"Talks a good game about freedom when out of power, but once he’s in – bam! Everyone's enslaved in the human-flourishing mines."

SSC Endorses Clinton, Johnson, Or Stein

I.

If you are American, SSC endorses voting in this presidential election.

Andrew Gelman, Nate Silver, and Aaron Edlin calculate the chance that a single vote will determine the election (ie break a tie in a state that breaks an Electoral College tie). It ranges from about one in ten million (if you live in a swing state) to one in a billion (if you live in a very safe state). The average American has a one in sixty million chance of determining the election results. The paper was from the 2008 election, which was a pro-Obama landslide; since this election is closer the chance of determining it may be even higher.

The size of the US budget is about $4 trillion, but Presidents can only affect a tiny bit of that – most of the money funds the same programs no matter who’s in charge. But Presidents do shift budgetary priorities a lot. GW Bush started a war in Iraq which probably cost $2 trillion; the CBO estimates Obamacare may cost about $1.2 trillion. Neither of these are pure costs – Obamacare buys us more health care, and military presence in Iraq buys us [mumble] – but if you think these are less (or more) efficient ways to spend money than other possible uses, then they represent ways that having one President might be better than another. If we suppose a good president would use these trillions of dollars at least 33% more efficiently than a bad president, then this is still $300 billion in value.

So order of magnitude, having a good President rather than a bad one can be worth $300 billion. A 1/60 million chance to create $300 billion in value is worth $5,000; even the 1/1 billion chance afforded someone in a safe state is worth $300.

We don’t know for sure that we’re right about politics. In order to add signal rather than noise to the election results, we have to be better than the average voter. The Inside View is useless here; probably every voter thinks they’re better than average. I recommend the Outside View – looking for measurable indicators correlated with ability to make good choices. Education’s probably a good one. IQ might be another. But overall, my suggestion is that if you’re seriously uncertain about whether or not you think more clearly than the average voter, by that fact alone you almost certainly do.

Suppose you live in a swing state. If you think (in a well-calibrated way) that it’s 10% more likely that your candidate will use $1 trillion well than that the other candidate will, your vote is worth $500. If you live in a safe state, it’s more like $30. If you value the amount of time it takes to vote at less than that, voting is conceivably a good use of your time.

II.

SSC endorses voting for Hillary Clinton if you live in a swing state. If you live in a safe state, I endorse voting for Clinton, Johnson, or (if you insist) Stein. If you want, you can use a vote-swapping site to make this easier or more impactful.

You might notice who’s missing from this endorsement. I think Donald Trump would be a bad president.

Partly this is because of his policies, insofar as he has them. I’m not going to talk much about these because I don’t think I can change anyone’s mind here – either you agree with me (and disagree with Trump) on things like abortion, global warming, free trade, et cetera, or you don’t. A two sentence argument in a blog post won’t change your mind either way.

In fact, I’m not sure any of this ever changes anyone’s mind, and I didn’t really want to write this post. But the latest news says:

This is going to be close. And since the lesson of Brexit is that polls underestimate support for politically incorrect choices, this is going to be really close.

And I don’t know if I’d go so far as Scott Aaronson, who worries that he will one day live in a nuclear hellscape where his children ask him “Daddy, why didn’t you blog about Trump?”. But if some of my blogging on conservative issues has given me any political capital with potential Trump voters, then I this is where I want to spend it.

So here are some reasons why I would be afraid to have Trump as president even if I agreed with him about the issues.

Many conservatives make the argument against utopianism. The millenarian longing for a world where all systems are destroyed, all problems are solved, and everything is permissible – that’s dangerous whether it comes from Puritans or Communists. These same conservatives have traced this longing through leftist history from Lenin through social justice.

Which of the candidates in this election are millennarian? If Sanders were still in, I’d say fine, he qualifies. If Stein were in, same, no contest. But Hillary? The left and right both critique Hillary the same way. She’s too in bed with the system. Corporations love her. Politicians love her. All she wants to do is make little tweaks – a better tax policy here, a new foreign policy doctrine there. The critiques are right. Hillary represents complete safety from millennialism.

Trump’s policy ideas are mostly silly, but no one cares, because he’s not really running on policy. He’s running on making America great again, fighting the special interests, and defying the mainstream media. Nobody cares what policies he’ll implement after he does this, because his campaign is more an expression of rage at these things than anything else.

In my review of Singer on Marx, I wrote that:

I’d always heard that Marx was long on condemnations of capitalism and short on blueprints for communism, and the couple of Marx’s works I read in college confirmed he really didn’t talk about that very much. It seemed like a pretty big gap. I figured…he’d probably made a few vague plans, like “Oh, decisions will be made by a committee of workers,” and “Property will be held in common and consensus democracy will choose who gets what,” and felt like the rest was just details. That’s the sort of error I could at least sympathize with, despite its horrendous consequences.

But in fact Marx was philosophically opposed, as a matter of principle, to any planning about the structure of communist governments or economies. He would come out and say “It is irresponsible to talk about how communist governments and economies will work.” He believed it was a scientific law, analogous to the laws of physics, that once capitalism was removed, a perfect communist government would form of its own accord. There might be some very light planning, a couple of discussions, but these would just be epiphenomena of the governing historical laws working themselves out. Just as, a dam having been removed, a river will eventually reach the sea somehow, so capitalism having been removed society will eventually reach a perfect state of freedom and cooperation.

Singer blames Hegel. Hegel viewed all human history as the World-Spirit trying to recognize and incarnate itself. As it overcomes its various confusions and false dichotomies, it advances into forms that more completely incarnate the World-Spirit and then moves onto the next problem. Finally, it ends with the World-Spirit completely incarnated – possibly in the form of early 19th century Prussia – and everything is great forever.

Marx famously exports Hegel’s mysticism into a materialistic version where the World-Spirit operates upon class relations rather than the interconnectedness of all things, and where you don’t come out and call it the World-Spirit – but he basically keeps the system intact. So once the World-Spirit resolves the dichotomy between Capitalist and Proletariat, then it can more completely incarnate itself and move on to the next problem. Except that this is the final problem (the proof of this is trivial and is left as exercise for the reader) so the World-Spirit becomes fully incarnate and everything is great forever. And you want to plan for how that should happen? Are you saying you know better than the World-Spirit, Comrade?

I am starting to think I was previously a little too charitable toward Marx. My objections were of the sort “You didn’t really consider the idea of welfare capitalism with a social safety net” or “communist society is very difficult to implement in principle,” whereas they should have looked more like “You are basically just telling us to destroy all of the institutions that sustain human civilization and trust that what is baaaasically a giant planet-sized ghost will make sure everything works out.”

And since then, one of the central principles behind my philosophy has been “Don’t destroy all existing systems and hope a planet-sized ghost makes everything work out”. Systems are hard. Institutions are hard. If your goal is to replace the current systems with better ones, then destroying the current system is 1% of the work, and building the better ones is 99% of it. Throughout history, dozens of movements have doomed entire civilizations by focusing on the “destroying the current system” step and expecting the “build a better one” step to happen on its own. That never works. The best parts of conservativism are the ones that guard this insight and shout it at a world too prone to taking shortcuts.

Donald Trump does not represent those best parts of conservativism. To transform his movement into Marxism, just replace “the bourgeoisie” with “the coastal elites” and “false consciousness” with “PC speech”. Just replace the assumption that everything will work itself out once power is in the hands of the workers, with the assumption that everything will work itself out once power is in the hands of “real Americans”. Just replace the hand-waving lack of plans with what to do after the Revolution with a hand-waving lack of plans what to do after the election. In both cases, the sheer virtue of the movement, and the apocalyptic purification of the rich people keeping everyone else down, is supposed to mean everything will just turn out okay on its own. That never works.

A commenter on here the other day quoted an Atlantic article complaining that “The press takes [Trump] literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally”. Well, count me in that second group. I don’t think he’s literal. I think when he talks about building a wall and keeping out Muslims, he’s metaphorically saying “I’m going to fight for you, the real Americans”. When he talks about tariffs and trade deals, he’s metaphorically saying “I’m going to fight for you, the real Americans”. Fine. But neither of those two things are a plan. The problem with getting every American a job isn’t that nobody has been fighting for them, the problem with getting every American a job is that getting 100% employment in a modern economy is a really hard problem.

Donald Trump not only has no solution to that problem, he doesn’t even understand the question. He lives in a world where there is no such thing as intelligence, only loyalty. If we haven’t solved all of our problems yet, it’s because the Department of Problem-Solving was insufficiently loyal, and didn’t try hard enough. His only promise is to fill that department with loyal people who really want the problem solved.

I’ve never been fully comfortable with the Left because I feel like they often make the same error – the only reason there’s still poverty is because the corporate-run government is full of traitors who refuse to make the completely great, no-downsides policy of raising the minimum wage. One of the right’s great redeeming feature has been an awareness of these kinds of tradeoffs. But this election, it’s Hillary who sounds restrained and realistic, and Trump who wants the moon on a silver platter (“It will be the best moon you’ve ever seen. And the silver platter is going to be yuuuuuge!”)

III.

But I guess you’ve got to balance someone’s ability to pursue goals effectively with whether you like the goals they’ll be pursuing. I can imagine someone admitting that Clinton will probably be better at governing than Trump, but preferring Trump’s position on the issues so much that it still gives him an edge. In that case, I beg you to consider not only the mean but the variance.

I think even people who expect Trump to be a better President on average will admit he’s a high-variance choice. Hillary is an overwhelmingly known quantity at this point. A Hillary presidency will probably be a lot like Obama’s presidency. There might be a Libya-style military action; probably not an Iraq-style one. If something terrible happens like China tries to invade Taiwan, she will probably make some sort of vaguely reasonable decision after consulting her advisors. She might do a bad job, but it’s hard to imagine a course where a Hillary presidency leads directly to the apocalypse, the fall of American democracy, et cetera.

Trump isn’t a known quantity. Maybe he’ll kind of dodder around and be kind of funny while not changing much. Or maybe there will be some crisis and Trump will take what could have been a quickly-defused diplomatic incident and turn it into World War III. Remember also that it’s more likely the House and Senate both stay Republican than that they both switch to being Democrat. So if Hillary is elected, she’ll probably spend four years smashing her head against Congress; if Trump is elected, he will probably get a lot of what he wants.

Some people like high variance. I don’t. The world has seen history’s greatest alleviation of poverty over the past few decades, and this shows every sign of continuing as long as we don’t do something incredibly stupid that blows up the current world order. I’m less sanguine about the state of America in particular but I think that its generally First World problems probably can’t be solved by politics. They will probably require either genetic engineering or artificial intelligence; the job of our generation is keep the world functional enough to do the research that will create those technologies, and to alleviate as much suffering as we can in the meantime. I don’t see a Clinton presidency as making the world non-functional, whatever that means. I don’t know what I see a Trump presidency doing because, Trump is inherently unpredictable, but some major blow to world functionality is definitely on the list of possibilities.

The one place where Clinton is higher-variance than Trump is immigration. Clinton does not explicitly support open borders, but given her election on a pro-immigration platform and the massive anti-Trump immigration backlash that seems to be materializing, it’s easy to see her moving in that direction. If you believe that immigrants can import the less-effective institutions of their home countries, lower the intelligence of the national hive mind, or cause ethnic fractionalization that replaces sustainable democratic politics with ethnic coalition-building (unlike the totally-not-ethnic-coalition-based politics of today, apparently?), that could potentially make the world less functional and prevent useful technologies from being deployed.

I consider this one of the strongest pro-Trump arguments, but I think it exaggerates the scale of the problem. Hillary will have a Republican Congress to contend with; she probably won’t be able to increase immigration very much. Immigration rates are currently too low to cause massive demographic change before the point at which useful technologies can be deployed, and most immigrants are Asian and come from countries with pretty good institutions themselves. More important, Trump’s anti-immigration policies would prevent foreign researchers from attending top American universities, and probably slow the deployment of future technologies directly, far more than any indirect effect from Hillary would.

There’s another argument here – how exactly are we visualizing a world where immigrants damage American institutions? I envision it as America becoming more like Third World countries – constant ethnic tension, government by strongmen, rampant corruption, lack of respect for checks and balances, and overregulation of industry. But Trump is promising us all of that already, without even admitting any immigrants! If we’re going to become a Third World country, let’s at least help some people while we’re doing it!

IV.

US conservatism is in crisis, and I think that crisis might end better if Trump loses than if he wins.

Since a country with thriving conservative and liberal parties is lower-variance than one with lots of liberals but no effective conservatism, I would like conservatism to get out of crisis as soon as possible and reach the point where it could form an effective opposition. It would also be neat if whatever form conservatism ended out taking had some slight contact with reality and what would help the country (this is not meant as a dig at conservatives – I’m not sure the Democrats have much contact with reality or helps the country either; I’m wishing for the moon and stars here).

Nobody expects Republicans to win blacks and Hispanics. The interesting thing about this election is that college-educated whites are also moving into the Democratic column. If the latest polls are to be believed, the demographic – which favored Romney by 14 points last election – favors Clinton by 8 points now. The nightmare scenario is that Trump wins, his style of anti-intellectual populism is cemented as Official New Republican Ideology, and every educated person switches to the Democrats.

I’m not 100% this would be bad – maybe educated people who are temperamentally conservative would pull the Democratic Party a little to the right, turning them into a broad moderate coalition which has no problem winning elections and combines the smartest elements of liberal and conservative thought. But more likely, there’s a vicious cycle where the lack of intelligent conservatives guts the system of think tanks that produce the sort of studies and analyses which convince smart people to become conservative, which in turn makes there even fewer intelligent conservatives, and so on. In the end, intellectuals won’t just vote Democrat; they’ll shift their personal views further to the left to fit in. We already have a problem with a glut of leftist researchers and journalists producing evidence why leftists are right about everything, and a shortage of conservative researchers and journalists to fact-check them and present the opposite case. As intelligent people desert the Republican Party, this situation gets worse and we lose access to any knowledge that Vox doesn’t want to write an explainer on. In the worst case scenario, everybody develops a hard-coded association between “conservative” and “stupid people”, even more than they have already, the academies purge the hell out of everyone even slightly to the right of the loudest activist, and the only alternative is The Donald Trump Institute Of Research That Is Going To Be Absolutely Yuuuuuuge, which busies itself putting out white papers to a coalition of illiterates.

If Trump fails, then the situation is – much the same, really, but conservatives can at least get started right now picking up the pieces instead of having to wait four years. There’s a fundamental problem, which is that about 30% of the US population is religious poor southern whites who are generally not very educated, mostly not involved in US intellectual life, but form the biggest and most solid voting bloc in the country. If you try to form two parties with 50% of the vote each, then whichever party gets the religious poor southern whites is going to be dominated by them and end up vulnerable to populism. Since the religious poor southern whites are conservative, that’s always going to be the conservative party’s cross to bear and conservatism is always going to be less intellectual than liberalism in this country. I don’t know how to solve this. But there have been previous incarnations of American conservatism that have been better at dealing with the problem than this one, and maybe if Trumpism gets decisively defeated it will encourage people to work on the problem.

V.

I said I wouldn’t try to convince people about the big hot-button issues, but I’ve been told now thatthe guardrails of democracy have been broken lying is okay. So let’s talk about global warming.

Most hot-button issues are less President-influenced than most people think. No Supreme Court is likely to overturn Roe v. Wade at this point, so the president’s impact on abortion is limited to whatever edge cases come before the justices they appoint. I have no idea whether there was more or less capital punishment during Obama’s administration than Bush’s, but I doubt that the president’s opinion of the issue had much impact one way or the other. But it looks like the Obama administration made really impressive progress on global warming; needless to say Donald Trump feels differently.

I don’t want to argue climate science here. I want to say that, as usual, I support the low-variance position that’s not going to make the world vastly less functional before we can invent genetic engineering or AI. Even if you doubt modern climate science, are you so sure it’s wrong that it’s worth the risk? What chance of global warming being a real problem would it take before you agreed that we should probably reduce CO2 emissions just in case? How could that chance possibly be lower than the chance of something that 90-something percent of the relevant scientists believe to be true is true? Yes, we know here that science is not always as authoritative as it would like to be, but it’s not completely anticorrelated with truth either!

(also, if the research about high CO2 levels decreasing cognitive ability is true – and my guess is no, but I’m far from sure – that could be even more disastrous than the traditional global warming effects – remember that even tiny IQ decreases have horrible consequences on a society-wide scale.)

VI.

Okay, but what about the real reason Trump is so popular?

When I talk to Trump supporters, it’s not usually about doubting climate change, or thinking Trump will take the conservative movement in the right direction, or even immigration. It’s about the feeling that a group of arrogant, intolerant, sanctimonious elites have seized control of a lot of national culture and are using it mostly to spread falsehood and belittle anybody different than them. And Trump is both uniquely separate from these elites and uniquely repugnant to them – which makes him look pretty good to everyone else.

This is definitely true. Please vote Hillary anyway.

Aside from the fact that getting back at annoying people isn’t worth eroding the foundations of civil society – do you really think a Trump election is going to hurt these people at all? Make them question anything? “Oh, 51% of the American people disagree with me, I guess that means I’ve got a lot of self-reflecting to do.” Of course not. A Trump election would just confirm for them exactly what they already believe – that the average American is a stupid racist who needs to be kept as far away from public life as possible. If Trump gets elected, sure, the editorial pages will be full of howls of despair the next day, but underneath the howls will be quiet satisfaction that the world is exactly the way they believed it to be.

The right sometimes argues that modern leftism is analogous to early millenarian Christianity. They argue this, and then they say “You know what would stop these people in their tracks? A strong imperial figure who persecutes them. That’s definitely going to make them fade away quietly. There is no way this can possibly go wrong.”

Leftism has never been about controlling the government, and really the government is one of the areas it controls least effectively – even now both houses of Congress, most state legislatures, most governors, etc, are Republican. When people say that the Left is in control, they’re talking about academia, the media, the arts, and national culture writ large. But all of these things have a tendency to define themselves in opposition to the government. When the left controls the government, this is awkward and tends to involve a lot of infighting. When the right controls the government, it gets easy. If Trump controls the government, it gets ridiculously easy.

This has real-world effects. Millennials are more conservative than previous generations. Andrew Gelman, who is usually right about everything, says:

If you look at the cohort of young voters who came of age during George W. Bush’s presidency, they’re mostly Democrats, which makes sense as Bush was a highly unpopular Republican. The young voters who came of age during Obama’s presidency are more split, which makes sense because Obama is neither popular nor unpopular; he has an approval of about 50%

I would prefer the next generation end up leaning more to the right, because that will cancel out younger people’s natural tendency to lean left and make them pretty moderate and so low-variance. I definitely don’t want an unpopular far-right presidency, because then they’re going to lean left, which will combined with the natural leftiness of the young and make them super left. And this is the sort of thing that affects the culture!

VII.

One more warning for conservatives who still aren’t convinced. If the next generation is radicalized by Trump being a bad president, they’re not just going to lean left. They’re going to lean regressive, totalitarian, super-social-justice left.

Everyone has already constructed the narrative: Trump is the anti-PC, anti-social-justice candidate. If he wins, he’s going to be the anti-PC, anti-social-justice President. And he will fail. First of all, because he doesn’t really show much sign of knowing what he’s doing. Second of all, because all presidents fail in a sense – 80% of Americans consistently believe the country is headed the wrong direction and the president is the natural fall guy for this trend. And third of all, because even if by some miracle Trump avoids the first two failure modes, the media will say he failed and people will believe them. And when the anti-PC, anti-social-justice President fails, the reaction will be a giant “we told you so” from the social justice movement, and a giant shift of all the disillusioned young people right into their fold.

Trump is all set to be the biggest gift to the social justice movement in history. They thrive on claims of persecution, claims that they’re the ones fighting a stupid hateful regressive culture that controls everything. And people think that bringing their straw man to life and putting him in the Oval Office is going to help?

If you’re a Jew fighting anti-Semitism, the absolute minimum you can do is not actually kill Christian children and use their blood to make matzah. Likewise, if you are a principled classical liberal fighting the social justice movement’s attempt to smear anyone who disagrees with them as an overprivileged clueless hateful Neanderthal, the absolute minimum you can do is not actually be an overprivileged clueless hateful Neanderthal. Opinions on Trump range all the way from “he is definitely an overprivileged clueless hateful Neanderthal” to “he is remarkably and uniquely bad at not appearing to be an overprivileged clueless hateful Neanderthal”. In any case, having him as the public face of anti-social-justice for the next four years would be a godsend for them and a disaster for everyone else.

VIII.

There’s one more thought I wanted to mention which is vaguely in this space.

The enemy isn’t leftism or social justice. The enemy is epistemic vice.

When the Left errs, it’s through using shouting and shaming to cut through the long and painful process of having to justify its beliefs. It’s through confusing disagreement with evil, a dissenter who needs convincing with a thought-criminal who needs neutralizing.

Sometimes it might be strategically necessary to whack particular ideologies to make examples of them. But in the longer-term, replacing left with right just puts a new group of people in position to shame their opponents and silence dissent. The long range plan has to combine a short-term need to neutralize immediate would-be tyrants with a long-term need to slowly encourage epistemic virtue so that we don’t have to keep putting out fires.

Now, watch this video:

Trump’s not in that crowd. But does anyone think he disagrees with it? Can anyone honestly say that Trump or his movement promote epistemic virtue? That in the long-term, we’ll be glad that we encouraged this sort of thing, that we gave it power and attention and all the nutrients it needed to grow? That the road to whatever vision of a just and rational society we imagine, something quiet and austere with a lot of old-growth trees and Greek-looking columns, runs through LOCK HER UP?

I don’t like having to vote for the lesser of two evils. But at least I feel like I know who it is.

RELATED: Eliezer, The Unit Of Caring, Scott Aaronson

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2,317 Responses to SSC Endorses Clinton, Johnson, Or Stein

  1. E. Harding says:

    “Hillary represents complete safety from millennialism.”

    -Not the case.

    https://www.lewrockwell.com/2015/04/murray-n-rothbard/st-hillary-and-the-religious-left/

    The establishment, fundamentally, is millennialist. Just take a look at this:
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/08/25/hillary-clintons-alt-right-speech-annotated/

    “And since then, one of the central principles behind my philosophy has been “Don’t destroy all existing systems and hope a planet-sized ghost makes everything work out”. Systems are hard. Institutions are hard. If your goal is to replace the current systems with better ones, then destroying the current system is 1% of the work, and building the better ones is 99% of it.”

    -This is a good reason to have voted Trump in the Indiana primary.

    “But this election, it’s Hillary who sounds restrained and realistic, and Trump who wants the moon on a silver platter (“It will be the best moon you’ve ever seen. And the silver platter is going to be yuuuuuge!”)”

    -That’s it; “sounds”. As typical, a college-educated person focuses on style far more than substance.

    “There might be a Libya-style military action; probably not an Iraq-style one.”

    -I.e, a military action that creates an endless civil war after overthrowing a government without the approval of Congress, rather than one that leaves behind a stable government free of civil war with the approval of Congress.

    “If something terrible happens like China tries to invade Taiwan, she will probably make some sort of vaguely reasonable decision after consulting her advisors.”

    -That’s assuming Her advisors are reasonable. They aren’t:
    https://twitter.com/rosenbergerlm/status/773684010526601216

    As usual, all focus on Her style. No focus on substance.

    “Or maybe there will be some crisis and Trump will take what could have been a quickly-defused diplomatic incident and turn it into World War III.”

    -As Scott Adams point out, this assessment of the situation is based on precisely nothing except non-New Yorkers interpreting New Yorker speech as a sign of mental instability. Arguments from fictional evidence aren’t arguments at all.

    “Hillary will have a Republican Congress to contend with; she probably won’t be able to increase immigration very much.”

    -Step one: appoint Barack Obama to the Supreme Court to replace Scalia. Step two: sign an executive action giving amnesty to any present and all future illegal immigrants. Done.

    “More important, Trump’s anti-immigration policies would prevent foreign researchers from attending top American universities,”

    -This is literally the opposite of what Trump says:
    http://sciencedebate.org/20answers

    “US conservatism is in crisis, and I think that crisis might go slightly better if Trump loses than if he wins.”

    -Two words. “No.” and “Courts”.

    “and every educated person switches to the Democrats.”

    -Screw ’em. We don’t need them. Lyndon Johnson famously lost the White college-educated vote.

    “I envision it as America becoming more like Third World countries – constant ethnic tension,”

    -“Black. Lives. Matter!”

    “government by strongmen, rampant corruption,”

    -Whitewater. President’s wife succeeding president.

    “lack of respect for checks and balances,”

    -Associate Justice Obama.

    “and overregulation of vital industries.”

    -Who’s the candidate saying he’ll reduce regulations on vital industries again?

    “But Trump is promising us all of that already, without even admitting any immigrants!”

    -Palm, meet face.

    “I’m not 100% this would be bad – maybe educated people who are temperamentally conservative would pull the Democratic Party a little to the right, turning them into a broad moderate coalition which has no problem winning elections and combines the smartest elements of liberal and conservative thought.”

    -Elizabeth Warren and Paul Wolfowitz! I.e., a totally evil party any sensible American should not vote for.

    “There’s a fundamental problem, which is that about 30% of the US population is Borderers who are mostly not very smart, mostly not involved in US intellectual life, but form the biggest and most solid voting bloc in the country.”

    -Are Irish borderers? Rhode Island’s Republicans went heavier for Trump in a contested primary than for Mitt in an uncontested one.

    “mostly not involved in US intellectual life, but form the biggest and most solid voting bloc in the country.”

    -I was not aware that Adlai Stevenson won the 1952 election.

    “and conservatism is always going to be less intellectual than liberalism in this country”

    -Not in 1964. Goldwater won the Deep South, but so did Northern Illinois, and the borderers overwhelmingly went for LBJ.

    “No Supreme Court is likely to overturn Roe v. Wade at this point”

    -It’s about conserving present institutions from Clintonite violence. Not rolling things back. Otherwise, the party would have nominated Cruz.

    On Global Warming, real evidence suggests costly CO2 emission reductions aren’t worth it:
    http://instituteforenergyresearch.org/analysis/are-climate-change-mitigation-policies-a-form-of-insurance/
    Also, there’s this:
    http://www.cato.org/blog/current-wisdom-we-calculate-you-decide-handy-dandy-carbon-tax-temperature-savings-calculator

    “A Trump election would just confirm for them exactly what they already believe – that the average American is a stupid racist who needs to be kept as far away from public life as possible.”

    -Sucks for them. Great for us! Goldwater should have won, BTW, even if he was supported by all the racists.

    “I would prefer the next generation end up leaning more to the right, because that will cancel out younger people’s natural tendency to lean left and make them pretty moderate and so low-variance.”

    -But what if Trump’s successful (low chance, but bear with me)? In that case, young people will turn right, just like we see with New Deal and LBJ Democrats and Reagan Republicans. Nothing wrong with that. Young people didn’t turn all that much right in response to Johnson. They turned way left in reaction to Nixon.

    “Millennials are more conservative than previous generations.”

    -That’s an extremely misleading statement.

    “If the next generation is radicalized by Trump being a bad president, they’re not just going to lean left. They’re going to lean regressive, totalitarian, super-social-justice left.”

    -In short, to prevent the transformation of a whole generation into SJWs, we must elect an actual SJW. You know what? How about no?

    “the claim that having a woman in charge will Change Everything is going to start looking kind of silly.”

    -The Canucks have already got Kim Campbell as an example. We know that already. And what if Her is successful? Then we’ve got a generation of SJWs on our hands, thanks to your advice to do the opposite of the obvious.

    C*ckservatism has failed. Electing Obama to mollify the far left has failed. It’s time for a new course: Donald J. Trump, the best presidential nominee since Ronald Reagan in either party. Vote Trump like your life depends on it. Because if Hillary’s neocon advisors will tell Her Russia has WMDs, it might.

    “Hillary will be forced to govern from the center because all presidents govern from the center to some degree, and she’ll keep her party closer to the center too.”

    -Just ask LBJ, who, at the time, was from the center!

    “The far-left and the center-left will get more and more annoyed at each other, the Sanderistas and the Clintonites will keep sniping each other in the absence of a common enemy, and I think the results would be better for civil rights and for independent thought than the purges likely to result if a Trump election made people start feeling cornered.”

    -Basically, if you have more of the same, it will lead to change. Hint: it won’t.

    “Trump’s not in that crowd. But does anyone think he disagrees with it? Can anyone honestly say that Trump or his movement promote epistemic virtue? That in the long-term, we’ll be glad that we encouraged this sort of thing, that we gave it power and attention and all the nutrients it needed to grow? That the road to whatever vision of a just and rational society we imagine, something quiet and austere with a lot of old-growth trees and Greek-looking columns, runs through LOCK HER UP?”

    -Yes. If somebody not named “Hillary Clinton” committed Her crimes, he would be locked up. Now, LOCK HER UP!

    “I don’t like having to vote for the lesser of two evils. But at least I feel pretty sure who it is.”

    -Agreed. It’s the Only Man Who Can Even Remotely Save The Nation, the Nominee of the Party of Lincoln, the first candidate outside the establishment to get elected since McGovern, Donald J. Trump.

    TL; DR: all Scott’s reasons for voting Her are specious, disingenuous, and contain more than a hint of concern trolling. We’ll take it from here.

    • If you want to focus on substance, you can look at Trump too. Trump doesn’t just “sound” like he wants the moon on a silver platter, he has a literally preposterous view of the world. http://postlibertarian.com/2016/09/05/against-trump/

      He thought we could renegotiate the US national debt like it was a business. He thought we should allow pretty much any country to have nuclear weapons. He said women should be criminally prosecuted if they get abortions. He said terrorists’ families should be targetted. He said we should shut off parts of the internet if necessary and “open up the libel laws” to target journalists who criticize him.

      Some of this he recanted. Sometimes he recanted the recanted statements. If you only care about substance, Trump is terrible substance. Clinton is bad too, and I don’t support most of her policies, but it’s hard to argue against Trump’s “substance” being worse.

      Full disclosure, I’m voting for Gary Johnson. But I live in a state Trump will likely win unless the election isn’t close. Hopefully my vote will help Johnson will reach the 5% threshold to get federal funds in the next election cycle.

      • eh says:

        There’s a difference between trying to negotiate on T-bills, which is ridiculous and unworkable, and prosecuting women who get abortions/encouraging reprisals against innocent civilians/censoring communications/using the courts to beat down your opponents, most of which have been hugely effective tactics for establishing political control at one point or other. The former is preposterous, the latter aren’t, although they’re probably terrifying for most of the population.

        Having said that, I’m not an American, and judging what is preposterous could be a cultural thing.

        • SM says:

          The chance of Trump successfully using Federal Government to suppress opposition are very slim. Press hates him – and I mean hates, they’d blow up any semblance of the story into a huge deal and if they get a real deal – this would be on 24/7. Half of his own party is uneasy with him. Libertarian wing is terrified of him. Federal bureaucrats despise him. Judiciary, after his miserable performance in Curiel affair, largely hates or despises him. He has very little to lean on to achieve his potential overreach, and would be viciously fought on every step from every possible direction.

          Compare to Clinton. Infrastructure of politically based suppression – check (hello, Louis Lerner!). Support of federal bureacrasy – check (as we can see, archives disappear, hard drives crash and backup tapes vanish as by miracle when the need arises). History of scandals involving dirty tricks in official capacity for political or personal gain – check. Immunity from the press scrutiny – check. Unquestioning support from wide coalition of celebrities, intellectuals and public opinion gurus – check. Intellectual platform that favors government involvement as primary positive force – check. Prosecutors itching to persecute political opponents for politically incorrect opinions – check. Full backing of SJW activist masses – check. Public promise to overturn SC decision that allowed political opposition to criticize her – check.

          If I ever wanted to make a plan to build a platform for government overreach and persecuting opposition, I could hardly do any better.

          • Corey says:

            Clinton. … Immunity from the press scrutiny – check.

            Really?

          • ThirteenthLetter says:

            Yes, really.

          • TheWorst says:

            Immunity from the press scrutiny – check.

            This is easily the most insane thing I’ve seen in weeks. And I have the internet.

            Was it written from an alternate universe where the press didn’t spend the last three-ish decades breathlessly (and infinitely) repeating and supporting every random smear any time a right-wing kook comes up with?

          • SM says:

            No, the universe where Journolist existed, and CNN edited out Clinton calling NY attacks “bombing” while denouncing Trump for doing the same, and where CBS removes Clinton comments about Hillary’s health from the interview because he mistakenly says “frequently”, and PBS removes criticism of Clinton from Stein’s interview, and where debate moderators openly support talking points of one side, and where journalists send their articles for review to political operatives before publishing, and where head of DNC tells to Political Director of NBC “Chuck, this must stop” about their coverage and is met not with laughter but with compliance. This universe. What the color of the Sun in yours? How many moons on your planet?

            OTOH, if that’s the most insane thing you’ve seen in weeks – I seriously envy you. Your selection of reading sources must be impeccable, and I bow to your superior skills and hope to be you when I grow up.

          • TomFL says:

            Nobody cares what the press thinks about the culture wars. Nobody. If they did the world would be as left leaning as they are. They have lost credibility here so it just doesn’t matter.

            They spent four years of the Obama administration blaming Bush for everything, and the last 4 years blaming Obama for nothing. If Trump was elected he would be responsible for the entire world’s problems on day 1, including Syria.

            So this expectation of bias is already built in so nobody will be surprised to see the media embarrass themselves further. They really can’t be more against Trump then they are now.

          • keranih says:

            They really can’t be more against Trump then they are now.

            Eh. We said that about Bush. And Reagan.

            Next R president, they’ll find a way to dial up the fury again.

          • TomFL says:

            They could try, but it has already entered a counter productive phase. Republican trust in the media dropped 18% this year.

          • TheAncientGeek says:

            Immunity from the press scrutiny – check.

            You can go from darling of the liberal intelligentsia to number one hate object. Ask Tony “fork hunts” Blair.

      • E. Harding says:

        “He thought we could renegotiate the US national debt like it was a business.”

        -Guess what? We can. We’re the United States of America, not the United States of Greece. FDR took the U.S. off the Gold Standard, thus defaulting on the U.S. national debt, and nothing bad resulted from that.

        “He thought we should allow pretty much any country to have nuclear weapons.”

        -No; he said it was inevitable. You might disagree with him, but he wasn’t saying it Must happen and the U.S. should guarantee it, like Her said Assad Must Go.

        “He said women should be criminally prosecuted if they get abortions.”

        -Why not? If abortion is to be made illegal, how would that law be enforced?

        “He said terrorists’ families should be targetted.”

        -They should be. And they are.

        “He said we should shut off parts of the internet if necessary”

        -So did Her.

        “and “open up the libel laws” to target journalists who criticize him.”

        -Nothing wrong with that.

        Got any actually bad policies of Trump not explicitly advocated by Her, like restoring torture (which he has advocated)?

        • Danny says:

          >-Guess what? We can. We’re the United States of America, not the United States of Greece. FDR took the U.S. off the Gold Standard, thus defaulting on the U.S. national debt, and nothing bad resulted from that.

          This is economically illiterate. FDR did not default on the national debt by removing the gold standard. Those two things are not equivalent.

          And we absolutely cannot negotiate T-Bills without raining down hellfire for at least a generation. Interest rates on US debt would instantly spike, and cost us trillions more in interest payments for at least a generation. It wouldn’t even save us money, and it’s one of the most uniquely stupid ideas ever put into practice as federal policy.

          • Homo Iracundus says:

            You… you do realize that most of the national debt is not indexed to inflation, right Danny?

            And what happens to a debt when the currency it’s denominated in is devaluated or depreciates?

          • E. Harding says:

            “FDR did not default on the national debt by removing the gold standard.”

            -Yes, he did.

            “Those two things are not equivalent.”

            -How so?

            “Interest rates on US debt would instantly spike, and cost us trillions more in interest payments for at least a generation.”

            http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/24/bond-vigilantes-and-the-power-of-three/

            [Note: the above link may be trolling].

          • “FDR did not default on the national debt by removing the gold standard. Those two things are not equivalent.”

            Pretty close. Dollars were exchangeable for a fixed amount of gold. Before FDR took the U.S. off the gold standard, the U.S. owed foreign countries a specified amount of gold. After, we owed them a specified amount of paper money which we could choose to print if we felt like it.

          • Nyx says:

            If, according to you, the US does not have any debt, then why is Trump talking about renegotiating the debt that the US doesn’t have?

        • Even if you were correct about FDR, that doesn’t mean we can renegotiate debt like a business. We could do things like try to increase the nominal inflation rate to reduce the real burden of debt the government owes, but that’s different. The reason why we have low borrowing costs is because we don’t renegotiate debt and because global markets expect long term US-inflation to be low. If you get rid of those assumptions, borrowing costs go up, and prices for consumers go up as the dollar sinks. It doesn’t automatically make us Greece, but it moves us towards that direction, which has real costs.

          Related: the Tax Policy Center notes that Trump’s tax and spending plan would massively balloon the deficit (I think more than Obama has, but I’d have to double check). Hillary’s would not as tax increases offset much of her less ambitious spending plan. I don’t want the state to get bigger, but Trump would add significant borrowing risk to the US fiscal situation.

          Trump talked about a real change in American nuclear policy. Over a long enough time period, nuclear weapons may be inevitable, but there is global risk reduction if there are fewer nukes. Trump would purposefully increase that risk. Hillary would not.

          Abortion: Republicans have normally said that if illegal, people performing the abortions should be prosecuted, not the women getting them. I’m concerned you think it’s normal that the pro-life position is lock up women who get abortions. Also, Trump assumed it should be illegal. This is not a great assumption.

          If you are ok with the targeting of innocents because they are related to someone who is guilty, I assume this means you have rejected most of classical liberalism, John Locke, individual civil rights and liberties, and so on. Corruption of blood is unconstitutional for crimes of treason, bills of attainder are unconstitutional period, killing people with state action without due process is unconstitutional, killing innocent people on purpose falls under the 5th amendment prohibitions, but it’s also just considered a dick move in bird culture. Frankly, this position is un-American even if you’ve rejected classical liberalism as a philosophy. Of course, it’s also against the Geneva Conventions.

          On libel laws, I guess if you’re not concerned about individual rights and classical liberalism then first amendment violations wouldn’t matter to you either. I thought the biggest reason to vote for Trump was to fight against the censorious overzealous PC left…but if he’s just vowing to replace it with another type of censorship, that defeats the whole purpose. All it would guarantee is that when the left gets voted back in, they’d now have the state helping them crush free speech too.

          And I’ve got a lot more critiques, not just those. Not all of them are saying Clinton is better, again, I’m voting for Gary Johnson.

          • Corey says:

            Abortion: Republicans have normally said that if illegal, people performing the abortions should be prosecuted, not the women getting them. I’m concerned you think it’s normal that the pro-life position is lock up women who get abortions. Also, Trump assumed it should be illegal. This is not a great assumption.

            Trump’s bad assumption is just a sign of his late and/or fake coming to the anti-abortion camp; he never developed his memetic immune system. Someone unfamiliar with the standard positions would reasonably assume women seeking abortions would be punished because that’s kind of what it means for something to be illegal.

          • E. Harding says:

            “but if he’s just vowing to replace it with another type of censorship, that defeats the whole purpose.”

            -Trump’s stronger libel laws will almost certainly be only enforceable against those with institutional privilege. The Left has institutional privilege. Mere right-wing internet trolls don’t. BTW, the Clinton campaign has sent out an email implying Breitbart is not a site that has a right to exist. In the 1990s, Clinton spoke up about the impossibility of loving your country and hating your government simultaneously.

            “Frankly, this position is un-American even if you’ve rejected classical liberalism as a philosophy.”

            -No, it isn’t. Obama did it. I can only presume his successor will, also, no matter which gender they might be.

            Gary Johnson, as shown by his Aleppo comments, is an ignoramus. He’s too ignorant to be president.

          • Fahundo says:

            will almost certainly be only enforceable against those with institutional privilege

            .

            This sounds exactly like SJW reasoning. “It’s not real racism if it’s directed at the privileged class.”

            And let met guess, “privilege” is defined as being inversely proportional to your agreement with Trump. It’s just trading one form of ideological tyranny with another.

          • herbert herbertson says:

            And let met guess, “privilege” is defined as being inversely proportional to your agreement with Trump. It’s just trading one form of ideological tyranny with another.

            And there’s the rub. Hegel must be masturbating furiously wherever he is, because this whole century has just been one dialectic after another.

          • E. Harding says:

            “This sounds exactly like SJW reasoning. “It’s not real racism if it’s directed at the privileged class.””

            -Yup.

            “And let met guess, “privilege” is defined as being inversely proportional to your agreement with Trump. It’s just trading one form of ideological tyranny with another.”

            -Nope. Fox News has institutional privilege, for instance.

          • Hector_St_Clare says:

            What’s inherently wrong with imprisoning women who have abortions?

            As mentioned below, that’s kind of what it means for something to be illegal, and it’s really the only morally serious approach to the problem. If abortion is homicide, then normally you punish everyone involved in a homicide, including the people who solicit the hitman and the ones that pay for them.

            (For what it’s worth, abortion laws that punish the mother are not at all uncommon across modern Latin America).

          • @Corey

            I don’t think it’s comforting that someone running for president is too incompetent to understand the positions of their own political group/tribe because they’re a newcomer. Lacking a fundamental understanding of American politics and making governing decisions extrapolating on that poor understanding seems like a terrible way to make policy.

            @E. Harding

            I explicitly concede that Hillary also wanted to shut off the internet, which at best makes them tied. But the Trump critiques on national debt, nuclear policy, and abortion are still pretty bad, and none apply to Hillary. There’s also an implication that Trump wasn’t just advocating bad policy, he didn’t really seem to realize he was advocating policies that often radically differed from the status quo and what sort of implications that would have. This leaves open the option that many other policies of Trump are radically new and undeveloped, but even he has not realized that yet, much less everyone else. His misunderstanding of a blind trust seems like a good example that surfaced pretty recently.

            Johnson’s Aleppo comment was a single mistake in a months-long campaign that is now repeated because there are only a couple of mistakes he has made at all. Trump, on the other hand, has redefined how ignorant you can be while running for president. For demonstration, check out any of counters of his false statements. There is no comparison to Johnson because it’s impossible to remember all the factual mistakes Trump has made. Johnson’s can be counted on one hand.

            On libel, I agree with @Fahundo, you are just asserting that Trump will only go after people with privilege with no support. If “privilege” just means “people who disagree with Trump”, that’s just admitting the accusation of censorship is true. Crushing free speech counts as failure no matter who crushes it.

            Also, saying Trump’s policies are not un-American because Obama did them despite being clearly against the constitution, doesn’t really make sense, unless Obama is now the definition of what’s “American”. As Trump’s central tenet seems to be opposing Obama and declaring Trump is the basis of “American”, I think we can reject this premise. Of course, Obama didn’t target terrorists’ families; he did execute attacks that had collateral damage including family members, but under a congressional authorization of force, these have the potential to be legal. I don’t condone them, nor think they are legal, but targeting of innocent civilians on purpose will never be legal nor morally defensible under any circumstance.

            Finally, let’s just add in here that it seems you have in fact conceded a rejection of individual civil liberties, natural rights, and classical liberalism. But…I don’t get the feeling that you’re a Moldbug follower either, and you actually seem to think the American experience was a positive one for the world, and you actually want to make America great again. Rejecting huge swaths of what America was built on, massively increasing government power and surrendering individual rights in order to restore American values looks like the biggest case of doublethink I’ve ever heard of.

          • Corey says:

            @Corey

            I don’t think it’s comforting that someone running for president is too incompetent to understand the positions of their own political group/tribe because they’re a newcomer. Lacking a fundamental understanding of American politics and making governing decisions extrapolating on that poor understanding seems like a terrible way to make policy.

            Agreed!

          • E. Harding says:

            “Agreed!”

            -Same here. That’s why I oppose Gary Johnson.

          • Johnson’s Aleppo comment was a single mistake in a months-long campaign that is now repeated because there are only a couple of mistakes he has made at all. Trump, on the other hand, has redefined how ignorant you can be while running for president.

            To buttress this, consider just one of Trump’s many, many mistakes:

            “[My sister is] a brilliant judge. He’s been criticizing — he’s been criticizing my sister for signing a certain bill. You know who else signed that bill? Justice Samuel Alito, a very conservative member of the Supreme Court, with my sister, signed that bill.”

            Perhaps one of the best arguments for electing Trump despite his flaws is that you think he’ll make good judicial appointments. But here he doesn’t seem to understand what a judge does. The President signs bills, not the justices, and certainly not random Third Circuit judges. How is he supposed to make good judicial appointments if he doesn’t even know what their job duties are?

            Johnson may slip when trying to remember random foreign cities, but I guarantee you he knows what each branch of the federal government is for. There are several incidents (this is just one!) which seem to suggest Trump doesn’t.

          • Deiseach says:

            Johnson may slip when trying to remember random foreign cities

            The point is that Aleppo is not a “random foreign city”. It kind of sort of involves your country’s dealings with allies and others in attempts to broker and sustain a cease-fire:

            The US has accused Russia of using “incendiary bunker-busting bombs” in the bombardment, carried out in support of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.

            UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has told the Security Council that war crimes are being committed by those using “ever-more destructive weapons” in Aleppo, while the US has threatened to cut diplomatic ties with Vladimir Putin’s government over the blitz.

          • Vorkon says:

            @Deiseach

            I already pointed this out further down, (http://slatestarcodex.com/2016/09/28/ssc-endorses-clinton-johnson-or-stein/#comment-416384) but because this comment is further up and easier for people to find, and because I think it’s important enough to be worth beating a dead horse on, but I think it’s safe to say that the Aleppo comment doesn’t give you any information, one way or the other, on how well Johnson does or doesn’t understand the situation in Syria.

            It wasn’t about him not knowing what Aleppo was, it was about him not realizing the interviewer had suddenly shifted topics.

            Sure, it’s certainly still an embarrassing gaffe, and might even call into question his ability to think on his feet in front of the media, (though, not much more than any other candidate’s embarrassing gaffes) but the way the media has blown it into something it is not is frankly reprehensible.

          • Alex S says:

            > Over a long enough time period, nuclear weapons may be inevitable, but there is global risk reduction if there are fewer nukes. Trump would purposefully increase that risk.

            Isn’t this a kind of Pascal’s wager to avoid nuclear war? Why would the increase in risk be that big? Plus there seems to be a counterargument, which I think some folks here brought up, that Trump is less hostile to Russia than Clinton is. Russia is the big nuclear kahuna, so this may offset (although I doubt entirely) the risk from more nukes.

          • Cord Shirt says:

            What Vorkon said. And I don’t even like Johnson. (See why I try to avoid political media? Gah.)

      • Leif says:

        “open up the libel laws” to target journalists who criticize him.

        One of Hillary Clinton’s most popular campaign promises is to overturn Citizens United, the Supreme Court case that ruled the first amendment allows people to spend money to make a documentary criticizing Hillary Clinton.

        • Nebfocus says:

          This. If Hillary is elected, the First Amendment is done. We already have 4 Justices who believe banning books/movies is perfectly legal.

          • TheWorst says:

            Would you care to rephrase that in the form of a wager?

            Failing that, would you care to address the fact that you guys have been saying things like this about the second amendment for generations, and have been wrong 100% of the many, many times you’ve cried wolf?

          • E. Harding says:

            @TheWorst

            Who are “you guys”? Who are you and where do you come from? You seem to shelter your stereotype progressive views here like a cocoon, lashing out in evidence-free anger whenever that cocoon is penetrated.

          • Jiro says:

            Would you care to rephrase that in the form of a wager?

            No, because there are reasons why not to take wagers even for propositions that you legitimately believe have a positive expectation.

          • TheWorst says:

            You seem to shelter your stereotype progressive views here like a cocoon, lashing out in evidence-free anger whenever that cocoon is penetrated.

            What an excellent critique of E. Harding! Given that almost everything in the comment section here consists of your tantrum at having someone point out that your nonsense is nonsense, this is a hilarious thing for you to say.

            Did you mistake this for a safe space where your delicate fee-fees would never have to handle the terrible boundary violation of being contradicted when you have false beliefs?

            If you can’t handle disagreement, it’s probably best to limit yourself to spaces without ideological diversity, and/or to become less wrong.

            Trump is a terrible, terrible choice for President. No one is obligated to help you pretend otherwise.

          • TheWorst says:

            @ Jiro

            No, because there are reasons why not to take wagers even for propositions that you legitimately believe have a positive expectation.

            There’s also the far more common reason not to take a wager, which is that you don’t want to pay the tax on bullshit.

            The far-more-likely answer tends to be the true one. Hoofbeats mean horse, not unicorn.

          • Jiro says:

            There’s also the far more common reason not to take a wager, which is that you don’t want to pay the tax on bullshit.

            The most common reason not to take wagers is that people have a general policy of not taking wagers. It proves nothing about whether they think it’s bullshit.

            Furthermore, pretty much all the reasons not to take wagers apply to wagers in general. That is about as common as you can get and disqualifies them from being unicorns.

          • TheWorst says:

            The most common reason not to take wagers is that people have a general policy of not taking wagers. It proves nothing about whether they think it’s bullshit.

            Proves? Correct, it does not. The fact that this “policy” seems to exist most commonly (almost exclusively) in people saying things on the internet which they know to be untrue–and seems to be forgotten whenever they aren’t doing that–strongly suggests that a certain conclusion is likely.

          • Jiro says:

            This does not exist only on the Internet. It happens in real life. Most people don’t make bets. Try modelling other people better.

            And to the extent it is more common on the Internet, it is so because people on the Internet are not friends and are trusted less. It does not mean that the statement is false.

        • Brian says:

          The Citizens United case was about what the government can regulate within the bounds of the First Amendment. The Obama Administration’s Solicitor General’s office argued before the Supreme Court that the government could ban all books criticising the president. That is the logical conclusion of the current approach to campaign finance law.

          I don’t see how anyone who wants to reverse the CU ruling can be counted worse for free speech than Trump. At least Trump will get push back from the justices appointed by his own party.

        • True. I assume we are saying she would try to pass a bill and get it before the Supreme Court, not try and pass a constitutional amendment (which would never clear the 2/3 majority in the House and Senate). Even that is unlikely given Republican Control of the House and Senate filibuster rules. I’m more concerned about Trump because I feel he would just prosecute people who criticize him without caring if it would be successful. Just using the power of the state to start criminal or civil suits with not chance of winning still puts huge financial burdens on the targeted party, chilling speech.

    • birdboy2000 says:

      (Disclaimer: Hillary’s foreign policy scares the hell out of me, and is my primary although far from my only reason for voting SEP over democrat this election)

      The government controlling Mosul, like the government controlling Baghdad, would very much disagree that Iraq is currently run by a “stable government without a civil war”.

      • Protest Manager says:

        The gov’t controlling Baghdad was stable when Bush left office. President Obama set out to change that, since the only think he hates more than American power and success, is a Republican success.

        The surge worked. Obama and Hillary sabotaged the results out of spite.

        • birdboy2000 says:

          It was “stable” in the sense that it was an ongoing sectarian insurgency and not open rule of Mosul and Hawija, but the factors which led to Iraq’s current situation were well underway. ISI never stopped fighting.

          Despite some short-lived gains in Anbar which crumbled once Maliki broke all his promises to the local shiekhs and US troops left.

          (And yes, US troops leaving when they did was in retrospect a tremendous mistake. But there’s plenty of blame for that to go around, both American and Iraqi.)

          • E. Harding says:

            Sure, it never stopped existing as an organization that could conduct terrorist attacks, but it was subdued from December 2008 to April 2013. That’s a long time in the grand scheme of things.

            Unlike Trump/Pence, I don’t think U.S. troops leaving was a mistake. I think it was a fundamentally good idea.

          • Sandy says:

            Given that Maliki’s government was a puppet state with a leader literally handpicked by the CIA, there is somewhat more blame to be laid at the feet of the American President.

          • baconbacon says:

            2 Trillion dollars for 5 years of “subdued” civil war = important in the grand scheme?

          • cassander says:

            >It was “stable” in the sense that it was an ongoing sectarian insurgency and not open rule of Mosul and Hawija,

            This is demonstrably false.

            >Despite some short-lived gains in Anbar which crumbled once Maliki broke all his promises to the local shiekhs and US troops left.

            Gee, it’s almost like leaving american troops in iraq was a good idea!

            >. But there’s plenty of blame for that to go around, both American and Iraqi.)

            No, there’s only one american to blame for that decision, the president.

          • Deiseach says:

            Unlike Trump/Pence, I don’t think U.S. troops leaving was a mistake. I think it was a fundamentally good idea.

            E. Harding, from the start I said that Iraq would be America’s Ulster (and not, as some were regarding it, Vietnam redux).

            Just as when the Troubles kicked off and the British government thought they could temporarily send over the Army to restore order, and instead there were forty years of upheaval, the same thing with the US forces: you can’t just say “job done” and pull out and leave the same old tribal divisions simmering away behind you.

        • herbert herbertson says:

          Obama ran on a withdrawal. It was what the American people wanted. If you think that was the wrong choice, consider why it was made in the first place.

          • AnonEmous says:

            Didn’t know so many Americans were single-issue voters. Guess that explains why he got the historic numbers of black votes he did!

            “Are you saying he benefited from his racial tribe belonging, racist?”

            Bitch please, me and my family’s main reason for voting him is so we could finally have a black president (note:lily white here). Don’t pretend like that election was even as simple as just ‘issues’.

          • herbert herbertson says:

            It’s more than just an issue. Obama’s entrance onto the public stage was his Oct. 2, 2002 anti-war speech. It was the main policy-based distinction between the two candidates in the 2008 Democratic primary campaign (arguably the only one besides the health insurance mandate). It was also specifically about Iraq, and can be contrasted to his repeated statements indicating that he did not feel the same way about Afghanistan and would continue the occupation there. Obama had about as a clear mandate for withdrawal as one could imagine, and while, yes, he could have gone against that promise (as he did with the health care mandate) you need to acknowledge, at the least, that he would have betrayed his constituents had he done so.

            I’d also note that you’re putting words into my mouth that I didn’t say and wasn’t going to say. I don’t actually give a shit, because I generally don’t have high expectations of the sorts of people who blame the contemporary problems of Iraq [primarily] on Obama and generally am no stranger to straw-manned invective, but if you’re posting here I’d wager you have higher expectations for yourself.

          • cassander says:

            He also ran against the individual mandate and for closing gitmo.

          • AnonEEmous says:

            “It’s more than just an issue. Obama’s entrance onto the public stage was his Oct. 2, 2002 anti-war speech. It was the main policy-based distinction between the two candidates in the 2008 Democratic primary campaign (arguably the only one besides the health insurance mandate). It was also specifically about Iraq, and can be contrasted to his repeated statements indicating that he did not feel the same way about Afghanistan and would continue the occupation there. Obama had about as a clear mandate for withdrawal as one could imagine, and while, yes, he could have gone against that promise (as he did with the health care mandate) you need to acknowledge, at the least, that he would have betrayed his constituents had he done so.”

            but the argument you’ve put forth is that this was the issue that put him over the top, that americans overwhelmingly decided they wanted, and that’s what we need to consider. if you instead consider that, say, 10% of his support came because Black (maybe even more? Record Numbers), maybe another 15% because Democrat, another 10% because Hope and Change, and another few percent on the backs of other shit, then the Iraq War becomes merely another straw breaking the camel’s back, and we will discuss that fruitful metaphor and people’s perceptions of it in a moment so be right back

            “I’d also note that you’re putting words into my mouth that I didn’t say and wasn’t going to say.”

            Sorry, that was meant as a generalised rebuttal to all readers because I didn’t feel like having to explain that receiving overwhelming black support more than any other president ever clearly confers some sort of Melanin Advantage

            ” I don’t actually give a shit, because I generally don’t have high expectations of the sorts of people who blame the contemporary problems of Iraq [primarily] on Obama ”

            and now you’ve done the same thing, haven’t you? I haven’t said that it’s Obama’s fault, merely that you have made a false statement.

            But now we return to the camel’s back. People (I don’t think you did this, by the way) psychologically have a tendency to overvalue the last straw that broke the camel’s back over all of the other heavier clumps of straw. (of course, sometimes it’s reasonable to blame that last straw, but not always.) In that sense, Obama certainly did put down a straw in the form of a bad decision. On the other hand, I have heard that it was actually Bush who set the plans to leave in 2009, and I have to say that if that really was the case, then it would be a tall order for Obama to stay. So I don’t really blame him for his decision; a small portion of blame is deserved to him for what has happened now, but a much larger one to any of George Bush or Dick Cheney or Shadowy Advisor Number 504 or you get the idea. (Generals, maybe?)

            “and generally am no stranger to straw-manned invective, but if you’re posting here I’d wager you have higher expectations for yourself.”

            glad I forgot I read this and only read it at the end. cool it with the haterade my dude.

          • herbert herbertson says:

            “but the argument you’ve put forth is that this was the issue that put him over the top, that americans overwhelmingly decided they wanted, and that’s what we need to consider. ”

            No, I didn’t say anything like that. Project Manager said “The surge worked. Obama and Hillary sabotaged the results out of spite.” I pointed out that he had a clear mandate to do what he did, implicitly making the point that Project Manager is nuts to reach for such an extreme explanation when a very simple and straightforward one was available. “Mandate” is not a synonym for “the only reason he won.”

            People will get angry with you when you try to correct people based on a faulty personal definition in a thread that implicitly puts you on the same side as someone positing conspiracy theories about their enemies.

          • AnonEEmous says:

            “No, I didn’t say anything like that. Project Manager said “The surge worked. Obama and Hillary sabotaged the results out of spite.” I pointed out that he had a clear mandate to do what he did, implicitly making the point that Project Manager is nuts to reach for such an extreme explanation when a very simple and straightforward one was available. “Mandate” is not a synonym for “the only reason he won.”

            “Obama ran on a withdrawal. It was what the American people wanted. ”

            it sounds to me like you’re arguing this was a very large reason he won when in reality it may or may not have been. But yes, it does seem as though I missed some context and project manager may need to re-evaluate his conclusion.

        • TheWorst says:

          Untrue. Unnecessary. Wildly unkind.

          Can we hold off on just repeating whatever wingnut nonsense you heard somewhere?

          • E. Harding says:

            The things Protest Manager says are, with one exception, all true. And, really, “repeating whatever wingnut nonsense you heard somewhere?”? What’s a guy with your inability to even consider evidence doing in this thread?

          • TheWorst says:

            When you get caught lying, repeating the lies doesn’t have the persuasive value you’re hoping.

            That you’re now trying insults where the gish gallop failed is further proof that you know what you’re doing. If you had non-fraudulent evidence, you’d have presented it by now, and wouldn’t have diluted it with clouds of bullshit.

      • E. Harding says:

        That’s because, as I have recognized since at least May 2014 and Trump has understood since at least a month ago, Obama created ISIS, almost certainly deliberately. When Obama came into office, Bush left it with a stable government without civil war.

        • The Most Conservative says:

          “Obama created ISIS, almost certainly deliberately”

          [citation needed]

        • This assumes a level of competence that Obama does not have. I do not think he foresaw the consequences in any of these revolutions and actually thought the Iran revolution was going to work.

        • Zombielicious says:

          Can you please explain Obama’s motivations for “almost certainly deliberately” creating ISIS? I’d love to hear the explanation of why he chose to mastermind this plan.

          • AnonEEmous says:

            he wished to support terrorist groups fighting Assad; he cared not for who they were. Then they became ISIS.

            A more interesting theory also is that Obama has Plans for the middle east, sort of in the same way Israel does – though where Israel just wants chaos (whether or not it actually ends up creating it, the fact that Israel wants chaos in the middle east is a totally uncontroversial statement, and as a gamer that’s the play i’d make every time as well), but Obama seems to want some type of weird order. I’ve heard that he wants Iran and Russia to sort of jointly take control of the shit. Point is that Obama is making moves and no one knows precisely why – he’s on some Reagan shit.

            but anyways, regardless of all that, he armed and trained a group to fight Assad and then they turned on us. So, actually, still on his Reagan shit.

          • E. Harding says:

            “he’s on some Reagan shit.”

            -Yup. Obama deliberately created ISIS to

            1. Overthrow Nouri al-Maliki: mission accomplished

            2. Centralize anti-Syrian-government forces into a more effective fighting force under the twin umbrellas of Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State [Obama has no intentions of overthrowing Assad, just greatly weakening the Axis of Resistance]: mission accomplished

            3. Expand the dominions of the Kurds and solidify their dependence on the U.S.: mission being accomplished

            No, Obama clearly does not want either Russia or Iran to sort of jointly take control of shit. He wants to bleed them dry.

    • E. Harding says:

      BTW: my official explanation for my Trump endorsement and vote, written in December of last year:

      https://marginalcounterrevolution.wordpress.com/2015/12/17/how-you-should-stop-worrying-and-learn-to-love-the-trump/

    • Matthew says:

      > all Scott’s reasons for voting Her are specious, disingenuous, and contain more than a hint of concern trolling.

      Exactly, and it’s strange that he refuses to reply to your excellent post detailing all the errors he makes. Love your blog btw!

      • Murphy says:

        probably because roughly every second statement is simply false? It’s like responding to someone screaming that jet fuel can’t melt steel beams.

        • E. Harding says:

          Everything I said above is true.

        • Anonymous says:

          You might up your game, speaking in terms of rhetoric or debate, if as well as claiming falsehoods in your opponent’s positions, you also dare to go as far as exposing one. But I’m quite prepared for a lecture on ‘the’ burden of proof instead…

      • Vilgot Huhn says:

        @Matthew.
        Come on, don’t be the “it’s suspicious he won’t reply guy”, especially while you’re also calling someone disingenous. There are other reasons for someone not replying than “the argument were so flawless that I can’t face the shame!”
        Scott is usually very good at owning up when someone successfully put forth good arguments. There are currently 2176 comments on this post. Have you considered he maybe just doesn’t have the time?

    • Deiseach says:

      “There might be a Libya-style military action; probably not an Iraq-style one.”

      Which Iraq one? The signing into law of the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998, the purpose of which was to “It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime” by supporting opposition groups, including with materiel for waging war revolution? Which was then invoked as justifying Operation Desert Fox, under Bill’s aegis? When Madeleine Albright was his Secretary of State – ah, I remember the days when she was being condemned as the Wicked Witch of the West for her war-mongering ways!

      Yes, we won’t see any more of that kind of contributing to destabilisation in the region actions under Hillary – unless of course it will give her a bump in the polls.

      (I am intensely cynical about politicians and military actions; Maggie Thatcher had the Falklands War which she milked to political effect to offset the domestic criticism over her taking on the unions re: the coal mines; Reagan saw this and had his own go with the invasion of that mighty bastion of threat, Granada; the interference in Libya by all comers and the various dabblings in Iraq/the Persian Gulf by everyone which has resulted in the USA being stuck holding that baby – I have always said, from the outset, Iraq would be America’s Ulster, not Vietnam Part II. And the ‘Arab Spring’ in various nations which has had mixed results, to say the least.)

      I’m not 100% this would be bad – maybe educated people who are temperamentally conservative would pull the Democratic Party a little to the right, turning them into a broad moderate coalition which has no problem winning elections and combines the smartest elements of liberal and conservative thought.

      Except the Democratic Party has been busy purging itself of such undesirable elements; see the fate of the pro-life Dems (including people like Bob Casey Snr) who got very firmly put in their place and were told “our way or the highway, there’s no room for you in our shiny new Safe For Women party”. Though there are signs that they’re softening that stance a little, the Democrat candidate for the State Senate in Queens, S.J. Jung, got hammered by his own party for his anti-abortion stance (he’s also anti-gay marriage, so that didn’t help either, even if he is Korean):

      Less than 72 hours earlier, on Tuesday, August 23rd at a candidate’s forum held at the Flushing Library, Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Flushing) asked Jung whether he is pro-choice, and he responded, “my position is clear: I do not support abortion unless it threatens the health of a pregnant woman. That’s the only exception that I can think of…So I do not support women’s choice (sic).”

      …City Council Member Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) said, “When it comes to a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions, SJ Jung is an out of touch extremist. It is clear that the women of our community simply cannot trust SJ Jung to protect our most basic rights.”

      • Christopher CC says:

        Just to respond to one part of your post, I find it odd you use Bob Casey Sr as an example of a pro-life dem “purged” by the party when his also pro-life son is a currently serving democratic Senator. I don’t think it’s fair to equate the social left’s focus on ideological purity with the Democratic Party as an organization (hell, Harry Reid is a professed pro-lifer)

    • sweeneyrod says:

      You seem somewhat fixated on the idea of Obama becoming a Supreme Court judge. What do you think the odds of that happening are (conditional on Clinton winning)?

      • E. Harding says:

        It’s unlikely. If the Dems get back the Senate, it would be someone further to the Left. If the GOP keeps it, it would be someone further to the Right. Obama’s just used as an illustrative example.

      • Corey says:

        Also, Obama has said he does not wish to do so, for what that’s worth.

    • Yildo says:

      [Iraq War] leaves behind a stable government free of civil war with the approval of Congress.

      What do you think ISIS is if not an Iraqi civil war left behind by the Iraq War?

      • E. Harding says:

        As Trump said, and I pointed out below, Obama created ISIS (Clinton’s a co-founder). Had I known this, I would not have been as strong an advocate against Mitt Romney as I was in real life. Not that I like Mitt Romney. Far from it. ISIS wasn’t founded until April 2013. We should all have listened to Glenn Beck.

        • Skef says:

          Presumably by the same reasoning Charlie Wilson created Al Qaeda. Would Reagan be the co-founder?

        • un says:

          Sounds like a complicated thing to do, to purposely create ISIS in a far-away country. You seem very sure of Obama doing it, so you must have a lot of proof, as well as be familiar with any contradicting arguments. By which methods did he pull it off? Which parts of the ISIS campaign do you think he planned and which parts came as a surprise to him? Has he benefitted a lot from the coming of ISIS?

          • AnonEmous says:

            He funded the opposition to Assad, have them training and arms. At the time they were an Al-Quada branch, now they are called Islamic State, DAESH, ISIL, or ISIS. And it was all made possible by the chaos in Iraq, Libya, and even Syria to a lesser extent.

          • wysinwyg says:

            @AnonEmous:

            You do realize that there are anti-Assad rebels who are not Al Qaeda, ISIL, ISIS, or Daesh, right?

        • Grampy_Bone says:

          When Glenn Beck ranted about the Caliphate, I thought he was nuts.

          But, shit, he was right. Crazy.

        • TheWorst says:

          If Obama is both evil enough and omnipotent enough to create ISIS, how is it that you are still alive?

          The vast, worldwide, omnipotent conspiracy you’re pretending to expose would prefer not to be exposed, and thus would’ve killed you. That’s a hell of a lot easier than creating ISIS, and a hell of a lot more useful to it.

          • E. Harding says:

            “If Obama is both evil enough and omnipotent enough to create ISIS, how is it that you are still alive?”

            -You truly are incapable of reasoning logically, aren’t you? You’re only capable of lashing out in non-sequiturs. How is Snowden still alive?

            “The vast, worldwide, omnipotent conspiracy you’re pretending to expose would prefer not to be exposed, and thus would’ve killed you.”

            -Guess what? Lyndon B. Johnson wasn’t charged with anything for lying about the circumstances leading to the Gulf of Tonkin incident. He wasn’t even assassinated. Why would Johnson kill those pointing out the truth about the Gulf of Tonkin incident? He had no need.

            Clapper also was never charged with perjury. Why? Because millions will defend whatever the establishment does.

            Truly, your inability to get outside your Democrat bubble boggles the mind. You’re almost at Jill level.

          • TheWorst says:

            You truly are incapable of reasoning logically, aren’t you? You’re only capable of lashing out in non-sequiturs. How is Snowden still alive?

            Because Obama is neither omnipotent nor infinitely evil. I’m not sure why you think pointing out further evidence that you’re full of crap is helping you.

            Since your hilarious conspiracy theory only makes sense given infinite power and infinite evil, you should probably avoid pointing out absolute proof that you are wrong.

            Insulting the people on whom your gish gallop fails is probably also not going to convince anyone. But that’s not what you’re really trying to do here, is it? You’re just having a tantrum about your bubble being violated.

          • simon says:

            I don’t favour trump, but really TheWorst you are being rather hypocritical here, in offering insults yourself along with extremely poor arguments.

            It is obviously not the case that creating ISIS requires either omnipotence or infinite evil. Consider the following possible timeline:

            time 1:

            Advisor: Assad is being a big meanie. We should support resistance groups and encourage them to cooperate.

            Obama: Sure, go do that.

            time 2:

            Advisor: Some of the hardliner islamic groups we supported have formed a bigger group called ISIS.

            Obama: I’m a bit uneasy about their hardliner tendencies, but hopefully this will be a positive development against Assad.

            time 3:

            Advisor: ISIS is being an even bigger meanie than Assad.

            Obama: Gosh darn it, who could have foreseen such a thing?

          • Jill says:

            Simon, that was likely exactly what happened. But you must realize, that being a Republican is all about bashing Democrats and using Mockem’s Razor to determine explanations of what Democrats do.

            Politics today is all about bashing. People support Trump because of whom he bashes, not what he stands for. He stands for nothing and no one except his own self-aggrandizement, but no one cares about that.

            Have you heard of Mockem’s Razor? It is the principle that the explanation that characterizes the enemy tribe’s politician as the most evil or stupid or weak or incompetent must be applied– regardless of how convoluted such explanation turns out to be.

            Politics today is all about tribes, MY tribe good, YOUR tribe bad– with lists of rational reasons for this set out, through the use of Mockem’s Razor.

          • Outis says:

            As a clever turn of phrase that can be used in serious discourse without fear of embarrassment, “Mockem’s Razor” is on the same level as “Osama Bin Hidin'”.

      • Protest Manager says:

        That civl war was “left behind” by President Barack Obama’s decision to pull the US out of Iraq after the surge stabilized it.

        The Democrats voted for the Iraq War, then fought to make sure the US lost. It’s yet another reason why I will never vote for any Democrat.

        • The Most Conservative says:

          That civl war was “left behind” by President Barack Obama’s decision to pull the US out of Iraq after the surge stabilized it.

          So you would have liked an indefinitely long troop surge so as to maintain an indefinite period of stability?

          • gbdub says:

            Worked out OK in Japan. More seriously, when the alternative is “region goes to hell, is worse off than when we went there in the first place, and pulls us back in anyway, except now at a major disadvantage”, yeah, an indefinite troop presence looks pretty good.

          • herbert herbertson says:

            Slight correction: an indefinitely long troop surge so as to maintain an indefinite period of stability after the instability was created via a military intervention launched by people who made opposition to nation building a fairly central plank of their campaign and loudly promised everyone that the intervention would be quick and easy.

            This is the reason friends who have memories that reach back to the early aughties don’t let friends vote (R).

          • gbdub says:

            Sure, but once Obama was elected, “magically undo the invasion” wasn’t on the table. He had a choice between fighting for a deal that kept a troop presence, or not doing so, and he chose the latter because his supporters wanted the magical reset and he figured that was the next closest thing.

          • herbert herbertson says:

            That seems like a 100% accurate description of reality to me. I guess I just don’t understand getting mad at Obama for carrying out his clear mandate, a mandate which was, in turn, a pretty direct result of the previous administration misleading the public (accidentally or otherwise)

          • Orphan Wilde says:

            herbert –

            I was against the war in Iraq before it started, and against leaving after we had.

            The US doesn’t get to destroy a country and then leave it to ruin because it’s politically inconvenient to remain.

            So yes, I’ll blame Obama for his policies, and I think it’s entirely fair to do so. If the voters didn’t want to clean up Iraq, they shouldn’t have elected the people who voted to go there in the first place, and saying “Well, the voters wanted it” doesn’t really justify anything.

            Elections have consequences.

          • herbert herbertson says:

            they shouldn’t have elected the people who voted to go there in the first place, and saying “Well, the voters wanted it” doesn’t really justify anything.

            But they didn’t want it, at least not in a truly informed way. Their support for the invasion was tainted by the misleading case for it.

            Also, while I agree that Obama’s attempt to extend the occupation was little more than going through the motions, those motions constituted a tango requiring two participants. If the (more or less democratically elected) Iraqi gov’t had wanted us to stay, they could have at least forced Obama to come up with a better excuse. You’re blaming the executive for making a decision which the most important stakeholders wanted him to make.

          • gbdub says:

            Obama made a good political move at the expense of making the world worse. A good excuse for making the decision doesn’t make it a good decision. It certainly doesn’t mean I shouldn’t count it as a mark against the people that made the decision.

            Isn’t that the argument against Trump? Sure, he’s popular, but he’s popular because he’s playing to our nasty base instincts, and if we give into those instincts it will make things worse. Well, Obama’s base instinctually hated the war in Iraq, and he gave into that in a way that made things bad. That to me is a reasonable thing to hold against his chosen successor that helped implement the policy.

          • herbert herbertson says:

            And the rebuttal to that argument against Trump is that they’re mad for a good reason, and that in criticizing Trump you should at least acknowledge those underlying reasons and consider apportioning partial blame in an appropriate manner.

            edit: The Republicans made a huge mess. Granting, for the sake of argument, that Democrats made the mess worse, I’m still going to object to anyone saying “this is why you should never vote for democrats!”

            On contemplation, I realize part of why we probably disagree my personal refusal to accept Trump as a legitimate turn against the philosophies and ideas that led to the Iraq war. Inter alia, I think he’s too focused on terrorism and displays of strength to avoid the trap of 2002. If you were instead to take him at his word and buy into the idea that he’s an Iraq war critic or isolationist, then I suppose it would make sense to let the 2016 GOP at least a little off the hook

        • The Democrats voted for the Iraq War, then fought to make sure the US lost. It’s yet another reason why I will never vote for any Democrat.

          Bingo. One of many reasons friends don’t let friends vote “D.”

        • TheWorst says:

          So in your opinion, GWB and Cheney–the people who decided that the US would commit too few troops, and therefore lose–were Democrats?

          • SM says:

            GWB and Cheney made a mistake. Then they fixed it, despite vocal and vigorous objections of Democrats. It worked. Obama and Biden took credit for it, then proceeded to royally screw it up.

          • TheWorst says:

            Thank you for telling me about your fantasy life. That was not what I asked, though.

            But what’s this about? What do you get out of pretending not to notice that Trump’s a disaster, and that Obama didn’t do anything you think he did? Conspiracy theorists fascinate me, in a way.

          • E. Harding says:

            TheWorst, your comments are, IMHO, unhelpful.

          • TheWorst says:

            E. Harding: Coming from you, that’s almost a compliment.

            But I appreciate that this comment is the first one you’ve made here that didn’t contain any deliberate falsehoods. Good job. May this be the start of a trend of participating in good faith.

          • Vorkon says:

            @TheWorst

            I have no idea what you are talking about here. Do you mean the SOFA expiring? SOFAs get renegotiated all the time. That’s just how they work, and it’s not on Bush that Obama decided not to do so. It was well understood at the time of its passing that if the situation on the ground required it to be changed, it would be changed.

            Moreover, we were in a position to say to Malaki, “screw your half-assed ‘government,’ we know you can’t handle this without us, we’re staying.” That’s kind of the prerogative of a conquering power. The optics might not have been good, but it would have prevented the rise of ISIS. It wouldn’t have come to that, though, because if we had pushed for it, we would have gotten it.

            If you’re talking about something OTHER than the SOFA expiring, though, I don’t even know how to respond. You can’t seriously mean to be arguing that we “lost” because we needed to do the surge in the first place, are you?

          • TheWorst says:

            If you were participating in good faith–and let’s be honest, you’re not–it would be worth pointing out that the surge was a gesture set up to create a temporary illusion of order in order to give us the political window to declare victory and leave.

            It was only necessary because we’d lost the war, and we lost the war the instant Bush and Cheney decided to launch the war with too few troops and no plan whatsoever. Remember “Greeted as liberators?” I do.

            I know you do, too, which is why it’s so obvious that you’re not participating in good faith.

          • Vorkon says:

            Ah, so you have no idea what you are talking about. Got it.

            You might have had an argument if you were talking about Bush and Cheney being the ones that set the withdrawal date on the SOFA, but you have no clue what you are talking about when it comes to the surge. Shifting your strategy to meet changing conditions on the ground is simply how military strategy WORKS. It’s clear you have never studied it.

            I was in Iraq both before AND after the surge. That’s not what defeat looks like, in either case. The idea that it was just a PR stunt is laughable. The surge accomplished its objectives, and resulted in a situation peaceful enough that, if the advice of every competent general and strategist hadn’t been summarily ignored, and a small force had been left behind to help keep that peace, it could have lasted.

            No one is arguing that the Iraq war was a good idea to begin with, and the Bush administration deserves plenty of blame for that. But the surge was the correct strategy for fixing that mistake, and it was subsequently wasted.

        • TomFL says:

          I find it quite funny that both HRC and Obama have used the term “surge” in favorable ways to describe their policies. The “Afghanistan surge”, the “intelligence surge”. There is no question these are allusions to the Iraq war surge.

      • cassander says:

        >What do you think ISIS is if not an Iraqi civil war left behind by the Iraq War?

        An outcome of the Syrian civil war, a conflict which the obama administration has repeatedly poured gasoline on, then lamented the burning.

    • Murphy says:

      “There might be a Libya-style military action; probably not an Iraq-style one.”

      -I.e, a military action that creates an endless civil war after overthrowing a government without the approval of Congress, rather than one that leaves behind a stable government free of civil war with the approval of Congress.

      Ok, honestly, you’re doing that thing anti-vaxers do where rather than saying 1 untrue thing that people can actually address you’re throwing out a giant document filled with factually untrue stuff so that whenever someone calls you on something there’s still a months worth of debunking in the rest of the bullshit.

      So I’m just going to point to a very simple lie here.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraqi_Civil_War_(2014%E2%80%93present)

      Iraq is still having a civil war.

      most of your post appears to be of a similar quality re: truth and correctness.

      • E. Harding says:

        The present Iraqi Civil War started on Jan 3 2014 with the IS capture of Fallujah. Iraq had no civil war when Obama came into office. That’s why the title of the Wikipedia article you linked to says (2014-present). Please read at least the title of the article you link to next time, preferably before you link to it.

        • wysinwyg says:

          OK, so a recession is defined as at least two subsequent quarters of negative economic growth. Consider the following sequence:
          Q4 growth: 4%
          Q1 growth: -0.5%
          Q2 growth -0.2%
          Q3 growth: 0.2%
          Q4 growth: -0.7%
          Q1 growth: -1.1%

          This is clearly two separate recessions, right?

          • E. Harding says:

            Iraq was not in a state of civil war for seventeen quarters.

          • wysinwyg says:

            Conceded that the current civil war is much worse than the insurgency, and that the withdrawal of US troops is correlated in time with the transition. I hadn’t realized how stark the difference actually was.

      • sweeneyrod says:

        The thing you describe is known as the Gish Gallop.

        • lifetilt says:

          Thanks for this, I’ve always kind of been aware this was a thing but never knew there was a term for it.

          It’s probably a good “dark art” to consider if you want win a verbal argument against an unprepared opponent.

    • Some dude says:

      I have no response to the content of the post, but I found the format hard to read, and gave up partway through.

      • E. Harding says:

        Be specific.

        • Some dude says:

          I dislike the style of:

          “Quote a single line out of context”

          -Reply to the single line.

          “Quote another line out of context”

          -Reply to this other line.

          I’m not accusing you of misrepresenting Scott’s claims or meanings, but I need my paragraphs. Obviously I’m not demanding you change the way you write to cater to me; I’m just giving a single point of feedback. If you receive similar comments, consider changing your style. If response is generally positive, it’s probably better thought of as my problem, not yours.

          • Wrong Species says:

            Agreed. I would much rather someone gave a paragraph explaining many points in detail.

          • LPSP says:

            The number one reason to format a post in this format is to counter gish-galloping. If gish-gallops work by making a mess quicker than a feasible cleanup, respond so rapidly that the mess never gets made.

            If Rational Wiki is right about one thing (for once) it’s that gish-galloping cannot be magic-bullet’d away; what the wiki doesn’t say is that if a certain type of argument is highly persuasive and resilient, that means it works and you’d better just accept it as a fact of competetive discource.

          • Tedd says:

            if a certain type of argument is highly persuasive and resilient, that means it works and you’d better just accept it as a fact of competetive discource

            I would strongly prefer to cultivate a forum where the discourse is not competitive – or, at the very least, where that type of argument is not as effective.

          • LPSP says:

            So long as you understand this means cultivating a forum where no-one disagrees, fair enough.

        • Vaniver says:

          Use the blockquote feature to reply to quoted sections.

          [blockquote]This is what a quote looks like[/blockquote]

          (With the square brackets replaced by angle brackets)

          This is what a quote looks like

          It’s nicely offset, and my response is clearly distinct.

          • Bakkot says:

            Or just hit the “quote” formatting button right under the reply box. If you select text first it’ll wrap that text. (Requires you not to have disabled JavaScript, of course, like the rest of the quality-of-life features of the comment system.)

          • E. Harding says:

            I do this on occasion. Quotation marks are quicker.

            Not posting at all will result in nobody reading my wisdom.

          • Anonymous says:

            It’d be even quicker not to post at all. If no one is going to read it because it is a pain in the ass to follow, then what’s the point?

    • MugaSofer says:

      >The establishment, fundamentally, is millennialist.

      So we should destroy it and hope the global spirit gives us a new one? Hmm.

      • AnonEEmous says:

        no, we should destroy it and hope Donald Trump gives us a new one, because he’s said he will.

        oh, and large parts of the establishment, like our regulatory systems, are pretty useless anyhow. I don’t care if the Global Spirit doesn’t find a replacement for them. Not that it’d be difficult to, I can’t imagine it’s hard to build a regulatory system as such.

        • John Colanduoni says:

          > I can’t imagine it’s hard to build a regulatory system as such

          If you want to reduce the degree to which your regulatory system is subject to capture and general cronyism, I think we have a lot of evidence it’s not super easy at least.

          • AnonEEmous says:

            OK but that’s already the current system. My point being that, if Trump smashes the regulatory system and the Great Global Spirit fails to provide, as I was apparently hoping for, then it shouldn’t be hard to find a replacement.

    • Hunter says:

      Just a note on your technique.

      Implying that it’s objectively a positive thing for someone to “be a member of the party of Lincoln” makes me call into question any part of your ideas that depend on your own judgment, as opposed to depending on verifiable facts.

      • E. Harding says:

        Don’t worry; I’m not a fan of Lincoln. In fact, I didn’t even support the nominee of his party in 2012. Also, I said “Nominee of the Party of Lincoln”.

      • TheWorst says:

        The obvious, obvious gish gallop is another excellent reason to question every part of his ideas. If he had any reasons for his beliefs that weren’t demonstrably false, he would doubtless have presented those instead.

        • SM says:

          Actually, he wouldn’t. He says what would have better result for his poll (and ultimately election) numbers, which may or may not be true. He will gladly say outrageous things to signal his supporters and attract press coverage. That doesn’t say anything about his beliefs – he will say completely opposite thing next day. If you want to know what he really believes in, look for his old actions and sayings, his campaign speeches are useless for it.

          • TheWorst says:

            If you’re sane, the fact that you’re pointing out excellent evidence why Trump should never, ever be allowed anywhere near the presidency will have had an impact on your beliefs.

            I wasn’t talking about Trump, though. I was pointing out that E. Harding’s use of the gish gallop is strong evidence that he can’t think of anything that supports his position and is also true.

            Non-morons with access to good evidence tend to use it. People attempting to baffle the audience by sheer volume of bullshit aren’t those people.

        • E. Harding says:

          @TheWorst

          -Nobody has yet named a single statement in the first comment on this blogpost that is even remotely wrong. Your lack of specifics strongly indicates inability to wrangle with new ideas and cognitive dissonance. Come on. Just name one false statement I made anywhere in my first comment here.

          “If you’re sane, the fact that you’re pointing out excellent evidence why Trump should never, ever be allowed anywhere near the presidency will have had an impact on your beliefs.”

          -“If you’re sane, the fact that you’re pointing out excellent evidence why Catholics should never, ever be allowed near the presidency will have had an impact on your beliefs”.

          -Just because somebody made a case for something does not mean it has even the remotest legitimacy.

          “Non-morons with access to good evidence tend to use it.”

          -I did. TheWorst, name one bit of evidence that would change your mind about the utility of voting for Trump.

          • TheWorst says:

            Come on. Just name one false statement I made anywhere in my first comment here.

            Scroll up and pick one. Given that you’re attempting the gish gallop, I see no particular reason to entertain your isolated demand for rigor.

            -I did.

            Lying about your previous lies works very poorly in a text medium, fyi. Lying, then lying, then insisting that your previous lies didn’t happen is a strategy best used when the people you’re attempting to deceive can’t scroll up.

            TheWorst, name one bit of evidence that would change your mind about the utility of voting for Trump.

            Anything suggesting that Trump would be a better choice than Hillary. Anything at all. Any fact that even hinted that any of your claims was true. Note that I mean facts, not just asserting that Hillary is a lizardperson. To be honest, I’m kind of predisposed to suspect her of lizardpersonry, but she’s probably the single most-investigated living human at this point, and the fact that all of the allegations you guys have made turned out to be specious presents a very strong prior that all of the new ones you make will be too.

            Basically, stop crying wolf. Point to the damn wolf. If you can’t, consider admitting that there’s no wolf, and updating your beliefs accordingly.

          • Anonymous says:

            Dude, I’m sympathetic to arguments against E. Harding, but you really need to stop making an Argument By The Invocation Of The Phrase Gish Gallop. His original comment was a point-by-point response to the original post. Pretty trivially, it has fewer points than the original post by Scott. The natural conclusion of your own argument is that Scott attempted a gish gallop. Since I don’t think you intend to make such an accusation, you need to stop.

          • TheWorst says:

            Yes, I’m aware that the people making gish gallops would prefer the audience to attempt to debunk each individual false assertion, since it’s very easy to lie faster than anyone can debunk a lie. And then they’d prefer to pretend that as long as you haven’t finished debunking their endless stream of bullshit, they still have a valid point.

            Rather than get on the idiot-treadmill, it’s more efficient to just identify the gish gallop as what it is, and move on, because no one who could be making a point uses that tactic instead.

    • After years of being called bigots many conservatives don’t care.

      I must have a fast reaction time. After just months of being called a “cuckservative,” I no longer care.

      PS: We’re used to being called names.

  2. Homo Iracundus says:

    Maybe Aaronson deserves to one day live in a nuclear hellscape where his children ask him “Daddy, why were you stupid enough to vote for the woman who threatened to go to war with Russia over rumours they hacked her email?”

    “I would like conservatism to get out of crisis as soon as possible and reach the point where it could form an effective opposition”

    Just not an opposition that, you know, ever dares to oppose anything you’re trying to push.

    But all of these things have a tendency to define themselves in opposition to the government. When the left controls the government, this is awkward and tends to involve a lot of infighting.

    Really? They don’t just spend 8 years fellating their saviour and giving him Nobel peace prizes for attendance? And focus all their considerable vitriol on the plebs they consider to be scum beneath their boots, rather than attack anyone involved in the administration?

    I just hope you’ll be able to look back at this in a decade and laugh at yourself as much as I’m laughing now.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      I know a lot of leftists who don’t like Obama, but I didn’t say the infighting was about him in particular. I think Hillary vs. Sanders is a good example.

      • Jiro says:

        I didn’t say the infighting was about him in particular.

        “A lot of infighting” that doesn’t include Obama is not a lot of infighting. At least it’s not enough to actually weaken the left. Obama worship is far more a unifying factor for the left than Hillary vs. Sanders is a factor in the opposite direction.

      • Deiseach says:

        Hillary vs Sanders is a very good example, but that’s also the kind of party in-fighting which is par for the course in any political party.

        It’s no secret Hillary is ambitious and wants the job; she ran against Obama (and though I think he should have taken her on as Vice-President, he was smarter and knew she would be tussling with him for power to make decisions and give that position some teeth if he did, so it was easier to pick someone like Biden and gamble that he could fight Hillary) and there was plenty of Obama vs Hillary in-fighting, with her lack of support being put down to how she had enemies in the party and had garnered a lot of dislike for various reasons.

        Hillary is not going to be a popular choice by any means, more of a “the lesser of two evils”. I don’t think anyone is going to be enthused by the prospect of President Hillary, and I wonder who the likely candidate for the 2020 election is going to be?

        Look at the Republicans – the only reason Trump is the candidate is that they failed to pick one and stick with him out of the bunch that put themselves forward; Jeb Bush probably should not have run at all since that really, I think, handicapped the party – nobody wanted to put forward a third Bush for president as that would have been rather too nakedly dynastic politics (which is fine at lower levels but not at this position), but who did they have instead? Cruz appears to be poison, and of the others Carson was a no-hoper, Rubio was Romney-esque bland, and Kasich and Gilmore were “who?”. I think Rubio was probably the best choice out of that lot (which isn’t saying much) and maybe he’d have been able to put it up to Hillary; certainly, had he been the Republican candidate, I think the Democrats would have split much more badly on Hillary versus Bernie because they’d have the luxury of thinking “we can win this, so our preferred guy can win, and I don’t want the other guy from our party”.

        As it is, you have either Trump or Hillary, neither of whom would appeal to me.

        • E. Harding says:

          “I think Rubio was probably the best choice out of that lot (which isn’t saying much)”

          -He was, in fact, the second-worst, if we dip our toes the slightest bit into foreign policy.

          http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/a-2016-foreign-policy-report-card/

          There’s a reason Trump won nearly as many votes as Clinton during the Florida primary and Rubio only won Miami-Dade. Rubio is what most scares me about the general tendencies of the preferences of the college-educated these days.

          Don’t vote for bought robots, people. They can rehearse their canned lines, but the line their fed may is usually a disaster.

      • anonmoose says:

        After a term of Obama we got the modern social justice cult. They defined themselves in opposition to the government via the 40 Stalins route.

        Trump wins – the Left knows they’ve lost the center and needs to reform, that the tidal wave of nagging bullshit is counterproductive. The Right is forced to acknowledge their base doesn’t want unlimited immigration, pointless wars, and hand-wringing over non-issues like gay marriage.

        Hillary wins – the center moves left and the far-left drifts even further, and the right is recowed into silence over touchy subjects like immigration.

        • Tekhno says:

          After a term of Obama we got the modern social justice cult. They defined themselves in opposition to the government via the 40 Stalins route.

          There’s a chart somewhere showing the opposite process for extreme rightists; the militia movement consistently gets stronger under left wing Presidents and then declines in numbers under conservative Presidents.

          Asymmetry?

          • anonmoose says:

            I’d like to see that chart.

            This graph only shows the median, but it seems to show both parties drifting left during Clinton’s terms, the Right moving back right during GWB, and then both sides becoming more extreme during Obama’s terms (the Left more so, by a hair).

            Incidentally you can almost pinpoint the SJ singularity event in that graph, right around 2011.

          • mjg235 says:

            Since the right is broadly reactive and the Left is revolutionary, you would expect polarization when the Left is in power. Since the Left can start to implement the revolution, and the Right would need to start building its bunkers to fight it. The reverse is not necessarily the case.

          • anonmoose says:

            @mjg235

            Can you explain what you mean by the start of the revolution? The Social Justice movement, something Obama implemented, or something else?

          • DES3264 says:

            @anonmoose Very cool chart! I wish there were a line for the median of the public as a whole. I wonder whether we might be experiencing Simpson’s paradox during the first Bush term: Both parties move left but the country moves right because of people switching allegiance from Democrat to Republican.

          • LPSP says:

            Since the right is broadly reactive and the Left is revolutionary, you would expect polarization when the Left is in power. Since the Left can start to implement the revolution, and the Right would need to start building its bunkers to fight it. The reverse is not necessarily the case.

            I broadly agree with this; it stands to a certain sort of reason that the status quo-positive, reactionary conservatives would stand for a cooling of, well, stances, and a peaceable moderation in politics. The fierier, zealous revolutionary (radicalising even!) liberales would in turn incense, feed disagreements and engorge ideological clashes.

    • Grampy_Bone says:

      The (repeated) failure of communism is always blamed on its victims.

  3. onyomi says:

    I don’t buy the argument that, if you hate SJW-type stuff and think they go too far, then electing a president who parrots their rhetoric and is vaguely sympathetic to their causes and who will appoint Supreme Court justices sympathetic to their causes and their rhetoric will, in the long run, be better for you than electing a president who makes fun of their rhetoric, isn’t really sympathetic to their causes, and appoints Supreme Court justices who aren’t sympathetic to their way of thinking.

    Straw men are still pretty powerful when they’re the president.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      I’m coming at this from a position of being more against SJ tactics than SJ positions. I’m glad gay marriage is legal now. I’m not so happy people who oppose gay marriage have been ridden out of town on a rail.

      That makes the choice easy for me, but I think even principled conservatives will be more interested in preserving the ability to think freely about gay marriage than about preventing actual gays from actually marrying – especially since the latter is likely to be a short term victory at best.

      • E. Harding says:

        Do you want it to be made illegal for states to ban affirmative action? Hillary does.

        • Brian says:

          Is that relevant at all? Even the most far right wing states never consider banning affirmative action. It’s the law or universal practice in all 50 states and has been without any kind of challenge for over 40 years.

      • Svejk says:

        I think even principled conservatives will be more interested in preserving the ability to think freely about gay marriage than about preventing actual gays from actually marrying
        I think many conservatives perceive a millenarianist strain in the current establishment, as E. Harding noted above, and believe that leaving the courts in the hands of the current establishment is a gamble. While many are pleased with the Obergefell result, I’ve read convincing arguments that the Obergefell decision may end up having fairly serious consequences for religious freedom and speech related to religious freedom. And respected legal scholars have argued that the bar to legalized polygamy is much lower now – this is a large potential societal change, even for those not in opposition on the merits. Other lesser-known recent court decisions had a fairly radical strain – Maryland v King comes to mind on the compulsion to provide evidence against oneself. The conservative focus on the courts is not strange when you consider conservative priorities, and the fact that these priorities are often expressed in terms of the (generally stricter and more originalist) conservative stance on constitution.

        I don’t think conservatives have any expectation that voting for the “status quo” candidate Hillary Clinton will preserve their ability to think freely even if they lose on the particulars on gay marriage, or any other issue in the SJW orbit. The #NeverTrump contingent is weighing their expected loss in freedom of speech, religious practice, and right to bear arms against a perceived increased potential for existential danger associated with Trump. It is an extremely pessimistic calculation. Those who believe that Trump does not pose a danger to world security are much more likely to support Trump, with varying levels of enthusiasm.

        • Deiseach says:

          And respected legal scholars have argued that the bar to legalized polygamy is much lower now – this is a large potential societal change, even for those not in opposition on the merits.

          Sure. If gender doesn’t matter a straw when it comes to marriage, why should an arbitrary number? Why confine it to only two partners in a loving, committed, family relationship instead of three, sixteen or whatever? Plenty of other cultures have models of socially acceptable more-than-two-partners marriages or family relationship bonds that have persisted for centuries in a workable fashion, and there’s more solid Biblical backing for that than the “Naomi and Ruth were lesbians!” stuff I saw quoted as to why Christians should be pro-same sex marriage.

          • There are, however, limits. According to Maimonides–I’m reading The Book of Women at the moment–a man shouldn’t marry more than four wives. Legally permitted but disapproved of, because that’s the maximum number with whom he can be confident of managing sex at least once a month with each.

            On the other hand, he also says that a healthy young man with plenty of leisure ought to have sex with his wife every night, from which it seems to follow that such a man is entitled to up to 28 wives. Obviously Maimonides is thinking of the scholar whose studies only let him make love once a week.

            Now I’m wondering if the four wife limit in Muslim law was something Mohamed borrowed from Jewish law/tradition.

      • Deiseach says:

        principled conservatives will be more interested in preserving the ability to think freely about gay marriage than about preventing actual gays from actually marrying

        And how has “thinking freely about inter-racial marriage” worked out, now that everyone knows that being anti-inter-racial marriage means you are a KKK-style white supremacist racist? I think that opposition to inter-racial marriage is wrong, but never mind that – if anyone tried constructing an argument versus inter-racial marriage, would they get a polite hearing or would they be crucified? Same for anyone trying to discuss a position that is anti-gay marriage – you are not going to get “safe conversational space” for this, you are going to be pilloried as a homophobe (get back in that basket, you deplorable!) And how are homophobes ranked on Hillary’s List Of My Most Favourite People, remind me again?

        There’s a fundamental problem, which is that about 30% of the US population is Borderers who are mostly not very smart, mostly not involved in US intellectual life, but form the biggest and most solid voting bloc in the country.

        *sigh* Yes, isn’t it horrible having to share a country with oiks what are not smart like we is and won’t be told by their betters what to do? I know that’s not your meaning, Scott, but it comes perilously close to sounding like it 🙂

        • Brad (The Other One) says:

          @Deiseach

          Not to get all savior-complex in here, but it strikes me that the principle reason for oppose gay-marriage in general is in worldviews and epistemological based in part or in whole in theistic or religious thinking, and which take religious thinking seriously, and that sort of approach to the world is already held in contempt by many of the shiny happy college-educated people millennials these days. Those of us who have such sympathies with religious thinking should, at this point, cut our losses and just try to protect our right to enforce traditional church doctrine (or other religious doctrines) on the matter (and others), whether Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant, or in the synagogue or mosque.

          • Deiseach says:

            But Brad, that surrenders the very point: that the only reason to oppose gay marriage is religiously-based, that no-one could possibly oppose it on secular grounds or for reasons of concern that were not to do with “My faith disapproves”.

            I’ve seen the same when someone was pro-life and not religious, and got attacked by fellow atheists as a traitor because obviously the only reason anyone could be anti-choice was for religious reasons.

            If we give in on “there are non-religious concerns over this huge social and cultural change”, then there is no point in trying to maintain conservatism, since the liberal opinion is by default the realistic or natural or what’s really out there in the world one: we’ve conceded we’re not the “reality-based community”.

            Do you really want to throw your hands up and say “Yep, you’re right, I’m only disagreeing with this because I’m a stupid, prejudiced, bigot”?

          • FacelessCraven says:

            See the posts here.

            Defense is not possible under the current conditions.

      • onyomi says:

        I’m coming at it from thinking they’ve already gone too far on most issues and show no signs of slowing down, gay marriage being an exception (in that it was just).

        And now that they’ve gotten more of what they wanted, have their tactics gotten better or worse? Yes, the US has a strong tradition of freedom of speech, but it’s already clearly being eroded, as it already is gone in places like Australia. Electing HRC takes us strongly in the direction of Europe and Australia on these things, and I certainly don’t see how an HRC presidency would better preserve freedom of speech than a Trump presidency. She seems much, much more likely to appoint justices willing to abrogate that in favor of SJ causes than he is.

      • LPSP says:

        Gay Marriage has not been an SJ issue for a long time, on the order of decades. SJ means tolerating ruthless motte-and-bailey exploitation of the word “rape” as a harmless, amusing novelty, and not something terribly sexist.

        What you’ve got to understand is that the gay marriage crowd never had to stoop to such horrible tactics. Because they were right. The truth only needs to be out. Lies, by contrast, necessitate bullying, and so the SJ crowd lies and harangues.

        • FacelessCraven says:

          I doubt many who consider themselves SJ-aligned would agree with your definition, but moving past that… I agree that sodomy laws shouldn’t exist, and that gay marriage should be legal.

          I’m part of a conservative christian church. Should we be able to discriminate against practicing homosexuals in hiring? In use of our facilities?

          My church has christian primary schools, high schools and universities associated with it that operate according to its moral rules. Should those universities be able to discriminate against practicing homosexuals? The students attending those universities have to agree to a student conduct policy that requires them to abstain from sex outside of wedlock while attending the school, on pain of expulsion. Are they required to recognize gay marriage as valid?

          Should any of the above be tax-exempt, as they currently are?

          I appreciate that a great many people see views like those of my church as ugly and hateful. I myself wish my religion didn’t prohibit homosexuality, but it does, and I have actually committed to following it as best I can, because I genuinely believe that’s the right thing to do. We have actually been here a long time, and have roots in this country going back a long, long way. How much of that is going to have to be torn down, and what value is created in doing so?

          At some point, actual diversity means putting up with things you really don’t like. Where does that apply to us?

          When people actually get serious about genital mutilation for male infants, are you going to go after the Jews too?

          • anon says:

            Let’s hope. I’m pretty sure we shouldn’t be allowing that kind of thing even for religious reasons.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            …Why is diversity valuable again?

          • LPSP says:

            When people actually get serious about genital mutilation for male infants, are you going to go after the Jews too?

            Holy gibberish, yes. Non-consensual mutilation, especially genital and via extremely backward methods, is horrifying, and the risk of disease and defect is overally increased to boot.

          • Anonymous says:

            I agree that sodomy laws shouldn’t exist, and that gay marriage should be legal.

            I’m part of a conservative christian church. Should we be able to discriminate against practicing homosexuals in hiring? In use of our facilities?

            You may well be telling the truth, but the thing is there weren’t too many christian voices saying the first part when they were live issues. So this just looks like a fighting retreat rather than a principled line drawing exercise.

          • neonwattagelimit says:

            @FacelessCraven:

            In response to your request from the other thread…I’ll respond to these here but will likely respond to your other points in the open thread so it doesn’t get mixed up.

            1. I do not think you should be able to discriminate against practicing homosexuals, although I might be willing to fudge that a little depending upon what you mean by “use of facilities.” I certainly think you should not discriminate in hiring.

            2. The universities should admit practicing homosexuals; however, they should be held to the same standard of conduct as everyone else.

            3. Are the students required to recognize gay marriage as valid? No, they can think whatever they’d like.

            4. I’m areligious and I sort of dislike the tax exemption for religious institutions. That said, religious institutions also fund lots of other useful social services, such as schools, hospitals and charities. So, for that reason, I’ll endorse the tax exemption for your church, if weakly.

            5. I’m not really sure how much of it needs to be torn down, if anything, and I’m sort of unsure of how to answer this question. So here I’ll just put my operating principle on these things: you are not allowed to discriminate. You are, however, allowed to condemn homosexuality in your doctrine and speak out against it if you wish. In practice, this may mean that few, if any, gay people will opt to use your church’s facilities and services and/or belong to the church, and that’s fine. But you can’t discriminate against them in hiring; if you run hospitals you have to give them the same medical care as everyone else, etc.

            6. I think I pretty much answered that in #5.

            7. I do not have an opinion on this and would be inclined to defer to medical experts in formulating one.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Anonymous – “You may well be telling the truth, but the thing is there weren’t too many christian voices saying the first part when they were live issues. So this just looks like a fighting retreat rather than a principled line drawing exercise.”

            Be that as it may, we lost and you won. Now we have to find a stable set of rules that we can all live under. What we have currently isn’t stable, hence the questions.

            @neonwattagelimit – thanks for taking the time.

            “I certainly think you should not discriminate in hiring.”

            …Does that include hiring preachers? Regarding facilities, should we be compelled to perform same-sex marriages?

            “Are the students required to recognize gay marriage as valid? No, they can think whatever they’d like.”

            Apologies for being unclear. There are policies against fornication by students. Heterosexual students can obviously get married. Is the university required to recognize gay marriages in its student population as well?

            “I do not have an opinion on this and would be inclined to defer to medical experts in formulating one.”

            I don’t really see what medical experts have to do with it. I’m not jewish, and I rather would have prefered to keep my foreskin, all things considered. Genital mutilation is pretty clearly genital mutilation. On the other hand, it seems to me that communities should be free to play by their own rules as much as possible, which obviously includes how to shape and raise their children. Enlightened moderns deciding how best to raise outgroup children makes for some of our ugliest history. I think tolerating practices I do not myself want is a stable position. Banning practices that fall outside a rigidly defined code is also a stable position. It’s hard to paint as “tolerant” or “diverse”, though.

            Generally speaking, it seems much the same to me with religion. The whole point of diversity was supposed to be that people are different, and those difference should be tolerated. If pursuit of diversity leads to a position where basic religious belief and practice are banned, what was the point in the first place?

            There are tens of millions of Christians in America who actually believe that homosexuality is wrong. How much of their culture are you willing to dismantle to minimize the harm they do to homosexuals? How much room are you going to leave them to stand on their beliefs?

          • neonwattagelimit says:

            @FacelessCraven:

            There are tens of millions of Christians in America who actually believe that homosexuality is wrong. How much of their culture are you willing to dismantle to minimize the harm they do to homosexuals? How much room are you going to leave them to stand on their beliefs?

            I’m starting here because you have correctly pointed out some difficulties with my position, so I think it would be helpful to articulate first principles. I’ll also try to cover some of your comments from the open thread, rather than replying there.

            Anyway, my answer to this question would go something like: I don’t think the government should compel them to give up their beliefs. I think the government should compel them to avoid doing material harm to homosexuals as much as possible.

            However – and please note that I do not mean this as a personal insult – I think those people are wrong. I do not think they should be humiliated. However, if the Overton Window shifts to such an extent that their views are no longer acceptable, I’m fine with that.

            I do think the way in which the Overton Window shifts is important. We should err on the side of being respectful and gracious. For example, I thought the hate directed at that pizza shop owner in Indiana who said s/he wouldn’t serve a gay wedding was a bit overmuch. But, I’d be fine with people trying to change the ideology of, say, your church. A church has power and resources; a random shop owner does not.

            To bring this back to the election…

            They have no allies, no bargaining position, nothing to negotiate with. They are looking at a future of pure tribal politics, and they’re the minority tribe. What’s the rational response at that point?

            Good question. I really do not have a dog in this fight. I tried to make this clear in the open thread, but inasmuch as I may have an issue with SJ types it is more, to borrow Scott’s formulation upthread, about tactics rather than positions. So I just don’t view this as a threat in the same way that you do.

            With that said, I’ll take a stab at answering.

            Ideally, the rational response is to shift emphasis with an eye towards moving public opinion back in the other direction. Maybe compromise on a few things. Develop an actual, workable, plan for what happens in the future in accordance with your principles. You noted in the open thread that the Republican Party has become worse than useless; I agree. Make it useful again! I lean left, but would welcome a sane right-of-center party, in fact I think we need one.

            You (and here I mean ‘you’ in a general sense, not necessarily you specifically) could also, I suppose, throw your support behind a demagogue who plays to your prejudices but doesn’t really give a shit about you. This might be rational in a very limited sense – nothing else worked, so let’s give it to ’em! – but in the long-run it’s a terrible strategy. What happens from here? You either a) lose, marginalizing yourselves even further, or b) win, in which case…I don’t know. Best-case scenario, you’ve aligned yourself with the American Silvio Berlusconi. Worst-case, you’ve dragged the whole world down with you in the electoral equivalent of a hissy fit. Neither outcome, or anything in between, seems very appealing to me, even from your point of view.

            What’s worse, it’s not even clear that Trump shares your priorities. He certainly doesn’t care about religion. Inasmuch as he may agree with you on social issues (and, again, it’s not clear that he does at all), he only appears to do in the most superficial possible way, like some some sort of caricature of what your opponents imagine you to be. He is literally a walking embodiment of everything the left hates about you, void of any redeeming qualities or thoughtfulness. He’s not going to do much to help you, because he probably doesn’t care and he also probably lacks competence. In the short-run it might be psychically satisfying to see him sticking his finger in your opponents’ faces, in the long run it is hard for me to envision a scenario in which he does not hasten your demise, one way or another.

          • Sandy says:

            Ideally, the rational response is to shift emphasis with an eye towards moving public opinion back in the other direction. Maybe compromise on a few things. Develop an actual, workable, plan for what happens in the future in accordance with your principles. You noted in the open thread that the Republican Party has become worse than useless; I agree. Make it useful again! I lean left, but would welcome a sane right-of-center party, in fact I think we need one.

            This is a nicely articulated paragraph of nothing. There is no chance of “moving public opinion back in the other direction” on most issues — imagine where most conservative stances on immigration will be after the 11 million illegals already in the country are legalized and millions more keep pouring in over the decades to come. The vast majority of immigrants and minorities will not vote for small government policies or any of the “less objectionable conservative stances” associated with the Republican Party. The Chairman of the Civil Rights Commission has literally said “religious freedom” is a codeword for “Christian supremacy”; they are not going to be content with businesses, eventually they’re going to go after the churches too. There will inevitably come a point where the left pushes for churches to have their tax-exempt status stripped or some other punishment inflicted for not allowing gay marriages on their premises. And as the country diversifies, is the problem of tribalism working its way throughout society, culture and law supposed to get better?

            As has been reiterated several times in this long maze of comments, including in direct replies to Scott, a lot of liberals who talk about the need for a “responsible right-wing platform” have never and will never consider voting Republican under any circumstances; these comments are essentially concern trolling from people who are fine with a conservative opposition so long as it never actually wins anything and conservative policies on major issues never stand a chance of becoming law. Well, given that the Republican Party will either die or become Democratic-lite, you’ve got your wish. You’ve won, I don’t know why you bother with this charade. Crowing about it would be far more honest.

          • neonwattagelimit says:

            @Sandy:

            1. So it sounds to me like you are arguing that, essentially, the right has no chance of winning elections in a small-d democratic process. I do not agree with this.* However, if this is what you believe: what’s your solution then?

            2. I have voted Republican in state and local elections in New York. I was a child at the time, but in retrospect I probably would have voted for H.W. Bush in 1992.

            *Republicans control both houses of Congress and and a majority of governorships. Evidently, they are still capable of winning elections.

            Also, there are fewer illegal immigrants in the U.S. today than there were in 2007.

          • Dr Dealgood says:

            Also, there are fewer illegal immigrants in the U.S. today than there were in 2007.

            The problem, which you and the Pew Research Center are pointedly ignoring, is that the children of illegal immigrants are considered US citizens.

            If the population of illegal immigrants stablizes, then the population of illegal immigrants and their descendants is steadily increasing.

            That is a problem. We already have tens of millions of people here who never should have been, and leaving the status quo alone that number will only continue to grow over time. Even as the native population contracts.

            Ending birthright citizenship and deporting all current illegal immigrants is a first step to seriously correcting that problem.

          • Sandy says:

            @neonwattagelimit:

            However, if this is what you believe: what’s your solution then?

            I have no solution. There is no solution. The left’s victory and utter dominance of American politics are inevitable. I do not think this is a good thing, but it cannot be stopped. I am just naturally averse to quietly rolling over. I have no illusions about what kind of candidate Trump is. I do not think he would make a good President. At best, he is the last chance I have to spit in the other side’s eye before they wipe away the flecks and take over everything.

            I have voted Republican in state and local elections in New York

            As have I. Interesting though, how the New York Republican Party studiously avoids getting entangled in social issues, or takes the common Democratic stance on them. Not surprising, considering this is the party branch of Fiorella LaGuardia and Nelson Rockefeller, but you’re shit out of luck here if you have higher terminal values than money.

            Republicans control both houses of Congress and and a majority of governorships. Evidently, they are still capable of winning elections.

            Right, the midterm elections that Republicans win because the ethnic coalition the Democrats rely on can’t be bothered to vote as often as the old, dying-off whites that the Republicans rely on. Literally the only reason Rick Scott became governor of Florida when no one expected it was because Latino turnout dropped. There’s something to be said for a steady collapse of civic sensibilities in this manner, but the Democrats aren’t going to say it out loud.

            Also, there are fewer illegal immigrants in the U.S. today than there were in 2007.

            Oh, yippee. There were 12 million illegals in 2007 and now there are 11 million in 2016. What a radical, game-changing difference.

            Does that change the fact that Mexico and Central America are perpetually one failed government away from a new exodus into the United States?

          • “You may well be telling the truth, but the thing is there weren’t too many christian voices saying the first part when they were live issues.”

            I can’t speak to Christian voices, not being a Christian, but it’s been the conventional libertarian position as long as there has been such a position, and mine through my adult life. Freedom means both that gays are free to have consensual sex with each other and that people who disapprove of it are free to avoid associating with them.

            One of the reasons that lots of libertarians are unhappy with Gary Johnson this campaign is that he wasn’t willing to stand up for the second half of that.

            Somehow what seems to me the obvious and desirable meaning of freedom has been gradually worn away in the public discourse by infinite repetitions and expansions of the mantra “discrimination is evil.”

          • Bugmaster says:

            I’m part of a conservative christian church. Should we be able to discriminate against practicing homosexuals in hiring? In use of our facilities?

            I believe that private organizations should be able to hire whomever they want, and discriminate against whomever they want. So, if you run a bakery, you should be free to refuse to serve cakes to gay people.

            At the same time, though, I think that our government should neither enforce nor endorse any kind of morality that is based on a specific religious faith. Thus, your conservative church would be free to discriminate against whomever it wants to… as soon as it gives up its tax-exempt status.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @neonwattagelimit – “However – and please note that I do not mean this as a personal insult – I think those people are wrong.”

            Lots of people think that lots of other people are wrong. The question is, how do we live together in peace despite this? There was a time when the answer to that question was “the nail that sticks up gets hammered down.” A lot of people thought that was a terrible answer, and we’ve fought for well over a century to change that. Unfortunately, we’re now at risk of ending up right back where we started, just with a different group on top. it may be that broad tolerance is only a metastable state. It may be that it’s not sustainable at all, and that once you implement it, conflict escalates until the whole system collapses back to unipolar dominance. If that’s true, though, the entire project of liberalism and civil rights was for nothing.

            “I do not think they should be humiliated. However, if the Overton Window shifts to such an extent that their views are no longer acceptable, I’m fine with that.”

            Are there hypothetical Overton Window positions that you won’t accept? Is anything society does acceptable so long as the majority think it’s the right thing to do? My argument is that there should be, and that making the window as wide as possible and as stable as possible are pressing priorities.

            Hence the importance for the circumcision question above. If it’s easy from our current position to formulate persuasive arguments for why, say, practicing Judaism should be a felony, it’s pretty clear to me that we’ve made a wrong turn somewhere, and we need to stop and turn around rather than head further down this road.

            “But, I’d be fine with people trying to change the ideology of, say, your church. A church has power and resources; a random shop owner does not.”

            All the power and resources a Church has are currently on the block. It’s pretty clear at this point that we’ll lose our tax-exempt status and our schools and universities. Should social pressure be deployed as well? There’s no shortage of people in this comment section who will argue in favor of spotlighting people with unacceptable views to get them fired or ruin their businesses, even when their views have no perceptible impact on their business. Such actions are entirely defensible as free speech; you have a right to your views, other people have a right to ostracize you or deploy legal social pressure against you for them.

            But what’s the result of another thirty or forty years of social balkanization look like? Is that the sort of future you want to live in? If not, what are you going to do about it?

            “Neither outcome, or anything in between, seems very appealing to me, even from your point of view.”

            I think it is better for everyone that the current Republican Party die right now, rather than a decade or two decades from now. It would have been better for the party to die a decade ago, in fact. A Trump victory accomplishes this nicely. This is one of my fundamental disagreements with Scott: a nice, orderly, safely irrelevant Right Wing is not a low-variance strategy, it’s a recipe for actual, no-shit civil war.

            “What’s worse, it’s not even clear that Trump shares your priorities. He certainly doesn’t care about religion.”

            No, he doesn’t. Nor do my priorities involve a politician that “cares about religion.” The Religious Right was a horrifying mistake, and is a massive part of the reason we have this problem in the first place. The road we’re currently on is a bad one, and we need to stop and turn around. I would prefer using the breaks, but a derailment is technically a form of stopping. If the Republican Party is actually dead, we need to get its corpse out of the way as fast as possible.

            @Bugmaster – “Thus, your conservative church would be free to discriminate against whomever it wants to… as soon as it gives up its tax-exempt status.”

            We both know this is going to happen, and sooner rather than later. But we also both know that this won’t actually fix anything, that it is in fact motivated out of spite rather than a pursuit of greater utility, and that once the tax-exempt status is removed, your tribe will move right on to the next stick to beat us with.

          • neonwattagelimit says:

            @FacelessCraven:

            I will need to take some more time to chew on this a bit. But I will admit that I am highly uncertain of where or what the Overton Window should be. Part of me wants to endorse the idea of it being as wide as possible. But then I think “well, what about overt racism? What about forced sterilization? Maybe we should start rethinking how we view genocide?”

            Certainly, people should be legally allowed to have and express all kinds of opinions on these things, but the Overton Window is about what’s socially acceptable and I’m having a hard time endorsing the idea that, yeah, the pro-genocide position should be socially acceptable. So obviously there’s got to be some limit, but where?

            I am also curious as to why you are so certain that your church is about to lose its tax-exempt status. Has there been discussion of this?

            @Sandy:

            Well, at least you’ll admit that you are mostly just interested in spitting in the other side’s eye. So…credit for honesty, I’d guess.

            @Dr Dealgood @Sandy

            My link to the Pew study was meant to rebut Sandy’s contention that illegal immigration will keep rising inexorably. It has been on the wane for some time now. Theoretically, it could begin to rise again (though I don’t view this as likely in the medium-term), but clearly it can move in the other direction.

            Neither Pew nor myself is “pointedly ignoring” anyone, as the US-born children of illegal immigrants are, as you point out, US citizens.

            Moreover, millions of Americans today are the descendants of immigrants who, while perhaps not technically “illegal,” arrived at a time when we would take pretty much anyone who showed up from Europe. The US hardly had any immigration policy at all until the late 19th century; we didn’t enact limitations on immigration for Europeans until the 1920s. Until around 1900 there was no standardized national procedure for granting citizenship. It’s quite reasonable to assume that many of the millions of immigrants who arrived in the US in the 1800s and early 1900s would have, if today’s laws had been in place, been “illegal immigrants.”

          • Bugmaster says:

            @FacelessCraven:

            What, for real ? Are you saying that churches — or, perhaps, only conservative churches — are likely to lose their tax-exempt status anytime soon ? Are we, perhaps, speaking in terms of astronomical time here ?

            In any case, I can’t speak for this tribe that you’re currently at war with, I can only speak for myself. And I stand by what I said. As long as you give up your tax-exempt status, and any other special privileges granted to you by the government, you can do whatever you want as far as I’m concerned.

            Unless, of course, you wish to infringe upon someone else’s rights. For example, you don’t have to hire gay people, but you can’t prevent them from applying for a job at some other, less radical organization — even if that organization is also some sort of a church. Or, to use a more realistic example, you can mandate that your female parishioners all wear burquas — but you can’t force other women to do so. In fact, you can’t even force your own congregation to do so; all you can do is expel them from your church. Fair’s fair.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @neonwattagelimit – “I will need to take some more time to chew on this a bit. But I will admit that I am highly uncertain of where or what the Overton Window should be.”

            Yeah, it’s a doozy, and the whole cultural conversation is just tiptoeing around it right now.

            “Certainly, people should be legally allowed to have and express all kinds of opinions on these things, but the Overton Window is about what’s socially acceptable and I’m having a hard time endorsing the idea that, yeah, the pro-genocide position should be socially acceptable. So obviously there’s got to be some limit, but where?”

            This is obviously legal, and further there’s no practical way to make it illegal. Generally, the problem I’m gesticulating at isn’t one that law can solve. It’s a question about social norms. When Christians did have the social power to inflict serious harm on homosexuals via boycotts and ostracism, was it right of them to do so? I say no.

            As for advocating genocide, here’s the best answer I’ve got. Essentially, I think we learned the wrong lesson from the 1960s civil rights era. Coercion, whether social or legal, does not make people change their minds. Persuasion does. Law doesn’t shift the OW, the OW shifts law. If you want a stable society, you need the OW to be as stable as possible. If you care about a just society, you need the OW to be as wide as possible. Ignoring the latter is the fundamental mistake we Christians made, and we are going to pay dearly for it for a long, long time. Learn from us, and don’t make it yourself.

            “I am also curious as to why you are so certain that your church is about to lose its tax-exempt status. Has there been discussion of this?”

            Some. As I understand, the Obergefell decision opens up a whole lot of possible avenues of attack along these lines. Beyond that, as Bugmaster’s response illustrates, it’s an obvious attack mode generally. The basics of Social Conflict are to find something you share with the outgroup, and threaten their access to it by making exceptions for why they don’t count as a normal citizen any more. Religious donation is tax free, unless your religion is bigoted. It’s the way these things go.

            Given our history, I can’t say we haven’t earned it. On the other hand, it rather undermines all the sanctimony about toleration and diversity.

            @Bugmaster – “What, for real ? Are you saying that churches — or, perhaps, only conservative churches — are likely to lose their tax-exempt status anytime soon ? Are we, perhaps, speaking in terms of astronomical time here ?”

            I think the Religious Right is dead as a political force, so yes, I think that’s pretty likely in the near future. I don’t think it will make the world a better place, but I don’t think we can stop it and it’s not actually important in the grand scheme of things. I could be wrong about this; I guess we’ll see how things play out.

            “In any case, I can’t speak for this tribe that you’re currently at war with, I can only speak for myself. And I stand by what I said. ”

            And it’s a respectable stance to take. What’s your opinion on genital mutilation, though? Obviously infants can’t meaningfully consent, and it’s hard to argue that it isn’t harmful. Should it be illegal?

            [EDIT] – I’d like to emphasize that I am in complete agreement with everything you posted. That is indeed exactly how I think things should work. The problem I am pointing to is that our current OW doesn’t fit that view in several ways, starting with harm of infants, and that your description seems to assume that the government is all that matters to society.

          • Anonymous says:

            I can’t speak to Christian voices, not being a Christian, but it’s been the conventional libertarian position as long as there has been such a position, and mine through my adult life. Freedom means both that gays are free to have consensual sex with each other and that people who disapprove of it are free to avoid associating with them.

            Somehow I can’t remember you ever posting something similar in response to the constant caterwauling about Eich.

            When it comes to excluding gays it’s always freedom of association, when it comes to excluding bigots it’s always freedom of expression.

            Similarly it’s always Hillary Clinton’s cattle futures and Elizabeth Warren’s ancestry that come up. The anecdotes you like to push somehow don’t include that time Trump bought off the mob to build an ice rink or when Paul Ryan blatantly lied about his best marathon time.

            Apparently libertarians are all star struck by authoritarian right wingers and can’t help flirting with them all the time.

          • The original Mr. X says:

            Somehow I can’t remember you ever posting something similar in response to the constant caterwauling about Eich.

            That’s probably because Mozilla only got rid of Eich because they felt compelled to by the angry internet/media mob whipping up hysteria over the issue. There’s a world of difference between “I don’t like you or want to associate with you” and “I want to associate with you, but these other guys won’t let me,” and it’s not hypocritical to be fine with the former situation and opposed to the latter.

          • Anonymous says:

            So if the board of directors of a church has no problem with a gay pastor, but the church members raise a stink and then he gets fired, then all you guys are going to come to his defense?

            Or does this exquisitely crafted set of principles have yet another contour that just so happens to mean that only conservatives ever need to be defended under it?

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Anonymous – “So if the board of directors of a church has no problem with a gay pastor, but the church members raise a stink and then he gets fired, then all you guys are going to come to his defense?”

            You… don’t appear to understand how Churches work, or even what they are. Moral behavior is actually central to being part of a church; if a congregation’s members and leadership can’t agree on what behavior counts as immoral, the church has already by definition split.

            Getting your preacher fired over political opinions that had nothing to do with bedrock morality would be incredibly wrong. Working to get the preacher from a different congregation fired would be incredibly wrong, arguably even for reasons of bedrock morality; if someone else’s congregation has different views than ours on what does and doesn’t count as moral behavior, that’s between them and God. It’s not our job to enforce our views on them.

            More to the point, the entire purpose of a Church is to form a voluntary community built around a shared understanding of moral truth and a desire to conform to that truth. Enforcing conformity is the entire purpose of the institution. If you don’t agree with your church’s stance on morals, the correct thing to do is to leave.

          • Bugmaster says:

            @FacelessCraven:
            I can see why you’d interpret the push to strip churches of their tax-exempt status as a targeted political attack; however, I personally do not see it as such. I don’t think that any church should have that status — neither yours, nor the progressive gay-friendly one down the street, nor the Hasidic temple on the corner, and not even the Buddhist temple up on the hill.

            Tax exemptions should be reserved for organizations who perform measurably good works, such as charities. If your church does that, great — spin off a separate charity, and have it apply for tax exemption just like everyone else.

            As for genital mutilation, I am generally against it, for the reasons you’ve stated. Similarly, I’m against denying life-saving treatments (such as blood transfusions) to infants, for the same reasons.

          • The original Mr. X says:

            The problem I see with removing tax exemptions for Churches is that, as the Supreme Court said in McCulloch vs. Maryland, “the power to tax is the power to destroy”, or at least the power to influence. Governments already try to influence people’s and organisations’ behaviour by taxing certain things at higher or lower rates, and giving the government the ability to do this to religious organisations would be very worrying from a religious freedom/First Amendment point of view.

          • “Somehow I can’t remember you ever posting something similar in response to the constant caterwauling about Eich.”

            My view is that Eich’s employers had the right to fire him for his political views, but should not have done so.

            Similarly, my view is that a firm has the right to fire an executive because he is gay (in both cases subject to the terms of the employment contract, of course), but should not do so.

            There are lots of things I object to other than rights violations–but I think it’s an important distinction to make.

            I have no objection to Christians refusing to bake a wedding cake for a gay wedding or to left wing publishers refusing to publish right wing books, or other such cases in which people are acting reasonably in terms of their beliefs.

            I’ve been arguing things, online and in print, for fifty years or so, and I don’t think my views on such subjects have changed.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Bugmaster – “I can see why you’d interpret the push to strip churches of their tax-exempt status as a targeted political attack; however, I personally do not see it as such.”

            …Say rather, when it happens, I am pretty sure it will be a targeted attack, because Moloch.

            That does not make advocating for it a political attack, and I apologize for implying that you were making one. It’s been a long thread. From what I can tell, your stance is entirely principled, and I have a great deal of sympathy for it. I think tax-exempt status for religious institutions is probably a good thing, but as I said before, it is not actually a very important thing at the end of the day, and I personally hope we let it go gracefully rather than fighting for it to the bitter end. Turning the Church into a political movement was a very bad idea, and we are pretty clearly going to have to pay for it over the next few decades.

            “As for genital mutilation, I am generally against it, for the reasons you’ve stated. Similarly, I’m against denying life-saving treatments (such as blood transfusions) to infants, for the same reasons.”

            The later seems an even better illustration than the former. I come down on liberty in the case of both, with something of a theory of concentric circles of community, with the innermost having the highest priority. For me, State-based paternalism has too much of a conflict of interest, and is just too easy to abuse. Even beyond that, though, freedom of conscience and self-determination just seem too valuable.

      • Maware says:

        But that’s what happens when you make opposition to gay marriage akin to homophobia and racism. You can’t avoid running people out on a rail when you make opposition to it, well, evil. And its been cast as pure evil, with no real redeeming reasons to oppose it.

    • Homo Iracundus says:

      I don’t think it’s about being better for “you”. He’s just panicking that the wrong people might get ridden out of town on a rail.
      It’s much easier when it only happens to people you don’t like, and you can sit on the side lines saying “tut tut, I don’t really approve of this tactic”.

      • Zakharov says:

        The other side of “Brendan Eich ridden out of San Fransisco on a rail” isn’t “rabid SJW ridden out of San Fransisco on a rail”, it’s “innocent black guy ridden out of Birmingham on a rail”.

        • Nebfocus says:

          I doubt it, 90% of the populous would be upset about that- was even 50% upset about Eich?

          • sweeneyrod says:

            Does 50% of the population know who Eich is?

          • Richard Gadsden says:

            A lot less than 90% were upset about (insert name of a black person being shot by the police).

          • anonmoose says:

            Few people know about Eich because the story isn’t toxoplasma, because nobody cares about a “homophobe” being crucified.

            How many people are speaking up to defend Palmer Luckey right now, amid the cries for his head? No one cares. The Left has a monopoly on victimization.

          • ChetC3 says:

            @anonmoose: Some of it is that many people are too insensitive to the suffering of others to appreciate that what Brendan Eich endured being pressured into resigning as CEO of Mozilla was no less horrible than the gross physical suffering of crucifixion.

          • anonmoose says:

            @ChetC3: I know right, who cares about small-fry stuff like people’s livelihoods being ruined for having the wrong opinions? There are much more important problems in the world, like stunning and brave women having mean things said about them on Twitter.

          • I doubt it, 90% of the populous would be upset about that

            The hell with that, we tried this. Even the Northern States were racist as hell in the 60s, and we sent the damn army into the South to force integration.
            If the South wanted to fight the Little Rock 9, you can guarantee that 50% of the South’s military-age would be dead or crippled.

            Same thing if it were to happen today.
            Meanwhile if Eich gets run out of town we all cheer about how amazing our society is.

          • Cranky Train says:

            “All aboard! Ha ha ha”

            [guitar]

            “Eich!, Eich!, Eich!, Eich!… [fade]

            [guitar]

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMR5zf1J1Hs

          • ChetC3 says:

            @anonmoose: Eich’s livelihood was ruined, now? He’s CEO of another company in the same industry.

          • anonmoose says:

            @ChetC3: He was forced out of the major company that he founded, and now works at a tiny startup.

          • ChetC3 says:

            @anonmoose: Which is a very far cry from his livelihood being ruined. “Executive forced out of company he helped found” is business as usual in the free market.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @ChetC3 – the free market ostensibly creates significant value, or we wouldn’t tolerate its externalities. Fucking with peoples’ lives because you disagree with their politics does not create significant value.

          • Anonymous says:

            Whereas forcing someone out of his job because you don’t like how he gets off is just good ‘ole ‘merican freedom of association.

            Four legs good, two legs better!

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Anonymous – “Whereas forcing someone out of his job because you don’t like how he gets off is just good ‘ole ‘merican freedom of association.”

            I am not actually in favor of that either. But the “freedom of association” you sneer at is probably necessary to keep us from killing each other. I am for as few irreconcilable differences as possible, but I strongly suspect the actual number of irreconcilable differences is greater than zero. If those differences exist, people need to actually be able to leave each other alone.

          • The original Mr. X says:

            “Executive forced out of company he helped found” is business as usual in the free market.

            A market in which certain classes of people are prohibited to work isn’t free.

          • Anonymous says:

            I am not actually in favor of that either.

            Really? I could have sworn I saw a post of your yesterday arguing that church’s and church affiliated businesses should be left alone to discriminate against whomever they like.

            Did you mean that they should be able to legally do so, but you and the rest of the Eich crowd will attack them for it as freedom hating culture destroyers forever?

          • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

            After Ring Lardner Jr. was blacklisted by Hollywood, he got a gig writing for the BBC. No harm, no foul!

          • BBA says:

            A market in which certain classes of people are prohibited to work isn’t free.

            Who’s prohibited to work? Brendan Eich has a job. Gerv Markham still has his job at Mozilla.

          • ChetC3 says:

            @:Faceless Craven: So it’s your contention that the US private sector is dangerously under-regulated? Or do you feel that Brendan Eich had an inalienable right to other people’s money?

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Anonymous – “Really? I could have sworn I saw a post of your yesterday arguing that church’s and church affiliated businesses should be left alone to discriminate against whomever they like.”

            “Whomever they like” is blatantly inaccurate. People who are serious about their religion do not select their beliefs for maximum personal convenience; if they did, we’d all worship the god of tits and heroin.

            More generally, if you do not understand the differences between a church and a corporation, and between conflict within a group and conflict across groups, I’m not sure there’s much to discuss. [Unbecoming rudeness edit]

            …On the possibility that you haven’t started your replies yet, I’d like to apologize for my combative tone. Do you think Churches are a net positive to society? Assuming they exist, and that some of them believe homosexual sex is immoral, how should they and society hash things out? Given that freedom of religious belief is specifically enshrined in the Constitution, how should antisocial religious beliefs be handled?

            @ChetC3 – “So it’s your contention that the US private sector is dangerously under-regulated? Or do you feel that Brendan Eich had an inalienable right to other people’s money?”

            Very much no. This is not a legal problem. There is no possible law that will fix it. Everything Eich’s opponents did was entirely within the bounds of free speech as enshrined in the First Amendment.

            This is a social problem, in that entirely legal actions lead to an escalation spiral that eventually makes civil society impossible. I argue that spiral is a predictable result, and should be avoided if at all possible.

            If you want to live in peace, and particularly if you want to live in a diverse society, you are going to have to tolerate people who do things you strongly disapprove of. Defining all the things you disapprove of as “intolerance” and prohibiting them is not a viable workaround. See the thread here if you’d like to discuss it at greater length.

          • Anonymous says:

            @FacelessCraven

            You seem to want to have your cake and eat it too. You want to exempt the type of institutions you care most about from the norms you assert all other organizations should have to follow.

            You’re right the constitution does specifically mention religion. Maybe that means you have a legal leg to stand on. I have no idea really. But as a matter of philosophical consistency you have nothing. The Mozilla community, and yes it’s a community, has just as much or little right to decide that they don’t want to be lead by a bigot as your church has to decide they don’t want to be a homosexual.

            Have you ever contributed code to Mozilla? Written documentation? Done design work? Run alpha or beta versions and given detailed feedback? Contributed to the discussion forums where Mozilla’s positions on various technical bodies are hashed out?

            Most of the people that do these things aren’t paid anything for their contributions. Mozilla it is a cause driven organization that relies on persuading volunteers for much of what it does.

            Some of those people — the larger Mozilla community — objected to Eich leading Mozilla. Some said they would no longer participate in the community if he did. To them it would be inconsistent with their values to contribute to an organization lead by him. Just as it would be inconsistent to some Christian’s values to be a part of community lead by a gay man.

            For myself, I take the position that both of those things are okay. But second best is neither of them is okay. The position that one is a beautiful part of a pluralistic society and the other a dastardly attack on our bedrock principles is simply garbage. Take one or the other consistent position.

          • The original Mr. X says:

            @BBA:

            Who’s prohibited to work? Brendan Eich has a job. Gerv Markham still has his job at Mozilla.

            The goal of the people whipping up hysteria about Eich was to create a situation whereby people with certain views aren’t able to work in certain positions. The fact that they haven’t so far been fully successful doesn’t change this.

            @Anonymous:

            The Mozilla community, and yes it’s a community, has just as much or little right to decide that they don’t want to be lead by a bigot as your church has to decide they don’t want to be a homosexual.

            Except that Mozilla’s decision was clearly coerced by outside pressures. Saying “Well, Mozilla has the right to say it doesn’t want to be led by a bigot” is a bit like saying “Well, that business owner has the right to take out insurance from the mob” or “Well, that kid has the right to donate his lunch money to that bigger, more threatening kid.”

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Anonymous – “You seem to want to have your cake and eat it too. You want to exempt the type of institutions you care most about from the norms you assert all other organizations should have to follow.”

            Maybe so, but I don’t think so. I don’t like communists, and I don’t particularly care about screenwriters. I don’t think screenwriters should be fired because they happen to be communists. On the other hand, if there is some sort of organization dedicated to advancing the cause of communism, I don’t think they should be forced to hire Randians, and if they find out one of their senior executives is a Randian, kicking them out seems obviously fine.

            I am asserting that some organizations are about utilitarian things, and some organizations are specifically and exclusively about beliefs. The utilitarian orgs should discriminate about beliefs as little as possible. the belief orgs have to be able to discriminate about beliefs to function.

            Wedding cakes seem like an obvious counter-argument, but even there it seems to me there’s a difference between refusing to participate in a specific event for reasons of conscience, and treating someone as “unclean” and ostracizing and/or demanding their removal from any context whatsoever. Would you object to a Muslim or Jewish caterer to turn down working a social group’s pork festival event?

            “Just as it would be inconsistent to some Christian’s values to be a part of community lead by a gay man.”

            I am happy to live alongside practicing homosexuals, just as I’m happy to live alongside people who practice all the other sins. I am happy to be part of organizations that include adulterers, blasphemers, and so on. I am happy to participate in communities led by fornicators and bigamists. None of this is a big deal or any great sacrifice; it’s what living in the world means.

            Church, though, is about me and my fellow Christians actively working to submit ourselves to what we understand to be the will of God. This is the only point of Church; there are no secondary goals. If someone disagrees with us about what the will of God is, what interest do they have in joining our congregation?

            It seems to me there is a difference between saying that organizations explicitly and exclusively built to nurture a specific belief set can exclude those who are openly hostile to that belief set, and saying that anyone in any organization type is justified in kicking out anyone who they find personally objectionable.

            If this still seems self-contradictory to you, I’d be interested in hearing why.

          • anonmoose says:

            @ChetC3 – you’re doing the usual apologist thing where you conflate what is legal with what is right. Were Eich’s constitutional rights violated? No. Does that have any relavence to the question of whether it’s okay to sabotage people’s careers for having the wrong political views? Also no.

          • ChetC3 says:

            @anonmoose: Who said anything about right? I’m saying there’s an yawning chasm between unremarkable business-world BS like Brendan Eich’s resignation and the importance ascribed to it in many online subcultures. People lose jobs for morally dubious reasons all the time, and no one outside of their immediate social circle cares.

          • Anonymous says:

            @FC

            I am asserting that some organizations are about utilitarian things, and some organizations are specifically and exclusively about beliefs. The utilitarian orgs should discriminate about beliefs as little as possible. the belief orgs have to be able to discriminate about beliefs to function.

            To use the LW phrase, I don’t think this is cleaving reality at the joints. There’s no neat separation between utilitarian organizations and value driven ones. Mozilla or a similar non-profit is a perfect example of why it is not so clean.

            To take an example from your side of the aisle, look at the Hobby Lobby case. There the company successfully argued that the religious beliefs of the owners/managers ought to exempt them from a particular government regulation that conflicted with it. Again, I’m not a lawyer, I don’t have an opinion on whether it is legally correct, but as a philosophical matter that decision seems hard to justify under your utilitarian / values driven dichotomy.

            Wedding cakes seem like an obvious counter-argument, but even there it seems to me there’s a difference between refusing to participate in a specific event for reasons of conscience, and treating someone as “unclean” and ostracizing and/or demanding their removal from any context whatsoever. Would you object to a Muslim or Jewish caterer to turn down working a social group’s pork festival event?

            I don’t see how this fits in with what you’ve outlined above. A bakery is a utilitarian organization. It is a for profit entity whose existence is premised on making money. The case for Mozilla is much weaker given that it is a non-profit.

            It seems like you are jumping between treating organizations as having separate personalities — under which view it isn’t the owner or baker that is participating but the bakery — and looking behind the corporation at the people involved.

            It seems to me there is a difference between saying that organizations explicitly and exclusively built to nurture a specific belief set can exclude those who are openly hostile to that belief set, and saying that anyone in any organization type is justified in kicking out anyone who they find personally objectionable.

            If this still seems self-contradictory to you, I’d be interested in hearing why.

            Not sure if this answers your questions or if you are even still reading. But there it is.

          • anonmoose says:

            ChetC3 – Eich wasn’t forced out by his immediate social circle, or regular company politics. It was a product of a wider social movement that thinks these types of tactics are justified to punish people with the wrong opinions. That’s why it is more significant than someone getting fired for everyday corporate BS.

            Eich is far from an isolated example. Here’s a particularly nasty one – but there are countless others.

            If don’t think these tactics are justifiable, great, we agree. From your combativeness it seemed like you were taking the position of defending the mobs, but I’m happy to be wrong in this case.

  4. Carl Shulman says:

    “SSC endorses voting for Hillary Clinton if you live in a swing state. If you live in a safe state, I endorse voting for Clinton, Johnson, or (if you insist) Stein. If you want, you can use a vote-swapping site to make this easier or more impactful.”

    But don’t cheat your counterparts. If you would otherwise have voted for Johnson in a non-swing state, sell to a Stein voter in a swing state.

    “Suppose you live in a swing state. If you think (in a well-calibrated way) that it’s 10% more likely that your candidate will use $1 trillion well than that the other candidate will, your vote is worth $500. If you live in a safe state, it’s more like $30. If you value the amount of time it takes to vote at less than that, voting is conceivably a good use of your time.”

    One should compare against the best uses of money, not generic US govt spending. E.g. contrast against more OpenPhil budget. Nonetheless, I agree that voting for Clinton in a swing state (swapping a third party vote in a non-swing state for a Clinton vote in a swing state) beats donating to AMF for most people’s opportunity costs.

    “Nobody expects Republicans to win blacks and Hispanics. The interesting thing about this election is that college-educated whites are also moving into the Democratic column. ”

    Also the rich:

    “All of the evidence suggests Hillary Clinton is the candidate overwhelmingly preferred by the super wealthy.

    She is, for instance, the first Democratic nominee in more than 20 years to be leading among those making over $100,000, according to a Bloomberg News poll. She clobbered Trump among millionaires by 13 points in a CNBC poll. She also has a 20-to-1 fundraising edge among billionaires, and an even bigger one among top corporate earners.”

    http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/9/28/13059582/clinton-trump-taxes-1-percent

    • C Murdock says:

      I’m starting to think that if so many people keep mentioning the game-theoretical advantages of reneging every time vote trading is brought up, then it will become an open secret and the reciprocally-altruistic motivation not to renege will completely disintegrate, making vote trading a total waste of time.

      • Alex says:

        C Murdock:

        Technically you are right. Vote trading is a waste of time only to the extent that it is public knowledge, that this is the case.

        However I would gladly suffer to all evil Hilary or Trump can bring upon this world before I actively prevent something from becoming public knowledge. At least if that something can be derived by straightforward analysis. (As opposed to let’s say a spy’s identity).

        To me your argument is equivalent to “let’s ban teaching of game-theory, it will corrupt our youth”.

        And I am to no end annoyed by Aaronson who took the opposite stance. Aaronson, who became internet-famous for betting his life-savings on what he believed was true, Aaronson who wrote heartbreking pieces about laughing in the face of a mob with pitchforks, repeats what up to that point could have been seen as a folly of his youth and endorses vote trading. It feels like treason.

        • Deiseach says:

          Do you have to have knowledge of game-theory to be iffy about vote trading? I think most people’s objection will be “yeah, but how do I know you voted like you said you would?”

          Given that things like taking photos of your ballot etc are illegal (? are they, I imagine there is something about not showing ballots if we’re trying to have a secret ballot), how can you provide any evidence that yes, you voted for my guy and I voted for yours?

          Only the very idealistic or trusting would take it on faith that C. O’Mplete-Stranger will vote for me if I vote for them, they promised in an e-mail and everything!

    • promethetan says:

      I’m very surprised by the high values given to votes in this post ($300-5000 depending on state). I’m eligible to vote in Michigan, which 538 currently has as the state third-most-likely to tip the election and with the fourth-highest voter power. I don’t plan to vote, but if anyone out there actually values a swing-state vote at hundreds of dollars, please contact me, as I could be convinced.

      • pku says:

        problem is, it’s that amount of money spread over 300m people, not all in one person.

        • Charlie says:

          Think about it. If it’s worth $1000 to me for my vote to go against Trump, compared to neutral, it’s also worth $1000 to me for my friend Alice’s vote to got against Trump rather than neutral. It’s like the value of a pothole in my street being filled in – it’s worth $10 to me no matter who fills it in.

          The reason it feels bad (and may indeed be bad) to buy a vote is actually more complicated – I’d guess you’re thinking of it as a free rider problem, where many people value the vote, so why should you specifically have to pay? (Like how I might feel put-upon if I have to fix that pothole instead of the city at large doing it).

      • Charlie says:

        Illegality aside, I’m concerned that it’s bad game theory to try to buy votes from people you can’t coerce. There’s no enforcement mechanism to show that you will vote if I pay you, and there’s no enforcement mechanism to show that you won’t vote if I don’t pay you, both of which raise separate issues.

        • John Schilling says:

          You can pay someone to register to vote by mail and then give you their blank, signed ballot form before the deadline. It’s illegal, but you can do it, and it gives you enforceable control over their vote.

          • houseboatonstyxb says:

            @ John Schilling
            You can pay someone to register to vote by mail and then give you their blank, signed ballot form before the deadline.

            As with hiring fake walk-in voters, the leverage is wrong. Each fake vote raises your chance of getting squealed on, more than it helps your candidate.

            Although this might be a way to make the vote trade work, at least for a while, with some traders.

          • John Schilling says:

            That’s a different objection than “there’s no enforcement mechanism”. But even so, the detachment of vote-by-mail allows fraud-by-mail, which limits the down side of “getting squealed on”. You agree to participate in the scheme, and you get an envelope in the mail with a $10 bill and a SASE for a mail drop in Nigeria (one of many, rotated frequently). Your signed ballot arrives at the mail drop within a week, and you get another envelope in the mail with a $50 bill. You go to the cops, and they know that someone with an office in Nigeria is branching out into a new sort of fraud. Now what?

        • pku says:

          This is not a coincidence. If people started doing the vote mail fraud thing on a wide scale, mail voting would probably become illegal too (unless whichever party gained by it decided to stonewall it in government, which given the current level of polarization seems depressingly plausible).

      • Carl Shulman says:

        That’s illegal.

  5. qwints says:

    Clinton’s threatened no fly zone over Syria is a pretty direct path to direct military conflict between the US and Russia, from which it’s pretty easy to spin apocalyptic scenarios (while similar direct military conflicts during the Cold War didn’t end the world, how many Vasili Arkhipovs are out there?). Trump is friendly to Russia in a way the American poltical establishment isn’t, which would be bad for people in Russia’s desired sphere of influence, but better for world survival.

    • Homo Iracundus says:

      Here’s a video of Gen. Joseph Dunford talking about the consequences of Kerry’s proposed no fly zone over Syria, for context.

      “uhhh, right now, Senator, for us to control all of the air space in Syria would require us to go to war… against Syria and Russia…” …*awkward silence, shuffling papers*… “That’s a pretty fundamental decision that… certainly I’m not going to make”

      So yeah, just in case anyone thinks the above is just our usual hippie republican peacenik scaremongering about the dangers of war.

      • Bassicallyboss says:

        To be fair, that’s a pretty context-sensitive question. If the Secretary of State is the one suggesting it, I’m pretty sure he has something in mind along the lines of “Get Russia to agree to this, and give Assad fair warning.” Sure, it might be unrealistic to expect Russia to agree to such a proposal, but it’s also unrealistic to expect such a policy to be carried out if it meant war between the USA and Russia.

        • akarlin says:

          Sure, it might be unrealistic to expect Russia to agree to such a proposal, but it’s also unrealistic to expect such a policy to be carried out if it meant war between the USA and Russia.

          I do ultimately suspect that HRC would exercise caution in Syria, despite her visceral dislike for Putin. But I’m not sure the same can be said for her likely advisors (especially if HRC becomes unhinged or incapacitated due to her various suspected maladies).

          If the US was to intentionally knock a Russian warplane out of the skies in Syria, they might calculate that Russia would be unlikely to retaliate (and I agree! Escalation there is extremely unfavorable, and one which Russia is bound to lose on account of Khmeimim’s distance from mainland Russia). I can definitely see someone like Samantha Power, let alone any of the old-school neocons who have actually openly called for shooting down Russian warplanes in Syria, pushing for such a gambit.

          There will then be immense public pressure for Putin to retaliate. If he doesn’t, he will be consumed with managing the domestic nationalist backlash, which I suppose would be a “win” in terms of global stability since it might also force a Russian withdrawal from Syria and maybe even Donbass. But history suggests that is not the likely outcome. The simpler and more natural decision would be to retaliate where NATO is weak, i.e. Ukraine or even the Baltics.

          • TheWorst says:

            But I’m not sure the same can be said for her likely advisors (especially if HRC becomes unhinged or incapacitated due to her various suspected maladies).

            Are there any chances that she will become more unhinged than Trump currently is? Elections aren’t between (Real Candidate) and (Imaginary Posthuman Perfection).

          • houseboatonstyxb says:

            @ TheWorst
            >> But I’m not sure the same can be said for her likely advisors (especially if HRC becomes unhinged or incapacitated due to her various suspected maladies).

            > Are there any chances that she will become more unhinged than Trump currently is?

            That’s a legitimate factor. If Hillary, or Trump, were losing zis judgement, which one of them would admit it and ask someone else to step in — and which would fight any such interference? (And who would the respective someone else, or the advisors, be?)

            I’d guess Hillary would turn first to Bill, then to Kaine.

          • TheWorst says:

            @houseboatonstyxb:

            I think you’re right, and this election should’ve been a much more difficult choice than it is–I don’t necessarily trust Hillary’s judgement, and I’m confident of neither her ability to choose the right advisers (see: 2008 campaign), and don’t know much of anything about her ability to listen to advisers if she has good ones.

            Trump, by contrast, demonstrates daily that he’s terrible at choosing advisers and terrible at listening to anyone about anything, and has terrible personal judgement as well. So it’s the known versus the unknown; maybe Hillary’s judgement will eventually (for whatever reason) reach a point where it’s as bad as Trump’s is right now, but maybe it won’t.

    • Zakharov says:

      Clinton has specified that she’d have to get agreement with Russia before implementing a no-fly zone.

    • akarlin says:

      Trump is friendly to Russia in a way the American poltical establishment isn’t, which would be bad for people in Russia’s desired sphere of influence, but better for world survival.

      Even the latter isn’t so obvious.

      The two cases of Russian external aggression under Putin was as a direct response to Western intrusion into its sphere of influence, or in the case of Ukraine, what it (and half of Ukraine itself for that matter) sees as its common cultural space.

      This was in the context of American promises not to expand NATO made to the Soviet Union as a condition of it agreeing to German reunification.

      • anon says:

        Wait, we promised not to expand NATO? Why would we do that (and mean it)?

        • akarlin says:

          This is not a conspiracy theory or anything like that, it’s a pretty well known fact. E.g.:

          http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-shifrinson-russia-us-nato-deal–20160530-snap-story.html

          This was promised to encourage the USSR to vacate East-Central Europe, and in particular to agree to the reunification of the two Germanys (incidentally, the latter was something even Margaret Thatcher opposed, so for the USSR it was an extremely radical step).

          In international relations, breaking your promises isn’t really a great thing because of your credibility suffers. People are then less likely to make deals with you in the first place. Sometimes it’s worth it, sometimes it’s not.

      • ThirteenthLetter says:

        “a direct response to Western intrusion into its sphere of influence”

        Did anyone ask the countries affected whether they agreed to be in Russia’s “sphere of influence”?

        I mean, look, maybe it’s a bad idea tactically to go around poking the bear, I’m not speaking to that. But morally, Russia has no case here.

        • anon says:

          When did Mexico, Canada, and various Caribbean nations agree to be in our sphere of influence?

          It’s just silly to inject morality into the Great Game, IMHO.

        • akarlin says:

          Sure, there’s no point in faulting those countries for wanting to hitch themselves to Western security structures ASAP. In fact, their stance was perfectly understandable.

          However, the US (as the country that for all intents and purposes runs NATO) had no pressing reason to let them in. Especially since it ran against promises it had given to the USSR (which Russia as its successor state inherited), and at least in the case of the Baltics, its commitment to defend them is of questionable credibility.

          What makes it even worse is that in some of those countries the US pushed for NATO expansion or expansion of NATO military presence even when domestic public opinion in those countries was unfavorable to it. There was a push under the late Bush, for instance, to get Ukraine into NATO, which at the time was opposed by close to 90% of Ukrainians. (Even today NATO accession is only supported by half of Ukrainians, despite the war in Donbass).

    • Deiseach says:

      Hey, but we don’t need to be concerned over Syria, right? I mean, Johnson’s little slip over Aleppo was nothing to criticise the guy about, because who cares about that, somewhere else will be hot news in four weeks’ time and it will all be forgotten!

      • Topher Brennan says:

        Also there’s no reason to keep up on the details of a war you think your country has no business intervening in.

      • Vorkon says:

        No one (that I know of) has ever said that Johnson’s slip over Aleppo is nothing to criticize the guy about “because who cares about that.”

        What people are arguing is that the slip does not demonstrate the thing the prevailing media narrative is trying to tell us it means: That Johnson does not understand or care about the situation is Syria. He certainly does, and even if he didn’t, the Aleppo slip wouldn’t give you one damn bit of information as to whether he does or does not.

        The only thing the Aleppo slip tells us is that he might not be well-suited to dealing with the sort of hostile, rapid-fire questions a President will have to deal with from the press. That’s not an unreasonable concern, but it has NOTHING to do with whether or not we need to be concerned over Syria.

        The guy didn’t understand that the interviewer suddenly shifted topics from a back-and-forth conversation about how his campaign might effect the demographics of the election to, out of nowhere, a question about Syria with no lead up or context, and thought A.L.E.P.O. was some acronym that he didn’t know, or something else related to the topic he thought they were discussing. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t know what “Aleppo” is!

        Don’t get me wrong, the incident certainly highlights a problem he would have as President, but the fact that so many people seem to have bought the media narrative around how serious a problem it is, and more importantly, WHY it is a problem, hook, line, and sinker, has been seriously bugging me lately.

    • Tekhno says:

      The entire strategy of “Assad MUST go!” is entirely flawed to begin with, and the No-Fly-Zone is to service that strategy (Not being able to fly hurts Assad and helps ISIS). This is part of my big problem with Hillary, that Neoconservatism has become bipartisan, and she wants to continue making the world safe for democracy rather than making the world safe.

      Of course, Trump only understands this on a good day, and then he’s back to bashing Iran. No one can stop Neoconservatism at this point.

  6. Isaac P. says:

    “a group of arrogant, intolerant, sanctimonious elites have seized control of a lot of national culture and are using it mostly to spread falsehood and belittle anybody different than them”

    When has that not applied to the United States? In the rosiest picture, the nation was founded by a bunch of sanctimonious lawyers and scholars who brilliantly recognized that they weren’t 100% perfect and therefore needed checks and balances to be applied to both their and every other American leader’s actions. That’s enormously valuable, but it doesn’t change the fact that our leaders tend to be well-educated, prosperous elites. Voting for the occasional Andrew Jackson-like candidate doesn’t fundamentally change the nature of the country, nor does voting for a “typical politician”.

    I see no difference between Hilary Clinton and nearly every other American President throughout history aside from (a) the obvious bit and (b) the fact that more skepticism has been paid to her actions than any other President or candidate (aside from Nixon). “Establishment” seems synonymous with “government” at this point; I don’t understand how the former has become some grand insult.

    • E. Harding says:

      Voting for Andrew Jackson got us this caliber opposition:

      https://books.google.com/books?id=WUwm39YKfmQC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

      and this dominant-party platform:

      http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29572

      Overall, a pretty good outcome for the cause of liberty (except for Native Americans).

      • onyomi says:

        Hahaha… I’m “triggered” at how the Democrat Party platform of 1840 is indistinguishable from the views of Ron Paul.

        Seriously, though, I think the comparison to Jackson is a good one–know-nothing, populist borderer president with an unpolished personal style hated by the elites and definitely one of the better presidents for liberty and prosperity (except, as you say, for Native Americans).

        • E. Harding says:

          Big differences: Jackson had no children and only one wife, was not known for braggadocio he couldn’t back up, was generally not in favor of protective tariffs or local federally-funded infrastructure spending, and had a decent amount of legislative, judicial, and military experience.

          • Isaac P. says:

            I have no idea how to compare Trump’s policies to anyone else’s, mainly because his policies are so flexible. Trump will say whatever he thinks will give him an advantage in the present moment, so long as it doesn’t go against his superiority complex. All I know about Jackson is that (as mentioned above) he was a very populist candidate perceived as a plebeian by his contemporaries who seems to have acted fairly impulsively (killing off the national bank, Trail of Tears, all those duels, etc).

    • Untrue Neutral says:

      It has more or less always applied to the United States. And the average quality of governance during this long American experiment has been abysmal. Its good of you to recognize the stakes, though. Most don’t.

      • ChillyWilly says:

        Out of curiosity, would you consider the average quality of governance in the USA to be better or worse than other countries over the same period (to make it simpler, you can limit the comparison to western Europe)? Would the quality of governance have been improved if the USA had drawn its politicians from a larger portion of its populace?

      • neonwattagelimit says:

        And the average quality of governance during this long American experiment has been abysmal.

        This is a pretty bold statement to make with no evidence or argument to back it up.

    • Tyrant Overlord Killidia says:

      “a group of arrogant, intolerant, sanctimonious elites have seized control of a lot of national culture and are using it mostly to spread falsehood and belittle anybody different than them

      When has that not applied to the United States?”

      When has this not applied to… well, all of history?

      • Isaac P. says:

        Well, technically, absolute monarchs weren’t groups. But yes, elites tend to be the ruling class, largely because of how flexible the definition of “elite” is.

        • pku says:

          Even absolute monarchs tended to be part of a wider ruling class (see Game of Thrones: King Robert ruled pretty securely, but only with the support of the other great houses).

          • SpoopySkellington says:

            Game of Thrones did not actually happen.

          • hlynkacg says:

            Of course Westeros is a fictional place, but a lot of the events in Game of Thrones did actually happen, only to people Lancaster instead of Lannister.

      • TheAncientGeek says:

        Status comes in two forms, prestige and dominance. “Sanctimonious”, etc, tends to label the prestige cluster. There have Dominant elites as well. Prestige-orientated people tend to call them thugs, bullies, neanderthals, etc.

    • cassander says:

      >When has that not applied to the United States?

      It never has, at least not since 1860, but in the past, the sanctimonious elites had less power so it didn’t matter as much. Now that they control a government that has its fingers in literally everything, the scope for damage is much greater.

  7. Protest Manager says:

    “Don’t destroy all existing systems and hope a planet-sized ghost makes everything work out”

    You mean, the way Democrats wish to destroy the US Constitution, and replace it with “whatever the left wing Justices says, goes”?

    “So let’s talk about global warming”

    Yes, let’s talk about ClimateGate. Let’s talk about a field so corrupt that you have to sue people in order to get the methods and data behind their published papers. Let’s talk about a field so corrupt that, when it comes out the East Anglia authors themselves are incapable of recreating their results, they are not forced to retract all their papers, and the people whose papers depended on the EA papers aren’t forced to retract theirs.

    “Even if you doubt modern climate science, are you so sure it’s wrong that it’s worth the risk?” Wait, really? You’d better start believing in God and praying every day, because the “risk” that the Christians are right is far greater than the risk that the Warminists are right.

    When you’ve converted to Christianity, let us know. Until then? No, empowering gov’t to further destroy the economy is a far greater risk than the fantasy of AGW

    • Briefling says:

      As Scott says — no matter how bad you think science may be, it is still not anticorrelated with the truth. An overwhelming consensus in favor of the anthropogenic warming hypothesis is evidence for anthropogenic warming, even if it’s not bulletproof evidence.

      Like, the fact that you’re arguing against that is just so confusing to me. There is no logical line of attack for you here.

      • The logical line of attack is against CAGW not AGW. You are simply assuming they are the same, as many, without thinking, do.

        • HeelBearCub says:

          You continually do both. Motte-bailey, etc.

          See your recent spat with Picone wherein you defend taking a simple average of cherry-picked endpoints to calculate trend.

          • “cherry picked end points.”

            Do you think you can defend that claim? I believe that each of my lines was taken from the date of the IPCC report whose predictions I was testing to the last date for which I had data when I wrote the post.

            I propose a simple experiment. Try cherry picking the end dates, checking ends within two years either direction of my starting points and within two years backward (I couldn’t use data I didn’t have) from my ending points, and see if any pair gives slower rates of growth than mine.

            If none do, your claim could be true although as it happens it isn’t. If some do you owe me an apology.

            The data are webbed.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            I propose a simple experiment. Try cherry picking the end dates, checking ends within two years either direction of my starting points and within two years backward (I couldn’t use data I didn’t have) from my ending points, and see if any pair gives slower rates of growth than mine.

            How on earth would that show a) using a flat average between two points makes any sense when regression is what’s required, and b) show that you weren’t cherry picking dates.

            “I picked the years that minimize the apparent rate of climate change” is not a defense against cherry-picking.

            And once again with the umbrage and demands for apologies.

          • Tibor says:

            @HeelBearCub: I don’t want to get too involved in this, but where does David say that “I picked the years that minimize the apparent rate of climate change” ?

            Searching that sentence in the comments here only yields your comment.

            I am not sure what the point with the average is. If David made a claim about an average temperature change in a certain time period then you might say that that is not a good metric and criticize him for that but that has little to do with him cherry picking the data or not.

            From this thread it seems to me that it is you who uses “motte and bailey” tactics. You claim that David cherry picked the data and then you fall back to basically saying “your methodology is bad”. David’s methodology might be bad for all I know (as I said, I don’t want to spend too much time in climate discussions) but that is different from being dishonest. If you accuse someone of that, then you should back it with an evidence of dishonesty.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Tibor:

            You can start here if you want to see the back and forth I am referring to.

            And I didn’t accuse Friedman of dishonesty vis-a-vis cherry picking. Cherry picking isn’t dishonest, per se. One can be technically true and still misleading.

          • “How on earth would that show a) using a flat average between two points makes any sense when regression is what’s required, and b) show that you weren’t cherry picking dates.”

            There are two different questions. One is whether it was proper to simply calculate a slope between end points instead of doing a linear regression. I explained at some length why I did it that way, and you, like Picone, continue to demonstrate the reason for doing it that way–the more complicated the measure, the easier it is for someone who doesn’t want to believe the result to find some excuse for rejecting it, so I used the simplest measure, which people could check by simple arithmetic.

            You are welcome to take my data source, which I linked, type in all the data to a spreadsheet or statistics program, and check what it gives you as the slope for the periods for which I calculated a simple end to end slope.

            The second issue is the choice of end points. You claimed I was cherry picking. If so, I would have picked, among the plausible end points, the ones that gave the lowest slope, since my argument was that the actual slope was lower than the IPCC prediction.

            I described a simple test by which you could check whether I did so. I don’t understand why you find it difficult to understand that. I further suggested that if you found by that test that I could have selected end points that would give a lower slope, you owed me an apology for accusing me of cherry picking.

            You don’t owe me an apology for objecting to my not doing a least squares fit unless you do such fits for all my intervals and find that they support my claim at least as well as what I did. I have no idea whether you would find that or not, since I didn’t do the least squares fit. Picone, if I followed him correctly, claims that the least squares fit for the first interval is still below the bottom of the predicted range, but not by as much.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            Your claim now seems to be that you could have picked dates that made the rise even flatter. That’s not a defense against cherry-picking either. If the end points didn’t support the conclusion you wanted to “explain” would you have published that particular analysis?

            And your defense of why you would use two datapoints in analysis (net rise) when more data points are available, does not make you look good. “You can check it yourself” is a con man’s line.

            Do you think people actually interested in correctly analyzing trends based on many data points over time should use the net change from the end points? Would you criticize a scientist who published such an analysis?

            You can continue to try and defend using mere end points in trend analysis, but I think it only serves to highlight your bias in this area. Similarly you can claim you are only attacking catastrophic scenarios, but when you continually impugn the integrity of those who do the actual scientific work and attempt to claim we should not believe they have produced valid science, you aren’t actually attacking the catastrophic scenario. You are attacking the idea of AGW as a whole.

        • TheAncientGeek says:

          There are two catastophrist positions. The other is the one where any attempt to do anything about GW will absolutely definitely wreck the economy. You would have more credibility if you attacked both.

          • There are lots of mistaken claims out there on lots of subjects. I don’t think I am obliged to attack all of them.

            Could you point me at the particular claim you are referring to? In the form you give it–”any attempt”–it sounds quite implausible. Current subsidies for solar and wind are an attempt and the economy is still here. Biofuels were sold as an attempt, and while they have done a great deal of damage by raising world food prices they haven’t wrecked the economy.

          • anon says:

            That’s quite a strawman view of the economic argument against GW policy interventions. A steelier version is that those advocating such interventions have not produced convincing cost-benefit estimates. The complication being that “convincing” here is doing all the work, and hiding very subtle and difficult questions, some of a non-empirical nature, regarding issues such as proper accounting for tail risk, discount rates, and intergenerational equity. It’s ludicrous to claim that the pro-intervention side of the debate has engaged with these questions more honestly than their opponents. Indeed, their entire political strategy has revolved around using the media to argue that the *modal* outcome of “business as usual” is so obviously terrible that the subtle questions surrounding a proper cost-benefit analysis need not be considered. Critics such David Friedman are pointing out, primarily, that this claim is far from substantiated and — in contrast to the basic physics of the greenhouse effect etc — does not warrant the high epistemic status it enjoys on the left. Once you are willing to question this premise, the economic issue is not whether a proposed intervention will “wreck the economy” but whether it is sensible to spend *any amount whatsoever* — even just as a hedge — until you have at least some loose bounds on the costs and benefits that you’re relatively confident in. “Insurance policy” is not an argument, since there are many tail risks we rationally *don’t* insurance against.

            For that matter, there are certain policy “interventions” like removing tax preferences for fossil fuel companies which David Friedman and you probably agree about. So I’m not sure why you are attacking his credibility instead of trying to find common ground or understand his position better.

          • TheAncientGeek says:

            There are lots of mistaken claims out there on lots of subjects. I don’t think I am obliged to attack all of them.

            You don’t comment at all on most of “lots” of subjects, but you do comment frequently on GW.

            Could you point me at the particular claim you are referring to?

            Someone on this blog was claiming 7 billion deaths from anti-GW measures.

            Current subsidies for solar and wind are an attempt and the economy is still here. Biofuels were sold as an attempt, and while they have done a great deal of damage by raising world food prices they haven’t wrecked the economy.

            No evidence for the claim doesn’t mean no evidence anyone has made the claim.

            @Anon

            Weakman, maybe, but not strawman.

          • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

            There are indeed two catastrophist positions– so why does SA’s appeal to the Precautionary Principle only apply to one of them? What chance of anti-AGW measures being a real economy-wrecker would it take before you agreed that we should probably avoid them just in case?

          • TheAncientGeek says:

            If economies were subject to unpredictable runaway effects, then the PP would suggest that you basically never do anything, never touch the interest rates, change tax levels, spend on infrastructure or anything else. Anti GW measures are not unique in having economic impact.

          • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

            There’s the answer then: applying the PP to economics lays bare its unworkability as a decision-making rule.

          • Corey says:

            Current subsidies for solar and wind are an attempt and the economy is still here.

            To be fair, the US electricity industry is literally Soviet – prices are set by government boards according to 5-year plans. So there’s no market to be distorted by electricity subsidies. (Transmission and distribution has to be that way. Generation could be a market, and it is in a few States).

          • @ TheAncientGeek:

            Defending his claim that:

            “There are two catastophrist positions. The other is the one where any attempt to do anything about GW will absolutely definitely wreck the economy.”

            Wrote:

            “Someone on this blog was claiming 7 billion deaths from anti-GW measures.”

            From any anti-GW measures? That’s your claim. Can you quote something supporting it?

            A search of this comment thread for [7 billion] finds nothing but your comment. If lots of people are making the claim, as lots are making the catastrophist claim I complain about, you should have no trouble finding two or three examples. So far you have provided none.

            “No evidence for the claim doesn’t mean no evidence anyone has made the claim.”

            The fact that the claim as you stated it is obviously absurd is a reason to suspect it was a straw man. If not, you should be able to cite someone making it. Every couple of days on the FB climate discussion someone gives some version of “AGW will destroy all life on Earth/all Human life/human civilization.”

          • TheAncientGeek says:

            The fact that the claim as you stated it is obviously absurd is a reason to suspect it was a straw man.

            By the same reasoning, there is no real GW catstrophism. Looks like we can all go home.

          • “By the same reasoning, there is no real GW catstrophism.”

            I will be happy to provide real examples of GW catastrophism. I asked you to offer examples of people arguing that “any attempt to do anything about GW will absolutely definitely wreck the economy.”

            You have so far offered none.

          • TheAncientGeek says:

            “Any effort to make electricity and fuel more expensive or to cap or regulate CO2 will only exacerbate an already critical situation and cause tremendous economic damage,” FreedomWorks says on its Web site.

            Note how any effort leads inevitably to disaster!

          • Closer than I expected, but that’s still limited to only two possible approaches for dealing with AGW. No claim that the tactics currently being used, such as subsidizing electric vehicles and the recyclable industry, must lead to disaster.

            Your claim was “any attempt to do anything about GW will absolutely definitely wreck the economy.”

            Which is also a good deal stronger than “cause tremendous economic damage.”

      • Jaskologist says:

        Don’t social science studies replicate less than half the time? That actually would be anticorrelated with truth, unless the math is a great deal more complicated than I’m grasping.

        • Jonathan Paulson says:

          Randomly generated social science claims are much less than 50% to be true; being the conclusion of a social science paper raises a claim from “random junk” to “plausible” (but, as you say, not to “probably true”)

        • Steve says:

          That’s evidence of weak or non-correlation. Evidence of anti-correlation would be if more than half of studies showed an effect that was in the opposite direction of the true one.

    • Earthly Knight says:

      You mean, the way Democrats wish to destroy the US Constitution, and replace it with “whatever the left wing Justices says, goes”?

      List of ways Trump has pledged to violate the constitution.

      • Fahundo says:

        I don’t think it matters at this point. Upthread, you have people saying there’s nothing wrong with Trump expanding libel laws to allow himself to sue people who criticize him.

      • Homo Iracundus says:

        What’s he going to do, sick the IRS on political groups he doesn’t like?
        That would be dreadful (for a non-democrat to be able to do)!

        Besides, I thought we had to become more like Europe in all things. Well, here’s a start!

        • TheWorst says:

          You know the IRS/tea-party thing was almost entirely lies, right, and that the tiny grain of truth at the center of it involved solely Republicans?

          Either you don’t know this or you’re pretending not to know it. Either possibility suggests reducing the weight anyone should give your opinions.

          • I think you need cites for this. I am pretty sure you are totally wrong. I think the tea party / IRS thing was greatly over-stated, but it did happen.

          • @TheWorst:

            When the central figure in a purported scandal takes the Fifth, that is at least presumptive evidence that there is something there.

            Why do you believe the opposite?

          • TheWorst says:

            The people who made the joke about filtering applications by tea party names were both registered Republicans. They were both fired for making an offensive joke–an offensive-to-the-guilty joke which correctly described reality–but for some reason that’s not what the scandal was about.

            I wish the right–if they had to make a fake scandal out of this–had picked “no firing people over jokes” rather than whatever you’re doing with this instead. I wish even more that Tea Party groups hadn’t decided in huge numbers to commit tax fraud (which was what the joke referred to).

            I believe the opposite because that’s what I read at the time, and while that shouldn’t be strong evidence, I trust it a great deal more than I trust right-wing kooks on the internet. I’ve developed a very, very strong prior–with the help of all of you–that internet rightists can’t be trusted. I wish there was a way around that, but I can’t force you guys to start telling the truth, and I’m unable to make myself easier to con. I’d be more than willing to reevaluate that prior, if I’m ever presented with a reason to do so.

            Every once in a while, I notice a right-leaning person adopt better intellectual habits and begin evaluating their beliefs for truth content rather than for tribal signalling value, and it gets my hopes up that a reality-based right is going to develop.

            …Then they break with conservatism and declare themselves progressives, and shortly thereafter abandon any interest in truth content over signalling value and turn into SWJ nutjobs. It’s a painful cycle to watch.

          • Corey says:

            @TheWorst: I don’t think it’s possible to escape reality bubbles without giving up the relevant affiliation, because of entanglement effects.

          • Outis says:

            @TheWorst: The Wikipedia article says otherwise. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IRS_targeting_controversy#Findings

          • TheWorst says:

            @Outis: Yeah. And fixing that seems like a very hard problem, since option C (“Don’t join a bubble and let its memes overwrite your ability to perceive reality”) seems to be basically nonviable for fully-functioning humans. Finding out that some of what your bubble believes is bullshit shouldn’t necessitate joining a different bubble that believes the truth you just noticed but also believes a different line of bullshit, but it keeps looking like there’s no other option for people.

            @Outis

            The Wikipedia article says otherwise.

            I read the part you linked to, and it didn’t. It said nothing of the party affiliation of the low-level employees involved, and it mentions that zero applications were denied as a result of it. That means it contradicts exactly zero of the claims I made.

            Did you read the link you posted?
            Why did you claim it “says otherwise,” when it doesn’t?

      • Nebfocus says:

        And Hillary will destroy the First and Second Amendments.
        Trump would have to contend with an adversarial media and adversarial Congress.

        • herbert herbertson says:

          I’m sure the guy who offered a his conventional-Republican primary opponent a VP slot with effective authority over foreign and domestic policy and who loudly prides himself on his ability to Make Deals would have a lot of trouble dealing with the GOP Congress.

        • Richard Gadsden says:

          There’s a solid argument that what would happen is that Trump would sign pretty much anything a GOP congress put in front of him, so your views of the legislative side of Trump’s governance should be shaped by your views of Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell.

          In return for letting them do more or less as they wish, the investigative aspects of Congress would be largely unused against President Trump. This will give him significant unconstrained freedom. The media will be adversarial, but Trump’s demonstrated that he doesn’t give a damn what they think anyway.

          • TheWorst says:

            I wonder about this. I strongly suspect that Ryan would infinitely prefer a President Pence to a President Trump, and that’s the most likely-seeming result of impeaching Trump.

            That makes me less confident the investigative aspects of Congress would be completely unused; it seems to suggest there’s at least a non-zero chance that Trump would be impeached and convicted. Possibly for nothing beyond irritating Paul Ryan.

        • Corey says:

          Oh yeah, *Hillary* will be the one to take the guns. Grade-schoolers getting shot wasn’t enough, and a sitting US Congressperson getting shot wasn’t enough, but she’ll find a way, I’m sure. So buy AR-15’s and ammo while you still can!

          • Psmith says:

            she’ll find a way, I’m sure

            Supreme Court. Yes.

          • herbert herbertson says:

            Overturning Heller/McDonald would allow some states and cities to return to legislatively implemented handgun restrictions. It would not change the legislative factors which prevented, e.g., the renewal of the “Assault” Weapons Ban in 2004 (4 years before Heller).

          • Garrett says:

            Thanks for the reminder. I haven’t bought any guns in months (I think).

          • herbert herbertson says:

            Same here. I’m easily identifiable as a progressive leftist in RL, so while I think the possibility that the Redcaps will start rounding up people like me and/or plunge us into a Mad Max hellscape is very, very low, it’s still worth a couple hundred bucks to hedge against (especially given how much fun I had the last time I went to a firing range)

    • Sandy says:

      Look, there isn’t much of a point in arguing the case on constitutional grounds. The left has long since figured out that the Constitution is just a piece of paper that means whatever 5 of 9 Ivy Leaguers say it means. They’re absolutely right about that, and quite frankly it’s stupid to argue the point. The right has some cherished delusions about the Constitution, but these are delusions nonetheless. If you want a right-wing interpretation of the Constitution, elect a right-wing President and/or Senate. There really is no such thing as a pure Constitution that lacks political inclinations to the right or left, and there are no “constitutional violations” if the Supreme Court says there aren’t. When the Supreme Court was originally given the power to interpret laws on constitutional grounds, they were tacitly given the power to decide what the Constitution is.

      • Irishdude7 says:

        Before Marbury vs. Madison, which I understand to have set the precedent for the Supreme Court to declare laws unconstitutional, how were unconstitutional laws challenged?

        • herbert herbertson says:

          They weren’t. The Alien and Sedition Acts were blatantly unconstitutional by nearly any standard, and were only overturned legislatively.

      • Corey says:

        there are no “constitutional violations” if the Supreme Court says there aren’t

        I’ve seen the occasional proposal to sanction Supreme Court justices for unconstitutional decisions, but AFAIK none of the proponents have ever elaborated on what that would mean, or what Supremer Court would make the determination.

    • AnonBosch says:

      Yes, let’s talk about ClimateGate.

      Yes, let’s. You first. Do tell us how a misleading graph which improperly truncates a single tree proxy series invalidates a century of atmospheric physics going back to Arrhenius.

      People who use “ClimateGate” as a handwave against the entirety of global warming either (a) don’t know what it actually is or (b) know what it is and make an unwarranted leap from “Mann and Jones were dishonest about the reliability of dendro proxies” to “world-spanning lizardman-tier conspiracy to forge data and suppress dissenters.”

      I guarantee you that ClimateGate-scale deception takes place in every field of science, ever. Scientists are not angels, especially when it comes to choosing how to graph ambiguous results. That doesn’t make it an effective or compelling argument.

      Climate science is not some shaky Jenga tower where pulling out the Mann brick causes the whole thing to collapse. You could construct a brief for it that completely excludes any paper authored by any scientist who sent any questionable emails and it would be pretty much unchanged.

      • TomFL says:

        The biggest problems with ClimateGate was the way academia and the press reacted to it. Mann had some serious math problems here which isn’t really that big of a story. It was his inability to admit it, demonization of the people who pointed it out, and the entire “nothing to see here” reaction that made it as bad as it was. One could argue that climate science exposed an inability to police itself.

        Trees aren’t very good thermometers. When this is combined with dubious pre-filtering introducing selection bias, invented statistical routines, appending a high frequency / high resolution data set (the temperature record) to a low resolution / low frequency data set and then proceeding to make finding that “the stuff at the end sure is changing faster”, and ignoring the fact that after the training period the tree rings sets and temperature record diverged quickly leads one to believe it possibly wasn’t worthy of all the acclaim it received.

        It was speculative work and upon closer examination full of gaping holes. Fine, run of the mill research. This combined with a refusal to share data and code made for a lot of smoke, but perhaps no fire. It was an unnecessary self inflicted wound and things have improved since then.

        I mostly have problems with the reporting of climate science versus climate science itself. I have examined the actual science (IPCC) on sea level rise, hurricanes, and other extreme events and find the coverage to barely reflect what the IPCC says. Media coverage is heavily biased toward doom and gloom which I think is due to environmental journalists having a rather large activist streak.

        • Agreed. I like to cite the IPCC against the alarmists.

          • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

            The deal I like to offer is “I’ll accept the IPCC’s lower bound if you’ll accept their upper bound.”

          • Their upper bound for what variable when? I’m happy with their upper bound for sea level rise by the end of the century.

            Also, of course, different bounds are for different scenarios. I don’t think 8.5 is very plausible, since it implicitly assumes away both substantial declines in the cost of renewable power and substantial increases in the cost of fossil fuel.

          • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

            For whichever variable and time period we happen to be arguing about when I make the offer. (Since the other party is usually American, the variable is usually sea-level rise, since our countrymen’s reaction to temperature increase alone tends to be some variation on “Bring it on!”) For the sort of people I’m talking about here, getting them to accept even the 8.5 scenario’s upper bound on whatever whenever would usually be a step in the right direction.

          • TomFL says:

            Assumptions in RCP8.5 will consume all of earth’s known coal reserves by a fairly large margin by 2100. I think this was put in specifically to just bound estimates. Unfortunately many people quote RCP8.5 numbers as if they were the most likely outcome.

    • Two McMillion says:

      You’d better start believing in God and praying every day, because the “risk” that the Christians are right is far greater than the risk that the Warminists are right.

      As a Christian who believes in global warming, I agree with this statement.

    • Tekhno says:

      I’m really not sure why conservatives resist throwing the left a bone on Climate Change. Tackling CC doesn’t require revolutionary socialism, for kek’s sakes. Perhaps the left passes a carbon credits scheme and an extension of subsidies for solar. Big deal. There’s nothing majorly destructive going on there. Inefficient from the standpoint of lowering the cost of doing business, but not economy devastating. Everybody else thinks that CC is a big deal, so they’re going to win anyway. You might as well make a bipartisan effort and guide things towards solutions that involve tradeable permits rather than flat limits.

      Giving in on CC and going full bipartisan would help the image problem of conservative parties tremendously. Young independents would have less of an “ewwww” reaction.

      • Urstoff says:

        A revenue-neutral carbon tax seems like a policy that everyone but voters could buy into.

      • Winfried says:

        Making compromises in order to look more respectable has not been a winning strategy for Republicans.

        • TheWorst says:

          Are you unfamiliar with the names Reagan and Bush? Pretending to compromise in order to look respectable (and/or responsible) has in fact been the winning strategy for Republicans for my entire lifetime.

      • Tekhno says:

        Re: making compromises.

        Yeah, but why not split the difference? You can in the bigger picture look like no compromise badasses sticking to your principles and appeal to your base while making small tactical compromises to appeal to an outsider group that leans your way.

        Think about young savvy independents whose class interests are conservative aligned, but then imagine that they are turned off by Republican “science denialism”. That group wants low taxes, likes guns and so on, but the Republican Party is too uncool, fuddy duddy, and anti-intellectual for them.

        Theoretically, the Republican Party could appeal to these types by compromising on climate change and secularism, but then double down on low taxes, lower regulation, gun rights, free speech, immigration and other issues, more than portraying themselves as “principled” overall, while losing their anti-intellectual, anti mainstream science elements that make them look dumb and uncool to status obsessed youths who are fine with looking cold and self-interested (nationalism and capitalism), but thoroughly not okay with feeling embarrassed and stupid when explaining they’re Republican (religious fundamentalism, anti-climate change, anti-vax, awkward conspiracy theories).

        • Sandy says:

          I don’t know how you compromise on climate change and then double down on lower regulation.

          • Tekhno says:

            Because all the Republicans need to to is appear to be on the side that wants to “DO SOMETHING FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO SOMETHING!”

            All a Republican candidate needs to do is propose some sort of carbon credits/tradeable permits scheme. Then in literally anything else you can imagine he can push for lower regulation, such as anything to do with starting businesses. This is “splitting the difference” and it would also help make lower the costs of complying with the credits scheme.

            The Democrats know how to triangulate, so why can’t the Republicans learn to do it? Though arguably, Trump is triangulating somewhat by embracing protectionism (and his lower corporate tax rates might just offset the harm to the cost of production caused by protectionism).

            Other hypothetical forms of difference splitting would be promising to get tough on the evil big banks that caused the financial crisis while making the same lower regulation and lower tax overtures to industry/business.

            EDIT:

            Yet another form would be… National Socialism. Heh.

        • Wouldn’t it work as well to offer a scientifically correct criticism, not of AGW but of CAGW? It isn’t as if there is any straightforward scientific proof that a few degrees of warming–raising Minnesota to the temperature of Iowa–will bring Hell on earth.

          Why, by the way, are the young pro-science types you describe not put off by the rejection of evolution by the left–not stated rejection of the theory but consistent rejection of the implications? Hard to see any other way of getting a prior of “women have the same distribution of intellectual and psychological characteristics as men,” given that evolution implies we are as if designed for reproductive success and males and females precisely in their role in reproduction.

          • TomFL says:

            If you want to determine what a 2C warmer world looks like, get in your car and drive 200 miles south. Welcome to the apocalypse. Extinctions, refugees, horrible storms, floods, droughts and untold manner of suffering.

          • bluto says:

            Instructions unclear, sitting in Cuban reeducation camp after it was presumed I was a spy.

          • hlynkacg says:

            I went home with the waitress, just like I always do.
            How was I to know she was with the Russians too?

          • Deiseach says:

            If you want to determine what a 2C warmer world looks like, get in your car and drive 200 miles south.

            200 miles south of my country is in the middle of the sea. If we keep going in a straight line, then further south is the blighted hellscape of – Spain.

            Going south-east direction brings us to the unbearable living conditions of – France.

          • Leit says:

            Is the poster seriously overestimating the actual distance that 200 miles constitutes? I mean, apart from the fact that in my case doing as they suggest would result in visiting some of the most fertile farmland in my country, there’s nowhere near that sort of temperature difference.

          • “Is the poster seriously overestimating the actual distance that 200 miles constitutes?”

            I believe that when I did a rough calculation on rate of temperature change N/S, it was about one degree C per hundred miles, but that’s by memory. Going to my country and using state data, the average temperature of Minnesota is about 3 1/2 degrees below that of Iowa. Minneapolis to Des Moines is about 250 miles. I think Minneapolis is a bit farther south in Minnesota than Des Moines in Iowa, so that comes out pretty close to a degree per hundred miles.

            If you have a more precise source for how temperature varies with latitude, feel free to give it.

          • TomFL says:

            Average temp NYC – 55F (12.8F)
            Average temp Miami – 77F (25.0F)

            Distance 1089 miles

            1089 miles / 12.2C = *** 89.2 miles / degree C ***

            It is of course is more complicated. Changes are latitude dependent, most of the difference is winter temperatures, changes from climate change will be larger for higher latitudes, etc.

        • Tekhno says:

          @David Friedman

          Wouldn’t it work as well to offer a scientifically correct criticism, not of AGW but of CAGW? It isn’t as if there is any straightforward scientific proof that a few degrees of warming–raising Minnesota to the temperature of Iowa–will bring Hell on earth.

          That’s a valid long term strategy, but you are working against a lot of momentum, so you have to make some small level of concession to the “correct” position as of now.

          Why, by the way, are the young pro-science types you describe not put off by the rejection of evolution by the left–not stated rejection of the theory but consistent rejection of the implications? Hard to see any other way of getting a prior of “women have the same distribution of intellectual and psychological characteristics as men,” given that evolution implies we are as if designed for reproductive success and males and females precisely in their role in reproduction.

          They may well be put off by that sort of thing from the left, which accounts for them being independents.

        • ThirteenthLetter says:

          You’re assuming that it will be reported in that fashion. If the GOP stops being, for the sake of argument, “anti-science” on climate change, something else that the GOP supports will simply be redefined as anti-science.

          • TheWorst says:

            This assumes that the GOP is only anti-science in one area, rather than everywhere being anti-science is useful for tribal signalling (they are a political party, after all).

            For instance, you seem to be assuming a world in which the GOP doesn’t claim that contraceptives cause abortions. We don’t live in that world.

          • ThirteenthLetter says:

            “contraceptives cause abortions”

            Boy, I hope you’re not one of those people who was claiming the GOP wanted to ban contraception last time around, because those people were the most staggeringly dishonest arguers I have ever seen in American politics, and that includes this election cycle.

            Anyway, since we’re flinging accusations around willy-nilly, remind me again how scientific the left is in regards to GMOs and nuclear power?

          • TomFL says:

            We also don’t line in a world where nuclear energy and GMO’s are so dangerous they need to be banned, but the “pro-science” left is taking those stands.

          • E. Harding says:

            Guys; some left-wingers (mostly Bernie Sanders supporters) might oppose nuclear power and support labeling GMOs. But these constitute a minority even of Bernie Sanders supporters. The majority of Republicans believe in a literal Adam and Eve. Nothing equivalent.

            “contraceptives cause abortions”

            -They do under some circumstances, as in the U.S. in the 1960s.
            http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/1996/08/childrenfamilies-akerlof
            Contraceptives reduce abortions under others, as in Russia in the 1990s.

          • TheWorst says:

            Guys, we get that you hate Democrats and/or the left. I’m willing to stipulate to that; no need to keep reciting memes.

            This changes exactly zero facts about Donald Trump, the right, or the Republican Party. When someone notices you have a broken arm, accusing other people of having a missing finger is not a counterargument.

            Facts aren’t soldiers. Saying negative things about the Hated Enemy Tribe might make you feel better when someone points out the flaws in your own, but it doesn’t make your tribe stop having those flaws.

  8. Sid says:

    I’m glad you wrote this.

    One section gave me pause, though: I wonder if the sentence “If the Right, in between its spurts of religious fundamentalism, xenophobia, and anti-intellectualism, has any redeeming feature…” is both harsher than your real position and (more importantly in this context) likely to turn off some of the people you’re trying to reach.

    (By ‘harsher than your real position’ I don’t mean that you’re being insincere, just that the passage doesn’t seem to fit with your obvious respect for some elements of conservatism and even some elements of more extreme right-wing thought; so I suppose you have a specific definition of ‘the Right’ in mind here, which might not be clear to the reader.)

    • J says:

      Edit: Oh hey, he took it out. Props to Scott.

    • Sid says:

      Too late for me to edit, but I’ll have no complaints if my post is deleted.

      • Keranih says:

        No, I’d rather you left it in. Because it’s nice sometimes to remember what Scott is and what he isn’t.

        • Sid says:

          Not sure what this means, but if you think that’s how Scott thinks of everyone on the right, I can only assume you don’t read this blog regularly.

          • a non mous(e) says:

            I can only assume that if you do read this blog regularly you don’t read it carefully.

            Scott is on the left. Scott knows the-philosophy-that-cannot-be-named-here-because-it-undermines-the-basis-of-Scott’s-act is basically correct. Scott does not care because he’s emotionally attached to the left so all he’ll ever do is say “hey, guys on the left, maybe try to be a little nicer” (the little nicer only applies until there’s enough victory to stop being nice – like Scott’s piece “Be Nice At Least Until You Can Coordinate Meanness”. To the right, his message is always “surrender to the left just this once so we can get closer to coordinating meanness”.

            Niceness to the right is only ever a tactical concern with Scott.

          • grendelkhan says:

            Every time I start to doubt Scott’s charity, I read something like this, imagine that James A. Donald has reproduced by budding and that his brand of “you know I’m right about everything and are just terrified of my dank truths” posturing is being repeated as farce by a smaller, simpler version of him, and am just a little bit more impressed with him.

            It’d be fun to pit you against those MetaFilter people who are convinced that Scott is an ardent reactionary ideologue. Maybe you’d like their imaginary Scott and they’d like yours.

        • Outis says:

          When Scott’s self-control slips, it’s not always in the same direction, though. He once posted some ardently anti-SJ things in the comments, which he then deleted. Clearly what we get in the posts is a sanitized and controlled version of Scott, with lots of emotions repressed, but isn’t that kind of the point?

      • Deiseach says:

        Hm – I’ve obviously read the later, redacted version where that bit was edited out.

        Should I be outraged that I can’t be outraged about being classed as a religious zealot xenophobe anti-intellectual? 🙂

        Hint: I’m not a xenophobe, I’m a misanthrope – I dislike everyone equally!

      • Tekhno says:

        Xenophobe is over-generic. My hatreds are very specific.

    • TomFL says:

      That’s a bit disappointing. And here I was thinking I might read an entire article on the election without the now required name calling being trotted out. Oh well.

  9. Vaniver says:

    I think electing Hillary would actually work better here. By the time she bombs her second or third Middle Eastern country, the claim that having a woman in charge will Change Everything is going to start looking kind of silly. We’ll get four to eight years of thinkpieces about how it’s sexist to talk about Benghazi/EmailGate/NextThingGate/ThingAfterThatGate which will burn through people’s ability to take that kind of thing seriously.

    Do you think this has happened with race? It seems to me like 8 years ago, the claim was that Obama would bring racial healing, and that mostly didn’t happen (or it’s not clear that Obama being in charge helped).

    It’s not clear to me that the position that, say, having minorities in charge will Change Everything looks any sillier than it did 8 years ago. Yes, you have more disillusioned youth trending conservative, but under a McCain or a Romney I think you also would have gotten 50-50 approval that didn’t skew the youth as left as they were under Bush.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      I’ve taken that paragraph out because it seemed to get a lot of criticism while not being vital. I think that probably Obama was a moderating factor for a movement that could have been worse, but in the absence of a control group maybe I’m wrong.

      • dinofs says:

        From my perspective on the ground (knowing a lot of young SJW types) I do think Obama made things worse in that respect. A lot of people who were young enough in 2008 to believe that electing a black president would lead to racial healing feel like they’ve been lied to and need to take matters into their own hands. Views on Obama the man range from admiring but cynical to a feeling that he’s a genuine traitor to progressive values, although no leftist I’ve ever made would go so far as to blame him for many domestic problems directly.

      • K says:

        You could easily argue the converse: that electing a black president got the hopes unrealistically high up, and the subsequent disappointment when the inevitable happens and a cop shoots an unarmed black man, aggravates the feelings more than it would otherwise have done.

        On the other hand, the people who still – after Cleopatra, Marie-Antoinette, Merkel, Thatcher, Albright, Rice, etc etc etc – think a woman will make much of a difference just because she’s a woman, are probably not going to be let a Clinton presidency rob them of their enthusiasm.

        • Steve Sailer says:

          A good example is the Oscars. Did giving the Best Picture Academy Award to “12 Years a Slave” a few years ago quell black demands on Hollywood?

          No, it exacerbated black kvetching by an order of magnitude.

          In contrast, the Oscars almost never give any consideration to Mexican-Americans (as opposed to Mexicans) or Asian-Americans, and you almost never hear any criticism of Hollywood from those quarters. Nobody cares that Mexican-Americans or Asian-Americans win only a tiny percentages as many Oscars as African-Americans do. It’s a non-issue.

          • LPSP says:

            There is actually a very small portion of minor, politely-worded complaint by Asian Americans about the non-existant rate of Asian male leads. The content of the arguments presented is usually identical to the black arguments, but it’s voiced with moderation and decorum.

            Guess what gets done? In the game of identity politics, you squeak your wheel or vanish.

        • sconn says:

          It’s funny you point to black people being more frustrated by racism — my immediate thought was that white racists have become more racist. I have heard loud, proud racism a LOT more than I did eight years ago, and I think Obama is part of the reason why. Racists feel on the defensive, and conservatives who weren’t racist seem to be more willing to entertain racist ideas because, hey, Obama is so horrible, maybe it’s because he’s black after all.

          I expect we’ll hear a lot more sexism if Hillary wins, too. But I’m not 100% sure that means that things are necessarily going backward — it might just be that certain crowds get louder as they discover society isn’t going their way. It’s hard to tell, especially going just by anedotes and general impressions.

          • Homo Iracundus says:

            So what you’re saying is that the next 8 years of Gender Healing will look pretty much like the last 8 years of Racial Healing?

            Oh boy, I wonder what will be on fire by then. I’m sure that will be all my fault too, somehow.

          • TheWorst says:

            — it might just be that certain crowds get louder as they discover society isn’t going their way.

            This looks especially interesting if you’ve just been reading about extinction bursts.

          • Steve Sailer says:

            I look forward to eight years of being lectured on Sexism by Alicia Machado.

          • Deiseach says:

            Racists feel on the defensive, and conservatives who weren’t racist seem to be more willing to entertain racist ideas because, hey, Obama is so horrible, maybe it’s because he’s black after all.

            Or it may be “might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb”. Since any kind of demurral about Obama was put down to racism, pure and simple, why not go the whole hog and be racist in reality? Not like it’s going to make a difference to how the other side think of you or treat you.

          • Wency says:

            At least in some circles, there is fatigue on racial issues. I know some upper-middle class conservatives who, while voting for McCain, were optimistic about the impact on race relations of a black president –perhaps now blacks would consider themselves part of the mainstream.

            After 8 years under Obama, these same people are inclined to think that if 8 years of a black president can’t make blacks behave any better (and by some measures, worse), then probably nothing will. These are people who don’t really intellectualize much about race and would agree with the mainstream view that white/black differences are driven entirely by environment.

            Though I suppose there were plenty of opportunities for Boomers to experience the same kind of fatigue. My father seems to have transitioned from utter enthusiasm to utter fatigue on racial issues between 1965 and 1980.

            And as I understand it, the mainstream Israeli reaction to the Camp David accords and the Gaza withdrawal are similar. “We gave them their won semi-state, we completely disengaged from one portion of it, and that only encouraged them. The fate of the Palestinians is tragic, but I guess we just need to turtle up enough that we can live our lives without being hit by a rocket or suicide bomb.”

          • Leit says:

            Or, and this is just a thought, perhaps the deplorable right-wing media set out with a narrative in mind and then found examples to confirm it? Which would be completely unprecedented, you’ll agree.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Leit – The racism definately exists. Racism is way, WAY more mainstream on the right than at any time in my entire life. The problem is it’s also way, WAY more mainstream on the left as well. The 90s concept of being “colorblind” is now openly condemned in favor of explicitly race-based identitarian politics, for instance.

            Both sides appear to be moving toward a consensus that peaceful coexistence is impossible.

          • “The problem is it’s also way, WAY more mainstream on the left as well.”

            I think if a group of white students at a university wanted a student group called “the race” with the obvious meaning of the white race, they would be unlikely to get it.

            The parallel case of a group that calls itself “La Raza” is common and uncontroversial.

      • Steve Sailer says:

        “I think electing Hillary would actually work better here. By the time she bombs her second or third Middle Eastern country, the claim that having a woman in charge will Change Everything is going to start looking kind of silly.”

        Nah, what accomplishes that (temporarily) is having a right-wing woman in charge, like Margaret Thatcher in Britain from 1979-1990. During the Year of the Woman after the Anita Hill imbroglio in 1991 that led to Bill and Hill going to the White House as a “package deal” in 1992, I had access to Lexis-Nexis so I read a lot of books reviews online. American reviewers at the time were wildly enthusiastic about low-brow feminist bestselling authors such as Susan Faludi and Naomi Wolfe, but British reviewers were acidic about these American dim-bulbs talking up the Year of the Woman. They’d just been through _11_ years of a woman as prime minister and they were not impressed.

        Since then, of course, the Brits have forgotten all this experience and fallen meekly in line with feminist ideological hegemony, but for a few years the Thatcher Example had a salutary effect on freeing British intellectual life.

        • Richard Gadsden says:

          Theresa May may have some of this effect in the UK again.

        • houseboatonstyx says:

          @ Steve Sailer
          Bill and Hill going to the White House as a “package deal” in 1992

          Nice to see a mention of the 1990s “package deal”. As that package, the Clintons did a lot of things that contradict the current speculations about what Hillary would do in future.

          Bill really does have health problems, which is one reason I wish the Clintons had won in 2008 — but he is still part of the package. There’s no reason to expect that the White House will be much different just because the red phone will be on Hillary’s side of the bed.

      • Deiseach says:

        After eight years of Obama you now have Black Lives Matter, so you tell me. People are still happy to trot out “the reason Obama has not ushered in the New Millennium of Utopia is because of racism because the bad old Republicans keep blocking him because he’s an African-American”. Why would it be any different with sexism as the excuse for why Hillary has not ushered in the New Eden?

        As for finally discovering that having a woman in charge does not mean kinder, softer, cuddlier, duvets and kittens and bedtime stories for all – for the love of fishknives, do none of you children remember Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady? Or Golda Meir, who had to be tough to do a tough job?

        • Eli says:

          People are still happy to trot out “the reason Obama has not ushered in the New Millennium of Utopia is because of racism because the bad old Republicans keep blocking him because he’s an African-American”.

          I’ve never seen this in my life. Nobody has expected Obama to create a utopia.

          Or maybe you just don’t know what the word “utopia” means?

          • ChillyWilly says:

            I would think it’s safe to assume Deiseach is not being literal. Nobody expected an honest-to-goodness utopia, but a lot people did expect, you know, “hope” and “change.” They’ve mostly been disappointed, and a lot of people have blamed obstructionist, racist Republicans for that disappointment.

          • Deiseach says:

            The journey will be difficult. The road will be long. I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations. But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people. Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth.

            “Last, best hope on Earth” Sounds pretty Utopian to me, even if it was a deliberate nod to Lincoln’s speech? But I could well be mistaken.

          • ChillyWilly says:

            I apologize for misreading you, then. Though I always interpreted that to mean “the best society possible in a shitty world,” or “the best society that currently exists,” or simply “America, indeed, is the best country on Earth when it wants to be,” not “the ideal society” or the New Jerusalem.

            I agree Obama used Utopian rhetoric to his advantage and got a lot of people to buy into vague promises regarding ill-defined goals about how everything’s going to get better and we’ll all feel good about everybody like John Lennon’s Imagine…

            Oh fuck it; for all intents and purposes that is utopianism.

          • AnonEEmous says:

            i think a lot of people expected that Obama would bring about a world with far less racism (an America, sorry)

            I certainly did

            what I realised is that it won’t because he’s not going to try and tamp down on that he’ll try to double down on it. Now every black person sees in the newspaper “black president held down because RACISM’ and the constant cries of RACISMRACISMRACISM and meanwhile Obama constantly validates those beliefs. Now imagine Hillary who has shown 100 times the inclination to play the sexism card, not only the media doing it for her but her doing it directly. and that’s the Hillary presidency nutshelled for you.

          • LPSP says:

            Most people don’t know what the word “utopia” means. It combines a positive-sounding u- with a negative-sounding -opia, to conjure a place that seems positive at first but which is deeply disturbed beneath the surface.

            The only difference between a utopia and a dystopia is that the latter is obvious, which whether deliberate or not is a feather in dystopia’s hat. Utopia lies.

          • I used to interpret “u topia” as “good place.” But I gather the Greek actually means “no place.”

          • ChillyWilly says:

            I used to interpret “u topia” as “good place.” But I gather the Greek actually means “no place.”

            That was the pun Thomas More intended. In an addendum to the book he wrote, “Wherfore not Utopie, but rather rightely my name is Eutopie, a place of felicitie.” The book is full of other “nowhere” and “nobody” names and puns: the capital of Utopia is Amaurot (shadowy or unknown place), the river is Anyder (without water), the ruler is Ademos (without people), etc.

          • Skivverus says:

            I used to interpret “u topia” as “good place.” But I gather the Greek actually means “no place.”

            Either, actually, as I understand it (warning, hearsay): Greek doesn’t have a bare “u-” prefix, but it does have both an “eu-” prefix, roughly meaning “good”, and “ou-“, roughly meaning “no”. So a little ambiguity there.

          • The original Mr. X says:

            Either, actually, as I understand it (warning, hearsay): Greek doesn’t have a bare “u-” prefix, but it does have both an “eu-” prefix, roughly meaning “good”, and “ou-“, roughly meaning “no”. So a little ambiguity there.

            The u- prefix is ου-, since in the traditional transliteration Greek ου is rendered u. The ευ- prefix is rendered eu-, or ev- if it comes before a vowel (e.g., Evagoras for Εὐαγόρας). So no, there isn’t any ambiguity: Utopia is Οὐτοπία, with an ου-.

        • Tekhno says:

          do none of you children remember Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady?

          I was just talking to my Uncle, a 50-odd transvestite feminist about this. He was talking about how big a deal it is for a patriarchal society like America to have a shot at a woman President. I mentioned how we already did it with Thatcher and he gave the stock response:

          “Ah! She doesn’t count. She was pretty much a man!”

          Later on in the conversation, he changed the subject and accused me of being a “redpiller” because I asked him to back up his claim that there was gender inequality in America.

          /blogpost

        • Mr Mind says:

          Or Cristina Kirchner, or Dilma Roussef, or Keiko Fujimori, etc.

  10. Protest Manager says:

    Hillary Clinton criminally exposed US Gov’t secrets to every US adversary, because she thought that was better than letting US voters see her corruption via FIOA.

    Do you seriously think that President Clinton will be more security conscious? Do you think President Clinton will be less corrupt?

    If you are risk adverse, you can’t possibly be in favor of giving Hillary Clinton any sort of power.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      Having Russia know a bunch of boring low-level classified stuff about us isn’t an x-risk. I assume Russia already knows a bunch of boring low-level classified stuff. I think even insofar as that speaks to a more general tendency of Clinton to be careless, she has shown less carelessness in important policy matters than Trump.

      • Protest Manager says:

        “she has shown less carelessness in important policy matters than Trump.”

        Benghazi? Four dead Americans, including the US Ambassador? Because Hillary couldn’t be bothered to give them the security they needed?

        What “more important” policy matters has she not been careless on?

        She’s “been in gov’t” since the 1980s. She’s been legally part of the gov’t since 2001. What positive accomplishments has she accumulated? What responsibilities has she successfully executed?

        • Earthly Knight says:

          Benghazi? Four dead Americans, including the US Ambassador?

          In your opinion, how many Americans were killed by terrorists during the last republican presidency? Was it somewhat more than four?

          • E. Harding says:

            Quiz: which candidate during the primary debates claimed (correctly) that President Bush failed to keep Americans safe and lied the U.S. into the Iraq War?

          • Earthly Knight says:

            To be clear, I don’t think the Bush administration bears any special responsibility for the September 11th attacks, for much the same reasons I don’t think Hillary can reasonably be blamed for the Benghazi attacks. And if you think a Trump victory would somehow grant us all magic terrorism-proof armor, you’re living in a fantasy world.

          • suntzuanime says:

            Clinton can easily be blamed for the Benghazi attacks, as she was the one leading the effort to destabilize Libya in the first place. Bush seems more innocent.

          • E. Harding says:

            “And if you think a Trump victory would somehow grant us all magic terrorism-proof armor,”

            -I don’t. I think his election would reduce the probability of terrorist attacks on American and European soil.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            @ suntzuanime

            Clinton can easily be blamed for the Benghazi attacks, as she was the one leading the effort to destabilize Libya in the first place.

            Oh, I definitely think that’s a legitimate criticism. But it’s not the one Protest Manager made– he holds Hillary responsible for the attacks in Benghazi “because [she] couldn’t be bothered to give [the diplomatic compound] the security they needed,” i.e. because BENGHAZIIIIII!

            @ E. Harding

            I think his election would reduce the probability of terrorist attacks on American and European soil.

            Wait, how would Trump’s election reduce the probability of terrorist attacks on European soil? What’s the proposed mechanism here?

          • Autolykos says:

            I strongly doubt that anti-immigration policies, or giving intelligence services even more privileges, or aggressive posturing in foreign policy will do more good than harm in keeping the US safe from terrorism. The “War on Terror” is about as successful as the “War on Drugs”, for roughly the same reasons. If you ignore the causes and attack the symptoms, all you’re getting is different symptoms plus collateral damage.

            As for Europe, the imperialist stance of the US in the Middle East (and their sphere-of-influence squabble with Russia over Central Asia) is what got us into this mess in the first place. Making the US even more impulsive and jingoistic wont help here, either.
            Not that Hillary isn’t plenty interventionist already – but if you believe Trump would be less hawkish than Hillary, I suspect we are not living in the same world.

          • E. Harding says:

            “but if you believe Trump would be less hawkish than Hillary, I suspect we are not living in the same world.”

            -He is in terms of rhetoric.

        • FeepingCreature says:

          Honestly, at the national scale four dead is a rounding error.

      • E. Harding says:

        “she has shown less carelessness in important policy matters than Trump.”

        -[citation needed].

      • Deiseach says:

        even insofar as that speaks to a more general tendency of Clinton to be careless, she has shown less carelessness in important policy matters

        Oh, Scott!

        “Well, sure my flat-mate never does the laundry even when it’s his turn on the rota, and he takes the food in the fridge even if he never chips in for the groceries, and he plays his music really loudly when we’re trying to sleep, but I’m dead certain he’ll be 100% reliable when the rent will come due and it’s time for him to pay his share, you just see!”

      • Corey says:

        Yeah, I’ve kind of wondered who there is who thinks Trump will be better on matters of following Federal IT use policies.

      • Winfried says:

        Elevating people who are seemingly above the law to even higher office moves us closer to a failure of the rule of law.

      • Harkonnendog says:

        Having Russia know a bunch of boring low-level classified stuff about us isn’t an x-risk.

        Do we know that’s all they know? I thought she deleted a number of emails.
        Also, her carelessness may extend to areas we aren’t aware of… you are making a generous assumptions.

    • hnau says:

      I’ve yet to hear any actual evidence that the Clinton emails got into foreign hands, let alone did any substantial harm to US interests. And as President she and her advisors would understandably be hypersensitive about letting any such thing happen again.

      I do believe, with ~75% confidence, that the Clinton presidency will be the most dishonest since, um… the previous Clinton presidency. But corruption is more of a domestic issue and I still have enough confidence left in the US political system to believe that we’ll survive it.

      • Protest Manager says:

        Hmm, so the Democrats panicing over “Russia releasing Hillary emails as an October surprise” doesn’t count?

        What would “qualify” as “evidence”?

      • Gazeboist says:

        I believe the conclusion was, “It is fairly likely that enemies had the opportunity to get these emails if they wanted them, but no solid evidence either way, and evidence other than a leak is pretty unlikely.”

      • I do believe, with ~75% confidence, that the Clinton presidency will be the most dishonest since, um… the previous Clinton presidency.

        Huh? Bill Clinton was dishonest? Yes about getting a blow job. About anything of importance?

        • Deiseach says:

          Bill Clinton was dishonest? Yes about getting a blow job. About anything of importance?

          So sexual harassment in the workplace is not something of importance? I don’t know if modern Third Wave feminists would consider me a feminist, but I think it’s a pretty damn big thing if you literally cannot keep your trousers zipped and are having an affair with a younger person working in your place of business where you are the superior.

          I generally like Bill, even if I think he is a bit of a chancer, but I was amazed at how even self-described feminist women, if they were at all left-leaning or Democrat supporters, brushed the Monica Lewinsky affair under the carpet. Something that is an impeachable offence? No, not at all. But something that is not what a responsible superior in a position of authority should be doing? Definitely!

          I’m not going at this from the angle of adultery, but there wasn’t even the excuse of “she’s not my mistress, she’s my fiancée, as soon as the divorce goes through we’ll be married”. She was a fling for him and yes, it was in the context of the President and the intern, which is unacceptable as an employer-employee relationship.

          • TheWorst says:

            I generally like Bill, even if I think he is a bit of a chancer, but I was amazed at how even self-described feminist women, if they were at all left-leaning or Democrat supporters, brushed the Monica Lewinsky affair under the carpet.

            It’s almost as though basically nobody actually gives a damn about their stated beliefs and is only using them for signalling purposes, isn’t it? 😉

            I don’t think the ability to be a good husband or to avoid committing sexual harassment are necessary prerequisites for being a non-disastrous president,* but even a minimum of honesty requires noting that Bill didn’t have those traits.

            *Sure, I have low standards. So what?

          • hlynkacg says:

            The thing that people seem to forget is that the Bill Clinton was already suspected of corruption (bribery mostly), and had been accused of sexual harassment and even rape by several different women during his time as governor.

            Bill Clinton was impeached for perjury, and Al Capone went to jail for tax-evasion.

          • Okay, I didn’t hear much about dishonesty in these posts. hlynkacg does talk about him being accused of dishonesty as a governor, and I do recall now there were lots of rumors about that during the Clinton presidency (although these rumors are pretty much impossible to judge because of the immense partisanship on both sides).

            But I have still heard nothing about dishonesty as president, except the natural aversion to admit illicit sex in the White House. And yes, that was certainly unimportant as far as presidential acts go. I don’t even think it was sexual harassment, at least I never heard of any coercion of Monica Lewinsky, and I doubt it would have been left out if there was the slightest evidence of that.

          • Jaskologist says:

            Lewinsky started as an unpaid intern. She was moved to a paid position the month after she started… servicing the president. I believe that the many other interns in the program were not promoted, although I can’t find a firm source for that.

            Is it sexual harassment to promote your female subordinates based on their on-the-knees performance if some of them are willing?

          • houseboatonstyxb says:

            @ several

            Bill did not harass the intern. She delivered a pizza, snapped her thong at him, and kept after him for later and better sessions.

            This true story was not serious, and the serious stories were not true.

          • Jiro says:

            Bill harassed her by his feminist allies’ standards.

          • TheWorst says:

            Bill harassed her by his feminist allies’ standards.

            The funny thing here? Almost none of his defenders acknowledge that they only apply these standards to members of the Hated Enemy Tribe. It’s exactly the same as when the same people claim that it’s rape any time you don’t verbally ask your partner to have sex with you… while somehow failing to notice that they never ask their partners that, but still don’t think of themselves as rapists.

            The switch to sane-people standards when defending (from insane-people standards when attacking) seems like a subset of the motte-bailey fallacy, but I don’t know if there’s a name for it. It’s pretty close to the isolated demand for rigor, but I don’t think it’s exactly the same thing.

    • Simon says:

      After hearing about the shenanigans the DNC used to get Hilary the nomination, us electing such a damaged candidate encourages the DNC to ignore the will of the voters in future elections, too.

      • E. Harding says:

        What doomed Bernie was demographics, not the Democratic National Committee.

      • Autolykos says:

        I think Bernie was the better candidate, but nominating Hillary was the better tactic. A centrist gets you more of the juicy middle part of the bell curve…
        And in the end, none of them will get anywhere, because Republicans can and will block anything they try. They might have just as well nominated a flowerpot. Which wouldn’t be the worst choice, either. Look at Belgium: They didn’t have a stable government for decades, and are still doing quite well.

      • Jonathan Paulson says:

        What “shenanigans”? IIRC, the worst thing in the DNC emails regarding Sanders was “they considered asking him a question about his religion…but didn’t”.

      • Gazeboist says:

        The Democratic primary was substantially less of a mess than the Republican primary, in large part because the 2008 Democratic primary was such a goddam mess. Not in the “Hillary didn’t win” sense, but in the “nobody expected a meaningful primary race, so enormous numbers of votes had uncertain-at-best effects” sense. Compare Ted Cruz trying to get pro-Cruz technically-unbound delegates elected as Trump delegates.

        The Democratic primary of 2016 was marred by the tendency of news organizations to show the superdelegate count from the beginning (convincing Sanders voters that Clinton’s lead was fake), and by the tendency of news organizations to focus on the atomic results of each primary, rather than delegate totals (Sanders won big in small states; Clinton won big in large states; they tied most other places – Clinton thereby won the primary, and had it plainly won by mid April at the latest, but Sanders voters who were not putting in supererogatory effort to be informed had reason to believe this was not the case).

    • pneumatik says:

      The decision of what information is and isn’t classified is the purview of the president. It’s weird enough to say that a cabinet officer (the most senior cabinet position, in fact) appointed by the president criminally mishandled information that was classified under the authority of the president. It’s pretty literally impossible for the president to mishandle classified information because it is the president who determines what information is sensitive and therefore needs to be handled in a particular way.

      • Doctor Mist says:

        pneumatik:

        In a legal sense, of course. But you will surely concede that there is lots of classified information that leaking to Russia or China or Iran would materially damage American interests. Hillary has shown that this concern is less important to her than (at best) her own personal convenience or (at worst) hiding her corrupt pay-for-play deals.

        Perhaps this experience will make her more careful as President. But to me the important point is that it shows us where her priorities are.

  11. eyeballfrog says:

    One thing that concerns me is Supreme Court justices. Because the right has little power in media and academia, the most dangerous attacks on free speech come from the left. We see this in Europe, where you can be imprisoned for making politically incorrect speech. Now the US, and in particular the Supreme Court, has been a much more stalwart defender of the freedom of speech than any other country. But given how many have fallen prey to PC ideology, I worry about possible cracks in our defenses. Trump speaks out against these sorts of speech codes, while Hillary has endorsed the people behind them. I’d trust his appointees more with the freedom of speech than hers.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      So far I’ve been very impressed with the Supreme Court on freedom of speech. I have been assuming that this isn’t immediately under legal threat, especially since it’s hard for the Court to reverse tack suddenly, but if someone who knows the state of constitutional law wants to convince me otherwise, I could imagine this being important.

      • Protest Manager says:

        Citizens United was 5-4. It was about people trying to put out an anti-Hillary Clinton movie “too close” to an election. You think if Hillary gets to appoint Scalia’s replacement, CU will survive?

        Exactly where have the 4 left wingers on the SC been “pro-free speech”? Hell, they weren’t willing to protect wedding photographers from being forced by the government to take part in SSM. What could possibly lead you to believe they’re going to favor free speech?

        • Scott Alexander says:

          Less worried about CU (I could take or leave corporate donations) compared to individual free speech, for which see eg (as Carl mentioned above) https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/10/13/the-supreme-court-9-0-on-student-organizations-freedom-to-express-the-thought-that-we-hate/?utm_term=.ee6f5bb0dc3b

          • Nebfocus says:

            CU is more that just corporate donations:

            It’s a 500-page book, and at the end it says, so vote for X, the government could ban that?” asked an incredulous Chief Justice John Roberts. Yes, the deputy solicitor general conceded, according to the government’s theory of the present case, the government could indeed ban that book.”

            http://reason.com/blog/2016/07/25/what-you-wont-hear-about-citizens-united

          • Nebfocus says:

            And let’s be honest, this election proves money doesn’t buy elections.

          • Richard Gadsden says:

            @Nebfocus …. and if they left out “so vote for X” then they could publish it.

            Or they could apply to the X campaign to have their spending included under that campaign’s spending limit.

            If you’re going to have a limit on how much money can be spent to promote a candidate, then you have to restrict third-party spending as well as first-party spending.

            We had an Article 10 case on this which concluded that third-parties could not be wholly prohibited from spending, but that the spending limit could be lower than that for the campaigns. It’s currently set at 5% of what a campaign is permitted, for each third party. So a national campaign is £10,000,000 and each third party is limited to £500,000.

            I’d need to read the minority opinions on Citizens United again, because my recollection was that they were inclined to interpret the First Amendment similarly to how SCOTUK interpreted Article 10 – ie that the book could only be banned if it constituted spending too much, and you could spend some money without the permission of a campaign, but not enough that you could run a bunch of third-party campaigns under a transparent cover (ie SuperPACs) to get around the spending limit.

          • Homo Iracundus says:

            Except you shouldn’t need to get permission from the FEC to publish a book.
            Permission and compliance measures that are incredibly costly (as well as legally risky) chill speech.

            Your favoured scenario leads us right back to this. “Sure you were allowed to say you liked that candidate, but since you didn’t fill out form 49573 and register as a political committee first… you’re going to jail”.

            Disgusting.

          • ThirteenthLetter says:

            …. and if they left out “so vote for X” then they could publish it.

            Or they could apply to the X campaign to have their spending included under that campaign’s spending limit.

            I think you need to step back and re-read what you just wrote. Under what principles of freedom or democracy is it okay to have to get permission from the government or a political party in order to write a book advocating a political position?

          • Gobbobobble says:

            Advocating a political position is not the same thing as advertising a candidate.

          • ThirteenthLetter says:

            What if I say “Vote for that lady whose first name starts with H”? What if I say “You should vote straight ticket Democratic party”? What if I say “This really seems like the year to have a woman president”? What if I say “Vote for someone who’s never made fun of a beauty pageant contestant”? What if I say “We need a President whose commitment to NATO is unquestionable”?

            Which of those put me over the line, and do you trust the person making that determination? That last part is really the key. I don’t trust anyone to make that determination given the heavy politicization of the regulatory branches of government, and if you’ve been paying attention to (for example) the recent shenanigans at the IRS, you wouldn’t either.

        • My understanding of CU is that it said that groups have First Amendment protection, not just individuals. Thus both corporations and unions now have this protection. I approve of this expansion of free speech protection, but it isn’t critical to free speech, as long as individuals maintain this protection.

          • Nebfocus says:

            but it isn’t critical to free speech

            Disagree. If I want to have a voice to counter Paul Krugman (for example) I would need funds from like minded people to broadcast my (our) opinion. This is why I view CU as critical.

          • Even without Citizens United, private individuals can still subsidize your broadcast. The issue was whether organizations could.

          • anon says:

            Not even that – you could still use a PAC. I went and actually read most of the opinions in CU today (because I am insane, apparently) and the thing prohibited by the law they struck down was extremely narrow.

      • hnau says:

        especially since it’s hard for the Court to reverse tack suddenly

        You did follow the same-sex marriage decisions, didn’t you? The current Court is fully capable of pulling a 180 on major issues in a matter of a few years, given sufficient pressure from liberal opinion– and that was while they still had Scalia.

        I’m somewhat familiar with constitutional law, so let me know if you’d like more detail.

    • suntzuanime says:

      Trump, on the other hand, has endorsed making libel lawsuits easier, which is also something whose disastrous effects we can see in Europe. I don’t think either will succeed, because freedom of speech jurisprudence seems robust and respected in US legal circles, and while technically you can nominate any wise latina you want for the Supreme Court, tradition demands a basically competent jurist. But if it were something I worried about, it’s not clear that Trump would be better for it than Clinton.

      • TheAncientGeek says:

        I’m not grocking Euroe as having any consistent situation wrt libel laws. The Uk specifically has laws that strongly favour the wealthy…somehow combined with a very irresponsible press.

        • Richard Gadsden says:

          Basically, it costs a couple of hundred grand to take a libel case to court. So you can say whatever you like about anyone who either (a) doesn’t have a couple of hundred grand or (b) would be too embarassed to take a case to court.

          (b) is mostly politicians and the royals.

          And the laws have been significantly changed recently, to not favour the litigant so much. Unfortunately, it still costs a couple of hundred grand to defend a libel case, which is fine if you’re a national newspaper with insurance, and not much cop if you’re a blogger – even if it is a case you’d be pretty sure of winning.

        • Anonymous says:

          The Uk specifically has laws that strongly favour the wealthy…somehow combined with a very irresponsible press.

          Since I am an Englishman, let me ask you: what exactly do you mean by an “irresponsible” press, and who is telling you that?

          Spoiler: what that means is “the papers keep taking moral positions the filthy plebeians agree with!” and the people cabling out the irresponsible line are the usual sneering classes.

          • JBeshir says:

            It means they have an unfortunate fondness for finding individuals who have done something salacious, often people who are not national figures, and publishing a dramatic exaggerated story, including their name and town (“doxing them”) prominently in their paper as outrage porn. They were Gawker before there was an Internet.

            A recent example would be the time they picked up on a tidbit of local news, a primary school teacher called Lucy Meadows coming out as trans in order to transition, and decided to direct national attention to them so they could write an opinion piece about their life; shortly thereafter Meadows committed suicide. The Daily Mail is an old newspaper, dating back to 1896, so naturally the specific moral outrages they’ve peddled have varied a lot in their lifetime, but the tactics are old.

            Another of their favourite topics is people on benefits doing bad things, example 1, example 2, example 3 just from googling “Daily Mail benefits” and looking through the results, all with full names. Even if you think the people in the stories acted inappropriately, this is a ton of doxxing and public shaming in the second most widely read newspaper in England, elements of whose readership will, naturally, be willing to go further than the newspaper does. “Irresponsible” is fair.

            Since the norm we use online (banning doxxing) is not really viable to expect from newspapers, the grudging balance that got accepted was that they’re allowed to do it so long as they make damned sure the people whose personal lives they’re delving into really did in fact do the thing.

            (A part of this is public morality being kind of crap and not caring if people get awful treatment so long as they “deserved it”.)

            In more general misconduct, not specifically related to libel laws, there was the whole phone hacking scandal thing where people at another newspaper broke into the voicemails of a murdered schoolgirl and victims of the 7th July bombing in London in search of a scoop. I think that could reasonably merit a description of the press as ‘irresponsible’.

            (I’m still inclined to think that the Internet and mass democratisation of publishing has broken libel laws to the point that they’re ineffective and more harm than good, but I don’t really have anything to base that on but intuition, because the quality of the discourse around libel is 15th century biology levels of abysmal, and if I want any kind of non-awful, consequentialist argument for anything I have to write it myself, and I don’t really care to put in the time.)

          • TheAncientGeek says:

            @Anonymus
            I am an Englishman too, and I am wondering how you managed to miss a little thing called the phone hacking scandal, to name but one.

      • AnonBosch says:

        These “wise Latina” cracks would be more convincing if Sotmayor hadn’t turned out to be the most refreshingly consistent liberal on the court in terms of rolling back surveillance and police overreach.

        (As a pragmatic quasi-libertarian, I don’t expect major candidates to nominate people with my views to the bench. But I at least appreciate when candidates nominate actually consistent liberals and conservatives, because they will at least be counted on to overrule some bad laws instead of emulating the rubber-stamp jurisprudence of Holmes, Breyer, etc.)

    • KingOfNothing says:

      Can you give three examples of people in Europe being imprisoned for making politically incorrect speech?

      Even in my country that has free speech restriction on for example denying the Holocaust, I am not aware of any such case. Even most cases of “Volksverhetzung” which differs from political incorrect speech, you would get off with a fine in all but the most extreme cases.

      • Perico says:

        Here’s one from Spain: puppeteers going to prison for a very politically incorrect show, on charges of glorifying terrorism.

        http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/why-is-the-spanish-government-afraid-of-a-puppet-show

        • KingOfNothing says:

          Wow, ok this is really dangerous.
          It doesn’t fall into eyeballfrogs narrative as this is the right using an anti-terror pretext to suppress leftist views, but good to know.
          I hope this will go up to the European court for human rights and they overthrow this madness. (Or the Spanish court itself)

      • Hwold says:

        Here’s one : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dieudonn%C3%A9_M'bala_M'bala#Court_actions

        On 25 November 2015, a court in Liège, Belgium, sentenced him to two months in jail and a €9,000 fine for “defamatory, antisemitic, negationist and revisionst” talk during a show in Herstal on 14 March 2012

        He also got two suspended prison sentences in France. By a quick eyeballing, he got more than €300,000 in fines in his cumulated trials.

        Also : Georges Theil (9 months), Vincent Reynouard (1 year), Siegfried Verbeke (1 year), Gaston-Armand Amaudruz (1 year), Roger Garaudy (6 months, suspended prison sentence), Ursula Haverbeck (10 months), David Irving (1 year), Jean-Marie Le Pen (5 months, suspended), Horst Mahler (11 years !), Jean Plantin (6 months, suspended-then-confirmed-then-suspended-again), Germar Rudolf (14 months), Sylvia Stolz (3 year… this one is spicy : it’s a lawyer, that defended a holocaust denialist by basically defending denialist thesis. This “unexpected” defense strategy got her condemned. Yet another evidence that common sense is a machine that degrade over time), Ernst Zündel (Sylvia client. 5 years).

        Source : fr.wikipedia

        • KingOfNothing says:

          Most of them are holocaust denialists which I don’t count. These laws are in effect for over 50 years and it’s not some novel Zeitgeist of suppressing the free speech of anti PC.

          While I personally don’t think you should outlaw questioning historical facts, this is not a slippery slope and served a function at least in post war Europe.

          Have to look more into what Dieudonn actually said to judge his case.

          • ChillyWilly says:

            A 50 year old ban on speech is still a ban on speech. It sets a precedent to make questioning other things illegal, by deciding what is and isn’t a “fact” (like recent proposals to ban climate change denial).

          • RCF says:

            Just because everyone’s kept their footing so far, that doesn’t mean the slope isn’t slippery.

          • Alliteration says:

            @RCF
            No changes in 50 years seem exactly like evidence for a slope not being slippery.

      • Sandy says:

        Michel Houllebecq had to leave France for a while after he was charged with “inciting racial hatred” for an unflattering portrayal of Muslims in one of his books.

        • KingOfNothing says:

          Ok, I didn’t know the UK is going this far already. Some of them are clearly personal insults that I wouldn’t expect in any country to be covered by free speech. But they obviously stretch this laws a lot.

          What is the clearest example where they overshoot?
          Is there anything qualitatively like such a comment:
          “We should ban kosher and halal meat because it causes avoidable extra suffering to animals”
          Could this trigger this laws on either antisemitism and/or anti-islamism?
          Or would it be required to add a
          “and those people are f*cking c*nts anyway” in order to be prosecuted?

          • anonmoose says:

            Some of them are clearly personal insults that I wouldn’t expect in any country to be covered by free speech.

            You have very low expectations! That kind of thing is absolutely covered under the 1st Amendment in the US. If the government here tried to abridge the right to personally insult people I would view it as grounds for a violent uprising tbh.

        • LPSP says:

          The Lee Rigby case makes my blood boil.

          • KingOfNothing says:

            Do you have more information than those articles provide?

            It’s super hard for me to get any emotional about this because all of them provide zero information about the actual content that was posted.

            Something “racist and offensive to religious people” is so super unspecific. It might actually be: “people of [religion] should be [harmed in some horrible way]”, which is fine to be arrested for. But it might also be “I don’t want any more of [people] in my country”, which is racist but should be perfectly legal to express.

          • LPSP says:

            I’m not concerned so much with the other articles, but information about Lee Rigby’s murder can be found on wikipedia and just through googling. An army drummer was murdered in broad daylight on the streets, the killers gloating and boasting to the camera. That’s the centrepoint of the case.

        • houseboatonstyxb says:

          Paging Keranih….

          I’m posting this here where comments above and below give evidence supporting your concern about opinions in the US someday being criminalized and leading to jail etc. (Not a full steelman, though I should get a few SSC points for it, but not an attack either.)

          It’s just struck me there’s a clear difference between SJW-style tactics and Rightwing tactics against their opponents. When the SJWs attack, it’s straightforwardly against the behavior they don’t like: make the behavior/thought itself a crime, make a whole new law dedicated to it. When the Rightwing attacks an opponent, they find something there is already a law against and accuse the opponent of that, whether it relates to their actual beef or not — for example, people who hate Hillary’s policies, accuse her of misbehavior about cattle futures.

          The US SJWs have some weapons in hand for getting an opponent fired or denied a platform, but sending zim to jail would require pushing a new law through various legislatures (which are mostly controlled by Republicans).

          • LPSP says:

            That does seem to line up with what we know of Left and Right extremists. I will say that a lot of SJWs settle for taking extremely charitable interpretations of existing laws to “count something as rape/racism”, but usually with the bent of establishing this interpretation as the new norm. And mob Right-wingers prefer ousting of key individuals, often mass exodii to representing Driving The Villains Outta Town.

          • “for example, people who hate Hillary’s policies, accuse her of misbehavior about cattle futures.”

            It’s worth noting that the cattle future charge goes way back, long before Hillary was a major political figure in her own right. The events were almost forty years ago. The detailed account that convinced me of what had happened–by a libertarian speculator who was a Soros protogee–was in Liberty Magazine perhaps thirty years ago.

          • houseboatonstyxb says:

            @ David Friedman

            Hillary did the cattle trading while she was First Lady of Arkansas, and pregnant with Chelsea. The charge against her was spread, iirc, around the time she became First Lady of the US.

          • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

            I read (and was persuaded by) that same article in Liberty, but I remember it as dating from the mid-1990s.

            “Rightwing tactics” might better be labeled “Everybody-but-SJWs tactics”– or so the ghost of Richard Nixon tells me.

            Edit: Found it! The PDF is of the entire (July 1994) magazine; scroll to the article “The First Speculatrix”.

          • keranih says:

            @houseboat

            I grant you your earned points, plus a few brownie points on the side for active constructive engagement!

            I think you’re correct in your assessment of the general trend – RWers think that Things Which Offend are obviously infractions of long standing Proper Codes Of Behavior, and so should be charged according to the rules of yesterday.

            PWers (I thought to say ‘LWers’ but remember that here that means Less Wrong and not Left Wing, so I will use Progressive Wingers) hold that the Old And Antiquated Rules were Wrong, and that we need New Proper Rules to make the better society.

            Where I see the largest practical error in the “make new rules” method is that somewhere along the way one has to savage the Old Rules enough to get a majority to discard them, and there is a strong tendency to savage Rules In General – and the concept of “Following the Rules” with it – so that the power of the New Rules is much weaker. (This is viewed as Bad Luck.)

            Having agreed with your principle thought, I will disagree with two parts of your examples/conclusion – first, that the issues with Hillary’s cattle futures are a result of distrust/dislike of her policies, rather than a *cause* of dislike/distrust of Hillary, and her willingness to bend the rules when it suits her. (*)

            Secondly, in the US system, with the ability to re-interpet the law, it is not needful to control local or even national legislatures, so long as the federal courts can be adjusted to produce the correct result. Cue RW fury that even though “we” wrote the laws, the PW-controlled courts are undoing what we intended.

            (And yet again, bravo to the long dead and rotten Founded Fathers, who knew they could not outsmart their heirs, and so set out to force their heirs to battle each other. It is a Republic only so long as we can keep it so.)

            (*) I was old enough to have voted for Bush I, and I remember being exposed to some early anti-Clinton people, who imo were very much too invested in politics and not enough in the Real World. It was like, wow, crazy people who get worked up over this aren’t just liberals in big cities, my side & my people have them too. Bummer, man.

      • vV_Vv says:

        Denying the Holocaust is illegal in 14 European countries, and is often punished with prison terms: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laws_against_Holocaust_denial

        “Hate speech” is criminalized in various countries: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_speech

        For a recent example, the French comedian Dieudonné was imprisoned for posting “Je suis Charlie Coulibaly” on Facebook after the Charlie Hebdo shooting (a reference to Amedy Coulibaly, who perpetrated the concurrent shooting at the kosher supermarket).

      • Pan Narrans says:

        Not imprisoned, but still convicted: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-19883828

        And not even charged, but apparently a tasteless (not racist) joke about Nelson Mandela had a guy hauled in for questioning for hours: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/365825/british-man-arrested-making-nelson-mandela-joke-charles-c-w-cooke

        Oh, and someone’s facing charges for using the “kill all white men” slogan: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/oct/06/london-woman-charged-over-alleged-killallwhitemen-tweet

        (I should add that, even as a white man who grinds his teeth when people think it’s clever to say stuff like this, I do not find that hashtag “threatening”. I would not be afraid for my safety if that woman was near me. It’s too obviously non-literal.)

  12. hnau says:

    As an anti-Trump conservative in a non-swing state, I’m kind of biased toward accepting this. And given the statistics you cite, I don’t necessarily expect a lot of Trump voters to be reading this. Nevertheless– well argued.

    I’m voting for Johnson, but to be honest there’s a part of me that’s hoping Trump will win. It’s a little bit like rooting for the wolf in “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      There’s a part of me that wants to see Trump win too. I think it’s the same part that’s secretly a little disappointed whenever terrorists plan a really impressive terrorist attack and it gets foiled at the last moment, because come on, those terrorist plans were really ambitious, and it would have been such big exciting news, and having a Caliphate around would be pretty metal.

      I assume this is what people used to call the Imp of the Perverse.

      • E. Harding says:

        “and having a Caliphate around would be pretty metal.”

        -Who’s more likely to destroy it? Clinton, who succeeds the man who created it, or Trump, who establishes a whole new administration in the spirit of Jackson.

        • Earthly Knight says:

          “and having a Caliphate around would be pretty metal.”
          -Who’s more likely to destroy it? Clinton, who succeeds the man who created it, or Trump,

          Politifact rates this claim pants on fire!

          • In a recent thread someone pointed to two Politifact reports on two almost identical sort of maybe defensible claims, one by Sanders and one by Trump. Trump’s was rated mostly false, Sanders’ mostly true. That strikes me as a reason to ignore the ratings, although the arguments and evidence for them might still be of interest.

          • Maz says:

            I think the always on-point Hillary PR Team had the best response to this. It’s the serious vs. literal thing again.

          • a n o n says:

            @David Friedman (I can’t reply to your post directly, is this normal ? I rarely use the comment system).
            Would you be able to provide a link to either the discussion or the claim that is rated differently ? It interests me greatly.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            @ David Friedman

            I remember a thread like that, concerning claims Sanders and Trump made about unemployment. It turned out in that case that, if you actually looked into the matter, Sanders’s claim was correct while Trump’s claim was wildly off-base.

            If you think politifact was wrong or inconsistent in one of their judgments, you’ll at least have to provide a link. I’m sure they’re not infallible, but if you’re convinced they’ve made a mistake there had better be pretty strong evidence.

            @ a n o n

            We’re already at maximum thread depth, you can’t embed comments any further.

          • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

            The Politifact comparison was here. Though there was enough daylight between the two claims to maybe justify the difference between “mostly true” and “mostly false” (I found them both misleading at best), I saw a striking difference in the level of interpretive charity extended to Trump vs. Sanders.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            In June of this year, Trump claimed the black youth unemployment rate was 59%; in July of last year, Sanders claimed the unemployment rate among black youths not presently enrolled in school was 51%. Sanders was citing the U-6 measure, the standard way of gauging underemployment. Trump was citing the employment-population ratio, which just takes the number of black youths without jobs divided by the total number of black youths. This latter figure includes, as you might expect, a huge number of full-time students who have no interest in finding work. The number Sanders gave actually reflects unemployment, although it was misleading for him to describe it as the “real” unemployment rate, hence, his claim was mostly true. Trump’s figure has only the most tenuous connection to unemployment, hence, his claim was mostly false. Politifact got this one exactly right.

          • RCF says:

            “Politifact rates this claim pants on fire!”

            It’s largely a matter of opinion, so it’s a bit odd to be citing Politifact.

            “It turned out in that case that, if you actually looked into the matter, Sanders’s claim was correct while Trump’s claim was wildly off-base.”

            Trump’s claim was literally true.

            “Trump’s figure has only the most tenuous connection to unemployment, hence, his claim was mostly false. Politifact got this one exactly right.”

            It was the percentage of people unemployed. One can argue that the term “unemployment” has become so strongly associated with a something other than the percentage of the people who are unemployed that it’s misleading to use its literal meaning, but saying “You used a term to refer to what it literally means, rather than another meaning that has considerable currency” is a rather weak basis for labeling their claim “mostly false”.

          • ““It turned out in that case that, if you actually looked into the matter, Sanders’s claim was correct while Trump’s claim was wildly off-base.””

            The Sanders case. The Trump case.

            Sanders used the term “Unemployment rate” twice and “real unemplyment rate” the third time, in a parallel construction. None of the numbers was the BLS unemployment rate.

            According to Politifact:

            “The statistic EPI used, known by the wonky shorthand U-6, is officially called a measure of “labor underutilization” rather than “unemployment.” EPI itself used the term “underemployment” in its research.” It includes, among others, people with part time employment.

            Trump, by Politifact‘s account, used the Employment/population ratio, and so included people who didn’t have a job and were not looking for one.

            Both statements were false in terms of the conventional definition of the unemployment rate. In each case, there was something that one could with a stretch describe as an unemployment rate for which the number was true. I don’t see any reasonable defense for Politifact concluding that one was mostly true and the other mostly false. Both were false in one sense, true in a much weaker sense. Both were stated in ways that clearly implied that they were “the unemployment rate.”

            Which neither was.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            @ RCF

            Since you’re counting full-time students as “unemployed,” why not infants and nonagenarians? Why not the dead? Why not housecats, or rocks? The colloquial meaning of “unemployed” is vague enough that you may as well just make up a number, there’s guaranteed to be some gerrymandered class or other that will fit it.

            The unemployment rate is the percentage of a population jobless and actively looking for a job. If you stretch it, you can count people who are working part-time but wish to be working full-time, and people who want a job but have given up searching. But it is still a technical term with a specific meaning, and a figure which includes full-time students not looking for work is not the unemployment rate, no matter how generous we’re being.

            @ David Friedman

            There’s room for dispute over whether the official BLS statistic or the U-6 measure offers a more accurate picture of unemployment. There’s no room for dispute over whether the employment/population ratio gives an accurate picture of unemployment– no reasonable person thinks it does.

          • RCF says:

            Since you’re counting full-time students as “unemployed,” why not infants and nonagenarians? Why not the dead? Why not housecats, or rocks?

            More accurately, I’m not counting full-time students, I’m accepting someone else counting them. Infants are clearly a different class than students.

            The unemployment rate is the percentage of a population jobless and actively looking for a job.

            That’s one meaning. I reject the idea that there is a monopoly on the definition.

            But it is still a technical term with a specific meaning

            No, if one wishes to make it clear that one is talking about the BLS Unemployment Rate, one can say “BLS Unemployment Rate”. That one group has a particular definition does not make it a “technical term”. There’s a group that defined being able to “afford” a particular level of rent as the rent being 30% or less of one’s income. That doesn’t mean that if someone makes $250,000/year and is paying $100,000/year in rent, and says “I can afford my rent”, they are using a technical term incorrectly.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            Infants are clearly a different class than students.

            Because…? Counting full-time students not looking for work as “unemployed” seems just as ridiculous to me as counting infants or chickens.

          • RCF says:

            Because students are people who could be working. There is some economic activity that could be happening that isn’t. Calling students unemployed refers to a perfectly reasonable counter-factual. Almost all students could be working if they weren’t in school and there were jobs available, and most students could be doing at least part-time work if a good enough job were available.

            As long as we’re looking for logic, why are people who have given up on looking for work not included in “unemployed”? The BLS number is hardly a full picture of the job market.

          • Jiro says:

            why are people who have given up on looking for work not included in “unemployed”?

            Because it isn’t people who have given up on looking, it’s people who aren’t looking. There are more reasons to not be looking than having given up, and it may be hard to separate out the “given up” portion from these others.

        • E. Harding says:

          Serves to show only the lack of depth of Politifact’s understanding and the frequent uselessness of its ratings. It also rated “false” Obama’s claim in the middle of 2008 that the U.S. was in recession. IIRC, it has stood by that rating.

      • Eli says:

        I usually don’t listen to the part of me that wants Trump to win, because whatever it might try to insist about the Revolution actually arriving this time, it’s also cheering along with That One Friend on Facebook, “BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD! SKULLS FOR THE SKULL THRONE!”

        And That’s Terrible.

        • TheWorst says:

          It is. Yelling for blood for the blood god is a waste of life.

          But have you heard the good news? Slaanesh loves you, just the way you are.

          (Also, every other possible way.)

      • Mr Mind says:

        I think it’s the same part that’s secretly a little disappointed whenever terrorists plan a really impressive terrorist attack and it gets foiled at the last moment

        I hear this around me all the time: “ha, that robber was really stupid!” or “only an idiot would hide the victim’s body so badly”. It’s like we, as a species, have an instinctual aversion for stupidity, whether it affects us negatively or positively.
        Like it’s almost a pleasure to be robbed by a very clever thief.

        having a Caliphate around would be pretty metal.

        It would make a wonderful Labyrinth scenario.

    • Pan Narrans says:

      Hah. When a really cool prison break – like by making an airplane out of spare parts from the woodwork class or something – is foiled, do you ever feel like the people involved should be freed anyway for sheer class and chutzpah?

      • pku says:

        I definitely feel like everyone on this list deserves to be set free. Especially Nordin Benallal. (“He has previously run from a prison van, walked out of jail wearing a wig and sunglasses and scaled a prison wall with a rope ladder.”)

        • TheWorst says:

          That would get my vote.

          And you know what? I just realized that I might actually believe that anyone who wants to be out of prison that much more than I want them to be in it, probably shouldn’t be in prison.

    • Soy Lecithin says:

      Have you considered voting for Evan McMullin, if he is on the ballot in your state?

  13. Tom Hunt says:

    I want to congratulate you, first off, for managing to write a piece on the election that is lucid and convincing, even to Death Eater me. It’s good to see that even in a 99% awful category, SSC continues its long-term streak of being Not Awful; being able to come here and see this is remarkably refreshing. (Of course, I’m still not going to vote.)

    After this, of course, I need to argue with you.

    After the ceremonial eye-roll at the standard practice of confusing a 100% chance of $1000 with a 0.0001% chance of $1,000,000,000, there’s a question on variance. It’s the conventional wisdom this election, and also basically true, that Clinton is the candidate of the status quo and Trump is the wild card. In normal terms, this would make Clinton the safe bet and Trump the high-risk play. But right now, the status quo is an empire in decline, and empires in decline lash out. In foreign policy at least, Trump has made at least perfunctory signals against globalism and American Empire, however seriously you take that. It seems to me entirely plausible that Clinton would follow the globalist lead in trying to force global interests through, and provoke another major war. (Syria? Ukraine? South China Sea? It’s not like we lack for trouble spots.) Even just more standard regime change operations would be pretty bad, given that in our last round of interventions we triggered ISIS and the European refugee crisis; if we got into a shooting war with Russia or China, it could become far worse. In this realm — probably the one with the greatest plausible chance of extraordinary catastrophe; even a domestic civil war probably wouldn’t turn nuclear — Trump seems to me legitimately like the lower-risk candidate.

    You mention the probability that Trump will be more able to effect change, due to not fighting a Congress likely of the opposed party. This is making the standard mistake of confusing Republicans with actual rightists. It doesn’t seem likely that a Republican Congress will be any more effective at checking a President (H.) Clinton than they were at checking President Obama; whatever follies of bombing, gasoline thrown on the culture wars, or imperial expansions of the domestic civil service she desires, she’ll basically get. Meanwhile, in the domestic realm at least, Trump would be fighting a civil service that is overwhelmingly leftist and hates him. This seems far more likely to be an effective check than an also-globalist Republican Congress; for instance, if Trump attempted using regulatory agencies as weapons against his enemies, he would immediately face the full force of the entire Cathedral pushing back with all its might, whereas Clinton would presumably be just as able to do this as Obama was.

    You also mention the likely consequence of a Trump administration being radicalization of the upcoming generation in the direction of the social justice left. I honestly have no idea whether this is likely or not; your analysis does seem plausible. However, the position of many rightists is likely to be that Clinton, positioned in this matter as Obama 2.0, is simply intolerable. If I had not consciously eradicated the bit of me that cares about the President as a symbol, I would likely agree. More, a Clinton administration would presumably continue Obama’s policies in consciously diving as far down the social justice whirlpool as possible, which does have real consequences. To the degree that federal policies could encourage the absurd social justice politics and policies on college campuses, for example, Clinton could materially damage me personally. The encouragement of a hypothetical backlash may well not outweigh this consideration in most people’s minds.

    None of this constitutes any endorsement of Trump, or anyone. (One of the benefits of being a Death Eater is one no longer has to sacrifice one’s dignity by a personal endorsement of either the Zombie Felon or the Hypersensitive Clown.) In purely consequential terms, I don’t know which candidate to prefer, though I don’t see many good outcomes in any case. But even consciously choosing the lesser evil, I don’t think it’s so clear-cut which it is.

    • Does your use of “globalism” here mean “foreign interventionism”? I usually think of globalism as the integration of global trade markets and supply chains. If it does, I agree somewhat.

      I also submit that if Hillary continues the Obama administration on healthcare and entitlement spending, these could also be problems that were manageable before, but are on a collision course with the American government’s ability to continue borrowing at cheap rates.

      I thought Republicans did an ok job blocking most of Obama’s policies once they retook Congress in 2010. I can’t think of many big policy victories he had after that. Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, and the stimulus were all prior to the 2010 midterms. Most of the things I think of for the Obama administration were either solely controlled by the executive (foreign policy, surveillance, diplomatic and trade negotiations).

      Are you so sure that the Cathedral would win against Trump-controlled instruments of the state? The DoJ, DHS, CIA, and so on sound pretty scary with Trump in charge. Do you think it would be a good idea to elect a president who will likely cause a constitutional crisis? Even if Trump didn’t “win” these conflicts, it seems like it would at least be as divisive for the country as the Left getting Clinton as president.

      • Tom Hunt says:

        “Globalism” in the sense of “foreign interventionism” is very often tied to “globalism” in the sense of “integration of supply chains”. The whole reason anything’s happening in Syria is because the US decided to topple Assad, which was caused by Assad refusing to allow a natural gas pipeline from the Arabian Peninsula to Europe (which would have undercut Russia, Assad’s ally). I’m not sure how much truth there was behind it, but the idea that the Iraq invasion in 2003 was motivated by oil politics was at least a common accusation. South China Sea only matters because trade routes. And so on.

        It’s true that since 2010, Obama hasn’t managed any Obamacare-alike major legislative reorganizations. But that which is controlled solely by the executive branch is vast, and what supervisory powers Congress has have been left idle while Obama uses them at his whim. I see no reason to expect this to change under Clinton.

        In “the Cathedral”, I include many of the executive bureaucracies themselves. Should Trump attempt overreach using the regulatory agencies, >50% of the pushback he would get would come from the agencies themselves. Remember, they’re staffed by leftists who all hate him. To overcome this, he would need to spend huge amounts of effort and political capital in retaking those agencies before he could do anything nefarious with them. This would certainly be divisive, but we aren’t fixing the divisions in this country anyway, so I don’t consider it that strong a factor.

        • ThirteenthLetter says:

          which was caused by Assad refusing to allow a natural gas pipeline from the Arabian Peninsula to Europe

          [citation needed]

          I’m reminded of the various accusations that the US was invading Afghanistan in order to make way for an oil pipeline. Because, you know, no nation would ever declare war on someone merely because they bombed two of its cities killing thousands of people, really, the very idea is absurd on its face.

          • Fahundo says:

            Because, you know, no nation would ever declare war on someone merely because they bombed two of its cities killing thousands of people

            We didn’t go to war with Saudi Arabia though

          • ThirteenthLetter says:

            Look, if you’re proposing that every city in Saudi Arabia be turned into a flaming crater by noon tomorrow, your ideas intrigue me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter. But that doesn’t mean that 9/11 wasn’t directly carried out by the government of Afghanistan. (And yes, Al Qaeda was part of the government of Afghanistan, so don’t think of starting with that.)

          • Fahundo says:

            I’d settle for no longer being allies.

          • ThirteenthLetter says:

            No backsies! Flaming craters by noon tomorrow it is.

    • Autolykos says:

      The “empire in decline” is already a thing. And I’m not very confident that Trump marks a reversal of this trend, as much as the actual “lashing out” part that turns the slow decline into a very fast one. (Clinton won’t reverse it either – but it is more likely that she will buy a little more time).

      And as for the allegedly left-leaning civil service pushing Trump against the wall until he sqeaks – that brand of “checks and balances” rarely works as well in practice as in theory.

      • Nebfocus says:

        Clinton won’t reverse it either – but it is more likely that she will buy a little more time.

        I agree, I figure about 4 years.

      • Tom Hunt says:

        I don’t expect Trump will reverse the decline; that’s very likely impossible. I think he’s less likely to lash out with violent foreign interventions over it, given most of his signature policies are domestic. And if US “world power” declines I would take that as a positive.

    • Deiseach says:

      I’m not very stirred by “This could trigger WWIII” claims as I’ve lived through a couple of them and we’re still here with nobody having flung nukes around, but I do think we should be more worried about Syria (which is part of why I’m so hard on Johnson about the Aleppo slip).

      How the First World War started because of a Serbian nationalist assassinating an Austro-Hungarian princeling was precisely because of the web of alliances and treaties and using other states as proxies in international disputes. Both Russia and the USA are involved in Syria, and Russia is more conspicuously – if not putting “boots on the ground” – helping in a concrete fashion its preferred side.

      Bad relations between the West and Russia, particularly between the US and Russia, mean that places like the Ukraine and Syria are the theatres where the tussle is played out, with both sides backing their tokens. And so what happens in Syria, and what that means if Russia’s selection gets the upper hand or doesn’t, has a knock-on effect which I think we are very much downplaying – to our detriment, because I don’t think Aaronson’s putative kids will be asking him “What did you do in the war, Daddy?” about Trump versus Hillary, it will be “And in our history classes we learned what caused the war, and Daddy, how could a civil war in a faraway country have set world powers at each others’ throats like that?”

      • anon says:

        I’m not very stirred by “This could trigger WWIII” claims as I’ve lived through a couple of them and we’re still here

        I think this is a pretty literal case of “survivor bias”, isn’t it? If we’d gone nuclear war, you couldn’t express an opinion on the internet, or perhaps at all.

      • Just to be non-apocalyptic about it all, India and Pakistan have demonstrated that a conventional war is possible between nuclear powers.

        Mind you, a big conventional war with modern weapons is one of my nightmares.

        • anon says:

          I don’t think the current mini-war in Kashmir is something one should be sanguine about. At least not yet.

  14. Watercressed says:

    >If the Right, in between its spurts of religious fundamentalism, xenophobia, and anti-intellectualism, has any redeeming feature, it’s that it’s traditionally been more aware of these kinds of tradeoffs.

    The three things you name are all the low-variance end of the issue.

    • Sniffnoy says:

      Don’t get fundamentalism confused with traditionalism. Traditionalism may be low-variance; fundamentalism is not.

      • Watercressed says:

        The language is muddled here, and I don’t think it cuts at the joints–it is not possible to call fundamentalist religion low- or high-variance as a class.

        So let me be more specific: I think the positions advocated by the Christian right in the United States are the “adhering to previous tradition” type of belief rather than the “god is displeased and we need to burn everything to the ground” type of belief.

        A high resistance to social change is low-variance.

        • Sniffnoy says:

          Huh; I was thinking that you were thinking of as the relevant distinction as low-variance tradition vs. high-variance reasoning-from-principles (or “modernism”), fundamentalism as such being an example of the latter rather than the former.

          But, while the Christian right indeed does not seem to be of the “god is displeased and we need to burn everything to the ground” variety, a lot of it — or at least the parts that were politically influential back in the Bush days, less clear how relevant this is now I guess — is literally millenarian. Use all the natural resources because Jesus is coming back; Israel is important because of their role in the Apocalypse; etc.

          …I get the sense that this argument has probably drifted away from the point…

          • Watercressed says:

            Yeah probably. When you mentioned Israel I realized that the foreign policy of the Christian right is way higher variance than their social policy, so I guess maybe that’s more important?

            But the larger point is that very few people are actually evaluating political beliefs based on variance. Scott said upthread that he is partial to the SJ positions, but mucking with all the norms about sex could very well lead to “tiny IQ decreases that have horrible consequences on a society-wide scale”.

            The appeal to variance rings hollow to me. It feels like an isolated demand for a high level of scrutiny that matters only for this specific case.

          • Watercressed, Scott didn’t say that– he was talking about the possible effects of increased CO2 on IQ.

          • Watercressed says:

            The comment about SJ positions is here: http://slatestarcodex.com/2016/09/28/ssc-endorses-clinton-johnson-or-stein/#comment-415264

            I know Scott was talking about CO2 in the quote from the post. My objection is that he doesn’t seem nearly as concerned when it comes to the SJ positions.

    • hnau says:

      Yeah, I was disappointed to see this pot-shot in an otherwise responsible post.

      On a factual and personal level I’m most annoyed at the fundamentalism accusation, since fundamentalism has always been a small minority (assuming “fundamentalism” is something besides a loaded code-word for “serious religious belief”) and religious orthodoxy is *much* better at countering it than the Left’s anti-religious rhetoric is (think Toxoplasma).

      But on an ethical level I’m most annoyed at the xenophobia accusation, because just a few sections later Scott is painting a cultural/ethnic minority (the “Borderers”) as low-intelligence and dangerous to the country.

  15. Paul Brinkley says:

    As admirable as I find this article, I also find the point about “LOCK HER UP” suggesting a crowd that is definitively lower on the epistemic virtue scale unconvincing, in light of all the crowds I’d seen yelling “LOCK THEM UP” wrt to Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld.

    • birdboy2000 says:

      The people chanting “lock her up” don’t seem to be doing so on the basis of war crimes trials (for which I support locking up all four individuals, along with everyone else convicted by the international criminal tribunal for the American Invasion of Iraq).

      I’m not really aware of any real dispute about whether the US government committed a crime against peace with regard to Iraq, so I don’t see the relevance to epistemic virtue.

      • Protest Manager says:

        “I’m not really aware of any real dispute about whether the US government committed a crime against peace with regard to Iraq”

        Hmm, quick question: was Saddam Hussein fully in compliance with the truce agreements that halted Iraq War 1.0? No?

        Then I guess we know who committed the “crimes against peace”, now don’t we.

        Oh, and I’m really sad you weren’t living in Saddam’s Iraq. People like you deserve a police state, and all the crimes it commits against the defenseless civilians.

        • birdboy2000 says:

          And now half of Iraq is a police state that makes Saddam’s regime look positively utopian, and the other half is a “democracy” where opposition parties get banned, opposition politicians get arrested, and whoever the Americans want always wins “elections”, often because the other side boycotted.

          Saddam Hussein was a monster, and yet the US invasion and it’s aftermath (in addition to making a further mockery of international law) made Iraq a far worse place. Both statements are compatible.

        • Scott Alexander says:

          Protest Manager is (somewhat ironically) banned indefinitely for the above comment

          • Skivverus says:

            The “people like you” line, I presume? Makes sense to ban for that; again though, as with Deiseach’s case, I suggest “indefinitely” not extend all the way to “permanent”.

          • Mark says:

            Off topic: I’m hanging out for a return to posts on scientific misconduct and pharmaceutical regulation, because my god has this post turned your comments section to shit.

      • Paul Brinkley says:

        I would guess that the people chanting “lock her up” included many thinking of her attitude toward classified information. This is actually a very serious charge; lots of people lower down the power chain were summarily tried and convicted for doing less, and some of them got a lot of people hurt for doing less. I’ve heard it argued that it was all “minor stuff”, but I don’t think people would be keen on letting someone get away with reckless driving just because they happened not to hit anyone when they did it, let alone elect them for office.

        And this is just one of the accusations against her.

        I don’t endorse PM’s crack about wishing you had been in Iraq, but this comment sounds like a hypocritical selective justification of calls for someone’s head.

        • birdboy2000 says:

          To suggest no politicians should be locked up for actions undertaken in office, no matter how criminal, is to suggest that politicians should be effectively above the law – something I strongly disagree with.

          I simply think some suggested charges carry far greater moral weight than others. Nothing hypocritical about it. What Hillary did regarding e-mail data was wrong, that she’s called for Snowden’s arrest while doing it is tremendously hypocritical, and yet I don’t consider obstruction of justice or leaking “state secrets” to be on the same level as starting wars.

          • Paul Brinkley says:

            You vastly underestimate the potential damage of leaking classified information. Such leaks weaken the ability to negotiate favorable terms in everything from trade deals to peace treaties, and tip off malicious actors, state-supported, paramilitary, or otherwise, about our capabilities, which makes wars more likely.

            This isn’t typically revealed in history, since the causal chain is often not known for decades, and laying it out for the public even when it’s known could easily cause further damage. That said, there are plenty of examples from studies of 19th and 20th century wars for the studious.

          • Autolykos says:

            Such leaks weaken the ability to negotiate favorable terms in everything from trade deals to peace treaties, and tip off malicious actors, state-supported, paramilitary, or otherwise, about our capabilities, which makes wars more likely.

            One of the main causes for wars is that at least one of the sides is misinformed about the capabilities of the other. As long as both agree about their relative strength, they can reach a stable deal that reflects the actual power distribution (within the range of what a war costs them). But when they disagree, it may happen that one side believes to have the upper hand, and threatens war, while the other side disagrees, and calls the bluff. War ensues.
            Wars can still happen with perfect information (for example when current technology favors the attacker, or when the conflict is about something indivisible), but it removes many of the more common reasons for failed negotiations.

          • Deiseach says:

            “It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged today” – Chesterton

        • Earthly Knight says:

          This is actually a very serious charge; lots of people lower down the power chain were summarily tried and convicted for doing less, and some of them got a lot of people hurt for doing less.

          The FBI director (previously a registered republican) strongly disagrees:

          “Mary or Joe, if they did this in the FBI, would not be prosecuted,” the FBI director said. “They’d be in big trouble, but they would not be prosecuted. That wouldn’t be fair.”

          Despite the second-guessing from Republicans, Comey said he remained convinced that prosecution wasn’t even remotely appropriate given the facts.
          “As painful as this is for people, this was not a close call,” he said. “This was done by pros in the right way.”

          And this is just one of the accusations against her.

          Do we lock people up on the basis of accusations, or do we demand that there be actual evidence?

          • bluto says:

            FBI investigation determined at least 32 classified email chains transited both the personal email account of Abedin Mills Sullivan or [redacted]. One of these e-mails was TOP SECRET/SCI at the time of transmission…

            The FBI report details more evidence than was required to earn Kristian Saucier (12 photos containing CONFIDENTIAL/RESTRICTED information) a year in prison. There should absolutely have been charges filed in both cases. Or perhaps Kristian needs to change his name to Mary or Joe.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            Wrong!

            http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/16/politics/navy-sailor-clinton-email-defense/

            “Mr. Saucier admitted that he knew when he took the pictures in 2009 that they were classified and that he did so out of the misguided desire to keep these pictures in order to one day show his family and his future children what he did while he was in the Navy,” Hogan wrote in a court filing.

            Saucier’s conduct is different from Clinton’s email controversy, even his lawyers admit. The former secretary of state has said she did not knowingly send or receive emails that were classified, while Saucier has admitted knowing his conduct was illegal.

          • John Schilling says:

            The former secretary of state has said she did not knowingly send or receive emails that were classified, while Saucier has admitted knowing his conduct was illegal.

            So either Saucier is honest while Hillary is a liar, or Hillary has demonstrated a level of ignorance that makes Trump and Johnson look like polymathic scholars.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            I agree that Clinton’s handling of classified materials was some combination of grossly irresponsible and grossly incompetent. But the question we were addressing was whether Clinton was being held to a different standard than Mary or Joe, and you certainly can’t show that there’s a double standard by pointing to a case where someone confessed to intentionally breaking the law.

          • Anonymous says:

            Do we lock people up on the basis of accusations, or do we demand that there be actual evidence?

            I’m given to understand that we rather frequently lock people up on the basis of accusations. Seems like the social tide runs toward removing barriers to that, too, especially in the case of sex crimes.

            Oh, but maybe you meant to ask if we find it morally disgusting? Much less so in the case of Clinton than any other, I assure you, since she is and has been complicit in degrading the system. In her case it would merely be poetic justice; a spice of irony on top of a well-deserved incarceration.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            Really? Clinton has advocated imprisoning people on the basis of mere allegations? Where?

      • ThirteenthLetter says:

        The people chanting “lock her up” don’t seem to be doing so on the basis of war crimes trials

        That’s just making excuses. It’s okay for one ignorant mob to chant “lock him up” but it’s not okay for the other ignorant mob to chant “lock her up”? Do you really think that the folks marching with giant bleeding papier-mache heads of Dick Cheney had been thoughtfully poring through volumes of international law the night before the parade, trying to determine if the war was legal or not? Were they one iota less a bunch of random thoughtless folks caught up in the excitement than the attendees at a Trump rally?

        (for which I support locking up all four individuals, along with everyone else convicted by the international criminal tribunal for the American Invasion of Iraq).

        And what international criminal tribunal would this be?

        I’m not really aware of any real dispute about whether the US government committed a crime against peace with regard to Iraq

        You may wish to rethink that statement, as are you freaking kidding of course there is a real dispute on that point, have you been in a cave for the past sixteen years?!! A quick spin around the conservative blogosphere and publications, and you can find innumerable right-wingers who will still defend the Iraq War for various reasons. And even those who agree it was a mistake will most likely violently dispute claims that it was a “crime against peace,” whatever that means.

      • RCF says:

        “I’m not really aware of any real dispute about whether the US government committed a crime against peace with regard to Iraq”

        Given that “crime against peace” has no factual content but rather simply expresses the speaker’s disapproval of the behavior, I don’t see what dispute you expect there to be.

    • Civilis says:

      While I don’t like people screaming “lock her up”, there’s the fact that Republican politicians actually get locked up as a means of knocking them out of political races or otherwise causing them political harm.

      Take Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska. He was subjected to a federal corruption trial, found guilty eight days before the election, then lost the election. Afterwards, the conviction was vacated for “gross prosecutorial misconduct”. Also, incidentally, Republicans as well as Democrats called for his resignation (including Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin, then running for president), a far cry from the ‘you can’t prove anything happened, and I’ll stall until everyone forgets’ we often get from Democrats when a Democratic politician is in a scandal.

      Then there’s the Wisconsin John Doe investigations, carried out against supporters of a Republican collective bargaining bill (http://www.nationalreview.com/article/417155/wisonsins-shame-i-thought-it-was-home-invasion-david-french). There was a gag order put in place preventing the people raided from discussing the case, but somehow information from the Democratic prosecutor was leaked to the media, allowing them to frame the story.

      As someone with Republican policy leanings ‘Trump might do what Democrats currently get away with doing’ isn’t a reason to vote against Trump. The barn door has been opened. The genie is out of the bottle.

      • ThirteenthLetter says:

        Add Rick Perry to that list. And Tom DeLay.

        • Jill says:

          So are all GOPers as innocent as the driven snow, while all Dems are guilty until proven innocent, of anything any Right Winger decides to accuse them of?

          • Doctor Mist says:

            So are all GOPers as innocent as the driven snow

            No, of course not. But these were. Did anybody make any stronger claim?

          • ThirteenthLetter says:

            I certainly didn’t. The topic was: are GOPers sometimes the targets of dishonest politically motivated prosecutions? And the answer is yes — indeed, more than one of the highest-profile politicians running for President have been targeted, in this election cycle alone. (Walker and Perry.) Jill, do you dispute that?

  16. Rusty says:

    I feel some balance is needed here and I am well placed to provide it. When Obama came to the UK and asked us all to vote Remain he annoyed enough people to result in Brexit. (I know this to be true because, well, stuff)

    So to sabotage Scott’s completely persuasive article all I need to do is this:

    People of America! We British implore you: ‘Vote Clinton. Not Trump. Trump’s an idiot.’

    Sorry everyone – good luck with your new president.

    • I never understood this. Why would Obama’s comments annoy anyone, let alone someone who would otherwise have voted Remain?

      • Homo Iracundus says:

        You enjoy having smug upstart foreigners tell you how to vote in a national referendum?

        • erenold says:

          The all-time Smug Foreigners with Zero Actual Knowledge of Anything Award, as awarded by myself, goes to this endorsement of Grace Poe in the recent Philippine presidential election, by the Economist.

          http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21697850-danger-personality-driven-politics-fatal-distraction

          Read it and tell me if you believe that the author(s) have the slightest personal knowledge of any of the concerns that ordinary Filipino voters might have, ever even stepped into the Philippines, or have any general understanding of any of the issues in that election besides the fact that Mr. Duterte once made some off-colour remarks about something sometime somewhere.

          I’d be pretty fecking annoyed if I was Filipino.

        • Foreigners aren’t allowed to have opinions?

          • ThirteenthLetter says:

            As it is so charmingly put these days, your having an opinion doesn’t protect you from the consequences of having that opinion.

            Go right ahead and tell Americans what stupid slack-jawed yokels they are for letting Trump get this far. A bunch of them will figure out ways to vote for him twice just to spite you.

      • TheAncientGeek says:

        Have you never met a USian who is annoyed at being told what to do by “Eurotrash”?

        • pku says:

          Yeah, but they’re all (at least, all the ones I’ve met) already far-right and wouldn’t vote the left side of any issue in a million years.

          • Pan Narrans says:

            Brexit was more right than left but it doesn’t split that neatly. It got quite a lot of votes from Labour heartlands. It’s the anti-elitist thing again. If your heart says Leave but your head says Remain, you might decide to give your heart the casting vote when someone who is richer, cooler, famouser and Americaner than you comes along to explain why your heart is wrong.

            That being said, a lot of Brits like Obama and I wouldn’t be surprised if he also decided a fair few for Remain. The real problem for the Remain camp is, of course, that they decided to stomp around social media declaring that anyone who even considered voting Leave was a stupid racist. This won about as many hearts and minds as you’d expect.

          • pku says:

            To clarify, I was referring to americans who use the term eurotrash.

            Obama’s charismatic and well-liked enough that I doubt he alienated a lot of people – and the sort of people who’d be alienated by him were probably so because they hate foreign intervention in British affairs, so they were probably already pro-brexit anyways. But I’m not British, and may be overestimating how liked he is there.

        • No, but I don’t live in the US.

          I don’t recall ever talking to anyone from New Zealand who was upset because foreigners were expressing opinions on our politics, but I suppose I don’t get out much here either.

          • ThirteenthLetter says:

            How often does that happen, and how hostile/contemptuous are the opinions when it does?

            It’s certainly not just a US thing. Folks like Orban in Hungary make bank on resentment against Foreigners Telling Us What To Do.

          • I doubt that Obama presented his opinions on Brexit in a hostile or contemptuous way. I may be wrong. The Trump situation is rather different, but that’s not what I was talking about.

          • The original Mr. X says:

            Obama’s comment about how an extra-EU Britain would have to wait “at the back of the queue” for a trade deal was widely seen as contemptuous, IIRC — a kind of “Oh, your country is so small and puny, nobody’s going to pay attention to your insignificant island” attitude.

          • Perhaps, but I don’t see why. Where should Britain be waiting, if not at the back of the queue? (I should think the British of all people would understand that!)

          • John Schilling says:

            There shouldn’t be a queue – the United States has more diplomats than the world has nations; we can negotiate trade agreements with everyone in parallel. The obvious implication of “back of the queue” is that, even though we could start negotiating a trade agreement with a Brexited UK immediately and, based on our common interests and good working relationship, have it in place rather quickly, Obama would chose to stonewall.

          • Hmmm. I’d have thought the politicians, not the diplomats, would be the bottleneck, but I’ll take your word for it. But even if the “queue” is only metaphorical, how quickly could a deal really be made? In my experience, such as it is, trade deals are always a slow process.

            Obama would chose to stonewall

            Seems to me that this would be a bit of an empty threat, given the timing.

            … but regardless of whether this interpretation really holds water or not, I can see why some people might take it that way, perhaps even some who were otherwise well-disposed to Obama and/or planning to vote Remain. So your point is made.

      • The original Mr. X says:

        Why would Obama’s comments annoy anyone, let alone someone who would otherwise have voted Remain?

        Because people don’t like foreigners lecturing them on how to run their own country?

        It’s not as if this sort of reaction was unprecedented. A similar thing happened back in 2004:

        In August 2004, for the US presidential election, the daily G2 supplement launched an experimental letter-writing campaign in Clark County, Ohio, an average-sized county in a swing state. The editor of the G2 supplement Ian Katz bought a voter list from the county for $25 and asked readers to write to people listed as undecided in the election, giving them an impression of the international view and the importance of voting against President George W. Bush. The paper scrapped “Operation Clark County” on 21 October 2004 after first publishing a column of responses—nearly all of them outraged—to the campaign under the headline “Dear Limey assholes.”[75] The public’s dislike of the campaign likely contributed to Bush’s victory in Clark County.[76]

        • Because people don’t like foreigners lecturing them on how to run their own country?

          Apparently so. I just find myself unable to imagine why. (But then again I’ve never been very good at that game.)

          It isn’t even as if Obama didn’t have a legitimate interest in the outcome, which will certainly affect both the US government and US businesses. It’s perfectly acceptable, of course, for a British voter to decide to consider only the interests of Britain rather than those of the world as a whole, but it should be equally OK to ask that voter to consider the bigger picture. Not to demand, mind you, but to ask.

          I did finally remember a perhaps relevant example from my part of the world, a United Nations ruling on legislation intended to correct previous legislation that had unintentionally given certain Maori tribes a claim for ownership over parts of the foreshore and seabed. (With a few grandfathered exceptions, such ownership is otherwise prohibited.)

          And yes, I remember being a bit cross about it, but so far as I can tell that’s entirely because at the time I thought they were wrong [1]. Everyone who agreed with them was perfectly happy as far as I know – nobody was saying “well, yes, I was opposed to the legislation, but if those horrible foreigners oppose it too I’ll have to change my mind”, or at least not very loudly.

          [1] For the record, based on the item I’ve linked to, the report was in fact much more reasonable than one would think from what was presented in the media at the time. I hate to think how parts of the British media may have presented Obama’s comments.

    • Richard says:

      Since we’re weighing in as filthy foreigners, I’ll up that one level, but in the other direction:

      * When travelling in the US, I see zero evidence of racism
      * The Democratic party is telling black people that all their trouble is because of racism
      * Since it’s not, this results only in a lot of futile anger at the “racists”
      * (it also discourages attempts to figuring out what is really the problem, but that’s a side issue)
      * Eight more years of unchecked political correctness carries a significant risk of full on race-war
      * A United States bogged down with civil war will not be able to project sufficient conventional military power to curb Putin
      * Given the pitiful state of Europes conventional forces, we will have to go Nuclear to stop him
      * Therefore: A vote for Hillary is a vote increasing existential risk!

      (I’m only semi-trolling here, PC resulting in significant racial unrest seems realistic at least.)

      • Rusty says:

        I can’t see it resulting in racial unrest myself but the following is at least somewhat plausible:

        * real, pervasive racism caused the introduction of anti discrimination laws in the field of hiring and firing workers (this is in the UK, not sure about the US)
        * discrimination in society is now way, way less – few people want to discriminate racially in their hiring practices
        * if you are found to have racially discriminated when you fire someone you can be sued for an unlimited amount (and its balance of probabilities to decide if you discriminated or not which is a pretty low bar)
        *did I say unlimited? I did indeed.
        * fear of being sued for discrimination when you dismiss someone leads some businesses (especially small business) to avoid hiring people who might bankrupt them with an anti discrimination lawsuit
        * its true they could be sued for discrimination on failing to hire in the first place, but that is really tough to prove even on balance of probabilities
        * so anti discrimination laws lead directly to discrimination

        So could the UK change these laws if it wanted to? No sure. Who knows what conventions and treaties apply. Until quite recently the UK was quite happy contracting out its political process . . .

        • Richard says:

          I will contend that the racial unrest is already happening in the form of BLM and that electing a president who promises to fan the flames is not going to improve matters.

          If I voted in the US, this issue would outweigh all my other concerns due to it’s immediacy.

        • The original Mr. X says:

          So could the UK change these laws if it wanted to? No sure. Who knows what conventions and treaties apply.

          I’m not aware of any treaties requiring anti-discrimination legislation. Politically speaking, though, repealing such laws would be so easy to frame as “Evil Tories want to bring Jim Crow to the UK!!!1!” that I don’t see them being repealed any time soon.

      • pku says:

        When travelling in the US, I see zero evidence of racism

        But you probably wouldn’t, either way – the claim is that racism is often invisible even to white americans, taking the form of biased police/judicial prosecution and other hazards such as environmental toxins (see Flint). I’m not sure to what degree these claims are backed up, but they are plausible, in the sense that I can easily imagine a world in which they’re true that would look, to me, pretty much like the one I live in. And if they are, you definitely wouldn’t see the evidence just traveling through.

        • Richard says:

          On the other hand, I see many and frequent examples of people actually judging their fellow man by the content of their character and not the colour of their skin.

          Absence of evidence is evidence of absence especially when accompanied by evidence for the alternate hypothesis.

          • pku says:

            That’s not the alternative hypothesis. This is like someone saying “there’s a river in that valley, but it’s shallow and you might not see it just casually riding by”, and you responding with “I haven’t seen the river but I saw a bunch of dry land, the river probably isn’t there.” I mean sure, the original person may or may not have been lying about the river, but that’s hardly conclusive evidence.

    • akarlin says:

      Another way in which Brexit is relevant is that when the plebs voted the wrong way, the predicted (threatened) economic apocalypse didn’t happen and the self-appointed “expert” class were once again shown to be Intellectuals Yet Idiots.

      • Almoturg says:

        The UK hasn’t left the EU yet (the process hasn’t even started). So it’s a bit early to talk about the economic impact.

        • ThirteenthLetter says:

          Literally a day after Exit won, the Remainers were on social media shrieking about how the drop in the stock market which took place was Great Depression 2.0 and those evil racists had destroyed everyone’s retirement savings. Saying “well, no, it’s too early, we have to wait and see what the real results are” would have been more useful to say to the Remainers back then.

          • Almoturg says:

            Most people expected article 50 to be triggered almost immediately, not this kind of extended limbo.

          • pku says:

            Actual economists (e.g. Krugman) were pretty openly skeptical about that.

          • ThirteenthLetter says:

            Maybe the actual economists should have spoken up a bit more loudly.

          • pku says:

            here.

            That said, I’m sure some economists said the opposite and, due to media sensationalism bias, got disproportionately heard. Due to this bias I can’t tell if easily Krugman was a lone voice of reason here or represented the majority opinion.

        • The original Mr. X says:

          Lots of the predictions I read talked about a downturn “in the event of a Leave vote”, not “two years or more after a Leave vote, when the UK has actually left the Union”.

          • My brother-in-law lost quite a bit of money due to the drop in the exchange rate as a result of the vote. I also gather that there’s a fair number of people who have lost money because of a fall in house prices, and that job openings are down. So I’d say predictions of a downturn (as opposed to a catastrophe) after the vote were correct.

          • The original Mr. X says:

            The exchange rate fell, but not nearly as much as people were predicting. I don’t know what your sources are for house prices and jobs, but none of the statistics I’ve seen indicate a noticeable change from the pre-vote situation.

          • I stand corrected. Looks like only some parts of the job market were affected, and perhaps not all that strongly.

            See here and here but cf here.

            I still think it’s too early to celebrate.

      • Autolykos says:

        While I don’t actually expect the Brexit to cause a complete economic apocalypse (isolationism tends to cause slow decay, not rapid meltdown), the result isn’t in because the Brexit hasn’t happened yet. Only the referendum has.
        (EDIT: Ninja’d)

      • TomFL says:

        The Trumpocalypse is a bit overwrought. It’s amusing that Scot doesn’t make the connection between a consistent series of theories that being against the left results in the end of the world. Brexit, Climate Change, Trump. There is almost zero pushback on these theories, you can literally write ANYTHING on these subjects and not expect to be rebuked by the media or the left.

    • Deiseach says:

      “The Guardian” tried that in 2004 with a letter-writing campaign asking people in Ohio (a swing state?) not to vote for Bush 🙂

      Why would Obama’s comments annoy anyone, let alone someone who would otherwise have voted Remain?

      Part of the rationale for the referendum was “Do you want foreign politicians telling you what to do in your own national affairs?” so you can see why some “undecided” might have been influenced 🙂

      • Good point. Seems to me there’s an important distinction between asking and/or advising (Obama) and telling (EU court rulings and whatever) but I suppose I can understand how they could become confused.

        • If I remember correctly, part of Obama’s “asking and/or advising” was a pretty clear threat that the U.S. would be reluctant to make trade treaties with the U.K. after it pulled out of the E.U.

          • Oh right, the “back of the line” bit. I believe that was on a different occasion, but I guess it’s still relevant.

            (I’d interpret it as saying only that the UK wouldn’t get special treatment, and since trade treaties tend be a slow process, they would need to expect to lose out in the interim. Not so much a threat as an observation, albeit a rather pointed one.)

  17. Leonard says:

    Hillary represents complete safety from millennialism.

    Hillary will get at least one Supreme Court pick, and probably several. As such, her effect is not limited to the four years of her reign. (Or eight, maybe, if she’s not as sick as she appears.) Outside of the Court, I agree with you. She’s the conservative choice.

    But her Court will rule for the next thirty years. Her Court will be hard left compared to any court before it. By contrast, President Trump will appoint much safer Justices.

    • nimim. k.m. says:

      >But her Court will rule for the next thirty years. Her Court will be hard left compared to any court before it. By contrast, President Trump will appoint much safer Justices.

      What makes you believe that? I’m not very convinced that Trump will choose respectable conservative justices who believe in the spirit of the constitution and Bill of Rights and whatnot over “this person will probably make SOC more likely to vote in favor of things Trump is favor of”.

      • Sandy says:

        Trump has already produced a list of Supreme Court nominees, largely drawn up by the Heritage Foundation. They’re all accomplished conservatives, albeit unremarkable choices.

        • Nathan says:

          The question is, is there any reason to expect Trump to stick to something he has previously said?

          • Sandy says:

            There’s no reason to expect either of them to stick to anything they’ve said. But I know what kind of judges Hillary would like to nominate, and I know what kind of judges the Republican Party will let Trump nominate. The latter group is vastly more preferable as far as I’m concerned.

          • LHN says:

            Trump has thus far been relatively unrestrained by what the Republican Party “lets” him do. I’m dubious about Congressional Republicans Borking a Trump nominee they aren’t happy with, given how much they’ve rolled over for him thus far.

          • Sandy says:

            Really? Because I doubt Mike Pence was Trump’s idea.

          • cassander says:

            >Trump has thus far been relatively unrestrained by what the Republican Party “lets” him do

            Trump doesn’t need the party to get elected. He does need them to pass legislation and nominate justices.

          • LHN says:

            I think the arc of Cruz’s position re Trump is pretty emblematic to what can be counted on as far as Republican resistance to a president of their party in the Senate. (Especially re Court nominees, where there’s a tradition of deference give or take a Harriet Miers.)

            If he names someone not on the list, they’ll grumble and drag their feet, and express shock that he’s going back on something he said. (Who could have imagined?) And then they’ll do what he wants for fear of being primaried later if they don’t.

          • cassander says:

            @LHN

            >I think the arc of Cruz’s position re Trump is pretty emblematic to what can be counted on as far as Republican resistance to a president of their party in the Senate.

            Cruz needs trump to beat Hillary. Once trump is in office, the incentive to cooperate vanishes.

            >If he names someone not on the list, they’ll grumble and drag their feet, and express shock that he’s going back on something he said. (Who could have imagined?) And then they’ll do what he wants for fear of being primaried later if they don’t.

            Why would they do this for trump and someone when they didn’t do it for Bush and Meyers?

    • pku says:

      Hillary will get at least one Supreme Court pick, and probably several.

      Unless the republicans in senate go “ah, screw it, we’ve already blocked judicial appointments for one year, we might as well go another four”.

    • Corey says:

      I’m somewhat skeptical that any Supreme Court nominee at all could get through any plausible Senate of the next several years. Even if the filibuster is eliminated, there are probably other parliamentary maneuvers that can and would be deployed (though it may require shutting down the whole thing).

    • Eccdogg says:

      Yeah this is the thing that really bothers me about Hillary. The Supreme Court has the ability to change a lot of things over a long period of time.

      I am a Johnson voter, but live in NC. I am not sure I buy the vote the lesser of two evils argument right now. Even in NC I dont’ think my odds of being the pivotal vote are high enough to not vote my conscience.

      But if I changed my mind on that, the thing I have a hard time weighing is the supreme court vs Trump tail risk. I am pretty sure what we will get from a Clinton presidency and court, but I can’t really put a reasonable downside estimate on Trump.

      I can’t get my arms around what is the likely distribution of outcomes under Trump.

    • Anonymouse says:

      Every president gets about 2 supreme court picks. This election isn’t special in that regard.

      • Doctor Mist says:

        @Anonymouse

        Hmm, dunno.

        We have one vacancy already. The three oldest justices (Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kennedy) are at least 78 years old; for comparison, Scalia and Rehnquist were 80 and 81 respectively when they died. Ginsburg and Breyer, and maybe even Kennedy, would probably feel comfortable retiring under Clinton’s watch, and Thomas (at 68) could always have a heart attack. So it’s not hard to imagine Clinton getting to make three or even four appointments.

        In contrast, it’s also easy to imagine the three oldest hanging on to avoid being replaced by Trump, and Thomas is young enough he probably wouldn’t see a Trump presidency as a window of opportunity for retirement. Best guess is that Trump would get one, maybe two appointments.

        This assumes that both Clinton and Trump are one-term material, which I’m sure we all hope. If the next Presidency stretches to eight years the Supreme Court may be the least of our worries.

        [You’re right that 2 is the median number of Supreme Court appointees; the average is 2.6 but that’s skewed by Washington with 10 and FDR with 9, counting the elevation of Stone to Chief Justice. (And they say he didn’t manage to pack the court!)

        [I was surprised to learn that only four had no appointees: W H Harrison and Taylor, who died early in their terms; Andrew Johnson, who was universally despised; and Carter (!), who I think just had bad luck in his timing.]

  18. a non mous(e) says:

    You say this:

    And since then, one of the central principles behind my philosophy has been “Don’t destroy all existing systems and hope a planet-sized ghost makes everything work out”. Systems are hard. Institutions are hard. If your goal is to replace the current systems with better ones, then destroying the current system is 1% of the work, and building the better ones is 99% of it.

    and your conclusion is “vote anyone but Trump”?

    Trump basically has one policy – stop importing terrorists and parents of terrorists and stop importing third world workers.

    It’s as far from insanely apocalyptic as is possible. The “mainstream” has all agreed to never discuss how amazingly insane it is to continue the status quo of importing low IQ Democratic voters from South American (and Africa) and people who have a terrorist attack rate of about 4000% higher (yes, that’s the real number (from before the most recent NYC bombings – so it’s higher now (by a lot))).

    But don’t worry – once you’ve started down the road towards millennarian insanity it’s actually millennarian to propose stopping! Circle squared.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      Can you explain why terrorism is interesting given the miniscule death toll from terrorist attacks compared to everything else?

      • E. Harding says:

        Terrorism helps the government destroy your civil liberties and generally reduces quality of life.

        Are police shootings of innocent young Black men interesting given the minuscule death toll from them compared to everything else?

      • a non mous(e) says:

        Death tolls are minuscule is supposed to be a reason not to oppose increasing them?

        A tiny number of muslims are in this country. They disproportionately do things like fly planes into office buildings and leave bombs in dumpsters near where I live. I’d rather not wait until this is a huge personal risk to reverse this. I’d like to reverse this while my personal risk is still quite small.

      • Charles-Louis de Secondat says:

        Scott: “C’mon, Archduke Ferdinand was just one dude.”

        Terrorist attacks destroy faith in institutions to solve problems, lowering social trust, economics damage, overreactions in legal systems, providing spurious casus belli. They provoke governments to act, and given the relative increase in size and network effects in the modern era, this is a huge problem.

        • Saint Fiasco says:

          It’s admittedly easy for me to say that but couldn’t you guys just, like, not be provoked?

          • Winfried says:

            When you try that, you get replaced by people who promise to do something about it.

            Your options are to actually do something or to cover it up/downplay it.

          • ThirteenthLetter says:

            Do they not have human beings where you’re from? Humans usually get upset and react strongly when they are attacked.

          • Saint Fiasco says:

            @ThirteenthLetter

            Where I’m from we have a really shitty terrorist group that recently became more active than usual.

            The amount of people casually advocating for a return to fascism on social networks has not increased. The same people who have been saying we should go back to being a police state (because someone they know got mugged in the street, or whatever) are now saying we should go back to being a police state because of terrorism.

            The positions are the same, just the excuses are different. Do you see? Terrorists have nothing to do with it. The low social trust and lack of faith in institutions was inside them all along!

          • ThirteenthLetter says:

            And if your shitty terrorist group kills more people and the government keeps not stopping them, everyone in your utopian land will just relax and keep shopping as the bombs go off around them? Or will they start to get angry and demand sterner measures?

          • Saint Fiasco says:

            We do have a lot of this sort of thing going on, only instead of being about ISIS it is about thieves, muggers, corrupt politicians, windshield cleaners, panhandlers and so on.

            Terrorism barely registers, though I do admit our terrorists are very pathetic.

            Altogether, we still have weaker civil liberties than the US because old habits die hard, but people are now very cynical about surrendering to a strong leader out of fear. Most old people are all “been there, done that, almost got disappeared” and the young people think they are immortal and don’t need no rules.

            On reflection, I think what keeps people sane (re: our local terrorists) is that they are local. If they were foreigners maybe people would freak out a lot more. Then again our last dictator used that trick and it didn’t turn out very well for the people, so hopefully the people will from now on be wary of that.

          • LPSP says:

            If you could say that about America in its response to terrorism, you could say that to grieving parents in the aftermath of their child’s murderer gloating on air. It’s just inhuman to expect less than vengefulness against those who merrily commit grave wrongs against you and yours.

          • Saint Fiasco says:

            If my friend wanted to chase the killer of his family, Liam Neeson style, I would try to stop him. It would be irresponsible not to.

            But if he wanted to buy an alarm system and build tall walls around his house, I suppose I wouldn’t blame him.

          • LPSP says:

            If you were to equate a feeling of anger, injustice and vengefulness with a lone man rampaging against an entire organisation, I’d advise you against making metaphors in the future. Nevermind that if you asked anyone about the odds of a major terrorist attack on September 10 2001, they’d have probably answered “low” and would’ve predicted a train blowing up or something. And, of course, the signal that erected a wall and security system sends to the trangressor – “we’re afraid of you”, as opposed to “you will be punished”.

          • Saint Fiasco says:

            But you were the one who started that metaphor of the vengeful parents.

            Anyway, don’t you think Trump’s policies are closer to the gu