the premises on which it is based about why he poses such extreme dangers. But that doesn’t mean that as a journalist, or even just as a citizen, that I am willing to go along with any claim, no matter how fact-free, no matter how irrational, no matter how dangerous it could be, in order to bring Trump down.

            So, literally, the lead story in the New York Times today suggests, and other people have similarly suggested it, that Trump was literally putting in a request to Putin for the Russians to cyberattack the FBI, the United States government, or get Hillary Clinton’s emails. That is such unmitigated bullshit. What that was was an offhanded, trolling comment designed to make some kind of snide reference to the need to find Hillary’s emails. He wasn’t directing the Russians, in some genuine, literal way, to go on some cybermission to find Hillary’s emails. If he wanted to request the Russians to do that, why would he do it in some offhanded way in a press conference? It was a stupid, reckless comment that he made elevated into treason.

            You interviewed Chris [Hayes] about Brexit and I just want to submit to you that the mistake the U.K. media and U.K. elites made with Brexit is the exact same one that the U.S. media and U.S. elites are making about Trump. U.K. elites were uniform, uniform, in their contempt for the Brexit case, other than the right-wing Murdochian tabloids. They all sat on Twitter all day long, from the left to the right, and all reinforced each other about how smart and how sophisticated they were in scorning and [being snide] about UKIP and Boris Johnson and all of the Brexit leaders, and they were convinced that they had made their case. Everyone they were talking to—which is themselves—agreed with them. It was constant reinforcement, and anyone who raised even a peep of dissent or questioned the claims they were making was instantly castigated as somebody who was endangering the future of the U.K. because they were endorsing—or at least impeding—the effort to stop Brexit. This is what’s happening now.

            Do you think the people voting for Donald Trump because they feel their economic future has been destroyed, or because they are racist, or because they feel fear of immigrants and hate the U.S. elite structure and want Trump to go and blow it up, give the slightest shit about Ukraine, that Trump is some kind of agent of Putin? They don’t! Just like the Brexit supporters. The U.K. media tried the same thing, telling the Brexit advocates that they were playing into Putin’s hands, that Putin wanted the U.K. out of the EU to weaken both. They didn’t care about that. That didn’t drive them. Nobody who listened to Trump could think that was genuinely a treasonous request for the Russians to go and cyberattack the U.S. government.

            “The U.S. media is essentially 100 percent united, vehemently, against Trump, and preventing him from being elected president.”

            But perhaps Greenwald, too, has succumbed to corporate bribery, and is now shilling for the Rethuglican empire.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            Reminder: there is fairly compelling evidence that, as much as the media has attacked Trump, they’ve also been extremely critical of Clinton. Greenwald despises US foreign policy, and (as you can see from the interview) wouldn’t mind if we weakened our commitment to NATO and non-NATO allies in Russia’s sphere of influence. He has a vested interest in making sure that politicians who make suggestions along those lines are not thought of as Russian stooges!

          • Jill says:

            Earthly Knight, I totally agree on those points.

          • Jill says:

            E. Harding, yes I am sure that you would prefer that I be like Dieseach, who showed a saintly tolerance of Red Tribe distortions of facts and situations that support the Blue Tribe perspective– and then finally blew a gasket and said something abusive enough to get banned here.

            But I won’t do that. Blue Tribers are too nice, signaling to themselves and to outsiders how nice they are. We need to be less nice and more authentic. But of course authentic irritates Red Tribers more. Feel free not to read my comments if you do not want to hear my views.

            If we Blue Tribers were less nice and more authentic, we would not have lowered the bar so much as to what is considered acceptable, that we would have a presidential candidate like Trump today.

            Except for SJW’s, who generally express their authenticity in non-constructive ways that do not help their goals, Blue Tribe members are far too nice. We need to come down from the cross of long suffering virtue, and say what we think.

          • TomFL says:

            Here is Greenwald’s more well laid out take down of the establishment. He is quite correct in the parallels between Trump and Brexit in relation to establishment groupthink gone amok and backfiring badly.

            https://theintercept.com/2016/06/25/brexit-is-only-the-latest-proof-of-the-insularity-and-failure-of-western-establishment-institutions/

            “THE DECISION BY U.K. voters to leave the EU is such a glaring repudiation of the wisdom and relevance of elite political and media institutions that — for once — their failures have become a prominent part of the storyline. Media reaction to the Brexit vote falls into two general categories: (1) earnest, candid attempts to understand what motivated voters to make this choice, even if that means indicting their own establishment circles, and (2) petulant, self-serving, simple-minded attacks on disobedient pro-Leave voters for being primitive, xenophobic bigots (and stupid to boot), all to evade any reckoning with their own responsibility.

          • E. Harding says:

            “If we Blue Tribers were less nice and more authentic, we would not have lowered the bar so much as to what is considered acceptable, that we would have a presidential candidate like Trump today.”

            -LOL. All I can say.

            Jill, have you ever looked in the mirror in your entire life?

            If so, what did you see?

          • Jill says:

            E. Harding. I see someone who calls things as she sees them. And some people appreciate that a great deal and gladly pay me for it. And other people get mad and demand that I agree with them, instead of calling things as I see them.

            Of course, in the area of politics, we are very tribal in the U.S. So no one seems to want anyone to call it as they see it, but only wants others to agree with the “correct” tribe.

            What do you see when you look in the mirror?

          • Hyzenthlay says:

            Blue Tribers are too nice, signaling to themselves and to outsiders how nice they are. We need to be less nice and more authentic.

            I keep hearing people say this, but most of the Blues I know are very outspoken about their beliefs and very quick to call bullshit when they smell it. I mean, for a long time the person I thought of as embodying the Blue approach to discussing politics was Jon Stewart, and while I don’t think he was overly vicious in his satire (and did occasionally call his own side on their BS too), I’m not sure how many people would describe him as “too nice” or “too polite.”

          • Liskantope says:

            I’d like to see more evidence behind Jill’s claims, including that Blue Tribers being “too nice” has helped to bring about Donald Trump. At the same time, I wish there was less sarcastic piling-on in this thread towards someone who is doing nothing more than baldly stating her views… but maybe this attitude is part of what Jill considers to be “too nice”, so I’m confused.

            I mean, for a long time the person I thought of as embodying the Blue approach to discussing politics was Jon Stewart, and while I don’t think he was overly vicious in his satire (and did occasionally call his own side on their BS too), I’m not sure how many people would describe him as “too nice” or “too polite.”

            I can definitely see an argument that Stewart is a little too diplomatic, although that is not actually my view. See this article, for instance.

          • Hyzenthlay says:

            See this article, for instance.

            That’s interesting. Though the overarching complaint there seems to be less that Stewart is too nice/not honest enough and more that he’s just not far left enough or anti-establishment enough.

          • TomFL says:

            At the end, Jon Stewart became a predictable cheap shot artist who read a little too many of the media articles praising him. With his humility gone, the authenticness of his show diminished.

            He was vicious at times, many of them justified, some of them not. I would apply the term mean spirited for the second half of his career and not the first half. This generally tracks how political discourse has trended.

            He began to see himself as an agent of change versus an entertainer and that changed his show for the worse.

          • Jill says:

            “mean spirited … generally tracks how political discourse has trended.”

            No kidding there. Absolutely.

            I don’t have a problem with Jon Steward being either an agent of change or an entertainer, or both. But I prefer a more nuanced approach, like Bill Maher’s. I find Maher’s show the best political and/or comedy show on the air right now, partly because he has the balls to get people of differing views on his show and let them discuss with one another how they see politics in the U.S.

          • Jill says:

            Liskantope,

            “I’d like to see more evidence behind Jill’s claims, including that Blue Tribers being “too nice” has helped to bring about Donald Trump.”

            That’s what I see happening. I don’t think there are any studies of it. If Dems saw and faced the fact that they were too nice and passive, then they would stop being that way. Because it’s very dysfunctional. And the GOP certainly doesn’t notice the over-niceness of Dems, because it’s so very convenient for the GOP to have them be that way.

            ” At the same time, I wish there was less sarcastic piling-on in this thread towards someone who is doing nothing more than baldly stating her views… but maybe this attitude is part of what Jill considers to be “too nice”, so I’m confused.”

            No, that’s not what I am considering to be too nice– to avoid insults, condescension etc. I’m not FDR. I don’t “welcome their hatred” of people who are politically different from me at all. If we had less sarcastic piling on toward me, that would suit me just fine. I don’t think it’s a healthy thing for people to do. it impedes communication. And it does hurt my feelings.

            I would have been long gone from this board, if it were not for the fact that this is a case where I sort of feel the culture flowing through me and I want to do something about it, make a contribution– specifically about the fact that the U.S. is so tribal that “political discussion” is almost an oxymoron.

            Some people need to be the ones to start us off on political discussion between or among tribes. So, as long as I can stand the pain (that other people are avoiding by avoiding inter-tribal discussions), and as long as I have the free time to do this, I have decided to go ahead with attempting inter-tribal discussion.

            Jon Stewart– I would not describe him as “too nice” or “too polite”, for the most part.

            But I wonder if when trying to understand if s are “too nice” or not, people automatically go to famous entertainers, because perhaps they know few or no Dems in their own life, or if they do, they don’t ever discuss politics with them. That does seem to me to be the case– that the tribes are very very separate. Scott has mentioned this before– e.g. about having never run across Trump supporters except for some of his patients.

          • TomFL says:

            I would never describe the GOP as “too nice”, especially if you have heard talk radio. I don’t see the liberals that way either. The academic left is just as vicious, just in their own polite way that doesn’t communicate in the same language. Almost all of this is fodder for their own tribe, so the successful ones speak in the language of their own tribe and aren’t trying to communicate to others.

          • Jill says:

            A Right Winger can not possibly see liberals as too nice, even if they are. Just because it’s so convenient for you if they are, that you have no problem, and no memory of it.

            But I’ve lived among a ton of liberals and I do see them as far far too nice. Of course the entertainers and other liberals on the TV or in the news are not going to be too nice. You don’t get to be a famous comedian or entertainer by being too nice.

            I’m talking about your everyday normal people liberals. But a Right Winger might never come in contact with any of them, because our society is so very tribalized and separate. And because political discussion is an oxymoron that does not, and can not, actually happen much, in the current atmosphere.

          • The Nybbler says:

            @Jill

            A Right Winger can not possibly see liberals as too nice, even if they are.

            Certainly they can; that’s where the phrase “bleeding-heart liberal” comes from.

          • Jill says:

            You have a point, Nybbler. I guess sometimes they can. And the hearts do bleed.

            I find that it’s hard to say what one thinks even within one’s tribe. I don’t believe in open borders, consistent with Bernie’s view. Am not sure where Hillary is on that, although I’d be surprised if she wanted totally open borders. Certainly Obama has had nothing near to that.

            But some of my fellow Blue Tribers are dead set on allowing everybody in the world to come to the U.S. if they want. Some of my fellow Blue Tribers seem to think that if I were really compassionate, I would open my heart to everyone in this way. That seems very impractical to me.

          • Outis says:

            Jill:

            I see someone who calls things as she sees them. And some people appreciate that a great deal and gladly pay me for it.

            Do they pay you to post on this blog? Because your dedication and the volume of your output are impressive.

          • Liskantope says:

            Hyzenthlay:

            Though the overarching complaint there seems to be less that Stewart is too nice/not honest enough and more that he’s just not far left enough or anti-establishment enough.

            I agree. Indeed, my biggest criticism of that article is that it seems to base most of its argument around Stewart’s political views (which as far as I can tell are genuine) not being far-left enough, without actually putting forth any arguments in favor of such far-left-ness. However, there’s definitely some intersection between the “not far-left enough” criticism and the “too diplomatic” criticism, and some of the examples in that article seem to point specifically to the latter.

          • Liskantope says:

            Jill, thank you for your response.

            That’s what I see happening. I don’t think there are any studies of it.

            Well, to be fair, I defend about 95% of the opinions I put forth in SSC comments from “that’s what I see happening” and hope that one of the many people here who are better at statistics/data than I am will find some study to back up my personal impressions. So we might as well base this on personal experiences. (I’m still going to interpret that broadly enough to include, for instance, things that we notice politicians saying.)

            I have to say that I’m still not really sure what you mean by “too nice”. Do you mean, as I initially assumed, that the tone liberals use in expressing their opinions is too nice? That the tactics taken by liberal politicians in pushing their proposals is too nice? That some of the policies being advocated nowadays by the left are too nice (as in your open borders example below, etc.) Or something else? I would appreciate examples of the type of behavior you consider “too nice” which may have helped open the door for Donald Trump.

            I will try to defend, based on personal experience, my opinion that in fact the monster that is the Trump phenomenon is partly the consequence of the left being too mean, in the sense of rhetorical tone. Maybe you even agree with this already, but I’m gathering from your comments that your experiences with left-wing rhetoric differ enormously from mine, or those of seemingly a vast majority of commenters here.

            Many people here spend a lot of time in online spaces and have seen a lot of SJ rhetoric. My experience tends to differ in that I haven’t spent much time online but a majority of my friends, for many years, have been SJ-oriented. As a result of this, I’ve witnessed less in terms of outright bullying and more in terms of passionately opinionated, divisive, and sometimes vitriolic rhetoric from people I know in real life, some of whom are amongst the most super-nice people I’ve hung out with. It’s hard for me to believe that voices coming from the right are louder or more opinionated, or less nice or charitable, in political discussion than these voices I hear from the left. (Yes, a lot of the more mainstream left is not part of the SJ culture of my generation, and while their rhetoric may be a little less divisive, I don’t see them as any quieter, less opinionated, or “nicer”.)

            I’m sure that my experience is being colored by the fact that I spent about a decade as a university student (college followed by graduate school) where most of the people I interacted with were associated with university culture. But university culture is a pretty strong arm of left-wing culture, and a lot of the SJ ideas have percolated into the mainstream and even, for instance, onto the stage of the Democratic debates. From my standpoint, it’s hard to clearly imagine what it’s like not to be surrounded by this culture, or at least have some of it in one’s environment, unless one’s environment is heavily right-dominated. It seems plausible that this may apply to you, given one of your other comments where you wonder how many of us actually know any Democrats (which sounded strange to me given that the vast majority of people I know well have been Democrats).

            I hope it’s clear which culture I’m referring to. I’m not talking about people who call themselves SJW’s, are frequently accused of being SJW’s, or even know what “SJW” stands for (you’ll notice I avoid the term when I can, partly because it’s most often considered a slur). I think use of that acronym is mostly confined to certain online spaces, but the rhetoric itself seems incredibly widespread to me. (See my comment way below on this comment page contrasting use of the term vs. presence of the culture.) Whenever you hear discussion of privilege or systemic oppression or of erasure of identity, confident assumptions about the difficulties that members of certain groups “have to deal with every day”, dismissals of people as typical “white guys” (or using the common phrase “old white dude”), insistence on the latest politically-correct language (“people of color”, etc.), or about a dozen other trends I could mention, you are witnessing this culture.

            And so, to get back to the point, this culture is really not very tolerant of people going within a mile of insinuating a lot of the things that Donald Trump insinuates on a daily basis. But there are still plenty of places in America (I think a majority) where the culture is noticeable but not particularly prevalent, and some people feel driven to be part of a direct backlash against the culture. I argue that Donald Trump got to the position he is partly by appealing to these people. Look at all his references to “political correctness” and what a problem he thinks it’s become in America, quotes about “men nowadays are terrified of saying anything to women”, depiction of himself as a plain-talker, etc.

            This is probably already the longest comment I’ve ever written on SSC, and my laptop’s about to die, so I think I’d better leave it here and return another time. I think I made my central point anyhow, though I might have let myself get sidetracked on the way.

          • Jill says:

            Of course no one pays me to post here. If it seems so to you, is that because you don’t believe that anyone genuinely holds progressive ideas? Given the country’s current political polarization, and the pain one gets in response when one posts out-of-tribe perspectives on blogs on the Internet, I can understand how it would appear that way.

            The tribes tend to be so totally segregated that people in the blue region I live in find it hard to understand how there could be people who believe the things the people on this board do.

            I know that the Red Tribe does pay people to post on the Internet. But I have not heard of the Blue Tribe doing so.

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/21/fox-news-fake-accounts-comments_n_4135788.html?utm_hp_ref=politics&ir=Politics

          • Jill says:

            “I have to say that I’m still not really sure what you mean by “too nice”. Do you mean, as I initially assumed, that the tone liberals use in expressing their opinions is too nice? That the tactics taken by liberal politicians in pushing their proposals is too nice? That some of the policies being advocated nowadays by the left are too nice (as in your open borders example below, etc.) Or something else? I would appreciate examples of the type of behavior you consider “too nice” which may have helped open the door for Donald Trump.”

            All of the above. Re: Trump, liberals have been putting up with lies all over the Right Wing media for many years now, not standing up firmly against ideas like Obama being a Muslim terrorist sympathizer born in Kenya. Most of the liberal reaction has been to simply laugh at comedians making fun of these ideas, and then forget about them.

            Liberals don’t have a strong progressive media empire, and we should. But no one cares enough about combating Right Wing propaganda to get that going. Liberals, I hate to admit, can be smug and lazy. Most liberals I know are clueless about facts such as the fact that the GOP dominates both Houses of Congress, state legislatures, and governorships– and SCOTUS until recently. And not knowing it, they do nothing about it. They have no clue what a Right Wing country we are in and how it keeps going further to the Right.

            I guess political correctness has been irritating or hurtful or even frightening to a lot of people, as have SJW actions. So I can understand that Right Wing people may think that most Left Wingers are this way, because those are the Left Wingers they come into contact with on the Internet or see in the news. They don’t know any Blue Tribe members in person.

            I apologize for how biased what I am saying must sound. But this is my experience here below and the experience of others around me. This is what happens.

            The tribes are so separate that few people have actual friends or associates of a different tribe that they discuss politics with. If they do, it’s usually acrimonious, so they distance from the person. Most of the time when that happens, in real life rather than on the Internet, the Blue Tribe person just passively backs away from the angry Red Tribe person– for good reason.

            Typically, what has happened to me and other Blues is that the Red Tribe person keeps wanting to argue and prove they are right, using Fox News lies as their “facts” and when the Blue Tribe member responds with an actual fact, the Red Triber responds with more Fox news “facts.”

            The Blue Tribe person wants to understand and be understood, but that is not possible. This has happened to me and to others I know. It’s like letting Bible toting missionaries in the door and then expecting those missionaries to be interested in and open to your viewpoint.

            The typical Left Winger I see may be a bit politically correct occasionally, but not a lot. They’re mostly passive, contained in their own world, and not likely to stand up firmly or organize with others to combat Right Wing propaganda or to stand up for what they believe in.

            They think it’s obvious that what they believe in is good, and that everyone else should believe in it too. And they can’t understand why others don’t believe in this. They have never heard of or met a SJW.

          • Outis says:

            Jill: There was proof of Clinton paying people to shill for her online in the DNC emails. Also, you previously said you were going to stop using the “Red/Blue Tribe” terms because you don’t understand the way they are used here. That was a good plan.

          • Liskantope says:

            I appreciate your clarification, Jill. It seems like our difference in personal experience is just too wide to be bridged. I feel completely surrounded by SJ culture (at least until I recently moved overseas, and now it is still prevalent on my Facebook newsfeed), experiencing it pretty much whenever I encounter political liberalism outside of my parents’ house. It’s hard for me to imagine not seeing it constantly without going back to 12 years ago. But America is a very big place, and your experience is completely different (again, I’m assuming at this point that you rarely see any of the trends I described above, rather than conscious self-identification as “SJW”). It’s useless to try to argue that one person’s experience is more valid than someone else’s. I do think that a number of people here have put forth some fairly strong arguments that this social movement is pervasive in our broader political culture, and I myself again point to signs that it’s trickled into both Clinton’s and Sanders’ rhetoric. So it’s definitely had a significant impact on America’s political culture (and I still believe this has backfired and become a factor in Trump’s popularity), but I accept from what you’re saying that there are apparently some places where it has little or no influence.

            Note that I don’t even mean to imply that I’m wholly against the ideas in SJ culture, just that I believe some of it has gone too far, which has led to significant consequences including contributing to the Trump phenomenon.

            I think it’s also clear that on this forum, the vast majority’s “SJ experience” has been much more like mine. This is not evidence that it is somehow more valid, but rather that this blog tends to attract people with certain commonalities. I’ll admit that one of the first things that intrigued me about Scott was a similarity between our concerns with this culture, and I’m sure the same is true for many here. It’s probably good for us, then, for someone to come in espousing a different point of view, while it is unfortunate but not surprising that some commenters here are so shocked by it that they can only respond with sarcasm and outright derision. Again, I’m sorry you were met with this and I’m glad you stayed here and continued to engage.

            not standing up firmly against ideas like Obama being a Muslim terrorist sympathizer born in Kenya. Most of the liberal reaction has been to simply laugh at comedians making fun of these ideas, and then forget about them.

            I am very skeptical of your implication that this has been the wrong way for liberals to react. In the face of claims so obviously ridiculous as those espoused by birthers, I can definitely sympathize with the argument that the rest of us oppose them best by not acting like we’re taking them seriously. I doubt that many birthers are going to listen to well-reasoned arguments, but they may revel and gain strength in the impression that they’ve riled up Obama supporters.

            (By the way, out of the minority of my friends and acquaintances who are right-leaning, a handful of whom are even classic Red Tribers, I’m not aware of a single one who believes that Obama was born in Kenya. But those people have got to be out there somewhere, as evidenced by the earlier Trump supporters…)

      • ThirteenthLetter says:

        “Which is why the GOP dominates both Houses of Congress, most state legislatures, most state governorships, and SCOTUS until recently. If that’s not an effect of money in politics, I don’t know what is.”

        It totally couldn’t be that voters might sincerely hold opinions or political principles that you disagree with. They must be getting manipulated by that EVIL DARK MONEY.

        • TomFL says:

          Jill may only be an experimental automated DNC / Slate talking point robot. It is output only. Inputs are redirected to the NULL device. I don’t think it can pass the Turing test yet. I’m hoping there are future refinements.

          • hlynkacg says:

            I share your frustration but that was uncalled for.

          • Jill says:

            No, a robot would interact more than I do, because it doesn’t have feelings. I am trying to ignore commenters who are consistently insulting. A robot would have no need to do that.

          • TomFL says:

            For the record that comment was a joke. The impetus for the joke though is that I have never(?) seen you take a side on a debate that wasn’t the defacto blue tribe position. I’m probably wrong here, but I would be interested to know what position(s) of the red tribe you agree with, if any. I would call that the first step of the political Turing test.

            Some may find your comments that appear to presuppose malicious intentions of the opposing side to be insulting.

          • sweeneyrod says:

            Some may find calling people robots insulting.

          • Jill says:

            I was pro Brexit. And I am not for open borders. Both of which many people assume to be Red Tribe positions.

            Also, I do find many but not all of the SJW actions that people describe here to be non-constructive, as I have already said. However, I find that it is super common that if I take one Blue Tribe position on a board, many people assume, despite my frequently showing the opposite in my comments, that I am totally Blue Tribe on every issue. So I am used to that.

            I will try to not assume evil intentions on the part of Right Wingers. I wouldn’t like to do to others what some have done to me– assuming that I agree with the most outlandish SJW positions and that that is what progressivism is about to me– in spite of the fact that I only heard about SJWs through this board and don’t agree with most of those positions discussed here at all.

          • The Nybbler says:

            Red Tribe / Blue Tribe is an American phenomenon; while the British have a similar divide (since it has its roots in the ancient urban/rural divide) it’s not the same. I wouldn’t expect a typical American Red Tribe member to have an opinion at all on Brexit.

          • Sandy says:

            Insofar as Brexit was about immigration and cocking a thumb at a deracinated, denationalized cosmopolitan elite, many American Red Tribers were in fact positively disposed toward it. It has a few parallels to their circumstances.

          • Hyzenthlay says:

            I don’t know how the average Red feels about it, but yeah, almost every Blue/liberal-leaning person who I’ve heard express an opinion about Brexit seemed to be against it. So I’d consider Jill to be an exception in this case.

            I have no opinion on Brexit.

          • TomFL says:

            OK, you are (probably) not a robot, ha ha. I retract my theory as unsubstantiated. Getting pigeon holed as supporting a particular position and then being assumed to support the extremes of that position is a pretty tiresome tactic used by both sides. Most people are probably not very far apart on immigration in the grand scheme and few support totally open or totally closed borders.

    • Steve Sailer says:

      Money has a big impact on the Overton Window of what policies are respectable to advocate. As we now know, there has been for much of this century a coherent set of policies appealing to a sizable fraction of the electorate that virtually no politician was backing because there was no money behind it.

      It took an egomaniac like Donald Trump to figure his bluster was as valuable as the money, and he turned out to be remarkably right.

      Imagine how well Marco Rubio would have done with Trump’s platform, but Rubio chose the wrong stances in 2013 because all the money said amnesty was the smart choice.

      • Mercer says:

        Everyone always thinks the current metagame is optimal. Then once in the flaw in it is exposed, its obvious. The idea that to be successful in politics you had to follow the money strikes me as about the same as “a jump-shooting team can’t win the NBA title”. To unpack the analogy a bit, the Warriors figured out you could take insane numbers of 3-pointers, provided you have good enough shooters; Trump figured out you can actually skimp on paying for ads, given smart enough manipulation of the media.

        I wonder if because of Trump, we’ll see more politicians try to bluff their way through a cheap campaign instead of sticking to the policies that attract donors. Probably very few people possess the set of skills necessary to pull it off. Rubio could have taken the same stances as Trump, but if he couldn’t attract the free attention Trump does I’m not sure how well he’d have done. How good is he at shooting 3s?

        • Whatever Happened to Anonymous says:

          The idea that to be successful in politics you had to follow the money strikes me as about the same as “a jump-shooting team can’t win the NBA title”. To unpack the analogy a bit, the Warriors figured out you could take insane numbers of 3-pointers, provided you have good enough shooters; Trump figured out you can actually skimp on paying for ads, given smart enough manipulation of the media.

          The Warriors won the chip in a season where KD was out, Memphis was injured, the Cavs were injured and the Clippers were doing Clippers things… though I guess Trump also won taking advantage of a pretty weak Republican nominee list.

          • Mercer says:

            I’d argue the Cavaliers to some extent also qualify, they used the 3 to great effect this postseason. The Warriors also barely missed out on winning again this season against a stronger field, so I don’t think you can write them off

            The Republican field was weak by what standard? It looks lacking in retrospect, but the establishment right was very excited about it until Trump bodied everyone. Remember how many people thought Scott Walker would be a big player?

          • Whatever Happened to Anonymous says:

            Yes, the 3 has been ascendant, but it has been going on for a while, at least since the Spurs in 2013.

            What I mean is that the conventional wisdom of “Jump shooting teams don’t win championships” is not that they literally can’t win, but rather that they have deficiencies that can be exploited and make it hard for them to get on top in the playoffs where you play a lot more games, against above league average competition (and officiating is more lenient), the Warriors got “lucky” (not to take anything from them, almost everyone who wins gets lucky some way or another) that teams weren’t in a position to exploit their deficiencies. Similarly, had Jeb! not been such a pansy, Rubio such a robot and Cruz such an autist, they might’ve been able to stump the Trump. They were, so they didn’t, though.

          • Mercer says:

            So basically both Curry and Trump represent false revolutions? Dyou think conventional wisdom will reassert itself?

            If I had to guess I’d say Trump represents a change that’s going to stick; his victory was more about him than the flaws of his competitors.

          • Whatever Happened to Anonymous says:

            So basically both Curry and Trump represent false revolutions? Dyou think conventional wisdom will reassert itself?

            Well, I do think the tales about the NBA becoming a constant rain of threes blocking the sun forever were overstated, GS did sign KD to shore up said weakness. Curry is very much the real deal, though.

            As for Trump, it’s hard to say… I think you’re right that his strategy will be studied and incorporated into the next campaign, a lot of his rivals tried to pivot in his direction hastily when they saw he was winning. I just don’t think we’re going to see another Trump happen.

          • Michael Terry says:

            The Warriors also would have almost certainly won the chip 4-1 this year if the NBA hadn’t suspended Draymond Green[1] in what would have been the deciding game, essentially gifting Cleveland a road game. That’s not even to mention that Bogut was hurt in that game, significantly weakening Golden State for the rest of the series. Pretending the Cavs were the actual best team in the NBA last year is the worst in results-based analysis.

            And when the Warriors were up 3-1, that was when the Cavs were playing with all those players who were injured the year before.

            Thinking the Warriors got lucky when they dominated Cleveland to a 3-1 lead toward what would have been their 2nd straight title is an odd thing.

            Next year Golden State will still be a 3 point shooting team. Your money on Cleveland?

            [1] What if Kyrie Irving has been suspended for any of those final 3 games?

          • Whatever Happened To Anonymous says:

            The Warriors also would have almost certainly won the chip 4-1 this year if the NBA hadn’t suspended Draymond Green[1] in what would have been the deciding game, essentially gifting Cleveland a road game.

            The warriors would’ve lost to OKC if Draymond Green had been suspended when he actually had to. Well, maybe, counterfactuals are hard, Cleveland certainly got lucky this year.

            Pretending the Cavs were the actual best team in the NBA last year is the worst in results-based analysis. […]Next year Golden State will still be a 3 point shooting team. Your money on Cleveland?

            I don’t think Cleveland is a better team, I do think cleveland had an advantage in a late-stage playoff context in having players (Lebron and Irving) that have an offensive game not dependent on 3 point shooting. The warriors are going to be shooting a lot of 3s this season, but now they have, in Durant, a player that shores up that weakness, since he has a more complete offensive game.

          • Jill says:

            I think we’ll see people try what Trump does. But unless you are a flamboyant billionaire who flaunts his wealth and success constantly, and you are highly entertaining and crazy and see to have ADHD in that you are always saying some new crazy thing and can’t even remember what you said before– well it’s not likely to work. Trump is a rather rare type of character.

            But certainly those aspects of Trump which have been done before will be repeated– racism, fear mongering, bullying, demonizing the Dems, making promises to lower class whites that you have no intention of fulfilling etc. These strategies have won lots of elections for the GOP for a long time. And A Trump like candidate– who pushed all these to extremes– was inevitable.

            http://www.vox.com/2016/5/6/11598838/donald-trump-predictions-norm-ornstein

    • Salem says:

      Corporations wouldn’t be spending money on elections if they didn’t think it gave them some special influence over policy

      Given the view you express here, the real question is why there is so little money in politics.

      The 2012 US election, the most expensive of all time, saw total spending of around $6.3bn – including for all Senate, house, and state elections. This is chump change, if you think that such spending could be parlayed into special influence. For comparison, the US federal budget alone is $3.7 trillion – think how profitable it would be for a single corporation to spend a couple of billion to divert just a fraction of that spending their way. And that’s without even considering the possibility of profitable regulatory change.

      If corporate spending bought real influence, why isn’t it at least two orders of magnitude higher? Or why don’t foreign powers buy influence in this way? Total US election spending is a tiny fraction of the budget of even quite small countries – think of the potential for power magnification!

    • Gil says:

      I’ve heard, though I haven’t researched this thoroughly, that electoral success works more based on name recognition, of which current media coverage is an important but not solely important factor.

      Name recognition helps explain why an incumbent might, other things equal, win out over a rival who outspends them on advertising; the incumbent has likely been in the news before which amounts to free prior advertising.

      It also explains Trumps success; edgy public statements generates free media coverage. He didn’t have to spend a fraction of the money his rivals had to spend to get his name in the news.

      • Jiro says:

        Hillary Clinton has unusual name recognition too.

        • houseboatonstyxb says:

          Hillary has been Most Admired Woman for most of the last 20 years. Right along there with Queen Elizabeth.

      • William O. B'Livion says:

        Counter example–Jeb Bush.

      • Jill says:

        Name recognition has more power when you are a flamboyant billionaire in a society that worships money so much that many people assume that if you are a billionaire–especially if you are super proud of it and flaunt it constantly– that you can do no wrong.

    • Edward Scizorhands says:

      Corporations wouldn’t be spending money on elections if they didn’t think it gave them some special influence over policy

      Simpler explanation: it’s protection money. Corporations that don’t spend money on politicians will end up getting investigated and called before Congress.

      For some reason everyone flips out about Eliot Spitzer’s use of prostitutes, but there is a giant ethical problem with the way he would prosecute a company on Wall Street and then make a “friendly call” to the next one and ask for a campaign donation. And of course they donated.

      • Civilis says:

        When the mafia comes in and says ‘if you don’t donate us some money, your business is in jeopardy’, we place the blame on the mafia.

    • Alex Zavoluk says:

      Of course donations matter. The *way* they matter, though, is not something many people seem to realize. They are convinced that the other party is being bought by huge donations from nefarious influences, e.g. “the GOP is owned by billionaires who want them to deregulate everything.” But if you can give millions to one party and have ~50% chance of having major influence over policy, why not give millions to both and have ~100% chance?

      In reality, both major parties increase regulation, rather than decreasing it, and that’s really what the corporations want, because they get influence over the regulations and increase the cost of new competitors entering the market. That’s one thing that recent Vox piece got right (http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/7/15/12200990/bernie-sanders-economy-rigged), although they didn’t focus enough on the large scale stuff, like corn subsidies and agricultural price supports. And both parties are plenty willing to interfere in the economy, typically in ways that support these corporations, just with different excuses. “Keynsian something something” or “supporting [diversity or green energy or something like that] vs “business friendly environment” or “[thinly veiled racism and nationalism].”

      • onyomi says:

        “But if you can give millions to one party and have ~50% chance of having major influence over policy, why not give millions to both and have ~100% chance?”

        And they mostly do, right? (Not saying you were saying otherwise; just making explicit what I think you were implying).

    • Eric Rall says:

      “Corporations wouldn’t be spending money on elections…”

      There’s a common misconception that colors a lot of discourse on campaign finance and corruption, which is an artifact of how campaign finance reporting tends to get aggregated: for the most part, corporations don’t spend money on elections. Direct contributions by corporations to candidate committees (with narrow exceptions for corporations formed specifically for political advocacy) are still illegal, and indirect “uncoordinated advocacy” spending is mostly the province of unions and political nonprofits. What’s actually going on is that when a private individual makes a political donation, they fill out a disclosure form. One of the fields in the form is their employer, and disclosure reports usually use this field to aggregate how much money came from employees of each company. So a couple years back, when I donated $100 to a friend who was running for state legislature, that showed up in campaign finance reports as “Matt Heath received $100 in donations from Microsoft”.

    • chaosbunt says:

      i cant remember the sources, but what i remember from my studies on the effect of money on policy outcomes is that there is a stark division between those contributers that make it to the inner circle of “trustworthy” partners a politician might consult on a specific matter and those whose efforts are duly noted and filed away. The Bottom line is a politician i no specialist on 99% of the topics he is deciding on and thus needs to consult with those he believes are specialists in the field, which means businesspeople for economic matters. His time is however very limited, so if you made it to his top ten list of people who are nice to me before he is more likely to listen to you instead of your competitor.
      But as there are countless affected parties in most modern complex regulations (who of course all try to make themselves heard) there are alot of lobbying efforts that don’t have a significant impact, creating noise in the data. thus the weird, not stable, not reliably reproducable correlation of money and politics.

      There is a weird US specific component there, that is, how others have mentioned, the effect of fundraising activity on party-internal politics. there seems to be some weird runaway vicious cycle betweeen the parties creating presure to raise evermore money. This pressure is handed down to the politicians (yes my source on that is john oliver on congressional fundraising. dont judge, media are weird, not me) which then leads to politicians basically begging for money half of their time (the democratic party seems to “recommend” 4h/day). now figure you are a politician slaveing away your 4 hours so you can finally get to your real job. whoever makers this task easier for you, maybe says a nice thing, will get a mental thumbs-up from your brain.

      it has been half a year since i was seriously involved with this topic, so please take it with a grain of salt and feel free to correct me. (or does that go without saying here?)

    • Mary says:

      Corporations wouldn’t be spending money on elections if they didn’t think it gave them some special influence over policy,

      Not necessarily. It could also be a pay-off to prevent politicians targeting them as scapegoats.

    • Paul Torek says:

      You missed one, Timothy Scriven. The papers (that you refer to) establish, roughly, that political spending as currently practiced has almost no effect on who wins elections. It doesn’t show that there is no way to spend money, such as Get Out The Vote campaigning, that does work.

      Which just aggravates the question: why are they doing it the wrong way? Cui bono?

  3. suntzuanime says:

    “fifty ways to make people more reflective” at the weird sun blog was insanely good, thanks for sharing

  4. Thecommexokid says:

    Like, is the writer of the Hamilton hate-piece aware that you can buy the soundtrack? There’s no waiting list and it costs a two-digit number of dollars and everything!

    • LHN says:

      And was briefly 99 cents a few months ago. And is on YouTube.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      I think there are a lot of things that writer isn’t aware of.

    • Jordan D. says:

      Heck, you can even go on Youtube and listen to most of it if you’re a die-hard believer in the right to criticize things without ever spending a cent.

      I knew things were going badly when I saw that diss on the lyrics of The Election of 1812. That song is easily in my top five Broadway songs, and I have listened to a LOT of Broadway music.

      • LHN says:

        I’d also bet that most public libraries either have it or can get it via interlibrary loan.

    • Dan T. says:

      The people on my social media feeds range from far-left to far-right (plus a few hard to place in a linear spectrum), and I can’t recall seeing any Hamilton hate on my feed ever. There are a few avid Hamilton fans, some more who occasionally like to quote or reference it, and probably a lot who don’t care one way or the other (who don’t particularly come to my attention because their salient feature is failing to mention Hamilton at all).

    • Jacob says:

      It’s also on spotify for free

    • Xeno of Citium says:

      Even if you aren’t the writer of the hate piece, if you don’t own Hamilton go buy it, immediately: https://www.amazon.com/Hamilton-Original-Broadway-Recording-Explicit/dp/B013JLBPGE/ref=sr_1_2_twi_aud_2 . It’s less than 20 dollars, it’s brilliant, you’ll play it on loop so often your roommates will conspire to disable your stereo.

      Or at least listen to it online.

    • grendelkhan says:

      From the article:

      One of the strangest aspects of the whole “Hamiltonmania” public relations spectacle is that hardly anyone in the country has actually attended the musical to begin with. The show is exclusive to Broadway and has spent most of its run completely sold out, seemingly playing to an audience comprised entirely of people who write breathless BuzzFeed headlines. (Fortunately, when you can get off the waitlist it only costs $1,200 a ticket—so long as you can stand bad seats.) Hamilton is the “nationwide sensation” that only .001% of the nation has even witnessed.

      I wonder how much of the article would have to be rewritten if the author discovered the entire bloody cast recording (and that is the whole thing, all forty-six tracks) on YouTube. (How did he think that Tumblr got so into it? Pure popcultural osmosis?)

      I like to imagine him mopping his soggy brow, muttering to himself that surely no one will notice. But there’s so much else that’s incoherent here! Should we be talking about Hamilton’s object-level political beliefs? Well, we should hate him for being insufficiently opposed to slavery, but… we should use him as a role model because he liked trade protectionism and trade protectionism is good?

      See also, in Counterpunch, ‘“Hamilton: the Musical:” Black Actors Dress Up like Slave Traders…and It’s Not Halloween‘. Similar article, with the fix made. (Bonus hate for “black pathology pimp” David Simon, which, huh? And “the slave revolt of the 1960s”? So much to unpack!)

      • Who wouldn't want to be anonymous says:

        I wonder how much of the article would have to be rewritten if the author discovered the entire bloody cast recording (and that is the whole thing, all forty-six tracks) on YouTube. (How did he think that Tumblr got so into it? Pure popcultural osmosis?)

        They are also working on a simulcast arrangement once they pass the peak ticket price.

    • Will says:

      The article says: “One could question the fairness of appraising a musical before putting one’s self through its full three-hour theatrical experience. But if nobody could criticize Hamilton without having seen it, then nobody could criticize Hamilton.”

      The implication is that the author has heard the soundtrack but not seen the show, and dislikes it based on the soundtrack.

      The fact so many commenters are missing this (fairly obvious) point makes me skeptical that the review is being read in good faith.

      • John says:

        Really? I take the opposite implication and it appears to me that you’re steelmanning.

        • Anonymous says:

          Really? I take the opposite implication

          How can you possibly realistically believe that the author was unaware of the existence of the soundtrack at the same time as he was able to find quotes of the lyrics? Does this honestly strike you as a probable scenario?

      • James Kabala says:

        The author describes at great length why he finds the musical aesthetically and politically objectionable, yet Scott ignores all this and just says “tribal reasons.”

        • Nornagest says:

          Alternately, Scott has read and understood the reasons why the author finds the musical aesthetically and politically objectionable, and believes them to be tribal.

          • I am the Tarpitz says:

            I’m a vaguely libertarian-leaning Brit with no tribal reasons I’m aware of to dislike Hamilton and no issues with it politically; I have considerable aesthetic reservations about the lyrics. Potted historical recap is not a school of songwriting I find appealing, and this isn’t even a good example of it: there are clumsy, obvious rhymes all over the shop, and not much in the way of wit or invention. The tunes are good, and I’m willing to believe it’s a compelling live experience (Les Mis has some of the most risible lyrics ever created, but by God it can carry you along) but I am not a fan of the libretto.

            Then again, maybe it’s just tribal bias against uppity colonials.

          • Anonymous says:

            In your defense, uppity colonials deserve some scorn. The fools thought they’d be better off on their own, and now look!

  5. Steve Sailer says:

    Regarding Vietnam’s high PISA scores, from my blog:

    December 4, 2013

    “PISA: Which countries to trust the least

    “… Vietnam, which made a splashy PISA debut with high scores, somehow couldn’t find 44% of their 15-year-olds. At the other end, the dutiful Dutch managed to test slightly more students than were thought to be around.”

    http://www.unz.com/isteve/pisa-which-countries-not-to-trust/

    • Steve Sailer says:

      Argentina, for instance, typically scores very badly on the PISA test, in part because the Argentine educrats round up a higher percentage of 15-year-olds than do comparable countries. For example, Argentina didn’t test 20% of its intended sample, while Mexico didn’t test 37%.

      The United States missed 11% on the last PISA, while traditionally high scoring Finland missed only 4%.

      This is not to say that there aren’t lots of smart kids in Vietnam, just that there are ways to manipulate national scores that need to be taken into account.

    • MawBTS says:

      At the other end, the dutiful Dutch managed to test slightly more students than were thought to be around.

      Sir, please. We live in a civilised society. Nonexistent spectral children deserve the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

      • Steve Sailer says:

        One interesting result from the PISA scores of 15-year-olds is that although Mexico and Turkey score pretty similarly on average, there is a much higher percentage of Turkish kids who score at the highest level on the PISA (5 or 6 on a 0 to 6 scale) than in Mexico.

        For example, in 2009 on reading, 9.9% of Americans score at the 5th level or 6th level on a 0 to 6 scale. In contrast, only 0.4% of Mexicans score that high. That’s really bad.

        In comparison, 1.9% of Turks score in the top two levels: not great, but several times the fraction in Mexico, suggesting that in Turkey there are small cultures of elites here and there who impress it upon their kids to hit the books hard.

        That fits my impression from a visit to Turkey compared to a lot of trips to Mexico: the Turkish elite includes more extremely well educated people than the Mexican elite. If you were to make up a list of what’s wrong with Mexico, I’d start with: rich Mexicans don’t care very much about getting their children to read books. Rich Mexicans don’t set good examples for poor Mexicans.

  6. Wrong Species says:

    On Hamilton, that piece doesn’t surprise me at all. The split between the radical and moderate left has been one of the least talked about issues this election cycle. Bernie Sanders represents how the progressive party used to see itself. He isn’t leading a revolution. He is a last, dying breath of the old economic ideals.

    • Timothy Scriven says:

      Maybe. But the last candidate anything like in terms of left wing economic positions was Jesse Jackson in I believe 1984- and Mr Jackson also didn’t get as far as he did. No candidate running so far away from his party’s centre has ever gotten so far to my knowledge, with the only possible exception* being Trump.

      Also his supporters were extremely young demographically as these things go.

      So I’d have to say that it’s far more likely Bernie is the beginning of a new cycle throwing off the shackles of Reganism than that he is the end of old leftism.

      *(I’m sure Trump isn’t really anywhere near as far from his party’s center as Sanders is and was, but I’ll chuck him in for the avoidance of debate.)

      • Wrong Species says:

        I think when it comes to healthcare and banking regulation you are right but when it comes to the broader economic perspective I don’t think so. Definitely not on free trade. I’m not sure what kind of test would prove me right or wrong

    • E. Harding says:

      It’s interesting how the entire Far Left in Congress (Lee, Sanders, Baldwin) is With Her, while much of the Far Right in Congress (Cruz, Lee, Amash, Flake) isn’t on the Trump Train.

      • Steve Sailer says:

        Trump is basically an Alt-Centrist. His instincts are Eisenhowerian. Trump’s not very articulate so a lot of intellectuals can’t figure out where he’s coming from, but his idea man Stephen Miller is better at verbalizing Trump’s boredom with recent left-right arguments:

        https://www.donaldjtrump.com/press-releases/trump-campaign-statement-on-clintons-acceptance-speech

        • herbert herbertson says:

          I don’t think you need to make up a new term, we already have Third Positionism (arguably on the highly moderate side, if you account for the professed loyalty to capitalism–although his proposed interventions in the economy are also far more significant than than anything anyone to the right of Bernie Sanders has proposed in a long time)

        • HeelBearCub says:

          I think I would describe his philosophy as incoherent populism.

          At any given time, he says what he thinks sounds good to the most people. He can literally take three different positions in one paragraph.

        • trump in private may be much more intellectual than his public persona suggests

          • grendelkhan says:

            I don’t find that comforting, and I’m not sure why anyone else would.

          • Wrong Species says:

            His ghostwriter doesn’t seem to think so. Note this is also relevant for Scotts review of Art of the Deal.

            ‘The inner Trump is the outer Trump’

          • brad says:

            There’s a bunch of Clinton people out there giving interviews saying that Clinton is really warm, engaging, and funny in private and that it isn’t reflected in her public persona.

            Maybe that’s true, or maybe they are just being sent out with talking points, I don’t know. But surely the fact that people are out there saying makes it more likely to be true than if no one was.

            Where are the Trump confidants, even anonymously, telling the Wall Street Journal or the Financial Times that of course Donald Trump is playing dumb.

          • Lumifer says:

            There’s a bunch of Clinton people out there giving interviews saying that Clinton is really warm, engaging, and funny in private and that it isn’t reflected in her public persona.

            Holy doppelgangers! : -D

            Let me point out that Hillary’s reputation built over multiple decades is… not that.

          • Wilj says:

            A lot of people who know Trump have said he’s smart (e.g., that woman who worked with him in the 80s, forgot her name). I don’t think they frame it as “smarter than he seems” just because they don’t want to imply he seems dumb.

          • Steve Sailer says:

            “trump in private may be much more intellectual than his public persona suggests”

            I doubt it.

            Trump in private is more charming than his public persona, but I don’t see much evidence he’s, say, read many books in his life.

            A lot of his strength as a candidate is that he’s not very articulate so he doesn’t try to be verbally clever. Rich people have paid clever people to construct a lot of impressive-sounding rhetoric in favor of them pursuing their interests through mass immigration and the like. Trump can’t imitate that rhetoric when he’s talking off the cuff, so he’s skeptical about the policy implications.

          • Devilbunny says:

            Trump reminds me very much of my father-in-law. My FIL is smart (highly successful salesman), but he’s completely not an intellectual. I’m an intellectual, but bad with people. We make a great team: there is almost no problem that can’t be solved when a nerd and a schmoozer partner up (viz. Apple). We cover each other’s deficiencies, and we both know when it’s time to hand the situation off to the other guy.

        • Yakimi says:

          Zizek also claims that Trump is a centrist liberal.

  7. Said Achmiz says:

    So… David Chapman wrote a whole post about Bongard problems, in which he mentions and cites just about everyone who’s ever had anything to do with the things… except Mikhail Bongard — the man who invented the eponymous problems and wrote an entire book (The Problem of Recognition) about the issues Chapman discusses in his post.

    This strikes me as an insulting omission, frankly.

    P.S. The book is quite edifying, though sadly hard to find. If nothing else, the introduction is a singularly clearly (and entertainingly!) written explanation of why AI is hard, among other things.

    P.P.S. I disliked Chapman’s post for other reasons too.

    • Mongeese says:

      Care to elaborate on the P.P.S.?

    • Wilj says:

      I dislike many of Chapman’s pieces, and I’m surprised that Scott links him. He’s articulate, and I often enjoy the reading, but by the end I’m usually irritated.

      The essays often seem kind of pretentious, as if they confuse “I’m saying something counterintuitive” with “I’m saying something insightful”. Same with “obscurantist” + “deep”.

      I mentioned before that I thought his interpretations of Buddhism, both tantric and, as he would have it, “sutric”, completely miss the mark. Someone asked me to explain and I never got around to it, so if there’s interest in that still I can elaborate, but otherwise I’ll just say that in my (anonymous, unimportant) opinion, he writes well but reasons either poorly or uncharitably re: Buddhist philosophy.

  8. Sniffnoy says:

    Linking to the Marginal Revolution commentary rather than the original for the spectacular pun at the end.

    OK, I don’t get it.

    • suntzuanime says:

      You don’t get much more basic of a conflict of interest than a piece recommending itself.

    • LCL says:

      It’s a double meaning that’s non-obvious because one of the two meanings seems to be local to Marginal Revolution.

      Cowen (evidently) uses “self-recommending” to mean he’s linking something that should obviously be good or is very likely to be good, based on author and subject.

      I’m surprised to find that’s a local MR usage as I thought I had heard it more broadly. But google only turns up MR or MR-adjacent stuff when I search for “self-recommending.”

      The second meaning is of course that the piece is about doctors recommending their own specialty too frequently.

  9. Anon says:

    I’m seeing the Hamilton article less as an example of tribal hatred and more of a reaction against the tribal exaltation of the musical from East Coast liberal media types. And frankly, I obviously haven’t seen the show, but with lyrics like:

    The people are asking to hear my voice ..

    For the country is facing a difficult choice.

    And if you were to ask me who I’d promote …

    Jefferson has my vote.

    It’s hard for me to see the insane hype surrounding this show as anything but some sort of tribal posturing that I’m not privy to.

    • Broggly says:

      I’ve always found rap and musical lyrics tend to sound better than they read. And the rest of the lyrics aren’t so simple and straightforward as those. I think Nichols went out of his way to find the ones that look the most boring when written down.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      All (well, most) lyrics sound stupid when written out. Listen to them in context: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUOfpIPztKM . I wanted to dislike Hamilton but couldn’t.

      I think “reaction against the other tribe liking it too much” is a textbook example of tribal hatred of something.

      • Steve Sailer says:

        Generally speaking, if a lot of people tell you something is of good quality, it usually is good. If rich people are spending huge amounts of money to see “Hamilton,” I’m sure it’s very good.

        When I became a professional film critic in 2001, it became apparent to me with a month or two that the reviewers’ consensus about movie quality was usually correct. If you see 50 to 100 movies per year, it becomes rapidly apparent that some movies aren’t very good and other movies are much better and that which is which isn’t very hard to tell. You can often tell in the first 15 minutes.

        On the other hand, which pretty good movie becomes a sensation among critics and which does not has a lot to do with current prejudices.

        To take two examples from 2006, most critics weren’t intellectually equipped to grasp “Idiocracy” at that point, while almost none understood why they loved “Borat” so much: it was a revival of old-fashioned Borscht Belt Polish jokes. Sacha Baron Cohen’s hilarious hostility toward Pakistanis (Ali G), Slavs (Borat), and Austrians (Bruno) simply didn’t register to them as a conceptual category for the usual Sapir-Whorf reasons.

        “Hamilton” is celebrated both because it’s no doubt good and because it’s the epitome of the ruling prejudices of the Obama-Hillary era. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s dad is a big time Democratic consultant in NYC, who was a close adviser to Democratic centrist Ed Koch, so Lin-Manuel knows exactly what appeals to rich New Yorkers.

        • MugaSofer says:

          >When I became a professional film critic in 2001, it became apparent to me with a month or two that the reviewers’ consensus about movie quality was usually correct.

          Did it occur to you that film critics may simply be better at predicting which films other film critics will like than other people?

          I’ve seen it argued that film critics are heavily biased against the use of cliches, which most viewers are less familiar with and thus don’t mind as much, in favour of “originality”. Action setpieces are much less exciting if you saw five of them yesterday, etc.

          • Steve Sailer says:

            There are the expected biases of critics vs. public, but what really struck me is that some movies just plain work and others movies don’t and there is less disagreement over which is which than I had expected.

            For example, consider Clint Eastwood’s last four movies. “American Sniper” simply works better than “Jersey Boys,” “J. Edgar,” or “Hereafter.” If you watched a random 10 minute clip from each movie, you’d probably agree.

            Politics aside, “American Sniper” gets into a groove and stays there while these other recent Eastwood movies didn’t.

            And it’s not really that hard to distinguish.

            It’s fun to argue over the merits of “American Sniper” versus other movies that also work well. But a lot of high bulk movie reviewing is simply noting which movies work well and which don’t, which is mostly pretty obvious.

        • Thursday says:

          1. I’ve also noticed a lot of excessive praise for a lot of technically polished, pretty good, but not really inspired art that panders to current prejudices: Zootopia, Amy Schumer’s Apollo stand up special, etc.

          2. Critics do sometimes completely miss the boat. A couple of movies that were panned critically, often harshly, but built cult followings are Woody Allen’s Deconstructing Harry and the Coen Brothers’ The Big Lebowski.

      • Liskantope says:

        By the way, the youtube video you linked to appears to have been taken down…

        Edit: this one is still up.

    • sweeneyrod says:

      I think Hamilton is objectively good (to the extent that any piece of media can be). It seems to be popular among many of the clever non-Americans I know, and we aren’t invested in any tribal politics surrounding it. Also, it is a sung-through musical, so you don’t miss out on much by just listening to the soundtrack rather than watching it, which increases mass appeal.

    • HeelBearCub says:

      Those four lines are the setup for the next four lines.

      Pretty weak to quote them incompletely.

      Yo
      (Oh!) The people are asking to hear my voice
      (Oh!) But the country is facing a difficult choice
      (Oh!) And you were to ask me who I’d promote…
      (Oh!) …Jefferson has my vote
      (Oh!) I have never agreed with Jefferson once…
      (Oh!) We have fought on like 75 different fronts
      (Oh!) But when all said and all is done…
      Jefferson has beliefs; Burr has none

      • Anonymous says:

        I feel like that weakens rather than strengthens your claims.
        “We have fought on like 75 different fronts” is significantly more of a school-play lyric than any of the first four lines. “Like” and teenagey [based on what I see online; YMMV] hyperbole?

  10. Sniffnoy says:

    David Chapman continues his long effort to convince us that there is a thing called meta-rationality and that it is very important.

    Also, David Chapman makes pretty clear that the “rationality” he’s talking about has just about nothing to do with “rationality” in the sense LessWrong talks about. (As was already clear before, but is worth repeating. Seriously, let’s not get caught up in equivocations here. What’s annoying is that Chapman seems to occasionally conflate the two himself.)

    • rsaarelm says:

      I’m not really sure either what Chapman’s take on the rationality he’s arguing against is, and I wish he’d open it up a bit more as it’s currently coming off a bit straw-mannish. But I think he’s spelling out a pretty important thing that might not get spelled out often enough in the LW-ish rationalist movement. Namely that the Bongard problems are a sort of toy analogue of the sorts of problems you need to be solving all the time in the real world, and we have pretty much no idea how to write down a formal procedure for solving them. Particularly, a formal procedure a human could follow after reading a book.

      There does seem to be an undercurrent in the rationalist movement of people who don’t quite have their stuff together and are sort of wishing for the read it from a book style of decision procedure that would let them win at real life problems, and crushing their hopes and dreams with the hard truths of artificial intelligence theory seems like a valuable public service.

      • Sniffnoy says:

        Man, if somebody thought that existed after reading the Sequences, or reading some exchanges between the decision theory people on LW, I don’t know what they were reading. Just more of the degradation from old LW to the “rationalist diaspora”, perhaps? :-/

        • Mongeese says:

          Was the rationalist diaspora a specific event or series of events? Or did LessWrong just outgrow itself and so spill out into various surrounding blogs?

          • Nornagest says:

            The short answer is that, for complicated reasons and not all at once, all the most prolific authors on LW got bored and left. Scott came here. Gwern kept posting on his own blog and didn’t bother with crossposting. Eliezer for some reason went to Facebook, which is about the worst possible platform for rationality, but it’s not like that’s the first strange decision he’s made.

          • Wilj says:

            @Nornagest: That decision was truly incomprehensible to me. I, and everyone (from LW) that I know personally*, stopped following Eliezer’s work for that reason — not in protest or whatever, but just because it’s not a platform suited to keeping track of thoughts and essays. Garbage is mixed in, pieces disappear, it’s troublesome to find specific old posts or search by topic, etc.

            *That’s just two other people, really, but still.

          • Nornagest says:

            This might not be the most charitable way of putting it, but I can only make sense of it if at some level he decided he’d had enough of this whole “raising the sanity waterline” thing and just wanted a place to interact with his adoring fans.

          • Murphy says:

            I do like his Facebook. Though it’s a tad strange. A mix of fan fiction musing with lots of reposts and random news stories.

        • rsaarelm says:

          I don’t know what they were reading

          I’d guess HPMOR. A lot of people got into the rationalism movement via that and I imagine not all of them bothered to dive into the sequences.

        • Nornagest says:

          You know, I always got the impression that Eliezer did think there was a magic decision procedure that would turn its executors into superheroes, and that he’d discovered and successfully implemented big chunks of it. He certainly wasn’t shy about speaking ex cathedra on the subject.

          What I’m not sure about is how complete he thought it was.

          • He seems to have given people the impression that if you get your thinking were insufficiently debugged, that is pretty much equivalent to gaining superpowers….without saying so explicitly.

          • Nornagest says:

            This is more based on stuff I heard in person than the Sequences per se. Although his Cult of Bayes fiction at least gestured pretty strongly in that direction.

          • Jacob Lyles says:

            From my memory, Eliezer’s rhetorical use of Aumann’s agreement theorem probably led people in this direction (briefly, the theorem states that rational actors with access to the same information can’t disagree). I can see how it would make people think there is one right way to think.

      • Rogelio says:

        Bongard problems are essentially identical to problems that you face in many sorts of IQ tests. They are very similar to Raven’s progressive matrices, for example. Assuming for the moment that Bongard problems are essentially IQ tests, and given what we know about IQ, it seems that perhaps the term “meta-rationality” is appropriate. Rationality is the techniques that can be learned to improve your thinking, meta-rationality is the unlearnable talent and insight that you use to develop rationality techniques perhaps.

        What are we to do with the existence of this “meta-rationality”? We already know that we currently have no robust way of significantly improving IQ. We already know IQ is hugely important for almost everything about your life. Even relatively banal parts of living in modern society are g-loaded in a million tiny ways. If rationality is the part of winningness that can be trained, and meta-rationality is the part that can not be trained, then it certainly makes sense to focus on the former, even while acknowledging the latter.

        Another thing about Bongard problems that I’ll note is that while they are likely culture-neutral, it’s possible they are not species neutral or optimization algorithm neutral. Part of your ability to solve them comes from the fact that you know what kinds of things the creators of questions consider salient as humans. An alien that evolved with completely different concerns would possibly create questions that are wholly unlike those in the post. This is especially true as you get to the more tricky ones near the end of the article. If it is difficult for an AI to solve these problems, the reason is all a certain amount of shared knowledge or shared algorithm that the test exploits.

        Practicing Bongard problems will certainly make you better at Bongard problems, but all that tells you is that you’ve understood the sorts of rules that question creators are likely to think of, which is sort of pointless. You don’t get better at the generalization of these skills to the insight needed to create general relativity or recognize that Internet book sales can one day be bigger than brick and mortar book sales.

        • Ilya Shpitser says:

          “Meta-rationality” of the Bongard problem type can be taught. You get a lot better at these problems after higher math training.

        • Uncle Ilya Kuriakin says:

          Ilya Shpitser asserts  “Meta-rationality” of the Bongard problem type can be taught. You get a lot better at these problems after higher math training.”

          Bingo! … and this is many people’s experience.

          There wouldn’t be much point in graduate education in mathematics otherwise, would there?

          Proving this assertion experiment is exceedingly difficult, in that “higher math training” is a intensive multi-year program, that at present is largely self-selected by persons who (in Michael Spivak’s memorable phrase) already possess, in some measure, “a certain (perhaps latent) rapport with abstract mathematics.”

          In the general population, which persons possess Spivak’s “a certain (perhaps latent) rapport with abstract mathematics”?

          Under the right circumstances, isn’t the most plausible answer “nearly everybody”? 🙂

      • Mr Mind says:

        sort of toy analogue of the sorts of problems you need to be solving all the time in the real world, and we have pretty much no idea how to write down a formal procedure for solving them.

        This “sort of problem” has a formal name, a better (= more general, funnier) game that exemplifies it, a general solving procedure, both ideal and computable, and spawned the first complete model of a general artificial intelligence.
        It’s called inductive logic, you train / learn it by playing Zendo and Solomonoff induction formally solved it decades ago (although uncomputable, the speed prior being a computable approximation). AIXI is the famous formal AI based on Solomonoff prior and VNM rationality. These things are the bread and butter of rationality as intended by LessWrong and Yudkowsky.
        Chapman simply calls meta-systematic rationality what is commonly called inductive reasoning, and that’s basically everything there is to know.

    • Directed Acyclic Wrath says:

      If I might broaden your thread, what is the community’s take on Meaningness?

      Essentially everything I’ve read from it seems like it is either obviously true (to the point that I don’t understand the effort to create it) or that I’m utterly failing to parse the argument.

      Maybe this is one of those “read philosophy in reverse” things where I should instead be astounded that not everyone realizes that the everyday conceptualization of objects aren’t the ground truth of reality (etc.).

      • Scott Alexander says:

        Chapman is a famous former MIT roboticist, a Heidegger scholar, and a Vajrayana Buddhist. This is interesting enough that I tend to err on the side of believing he has interesting things to say even when I can’t entirely understand them. Every so often I have gotten huge flashes of insight reading his blog, which once again make me err on the side of thinking he has something useful to say even when I can’t quite get at it. That having been said, I agree that when read casually most of what he says seems obvious or boring.

      • Guy says:

        He reminds me of Yudkowski and, to a lesser extent, R Scott Bakker (I just finished TGO, so I’ve got Bakker on the brain). For me, this is a recommendation against, especially because he’s talking about things (to the extent that his talk has an “aboutness”…) that have in my view very straightforward answers. His sensible objections to most claims about AI can be summed up in a few sentences and seem reasonable, but for some reason he seems to believe a book is necessary.

      • Wrong Species says:

        It seems to me like he’s arguing against reductionism, even in theory. He is more willing than most rationalists to tolerate contradictions. Agree or disagree, I don’t think it’s obvious.

      • Wilj says:

        As I said above, I don’t like it. I think he states obvious things in a pretentious manner in some cases, and in others values obscurantism while claiming it’s insight.

        This may be colored by the fact that I disagree strongly with his posts on Buddhism.

        For example, he denounces “sutrayana” as toothless because it encourages, e.g., renunciation of certain habits; but in Vajrayana as he interprets it, there’s nothing to be gained or renounced at all — so which is the less vigorous: practicing self-discipline aimed at understanding the mind and the world, or doing nothing and just kinda hoping? Of course, traditional Vajrayana has a ton of monasticism, and real “sutrayana”, interpeted less uncharitably and cherry-picked, shares many of life-affirming ideals he claims it lacks… but I never wanted to get into it with him because I have a feeling I’d end up being forced to source a thousand different suttas and tantras and then defending my translations, and I already know he dismisses tantric doctrine that shares sutric thought as “corrupted” or simply mistaken.

        There’s a lot more I could say, but I’m operating on fading memory, and am not sure how many here care about Buddhist factional dispute anyway.

      • Bassicallyboss says:

        His “complete stance” or stage 5 thinking is, as far as I can tell, the insight of The Categories Were Made for Man, Not Man for the Categories, on a somewhat meta-level. That is, with the “categories” in question being systems of categorization and interrelation. Unfortunately, I don’t know if this is an accurate summary, since while he’s written a lot about what a complete stance is like, he hasn’t actually written the part of the book where he explains what it is yet. I assume there’s probably a little more to it.

        I rarely disagree with anything he says, and every now and then he clearly (if long-windedly) articulates things I’ve vaguely felt without being able to disentangle by myself. For instance, I’m a physicist with an English minor who used to be nihilist but got over it. While I generally find the culture of postmodernism distasteful, I often find myself agreeing with and feeling enlightened by individual postmodern philosophers when I read them. I never wrapped that all up into one concept until I read the civilizational collapse piece. So my impression is that his writing is useful and interesting, but that he chose his intended audience poorly. Mathematically-inclined humanities folks might get more out of it than STEM pepole who’ve read the sequences.

      • LCL says:

        I thought his categorization up to stage 4 was useful and insightful.

        I strongly doubt he’s totally, or even mostly, correct about the existence, contours, and progression of a stage 5.

        I suspect he may be eventually able to articulate something useful and insightful nonetheless.

        I would be helped tremendously by more-specific examples, i.e. “here is what a stage 4 mindset would likely think and do in situation X, but here is what a stage 5 mindset would likely think and do.”

        • The stages he’s describing aren’t original to him, they’re original to Robert Kegan (and Chapman has said as much) and were initially described in The Evolving Self in 1983. In Kegan and Lahey’s Immunity to Change (2009), the authors mention a few studies that identify a small fraction of the study population as Stage 5 thinkers. The case studies in the book have the kinds of concrete examples you’re looking for.

        • As Meredith says, the stages come from Robert Kegan. Not that many people reach stage 5 (but perhaps more than when he wrote the book?). The book is a little vague about stage 5 and casts it in purely interpersonal terms. There is also the problem that stage 5 “looks like” stage 3 when you try to describe it. Meaningness is unfinished, but I have started to play around with the ideas on my blog (about 5 posts so far) ssica3003.wordpress.com

    • JB says:

      However, by “system” I mean, roughly, a set of rules that can be printed in a book weighing less than ten kilograms, and which a person can consciously follow. If a person is an algorithm, it is probably an incomprehensibly vast one, which could not written concisely. It is probably also an incomprehensibly weird one, which one could not consciously follow accurately. I say “probably” because we don’t know much about how minds work, so we can’t be certain.
      What we can be certain is that, because we don’t know how minds work, we can’t treat them as systems now. That is the case even if, when neuroscience progresses sufficiently, they might eventually be described that way. Even if God told us that “a human, reasoning meta-systematically, is just a system,” it would be useless in practice. Since we can’t now write out rules for meta-systematic reasoning in less than ten kilograms, we have to act, for now, as if meta-systematic reasoning is non-systematic.

      I thought this was interesting as Chapman has previously claimed that meta-systematic thinking is definitely not merely applying systematic thinking to itself. This quote concedes that it might be (or probably is; it’s doubtful that brains aren’t following algorithms), but that because the meta-level algorithm is so complex, it is better to just treat it as a different category of thing entirely. This may be a useful distinction to draw, although it does make me wonder how much of an improvement a consciously understandable system of applying systematicity to itself could make compared to what we have in place now, on the issues he thinks are facing our cultural/political system. Perhaps one of the later 4.X posts will address that. (edit – no, this is wrong, our overlapping government and social systems now could be described as an attempt to do that, and it is not working. doubtful a breakthrough improvement could be made by doing it better, if the conflict between “communal” and “systematic” thinking is actually what’s driving political craziness)

      It does seem like a lot of the ideas and ways of thinking he champions as complete stances reflect the concepts and reasoning used in some of the top posts here. “The words were made for man…” reflects the complete stance on pattern/nebulosity for example, and this is explained in A Human’s Guide to Words as well. I’m not sure if the complete stance is really that different from how an experienced rationalist like Scott thinks, or if it is more of a different way of communicating and drawing boundaries around the same thing. But even if they are, it can be useful to explore the same thing in a different conceptual framework.

      • Peter says:

        For reference – the heftiest tome I could lay my hands on – a big reference book – weighed in at 5kg. 1842 pages, about 12 words per line, 43 lines per page. So 10kg of book works out at about 2 million words. Googling puts the KJV at 783,137 words – lots of bibles use thin paper and small typefaces, I don’t have a print bible to hand, but I’m guessing a reasonably small one would weigh in at 1kg or so. So call 10kg of book 10 million words in round numbers as an upper bound. If we were to encode it as ASCII, then, picking a line of my tome at random (“it is not particular individuals within the set of ex-communist countries who”), we’re averaging 5.4 character per word, call it 6.4 for the space, so about 64 megabytes.

        Which is kinda chunky if you’re talking about code, on the other hand if you pull in some data, I’ve perpetrated some natural language processing systems that weigh in at almost that much – when compressed.

        • Ariel Ben-Yehuda says:

          64 Megabytes of code is a few million lines, which, while big, is about the range of a large project.

      • Jill says:

        Interesting. Communal thinking does not have to be so narrowly tribal as what we have in the U.S. today. There are many possibilities of types of communal thinking.

        The whole thing about a human being an algorithm is interesting. A human is indeed an algorithm or a group of algorithms. But a human is also a biological system and part of one or more social systems. And those latter parts can’t be completely duplicated in any book or machine.

        Some of this stuff may come from the overwhelming and growing tide of people in the modern world who are more and more bionic, being very attached to and emotionally dependent on their electronic devices– and having their social skills decay and decrease.

        I guess that’s the modern world. The machine part of us is given great emphasis– the biological and social parts of humans, not so much. People want only books and machines as their mentors, guides, and associates. No live human beings please– at least not in person, maybe text messages or emails would be ok. Or maybe humans are acceptable when necessary for sex or employment purposes, but please no more than that, LOL.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      I’m not sure he has. He seems to very specifically critique LW rationality and Bayesianism.I agree he is not a specific anti-LW crusader, but I don’t think it’s completely unrelated either.

    • Uncle Ilya Kuriakin says:

      With reference to the empathy-centric arguments of the below-discussed essay by Terry Tao “What is good mathematics?”, isn’t it the case that the “good mathematics” that we discern in Bongard problems has relatively little to do with capacities for solving Bongard problems that are individual and ratiocinative, but rather has much to do with capacities for solving Bongard problems that are social and empathic?

      And isn’t this non-ratiocinative aspect of Bongard problems precisely what makes these problems seem interesting to some people, and annoying to other people?

      To borrow Terry Tao’s criteria — which substantially are William Burke’s Div, Grad, Curl are Dead criteria too (see above) — Bongard problems show us realms of mathematics that are grounded in “insight”, “discovery”, “vision”, “taste”, “beauty”, “elegance”, and “intuition”. And these non-ratiocinative mathematical realms are communicated most clearly, effectively, and enduringly, not in social isolation, but rather in the act of mutual sharing of mathematics … because mathematical appreciation is far more a social than a solitary act (in the view of many, including me).

      Bill Thurston has cogently advocated this view in many of his writings. The following is Thurston’s preface to Daina Taimina’s Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes (2009):

      Many people have the impression, based upon years of schooling, that mathematics is an austere and formal subject concerned with complicated and ultimately confusing rules for the manipulation of numbers, symbols, and equations, rather like the preparation of a complicated income tax return, where there are myriad unexplained steps, rules, exceptions, and gotchas.

      Good mathematics is quite the opposite of this. Mathematics is an art of human understanding. Billions of years of evolution have given us many extraordinary capabilities that we ordinarily take for granted—but we deny these capabilities at our peril. In the abstract, the mere act of walking through a room without bumping into other people or things is a far greater accomplishment than the most sophisticated formal calculation ever done by mathematicians. Computers are far better than humans at formal computations, but humans far surpass current computers at informal and intuitive reasoning.

      Our brains are complicated devices, with many specialized modules working behind the scenes to give us an integrated understanding of the world. Mathematical concepts are abstract, so it ends up that there are many different ways that they can sit in our brains. A given mathematical concept might be primarily a symbolic equation, a picture, a rhythmic pattern, a short movie — or best of all, an integrated combination of several different representations. These non-symbolic mental models for mathematical concepts are extremely important, but unfortunately, many of them are hard to share.

      Mathematics sings when we feel it in our whole brain. People are generally inhibited about even trying to share their personal mental models. People like music, but they are afraid to sing. You only learn to sing by singing.

      It has been asserted (whether factually or facetiously I do not know) that the single strongest predictor of a top-rank IQ score is a strong desire to demonstrate a top-ranking IQ score. In the same vein, isn’t it reasonable to wonder, whether a strong predictor of achieving a top-rank Bongard score, might be an strong desire, grounded in empathic cognition, to share the “insight”, “discovery”, “vision”, “taste”, “beauty”, “elegance”, and “intuition” of Bongard-solving?

      Needless to say, people differ greatly in their individual capacity and liking for empathic modes of cognition. Mightn’t these individual differences account for the sharply differing opinions — even the annoyance and hostility — that are being voiced in regard to Chapman’s essay?

      Particularly in light of ongoing advances in neuroscience, isn’t likely to be a long time before we finish exploring the intertwining ecology of neural architectures by which mathematics “sings in our whole brain” (in Bill Thurston’s vivid phrase)? Only a small fraction of which cognitive capacities are likely to be grounded primarily in ratiocination?

      Kudos to David Chapman for helping to initiate the exploration of this vast and crucial topic! 🙂

  11. Steven says:

    Putting this one in the “no long-term effect of education” folder – whether you took high school courses in a subject has minimal effect on your grade in college courses on the same subject.

    On a population basis, sure. If you’re one of the few people who actually retains a lot of factual material, you can be utterly amazed at how much complete rehashing of material happens in your education in your national-top-percentile school district. Nobody else remembered grade 3-5 science or history lessons in the corresponding courses in grades 6-8, and nobody else remembered the 6-8 lessons in 9-12. I would have been utterly shocked had the same students I’d been peered with in 3-12 had remembered any of the 9-12 material in college, or any of the college material five years after graduating. (Since the student population radically shifted, I couldn’t observe it directly, of course.)

    Which is why I was never bothered by reports that, say, science classes in elementary school were getting cut in favor of extra drill on reading and math in elementary school because of NCLB or Common Core or whatever. It’s not like any statistically-significant number of students were actually learning anything in the science classes anyway.

    • Steve Sailer says:

      One of the amusing aspects of getting old is that you realize that even, say, the bright young interns who write for the Atlantic don’t have much knowledge at all of the American history you lived through in the 1960s-1980s.

      • Guy says:

        I believe last year was the first APUSH DBQ to cover the Reagan era. (In fact, it discussed shifts in the conservative movement in the period you name).

    • grendelkhan says:

      Isn’t it important to be able to educate people? Doesn’t it generally matter that people know stuff and o their jobs competently? Wouldn’t a system that actually educated people have a towering advantage over one that just pretended to?

      The state of education is a poster child for civilizational incompetence. It makes me want to run around outside screaming at the top of my lungs, “EVERYTHING IS ON FIRE AND NO ONE CARES!”.

      I interview people to see if they can program. Lots of people, whether they’ve just graduated with a four-year degree or have somehow pulled down an industry salary for half a decade, can’t. I feel like I’m changing the rules on people who were expecting to bullshit their way through life. I certainly hope that bridge-building is done to a higher standard.

      (For what it’s worth, I have a vague idea that apprenticeship works, and self-paced mastery-based stuff with self-assessment like Khan Academy kind of works if you’re really self-motivated. I feel like this should be bigger news.)

    • moridinamael says:

      See, I think this is probably meaningless.

      When you* take a class twice, you notice that you’ve already seen the material, so you don’t bother studying it again. Or you don’t study it very hard. Then maybe you crash and burn on the first test because your memory isn’t as good as you thought it was, or you just generally perform at a mediocre level which is acceptable to you, since you’re disinclined to study hard at something that you feel like you already know.

      This says more about humans being not-strategic than it does about humans being unable to learn.

      *me

  12. Pku says:

    The romanian study seems to go pretty far against conventional wisdom – does anyone have a good explenation?

    • Conventional wisdom among who? I thought it was the conventional wisdom for everyone that’s not a right-wing edgelord.

      The one possibility is that Romanian women are just weird.

      • akarlin says:

        Incidentally, women from countries with less gender feminism and SJWism tend to do better.

        http://www.unz.com/akarlin/equality-bad-for-women/

        Incidentally, although I haven’t tried to quantify it, my impression is that that after you adjust for everything, women outside core Europe have historically performed relatively better (to men) as compared to their counterparts within the Hajnal Line across fields such as historical scientific and literary accomplishment (the Japanese Murasaki Shikibu is the most accomplished woman in any of Charles Murray’s broad categories of achievement), intelligence (women tend to do better relative to men across multiple cognitive tests outside the West – this seems to be especially evident amongst Arabs and Africans, but can also be detected amongst East Asians), business leadership positions (the ex-Soviet world is generally in the lead, and Southern Europe including Turkey is ahead of Northern Europe), and even self-made billionaires (China has 2/3 of the global total).

        • Steve Sailer says:

          http://reductress.com/

          Sexist cultures tend to make men intellectually lazy, while feminist cultures often have the mirror image effect.

        • Jill says:

          I can’t imagine that the preponderance of studies show this, but I am sure it’s easy to find one or two that do. I’ve certainly read studies that show the opposite of this.

          There are a lot of factors and ways of measuring them here, and it may be easy to choose the factors and ways of measuring them that will give answers that support your bias. A common problem in research, particularly social science researcj/

      • Wency says:

        Depending on whether you consider Scott a right-wing edgelord:
        http://slatestarcodex.com/2015/09/15/links-915-linker-tailor-soldier-spy/

        (though I see he commented below).

        The conventional wisdom here being greater variability in IQ, not average IQ. But it’s true that neither proposition is conventional wisdom within the mainstream, where any difference in cognitive function is presumed to be entirely cultural.

      • The Nybbler says:

        The variance hypothesis is pretty common outside those whose dogma requires absolute equality in gender intelligence; this includes a lot of people who aren’t right-wing edgelords.

        The best non-rigorous support for it is the observation that both geniuses and very-low-intelligence people (excluding known conditions such as Downs Syndrome) seem to be predominantly male; the “society is keeping women down” hypothesis explains only half of that. There are, however, other possible explanations for this that wouldn’t show up in a variance measure (and it’s also possible that it simply isn’t true — e.g. very high and low intelligence women could be just as prevalent but less noticeable)

        Of course adding one more study to a field of already contradictory and disputed studies isn’t going to settle the argument.

      • Z says:

        It’s not conventional wisdom so much as previous data. See:

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17513132

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19031491

        https://rgambler.com/tag/gender-differences-in-intelligence/
        (Be sure to read the whole article and the references at the end)

        https://www1.udel.edu/educ/gottfredson/reprints/1997whygmatters.pdf

        As noted by others, the following study is a possible explanation for differences between Romania and the US – http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ijop.12265/abstract

    • akarlin says:

      The obvious thing to consider would be to see what age groups were sampled. The male-female difference typically begins to expand after 16-18, when males continue to mature for a few more years while women stop.

      This is what Lynn’s meta-study on this topic found.

      However, my cursory examination of the study via Sci-hub shows that they did the analysis for all age groups.

      How exactly were the samples obtained? The great thing about school based tests is that it typically includes the whole spectrum of abilities. Getting busy successful adults (>IQ) and lumpenprole dregs (<IQ) to sit the tests is harder.

      The normative sample was selected in such a way as to maxi-
      mize representativeness on age, sex, urban vs. rural residence and geo-
      graphic region, from a sample of 4417 participants, which were tested
      in-home and in-school by trained operators.

      So yes, this sounds “problematic.” You also need representativeness on income, occupational prestige, etc.

      • Scott Alexander says:

        Yeah, but I’ve seen this same finding in a couple of other places before. Even though Deary’s really complete Scottish data shows a slight amount of greater male variability, it’s not enough to explain much about existing gender differences. I’m starting to wonder if maybe it’s a dead end.

        • akarlin says:

          It’s far from an open and shut case.

          Lynn’s huge meta-study shows otherwise.

          The Scottish data of course relates to schoolchildren, but the problem is that male-female differences only tend to really bloom once people reach their 20s.

          That said, Lynn’s study relates to performance on progressive matrices, and might not be very extensible to other aspects of intelligence.

          • Timothy Scriven says:

            TBH when people are saying ‘there are interesting sex differences in this area! You’ve just got to look at the variance between people in their early twenties who are a couple of standard deviations from the mean using a sample that includes the right make up of professions’ I start to get VERY sceptical. Maybe this isn’t constructive criticism but from the outside it looks like special double extra quadruple special ultra special pleading.

          • Anonymous says:

            Approaching this from the millenarian vampire point of view, I’d say Lynn’s right here, on the basis of historical record of mentally exceptional people strongly tending to be male. (Might also be that the Romanians are strange.)

          • Timothy Scriven says:

            I hate to be that guy, but can you think of any OTHER reasons why women might not have excelled so much (or records of women’s intellectual achievement might be spotty) in the historical records?

          • Anonymous says:

            I can*, but my explanation has the least amount of required assumptions.

            (* The obvious ones being “sex-based differences in interests” and “institutional sexism”.)

          • akarlin says:

            @anonymous,

            The standard answer to this: For most of history women couldn’t compete on anything approximating equal terms with men. E.g., see the Wiki on Sophie Germain.

            Big puzzle: Even as women were “emancipated” during the 20th century, why didn’t their share of human accompishment go up?

            My answer: Even though institutional barriers to female participation in the sciences fell away this century, the problems we now have to solve to make progress have become much harder. Since any minor difference in absolute g and/or its S.D. only really makes itself felt at the extreme edges – which would happen to include elite scientists – this would elegantly explain why there has actually been no net progress in female accomplishment.

            Social progress is barely keeping pace with the receding far right tail of the bell curve.

            Prediction: Since scientific problems are likely to continue getting harder and there is no more room to emancipate women any further, the share of female accomplishment as a percentage of the whole will not increase, and will actually fall over the century. (Albeit under the probably unrealistic scenario that is no radical human bioengineering, esp wrt intelligence, takes place. In that case who the heck knows what will happen).

          • Anonymous says:

            The standard answer to this: For most of history women couldn’t compete on anything approximating equal terms with men. E.g., see the Wiki on Sophie Germain.

            Her example might as well be taken to mean the opposite – the truly exceptional will shine through, no matter what barriers are in their way. This falls in line with Gregory Clark’s research into historical mobility rates (TL;DR: exceptional individuals will on average manage to beat the system and climb as high as their ability allows).

            Big puzzle: Even as women were “emancipated” during the 20th century, why didn’t their share of human accompishment go up?

            My answer: Even though institutional barriers to female participation in the sciences fell away this century, the problems we now have to solve to make progress have become much harder. Since any minor difference in absolute g and/or its S.D. only really makes itself felt at the extreme edges – which would happen to include elite scientists – this would elegantly explain why there has actually been no net progress in female accomplishment.

            This doesn’t explain why, for example, chess grandmasters continue being mostly men. AFAIK, chess has not substantially become harder lately. As with other prestigious competitions, I would infer that if there were an equal potential in the other 50% of the population, someone would have tapped it by now, on grounds of economic and status incentives.

            This might be explained under the “different interests” scenario, but I’m not completely sure the effect there is big enough. Might be, though.

          • Timothy Scriven says:

            I’ve never for the life of me understood why people have faith that truly exceptional intelligence/talent of any kind will shine through. The differential barriers are enormous. I tend to think its a kind of projection of the just world fallacy. For myself I think achievement at the highest levels is pretty arbitrary, and that’s even without systemic barriers. If Usain Bolt had a little less time to practice, or Einstein’s job was more fast paced, if Keat’s had have contracted TB a few years earlier…

            I mean we’re talking about societies here where women were the property of their husbands in just about every legal sense. Do you really think that’s not going to have a massive distortionary effect? Do you really think that so hard that you’ll prioritise it over a N=15000 study?

            As for institutional sexism requiring as many assumptions, well no it doesn’t, because we have (overwhelming) independent evidence that institutional sexism exists. You don’t even have to do a close reading of a text to explore the construction of gender in the 18th century or something like that to expose structural sexism, just look at the relevant laws.

          • Timothy Scriven says:

            Another aspect of the is that you’re assuming that the people who become famous for their intellectual achievements are the really truly exceptionally bright ones. I have my doubts.

          • Timothy Scriven says:

            Also performance at chess doesn’t correlate with anything all that much, including Gf.

          • Anonymous says:

            I’ve never for the life of me understood why people have faith that truly exceptional intelligence/talent of any kind will shine through. The differential barriers are enormous. I tend to think its a kind of projection of the just world fallacy. For myself I think achievement at the highest levels is pretty arbitrary, and that’s even without systemic barriers. If Usain Bolt had a little less time to practice, or Einstein’s job was more fast paced, if Keat’s had have contracted TB a few years earlier…

            Do you know what “on average” means?

            I mean we’re talking about societies here where women were the property of their husbands in just about every legal sense. Do you really think that’s not going to have a massive distortionary effect? Do you really think that so hard that you’ll prioritise it over a N=15000 study?

            I think that hard enough that I’ll take it over multiple contradictory studies, which is the case here. I don’t trust sociology/psychology papers farther than I can throw them, in large part thanks to our host’s efforts to show how often they are worthless.

            As for institutional sexism requiring as many assumptions, well no it doesn’t, because we have (overwhelming) independent evidence that institutional sexism exists.

            But is there any evidence that it has the advertised effects? I accept that sexism (stereotyping sexes) exists, and that the laws reflected those stereotypes (“institutional sexism”) in the past. I won’t, without good reason, accept that it was wrong, contrary to fact, or counterproductive.

            Another aspect of the is that you’re assuming that the people who become famous for their intellectual achievements are the really truly exceptionally bright ones. I have my doubts.

            I’m fairly certain that the vast majority are not fraudulently pretending to be smart. Whether their popularity is strongly correlated with their smarts, or whether it’s more of a threshold effect, is another matter.

            Also performance at chess doesn’t correlate with anything all that much, including Gf.

            (Well, aside from the obvious “being male”, you mean.) Interesting. Source?

          • Anonymous says:

            Except when they flatter your prejudices, of course. And in place of flawed scientific studies you are happy to substitute some shit I came up with in the shower. That method is well know to be the gold standard of epistemology.

            Do you have any actual criticism, beyond the accusation of motivated bigotry?

          • Timothy Scriven says:

            The chess result is pretty famous, I’d suggest googling it. I don’t want to sound like a snob, but tbh if you haven’t read it I don’t think you know nearly as much about this field of differential psychology (intelligence) as you think you do. It’s a very complicated area and there’s a lot more debate around things you probably take as foundational than you think there is. There are honest and well read people who don’t even think things like Gf exist.

            Where you say:

            “Do you know what “on average” means?”

            Yes of course I do. You make a reasonable point in that perhaps my examples gave a misleading impression that I’m talking about strange occurences which can prevent the odd person from shining here and there. I’m not. A myraid of things had to go right in someone’s life to become a famous intellectual, starting with actually having a serious chance to learn to read (and no, not all smart people can learn to read by their gumption, some people learn to read out of sheer curiosity despite amazing barriers but that’s the exception, and not an exception that every exceptional intelligence gets).

            As for what I meant by intellectual achievement not always going to exceptionally intelligent people (if we’re treating IQ as intelligence and not as a related thing but slightly different from the folk construct of intelligence, which I think is dubious):

            Here’s why I think most great intellectual achievements weren’t made by people with very very very high IQ’s. Having worked with all sorts of intellectuals (and given them tests out of curiosity on occasion), and having also worked in the IQ field semi-demi-professionally for a bit, my best guess is that most famous discoveries were made by people somewhere 1 1/1 to 3 1/2 standard deviations from the mean, the one in a thousand types, not the really, truly, incredibly, high IQ people. There are studies to back me up, lots of studies. This is because very high intellectual achievement requires a combination of different things, and IQ is only one thing in the mix.

            Sorry this is rambly but I didn’t have time to write a shorter but more concise response and typed it out at full speed.

          • akarlin says:

            Having worked with all sorts of intellectuals (and given them tests out of curiosity on occasion), and having also worked in the IQ field semi-demi-professionally for a bit, my best guess is that most famous discoveries were made by people somewhere 1 1/1 to 3 1/2 standard deviations from the mean, the one in a thousand types, not the really, truly, incredibly, high IQ people.

            Anne Roe’s 1952 survey of the most eminent American scientists (not even Nobel level but close) found an average IQ of almost +4 S.D. above the mean.

            Your intuition is, in this case, incorrect.

          • Anonymous says:

            Which test did she use in 1952 that had a ceiling that high for adults?

          • Timothy Scriven says:

            Dutton & Lynn in a recent paper comment on the Roe paper you refer to as follows:

            “Small sample. Ages not stated. Discipline members selected in different ways (e.g., psychologists by recommendation from a few “eminent psychologists” but others more randomly). Roe created a special test for all of them, seeing it as “impertinent” (Simonton 2002: 150) to have them take a standard one. Physicists did not have to take the math test because it was “too easy for them.” (Simonton 2002: 150). This means that we can only estimate the physicists’ IQs.”

            Also please note that in 1952 the definition of IQ used would have been mental age over chronological age, rather than the current system which uses standard deviations (it’s a fairly good match for the old system at low levels but not at higher levels.)

            So no, I don’t think Roe’s paper is… strong… here.

        • Techno-Satanist says:

          I think we’re putting too much stock in IQ as a component of Moxie. Across large groups, it would seem that the IQ – Moxie correlation is much stronger than across individuals within group (The Hive Mind IQ Paradox). If different groups experience different Moxie selection pressures, then you would expect selection (on average) to increase all Moxie subcomponents, and to evenly distribute the increase across different subcomponents (again on average). The relationship may be complex and non-linear. For example, this study shows that low-IQ high Machiavellianism individuals do worse than just low-IQ individuals, but the opposite is true for high-IQ, high-machs. In this twin study, Machiavellianism shows the influence of shared environment factors but other DT traits do not. There’s in this meta analysis, there’s no evidence of a correlation between GMA and DT traits. However, the DT wiki page lists a number of papers suggesting group differences in DT traits, often showing cross-group mean differences between groups that have different mean IQs.

          Another trait that is likely a Moxie subcomponent is contentiousness which is negatively correlated with IQ. Finally, autism rates are higher among people in certain fields, particularly engineering. Autism is of course also present in different groups at different rates, and causes weird effects in IQ testing. On the exact opposite end of the occupation scale, celebrity and NPI are also linked, but NPI is not linked to IQ.

          So, here, in my opinion, is pretty strong evidence that there are genetic traits impacting Moxie, that are uncorrelated with IQ at the individual level but are correlated at the group level. Further, there is also evidence that specific occupations are dominated by people with specific traits.

          • U. Ranus says:

            +1 very much.

            You mention The Hive Mind. I haven’t read the book; does it actually fail to look into this?

        • Douglas Knight says:

          Are you aware that the Scottish data is skewed? The mean is defined to be 100, but the mode is 105. This asymmetry has since been corrected by the Flynn effect. But for old data, you shouldn’t ask about variance, but you should examine the tails separately. It is easy to imagine that the higher male variance in that sample is only on the left tail.

          (NLSY is more symmetric and shows maybe 10% higher sd at the high end. That’s not much.)

          • Douglas Knight says:

            Well, regardless of whether you’re aware of that, you’ve probably directly looked at the tails, because this graph is popular. Improving the left tail and moving the mean to catch up with the mode means that the right tail means that the 3:2 ratio at what was once 140 will become a 3:2 ratio at 135, increasing the gap. But it’s still pretty small.

        • Steve Sailer says:

          The idea that men and women are equal in intelligence largely traces to 1912 work by IQ pioneer Cyril Burt.

          • Steve Sailer says:

            Women scientists have been doing quite well lately in the life sciences (winning, I believe, 6 Medicine Nobels in this century) but not in the death sciences (not winning a Physics Nobel since 1963).

            “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds,” sounds pretty cool to a lot of smart boys, but less so to smart girls.

          • John Schilling says:

            Hmm. Lise Meitner (a very smart girl) would have been entitled to as much death-goddess cred as any of her male colleagues, had she wanted it. She didn’t, and distanced herself from that consequence of her work as soon as it became clear where it was headed. This may have contributed to her being denied what most people would consider a fairly-earned Nobel, but a spot on the Periodic Table is a much rarer and arguably more prestigious award.

          • Pku says:

            Even if you’re right and boys are just fundamentally more violent and bloodthirsty than girls, you’d still expect that to show up in a study of sex differences.

          • Steve Sailer says:

            It’s interesting how women did a lot of really important physics and chemistry work in the first two thirds or so of the 20th Century, but perhaps less lately.

            For example, by 1911 Madame Curie had already won two Nobel Prizes.

      • Anonymous says:

        This has a larger N than any of the ones Lynn et al analyzed. Did you update at all?

        • Anonymous says:

          OTOH, it is still just one study, and it investigates only Romanians.

        • Z says:

          An important thing to consider here that the Romanian study uses cross-sectional samples, not longitudinal, like Lynn & Kanazawa, 2011.

          From the Romanian study:

          2.3. Reporting of data

          The results reported in this paper reflect analyses on participant-level raw data from the 6 standardization samples. Results were however not reported based on raw data, because in cognitive ability tests with multiple subtests (each of them with a different number of items and a different difficulty) the total score in not based on raw data, but on sums of age-scaled scores for the various subtests. For example, in the case of the MAB-II, the raw scores for the 10 subtests are not summed up into a total score, but are first transformed in scaled scores, and the sum of scaled scores is further standardized ( Jackson, 2003; pp. 29–31). As a result, for the SON-R, WISC-IV, IST 2000-R, GAMA and MAB-II data was reported in IQ scores, and data was reported as raw scores only for the SPM Plus.

          Age-scaled scores cannot inform well about sex differences across time or age, but are suited for the objective of the present study, that is, comparing sex differences on specific age groups.

          Something to keep in mind.

    • Jill says:

      Maybe all these sex differences that people are so eager to find are not really there. Too bad.

      If only there were more huge differences in intelligence, according to race, gender etc., it would really help the movements to split people into groups by race, gender, sexual preference, religion etc. etc.

      Splintering people into groups that are claimed to be VERY different from one another really helps the tribalization of American to proceed. And it helps the Big Money in Politics propaganda financiers. Because the oldest tried and true method of controlling voters– or anyone– is Divide and Conquer.

      • Rowan says:

        How can you even be *here* and still think those are the axes people are split on? Is “There Is No Blue Tribe” official Blue Tribe dogma now?

        • brad says:

          There’s a strain of American thought that think that there is a cabal of wealthy people that have deliberately foisted all the divisions we actually observe for the purpose of preventing the masses from recognizing their common interest in united against these puppet masters.

          It’s not that the Blue and Red tribe don’t exist, clearly they do, rather it’s that the differences are ultimately trivial and you only see such animosity because it is in The Powers That Be’s interest that the two sides hate each other.

          Interestingly Scott oeuvre takes up part of this theme — that the differences are relatively small — but rather than claiming these relatively small differences turn into heated and bitter rhetoric because of the machinations of a hidden elite, he sees that magnification as a result of natural, maybe even inevitable, processes.

          • Timothy Scriven says:

            I wouldn’t say it’s a strain of American thought, I’d say it’s classical Marxism, as opposed to contemporary left approaches which tend to go in a different direction.

            I’m a classical Marxist. Seems to me there’s a lot to back up sophisticated versions of the division story. It’s not really about a hidden elite, more Moloch style processes of capitalism.

            (Although sometimes it is about more or less conscious elite actors to, it’s just not the mainstay.)

          • Steve Sailer says:

            From the New York Times on 2/13/16:

            “If we broke up the big banks tomorrow,” Mrs. Clinton asked the audience of black, white and Hispanic union members, “would that end racism? Would that end sexism? Would that end discrimination against the L.G.B.T. community?,” she said, using an abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. “Would that make people feel more welcoming to immigrants overnight?”

            At each question, the crowd called back with a resounding no.

            http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/14/us/politics/hillary-clinton-shifting-line-of-attack-paints-bernie-sanders-as-a-one-issue-candidate.html

          • Anonymous says:

            Look at that, a natural example of horseshoe theory.

          • Rowan says:

            Actually, the meaning I intended with my comment was to distinguish between the theories “some cabal is trying to foster race/gender/etc. antagonism to divide and rule America” and “some cabal is trying to foster red tribe/blue tribe antagonism to divide and rule America”, and imply that the former is laughable and can only be believed by someone who’s so absorbed by blue-tribe thinking that they can’t even tell the tribe exists.

          • Jill says:

            Yes, almost no one in the U.S. believes in propaganda, even– especially– when it is right in front of their eyes constantly, and so seems “natural.” Scott is not an exception to this rule.

        • Sniffnoy says:

          How can you even be *here* and still think those are the axes people are split on? Is “There Is No Blue Tribe” official Blue Tribe dogma now?

          Are you kidding me? It’s, like, foundational to a large amount of the mythology of a pretty big segment of them. In which there is no Blue Tribe and Red Tribe, there is only society, and society is racist and sexist and generally in agreement with the Red Tribe. Making themselves the underdogs standing up against this. Of course at the same time they have some recognition that they’ve bubbled themself off, because within the bubble it’s all “this is what every right-thinking person thinks” and “if you disagree you’re evil and only Republicans will hang out with you” and otherwise acting like upperdogs who can get away with that.

          …and then there are the other ones who recognize that they’ve successfully bubbled themselves off and as such treat the Red Tribe as a nonthreatening fargroup rather than as the outgroup. Which is basically, like, most of the readership here, I think. 😛

          What’s more surprising is Jill still acting like the first sort even after spending a decent amount of time here…

          • The Nybbler says:

            Jill’s not acting like the first sort, or at least not their modern variant. She’s acting like a pre-SJ “knee-jerk liberal”, one who reads and listens to all the mainstream publications and thinks various things are just stuff “everyone knows” except those ignorant (generally not evil) folks who have been corrupted by Fox News or something.

            I’m not sure how such attitudes still exist now that their support network has been taken over by SJ, but, apparently they do.

          • Anonymous says:

            Yes, Virginia, people older than millennials do exist.

          • Anon. says:

            >I’m not sure how such attitudes still exist now that their support network has been taken over by SJ, but, apparently they do.

            They don’t, it’s obviously a troll.

          • Jill says:

            Yes, of course, people who disagree with you are obviously trolls.

          • houseboatonstyxb says:

            @ Rowan,

            Thanks for the link.

            I lost a post, so I’m trying to recreate it from memory.

            Imo a more useful study would look at how many cops are filmed red-handed doing something horrific, but never receive serious punishment?

            *slatestarcodex.com/2014/11/25/race-and-justice-much-more-than-you-wanted-to-know/

      • MugaSofer says:

        Wait, is your theory that e.g. Hillary Clinton is pushing “sexist pig, “glass ceiling” and “black lives matter” rhetoric – disregarding it’s truth value for a moment – and various elements of The System are rather incompetently supporting her – because they’re in the pay of Our Secret Masters?

        (Trump presumably is one of our secret masters in this scenario, and so uses the same tactics.)

        Interesting.

        • Anonymous says:

          I… think her theory’s actually that that exact rhetoric is what’s going to stop tribalization and unite America against Big Money, which is why Big Money’s fighting Hillary so hard.

          I know every iota of that sounds crazy. But judging by her comments on Clinton etc…

        • Jill says:

          No.

          I am misunderstood here about 80% of the time. At least I am learning how Red Tribers perceive things. Calling out racism where it it exists, especially where it results in police killing unarmed people, is not splintering people. It’s just facing reality.

          • Rowan says:

            Of course, appending “This isn’t splintering people, it’s just facing reality” to a dubious claim that splinters people is about as far-gone as “splintering people” gets, so exactly how sure are you of all these claims?

          • Jill says:

            And spending large amounts of time combing through tons of studies in order to try to find supposedly genetic differences in intelligence in people according to race or gender– this is not just facing reality as it presents itself to you. It is probably either splintering people and dividing them into groups to conquer them– or else being eager to get split off into groups, since you are convinced that your group will be the superior group.

          • Jill says:

            So Rowan are you saying that when you see a lot of different videos of police killing unarmed black people, that we should just ignore it and accept it as just? Should we ignore all injustices and murderers, in order to avoid splintering people? Or only those committed against minority group members?

          • Rowan says:

            Um okay? I agree that some HBD-er who claims that believing blacks are genetically inferior is “just facing reality” is also bad and wrong, but what does this have to do with me, or if it was about the red tribe generally, what does a claim made by the sort of people who call typical republicans “cuckservatives” have to do with a tribe typified by voting republican?

          • Rowan says:

            I think when I call something a “dubious claim”, you can do better than to just assume we both agree the weight of evidence supports said claim and ask why I want to ignore it.

            The number of videos that end up in the news that feature a black person being murdered by police is not correlated with how racist the police are, it’s correlated with how loud the controversy about whether the police are racist has become. That’s the closest thing to evidence supporting police racism that you’ve presented there, and it’s utterly useless.

            Now, my own investigation of the subject hasn’t been very thorough, I’m mostly informed by our host’s analysis of the subject, and the fact that I’ve never heard anyone on the “cops are racist” side of the debate offer anything better than the rate at which police kill different races unadjusted for the crime rates by each race. This is actually confusing, since they should have learned after literally the first time they talked to anyone who disagrees with them, but somehow it’s all I’ve heard from the blue tribe. That’s if they bother with “evidence” instead of shouting “racist!”

          • So Rowan are you saying that when you see a lot of different videos of police killing unarmed black people, that we should just ignore it and accept it as just? Should we ignore all injustices and murderers, in order to avoid splintering people? Or only those committed against minority group members?

            Actually, what is the relative rate of injustice and murder of minority group members of police versus other minority group members?

            I mean, since we’re caring about justice here, and we don’t care if we’re splintering people, there’s no harm and much good in Effective Social Activism, right? It’s Facing Reality to go “Hey, there’s a cohort of people who do the vast majority of violent crime, let’s examine them in great detail and condemn them for it!”, correct?

            Or, perhaps we can note the large number of videos we see and stories we hear of a very particular kind of perpetrator and victim, look at reported crime statistics and such things, and ask “Do the people who decide what gets talked about in the news have incentive to share one kind of unjust story versus another?”

            I mean, don’t get me wrong, some of the recent cases of police misconduct we have seen recently have been horrifying. But there is a reason why we’ve been hearing about them, and not just, e.g., reading the police blotters for violent crime.

          • The Nybbler says:

            @Jill

            We’ve long since reached the point as a society where we do ignore nearly all injustices committed by the police. It is not a step up from that point to pay attention to injustices committed by police against black people, but continue to ignore even the existence of injustices of police against white people. It addresses the wrong problem (racism, rather than the murder and brutality in the first place), which leads to wrong solutions. And it pits black against whites when it should be all citizens against police.

          • Jill says:

            It seems to me like cuckservative is a label that people to the Far Right of Attila the Hun give to people who in the GOP establishment people who look Far Right to Dems– but the GOP establishment doesn’t look Far Right enough for the people who use this term cuckservative.

          • Jill says:

            I do believe we need to revise police training and hiring so that fair treatment for all people that police interact with, becomes far more likely.

          • Rowan says:

            Apart from your weird terminology, that sounds like an accurate summary of how the word “cuckservative” is used. Now, what I was saying on that point was that the people who get called “cuckservatives” are the main, archetypal portion of the Red Tribe, the people you call “to the Far Right of Attila The Hun” are non-central examples, even if they do count as Red Tribe. And the claim that there are genetic differences in intelligence between races is typical of the latter, in fact “they don’t admit that there’s racial differences in intelligence!” is one of the accusations embedded in the label “cuckservative”.

      • eh says:

        The underlying assumption here seems to be that it’s okay to split people into IQ bands and ignore their opinions so long as the proles aren’t noticeably brown or female.

        You may agree with this, or you may not, but it deserves to be talked about. When was the last time you had a drink with someone from the other tribe, or with someone more than a standard deviation away from your IQ?

    • Z says:

      When actually reading through the data, the Romanian study isn’t as simple as the Scott’s one-line summary (or the abstract) would have you think.

      An important thing to consider here that these it uses cross-sectional samples, not longitudinal, like Lynn & Kanazawa, 2011.

      From the Romanian study:

      2.3. Reporting of data

      The results reported in this paper reflect analyses on participant-level raw data from the 6 standardization samples. Results were however not reported based on raw data, because in cognitive ability tests with multiple subtests (each of them with a different number of items and a different difficulty) the total score in not based on raw data, but on sums of age-scaled scores for the various subtests. For example, in the case of the MAB-II, the raw scores for the 10 subtests are not summed up into a total score, but are first transformed in scaled scores, and the sum of scaled scores is further standardized ( Jackson, 2003; pp. 29–31). As a result, for the SON-R, WISC-IV, IST 2000-R, GAMA and MAB-II data was reported in IQ scores, and data was reported as raw scores only for the SPM Plus.

      Age-scaled scores cannot inform well about sex differences across time or age, but are suited for the objective of the present study, that is, comparing sex differences on specific age groups.

      So keep that in mind. Still, with a few exceptions in age groups, the following are in line with Lynn’s findings that IQ differences go from favoring women to men around age 16 onward:

      Table 1: Only goes up to age 11.

      Table 2: Only goes up to age 17.

      Table 3.
      Sex differences by age group for the Raven’s SPM Plus.
      From age group 16-17 years onward, men scored higher than women in every age group except 30–34years.
      There are 14 groups age 16 and up. So 13 groups out of 14 followed the trend of higher male scores reported by Lynn.

      Table 4.
      Sex differences by age group for the MAB-II.
      Same thing, excepting age groups 16–17years, 20–24years, and 50–54years.
      That makes 10 out of 13 groups where men had higher mean full scale IQ.

      Table 5.
      Sex differences by age group for the GAMA.
      Same thing, excepting age groups 16–17years, 18–19years, 45–49years, and 70–74years.
      That makes 11 out of 15 groups where men had higher mean IQ.

      Table 6.
      Sex differences by age group for the IST.
      Here it’s interesting. Only age groups 16–17years, 18–19years, 25–29years, and 60–64years followed the trend.
      That makes out of 4 out of 11 groups where men had higher mean IQ.

      That said, when the male scores were higher, the differences weren’t as great as those found in the studies supporting Lynn’s hypothesis in pgs. 1-2 of Lynn & Kanazawa, 2011. Instead of 4-11.5 IQ points, it’s more like <1-3.

      Anyhow, looking at standard deviation (SD), the trend was as follows:
      Table 3.
      Sex differences by age group for the Raven's SPM Plus.
      7 out of 13 groups had higher SD in men.

      Table 4.
      Sex differences by age group for the MAB-II.
      7 out of 12 groups had higher SD in men.

      Table 5.
      Sex differences by age group for the GAMA.
      5 out of 14 groups had higher SD in men.

      Table 6.
      Sex differences by age group for the IST.
      4 out of 12 groups had higher SD in men.

      That doesn't match with previous findings on gender differences in IQ variance. Very interesting! It should drive further research in the area.

      Anyhow, I encourage people here to actually read the study rather than take a one-line summary at face value, or even the abstract.

  13. E. Harding says:

    “I’ve lost the study now, but I also remember seeing people claim that almost all of Japan’s recent stagnation is due to an aging population rather than more purely economic factors.”

    -Doubtful:

    https://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/2015/08/22/the-great-axis-stagnation/

  14. Glad my wife vetoed naming our son Sargon. We went with Alex instead.

    • Sniffnoy says:

      “Sargon” doesn’t violate any of the first four listed rules. As for the fifth, that’s a judgment call…

      • Anonymous says:

        Neither does “Adolf”. These rules aren’t foolproof. (Which probably makes them ineffective.) But then, they aren’t the core message of this essay.

        (I’m not saying Ants are just as evil, but sharing names with them may be just as embarrassing.)

        • birdboy2000 says:

          The Youtuber is named after the Akkadian monarch, not the other way around, and outside of a few internet-based social circles the first association of the name remains said monarch. And that’s *now* – barring a remarkably successful career by the latter Sargon, it’s hard to see that changing.

        • hlynkacg says:

          I went through boot camp with an Adolph, but his family was Swedish where I gather the name has a very different association.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      I think there’s a guy really big with the alt-right anti-SJW movement these days with the Internet nick “Sargon”. I think you made a good choice in not having your son constantly confused with him.

      Also, Sargon of Akkad was kind of a jerk.

      • johnny tesla says:

        Apparently, big = being called Sarcuck of Mossad

      • Gil says:

        Not Alt-right (not yet at least), he’s just an anti-SJW personality who got big ~2 years ago. Identifies as left-liberal, believes in egalitarianism, denies HBD , and wishes Identity politics could just go back into the bottle. — (Bane might say: Admirable, but Mistaken.)

        I didn’t quote him but I think my characterization is faithful to his own personal account. Google something like “Sargon” and “An honest look at the Alt-Right”

      • Forlorn Hopes says:

        I think you’re mistaken. There is a popular youtuber going by Sargon of Akkad, but he does not consider himself to be alt-right, he doesn’t even like the alt-right.

        That said, he might be popular with the alt-right regardless.

  15. MawBTS says:

    If anyone’s interested in class-A twitter trolling, Scott Adams has claimed he can master any political topic in one hour.

    https://twitter.com/ScottAdamsSays/status/758665517188034560

    Read the replies. Holy shit, READ THE REPLIES. There are ISIS decapitation videos that didn’t provoke this level of white-knuckled, keyboard-slamming rage.

    Frankly, the fact that Trump hasn’t picked Scott Adams or Milo Yiannopoulos as a running mate makes me lose respect for the man. Doesn’t he know by now that his platform is about trolling? It’s like discovering that your favourite pop singer doesn’t know the words to her own songs.

    • E. Harding says:

      Pence was just a hack to placate the GOP establishment and to bore the rest to sleep. No reasonable delegate could vote against him in the acclamation and while he is a liability for the ticket and by no means emphasizes Trump’s message (just the opposite, in fact), he shows that there is room for intellectual diversity in the Trump administration.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      Trump has actually started really boring me lately. If he just says moderately offensive comments about as bad as his last moderately offensive comments, there’s no fun in that. I’m not sure if this is good or bad for Trump; I feel like he relies on a sort of “OMG what is this guy going to do next?” kind of appeal.

      • MawBTS says:

        Same. Offending people is a downright Sisyphean endeavor.

        The first swear word on a rap album was shocking. The 3257th swear word was just background noise.

      • Vaniver says:

        You understand that he’s actually trying to win, right? This is his pivot to being presidential.

        • Scott Alexander says:

          I understand, but I’m not sure to what degree he’s a one-trick-pony and that pony is getting free media attention and votes from disgruntled people by being unpredictable and offensive. There’s no way he can compete in the looking-presidential stakes against real politicians.

          • Exit Stage Right says:

            I don’t think he needs to look more presidential than Clinton (to her credit, that’d be quite challenging). He just needs to look presidential. I think its a binary thing, he’ll either look enough the part or he won’t

            The free media attention didn’t fall out of the sky, he or someone advising him correctly guessed that his antics could earn him a lot of what others have to pay for. But will he still get as much of it if now that he’s trying to look composed is the thing…he might be caught in a bind, where he can either look presidential or get free attention, but not both

          • He needs to get voters to “think past the sale” and imagine him as president and this will automatically cause voters to think of Trump as presidential. The best indication of this working is journalists occasionally referring to him as “President Trump.” Clinton seems to be helping with this strategy when she asks voters to imagine how horrible a president Trump would be.

          • Jill says:

            It is quite possible that Trump could win due to the massive anti-government sentiment among the public– something that has been stoked high by past GOP candidates for both Congress and the presidency. But now this sentiment has turned against establishment Republicans also.

            A large number of people are so ticked off at government that they WANT to elect someone who is not presidential or governmental seeming in any way. They have been thoroughly convinced by propaganda that government is evil and that they have to send a GOOD person to fix it i.e. one who has never gotten his hands dirty by having any experience in it or knowledge of it.

          • The Nybbler says:

            @Jill

            Well, you have half an acorn there. It’s true that the GOP has positioned itself as the party of small government and “government is the problem”. However, you’re mistaken in thinking the stoking of this sentiment is responsible for some anti-government sentiment among the public. In fact, I don’t see such sentiment as being popular among the public. Bernie Sanders is quite pro-government-solution, Democratic Socialist on the European model. Hillary is pro-government-solution on the standard Democratic model. And Trump is calling for government solutions as well.

            A large number of people are ticked off at the establishment, but not because of GOP support for anti-government sentiment. They’re ticked off at the establishment because it has not delivered them what it promised or what they wanted. Core Trump supporters want tougher immigration enforcement; other Trump supporters are angry at the GOP for not successfully pushing back against the Democrats on various issues from taxes to Obamacare to gay marriage. Disaffected Democrats wanted things like single-payer healthcare (few like Obamacare as passed), and an end to drone strikes and the various wars the US is involved with. So yeah, the establishment isn’t real popular now, but that’s because they didn’t do what the people they claimed to represent wanted.

          • Jill says:

            Nybbler I agree that there are reasons to be ticked off at the government for not doing what you want. But the hatred of government goes far beyond that. Propaganda always starts with an acorn that is there and then grows it into a much larger tree than it would have been otherwise.

            The Norm Ornstein article in Vox I’ve been citing describes how Newt Gingrich started the current wave of government hatred. And it’s gone on and grown in size ever since he began it.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Jill – Remember how Obama’s presidential slogan was Hope and Change? I do, I voted for him. I don’t think you can blame that on Gingrich. Not saying the Gingrich part didn’t exist, though it was something Gingrich tapped rather than creating out of whole cloth, but that only explains half the unrest.

          • Wilj says:

            I don’t think Republican anti-government rhetoric has much to do with it at all. It’s anti-establishment sentiment more than anti-government per se.

          • Jill says:

            “I don’t think Republican anti-government rhetoric has much to do with it at all. It’s anti-establishment sentiment more than anti-government per se.”

            It’s both. Some is due to frustration that government doesn’t do what citizens want, even when most of us want a particular thing. But some of it is due to intentional propaganda that’s been going on for decades. No one believes in propaganda in U.S. culture though, or believes it has an effect, because we are such an active non-reflective culture that we don’t see it, even when immersed in it.

            Okay here is Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute, on how Gingrich engineered this. I was citing a vox article before and people wouldn’t read it because they think it’s liberal biased. So I am trying another publication.

            http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/01/the-eight-causes-of-trumpism/422427/

            I hope there are some publications other than the Right Wing ones like Breitbart, that people will be willing to read here.

            Otherwise no one will ever read any of the facts that are inconsistent with the Right Wing narrative. Because Right Wing publications will never publish those, and will sometimes make up lies to try to push people away from the truth.

            In this time of polarization, people don’t care WHAT is said. Facts are unimportant. All that matters is WHO or WHICH TRIBE said it. I find that highly frustrating.

          • Glen Raphael says:

            @Jill:

            Okay here is Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute, on how Gingrich engineered this.

            Are you familiar with the Great Man theory of politics? There’s a popular variant I like to call the Evil Wizard theory of politics. Evil Wizard Theory says that if you have political views and the public-at-large disagrees with your views, it must be because there is an Evil Wizard somewhere casting spells to fool the public into believing all these obviously false things.

            If we could just identify who the Evil Wizards are and pull back the curtain to reveal that they are indeed pulling strings and casting spells back there, why then naturally the populace will realize how silly they’ve been and come to their senses and start believing true stuff instead. True stuff like what we believe, since we certainly aren’t under the influence of any Evil Wizards at all. Nope, not a one. Trust us! (And don’t look behind that curtain!)

            Some top contenders proposed for the job of Evil Wizard over the years have included:

            The Koch Brothers
            Richard Mellon Scaife
            George Soros
            Fox News
            The mainstream media/MSM
            Rush Limbaugh
            Newt Gingrich
            Paul Krugman
            Ayn Rand
            Milton Friedman

            The basic strategy is to take any popular view and find somebody who is especially rich, especially smart or especially popular who is suspected to hold a similar view, point your fingers and say “HE DID IT! It’s all HIS fault! Wake up sheeple!!!”

            Norm Ornstein is clearly an adherent of Evil Wizard Theory; he (dubiously) identifies Newt Gingrich as the Evil Wizard who caused everybody to become all partisan when one of his spells backfired back in 1994.

            If Evil Wizard Theory were true, identifying Gingrich as the Evil Wizard might cause his influence to disappear in a puff of smoke whereupon everybody who has read that article you kept linking would wake up in a daze and decide to, I dunno, vote for Hillary?

            But here’s my question for you: what if Evil Wizard Theory isn’t true? Or if it is, what if Gingrich *isn’t* the relevant wizard but is just one more sad sack operating under the influence of a spell cast by a different wizard?

            When you post links to an Evil Wizard Gingrich essay, what outcome are you hoping to achieve? Do you see any evidence that you’re getting that outcome?

          • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

            Follow-up question: When you link for the hundredth time to an Evil Wizard Gingrich essay, what outcome are you hoping for that the first 99 links failed to produce?

          • anonymous says:

            She’s trying to direct your attention to the SSC commentariat’s politicsl power uncle. The cranky young on the alt-right need to know where the chip on their shoulder was first shorn. The lessons Gingrich taught in his college course “Renewing American Civilization” were poisonous to a pertinent threshhold. Your insistence that politics have always been mean is even part of the script.
            You may believe the narrowly directed vindictive rage you feel towards imagined liberals is part of some zeitgeist, but its snot.
            The problem is you’re performing in a remake of a hallmark hateflick script written by denture-wearing silent generation ratfuckers, and you don’t know it.

          • Glen Raphael says:

            @anonymous:

            The cranky young on the alt-right need to know where the chip on their shoulder was first shorn. […]
            You may believe the narrowly directed vindictive rage you feel towards imagined liberals is part of some zeitgeist, but its snot.

            Sorry, but no. Just, no.

            I was born a liberal. My parents are still liberal – they ran phone banks for the local Democratic party during elections. My default assumption is that everybody I meet in real life is probably a liberal unless given strong contextual reasons to think otherwise. Hell, I went to UC Berkeley. So if anything, for me it’s republicans and/or conservatives who are imagined – I’ve only ever met a few in real life.

            Gingrich taught his course in the 1990s, but I was already Libertarian by then. I became libertarian from reading Milton Friedman (Free to Choose, Capitalism and Freedom), Hayek (Road To Serfdom), Heinlein (Moon is a Harsh Mistress), David Friedman (Machinery of Freedom), and a bunch of random other stuff ordered from Laissez-Faire Books. And also from arguing politics online (eg talk.politics.misc) where it seemed like the libertarians always had the best arguments.

            Near as I can tell, I became a libertarian from absorbing the exact same zeitgeist Gingrich did. Libertarians just seemed to have the best arguments. In retrospect I realize that some of this was due to the same sort of selection bias that makes people find Marx or Chomsky compelling – when your views are far enough out of the mainstream that nobody takes you seriously, debates become one-sided. Libertarians can’t help but grok liberal ideas better than liberals grok libertarian ideas when the libertarians are outnumbered by 20 to 1 or more and weren’t born libertarian.

            I remember politics as pretty mean and scary in the 1980s and history suggests it has been similarly so in various times past (eg, the 1924 Democratic convention that broke out in fistfights and required 103 ballots) I don’t doubt that Gingrich has been influential but he’s just not the Evil Wizard that Jill makes him out to be. He was surfing a wave. Lots of people were influenced by a Friedman or two, Hayek, Mises, and Rand without getting that influence by way of Gingrich. People only focus on him for the same reason they focus on the Kochs – it’s scary to think that people might disagree with you for rational reasons of their own. Somehow it’s comforting to think your enemies have fallen under the power of a specific Dark Emperor. It’s also great propaganda to blame all the evils of the world on specific influential Bad People, because then you can dismiss every argument on the other side and turn off your brain. “Oh that? They’re just saying that because they’ve been corrupted by Ayn Rand/Mises/Gingrich/Koch.” It saves the trouble of actually answering arguments when just identifying the source (and calling it “toxic” or “poisonous”) does all the work.

          • hlynkacg says:

            Amen

      • The Nybbler says:

        He’s doubled down on admiration of Putin; that counts for something.

      • I’ve been wondering that myself.

        Also, two people in my social circle who were pro-Trump have decided not to vote for him. Neither of them are planning to vote for Clinton.

        I realize this is a tiny biased sample, but what has anyone else seen?

      • Tibor says:

        Well, if Trump is tuning his rhetoric down, it might be an evidence of shifting from energizing his hard-core supporters and reaching out to the undecided voters. Becoming a little boring might be exactly what he needs now.

        None of the hard-core supporters is going to vote for Clinton or even Johnson so he now has to concentrate on getting the extra few. Some former Sanders supporters might actually prefer Trump to Clinton (let alone Johnson) if he makes some nods in their way. Since, at least in my opinion, Trump does not actually have any actual political agenda (except for making himself president for the sake of being president), this gives him a lot of maneuvering space. The Sanders supporters who are also “anti-establishment” above all else (and also rather protectionist) might be the easiest to reach.

      • Luke the CIA stooge says:

        There is a certain art to trolling people once you get into high level play. Essentially your trying to say the kinda thing that would drive them literally insane. Like the kinda thing they would read in a necronomicon that’s changing it’s content specifically to drove them mad.

        Like trump already has the “we’re living in the 1980’s dystopian satire of 2016” thing going so if he could like appoint Caitlyn Jenner as his special ambassador, or Milo Yiannopolis as his press secretary, with Barrack Obama’s republican half-brother as an advisor, and then get all of his supporters to wear a weird trump brand uniform (actually just a Polo shirt). Then I’m sure he could give the left that creeping feeling that nothing they know about the world is right, and dark powers run the world completely beyond their understanding. He could then release his own TRUMP-BRAND “2016 declaration of independence” and I’m sure some head would explode/vote trump out of madness.

        Most people aren’t baysian thinkers, for them the absurdity heuristic is reality, if trump pushes a bit further then “reality” will just collapse on them.

      • TomFL says:

        It works both ways. There is almost no possible Trump media takedown that hasn’t already been tried eleventeen different ways by every news organization and pundit.

        They have turned the volume up to 11 and it isn’t any different than 10 as it turns out. They started going Hitler months ago, and there just isn’t very much past that. At this rate they are going to have to resort to saying he is worse than global warming, which will be just about as effective.

        Maybe I’m a bit of a cynic, but I am not waiting on pins and needles for all the media presidential endorsements to come rolling in. As Wall Street would say, the voters have factored in the media’s opinion already so the stock’s value won’t change.

        • The Nybbler says:

          Media which would otherwise go Republican but can’t abide Trump would do better to endorse Gary Johnson rather than Clinton, to try to split the vote. But they won’t, because a viable Libertarian candidate is a greater threat to the establishment than a President Trump.

          • Jill says:

            Agreed. A President Trump would be no threat whatsoever to the establishment. He would just sit there and take in all the glory. Someone else– probably an establishment person– Pence?– would be doing all the work.

          • Civilis says:

            It would help if the Libertarian Party had found at least one red-tribe libertarian, rather than running two blue-tribe, or at least very bluish, former Republicans.

            I see a lot of noise from red-tribe libertarian leaning people complaining about Johnson’s very odd for a libertarian stands on some issues where he thinks government power should be used. Some will no doubt end up voting for him, but they won’t be as enthusiastic about spreading the word.

            On the other hand, those blue-tribe signals make it easier for the media to throw the Libertarian Party a bone, which may earn them more votes in the long run.

          • Letmepost Letmepostsky says:

            I remember my libertarian online friends crying/laughing at Gary Johnson and saying they lost all their faith in Libertarian party.

          • Whatever Happened To Anonymous says:

            Well, I’m sort of Libertarian and think Gary Johnson is great. Of course, my options last election were between a more protectionist and slightly more conservative version of the Democratic Party, a literal fascist and Hugo Chaves’ best friends, so I’m far more forgiving of small things like forcing to bake gay cakes.

      • HeelBearCub says:

        I think I just realized that you (Scott Alexander) really actually don’t think just about anything matters.

        What I mean by that is, despite caring about EA, rationality, ideas, the importance of reasoned and careful decision, you really do think things will just happen as they are going to and whether or not Trump gets elected really won’t have any meaningful consequences in terms of how people’s lives unspool.

        Not in a “no free will” “deterministic universe” kind of way, but in a “genetics determine the vast majority of everything about a person” kind of way.

        You don’t think it matters who is elected President.

        Honestly, it’s the only way I can make sense of what you says your positions are, given the what you actually seem to care about (i.e. the times when you display genuine emotions about things, as you do here).

        Maybe it’s just a spectrum thing and I can’t read you properly.

        • Glen Raphael says:

          @HeelBearCub writes (about Scott):

          You don’t think it matters who is elected President.

          I can’t speak for Scott, but I certainly think that.

          It doesn’t matter who is elected President.

          National electoral politics are a form of entertainment, not a way to promote positive change in the world. And by that metric, Trump vs Sanders might have been the best outcome – it had more entertainment potential. Trump vs Clinton is bound to disappoint – Trump can’t live up to his full entertainment potential without a proper nemesis.

          I don’t vote, but I think it’d be fun if Trump wins because I’d like to see how his detractors explain what happened when the country continues to run pretty much exactly the same as it did before.

          Okay, maybe it doesn’t matter is slightly too strong a claim. In truth, it might matter who wins for president, but there’s no way to know if it did matter – or if so who might have been better – other than in retrospect after the fact.

          One of the issues here is preference-falsification. Candidates are experts in saying whatever they think voters want to hear and voters are experts at saying whatever they think will make them look good to their friends. Given that dynamic, it would be an amazing coincidence if what the candidates in their secret hearts actually wanted to do matched what the voters in their secret hearts actually wanted them to do.

          (Given general economic ignorance it would also be a hell of a coincidence if what the voters really want turned out to be good policy.)

          Besides, 90% of what presidential candidates promise is stuff they don’t have the power to do. What they can actually do and what they are inclined to actually do will depend on the facts on the ground and what they are told by the bureaucracy and what Congress and the courts let them do and what we say we want Congress and the courts to let them do.

          George W. Bush claimed to be “against nation building”. Obama promised to close Gitmo. This is the way things usually work – major party presidential candidates are entirely unaccountable for anything they say on the campaign trail, so you can’t judge based on that. You can, perhaps, try to guess what they really want – no matter how many meta levels you have to descend to get there – and simultaneously guess what policy the country will really need during their term and see which match works best…or you can give up and call it entertainment.

          Me, I give up and call it entertainment.

          • Anonymous says:

            Hard boiled cynicism is really cool. I mean it’s best if you can do it in a dimly lit cafe in Paris smoking a cigarette, but online works too.

            Meanwhile, things do collapse. Civis romanus sum means nothing today. And it isn’t just some random happening that no one could have predicated nor some inevitable historical process.

            It turns out having totally insane leaders that declare themselves gods and their horses Senators isn’t such a great idea. Who’d have thunk it, right?

            Caring is so uncool so I’ll be over there with a bucket of popcorn.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            Look at the large promises Obama made while running for president. Not what people thought he would do, not vague emotional statement, but actual policy proposals.

            The policy proposals he emphasized the most were passed in great numbers, and following the outline of what he promised. Executive actions were largely along the lines he promised as well.

            W. Bush implemented many of his campaign promises, and attempted to get passed even more of them. His actions post 9/11 were at least somewhat predictable based on how he campaigned (and who he selected as VP).

            SCOTUS justice vacancies, always very important, were filled in a manner one would expect based on how the two presidents campaigned.

            I think you are selecting and highlighting things that they did not accomplish as if passing 0, 25, 50, 75 or 90 percent of your promised policies is equivalent. This is not true.

            Also, none of this is very relevant to my point about Scott, since I suspect he thinks the policies that do pass don’t matter either.

          • Glen Raphael says:

            @Anon:
            The institutions themselves matter, and we should still try to invent better ones. It’s important that somebody fills the role of President – it’s just not so important who. We’re a nation of laws, not men, remember? Our president is not a King, he or she is just some dude or dudette with a relatively small organizational role to play.

            It’s kind of like the terrorism issue. Who the president is only matters because we collectively decide to care what the President says about stuff. The country doesn’t need an annual State of the Union address. Or a photo op where the president expresses grief over some random tragedy. The country did fine when the President wasn’t expected to do those things. (Why not give somebody else the job of emoter-in-chief – is Morgan Freeman available?) As for speechifying, the president could just write Congress an email if and when he actually has something important to say.

            The country wouldn’t collapse if we picked the president at random out of the phone book. It’s just a job. No biggie.

          • Anonymous says:

            Okay, I guess my accusation of cynicism were out of line. That’s completely not what’s going on. On the contrary you seem to have so much faith in the United States system that you think it can survive anything. But I think you are dead wrong there. Many many countries purport to be “nations of laws, not men” yet plenty of them have managed to fall apartment when they get a bad leader. Venezuela, Turkey, France, Greece and many others.

            We aren’t a nation blessed by history to always and forever have peaceful transfers of power, a military that keeps out of politics, and judges whose rulings are respected. These things have to be maintained.

            The system can deal with good natured incompetence a la Ronald Reagan, they’ll always be experts around. It can, with some difficulty, deal with the occasional Richard Nixon. But in the grand scheme of things Richard Nixon was relatively benign. Get someone any more malicious than that and he could do some real damage.

            There’s no coordination mechanism for us all to decide collectively that we don’t care what the President says. Unless that spontaneously happens it is still going to matter very much what he says and orders people to do.

          • Jiro says:

            The policy proposals he emphasized the most were passed in great numbers, and following the outline of what he promised.

            Yeah, shutting down Guantanamo did really well. And ending the surveillance state.

          • Jill says:

            Who benefits when you give up and call the presidential election in the most powerful nation on earth, just entertainment?

            I think the most successful propaganda of our time is the propaganda persuading people NOT to vote. Highly successful. And the party that benefits is likely the one doing it– the one that is an election winning machine. The one that dominates both Houses of Congress, most governorships, most state legislatures, and SCOTUS until just recently.

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2014/11/10/voter-turnout-in-2014-was-the-lowest-since-wwii/

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Jiro:
            Did you read past the first sentence in my post?

            Or are you deliberately ignoring where I already addressed the fact that being able to point to some specific things that were not implemented is a) not evidence for the what happened with other campaign promises, and b) not evidence for what that president attempted to do.

            Engage with the actual argument.

          • Glen Raphael says:

            @Anon:

            We aren’t a nation blessed by history to always and forever have peaceful transfers of power, a military that keeps out of politics, and judges whose rulings are respected. These things have to be maintained.

            Sure. But…you know the hygiene hypothesis? The idea that when kids eat dirt, it strengthens their immune system making them healthier in the long run?

            Trump is that dirt.

            Our system of government incorporates checks against excessive executive power. Since the system was deliberately designed to survive an occasional terrible president, terrible presidents aren’t our chief danger.

            Perhaps we should fear competent presidents.

            See, when we elect a president who seems unusually capable and smart and caring we’re tempted to let things slide, just let them have their way, let them do what they want. So even though mechanisms exist that could control a bad president, we’re reluctant to use them. We let those mechanisms fall into disrepair out of “respect for the office”.

            Remember how impeaching Bill Clinton seemed like a big deal at the time? It shouldn’t have. We need that sort of exercise to occasionally knock things down a peg or two.

            And electing a real nincompoop might be just the ticket. It’s the best way I can think of to massively reduce our collective overinflated respect for the office and remind everyone that the President isn’t in charge of the country.

            They can’t all be winners. Eventually we will elect a much worse-than-average president. So why not do it sooner than later, get it over with, and…stimulate our political immune system?

            One argument for Hillary is “she’s a lot like Obama, who was a lot like Bush, and we’ve survived them all so far”.

            That is also an argument for Trump. 🙂

          • Jill says:

            “Since the system was deliberately designed to survive an occasional terrible president, clearly terrible presidents aren’t our chief danger.”

            No, it wasn’t. it was designed to survive an occasionally bad president, not an occasionally terrible one. There are limits to what it can survive, especially given that the president has the nuclear codes. Someone very impulsive or with very poor judgment could easily cause WWIII in that situation.

            But I guess people are complacent about putting their hand on a hot stove until they are burned badly. I hope we end up with Hill, even though I prefer Bernie, because we’d certainly be able to survive that burn. The other one, I am not so sure.

          • Glen Raphael says:

            @HeelBearCub:

            I think you are selecting and highlighting things that they did not accomplish as if passing 0, 25, 50, 75 or 90 percent of your promised policies is equivalent. This is not true.

            The things I mentioned, I mentioned because they were the specific issues I cared the most about at the time. Had I voted for a major-party candidate based on promises and debate claims, those were the issues I would have used to make my decision…and nothing was done on them.

            Those few promises that Obama and Bush did (somewhat) keep were largely promises to do stuff I didn’t want them to do so that didn’t really factor into my decision matrix.

            SCOTUS justice vacancies, always very important

            SCOTUS has much the same problem as the presidency. It matters that we have a court and that it’s able to reach decisions in a timely fashion, but the exact content of those decisions doesn’t matter so much, at least not on the margin. And once again: preference falsification. We know an (R) president will try to appoint justices they think have (R) sympathies and vice-versa, but all the candidates will try very hard not to say much about what they think so the president could make mistakes in either direction. A pick who is unusually weird or stupid or contrary to the current zeitgeist is likely not to get confirmed; the kabuki dance that is our confirmation process is bound to find some “pretty good” justices no matter who is in office, which is all we need or can reasonably expect.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Glen Raphael:
            That is moving the goalposts, and quite a long way.

            “Obama didn’t do the very few things that I cared about” is very, very, very different than what you originally said. Obama did what he said he was going to do in roughly the priority order he said he would do them. He didn’t accomplish everything, but he attempted almost all of the things he said he would attempt. He did attempt to close Gitmo although he was not successful, but admittedly he did not put an incredible amount of political capital into the effort, being blocked first by the Governors of states where he wanted transfer the prisoners.

            But, like any exercise in resource management, you usually don’t get all of the things.

          • Jill says:

            Glen, Re: SCOTUS– in looking at the possibility of Roe vs. Wade being overturned, plus civil rights and voting rights going backwards, I don’t feel that way about SCOTUS at all. I want liberal justices on there myself.

          • Glen Raphael says:

            @Jill:

            Who benefits when you give up and call the presidential election in the most powerful nation on earth, just entertainment?

            Oooh, I know that one:

            Me. I benefit when I give up and call the election entertainment.

            See, if I were to take it seriously and vote, there are only two options: my candidate wins(*) or my candidate loses.

            If my candidate loses, I get to feel sad right away because they lost.

            If my candidate wins (*), I get to feel sad in the future when they break all their promises that I cared about and turn out to be a horrible disappointment.

            Either way, I immediately become less rational as my brain uses confirmation bias to prove I made the right choice – whether I did or not. Having chosen a side, I lose my outside view and stop being able to see things impartially.

            Since I like my outside view, I’m better off not voting.

            ===
            * The “wins” part is hypothetical in that though I’ve often voted I’ve never yet voted for a candidate who won. But for the sake of argument I’ll assume it’s possible the candidate I vote for might win, however unlikely that might be.

          • Glen Raphael says:

            @HeelBearCub:

            That is moving the goalposts, and quite a long way.

            I think you might have imagined seeing goalposts somewhere other than where I originally put them.

            Any candidate – especially one running for re-election – can easily put in their stump speeches any of a hundred random things congress has been trying to put in the budget and say “I will do X” which actually means “if I am elected and congress eventually sends me a bill doing X, I will sign that bill. I won’t veto that bill, even though I would have the option to do so!” Then when Congress sends such a bill along, the president can take credit for the “accomplishment” of not actually vetoing something that…probably would have passed under any president.

            When it comes to laws, all the President can do is sign or veto. Most Presidents sign nearly everything they get, then take credit for “addressing a problem” even if the actual law passed ends up making the problem worse.

            When I said “major party presidential candidates are entirely unaccountable for anything they say on the campaign trail” I didn’t mean that they never do anything they say they would, I just mean exactly what I said – they’re unaccountable. They can do these things or not and we have no way to hold them to it.

            When you say “Obama did what he said he was going to do in roughly the priority order he said he would do them” I am sure you believe that to be the case but it doesn’t really match my own recollection. That said, I didn’t pay much attention to his RE-election campaign. So if you’re just talking about stuff he “promised” in 2012, for all I know you could be right.

            Gitmo could have been closed by letting the prisoners free – that would have been my preferred option and wouldn’t have required permission from any governors.

            Both Obama and Bush also promised to end various wars earlier than actually happened. I’m judging them mostly on stuff the president can do unilaterally – taking credit for “I will sit around waiting for Congress to negotiate a law that does X and then when they do so I will let them do it!” doesn’t impress me so much.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Glen:
            I’m talking about 2008.

            – Stimulus ($800 billion bill passed)
            – Financial Reform (Dodd Frank passed)
            – Universal* Healthcare modeled on Romneycare (ACA passed)
            – End “the war in Iraq” (US troops were removed from Iraq)
            – Increase involvement in Afghanistan (Obama did increase focus and troop presence in Afghanistan)
            – End “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (removed in 2010)
            – Subsidize renewable power development in the US (passed as part of the stimulus)
            – Increase CAFE standards for autos and trucks (passed)
            – End the Bush tax cut only on those making over $250K, do not raise taxes on anyone under that income (compromised on $400K)
            – Take joint action with Russia to secure nuclear weapons (done)
            – Negotiate and ratify a START II treaty with Russia (done)
            – Require reduced CO2 emissions (EPA regulations imposed but partially blocked by SCOTUS)

            Those are just the ones off the top of my head.

          • TomFL says:

            The arguments that a President Trump would bring about the apocalypse from the all optimism and sunshine crowd is a bit overwrought. I’m just not buying that the nukes get launched when an offensive tweet is received.

            I doubt very seriously any decisions will get made that are truly reckless, but I have little doubt that Trump would be pre-ordained the worst president ever before he even takes office and historians will be united on this legacy.

            I think people way overestimate the power of this office, even if it is the most powerful office on earth. Our government has enough constraints to prevent things such as what is going on in Turkey right now from happening.

          • Lumifer says:

            @ TomFL

            Our government has enough constraints to prevent things such as what is going on in Turkey right now from happening.

            I’m sure a lot of Turks thought so as well.

          • John Schilling says:

            I’m sure a lot of Turks thought so as well.

            How so, when it has been an almost explicit feature of the Turkish government that the Army was supposed to act as a check on Islamist demagoguery by conducting a coup whenever an Islamic demagogue got too powerful, and this has in fact been happening about once per generation since Ataturk set it up that way?

            That’s like saying the American people think their government is secure against having congress try to impeach presidents who don’t need impeaching.

        • Matt C says:

          I don’t think this is very fair to Scott. Might actually hurt his feelings.

          Just because someone doesn’t get wound up about some particular thing doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about anything, and he might still care about the very thing he’s not getting wound up about.

          I speculate that you feel let down by Scott here, that he is not doing his part to fight Trump the way you feel he ought to. If I’m right, I think you’re overreacting and drawing unreasonable conclusions.

          It’s pretty clear that Scott does care about what happens and thinks that outcomes matter. I bet he cares about Trump not being president. But he doesn’t actually get to pick the president, and being louder about his preferences won’t change that. Getting bored with discussing a candidate in a presidential election year seems like a perfectly sensible sentiment to me.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Matt C:
            My statement wasn’t about merely his comment. It was fitting his comment in to a much larger pattern that runs through much of what he has posted over the last two years.

            Since I started on this blog about the time that he openly declared I was part of his outgroup (I’m pretty solidly “blue tribe” as he defines it, which he spent 10 to 15 thousand words to clearly state is one of his outgroups) disappointed is not the word I would use.

            I am confused when I try and piece his positions together into a coherent whole. What I know of the things Scott says he holds as dear should make him quite indisposed towards Trump, but he has only ever spent time defending Trump. Except for this comment where he seems to think that Trump’s candidacy is supposed to be a form of entertainment and is disappointed it’s not fun anymore.

            And I can’t make that square.

          • Jill says:

            Well, I hope Scott will let us know some time what he thinks about Trump, beyond what he’s said. Because we’re just speculating here. Which is fun. I’ll speculate too. Perhaps Scott doesn’t want to express strong opinions for or against Trump because that’s a very controversial subject and he doesn’t want to offend people or be offended or get into unnecessary fights.

          • Nornagest says:

            Where, exactly, is all this defense of Trump going on? The only long-form Trump writing I’ve seen out of Scott is his review of The Art of the Deal, and it’s quite ambivalent by my reading.

            (Lest I give the wrong impression: I’m not a Trump supporter and will probably be voting for Gary Johnson, although I find Hillary narrowly the less obnoxious of the major-party candidates. I do find the double-mecha-Hitler hysteria kind of annoying, though.)

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Nornagest:
            He had a post where he spent a decent amount of time defending Trump against the charge of having made racist statements. Haven’t figured out which post it was yet.

            And his review of Art of the Deal is sort of the opposite of damning with faint praise. Those who were cautious but amenable to voting Trump actually updated towards Trump on that post.

            The information in Art of the Deal seems to me to be roughly irrelevant to the arguments around Trump’s fitness for the presidency unless it is merely informing a much broader assessment.

          • Nornagest says:

            The information in Art of the Deal seems to me to be roughly irrelevant to the arguments around Trump’s fitness for the presidency unless it is merely informing a much broader assessment.

            Well, I’d certainly agree with that. It was written in 1987, for one thing, so it’s kinda like judging me by the fanfic I wrote when I was fourteen. Or cowrote, more accurately, since it was ghostwritten.

            It seems most relevant to the flip-flopping charge, which I don’t think anyone cares much about anyway.

          • Matt C says:

            I think you’re reading too much into what Scott says, or fails to say, about Trump.

            You can be opposed to Trump as President and still view him as an interesting phenomenon that is entertaining to watch. That’s pretty much my point of view, and I suspect Scott’s also. Saying Trump has gotten boring and is no fun anymore doesn’t necessarily mean anything about how much you do or don’t want him as Prez.

            I’m pretty sure Scott is against Trump. I think you’re right about that. But you expect this to come out in the form of a consistent message about Trump, where Scott makes sure he is “on point” when he mentions Trump’s name. Scott doesn’t really write this way (and I’m glad of it). I wouldn’t be surprised if Scott doesn’t mention the fact that he is opposed to Trump as President because he considers it so obvious that it would be pointless and boring to bring it up.

            I also think you’re wrong about Scott and Blue Tribe, and you’re really really wrong if you think you, specifically, are in Scott’s outgroup. It does look to me like your machinery for modeling what is going on in Scott’s head is a little broken. I could be the one that’s wrong here, of course, but I do find Scott pretty consistent and easy to understand, even when I think he’s wrong.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Matt C:
            Have you read “I Can Tolerate Anything Except The Outgroup”“?

            Scott states clearly at the end that Blue Tribe is his outgroup.

            I mean, I’m not sure those particularly groupings really make sense, but Scott does. So, clearly he considers me to be in his outgroup.

          • Whatever Happened to Anonymous says:

            I feel like extrapolating “The Blue Tribe is my outgroup” to “You, yes you specifically, are in my outgroup” ignores the issue with distance and how we think differently when considering individuals vs groups.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Whatever Happened to Anonymous:

            “You, yes you specifically, are in my outgroup”

            I don’t think I used it in a manner that specified some animus towards me specifically? I simply noted that since Scott has identified “my people” as his outgroup, being disappointed that he is unwilling to analyze Trump as a current political actor wouldn’t make a ton of sense. He is going to be disposed to avoid criticizing Trump merely because “blue tribe” is doing it.

            I do think that ignoring the elephant in Trump’s room is bad, but then I would think that wouldn’t I?

            I also try to take the stance that the likelihood Scott actually pays attention to anything that I write is far closer to 0 than 0.5. I originally wrote my post referencing Scott rather than directed to him (using “Scott” instead of “you”), but then I thought that might be kind of rude.

        • Jill says:

          He wanted to shut down Guantanamo. Congress wouldn’t fund it, as I have already said before.

          As for shutting down the surveillance state, some say that the military/security/industrial/banking complex is the all powerful Deep State. If they are correct, then the pres doesn’t tell those folks what to do. The Deep State tells the pres what to do.

          books on the Deep State

          https://www.amazon.com/Deep-State-Constitution-Shadow-Government/dp/0525428348/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1470008852&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Deep+State

          https://www.amazon.com/American-Deep-State-Democracy-Library/dp/1442214244/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1470008852&sr=8-2&keywords=The+Deep+State

          It’s possible that Obama did the best he could in these areas. And interesting that Obama keeps being held to a standard 100X as high as the one GW Bush is held to.

    • herbert herbertson says:

      Interesting that he didn’t reply to James Fallows, who is at the top of the list of men who I would choose to be my third grandpa.

    • Jill says:

      Scott Adams has been a rabid Trump supporter and Hillary basher for a long time now. And the replies to him there are from people having built up rage against him over time.

      Scott Adams has learned how to irritate people to the point of rage and how to write funny comics. I don’t see him as having any other skills, although he is certainly a legend in his own mind.

      Trolling is not hard. In fact, people accuse me and others of doing it when we are not. Just disagreeing with the majority view on a board is considered by some to be trolling. But irritating the heck out of other people on purpose, as Scott Adams greatly enjoys doing, is also easy enough for anyone to do. E.g. he has called Hillary a cop killer in one of his recent blogs, because she is supportive toward BLM.

      He’s sort of a SIW– a Social Injustice Warrior– bravely defending social injustice, LOL.

      • Mercer says:

        http://blog.dilbert.com/post/147395227526/cop-killers-versus-racists

        “To my eyes, the biggest change is that Clinton’s team just became the cop-killing side. At least that’s how it looks to our irrational minds. Your brain thinks cops are probably Trump supporters (true or not) while you probably see cop-killers as Clinton supporters (true or not).”

        He is not calling her a cop-killer. He is talking exclusively about our irrational perceptions. The fact that you consistently misrepresent the things you’re talking about like this is why some feel you’re a troll.

        • Jill says:

          Misrepresentations 10X as bad as any I have ever made, when done by Red Tribe folks on this board, go completely unnoticed.

          So Adams says she is a cop killer to our irrational minds. She’s not a cop killer, he says. It’s simply that we all BELIEVE she’s a cop killer. Okay, I wasn’t precise. But Hillary is not a cop killer in any way– not even to most people’s irrational minds. And he titled his article Cop Killers vs. Racists, intentionally blurring the distinction himself.

          • Sandy says:

            But he’s not saying she’s a cop killer, not even to our irrational minds. He’s saying that Hillary is associating herself with cop killers.

        • The Nybbler says:

          Adams is a comic writer. He’s writing for comic effect. He’s also right; recent events have associated Hillary with cop-killers. Black Lives Matter has successfully positioned itself as the face of anti-racism… and of cop-killing, insincere-sounding disclaimers otherwise notwithstanding. And BLM is seen as being on Hillary’s side; it’s certainly clearly opposed to Trump.

          If I didn’t know better I’d think Adams was telling the truth in the most unpalatable way possible to get Hillary’s supporters to reject it. But I think actually he’s just doing that for comic effect. And for fun.

          • Civilis says:

            Could Adams be a right-wing version of Jon Stewart when he was hosting the Daily Show? One of the complaints by the right was that Stewart would jump back and forth across the line between ‘serious commentator’ and ‘comic’ depending on which side of the line was more beneficial to him at the time.

          • Jill says:

            Adams is not as bright as Stewart, nor does he put out as much material. He’s just a comic strip writer who blogs. But he does indeed ‘serious commentator’ and ‘comic’ depending on which side of the line is more beneficial to him at the time.

            But since he has done nothing much but write comic strips and blogs, and the blogs have a ridiculous sounding comic quality to them, the serious side of the line is a harder sell for me, regarding Adams. I find it hard to take him seriously.

            He took a hypnosis course a long time ago and has read a few books on persuasion, although he has never worked in that field. He thinks he’s a Master Persuader, but I don’t find him persuasive. I don’t know if anyone actually does. Persuasion is not so easy as he makes it out to be.

            Few people in the U.S. change their minds about politics. I can’t imagine he has changed anyone’s mind, although he does Trump supporters do hang around his twitter stream because they agree with him.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Civilis – “Could Adams be a right-wing version of Jon Stewart when he was hosting the Daily Show?”

            Essentially. He is not engaging in good-faith communication, but rather writing to influence and persuade the biggest section of the population he thinks he can reach as efficiently as possible. It appears to be working pretty well. I read him for a while, and found the content pretty interesting when interpreted from that perspective, but it’s a very narrow band of content.

            @Jill – “Adams is not as bright as Stewart…”

            How do you know?

            “He thinks he’s a Master Persuader, but I don’t find him persuasive. I don’t know if anyone actually does. Persuasion is not so easy as he makes it out to be.”

            He declared Trump a “master persuader” and predicted that he would easily win the Republican Nomination and go on to win the Presidency in a landside very, very early in the primary, which I think is probably the ballsiest move of any political commentator in my lifetime. That prediction arguably had a material impact on Trump’s actual victory in the Republican primary; I’d imagine the precise impact would be difficult to measure, but his articles were a big part of what changed me from seeing Trump as a pathetic clown to seeing him as the best candidate in either party; I would have probably been a Sanders supporter otherwise. Whether it’s a swing he catalyzed himself or simply spotted way faster than anyone else, it’s quite impressive.

            As for whether he’s persuasive to you, he may be a significant part of the reason that you’ve been speculating about how awful a job Trump would do as president in the last few threads. That don’t seem like chopped liver to me.

            “Few people in the U.S. change their minds about politics. ”

            I’m one of them. Are you?

          • Jill says:

            “He (Adams) declared Trump a “master persuader” and predicted that he would easily win the Republican Nomination and go on to win the Presidency in a landslide very, very early in the primary, which I think is probably the ballsiest move of any political commentator in my lifetime.”

            Well, he was correct in his prediction. I can give him credit for that much. But Trump didn’t win the nomination because he is a Master Persuader. He won it because he is a mirror of people’s basest instincts. He’s incredibly self centered, has poor control over his impulses, is a pathological liar, is a bully.

            And he is using all the same methods Republicans have been using for years to scare and anger people and then to “protect” them from the things he made them excessively scared and angry about. He does do that better than any Republicans have ever done it before. But these methods are persuasive almost entirely to Republicans. You are the only person I have ever communicated with who ever voted Dem who is supporting Trump now.

            “As for whether he’s persuasive to you, he may be a significant part of the reason that you’ve been speculating about how awful a job Trump would do as president in the last few threads. That don’t seem like chopped liver to me.”

            I don’t need Adams to tell me that Trump would do an awful job as president. I already know that. But are you saying that Adams gets credit for persuading people of the opposite of what he intends to persuade them of? That’s really bending over backwards to give Adams credit there.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Jill – “But Trump didn’t win the nomination because he is a Master Persuader. He won it because he is a mirror of people’s basest instincts. He’s incredibly self centered, has poor control over his impulses, is a pathological liar, is a bully.”

            That is certainly one plausible take on the situation, and it’s clear you hold it sincerely. Other people have different takes, though. Maybe you know better than they do. Then again, maybe not. None of us are the sole arbiter of reality, and I’ve seen my worldview fail catastrophically enough times to be skeptical of dogmatic assertions about why all the bad things are the fault of those evil people over there. In my experience, the world is a lot more complicated than that.

            “And he is using all the same methods Republicans have been using for years to scare and anger people and then to “protect” them from the things he made them excessively scared and angry about. He does do that better than any Republicans have ever done it before.”

            I think Bush did a lot more appealing to fear than Trump, who appeals much more to anger and nationalistic pride.

            “But these methods are persuasive almost entirely to Republicans.”

            In my decade as a deeply liberal democrat, I lived under a barrage of almost constant fear. Fear of the nefarious republicans who were going to shred the constitution and turn America into a dictatorship. fear of the poisons being pumped into our food and water and medicine by soulless, greedy corporations. Fear of the economic rapine of Wall Street. Fear of the draft being reinstated, and of being forced to fight wars I hated for a government I loathed. Fear of thuggish, bloodthirsty, unaccountable police. Fear of our own military being used against us, of the security agencies spying on us, of political elites selling out our future to moneyed interests. I fled my country of birth and very nearly renounced my citizenship out of fear. Are you telling me I hallucinated a decade’s worth of DailyKos and Huffington Post and Adbusters articles?

            Why do you think you understand Republicans’ thoughts and motivations better than they do? There are something like a hundred million Republicans in America, but you think you can compress their entire culture and worldview into a paragraph about fearmongering and propaganda and political money?

            “But are you saying that Adams gets credit for persuading people of the opposite of what he intends to persuade them of?”

            Judging by his content, he wasn’t trying to persuade people like you to like trump, he was trying to persuade people like you to talk about trump, as that is the best strategy to get advantage for Trump out of people like you. Judging by how the majority of your posts here have been about Trump, it appears he succeeded.

            This appears to be Trump’s strategy as well. Remember that two billion in free advertising Trump got? That’s just from the media. Want to try to put a dollar figure on the private conversations centering on Trump over the last year?

          • Civilis says:

            I think Bush did a lot more appealing to fear than Trump, who appeals much more to anger and nationalistic pride.

            Can you expound on this? From my place to the right of Bush, I didn’t see much of ‘fear’ coming from Bush’s rhetoric. Bush was careful to stick with the ‘religion of peace’ description of Islam, and always a little too open borders for the red tribe, neither of which strikes me as being especially fearful.

            9/11 happened at the start of Bush’s term in office, and there was fear from that on all sides, but my calibration for assessing fear of the enemy during a war is hopelessly out of scale due to my interest in the second world war, by the standards of which anything since the end of the Cold War barely registers. Compared to the ‘Daisy’ ad, modern politics seems relatively fear-free.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Civilis – “Can you expound on this?”

            “Can’t let the smoking gun be a mushroom cloud” would be an example. Defense and foreign policy seemed to dominate both of Bush’s terms, and appeals to the threat of terrorist action were frequently used as justification. The basic theme of his presidency seemed to be about ensuring the country’s safety.

            Trump does not seem to be about safety, on the whole; He doesn’t oppose Muslim immigration because they’re going to nuke us, he opposes it because we shouldn’t have to put up with the low-level violence they bring. He goes for flamboyant policies and expects people to take them or leave them, rather than trying to reassure people that everything is going according to plan. His strategy appears to be built on embracing chaos, rather than minimizing it.

          • Jill says:

            Faceless,

            “That is certainly one plausible take on the situation, and it’s clear you hold it sincerely. Other people have different takes, though. Maybe you know better than they do. Then again, maybe not. None of us are the sole arbiter of reality, and I’ve seen my worldview fail catastrophically enough times to be skeptical of dogmatic assertions about why all the bad things are the fault of those evil people over there.”

            Yes, there are other plausible takes on the situation. And all the Right Wing ones are expressed constantly here. So a Left Wing one needs to be expressed every once in a while. And I am one of the few people here who is willing to endure the pain involved, in order to express it.

            “I think Bush did a lot more appealing to fear than Trump, who appeals much more to anger and nationalistic pride.”

            I heard tons of fear in the GOP convention. But you are right, you can’t use fear alone to sell to people. You’ve got to then partially convert it to the powerful motivating feeling of anger. Which Bush did too, to some degree.

            “In my decade as a deeply liberal democrat, I lived under a barrage of almost constant fear. Fear of the nefarious republicans who were going to shred the constitution and turn America into a dictatorship. fear of the poisons being pumped into our food and water and medicine by soulless, greedy corporations… Are you telling me I hallucinated a decade’s worth of DailyKos and Huffington Post and Adbusters articles?”

            I didn’t say that the Dems don’t use fear also. I do see the Dems as using fear and anger much less often than the GOP does. And I see the GOP as using unrealistic fears or exaggerated fears more often. E.g. the GOP gets people whipped up into a frenzy about terrorism. Terrorism is real, of course. But you are a lot more likely to die in an auto accident than in a terrorist attack. So the fear that is whipped up is exaggerated.

            You or I can turn on the TV and watch Trump or Hillary– or we can watch recordings of their conventions– and decide what we think. Either or both of these folks and their supporters are using fear and anger a lot, or a little, or not at all. The evidence is there before us all.

            I think Cheny was whipped up into unrealistic fear himself, which is why he was so hot to invade a country that was no threat to the U.S., so fond of using torture etc.

            Many, maybe most, of us have gotten addicted to our own adrenaline at times. It feels good– at least the anger part of it and the motivation part of it and the feeling like you are right and superior. But it isn’t necessarily the best state in which to try to make rational decisions.

            When I turn on my TV, I see Trump and his supporters far more often to be addicted to their own adrenaline than Dems are. And sometimes Dems are too. It’s certainly not all or nothing.

            “Why do you think you understand Republicans’ thoughts and motivations better than they do?”

            I guess for the same reason that so many Right Wingers here and elsewhere seem to think they understand Dems’ thoughts better than they do. If I am wrong, I am certain that many many people on this board will tell me– some of them, in the most condescending, insulting and sarcastic ways possible.

            I appreciate your acting respectfully in conversation, and communicating your ideas rather than insults. Thank you.

            “Judging by his content (Scott Adams), he wasn’t trying to persuade people like you to like trump, he was trying to persuade people like you to talk about trump, as that is the best strategy to get advantage for Trump out of people like you. Judging by how the majority of your posts here have been about Trump, it appears he succeeded.”

            It’s the main news media stations that give so much free coverage to Trump that are the cause of people talking about him (which you do admit later on in your comment, is a partial cause, even though you insist on giving a lot of credit to Adams too).

            And the other reason why people talk about Trump is the fact that he is neck in neck with Hillary in the polls, or better, at times. So if you don’t want him, you need to talk about how to defeat him. I do think you give Adams too much credit.

            “This appears to be Trump’s strategy as well. Remember that two billion in free advertising Trump got? That’s just from the media. Want to try to put a dollar figure on the private conversations centering on Trump over the last year?”

            People seem to talk about Kim Kardashian incessantly too. But she’s not going to become our president. I know that Adams likely thinks that if people talk about a candidate a lot, that means he will win. But like most of Adams’ ideas, I find that to be very simplistic.

            Even though many people have confused entertainment with news, or entertainment with people talking about making rational decisions for our country, not everyone has.

          • Civilis says:

            “Can’t let the smoking gun be a mushroom cloud” would be an example. Defense and foreign policy seemed to dominate both of Bush’s terms, and appeals to the threat of terrorist action were frequently used as justification. The basic theme of his presidency seemed to be about ensuring the country’s safety.

            To Bush’s credit, the most important national event of his presidency was an attack on the US. It’s like saying that FDR’s third term in office was about ensuring the country’s safety. It’s true, but there’s a good reason for that, and anyone else that had been in office would have had to deal with it.

            Take a look at Jill’s comment:
            Terrorism is real, of course. But you are a lot more likely to die in an auto accident than in a terrorist attack. So the fear that is whipped up is exaggerated.

            After Pearl Harbor, FDR didn’t whip up fear of Japan, the Japanese did that themselves by bombing Pearl Harbor (well, he did, kind of, certainly much more than Bush did, but he didn’t need to). The attack on Pearl Harbor caused 2,400 American deaths. Certainly given the horrible state of auto safety at the time, Americans had much more to fear from traffic accidents than the Japanese Empire based on that one attack. However, unlike the auto accidents, the attack on Pearl Harbor was a deliberate action put into place by a small group of men, and was intended as the start of other actions which, even not carried out to the intended conclusion, still killed hundreds of thousands of people.

            9/11 was carried out by twenty men on a shoestring budget. It not only killed 3,000 people directly, it crippled one of the largest cities in the country and crippled the US air travel industry. I’m more likely to die in an auto accident than be shot by police, even though I’m more scared of being shot by police. However, I do all that I can to prevent both. In the case of the police, the reason it’s so unlikely is that I fear getting shot by the police and don’t take actions which would increase that risk.

          • Jill says:

            Bush tried to ensure our safety after 9/11 by attacking the wrong country. If that isn’t being overly scared of the wrong things, I don’t know what is. I think a lot of neocons have that style, and it can be, and has been, extremely destructive.

            People who are overly scared of the wrong things, tend to solve problems using the method of “Ready, fire, aim!” as in the Iraq invasion.

          • Sandy says:

            What was the right country to attack? Some people say we should have gone to war with Saudi Arabia, but I often wonder how the Islamic world would have reacted to American soldiers overthrowing the custodians of Mecca and Medina.

          • Jill says:

            I don’t know what was the right country to attack, if any. But it certainly was not Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Jill – “Yes, there are other plausible takes on the situation. And all the Right Wing ones are expressed constantly here. So a Left Wing one needs to be expressed every once in a while. And I am one of the few people here who is willing to endure the pain involved, in order to express it.”

            I used to post over at Thing of Things, which felt much the same as what you’re describing. I felt compelled to voice opinions I knew the vast majority of the community would strongly disagree with, and found it very stressful to do so. I’ve often felt this compulsion throughout my adult life; I identify really strongly with this XKCD comic. It’s just the way I’m wired, I guess. There’s a couple of things I’ve found useful when being the lone voice of dissent.

            One is to try to avoid using assertion in arguments as much as possible. Assertions by nature lack context and nuance, which makes them very easy to counter or reject out of hand. They really are only useful when describing your thoughts and opinions to someone who is unaware of them, and when they take the form of a citation of fact from a source your opponents actually respect. Such sources are rare. Ultimately, the only thing you can be truly confident of is your own thoughts expressed honestly, and expressing things explicitly as your own opinion or thoughts tends to get a better reception than bald statements of fact, and helps keep you humble on the margin.

            Another is to ask questions. Get people to lay out how they see things, then ask questions that highlight the flaws and gaps you see in their position. People like to talk, and inviting them to express themselves lowers their guard considerably. Questions also encourage them to think about the issue, which is quite an improvement over the knee-jerk response statements usually get. Once they’ve explained their side of things, they’re much more likely to listen to you explain why you disagree.

            The last would be to have a clear goal in mind. Are you trying to convince the people you’re arguing with? Convince the audience? Humiliate someone who’s annoying you? Better understand someone else’s position? Get them to better understand yours? This stupid compulsion to argue that we suffer from comes from somewhere, and if you understand what your goal is, you can judge the effectiveness of your tactics and adjust accordingly. If what you’re doing isn’t working, try something else.

            I apologize if the above seems condescending; this need to talk thing has been a real problem for me, and to the extent that it’s been manageable, it’s because of the above. I’ve actually been thinking about requesting a ban from Scott to help me not waste so much time here.

            …Anyhow, back to your previous quote:

            “But Trump didn’t win the nomination because he is a Master Persuader. He won it because he is a mirror of people’s basest instincts. He’s incredibly self centered, has poor control over his impulses, is a pathological liar, is a bully.”

            I support Trump and think the above is false. You think it’s true and obviously don’t support Trump. Where do we go from here? I don’t think my support of Trump is based on my baser instincts, or at least not mainly, and not the ones you listed. That you think these things isn’t a surprise; I hear this stuff every time I turn on the TV, and hearing it again isn’t any more convincing than it was the first thousand times I heard it on CNN. None of it addresses any of my actual reasons for supporting Trump, nor does it seem to me to describe him well. What’s the proper way to reply? This is a genuine question, for what it’s worth.

            In any case, let’s assume you’re completely right and I’m completely wrong. Trump is a monster, and something like a third of the country love him anyway. What does that say about them, and what’s to be done about it?

            “I didn’t say that the Dems don’t use fear also. I do see the Dems as using fear and anger much less often than the GOP does.”

            Having been a member of both, I guess all I can say is that based on my own experience, I think you’re wrong. This idea that one party is uniquely more awful than the other is absurd. Both parties represent massive chunks of the population, and are the way they are because dozens of millions of people want them to be that way. Both think that their views are obviously true and only fools and defectives would support their opponents. Nothing useful ever comes from humoring this attitude.

            “You or I can turn on the TV and watch Trump or Hillary– or we can watch recordings of their conventions– and decide what we think. Either or both of these folks and their supporters are using fear and anger a lot, or a little, or not at all. The evidence is there before us all.”

            …except that all the instances of fearmongering on the Democratic side I could point to, you’d call simply stating obvious facts. This is how bias works, from both ends: my fearmongering is your facts, and vice versa. And then there’s the hazard of false-equivalence hanging over all this.

            …I guess my point is that even if you think it’s obviously true that Republicans are building their whole campaign on fear and hatred in a way that the Democrats aren’t, there’s not much use in arguing the point with actual Trump supporters. If we didn’t already have convincing answers to that, we wouldn’t be Trump supporters anymore. Again, what sort of response are you looking for?

            “It’s the main news media stations that give so much free coverage to Trump that are the cause of people talking about him (which you do admit later on in your comment, is a partial cause, even though you insist on giving a lot of credit to Adams too).”

            well, something catalyzed Trump from being a joke candidate to a serious one, which was what kicked off the media attention feedback loop. Scott’s prediction doesn’t seem remotely big enough to power that process by itself, but I don’t think it hurt. Again, I think Scott’s prediction is a case of him figuring out Trump’s broad strategy well before anyone else, and throwing his support behind it. The actual effect size is unknowable and likely small, but Scott did make it onto major media channels to promote his thesis, so who knows?

            “People seem to talk about Kim Kardashian incessantly too. But she’s not going to become our president. I know that Adams likely thinks that if people talk about a candidate a lot, that means he will win. But like most of Adams’ ideas, I find that to be very simplistic.”

            I think there’s a fair bit more to it than that; you also need Social Justice overplaying its hand and Conservative Christianity routed, for starters, and you need a widespread attitude of distrust toward the political establishment and media, In any case, we’ll see in November.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Civilis – “To Bush’s credit, the most important national event of his presidency was an attack on the US.”

            Sure, and I think it’s arguable that the emphasis on fear for his administration was inevitable and not necessarily a moral failing on his part; I don’t have any confidence that Gore’s tone would have been different, for instance. Policies may or may not be a different matter; I voted for Bush rather than Gore partly because he “didn’t believe in nation-building” and I’d had enough of foreign interventionism under Clinton.

          • Jill says:

            Hi, Craven. Thanks for telling me what worked for you in discussions. I cant’ say I’ll do it exactly your way, but I’ll give this some thought.

            What exactly is it that makes you think Trump would make a good president?

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Jill – “What exactly is it that makes you think Trump would make a good president?”

            …I don’t think he’d be a good president. As in, I think it’s possible, but the odds aren’t great. I’m voting for him because it seems to me that him being elected would be useful.

            I think there are several trends at the national level that are very bad for us long-term. Foreign adventurism, security/surveillance powers, general aggrandizement of the federal government at the expense of state and local government, breakdown of the separation of powers. This general process appears to have proceeded unchecked since the first Bush administration in the early 90s, regardless of who was elected. I want it to stop. Voting for Trump helps in two ways; first because whatever he is, he’s not another Bush or Clinton, and he’s taken stances that put him at odds with their machines which is a hopeful sign. Second, because he’s polarizing enough to get people to take the threat of the metastasizing executive branch seriously. Third, because he seems to have a high chance of acting as a wrench in the gears of the executive branch in particular and the government generally.

            I despise the Bush family in particular and the Republican leadership in general, both for the wars of the last decade and for their complete inability to accomplish anything past drawing their paychecks. They lost the culture war decisively, they’ve achieved nothing constructive in a decade or more, and all they’re good for is getting in the way of people who actually want to get something done. I want them gone. Trump seems like a good way to make this happen; he does massive damage to their entire structure just by existing, and may form the core around which something new could coalesce. If he fails, I’ll support the next insurgent candidate next time.

            More generally, I would rather see the Republican party shattered utterly for the next decade than to have it limp on, achieving nothing beyond providing the Democrats with a convinient scapegoat. Ditto for the reverse; I observe a situation where both parties are locked in stalemate on the issues their supporters care most about, while only compromising on things that benefit elites. Decisive rule by *either* party seems better than the current situation.

            I think Social Justice, as a movement has lost its way, and is doing serious damage to our culture. The wars on Sexism and Racism aren’t just stalemates; it seems to me that what we’ve been doing for the past thirty years has completely stopped working, and that has driven both the left and the right away from egalitarianism and toward a concept of race and sex as zero-sum competitions, and hence to an embrace of explicit racism. This seems very, very bad for society as a whole. I’m not sure the best way to approach fixing it, but pretending that what we’ve been doing is fine isn’t an option. Trump is a fairly good solution to part of the problem; he’s a walking challenge to the “you have to agree with us to be a decent person” meme that serves as Social Justice’s big stick. He’s a step toward Status Independence for the Red Tribe, and for various complicated reasons I think that would be a good thing on net. His campaign can also serve as a battleground for a social conflict that I would much rather see fought now than a decade or two from now.

            I have no idea if immigration is a net harm or net help to our country. I do think the claim that we can’t enforce our own laws is absurd, and the general “demographic shift” arguments I hear from left-wing sources are pretty hideous to me. I don’t buy the racism angle at all; Mexico has no problem enforcing its laws on Americans, and the world does not generally have a right to live here.

            Muslim immigration, I don’t care much about one way or the other. My understanding is that the President does actually have the authority to make such restrictions. I doubt it would actually make us any safer, but again, foreigners do not actually have a right to live here and Europe’s open-arms approach seems to have mainly resulted in a bunch of ugly incidents and a resurgence of actual nazis to something like political prominence.

            On foreign policy, Trump is pro-putin, which I think is much safer than the alternative for everyone involved. I think this is likely to make nuclear death less likely on net than the Obama approach. Trump seems to be generally non-interventionist, which I likewise think is a much, much better idea than our post-2000 consensus. If he actually keeps us out of foreign wars during his presidency, I’ll take that as a major win.

            Fiscally, he’s opposed to Globalism. I’m not sure if this is a good idea or not, but this is another area where I think the consensus doesn’t seem to have served us well, and it’s worth trying something else.

            Generally, he’s a giant roll of the dice. I see the trends over the last twenty years as pretty clearly negative, and while I’m not sure if we’re really in the whole yet, we’re getting there. this seems like the best time to take risks hoping for a major change in course toward something better. If the worst happens and he turns out to be legitimately, unambiguously crazy and/or evil, I have a lot of faith in the ability of a hostile political establishment to mulch him in short order. This too would be good for us, I think, in the sense that it would break the longstanding, idiotic norm in Washington of refusing to punish misbehavior and overreach by the Executive. We are long, long overdue for an actual impeachment, and if that’s the only way Trump ends up serving us, I’d still call it a win.

            How about you? What are you hoping that a Hillary presidency will achieve? I think you mentioned you were originally a Bernie supporter; what were your hopes for him, and do you think they’re achievable in the current structure of the Democratic party?

          • TomFL says:

            Jill,

            I think you might have cause and effect backwards in regards to terrorism (political exploitation). My feeling is Republicans aren’t whipping up and creating fears of terrorism, they are legitimately representing people who have those fears. Remember you are never to inpune the honestly held feelings by anyone according to PC ideology ha ha.

            The argument that terrorism is not currently a clear and present danger to US citizens is a strong argument and it is unclear why politicians find this argument a no go zone.

            However an argument can be made that there is no chance that automobile accidents will exponentially increase in the future and become a clear and present danger, where there is an argument that ISIS / Islamic jihad ideology could exponentially increase and became a legitimate threat.

            The fear of an increasing threat cannot be dismissed with statistics given the trend. The right wing perceives the left dismisses this threat for political expediency. Things such as trying to singularly blame Orlando on gun control sends some very bad messages to those predisposed to think Ahmed is going to break down his door any moment in a jihadist frenzy.

            Red tribe voters want to be able to trust the government has their back against external threats, even if today’s biggest threat is small potatoes compared to 1941. Security is a priority and one one of the main responsibilities of government. Trying to redirect anger at the Orlando shooting to US domestic policy is bad politics.

          • Jill says:

            Thanks for your thoughts on this, Craven.

            I was for Bernie. I think we need a push to the Left. The country is so Right Wing that it will end up being only a slight push to the Left if it happens, since Congress is likely to remain GOP dominated. I want the Supreme Court to maintain civil rights for minorities and gays, abortion rights, and minority voting rights.

            For that reason, I am for Hillary, although she is far from the ideal candidate for me. She’s the best chance for a slight push to the Left. I like what Obamacare and don’t want sick people to be without medical care because they are poor or because they had a pre-existing condition, like it used to be.

            I wish Hillary weren’t so neo-con and hope that Sanders and his former supporters like me can pressure her to become less neo-con and also more progressive in other ways.

            I would love to get to the point where people can have discussions about how to shift and change the government so that it is more efficient and less wasteful and responds more to the needs of the citizenry. It seems that we can’t have such a conversation now, because it always veers into the “Government is evil and should be almost completely gotten rid of” conversation. It seems that so many people don’t think government can be improved because they think it needs to mostly be gotten rid of, that that’s what the conversation ends up being about.

            I think that conversation might be a long way away, although I hope not.

            I am glad Roger Ailes got thrown out of Fox News. I hope that whoever takes charge now will be less crazy and more willing to have more factual reporting. I think many many people are influenced by the lies told there and that plays a huge part in polarization and inability of Americans to cooperate and solve problems.

            I hope that some of the people who are voting for Hillary simply because they are anti-Trump will widen their horizons and start watching other stations and/or that Fox will become more truthful. You can’t have a conversation about problem solving in the country when so many people believe lies and are absolutely convinced the lies are true.

          • Jill says:

            I think it’s kind of crazy that we have so much focus on the presidency. Although I don’t want someone as president whom I fear is crazy enough to get us into WWIII, I am also aware that Congress makes the laws.

            I think a lot of the kinds of changes people are looking for would more likely be made with changes in Congress than with changes in the presidency.

            There’s so much anti-government sentiment that it concerns me. And this in a situation where Congressional incumbents are re-elected over 90% of the time. So what people are doing is constantly re-electing the same Congress members who are not giving them what they want– and then bashing them when they’re in office– and then re-electing them.

            Meanwhile, every 4 years, they focus way too much on electing the president who will supposedly change everything– as if the president is king and laws don’t have to make it through Congress.

          • Jill says:

            “I think you might have cause and effect backwards in regards to terrorism (political exploitation). My feeling is Republicans aren’t whipping up and creating fears of terrorism, they are legitimately representing people who have those fears.”

            I think both are true. They take people who are scared of terrorism and then whip them up into a frenzy.

            “The argument that terrorism is not currently a clear and present danger to US citizens is a strong argument and it is unclear why politicians find this argument a no go zone.”

            People frightened of terrorism would not find that a strong argument. They would think that the maker of this argument is weak and would not protect their constituents. Reality matters in elections far less than voter perceptions of strength vs. weakness.

            “Trying to redirect anger at the Orlando shooting to US domestic policy is bad politics.”

            Perhaps it is indeed bad politics in reaching out to Red Tribe folks. But almost no one from the Red Tribe ever comes into the Blue tribe anyway, because of the polarization and the belief that the Blue Tribe is Satan. This is good politics toward the Blue tribe.

            Blue Tribe members like me tend to think that we should have more regulation of gun and more background checks and barriers in the way of every psychotic person being able to easily and quickly acquire high powered weapons to go and shoot up anyone he’s angry at, as is the case today. Places like Australia have different gun laws and don’t have as much of these problems. Not that we should totally do as Australia does. But I think it’s crazy how easy it is for any crazy person to get powerful weapons.

          • Civilis says:

            On December 7th, 1941, Japan attacked the US at Pearl Harbor. Yet, the first country we invaded was France (via their territory in Algeria and Morocco; at that point, France was still sovereign and not at war with the US). Further, we had planned and agreed to pursue a Germany-first strategy during war even before the Japanese attacked. Germany and France had nothing to do with Pearl Harbor, but Pearl Harbor was merely the incident that pushed the US over the edge into official involvement a larger war.

            In 1998, President Clinton signed into law the Iraq Liberation Act and ordered another round of military strikes against Iraq for continued violations of the cease-fire. 9/11 may not have been directly tied to Iraq, but it was the wake-up call for how much damage state-sponsored terrorism could cause. Iraq was still a major player in state-sponsored terrorism, in violation of the cease fire enacted after the previous war (giving us a casus belli), and a threat to US operations to contain other countries in the region. It worked in one case; one leader with a history of both state-sponsored terrorism and WMD development chose to give up on both to preserve his hold on his country. How did that work for Gaddafi?

          • TomFL says:

            I would support a handgun ban, and update the second amendment to implement it. This would take decades to implement, but would ultimately be effective in reducing gun violence.

            But I don’t support feel good ineffective solutions and rhetoric in which gun-toting good old boys in the country are somehow presented as having pulled the trigger of a jihadist or the local hood retribution shooting.

            By all means make gun control arguments after Newtown, but make arguments for solutions that might actually work. Nobody believes people don’t want to take away their guns (nobody!), so just man up and say that’s what you want because that solution will work.

            These solutions are not an argument for terrorists, a truck will do just fine for them. Reducing suicides and run of the mill murders are better rhetorical targets.

          • Douglas Knight says:

            Civilis, not that it changes you point, but French Morocco was not the first place America invaded. Before that, before even Pearl Harbor, American troops occupied Iceland.

      • in his own mind and the minds of millions of others. His blog and cartoon is very popular and his opinions are widely cited

      • Utopn Naxl says:

        Adams was not always this way.

        He said a somewhat controversial/offensive thing awhile back about women, as a small statement in a rather large post, that really would have been fine if someone his age of the opposite gender said about men in such an off-handed fashion.

        Then the usual crowds , salon, jezebel, tumblr/twitter just totally exploded at the guy and everything just spiraled from there. For months on end, any really minor non-right thinking thought that didn’t pander to certain people just made him get a large amount of harassment.

        He said a few more offensive things, though less offensive, that would have been more then fine(and understandable) if a recently divorced woman said instead of a recently divorced man saying, that heaped on 20x more criticism.

        Just as another Scott, Scott Aaronson wrote about being bitter and having a vindictive part in his heart supporting Trumps success due to that part of the internet harassing him, Adams got it a lot worse for things which were never that bad.

        If that didn’t happen, my bet from reading his blog for a few years and reading his political opinions would be that he would be a moderate supporter of Hillary’s due to her positions, while only occasionally mentioning the things he agrees with Trump on. AKA, Salon made Adams the way he is now.

        I think he would still write about how Hillarys campaign slogans suck(and that weird love trumps hate slogan show shes really bad at it), but he wouldn’t shill for Trump.

        • Jill says:

          Thanks, Utopn. I had no idea that that happened to him. That would explain a lot.

          The Internet can be a vicious place, regardless of one’s politics. That kind of vitriol has come from both sides e.g. from Trump supporters mad at reporters who wrote less than flattering articles about him. I can’t imagine being a public figure expressing views on politically tinged topics.

          I understand why Bill Maher says he can’t read his Twitter feed.

          I can’t imagine why a person would want to run for president either. They can’t even sit down at the TV and relax by watching a comedy show or a late night talk show– because the jokes are making fun of them.

      • TomFL says:

        At least he doesn’t put his political leanings in his comics like Doonesbury does. Some newspapers put Doonesbury on the opinion page, not the comics section which is appropriate. I was kind of under the impression that Doonesbury was just doing political satire which is fine by me, but when the Obama years rolled around, he rarely put Obama in a strip. GWB and Trump have been lambasted constantly in comparison. His bias has gotten much worse over the years. Trump of course is just asking for ridicule by the likes of Doonesbury so that is a bit understandable.

        However to conclude that there aren’t any satire opportunities for Obama and HRC is a bit of a stretch.

        • Homo Iracundus says:

          Doing a comic in support of the Rolling Stone “I believe Jackie!” stuff almost a month after it was completely discredited really put the nail in the coffin for his credibility, didn’t it?
          It’s funny to re-read Doonesbury from the 70s and try to figure out if he became a purely political hack, or if it’s just harder for the reader to notice without knowing the historical context.

          • BBA says:

            To be fair, we don’t know how long the delay between writing and publication is. I am aware of Trudeau writing a week’s worth of strips about Harriet Miers that had to be spiked because her nomination was withdrawn just before they were going to run. This suggests a 2- or 3-week buffer.

    • The Nybbler says:

      Scott Adams will be Trump’s Poet Laureate.

      Milo will play Trump in the movie.

      I add Adams to my other predictions
      Chris Christie: Attorney General
      Megyn Kelly: Initially press secretary, cabinet position later on
      Ivanka: White House Chief of Staff

      Already failed:
      Omarosa: VP

      This opens up Omarosa for Chief of Staff, but I think I’ll stick with Ivanka.

      The way he’s going on about Russia makes me think maybe Terry Hogan for Secretary of State or Ambassador to Russia, but I’m not quite ready to predict that yet :-).

      • Vaniver says:

        Ivanka is the heir apparent for the Trump Organization; I don’t think it makes sense for him to pull her from that to a role in the government.

  16. akarlin says:

    There’s a widespread theory that the Flynn effect doesn’t apply to East Asians but it is almost certainly wrong.

    South Korea has improved massively in the past 50 years (more so than any OECD country, as might be expected since it was by far the poorest amongst them that far back).

    Vietnam however is a genuine puzzle.
    http://www.unz.com/akarlin/genetics-iq-and-convergence/

    Vietnam: Phenotypic IQ of 99, versus a genotypic IQ of 106. Certainly a major surprise, considering it is even higher than China. The gap is substantial, but smaller than in India or Africa. This is not surprising, since although Vietnam has the GDP per capita (PPP) of India, it is led by conscientious Communists and is much better off in terms of social development and nutrition (e.g. meat consumption per person is equivalent to that of neighboring, much richer countries). This makes its excellent performance in PISA 2012, which I wrote about in my introductory post on this site, much easier to explain. Consequently, it would also be a strike against Ron Unz’s theory of the East Asian Exception (i.e. that East Asian IQs are very resilient to negative socio-economic and environmental factors). There would still be a substantial gap between Vietnamese genotypic and phenotypic IQ; it’s just that the former are so phenomenally high that the latter can’t help but be very high as well, since Vietnam is at least in terms of social provision no longer a truly Third World country.

    + Sailer’s remarks about Vietnam’s missing test-takers, might be enough to explain this.

    • MawBTS says:

      Why would we ascribe East Asian increases to the Flynn Effect? Nobody knows what the Flynn Effect is but it’s definitely not “rural backwaters becoming industrialised” or “communist hellholes becoming capitalist” – and those two scenarios describe many East Asian countries.

  17. Nornagest says:

    It’s hard to lower my faith in humanity after – well, after 2016 – but the Twitter comments on this @dril tweet about the Keebler Elves might have managed. Warning: kind of high-context.

    (((Godzilla))).

    Am I doing this right?

    • Guy says:

      I think you might want (((Gojira))).

      (((Seriously, though, a clear explanation of who in that conversation is and is not trolling would be lovely)))

      • akarlin says:

        (((I))) don’t know (((who)))’s ((()))ing (((who))) anymore.

        • Dan T. says:

          I, for one, am getting (((really))) (((sick))) of the ironic/satiric/protest use of multiple parentheses, which to this day still turns up heavily in my social media feeds (mostly from people putting the parentheses around their own name/handle). Doing it for a couple of days was a clever rebuttal to the original antisemitic use of it, but it’s long ago “jumped the shark” and is just tiresome, and sometimes you can’t even easily tell who’s doing it ironically and who is actually some sort of scummy bigot.

          • Lumifer says:

            I blame a secret conspiracy by LISP people.

          • Edward Scizorhands says:

            and sometimes you can’t even easily tell who’s doing it ironically and who is actually some sort of scummy bigot.

            Perfect.

          • Skef says:

            Hey, LISP folks have their faults, but they’re not unbalanced.

          • Ilya Shpitser says:

            (((John McCarthy))) is Jewish, by the way.

          • Guy says:

            I always thought it would be more of a nose tweak (and a better signal) to invert the parenthesis, rather than leaving them as the … coincidentalists … wanted them. Of course, I was never in a position where it made sense to try that.

          • Rowan says:

            @Guy

            I remember seeing some alt-right twitter with )))inverted parentheses((( on their username, it seemed to suggest “the Jewish conspiracy is everywhere around me”. Might have, in retrospect, been someone in a different subset of the alt-right who was trying to nose-tweak the neo-nazis, but it definitely reads more to me as just a variation on the “coincidence” message rather than anti-racist.

          • Soumynona says:

            More like a conspiracy of Scheme programmers:

            (define (Some-Person)
            (lambda () (lambda () "Secretly a Blub fan")))

            (((Some-Person)))

            The equivalent wouldn’t work in Common Lisp because function names live in separate namespace and don’t get evaluated.

            I suppose Haskell programmers would stigmatize people by attaching type signatures to them, like:

            Bad Person :: () -> () -> () -> ()

            That does look unpleasantly imperative. Exactly the sort of person to shun.

          • Guy says:

            @Rowan:

            Well in that case, {([fuck everything])}.

      • U. Ranus says:

        Trolls? Trolls? Who cares! Look, there’s NAZIS IN MY MENTIONS!

    • Julie K says:

      (((I))) hope that guy also avoids anything invented by the (((people))) on this list of some of the most important lifesaving advances in the history of science, medicine, and technology.

      • Rowan says:

        I hope you’re just operating on a level of irony higher than I can perceive and/or trying to troll us, because I thought SSC commenters were smarter and/or less blindly tribal than that.

        • Anonanon says:

          Yeah, comments like that really let down The SSC Tribe. Worse, they make us look bad in the eyes of those disgusting outsiders who aren’t of The Tribe.
          We can’t allow anyone to think we’re blindly tribalist.

        • sweeneyrod says:

          I personally think anti-semites are acceptable targets for snide comments. If the snark against e.g. feminists goes away maybe they will become a higher priority. But for now I think people saying “actually Jews aren’t inherently bad” is pretty low on the list of stupid tribal things people say on SSC.

          • MugaSofer says:

            >I personally think anti-semites are acceptable targets for snide comments.

            It somewhat undermines this goal if snide comments about them become proof that you, yourself, are somehow anti-semetic.

          • Whatever Happened to Anonymous says:

            I thought the point was that the tweet was ironic, so it was an overreaction. It wasn’t?

          • Nornagest says:

            Honestly, I just think it’s funny. It’s so naive and easily abused that I can’t even take it seriously as anti-semitism; it’s like getting attacked by a month-old kitten.

          • sweeneyrod says:

            @MugaSofer

            I think one of us is misunderstanding the other. I’m not claiming that Julie (or Rowan) is anti-semitic, but that Julie’s snide comment against twitter guy is an acceptable level of “blind tribalism”.

          • Rowan says:

            People feeling the need to say “actually Jews aren’t inherently bad” in response to an absurdist joke about the (((Keebler elves))) is stupidity and blind tribalism. That might have to some extent been excusable for lack of context of who @dril is, but the link came with a “high context” warning so that excuse is revoked.

        • Jill says:

          Smart people are no less likely to be blindly tribal than anyone else. The U.S. is super tribal right now– smart people included. Maybe SSC commentators are too smart to have to breathe oxygen too? In the U.S. today, being hyper-tribal is al;most as common as Breathing oxygen.

          • Rowan says:

            I think you’ve misread me, I said “smarter and/or less blindly tribal” specifically to indicate that intelligence doesn’t preclude tribalism (otherwise I could have just said “smarter”).

  18. reytes says:

    RE: the Hamilton thing, I suspect the Current Affairs piece is less a seriously ideological issue, and more a result of the fact that some people who post on the Internet a lot have a tendency to be massively contrarian. And many of them are also good at coming up with coherent arguments to justify said contrarianism. This will come, I’m sure, as shocking news to posters here.

    I think there are also probably some issues that the hard left does have with Hamilton (general suspicion of positive mythologizing of American history, ideological discomfort with constitutionalism, etc) but in the instance of the Current Affairs piece, I’m not sure that even enters into it.

    RE: that @wint post, that really doesn’t seem to be exceptionally bad by the standards of dumb internet posting. But maybe my standards are too low.

    • herbert herbertson says:

      I mean, part of the context of that is that dril is possibly the most well and widely known of all the Weird Twitter people. It’s like if Andy Kaufman said “no bitch, i’m seriously boycotting the keebler elves for being jewish” and was met with aghast accusations of fascism.

      • Whatever Happened to Anonymous says:

        What is a Weird Twitter?

        • herbert herbertson says:

          A constellation of surrealist, reasonably popular Twitter users. Some are leftist, some are apolitical. Pretty sure most if not all of them came from SomethingAwful’s FYAD and various “FYAD-lite” subfora (which were in turn the primary ancestors of 4chan-style humor)

      • reytes says:

        I agree that it’s bad! I’m not sure it’s exceptionally bad. But really I guess that’s a pretty useless, personal line to try to demarcate so

    • johnny tesla says:

      The Current Affairs piece was written by another Weird Twitter goon, who goes by @Lowenaffchen on Twitter. Here’s him enjoying the fruits of a troll well done
      To summarise Scott’s reactions:
      Link1: Hahaha, those oversensitive peasants don’t know when they’re being trolled by inimitable dril.
      Link2: You can’t say that about Hamilton! It only sounds stupid when it’s written down!!!

  19. U. Ranus says:

    Behavioral activation: not surprised. Behaviorists may be the most under-appreciated of psychologists. If my anecdotal evidence from “talking to people” is worth anything, a major reason is that folks just hate this idea that people…humans… oh, glorious humans… could ever under any circumstance be that… simple.

    “You’re damn right, people aren’t that simple! Now buzz off so I can get back to compulsively pecking keys on my smartphone…”

    Anyway. My guess/prediction is that this is a robust result.

    • David Condon says:

      Another possibility is that counseling as a science is greatly overrated. Behavioral activation is just as good because every reasonable approach is just as good.

      The benefit of behavioral activation therapy is that you can teach it to someone in about 5 minutes.

  20. j r says:

    … this implies our economy is otherwise much stronger than we would think by comparing it to past years’ statistics. I’ve lost the study now, but I also remember seeing people claim that almost all of Japan’s recent stagnation is due to an aging population rather than more purely economic factors.

    I’m not sure that this implies any such thing, but I guess it depends what you mean by strong. An aging population is an economic factor. People age out of the work force and unless they are replaced by more people or by more productive people, economic growth slows down.

  21. Uncle Ilya Kuriakin says:

    This SSC post “Div, Grad, and URL” affords a chance to eulogize the deceased astrophysicist William L. Burke (1941-1996), author of the seminal but never-printed textbook Div, Grad, Curl are Dead (1995). Alas Burke died, suddenly and unexpectedly in a car-crash, leaving behind galley-proofs of Div, Grad, Curl are Dead that (fortunately) still circulate on the internet.

    Div, Grad, Curl are Dead is studded with gemlike aphorisms:

    “The best way to learn a subject is to explain the subject to a naive listener. There is no posible listener more patient, more thorough, and more naive, than a computer algebra system.”
    ————
    “You may have taken a course on linear algebra. This to repair the omissions of such a course, which now is typically only a course on matrix manipulation. The necessity for this has only slowly dawned on me, as the result of email with local mathematicians along the lines of:
    Mathematician  When do you guys (scientists and engineers)
    treat dual spaces in linear algebra?
    Scientist  We don’t.
    Mathematician  What! How can that be?”

    Burke’s Preface approvingly quotes Walter Thirring (1978)

    The best and latest mathematical methods to appear on the market have been used whenever possible. In doing so many an old and trusted favorite of the older generation has been forsaken, as I deemed it best not to hand dull and worn-out tools to the next generation.

    Today’s students can scarcely appreciate Terry Tao’s recent writings, for example, without mastering the cognitive tools that Burke’s text was among the first to advocate. Concretely, Tao’s very recent “Finite time blowup for Lagrangian modifications of the three-dimensional Euler equation” (arXiv:1606.08481, 2016) adopts Burke’s no-div, no-grad, no-curl notations from start to finish.

    More generally — and perhaps more applicably for SSC readersnbsp;— Tao’s much-praised much-cited essay “What is good mathematics” provides a list of twenty-one traits of good mathematics, together with the caveat that such enumerations can never be complete:

    “Thus I believe that good mathematics is more than simply the process of solving problems, building theories, and making arguments shorter, stronger, clearer, more elegant, or more rigorous, though these are of course all admirable goals.

    While achieving all of these tasks (and debating which ones should have higher priority within any given field), we should also be aware of any possible larger context that ones results could be placed in, as this may well lead to the greatest long-term benefit for the result, for the field, and for mathematics as a whole.”

    Notably absent from Tao’s enumeration is any restriction of mathematical practice to ratiocination, and any very prominent grounding of mathematical practice in formal axioms. Instead Tao’s enumeration largely emphasizes modes of cognition that are inherently empathic — the “intuitive” cognition of “beauty”, “elegance”, and “insight” — cognition that amounts to caring for mathematics … in both senses of the word “caring”.

    The empathic cognition that grounds Tao’s “caring for mathematics”, and is naturally appreciated via the empathy-compatible cognitive tools of Burke’s post-div post-grad post-curl pedagogy; aren’t these empathic modes of cognition evident increasingly in many human disciplines? For philosophers, in the hilarity of Spinoza Societies? For physicians, in the pedagogic humanism of Osler Societies and the psychological solidarity of Balint Groups? For the humanities, upon the broad cognitive grounds of deconstructionism?

    If it is true that Div, Grad, Curl are Dead, then how can the narrow focus upon human cognition as ratiocination, and narrow views of human economic activity as market-optimization, be anything but moribund? And to the extent that rationalists care for rationality (in both senses of “caring”) then doesn’t it follow that rationalist cognition practically cannot be, and morally should not be, strictly rational?

    Thus modern-day rationalism is evolving — because perforce it must so evolve — to share the empathic cognition of the global communities that care for mathematics, care for medicine, care for economics, and care for philosophy. And the natural, universal toolset for empathic mathematical cognition that Burke’s text advocates and Tao’s texts embrace, is providing wonderful opportunities for young researchers (especially) to participate in this great adventure.

    • zz says:

      Div, Grad, Curl are Dead was all about giving new students the most up-to-date view of vector calculus, by including “the mathematics of the last three decades.” This was two decades ago.

      I’m recently the book’s target audience (traditional calculus and vector calculus, basic mechanics, electrodynamics, and optics). Is there a more up-to-date book I should be looking for?

    • LPSP says:

      The argument contradicts itself by talking about mathematics always been incomplete, but then treating mathematics/rationality as universal. It’s one or the other. Maths is generally a sort of compartmentalised thought, so incomplete and non-universal is the right answer. Rational meanwhile is meta-thought, and so hard calculations for limited systems are weighed up against rule-of-thumb understandings for conveniant use and against experience-earned knowledge that is difficult to put into words but which clearly pays dividends in practice (ie inconsistent and inexplicity systems respectively).

      Doing math well is understanding that all our rules and formulations only work on one little island in the archipelago of our science, and no matter how reliably they perform on one, they break down on another. Doing rationality well is understanding that math can’t do everything, and that math can do many things with unmatched quality, and weighing it off against other thought tools.

  22. Nestor says:

    The surgeon thing seems straightforward after reading a couple of “how to influence people” books, the surgeon makes a concession at the start of the “deal” by admitting his bias and this puts the patient in his debt, making them more likely to accept the offer.

    • Jiro says:

      That’s a post-hoc explanation–it only seems likely because you already have the fact that it’s trying to explain.

      • Nestor says:

        Maybe for you, but since I heard of the technique before I encountered these results, this is confirmation of it’s validity for me.

        Sure, correlation is not causation but “expert describes psychological manipulation technique X which produces result Y” and “Result Y is being obtained when people accidentally use psychological manipulation technique X” is the pattern matching I’m observing.

        Can’t help it!

        • Jiro says:

          Would you have thought that the technique was applicable in this situation before you encountered these results?

          • Jill says:

            I you had read Cialdini’s book, Influence, you would think so.

            That is one of the few things I like about Scott Adams, besides his comic strips– his persuasion reading list, which is where I found this book.

          • Nestor says:

            Yes, Cialdini was where I read about it.

        • LPSP says:

          In spite of the contrived assumptions it rests upon, when there are explanations that fit the evidence better and need no such hand-waving? (ie patients trust a man who doesn’t try to lie about something common and obvious)

    • Eric Rall says:

      I suspect it’s more related to a thing I read about a while back, that people perceive an purported expert to be more credible if he qualifies his statements. Probably based on pattern-matching him to the observation that actual experts tend to be formulate their thoughts precisely when talking about their fields of expertise.

      I think I read this in the context of commentary about the Most Interesting Man In the World character and the fact that his tagline “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis” was unusually qualified compared to other common taglines used by advertising mascots (e.g. Tony the Tiger’s “They’re GRRREAT!”). The conclusion was that the Dos Equis guy was being presented as an expert endorsement (albeit one made by a purpose-created fictional character), not as a traditional advertising mascot, and they way his tagline was phrased was intended to make him come across as a more credible endorser.

    • tgb says:

      The surprising thing there to me is that the one surgeon I know is emphatically anti surgery if it can be at all avoided. Particularly surgery in the stomach region, your extremities probably aren’t so bad. Surgery begets surgery, apparently.

  23. Davide says:

    The ‘Paradox of Disclosure’ is interesting, but I don’t see how it’s paradoxical at all.

    Don’t we generally expect others to have *some* kind of self-serving bias, and trust more people who admit it rather than present themselves as 100% unbiased?

    Doctors who disclose showing a stronger bias is hardly surprising, either.
    Makes perfect sense to me morally – it’s easier on one’s conscience to give someone a biased opinion *after* you just told them that’s exactly what you are likely to do.
    You did warn them, after all!

  24. Anonymous says:

    So, having read that Hamilton piece, what’s actually wrong in it?

    I disagree entirely with the writer’s hatred of the Founding Fathers, but even there I readily acknowledge the facts are right, and I see where he’s coming from. As for his description of Hamilton itself he seems to be entirely bang on target.

    I saw several of you joining in a sneer at him upthread, though, and I’d like to think that the actual arguments were left out because they’re obvious, not for the other reason, and that I’m the fool here, so can someone shed light on it?

    • sweeneyrod says:

      The statement that unsavoury aspects of the Founding Fathers are mostly ignored in Hamilton is correct, but not really relevant. Even if you don’t think good art can take liberties with truth, Hamilton at worst omits facts that would make the narrative more complicated and less enjoyable which I think is excusable. Hamilton certainly isn’t the first musical to have this attitude towards political figures.

      The main problem with the piece is that Hamilton is good. Seeing it on Broadway is mostly restricted to the rich, but anyone can listen to the soundtrack. It is popular not because people blindly ape the artistic tastes of the elite, but because many people have listened to the soundtrack and enjoyed it.

      • Anonymous says:

        This seems like exactly the opposite of the answer I was hoping for. I don’t care about the unsavory aspects of the Founding Fathers because I disagree that they’re unsavory (I don’t want to be derailed into a discussion of this, so I won’t motivate this assertion). I do think good art can take liberties with the truth; some of my favorite books are various of Dumas’ historical romances, all of which contain historical events and then distort the hell out of them for the sake of the narrative (e.g. the assassination of Buckingham, or the Duel of the Mignons).

        Everything he says does seem reasonable based on his own principles and axioms, however, so that, as I said above, I see where he’s coming from.

        Having, however, listened to as much of the Hamilton soundtrack as I could stand, it seems to me that he is not wrong about anything he says about the actual quality of the musical itself. It does not appear to rise above the “cringey school project” level, and it does seem to coddle the biases of the Radical Chic clique to an inordinate extent. That’s where my confusion arises.

        • sweeneyrod says:

          As with all art, YMMV. The music isn’t brilliant on the level of Bernstein or Sondheim (and it’s difficult to compare with that of other musicals as much of it is hip hop) but I think it’s pretty good (YMMV especially here depending on how much you like rap). I think it’s well plotted, with songs placed carefully to create emotional effect. The lyrics are quite intricate — there are lots of musical and lyrical themes that get repeated and played with, and many references to rap, musical theatre, and American history to notice.

          I think largely your opinion of it should depend on how much you like rap and/or musical theatre in general. If you don’t like either of them, I don’t see why you would expect to enjoy Hamilton. If (like me) you enjoy both, you will probably like Hamilton (and also Lin-Manuel Miranda’s previous musical In The Heights).

          • Anonymous says:

            I think largely your opinion of it should depend on how much you like rap and/or musical theatre in general.

            Let’s suppose I have a reasonably extensive collection of especially pre-gangsta hip hop and a strong affection for the Cole Porter musicals, One Touch of Venus, and Les Misérables in particular, as well as a general appreciation of the form, but could never figure out what anyone sees in Cats or Hair.

            Let’s further hypothesize that I nevertheless can’t see a meaningful distinction between Hamilton and the pirate rappers referenced in the article, or that… Professor? something? who makes a gag/schtick out of wearing safari gear and rapping about tea and other silly steampunkish stuff.

          • sweeneyrod says:

            Have you listened to Hamilton all the way through? Hamilton is much more complex as a whole than the pirate rappers (at least I assume it is, I’ve not actually listened to any pirate rap). For instance, like One Day More in Les Mis, the Act I finale in Hamilton (Non-Stop) references many of the previous songs in the music and lyrics (I count at least seven). Also, most of the lyrics are a lot better. I think it is obviously untrue to claim that

            [HAMILTON]
            Corruption’s such an old song that we can sing along in harmony
            And nowhere is it stronger than in Albany
            This colony’s economy’s increasingly stalling and
            Honestly, that’s why public service
            Seems to be calling me
            I practised the law, I practic’ly perfected it
            I’ve seen injustice in the world and I’ve corrected it
            Now for a strong central democracy
            If not, then I’ll be Socrates
            Throwing verbal rocks at these mediocrities

            is basically the same thing as

            When I say yo, you say ho!
            Yo!
            Ho!

            .

            If I were to pick one song that makes this point, it would be Cabinet Battle #1. If a cringey school project can come up with

            If we assume the debts, the union gets
            A new line of credit, a financial diuretic
            How do you not get it? If we’re aggressive and competitive
            The union gets a boost. You’d rather give it a sedative?

            I think we might disagree on the meaning of the word “cringey”.

            Also, with regards to hip hop, the cast album of Hamilton was produced by two members of The Roots, and Jefferson and Lafayette are played by Daveed Diggs of Clipping. I don’t think either of those groups resemble pirate rap.

          • Pku says:

            If you don’t like either of them, I don’t see why you would expect to enjoy Hamilton.

            I don’t, but I enjoyed Hamilton a lot. I know other people in the same situation – I think part of the reason Hamilton became so big is that a lot of people who wouldn’t usually like these styles really found it surprisingly good.

          • Skef says:

            It’s Elemental, my dear Anonymous.

          • Gbdub says:

            Why does the fact that later songs reference earlier ones make it better/more complex? Heck, it mostly means you have to write fewer original bits. In any case callbacks like that are pretty standard in the musical repertoire, and the fact that they play on multiple meanings of “throwing away my shot” is clever but hardly transcendent.

            Anyway I listened to the soundtrack but it’s pretty bloody long and kind of repetitive (something I assume would be helped by actually seeing the show). It’s definitely fun and clever, but I do question the hype feedback loop around it with everyone falling all over themselves to assign ever more gilded superlatives.

            But the author of the critical piece drives me nuts. We can’t praise or explore the good aspects of anyone who held some views we now disagree with? It’s one thing to be cognizant that the founding fathers were slave owners. It’s another to claim that that makes them history’s greatest criminals. People need to be judged relative to their contemporaries, lest you want to rewrite history every 25 years (then again I suspect the critic would want that).

        • Catchling says:

          For what this is worth:

          1. I’m SJW-sympathetic and generally consider the Founding Fathers less than savory, if not entirely “unsavory”.

          2. I think Hamilton is overrated solely because of the cringeyness you mention — my initial reaction was that a lot of it felt like a high school project, although I do think there are some very good parts. (Actually, “corny but with good parts” is my take on most musicals; it’s a difficult form, period.) So I agreed with some of the piece’s artistic criticisms.

          3. I disagreed with the piece’s accusation that the show excessively celebrates the colonial leaders, mainly because I don’t begin to expect mainstream American works to have a seriously critical perspective of the Founders at all. Any slight inching in that direction is a pleasant suprise, not a bare minimum for decency. The writer doesn’t seem to have that mindset, and considers their own politics a natural baseline instead of the actual American mainstream. This part is key:

          The most obvious historical aberration is the portrayal of Washington and Jefferson as black men, a somewhat audacious choice given that both men are strongly associated with owning, and in the case of the latter, raping and impregnating slaves. Changing the races allows these men to appear far more sympathetic than they would otherwise be.

          I disagree precisely because of my SJ leanings. Contrary to the writer, I’d say that changing the races could make people of color more sympathetic to white audiences, since mainstream Americans idolize the Founders but still harbor subconscious pro-white biases.

          (Not sure how I’d feel about a Civil War play that cast Robert E Lee and Jefferson Davis as black, though. That would probably cross a line for me. Maybe the difference is that it’s easier to tell a mostly true story that ignores white supremacy’s role in the American Revolution, than one that does so for Southern Secession.)

          Of course, either effect is probably minimal because (as has been pointed out here) most consumers of the musical are only hearing it, not seeing, so they’re not constantly made aware of the race of any of the cast anyway.

          • Steve Sailer says:

            Much of the success of “Hamilton” with the kind of people who can afford a ticket to “Hamilton” (e.g., Wall Street types) is because it makes the most anti-democratic plutocratic Founding Father seem cool by turning him into an Honorary Nonwhite. As I wrote in Taki’s Magazine:

            A striking example of how identity politics turn in practice into the Zillionaire Liberation Front has emerged in the war over which Dead White Male to kick off the currency to make room for a woman: the $10 bill’s Alexander Hamilton or the $20’s Andrew Jackson. Bizarrely, the reactionary genius Hamilton, apostle of rule by the rich, is rapidly morphing in the conventional wisdom’s imagination into an Honorary Nonwhite.

            http://takimag.com/article/alexander_hamilton_honorary_nonwhite_steve_sailer/print#ixzz4Fqg5atH5

    • Franz_Panzer says:

      I second that question.

      What was mentioned upthread was that the writer claims that no one but a select few can ever experience it, which is wrong, since you can buy the soundtrack. I agree on that point, but other than that I couldn’t find what was so particularly wrong about that piece (I’m not American and don’t know the history as well, so there could be factual historical stuff I’m completely unaware of).

      Also, even with the point about how everyone can buy the soundtrack:
      It is arguably a different experience to listen to a couple of songs than to actually see a musical performance. I presume there are visual aspects that influence the story.
      Case in point: I only listened to two or three songs (I was not particularly impressed) and that there is a racial aspect to the casting, such as Jefferson being played by a black guy, has escaped me entirely until I read this.

      • Izaak Weiss says:

        This is a weird aspect of theatre fandom. Most people can’t see the show on broadway. Most theatre fans, therefore, listen to the soundtrack a lot before they ever see the show; it comes with the territory. I’ve lived my entire life listening to the soundtracks of shows long before I ever see them, if at all.

    • Whatever Happened to Anonymous says:

      So, having read that Hamilton piece, what’s actually wrong in it?

      From a SJ-Left framework? Nothing.

      But from the other side (most of the people here) it’s funny in the “ever escalating virtue signaling on the left” sense. And for a lot of SJ aligned people “The perfect is enemy of the good” finally starts making sense when they find something good that they like.

      • The Nybbler says:

        And here I thought that Hamilton, with its race-reversed casting, was intended to appeal to that group.

        • Whatever Happened to Anonymous says:

          It does, which is why most of them love it, but if you go Full Purity mode, it’d still be problematic, which this guy seems to be pointing out.

        • herbert herbertson says:

          That’s kind of the point of the article. It’s an appeal to the center/liberal left made through methods the far/illiberal left finds irritating, and speaks to a question that has always been central to the conflict between those two factions and is especially important right now with the candidacy of HRC: should hierarchies/institutions that are historically dominated by old white men be integrated, or should they be fought?

          • Gil says:

            Well it has been the suspicion of some that at the end of the day the goal of class warfare and its derivates is often to change the operators not the institution. Power is fun to wield (for some) after all.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      So for me that are a few small things wrong – I disagree with the writer in that I think Hamilton is good, they don’t understand that most people who like the play do so through the (free) soundtrack and that difficulty of seeing the play has nothing to do with it.

      But the big thing is that if some people like a play you don’t like, seriously, get over it. Or, like, criticize it if you want, but “You Should Be Terrified That The People Who Run Our Country Like Hamilton” is…a little much.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’ll be honest, I just fully disregarded the headline because I know journalists don’t normally get to set their own headlines. It’s just reflexive with me at this point.

        (I’m not sure I get from the article that the writer doesn’t understand that the soundtrack is widely available. He gave me the impression of talking about the fact that like any musical, it’s a performance work at heart, and few people have seen it performed; I know I’ve read somewhere that Miranda’s actively resisted it being filmed because he feels that musicals should be experienced in person, which obviously doesn’t detract from the article’s point.)

        • The original Mr. X says:

          I’ll be honest, I just fully disregarded the headline because I know journalists don’t normally get to set their own headlines.

          I remember once I saw an article with the headline “A return to the death penalty? We shouldn’t be so complacent.”* The very first sentence ran “The death penalty almost certainly is not coming back.” Glad they cleared that up then…

          * This was in Britain, which doesn’t have the death penalty any more. In case that needed pointing out.

        • Izaak Weiss says:

          Well, you’re wrong about part of that, because Miranda had it filmed, and is working on a way of distributing it so that more people can see it.

      • Edward Scizorhands says:

        But the big thing is that if some people like a play you don’t like, seriously, get over it.

        Surely you’ve seen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0la5DBtOVNI

    • reytes says:

      For one thing, a lot of his argument seems to be:

      1) Captain Dan dressed up like a historical figure and rapped.
      2) Captain Dan is really bad and stupid and poorly thought-through and embarrassing.
      3) Therefore, since Hamilton also involves dressing up like historical figures and rapping, it must also be bad and stupid.

      Which just doesn’t actually follow. Because Hamilton is similar to Captain Dan on the face of it, but Hamilton differs because it is actually good and well executed. And (in addition to the generally good lyrics, emotional through-lines, word-play, etc that I’m sure other people will have mentioned) one of the particularly important differences is that Hamilton has thought through the connection between historical figures and rapping in a much, much, much deeper and more productive way than Captain Dan has. Captain Dan relies pretty much on the idea that rappers like money and violence and women and drinking and say the word “Ho”, and all of those things can be accurately said also of pirates. Hamilton actually goes to the effort of making the connection between hip hop narratives and immigrant narratives and the Revolutionary War period. And not only that but it goes to great effort to work out the details of that metaphor in terms of style and character and emotion. In other words, one of the things that Hamilton pulls off is that the link between its subject matter and style works on a deep level. It’s not just Founding Fathers rapping.

      The second thing that bothers me about the piece is its emotional tone. Because it doesn’t seem to be interested in seriously engaging with Hamilton. Rather, it mostly seems to operate in terms of coolness and uncoolness and shame and embarrassment. Way too much of the piece seems to be concerned with the idea that Hamilton is uncool and embarrassing but people aren’t embarrassed about it, and that this is bad. It’s just strange and frustrating. I don’t like how much of it is an out and out attempt to shame people.

      My final argument is that Hamilton contains “Wait For It”.

      In conclusion, I think Hamilton is good and the piece is bad for all of those reasons. Thank you for your time.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you for this! It strikes me as quite articulate, and clarifies some of our differences. To wit:

        Captain Dan relies pretty much on the idea that rappers like money and violence and women and drinking and say the word “Ho”, and all of those things can be accurately said also of pirates. Hamilton actually goes to the effort of making the connection between hip hop narratives and immigrant narratives and the Revolutionary War period.

        Possibly one of the deep aesthetic disconnects here is that when written out that way Captain Dan sounds funny-if-shallow to me whereas the entire production of Hamilton comes off as an incredibly typical sophomoric attempt to be “deep”. I don’t see why there being the connection you describe underneath the costumes in Hamilton is supposed to make the actual spectacle of men rapping in 18th century garb any better or less cringey, and to be frank, it intuitively feels like a dodge.

        Or to put it another way, “It’s not just Founding Fathers rapping” sounds like it’s saying that *) Founding Fathers rapping is obviously bad and stupid per se *) but we have an excuse for enjoying it and *) that somehow makes it not stupid. Hopefully it’s obvious why someone would feel like this is a lot worse than just admitting that “yeah, I like some pretty stupid shit, what of it?”.

        Way too much of the piece seems to be concerned with the idea that Hamilton is uncool and embarrassing but people aren’t embarrassed about it, and that this is bad. It’s just strange and frustrating. I don’t like how much of it is an out and out attempt to shame people.

        Here again, I parsed that entire part of the argument as entirely different and you helped me figure out why. To me, the writer’s saying that since people regard one thing as embarrassing and uncool, then by rights the other thing, which (to the writer’s and my perceptions) is the exact same kind of thing but even worse should also be considered embarrassing and uncool by the same people, and so the fact that they don’t see it this way or discourse about it this way is evidence of something pretty bad. That is, I don’t think he’s trying to shame people, just get people to be consistent about their shaming. From over here it really does look like somebody’s trying to pull a serious fast one.

        I suppose the underlying suspicion here is that someone’s ashamed to just admit that he likes, effectively, Captain Dan, and instead, not only does he assert that his not!Captain Dan is totally different you guys but also somehow it’s prestigious and Important and socially aware. This will inevitably rub at least some and probably a lot of people the wrong way.

        • brad says:

          Wouldn’t the same arguments you are making here apply equally well to Les Mis? Or Norma for that matter?

          (N.B. I haven’t seen or listened to Hamilton, and I don’t intend to. Mostly because I don’t like rap.)

          • Anonymous says:

            I’m not sure I understand the parallel you’re making. What modern politics/social issues (et cetera) is Les Mis supposed to have deep connections to? It seems like it’s just a straightforward period story set to music, to me anyway.

          • brad says:

            No, I was saying if both captain dan and Hamilton are cringey, embarrassing and uncool because people in period dress are singing, well that’s a lot of things.

            Is it the musical genre that’s supposed to make them especially bad?

          • hypersoar says:

            I will point out that I’m a fan of neither rap nor musical theater, but I love Hamilton. It’s not universally liked because it’s the founding fathers in hip-hop; it’s universally liked because it’s good.

          • Anonymous says:

            Brad: Oh, I see. And no; Les Mis is a musical too, of course. Rather, the main assertions are these:

            1. Captain Dan and Hamilton aren’t categorically different — thus the difference if any must be one of raw quality.

            2. There is not a notable quality difference. Hamilton’s raps are kinda clunky and terrible. This exacerbates

            3. Hamilton’s subject matter and mode of presentation comes off as a misambitious “creative” school report on civics — there’s something profoundly self-consciously virtue-signaling (one might say -blaring) about combining Founding Fathers with rap, highly-deliberate diversity and a hammered-in moral — which is smarmy and cringey.

            Les Misérables just seems to be trying to tell a good costume drama as well as possible, not upbraid you about blue-tribe values using a type of music that the show itself clearly sees as subversive, hip, and the voice of the downtrodden IN YOUR FAAAAAACE. I’d sooner liken Les Mis with the Bogart Maltese Falcon: they saw a book they liked and that seemed like it would work in the new medium, and they adapted it.

          • Nornagest says:

            In my admittedly limited experience, I think I’ve run across more musicals that are period pieces than that aren’t. By a factor of, like, four or five.

          • John says:

            Points two and three are both broken here.

          • sweeneyrod says:

            I think point 1 is incorrect — Les Mis and Hamilton are pretty definitely in the same category (musicals). Captain Dan is in a different category.

          • brad says:

            @Green Anonymous
            I think #2 is doing much of the heavy lifting. Sure you can tell a plausible story about how it’s heavy handed, but if it was really entertaining I don’t think it would matter. Or maybe there’s some interplay between the two? I don’t know.

            What are your thoughts on 1776? No cross race casting, no rap, but definitely a “go America” vibe more than “here’s a great story that happens to be about the Second Continental Congress”.

          • LHN says:

            Another data point: I like musicals, love history, have no interest in rap. I got the Hamilton cast album and then let it lie around for a month because I wasn’t sure that it would be something I liked, but finally decided to give it a go. I loved it.

            My nieces are also obsessed with it, and they’re a little young to be engaged in tribal posturing. (At least I prefer it to their previous, long “Phantom of the Opera” phase.)

            I’m now thinking that if I like this, I should try to get at least a basic cultural education in rap to see if it works for me when it’s not the backbone of a form I already enjoy. Is there a generally accepted Rap 101 list of classics? (Basically, “if you’ve tried all these and none of them have grabbed you, you probably don’t like the genre”?)

          • Anonymous says:

            if it was really entertaining I don’t think it would matter. Or maybe there’s some interplay between the two? I don’t know.

            I think my take on it is that nothing ham-fisted ever passes the quality filter – it’s inherently a quality sink. It seems to me that “don’t make ham-fisted message porn” is one of the really basic insights as to how to make good things, regardless of what kind of art it is. (Even propaganda. Ideally you don’t want your propaganda to come off as clunky and obvious.)

            What are you thoughts on 1776?

            Haven’t seen it, haven’t heard it, can’t judge it. Strictly on paper, though, I think “America: FUCK YEAH!” is less of a problem than “my politics, let me mash them in your face”, firstly because it’s not really partisan any more than the 4th of July is (as an aside, I think Republican outrage at certain things said by the blue camp is a totally unfeigned shock reaction to attacks on something they saw as an absolutely bedrock uniter of the tribes, the conviction that U! S! A! NUM! BER! 1!), and secondly because in away it’s not unlike “Jet planes! Fuck yeah!” or “John McClane! Fuck yeah!”: it’s just enthusiasm, not policy.

          • Broggly says:

            Wasn’t “Cool Considerate Men” controversial because it was seen as comparing Republicans to Loyalists?

          • sweeneyrod says:

            @LHN
            I’m not a huge rap fan myself, but you should certainly try listening to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s previous musical In The Heights, and also a few of the songs that are referenced in Hamilton, the most noticeable ones being Biggie Smalls — Ten Crack Commandments (which Ten Duel Commandments is obviously based on), Grandmaster Flash — The Message, and Mobb Deep — Shook Ones Pt. II. If you like “edgy” music (e.g. Stravinsky, Eric Dolphy, weird discordant metal) you could try Clipping, a group which Daveed Diggs (Jefferson/Lafayette) is in.

            In general, if you just try listening to famous rappers (Biggie, Tupac etc.) you might be put off by gangstaish lyrics. Possible good ways to start are by listening to Wu-Tang Clan — Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), Nas — Illmatic, A Tribe Called Quest — The Low End Theory, Mos Def — Black On Both Sides and Kendrick Lamar — To Pimp A Butterfly. If you are into jazz, also try Miles Davis — Doo Bop and Robert Glasper.

          • LHN says:

            @sweeneyrod Thanks for the suggestions!

          • Glen Raphael says:

            @brad:

            I haven’t seen or listened to Hamilton, and I don’t intend to. Mostly because I don’t like rap

            The idea that Hamilton is rap or is hiphop is just marketing fluff. A gimmick. Hamilton is actually a bog-standard musical which happens to in parts incorporate some elements of those genres.

            But there are entire songs in Hamilton that don’t resemble rap at all. For instance, consider listening to You’ll Be Back. It’s a love song effectively being sung by Britain towards America (Britain is mildly peeved at the whole wanting-to-break-up thing). This song is silly and catchy and fun and…has no relation to rap whatsoever. It’s just a broadway song. Give it a try!

        • Broggly says:

          I was already mad when he spent eight paragraphs making fun of Captain Dan.
          To me, the article read “You know how your tribe is terrible? And your proper place is to be publicly humiliated? The fact that anyone says they like what your tribe values means they’re stupid. Just look at the stupid and low-status activities your tribe engages in. Mainstream approval of your tribe is clear evidence that society is declining.”

          • Anonymous says:

            This I find much easier to understand — I even feel like most of what I wrote in the post you replied to is perfectly compatible with your point of view.

        • reytes says:

          Well, first of all, I don’t think the difference is just that Hamilton isn’t just Founding Fathers rapping; it is also different in that it is very, very good in terms of its execution, whereas Captain Dan et al are generally pretty bad in terms of execution. And I think that’s really important to bear in mind. I just don’t think it’s accurate to say that it’s a sophomoric attempt at being deep because I think it generally pulls off what it aims at. Pretty excellently, in fact.

          Second, I don’t want to say that the Founding Fathers rapping is intrinsically stupid; that’s not what I’m getting at here. What I mean when I say that Hamilton isn’t just the Founding Fathers rapping is that something that was just the Founding Fathers rapping would be, essentially, a novelty act – maybe a good novelty act, but a novelty act – and the fact that those deeper connections exist point towards the fact that Hamilton is in a basically different category of thing from novelty act. Which is more interesting and maybe more worth spending time paying attention to and thinking about. There is more going on there than the spectacle of seeing people from History, who would not usually rap, rapping.

          Third, I think that the concepts of cringiness and uncoolness are a major part of what we’re talking about here. But I think there’s also a lot of subje