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Open Thread 62.75

This is the twice-weekly hidden open thread. Post about anything you want, ask random questions, whatever. Also:

Good news, everybody! Thanks to 75thTrombone, the ‘Report Comment’ option is back at the bottom right of every comment. Please resume snitching on each other.

To make it easier to use, I’ve restored the old comment policy, although I continue to reserve the right to occasionally ban people who I think are bad in ways that don’t technically violate any rules. Note that I’ve only done this once in the whole history of this blog.

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1,586 Responses to Open Thread 62.75

  1. Moon says:

    Ann Coulter’s linking to the Wolf post reminded me of a previous post of Scott’s.

    Some people here have read a lot of Scott’s posts and remember which ones are where, better than I do.

    Can someone tell me which post it was where he put a quote in a separate paragraph, separated from the rest of the text. Basically, it said that Scott takes a cool objective rational look at research support, or lack of it– for awful political ideas or movements.

    Scott responded to the quote, immediately below it, saying “Yes, that is precisely what I do” or something to that effect.

    Anyone remember the title of that post? Thanks.

    • FacelessCraven says:

      it sounded like the SSC Testimonials post, but I went and checked that one and couldn’t find a match. Sorry.

      • rlms says:

        I think we found it was In Favour Of Niceness, Community And Civilisation (the relevant part is section IV).

  2. Moon says:

    There’s something sad about the Wolf post, in our sad country right now. It’s like, as someone else guessed somewhere else in this thread, like Scott was bitten by a rabid SJW as a child. Maybe he grew up in San Fran, where there are many SJWs– as opposed to most other places where even progressives do not even know what a SJW is, like I didn’t before I came to this web site.

    And it’s as if Scott is telling some place like Vox.com “Please help me and others to heal from SJW bites we have experienced. Please, Vox, let go of your weird habit of going off the deep end with respect to identity politics, and help us to heal, so we can join you in the Blue Tribe.”

    But Vox can’t do that. Media is under threat and “news media” and investigative journalism have all but disappeared, in favor of infotainment. Those few serious news organizations that exist– and Vox is one of them– are incredibly rigid and non-responsive.

    Heavily stressed people and organizations tend to be that way. They just keep rigidly going along, on their narrow path. And Trump’s election certainly won’t improve that, as it will make new organizations become even more stressed.

    There is a reason why Vox does not allow comments to its articles. They don’t want any responses. They feel obligated to go through the motions of responding to some of Scott’s criticisms, because Scott has so many readers clicking on his web site. But that doesn’t go very deep.

    Most humans don’t respond thoughtfully to rational arguments anyway. Most humans prefer fake news, news that is full of falsehoods but that causes them to feel good righteous feelings and tribal superiority feelings. But news organizations are even worse at responding thoughtfully to rationality than your average human is.

  3. Deiseach says:

    Right, I’ve seen some discussion of the EM drive on here and the general consensus, if I remember rightly, was “unproven” at best and “not a chance” otherwise.

    So what is going on here?

    Music news: Kate Bush will be releasing a live album of her 2014 concert series. Pre-order now!

    • Fossegrimen says:

      I’ve been rooting for De Broglie-Bohm for a decade, so I count it as one point for the team 🙂

    • keranih says:

      So what is going on here?

      2016, man. Just…2016.

    • John Schilling says:

      They are still getting less than a hundred micronewtons of measured thrust, measured using a thrust stand with a nominal precision of about ten micronewtons. But, having wrestled with that exact model of thrust stand for several years, you only get the ten-micronewton precision if you are an expert with years of experience using that thrust stand. If you just use it out of the box, hundred-micronewton errors are quite plausible. And nowhere in their writings does the Eagleworks crew convince me they understand the problems they need to address to get the accuracy they are claiming.

      Really, this calls for independent replication, not more papers by the same guys. So far, the only really credible replication attempt I have seen is Martin Tajmar’s, and his results were ambiguous – though often misleadingly cited in the popular press as “proof that the EMdrive works”. Mostly, he proved that he needed a better experimental facility to unambiguously prove that the EMdrive works as advertised, or doesn’t, and put some quantitative details on “better experimental facility”.

      There’s a proposal to actually fly the thing and see, which would be helpful (though I expect somebody to present a null result as “it works!” due to neglecting or miscalculating some of the orbital perturbations). Alternately, if an 80-watt EMdrive produces results that are on the edge of significance on standard micropropulsion thrust stands, could someone please maybe build an 800-watt version?

    • hlynkacg says:

      Having looked at the schematics that were posted a while back, I’m still fairly confident that the effect is primarily magnetic and that all these guys talking about “quantum momentum” are talking out their asses.

      Then again, it would be kind of cool to be proven wrong.

  4. Wander says:

    As someone who likes normal folk music and sea shanties, does anyone have any advice on getting into filk? I see it mentioned a lot round these parts of the internet, but I’m not sure what the starting points are exactly. It seems to match a lot of old American labourer folk than any other genre, that about right?

    • I think of filk as part of science fiction fandom.

    • Trofim_Lysenko says:

      “Get Into” in the sense of produce and participate in? That would probably be going to cons with various filking events. There are also some filk-specific cons, but I only know of the one that produced an award.

      Or are you looking for song and artist recommendations? My taste admittedly runs much more to the parody/comedy Filks over the “serious” ones, but that said:

      Alexander James Adams is a good place to start

      Tom Smith is also quite good.

    • Glen Raphael says:

      The most common entry point is to attend a sci-fi or gaming convention that has a music track with a filk component, drop by the filk room, and get hooked. There also exist filk-specific conventions that are /just/ about the music.

      If you go to such a thing, the most common feature is an “open filk” room where people gather in a circle with instruments and play/sing songs. It’s a participatory scene – people go to sing along, to add instrumental bits, to appreciate the cleverness/humor (and sometimes musicianship) of others, to try out new material, and just generally enjoy music together. You will also find “concert” slots featuring particular performers and if you want to listen more at home there’s a table somewhere selling CDs. Also many of the people you meet in circle will have CDs and a bandcamp site somewhere (eg, here’s mine).

      There are also housefilks – song circles run by specific people here and there independent of the larger gatherings.

      Filk started out as folk music performed at scifi gatherings. So it shares some musical sensibilities with folk, including the characteristic that it’s mostly about sharing music in a group and following the “folk process”, with people making songs their own and adding new ideas over time.

      Here is a collection of filk conventions.

      Here are some resources on housefilks – filk events held in people’s homes.

  5. nimim.k.m. says:

    Let’s discuss some other politics that are not Donald J. Trump:

    Nobody seemed to notice that House of Lords passed Investigatory Powers Bill with barely any resistance.

    Perhaps the most controversial measure will require internet service providers to keep detailed information on their customers’ web browsing for the last year. There will be no way of opting out of that and the data will be collected on everyone, leading to fears that it could be stolen and leaked, especially given the huge scale of the Talk Talk hack earlier this year.

    • Dabbler says:

      My first impressions of this is that there’s nothing that can be done. No amount of politics is going to stop governments doing these things.

      • Mark V Anderson says:

        Dabbler, I hope I never get that cynical.

        This is a terrible thing. My computer won’t let me go to that link for some reason, but does it really mean anything when the House of Lords passes a law? I thought the House of Commons was the important body. Tell me when this is an actual law in Britain, and then I’ll stay out of that country.

        • phisheep says:

          It’s already passed the Commons, now just awaiting Royal Assent.

        • rlms says:

          The House of Commons (being elected) have the power to actually make laws, but they have to also be formally passed by the House of Lords (and the monarch). The House of Lords can delay and attempt to amend bills, but can’t permanently reject them. The Queen has to rubber stamp whatever is put in front of her.

          • John Schilling says:

            The Queen has to rubber stamp whatever is put in front of her

            In roughly the same sense that the Electoral College has to elect Donald Trump next month. But, yes, it’s certainly the safe bet that it will happen that way (in both cases).

  6. Moon says:

    I find myself wondering if and when big corporations that benefit from illegal immigrant labor are going to try to make a deal with Trump to let them stay. After all, almost everything that happens politically in the U.S. is because mega-corporations want it that way, and illegal immigration is no different. They don’t mind the GOP using anti-immigrant sentiment as a tool to get votes. But they have always kept the GOP from doing anything about illegal immigration and one would think they will always try to keep them from doing anything.

    These people are not here because someone felt compassion for them. Corporations are glad to pay these folks substandard wages, keep them in substandard housing, and work them in substandard illegal working conditions. If they object, they tell them “You’re here illegally, so there’s nothing you can do about it.”

    Time will tell.

    • CatCube says:

      You’ve hit on one of the central things that resulted in Trump’s rise: the perception that the GOP party apparatus would talk a good game about illegal immigration, but roll over and show its belly to the Democrats when push came to shove. Trump campaigned hard on doing something about it for realsies, and had a little more credibility because he wasn’t perceived as being beholden to the system that only talked about something the base wanted real action on.

      You’re absolutely correct that Trump won’t actually do anything about it, either. This nonsense about building a wall is stupid. Defending a border that long against small-scale smuggling is nearly impossible to do at any sort of reasonable cost. (Here, I’m using “small-scale” to refer to the volume of smuggling against things that need real transport corridors, which are regular commerce or an actual military invasion, which doesn’t require defending literally the entire border.) Similarly, a huge attempted deportation round-up will be expensive, and likely relatively ineffective.

      The only way to avoid it is to get people to self-deport, i.e., hammer employers. Is a restaurant employing illegal workers? $5000 fine per, and if it’s a franchise, divide the fine 50/50 between the franchising corporation and the franchisee. Illegal workers on a construction site? $5000 fine per, and divide it 50/25/25 between the Owner, Prime, and subcontractor. Franchisors and owners will be real enthusiastic about making sure their franchisees and contractors are in compliance, instead of pulling a Sergeant Schultz.

      • keranih says:

        Drying up the well of “unauthorized” sources of income is, imo, the most humane way of countering the immigration issue. As the jobs begin to dry up and people stop moving in and start moving out (as happens “naturally” when the economy tanks) individuals will be able to assess their own situations and move with deliberation, rather than panic.

        (Note: I say all this as a supporter of “no illegals, more legals, open to a path to citizenship but you won’t like my conditions, parents of anchor babies are not citizens and can’t use that as an excuse to stay, and eh, minor children are a special case” anti-Hillary voter.)

        However – firstly, we need to make e-verify “better” or “more evenly required” – so long as part of an industry can get away with not using it, it’s a burden on the compliant part of the industry, and it’s stupid to expect people to move against their best interests.

        Secondly, we’re going to have to do something about the minim wage. So long as it’s better to hire a motivated illegal at/near minim wage than it is to hire a second-generation unemployed at the same rate, there’s going to be a market for the first. Dropping the minim wage will reduce that market (but not eliminate, not so long as the wage/living conditions differential between the USA and Central America remains as it is.

        Thirdly, and this is my least concern, but that’s probably a mistake – we’re looking at having to get the government even more deeply embedded in our employment system, to the point of eliminating all cash-under-the-table payments. (Not “making them illegal”, as they pretty much are now, but making them *gone*.) I’m…not sure I want the downsides of this.

        At any rate, any discussion of increasing entitlements/support payments or changing to GBI is going to have to wait on managing illegal immigration. The math is quite difficult with that, and impossible without.

    • Mark V Anderson says:

      I find myself wondering if and when big corporations that benefit from illegal immigrant labor are going to try to make a deal with Trump to let them stay.

      Where did you get the idea that big corporations benefit from illegal immigrant labor? No large corp would touch an illegal immigrant with a ten foot pole. Big corps are extremely allergic to breaking laws and to bad publicity, because both those things are very expensive.

      It is little tiny companies that employ illegal aliens. A few years ago I did a bunch of tax returns at a free clinic where a lot of the taxpayers were illegals. I never heard of any of the companies they worked for.

      I do agree that extreme measures against illegals are somewhat anti-business. But then Trump is not a traditional Republican. He may well have difficulties getting a lot of the extreme measures through the Republican Congress precisely because it would hurt small business.

      • Moon says:

        Agribusiness has tons of illegal immigrants picking fruits and vegetables all the time. Are you claiming that those are all small businesses?

        In most cities, lots of unskilled construction workers are picked up from some place like Home Depot parking lots every day and given labor and pay for that day only, unless they get picked the next day too. Are those all tiny construction companies also?

        • dndnrsn says:

          A lot of actual on-the-ground work for things like agribusiness, construction, etc is done by contractors and subcontractors, as far as I know. At least in part so that the large businesses have plausible deniability when it comes to things like labour standards.

          • keranih says:

            Right. If one actually talks to the people in these trades, one sees that a non-trivial fraction of the labor isn’t required, week over week and year over year, and that people’s skills are not readily presented by a certificate or the like.

            So part of the usual hiring process for work crews is “okay, I’ll take you on for a day, see what you can do.” People who integrate well into the crew and bust their hump get another day’s work. People who do this (which includes showing up on time and sober) for a couple weeks, the boss wants their phone number so he can call them when he has more work.

            We could shift to a business model where the harvest & plant workers are permanent full time hires like is done in a plant, or where one construction company has to have people who can do everything from survey through foundation prep and pouring the slab, to framing, electrical, building windows, plumbing, tile, and roofs.

            But it would raise the cost of everything, and no developed country that I know of actually has that system.

        • Mark V Anderson says:

          Agribusiness has tons of illegal immigrants picking fruits and vegetables all the time. Are you claiming that those are all small businesses?

          In most cities, lots of unskilled construction workers are picked up from some place like Home Depot parking lots every day and given labor and pay for that day only, unless they get picked the next day too. Are those all tiny construction companies also?

          Yes and yes. I don’t know this for sure, but that would be consistent with my experience. Both agriculture and construction are dominated by tiny firms (well ag less and less, but I think most farms by quantity are still small). I have not worked in either of those industries, but I can’t imagine giant ag or construction companies taking the high risk of illegal immigrants, anymore than the large firms I have worked for. When I had a firm replace my roof about 15 years ago, none of them spoke English (all Spanish speaking), and I would not have been surprised if they were illegals. It was a little firm. One anecdote about a small construction firm. It is possible that I am wrong and some large firms use illegals, but if so, it would be a small group of large corps.

  7. Dabbler says:

    I’ve found an article I’m interested in help scrutinizing.

    http://hipcrimevocab.com/2016/09/08/the-dying-americans-2/

    Does anyone here have any thoughts on it? It appears to me a mixture of some good points, powerful emotive language which, while I can see why it is written, makes me wonder if it makes me biased about parts of the article, and some things that I simply cannot endorse (e.g. attacking individualism as a system).

    • dwietzsche says:

      I think it’s pretty clear that individualism is a perverse kind of myth-making and that’s about it. It doesn’t make sense in a modern economic context at all. Are you a hermit? Do you grow your own beans? How is it that you maintain the belief that you’re a self-sufficient person (if indeed this is a belief you have)? We’re not a society of mountain men, here. Modern societies are all hopelessly interdependent. That’s what makes them efficient in the first place. Saves a lot of time when you don’t have to invent optometry from scratch just to make a subpar pair of spectacles.

      The dying thing is really not that surprising. We have a problem that’s never existed before. We’re actually already post-scarcity. But when people use that term, they mistakenly associate it with material goods, when the only unit that really matters is some hypothetical unit of human labor. Because we’re post scarcity, we have a problem that we’ve never had before in human history: we don’t know what to do with all the people that we have.

      Now that is a simplification of course. Because obviously there’s some IT firm right now that can’t find enough guys who can write in Python. But there’s a cost associated with increasing that number of people, and there’s really not a mechanism for distributing training according to some algorithm designed to maximize the labor potential of our pool of unused laborers. Anyone who thinks there is is trying to masturbate with an invisible, intangible hand. In order for a person to become sufficiently skilled in a wide number of fields that are still hungry for workers, they would first have to come up with the idea that they should become a practitioner in one of those fields, then they would have to pay someone for the training. That first condition is pretty ad hoc, and people are doomed to make a mess of it. But the second condition is even more problematic, since the expense entails both risk, because not everyone who sets out to learn how to do something complicated learns it, and a threshold, because not everyone who can learn how to do something complicated can afford the training.

      That’s before we get into some of the more interesting problems. Like, what if I just don’t want to be somebody else’s bitch, and the only job options available to me involve being somebody else’s bitch? 42 percent of the job market is retail (I’m sure I read that somewhere, but that figure may be off), and that’s almost all retail is. A proper individualist both faced with employment options in the unskilled labor market and an unhealthy sense of personal dignity might elect to be unemployed instead, even at the cost of being homeless, because that’s more individualistic in its way than folding one’s self into a socio-economic hierarchy that regards its lowest ranking members with reflexive distaste.

      I might also be a paranoid schizophrenic abandoned by my family 12 years ago. There are lots of different ways people can get tossed into the junk drawer of humanity.

      The article blames neoliberalism, but it’s not fair to neoliberalism in much the same way that indicting communism for the fall of the USSR is unfair to communism. Neoliberalism has never been fully implemented in the US. The whole idea behind it is that you’re supposed to get out of the way of market driven private enterprise because it’s really efficient. But you’re also supposed to take some of the wealth concentrations that tend to form in unfettered capital systems and redistribute them back. In America, we let the rich get really rich, and then… that’s it. The other half of neoliberalism, the part that’s supposed to explain why it’s liberal, goes substantially unimplemented.

      There are a couple ways that could be fixed, but the ideas are at the moment just fever dreams. The labor left has advocated for a right to work, which would require the government to furnish jobs for people. And there’s also sometimes talk of a minimum income everyone would get regardless of employment. Either initiative would involve levels of redistribution we haven’t seen in decades (and maybe ever), and are at the moment political impossibilities.

      There are other issues that I think are more interesting but I really don’t know what to say about them. Like, if you think of human global society as a closed system (I don’t know if that makes sense), and you recognize that it has certain features now that it hasn’t always had-the absence of frontiers, mostly effective prohibitions against violence, the near total private ownership of all property, and a political class mostly indifferent to the problems of people who fall through the cracks-it seems pretty clear that corpsicles on the park benches are just an inevitable product of social entropy. That capitalism is a system that generates failure exacerbates these things, of course. But the main thing is that like any system there’s a cost to maintaining order.

    • John Schilling says:

      I think it’s pretty clear that individualism is a perverse kind of myth-making and that’s about it. It doesn’t make sense in a modern economic context at all. Are you a hermit? Do you grow your own beans?

      That’s not what individualism means.

      How is it that you maintain the belief that you’re a self-sufficient person?

      Because I pay for my own beans. Or more precisely, because not liking the taste of beans, I pay for my own meat and bread instead.

      That’s what individualism means. It means being a free and independent actor, and not just in economic affairs. But since that’s the facet of individualism you want to talk about, it means deciding what you want to have, what you want to create, and with whom you want to trade the one for the other. Rather than doing what you are told and accepting the ration you are given.

      You’ll forgive me if I don’t your next thousand or so words following from that misunderstanding.

      • dwietzsche says:

        Most people are not “free and independent” actors. Most people do what they are told and accept the ration they are given. That it’s Kroger Industries rather than the Central Planning Committee is irrelevant. What you subscribe to is a religion. It has very little to do with reality.

        • Paul Brinkley says:

          It is most certainly relevant that it’s Kroger Industries and not the Central Planning Committee. If you don’t like Kroger’s terms, you’re permitted to go to Walmart, or Target, or HEB, or Albertson’s, etc. If you don’t like the CPC’s terms, you’re not permitted an alternative.

  8. Electronic voting machine fraud is always undetectable and untraceable. The software is proprietary, so no one can see it. I am not saying I have seen proof that it happened. I am saying that if/when it did happen, there would be no way of proving it or tracing it.

    But that only applies to 13 states. The other 37 states (including Michigan and Wisconsin) use optical scan paper ballots, and distributed tabulating devices without any network connection.

    Machine counted results for each precinct are made public at that polling place, where runners from political parties, candidates, and the news media collect them. That serves as a check against altering the results at higher levels of aggregation.

    Stealing an election (or in this case, a state’s vote for president) would be much more difficult than many people realize. Historically, those who have literally stolen elections (notably, the 1948 Texas Democratic primary for U.S. Senator) knew exactly how many votes they needed.

    As it happened, Trump won the state by about 13,000 votes. But it was well within the range of possibility that either candidate could have won Michigan by ten times that number, and there was no way to know that in advance. All of the precincts are reporting pretty much at once after the polls close, and after that, it’s too late for a theoretical fraudster to change anything.

    Next month, a random sample of Michigan precincts (hundreds, all told) will be audited, and the ballots will be examined. This is routine in a number of states with optical scan ballots. If hand counted results in audited precincts are systematically different from the machine count, that would certainly be noticed.

    After that, all the ballots in the state are available for inspection via the Freedom of Information Act, so organizations and individuals can conduct their own hand counts.

    • HeelBearCub says:

      Next month, a random sample of Michigan precincts (hundreds, all told) will be audited, and the ballots will be examined. This is routine in a number of states with optical scan ballots. If hand counted results in audited precincts are systematically different from the machine count, that would certainly be noticed.

      This is why I doubt I will ever support eVoting or pure digital machines. The inability to do an audit of the voters intent.

  9. HeelBearCub says:

    I think all of Scott’s posting, on net, resulted in more votes for Trump.

    Agree or disagree?

    • Aapje says:

      That is pure conjecture. Scott did his best to push people to Clinton, IMO.

      Given the number of libertarians here, who talked a decent bit about Johnson, this site may have pushed more people to Johnson, merely by providing a platform for these discussions.

      But really, we have no clue.

      • HeelBearCub says:

        Well, of course it’s conjecture.

        But Scott has desired nothing more than to crush “political correctness” and expand the Overton Window of acceptable discourse.

        In addition, he didn’t endorse Clinton, he non-endorsed Trump. From a game theory perspective that is a statement that’s you don’t think Trump is really that bad.

        Most of what he has passionately done is defend Trump. Everything else has been anodyne.

        • carvenvisage says:

          But Scott has desired nothing more than to crush “political correctness” and expand the Overton Window of acceptable discourse.

          disagree: blatantly dishonest, malicious, microaggression

          • HeelBearCub says:

            I can’t tell if you are accusing me of something or trying to put something in place of “political correctness”.

          • carvenvisage says:

            was accusing you of something. Surely you don’t actually stand by that characterisation of Scott /his motives? You don’t recognise it in retrospect as a dishonest, malicious, microaggression?

          • HeelBearCub says:

            You really don’t think Scott wants “political correctness” stamped out? You really don’t think Scott wants to expand the Overton Window of acceptable discourse?

            In addition, can you defend calling me “blatantly dishonest” in that statement?

            I mean, “we should be able to talk about anything and no one should be constrained in saying what they believe” is sort of Scott’s jam.

          • Moon says:

            Hbc, let me translate for you. “Blatantly dishonest”, “malicious” “stupid”, “irrational” etc. generally mean “Left of Center” on this board.

            You see, since the “correct” position is always pretty far to the Right of Center, in the opinions of most people on this board, a Left of Center position can not be seen as reasonable, honest, well-intentioned etc.

            Politics is tribal. My tribe good, honest, virtuous, smart, strong — no matter what we do or say. Your tribe dishonest, malicious, stupid, weak– no matter what you all do or say.

            See how this works?

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Moon:

            You aren’t helping me. Whatever your intent is, your effect is to work against my goals.

          • Moon says:

            Sorry. I didn’t realize that your goals were to deny the reality of what your experiences are, and what is happening, on this Right Wing board. Deny away.

          • Moon says:

            HBC, okay, let’s ask Carvenvisage to come up with a more credible explanation than mine, for his labeling of your statement as “blatantly dishonest.”

            Don’t hold your breath while waiting to hear from him.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Moon:

            You asked for an example of pointing out being correct, but for the wrong reasons?

            Here is one.

          • Moon says:

            Okay, Hbc, I look forward to reading Carvenvisage’s right reasons for his “blatantly dishonest” statement. I am not holding my breath waiting for it, either.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Moon:
            I expect none, because carvenvisage clearly doesn’t have a solid sense of Scott’s raison-d’etre as a blogger. He may also harbor animus towards left-wing sentiment, but that is a secondary mistake.

            Plenty of right wing commenters here would, I think, not criticize me in this manner. So it’s not the mere fact that carvenvisage is (presumably) right wing, nor general board bias towards left-wing statements, but rather misunderstanding Scott that is the primary issue.

            In other words, you are correct to criticize his take, but for the wrong reasons.

          • carvenvisage says:

            @HeelBearCub

            You didn’t just say, ‘wants’, you said, ‘wants nothing more than’.

            I don’t think Scott does want political correctness gone (or crippled) at all, let alone via ‘stamping out’, but I believe I know for a fact that it’s not what he wants above all other things.

            As for the overton window, uh, maybe? Depends what you mean. If it’s what you’d guess from the accompanying ‘crushing political correctness’, -a sort of free for all where everyone can feel free to go out of their way to indulge themself and try to offend and hurt other people, then I think it’s very very very clearly a no. -Does that match scott’s personality or what he’s written?

            If you mean, does he want people to be freer to make potentially offensive or insensitive claims, and have them engaged with rather than buried and their speaker punished (within limits -obviously he’s not for engaging with stuff approaching stuff like ‘you’re a cunt, shut up’),

            then I’m actually not sure,

            (yes, but with some very strong provisos would be my guess, and maybe as a side effect of other goals or maybe directly)

            But again I’m sure the implication that he wants this for the sake of being an asshole, or ‘freedom’, or ‘crushing’ enemies or something -rather than because he (evidently) believes in engaging with things (at quite some demonstrated length and some patience) is clearly nonsense. The more reasonable interpretation doesn’t seem like a plausible one because it would be accusing Scott of a) something good, and b) something Scott has (more or less?) explicitly stated he believes in.

             

             

            Maybe wanting more open discussion is a naive recipe for a political disaster, or stupid or wrong in some other way-but that’s not what you said. Instead you made accusations about not just Scott’s inner desires, but apparently his greatest desires. (!)

            Such accusations are generally dishonest when there isn’t a huge amount of (circumstantial or direct) evidence for them, (or when they’re necessarry), but in this case, there is neither a strong basis for speculation as to motives nor a necessity for it.

            And as well as that my own psychic powers tell me that the accusations in question are dead wrong, (as well as dead unfair), and it doesn’t fit with what I’ve read from him, or how he’s written it.

             

            Perhaps the ‘blatantly’ was excessive, -or ungenerous, but I think the mismatch between the picture you painted and the reality is very blatant. As for ‘Dishonest’ -well, if I’m gonna give a lot of benefit of doubt, then maybe it comes from a good place, but the end result seems isomorphic to one produced by a relatively typical dishonest process.

            In any case I think my characterisation, even if wrong and presumptious, is far less so than yours of Scott. If I’m wrong that doesn’t necessarilly (wholly) excuse me, but I think, even in that case, it at least partially, -and actually mostly, does.

             

             

            @moon. The above explanation is obviously far more creditable than yours. But seems to me too objective for a proper response to one as interpretive and forward about my reasons for posting such obvious tripe, as yours, so here is a (slightly) more direct one:

            you didn’t read what the fuck I said -and honestly ask yourself if it was true or justified, before you launched into your spiel.

            I don’t even resent that, -everyone’s done it, and my response was unambiguously hostile, and thus a good target for profiling as malicious, but if you’d paid a little critical attention to what I was replying to, or if you’d doublechecked for half a second what the reply was to, you wouldn’t have been shocked into cramming your round spiel into yet another square hole.

            (Hopefully it will survive the mangling. A little damage is unavoidable, though.)

        • “In addition, he didn’t endorse Clinton, he non-endorsed Trump. From a game theory perspective that is a statement that’s you don’t think Trump is really that bad.”

          His advice was to vote for Clinton in swing states, where it mattered, and for anyone but Trump elsewhere. How does that imply that Trump isn’t really that bad?

          • Matt M says:

            Endorsing Clinton in the only places where a vote might conceivably actually matter is, to me, 99.9% the same as “endorsing clinton”

          • HeelBearCub says:

            Safe states like Wisconsin and Michigan?

            How many positive words did Scott say about Clinton in that “endorsement”?

          • ThirteenthLetter says:

            Nobody thought Wisconsin and Michigan weren’t safe states until about 10:00 PM Eastern time on the day of the election.

            And someone not saying positive words about either Trump or Clinton strikes me as a testament to their clear-headedness and good sense, not their bias.

          • Moon says:

            Clinton was smeared constantly for decades. There are plenty of good words that could have been said about her. But the media focused on her nothingburger email “scandal” instead.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @ThirteentLetter:

            Right. Safe states aren’t actually safe. In other words, if you really think it’s important not to elect Trump you fully endorse the only person who can beat him, because shit can happen.

            And if you really truly think that Trump is bad, and Hillary much better, you make the positive case for Hillary. You actually don’t think this, which is why you can’t grok what that case would be.

          • DrBeat says:

            Hillary Clinton’s emails were not a “nothingburger” scandal. The content of those emails revealed an absolutely terrifying, despair-inducing level of corruption and coziness between political officials and people who are supposed to keep them in check. Hillary Clinton had nothing but contempt for transparency and honesty in her dealings.

            You think it is “nothingburger” because you are literally and not figuratively incapable of noticing information that contradicts the narrative you want to believe, where you are the heroic liberal voice of reason surrounded on all sides by malicious brain-damaged brainwashed conservative conspirators, and your anointed candidate was (instead of being the human incarnation of political corruption made flesh) a blessed and sinless champion of about mainstream center-left politics, and therefore all that is good in the world.

            This election gave us the two worst candidates in modern history. Hillary Clinton was one of them, because Hillary Clinton is one of the two worst candidates in modern history. Hillary Clinton was one of the two worst candidates in modern history because she was preposterously corrupt. Everything about her nomination was due to her corruption, due to her calling in favors with the millionaire elite class and holding out her hand and saying “I am entitled to power, so now it is my turn to be given the power you owe me!” She had her finger on the scales the entire time. She rigged the Democratic primary. She straight up rigged it. The DNC chair was working for her for the purpose of ensuring she would win. The media was working with her and for her at every stage in order to ensure they did the most they could to get her to win, because they were cozy with her and in her pocket. The prospect of the media being as in bed with any President as they were with Hillary Clinton, as they obviously and incontrovertibly and utterly uncontestedly it is literally impossible to dispute this and have any factual grounding because all of this is common knowledge were in bed with Hillary Clinton, should be horrifying. Soul-crushing. It should drive anyone to despair, the level of brazen and shameless corruption exhibited by Hillary Clinton.

            The fact that Trump was worse does not make these things no longer true of Hillary. The fact you, and me, and everyone who hasn’t drunk his Kool-Aid has strong negative feelings toward Trump does not make these things no longer true of Hillary. Hillary was an awful candidate. She lost to Donald Trump with the entire mainstream media shilling her. This is not proof that the mainstream media were actually out to get her, because we have actual proof, actually, in real life in the world, of the media’s collusion with her in order to serve her campaign. This is proof that she was such a bad candidate that even though she cheated from start to finish, she still couldn’t manage to beat Donald fucking Trump, an emotionally incontinent imbecile.

            But you’ll never notice this. It can find no purchase. The narrative is omnipotent.

          • Whatever Happened To Anonymous says:

            Right. Safe states aren’t actually safe. In other words, if you really think it’s important not to elect Trump you fully endorse the only person who can beat him, because shit can happen.

            And if you really truly think that Trump is bad, and Hillary much better, you make the positive case for Hillary. You actually don’t think this, which is why you can’t grok what that case would be.

            And if you sing high praises for Clinton when trying to convince a crowd that flat out doesn’t like her, you’re going to lose your credibility with them.

            To be honest, you might be right about your “Scott is an anti-leftist” theory, but it seems like you’re overfitting here, Scott made two anti-Trump/pro-Clinton posts pre election to try to convince people, and delayed a vaguely pro-trump post in order to not give his supporters ammo prior to the election, him not having an “I’m with her” logo in the SSC during the election is poor evidence that he thinks “Trump isn’t that bad” (unless “That Bad” for you means “Apocalypic”, in which case, come on…)

          • ThirteenthLetter says:

            Right. Safe states aren’t actually safe. In other words, if you really think it’s important not to elect Trump you fully endorse the only person who can beat him, because shit can happen.

            Once the conventions are over, it’s time to drop all pretense of honesty and become a shill for the candidate you want? I don’t think so. If one is going to comment on the election — and there is no sense in which it is ever an obligation of any sort — then one should be honest about one’s opinions. I realize this is old-fashioned in an era where everyone wants to annihilate their foe, but there’s no way people of good will can come to a political consensus if they aren’t honest with each other.

            And if you really truly think that Trump is bad, and Hillary much better, you make the positive case for Hillary. You actually don’t think this, which is why you can’t grok what that case would be.

            What are you talking about? Of course I can imagine a positive case for Hillary! She’s a candidate of stability and not rocking the boat, she knows all the power brokers in Washington, she supports progressive social blahdeblah and would nominate judges and install regulators who agree with that.

            But on the other hand, there’s the negative case for Hillary: she’s a candidate of stability and not rocking the boat, she knows all the power brokers in Washington, she supports progressive social blahdeblah…

          • Aapje says:

            I’m not even sure you can consider Clinton an agent of stability, when for the last decades, destabilizing forces have been in power. She would just continue on that path.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            Once the conventions are over, it’s time to drop all pretense of honesty and become a shill for the candidate you want?

            Make a positive case for != shill. It is possible to be charitable to Clinton, steelman her positions, etc. Much as Scott does with most things (but not some).

            People who are completely unwilling to hear a positive case for Clinton probably aren’t persuadable anyway.

          • Moon says:

            HBC, almost no one is willing to hear a positive case for Clinton. Clinton has been bashed in the media– even the NYT– for decades, 24/7/365. Propaganda works. You can’t hear someone being bashed that often for that long, without strongly suspecting– inaccurately in this case– that there has to be some good reason(s) why she is such an “unlikable candidate.”

          • Moon says:

            Dr. Beat

            Trigger Warning: This is not fake Right Wing news like Fox or Breitbart or Alex Jones. This is from a real news web site that factchecks.

            The real Clinton email scandal is that a bullshit story has dominated the campaign

            http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/11/4/13500018/clinton-email-scandal-bullshit

          • DrBeat says:

            Moon, people’s on this board are not hostile to you because you are left wing. They are hostile to you because of what a massive hypocrite you are.

            You say the election was won for Trump by outlets peddling “fake news” that just told politically-advantageous lies that comforted one side. You give me a sarcastic trigger warning for something being real truth and not “fake news”, and link me to fucking Vox, which is like the single greatest example of a liberal “Fake News” source I can find.

            The article you linked me does not respond to what I was saying. It is entirely about the security implications of her having a private email server, not the CONTENT of the emails, when I was explicitly talking about what the CONTENT of the emails reveals. You were not actually paying attention to what I said, and you were not paying attention to the article you linked. You just saw they both had the word “email” in them, you pattern-matched to the thing you wanted to believe, you linked me toa fake news site that didn’t actually respond to my statements, and you got fucking unbearably smug about it.

            This is what right-wingers do that pisses you off so much! This thing! This exact thing! This exact thing you are doing here at this time! They don’t read and don’t pay attention to facts, they just pattern-match to the narrative they want to believe. They believe that anything that tells them what they want to hear is telling the truth, so peddle around fake news as ironclad truth.

            You do this all the time. You lament how politics are too tribal and conservatives only listen to their own tribe while only believing negative things about the other tribe, while doing exactly that. You lament how conservatives refuse to consider other views or consider they might ever be wrong about anything, while doing exactly and specifically that thing. Everything you think is wrong about politics is completely in control of how you interact with and notice politics!

          • Moon says:

            Regarding the content of Clinton’s emails, I am not going to go through all the tons of misinterpretations by Right Wing fake news like Fox, of what the Clinton emails said or meant. Although the DNC pushed HRC and disadvantaged Bernie, and I wish they had not done this because I preferred Bernie, it is not illegal for a political party to push the candidate they believe has the best chance of winning the general election.

            The one-sidedness of the email hacking made HIllary and the DNC look bad in areas that I have no doubt that the RNC and Trump acted far worse, but they just were not hacked. And the emails didn’t say or mean any of the things you claim they did. I know that Right Wing fake news says they meant or said or proved those things e.g. that “pay to play” Clinton Foundation donations bought influence with the U.S. government. But none of that actually happened. It’s just fake Right Wing news.

            I know that Vox is disliked by consumers of Right WIng fake news. But it fact checks, and it prints the truth, nevertheless.

            I know, I know, you think I owe it to you to spend many hours and hours of my time refuting the fake accusations of Hillary by fake Right Wing news. But I won’t. I’d rather re-read the thousands of pages of The Capitalist Manifesto (AKA Atlas Shrugged) and write a book report on it, than spend my time refuting fake news accusations of HRC. Because reading the most boring book ever written would be a less destructive waste of my time.

            As one progressive named Seth said, at the time that he wisely left this board after spending only a short time on it

            “The amount of energy necessary to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it.”

          • Trofim_Lysenko says:

            @HBC

            If you’re being rigorously intellectual honest, it’s hard to make a positive case for someone you don’t feel positively about.

            Key point from his endorsement:

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

            Claiming that a liberal, left-libertarian, or progressive is somehow failing to live up to their ideals by failing to speak more positively about “the lesser evil”, because the most important thing is defeating the other guy…You really can’t see how that is being interpreted as trying to chastise Scott for being insufficiently loyal to political fellow travelers?

            I get that unlike many liberals who felt very positively about Sanders and/or Stein but positively hated Clinton as a war-mongering corporate shill who was insincere in her adherence to progressive ideology, you felt she was a great candidate. Remember that there were an awful lot of liberals this electoral cycle who were holding their nose and voting for her just as much as there were conservatives and even a few libertarians holding their nose and voting for Trump.

            Frankly, you sound exactly like the conservatives bitching at people for voting libertarian in 2012 because they felt Romney wasn’t a good conservative choice.

          • The Nybbler says:

            it is not illegal for a political party to push the candidate they believe has the best chance of winning the general election.

            No, but it is unethical for a committee which is, by its own bylaws, supposed to be neutral on the primaries, to do so.

            I have no doubt that the RNC and Trump acted far worse, but they just were not hacked.

            The RNC did not bias the primaries in Trump’s favor. We know this because they were more or less openly working against him. There is no equivalence here; Clinton won with the help of the DNC, Trump won against the efforts of the RNC. Though the DNC/Clinton campaign did attempt to help Trump in the primaries, they did so without Trump’s connivance.

            I know that Right Wing fake news says they meant or said or proved those things e.g. that “pay to play” Clinton Foundation donations bought influence with the U.S. government. But none of that actually happened.

            Pay to play, from a left wing source:

            http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/10/hillary-clinton-foundation-morocco-wikileaks/505043/

          • Moon says:

            Atlantic’s Editor in Chief was one of the chief cheer leaders for the Iraq War, so I don’t really think of him as Left Wing myself. At any rate, even Left Wing publications publish articles from Right Wing writers.

            At any rate, nothing in the exchange was illegal. $12 million was raised for good causes, saving untold lives. No access was granted to US institutions. This is called “fundraising,”– not “Pay to Play.” And Hillary was a private citizen when it occurred, not a government official.

            The Clintons got raked through the coals for having an actual charity that helps people. Trump has a charity to helps himself, and no one has a problem with it at all.

          • “They are hostile to you because of what a massive hypocrite you are.”

            I can’t speak for others, but I don’t think I’m hostile to Moon and my reservations about her are not that she is a hypocrite. My guess is that she honestly believes both that people to her right have been brainwashed by propaganda and that she herself has an accurate view of the world based on true information.

            My reservations are that she is naive and holds a wildly inaccurate view of the world with great confidence.

    • keranih says:

      How would we know this? (for serious question)

      • HeelBearCub says:

        We can’t really know.

        We could have maybe set up some sort of test beforehand, but now it would be impossible. Too much water under the bridge.

        I’m not really interested in finding an answer, really more making a meta-commentary about what Scott likes to post about and what that means about the effect of his posts.

        • Paul Brinkley says:

          I think you’re right to try to work this point.

          However, to what extent do you believe Toxoplasma of Rage plays a factor here? To be more specific: what if Scott isn’t writing in-depth anti-right screeds because those won’t actually get many dissenting comments?

          (At this moment, I’m noticing over 1300 comments on a hidden open thread, most of which I’m betting are election-related, and 45 comments on a post about an Alzheimer researcher.)

          • Moon says:

            Interesting viewpoint there. Regardless of whether Scott wrote the post for that reason, posts about Trump’s virtues– or actually about lack of evidence for Trump’s flaws in one area– certainly draw a lot of comments.

          • jaimeastorga2000 says:

            (At this moment, I’m noticing over 1300 comments on a hidden open thread, most of which I’m betting are election-related, and 45 comments on a post about an Alzheimer researcher.)

            Come on, that was clearly a half-assed piece whose only purpose was to draw attention away from the “Wolf” post.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Paul:

            You know what drew more comments faster? His anti-Trump post. So I don’t think he is posting that position to get clicks or comments.

            I think he posted that article because he really hates the word racist or racism being used, pretty much at all. Probably because he thinks it’s like a nuke, too destructive.

            So much so, that he isn’t even willing to discuss why Trump and Bannon and Sessions and others are being so named. He won’t examine the charge in any charitable way.

          • Moon says:

            Jaime, true enough, but that doesn’t mean Toxiplasma of Rage didn’t apply to the Cry Wolf post.

          • Deiseach says:

            He won’t examine the charge in any charitable way.

            HeelBearCub, I don’t think there is any useful way to examine charges of racism, given that “racism” has been re-defined to mean “recipient of societal and cultural privilege due to centuries of institutional racism, and having imbibed such attitudes from your environment, so that even if your current circumstances are economically and socially inferior, as a white person (and even more as a white man) you benefit in many subtle and not-so-subtle ways that a minority person does not; in this way an unemployed Appalachian coal miner is – unless he examines, acknowledges, and works to overcome his internalised racism – a racist who benefits from racism even by comparison with someone like Oprah Winfrey”.

            Unless you unpack your invisible knapsack every morning, you’re a racist. How on earth can we have a discussion about actual racism and racists when this is the standard?

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Deiseach:

            That’s not what being charitable means.

            Donald Trump ran as a populist nativist demagogue. He constantly looked for “the other” to blame. He scapegoats people who are foreign. His entire campaign is built around the idea that there is any enemy within the country or the government which needs to be identified and ejected. Elites, bankers, foreigners, the classic shibboleths of populist demagoguery.

            He makes such a habit of this that people who are endorsing him accuse him of saying things that are racist. People who do not at all subscribe to the idea of white privilege and invisible knapsacks.

          • Moon says:

            The academic invisible knapsack view of racism is well known among people who live in San Fran and people who went to expensive colleges, of whom there are apparently many on this site. And apparently a number of folks here have been bittern by rabid SJWs suring their lives, perhaps while in attendance at their expensive colleges.

            However, as I have mentioned here before, most progressives, including me before I came to this site, do not even know what a SJW is, and do not use the academic invisible knapsack definition of racism.

          • Paul Brinkley says:

            So much so, that he isn’t even willing to discuss why Trump and Bannon and Sessions and others are being so named. He won’t examine the charge in any charitable way.

            The point I was attempting to make here is that if he did decide to examine Bannon, Sessions, et al. critically, he would likely not be able to produce much that hasn’t already been seen by his readership elsewhere. Hence, he would have produced a toxoplasma that can’t spread.

            That means he could either go through his usual trouble to write a long, well-thought-out post, with everyone nodding silently but thinking Scott isn’t really saying anything interesting, or he could write a pot-stirrer like “oppose Trump, but not because he’s racist”, and have readers get the thrill of being pressed through some of their usual bubble membranes.

          • Paul Brinkley says:

            WRT Scott investigating the racist charge charitably: I think that there’s not really any way for him to do that without looking like he’s started from the premise that racism is the Absolute Worst Characteristic for Any Candidate to Have. That’s the very premise I see him as attacking. It’s not fair to ask him to staunchly reject the very point he believes is important to make.

            It’d be like arguing, I dunno, that someone with a grievance about the government is allowed to say whatever they want, as long as they never disparage the government.

    • carvenvisage says:

      agree. I think it’s almost obvious.

    • shakeddown says:

      I don’t think so. Not so much because of individual pro/anti Trump statements, as because Scott’s general narrative is pro moderation and incremental progress, which helps push people from the Trump/Sanders “burn the system down” camp towards responsible moderate government.
      I wouldn’t expect this to be reflected in the comments, for various reasons. In particular, the comments have a bunch of pro-Trump people who wouldn’t be convinced by anything – so even a persuasive article that convinced a whole lot of people to vote Clinton over Trump would still look like it had a pro-Trump readership.

      • HeelBearCub says:

        How many of Scott’s posts actually spend any time endorsing the broad American system?

        How many of Scott’s post basically encourage people to think the system is fucked?

        At this point I’d rather have Scott write “Against Liberals”. At least then he would think critically about the positive arguments for modern liberalism, a social welfare state, the necessity of government, what have you.

    • Urstoff says:

      I doubt any writing on the internet does much to change the minds of people.

    • Dabbler says:

      Query. Would you consider this in the sense of “Scott Alexander bears some responsibility for a Trump victory” or not?

      • rlms says:

        I don’t think one could reasonably hold that opinion since Scott was clearly trying to oppose Trump.

      • HeelBearCub says:

        Orthogonal to my interest in posting this. Any amount Scott pushed the vote one or the other is too small to have made a difference.

        This is more meta, thinking about thinking.

    • Disagree. But I could easily be wrong.

    • Moon says:

      No way to know. If I were to go for the Yes side (though am not sure that I would), I would argue that Scott has written so much about political correctness that he may have swayed people to the “Political correctness is the worst thing in the world” camp, which might be pro-Trump.

      As it turns out, we are all about to find out what is worse in the world than political correctness.

      Even if I decided that Scott contributed to Trump voters, I would think what he would contribute would be miniscule, in comparison to fake news. People actually thought that Hillary was a worse and more corrupt candidate than Trump, because the fake news said such outrageous and false things about her– that she was a child molester, that she murdered everyone who thwarted her in some way etc. etc.

      This is how Facebook’s fake-news writers make money
      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2016/11/18/this-is-how-the-internets-fake-news-writers-make-money/

      A relative of mine who lives in Germany says My brother in Germany says”No one ever made a mistake by underestimating the intelligence of the American voter.”

      Of course, it’s not just stupidity. All humans are vulnerable to propaganda, and we are absolutely immersed in it constantly.

    • Paul Brinkley says:

      The difference in total votes changed is probably very small. I’m guessing SSC’s total daily readership is on the order of 10,000, based on a rough extrapolation from a remark he made on “You Are Still Crying Wolf”. If (a probably very generous) 1/10th of those changed to Trump, those 1000 votes would not have made a difference in any swing state AFAIK.

      Meanwhile, if we assume “changed vote to Trump” is a bad thing (as his professed preference declares), it doesn’t say how bad. And there are worse things in the world – such as voting for Trump and making one’s subsequent voting decisions based on flawed critical thinking. Given that, it stands to reason that Scott’s posts may be seen not just as possibly increasing the votes for Trump, but alternately as increasing the number of people who think more critically about their vote.

      In other words, Trump’s slight SSC-bump, if it exists, was a necessary market correction. IBM stock is a smart buy, but only to an extent.

    • FacelessCraven says:

      Disagree.

      My best hypothesis that would match this idea is that by highlighting problems with Social Justice in particular and Blue Tribe thought generally, Scott has catalyzed a backlash reaction in his readership against the Blue Tribe. Likewise, by pushing for norms of toleration and charity, he’s made people feel more comfortable with entertaining Crimethink, encouraging the spread of pro-Trump ideas. Is that the general idea?

      • HeelBearCub says:

        All of Scott’s passionate posts, the one’s where he is most engaged at an emotional level, are anti-left and/or anti-government. He does not seem to be able to view those issue with near the amount of dispassionate charity that he saves for people/ideas on the right.

        I think this skews his analysis and his posts. He is a self-admitted contrarian. A working theory is that because he doesn’t emotionally identify as being on the right, he can’t bring his whole self to bear against positions on the right.

        • The Nybbler says:

          What about his anti-Trump pieces?

        • Matt M says:

          HBC,

          I will try to keep this as respectful as possible.

          I feel like your attitude here is emblematic of everything that is wrong with modern political discourse.

          Scott writes a long post clearly and directly encouraging people in battleground states to vote for Hillary. He encourages people elsewhere to vote for whomever they want, Hillary, a third party candidate, a write in, any form of protest except Trump.

          And yet, here you are, insisting that he was secretly helping the Trump campaign all along because, in your view, he didn’t denounce Trump egregiously enough? He entertained the possibility that some people might vote for him for legitimate reasons. He occasionally defended Trump from attacks that were so far exaggerated they lost any basis in reality.

          This is the type of political discourse we should WANT. We should be very very happy that somewhere in the world there are still a small handful of people left who are capable of being honest and even charitable to those they disagree with.

          But you aren’t happy. You’re upset and you are trying to softly shame him for something he didn’t even do. This really really bothers me. If you want to shame or denounce someone, go find an actual Trump supporter and do it to them. Go take your anger out on Milo or Ann Coulter or Sean Hannity. They were the ones doing the thing you are accusing Scott of having done.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            …As a bystander, I disagree with your assessment. It seems to me that HBC is not questioning Scott’s motives, but rather whether Scott’s actions are effective at achieving his stated goals.

          • Matt M says:

            Perhaps getting Hillary elected was not Scott’s #1 goal among all possible goals. Perhaps his #1 goals include things like honest communication with his readers and transparency to his thought process.

            This is my problem with HBC’s attitude. It values Hillary winning above all else. Could Scott have done more to help ensure a Hillary victory? Almost certainly. That doesn’t mean he deserves criticism for taking the high road.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            And yet, here you are, insisting that he was secretly helping the Trump campaign all along because, in your view,

            I object to this line of thinking. I don’t think Scott is “secretly” doing anything, and there isn’t anything, as near as I can tell, in any of my posts that indicate such.

            I do think, that like everyone, Scott has biases and tendencies. Those biases and tendencies have effects. I’d like Scott to be aware of them, sure, but I don’t think Scott pays any attention to me. I think he may have directly responded to <10 of my posts.

            I would more like the commentariat to be aware. I have interaction with the commentariat, so to the extent I can make the commentariat aware of this, the more "true" I can make interactions with the commentariat.

            If I do influence Scott, it would be to spend more time steelmanning the positions of "the left" broadly, and/or ignoring the same kind of rhetoric he easily ignores coming from the right. I'd love for him to write something directed at awful behavior on the right that included 11 paragraphs that start with the word "stop".

          • Deiseach says:

            Okay, can we settle on some definitions of what is Right and what is Left? Because I’m seeing Scott being perceived as both right-wing and left-wing, which has got to mean we’ve got a lot of confusion going on.

            To me, Scott seems fiscally conservative and socially liberal, so I’d peg him as Centre-Left. Libertarianism, depending on how much and what kind he’s inclined to, I don’t have a read on. It seems vaguely right-ish to me, but I’m sure there are left-ish varieties as well.

            I am right wing, but I’d be socially conservative and (more) fiscally liberal than other right-wingers on here. I’d consider myself (not the same as what others might consider me as) Centre-Right.

            So lumping us all into baskets of “right wing = Republican and Republican = Right-wing” and the same for “left-wing = Democrats and Democrats = left-wing” is not the most helpful breakdown. I could see people being Republicans and socially liberal on a lot of the ‘culture war’ issues. I could see people being Democrats and not so liberal. If we can get some kind of semi-agreed definition so we don’t fall into “right-wing = this party always and on every thing” (and the same for the left), then we might make some progress towards understanding what we’re all talking about.

            I think Red Tribe and Blue Tribe helped a lot, but unfortunately it tends to get collapsed back into Red Party and Blue Party, which is not the case. You can have a lot of Red Party ideals and beliefs and a few that you’d agree on with the Blues as well, so you might end up Purple or Grey or “Reared Red Tribe, adopted into Blue” etc.

        • “All of Scott’s passionate posts, the one’s where he is most engaged at an emotional level, are anti-left and/or anti-government. ”

          Clearly an exaggeration. For one counterexample.

          Limit it to political posts and you might have a point.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            I guess I could have added anti-system as well.

          • Moon says:

            Yes, limit it to political posts, and that is true.

            “All of Scott’s passionate political posts, the ones where he is most engaged at an emotional level, are anti-left and/or anti-government. ”

    • Nadja says:

      Disagree, but could very well be wrong. I believe the sort of (potential) Trump voters who would also read SSC are those who are very turned off by anyone criticizing Trump solely or mainly based on Trump’s supposed “open racism”. Scott made no such accusations in his Clinton/Johnson/Stein-if-you-must endorsement article. His criticism is centered around completely different issues, and thus much more palatable and likely to be read with an open mind.

    • IrishDude says:

      1 data point: I planned to vote for Johnson before reading Scott’s posts and voted for Johnson after. Any regulars or lurkers feel comfortable noting that Scott influenced them to vote Trump? Or to vote Hillary?

      • HeelBearCub says:

        Perhaps more to the point, is there anyone here who was prompted to vote against Trump when they had been leaning towards him?

        Because I saw a lot of “well this makes me feel better about voting for Trump” comments on the book review.

        Edit:
        Hell, is there anyone who at any point updated away from Trump at all?

        • FacelessCraven says:

          Is there anyone who updated toward Trump?

          I’d initially planned to vote for Hillary, until Trump hit around 30% in the primary and the republicans and media started trying to take him down. After he won the nomination, I was all in. The only two things that swayed me toward voting Hillary again were Scott’s endorsement posts and the Access Hollywood tape.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            Is there anyone who updated toward Trump?

            I gave you an example of that. There were multiple “I feel more comfortable voting for Trump” comments when Scott did his book review.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @HeelBearCub – “I gave you an example of that. There were multiple “I feel more comfortable voting for Trump” comments when Scott did his book review.”

            Those were people who by their own claim were voting for Trump anyway, at least if I parsed the quote right. If we can’t find examples of anyone flipping either direction, what ground is there to assume that his writing had any effect at all?

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @FacelesCraven:
            They were worried about voting for Trump, and the book review made them feel better about it. That’s updating towards Trump.

            What would have happened a few months later, that I don’t know.

        • Moon says:

          Andrew, interesting to hear about Trump waverers. I haven’t met any, but I’ll believe your report of your experience there.

          “All of the polling I’ve seen suggests that no hacking was necessary to elect Trump- it’s normal (unfortunate) variation within the margin of error, and the natural outcome of undemocratic institutions like the Electoral College. (That’s just a description of it, not necessarily a criticism- it was designed by the founders to be a partial counter to normal democracy)”

          Electronic voting machine fraud is always undetectable and untraceable. The software is proprietary, so no one can see it. I am not saying I have seen proof that it happened. I am saying that if/when it did happen, there would be no way of proving it or tracing it.

          And I find it hard to believe that the party of lies about WMDs that sent American soldiers and plenty of Iraqis to their deaths for nothing– that that party would be so moral as to pass up the opportunity to commit electronic voting machine fraud. They’ve done every kind of voter suppression imaginable. Why not voting machine fraud also?

          Of course it was within the margin of error expected. Why do you think they needed help from Assange and Comey to smear Hillary constantly right up until the election? It would have looked far too suspicious to take every 3rd vote for Hillary and assign it to Trump. They needed to be in a position where they could take 1 out of every 50 votes for Hillary and assign it to Trump, in order for Trump to win. And say “within the expected margin of error.”

          There can never be any proof that fraud did or didn’t occur in electronic voting machines. With the trade secret law, we are essentially prohibited from ever finding out, whenever fraud occurs. Very convenient for those who control the voting machines.

          So, actually, the incessant smearing of Hillary with lies and conspiracy theories, did probably cause more damage than the voting machine fraud. But it was the combination of them that made Trump the winner. One without the other would have resulted in a Hillary win.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Moon – “Addiction to conflict and anger and your own adrenaline is what Trump voting is all about.”

            On the one hand, there was a certain visceral thrill to it. On the other hand, how many Trump supporters do you know really well?

          • andrewflicker says:

            Moon, I’m one of those “left-wingers” that doesn’t post as much as I would around here because of the chilling effects you frequently point out. I hope mentioning that gives you a little respect for my opinion here:

            All of the polling I’ve seen suggests that no hacking was necessary to elect Trump- it’s normal (unfortunate) variation within the margin of error, and the natural outcome of undemocratic institutions like the Electoral College. (That’s just a description of it, not necessarily a criticism- it was designed by the founders to be a partial counter to normal democracy)

            In addition, on the actual point- I’ve seen plenty of Trump voters that wavered, and I’ve seen a few Trump primary voters that didn’t vote for him in the general.

          • Moon says:

            Faceless, lots of them– at least I know them well enough, and have talked with them often enough, to be certain that addiction to conflict and anger and your own adrenaline is what Trump voting is all about.

            I grew up in a Red state, so some of them are relatives.

            In a sense, there are no red states or blue ones though. Almost all of the time, with a few exceptions, cities are blue and rural areas are red.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            cities are blue and rural areas are red.

            True.

            And not even all the cities. Working class cities based on (one time) manufacturing may be red, depending on how union they were. A bunch of those former union towns flipped in this election, at least that is my understanding.

          • Electronic voting machine fraud is always undetectable and untraceable. The software is proprietary, so no one can see it. I am not saying I have seen proof that it happened. I am saying that if/when it did happen, there would be no way of proving it or tracing it.

            See below.

          • “The software is proprietary, so no one can see it.”

            The fact that the software is proprietary may mean that nobody has a legal right to see it. Nobody has a legal right to see the software that drives World of Warcraft, but there are quite a lot of private servers out there.

            If the software is on thousands of machines, I expect that someone who really wanted to see it could manage.

        • Doctor Mist says:

          Hell, is there anyone who at any point updated away from Trump at all?

          For what it’s worth, I am on record here as having decided to vote for Trump (despite being in a deep blue state where my vote was certain to be irrelevant) because I found the “basket of deplorables” line to be so egregiously toxic.

          But in the end, I did not vote for Trump. I can’t say it was because of Scott’s eleventh-hour posts about the election, because I had already voted by that point.

          For your purposes I am probably not a very useful data point since the meaninglessness of my vote meant I could vacillate freely right up until the last minute. Moreover, the two constant threads in my vacillation were that I was sure Hillary would win and that I was sure that was the worst possible outcome, so “updating away from Trump” might not mean what you meant.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            Did you feel better about your vote against Trump after having read Scott’s post?

          • Doctor Mist says:

            Did you feel better about your vote against Trump after having read Scott’s post?

            Well, that’s weird. I was going to say yes, I did somewhat. But I went back to review his post, to reconstruct my reaction to it, and I find that it was way less eleventh-hour than I thought — I did in fact read it before I voted.

            So perhaps it actually did affect my final decision — it’s certainly plausible that Scott’s observations in section IV that “US conservatism is in crisis” might have helped spur my vote for McMullin.

            On the other hand, most of Scott’s post about how high-variance Trump would be struck me, and still strikes me, as distinctly overwrought and hysterical. (Maybe this is how people feel who find the paperclip maximizer ludicrous.) So I could easily imagine my reaction having been “Ah, more of the Deep State making sure Hillary gets elected as we all know she will; frack that.” So if an effect like that is part of what you’re hypothesizing, I guess I can’t rule it out.

    • eh8 says:

      Two scenarios:

      I.

      If Scott’s legitimate criticisms of Vox, Salon, Slate, etc. are read by the journalists working at those media outlets, then Scott could have had an outsized effect on the compassion, integrity, and openness of the left-wing media.

      A commonly stated idea is that the US media exists in a bubble that prevented it from seeing the hopelessness and marginalisation of rural whites, and arguably rural everyone-else too. If Scott helped a few journalists step outside that bubble, he could have had a gigantically pro-Hillary effect on those voters, far offsetting any pro-Trump contrarianism of his actual readership.

      II.

      I once showed a friend who could be loosely described as alt-right Scott’s piece on outgroups. Ever since then, he’s referred to SSC as “that blog by the smart left-wing guy”. The response to Freddie deBoer’s blog was far less positive.

      People who lean left might perceive that Scott stands up for the right a lot. This doesn’t say anything about Scott’s effect on people who lean right. Acknowledging that the left gets a little bit crazy sometimes could be an important first step to convincing the right: someone who is only voting for Trump because they see the left as snooty elitists who care more about pronouns than unemployment might be perfectly okay with single-payer healthcare and funding for schools, and Scott’s writing emphasises concrete results over identity politics.

      So

      I have no idea whether these things actually happened. However, it’s entirely plausible that they did. If it’s possible to construct a plausible narrative for either binary option, just constructing a narrative is pointless.

    • TheBearsHaveArrived says:

      Disagree.

      Several times he argued for Clinton, or anyone but Trump. In several posts.

      He did argue that some of trumps policies could be fine, mostly for Steve Sailorian/secular right reasons.

      • HeelBearCub says:

        He tried several times to argue for clinton.

        I don’t think he actually did.

        He argued against Trump (after having spent previous time defending Trump and writing a rather pointless book review that hold approximately zipola to do with Trump’s campaign).

        • Moon says:

          Scott is a Center Right Wing guy who criticizes the Left a lot. He’s also a psychiatrist though, and Trump was probably a bit too crazy for him, even though he can’t come out and say so due to the Goldwater rule. So he was against Trump. Which is different from being for Hillary.

          Although Trump voters seem to mostly hate Hillary with a passion, they also passionately love Trump. Ardent love or worship for a candidate motivates voters at least as much as dislike of their opponent. So people who both idolized the savior of the working class– that is, Trump, LOL– and also hated Hillary were the ones most likely to vote for Trump, no matter what anyone else said.

          Except for Right Wing media of course, which said 1000X per week that Trump was the savior of the working class and middle class, and Hillary was a child molester, murderer etc. Unless Scott were to tell Trump supporters more than 1000X per week, and unless they trusted Scott more than they trusted their conspiracy theory media, then Scott wouldn’t have a very significant effect. He would only give them one more person to say “Eff You; I’m even more comfortable voting for Trump” to.

          Trump supporters love to say “Eff you” to everyone else except Trump supporters.

          But they would have voted for Trump already. And their vote didn’t have much impact anyway. It’s the electronic voting machine fraud that had the big impact.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            Scott isn’t center-right. In that you are mistaken. I kow you won’t accept that, but nonetheless, this is true.

            Left libertarian? Maybe trending that way.

            Left contrarian? Absolutely.

        • TheBearsHaveArrived says:

          There is a difference between the political “defending” that you see media figures do, and the type of defending that you see here and places in similar ilk.

          Is it defending Trump to try and point out that before he thought he could be president, he was closer (in interviews) to a social democrat then a republican on lots of issues?

          There is a difference between trying to find the truth on an issue, and mindlessly defending pubdit style.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            Except Scott did NOT try and find the truth out about Trump, in toto, in those earlier posts. He merely defended him against one specific charge of racism (without pointing out his nativism, IIRC, which seems quite uncharitable to my mind), and then reviewed a ghost written book from long ago.

          • Moon says:

            HBC, Scott’s a Right Winger– although he’s Center Right.

            I know that rationalists think people are objective. But in the real world, they rarely are–especially not on this board. Right Wingers are generally quite charitably cherry picking to others in various Right Wing tribes and to GOP nominees– but tend to be more uncharitably nit picking to the likes of Vox, Slate etc. That being said, Scott does have a point about Vox going off the deep end on the subject of identity politics.

            Also, Scott does go to a lot more trouble to attempt to be fair than the vast majority of the Right Wingers on this board. That’s for sure. But it’s less a matter of conscious intention than the direction in which one’s mind naturally tends to go, as a Right Winger.

            Politics is tribal. My tribe good no matter what we do. Your tribe bad no matter what you all do. Even when both tribes do the same thing, this still seems to be the case.

          • Moon says:

            “Is it defending Trump to try and point out that before he thought he could be president, he was closer (in interviews) to a social democrat then a republican on lots of issues?”

            Interesting question. I doubt that Scott intended to defend Trump by pointing that out. But in a way, it is a kind of defense of Trump, to people Left of Center. “Hey, he’s pretty similar to you.”

            The reality is though that Trump has never been close to or far from anyone with any ideology or policies or beliefs. He doesn’t have any of those things. He is purely and simply a self promotion machine designed to be a winner. In an election where he could just say stuff until he came up with words that people responded positively to, all he had to do was do that and keep saying what people liked to hear– regardless of whether he sounded like a Republican or a Democrat.

            You can’t win or do a good job as president though simply by bs’ing people. So his presidency will be controlled by those he surrounds himself with– people who are capable of doing somthing– whether bad or good– besides bs’ing people.

          • Paul Brinkley says:

            How are you defining Right Wing, Center Right, and Left Wing?

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @moon:

            I know that rationalists think people are objective.

            That is the opposite of what rationalists think.

          • Moon says:

            HBC, okay, I guess I should have said

            I know that rationalists think they themselves, and people who agree with them, are objective.

          • Winter Shaker says:

            I know that rationalists think they themselves, and people who agree with them, are objective.

            A major part of Less Wrong-style rationalism is becoming aware of, and consciously trying to compensate for, the ways you are not objective. Another important part is recognising when people who agree with you are doing so for bad reasons. To the extent that people succeed in doing these sorts of things, they would be less likely to think themselves objective than the average person.

            (Though to the extent that they don’t succeed …)

            Also, hot damn, there’s a ‘notify me of follow-up comments by email’ button now. Thanks, tech people. I hope that’s going to be only for comments in response to one’s own, rather than all comments on the typically-into-four-figures threads that spring up here.

          • houseboatonstyxb says:

            Hello tech people!

            Winter Shaker wrote:
            Also, hot damn, there’s a ‘notify me of follow-up comments by email’ button now. Thanks, tech people.

            Yes, thanks.

            What has become of the Hide Poster function?

          • Moon says:

            “Another important part is recognizing when people who agree with you are doing so for bad reasons.”

            Have you ever actually seen anyone do this?

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Moon – “Have you ever actually seen anyone do this?”

            All the time. Some of them came pretty close to convincing me to vote Hillary.

          • “Have you ever actually seen anyone do this?”

            Often.

            On the FB climate group I sometimes read, most people on both sides are making bad arguments.

            One of my common public lectures is on market failure, and part of the point of it is to persuade other libertarians that they are making the wrong response to a particular criticism of their position.

    • HeelBearCub says:

      So, with Ann Coulter now linking to Scott’s “Crying Wolf” post, I think we will see more of the effect I am describing (not sure of the magnitude).

      Scott concentrated on the flaws of the left, without mentioning, even blatantly ignoring, the flaws of the right in that post.

      I predict taunting and bad feelings.

  10. burninglights says:

    A comment about the Cry Wolf article . . .

    I think you may not be taking into account how social norms change over time. In the 1820s, an openly White supremacist politician might say, “Look, I love Blacks, but they are inferior and dangerous and should be enslaved. It’ll be good for them!”

    In the 1920s an openly White supremacist politican might say “Look, I love Blacks, but they are still kinda dangerous and should be segregated from Whites. It’ll be good for them!”

    I assume you wouldn’t argue that a) the 1920s pro-segregation candidate really wasn’t all that racist because at least he wasn’t advocating slavery, and b) it’d have been dangerous to call him racist because there may have be an even worse, pro-slavery candidate down the pike.

    Times change, and racism adapts with them. I think it’s unwise to let DT off the hook just because his racist rhetoric and sloganeering isn’t as striking as one’s may have been 100 years ago. We should be holding him to the standard of the day.

    • keranih says:

      We should be holding him to the standard of the day.

      There is not “a” standard of the day. There is a spectrum of standards, held in specific by individuals in discrete situations, which can be averaged out to ‘general’ standards held by groups.

      It is a curious sort of shock, which I think most of us have felt at some point, to realize that one’s own standards (values, priorities, ideals) are not universal.

      • There is not “a” standard of the day. There is a spectrum of standards, held in specific by individuals in discrete situations, which can be averaged out to ‘general’ standards held by groups.

        Fair enough. The ‘general standard’ of today that segregation by race is inappropriate, so we should be using a higher standard than that when evaluating the conduct and proposed policies of our representatives.

        • keranih says:

          I totally agree that we should advocate for the better angels of humanity to take the fore. I don’t agree that I saw DT advocating for race-based segregation.

          I do think I see liberals/progressives suggesting that race should be a factor in hiring and university entrance, that minorities are on average less capable than Caucasians, and that it’s perfectly fine to set up social spaces where people are excluded on the basis of race.

          • shakeddown says:

            …that minorities are on average less capable than Caucasians, and that it’s perfectly fine to set up social spaces where people are excluded on the basis of race.

            Grammar question, because I’m genuinely not sure: Do you mean that some liberals/progressives say that, or that you think that? If the first, I agree that some liberals say the second, but not the first.

          • keranih says:

            @ shakedown –

            All three of those things are things I have seen liberal/progressive people say/embody.

            Depending on the situation, I might be persuaded that each might be acceptable for various reasons, or as a side effect of a larger goal. But as a whole, I think that each stance is more harmful than helpful.

    • ThirteenthLetter says:

      This is an unfalsifiable argument, though, because one can keep coming up with “here’s the modern version of racism” as the old one cycles out. 1860, it’s enslavement. 1890, it’s the KKK. 1940, it’s segregation. 1980, redlining. 2016, it’s (according to the more prominent theoreticians on the topic) things like… implicit bias and microaggressions, which are so subtle that even the people who supposedly hold those racist views don’t know they hold those views? Once you’ve reached this far, is it not a kind of Racism of the Gaps? When can we decide that a qualitative change of some sort has taken place?

      I think it’s unwise to let DT off the hook just because his racist rhetoric and sloganeering isn’t as striking as one’s may have been 100 years ago. We should be holding him to the standard of the day.

      Absolutely agreed. If we shouldn’t hold people from the past to the standards of 2016 — and absolutely no person of good faith would think we should — then we shouldn’t hold Donald Trump to the standards of 1940. That being said, as Keranih pointed out you will find serious disagreement on what the standards of 2016 are, or should be.

      • HeelBearCub says:

        The thing being, as Scott points out in his piece, there is near universal agreement that Trump isn’t living up to the standards of 2016. So no matter how fuzzy they line may be, Trump is pretty clearly over it.

        But honestly, the whole thing strikes me as arguing over the definition of racism.

        “Mexicans are great, but most of the Mexicans here in America are awful and need to leave” is something bad, whether or not you want to put that under the definition of racism. Of course, thinking the foreigners that are here and have not yet assimilated are awful is pretty standard fare.

        • The thing being, as Scott points out in his piece, there is near universal agreement that Trump isn’t living up to the standards of 2016. So no matter how fuzzy they line may be, Trump is pretty clearly over it.

          Exactly. And in real time it is very hard to fully understand how events will be interpreted by future gens or to place current events into a historical context.

          My (I’d like to say ‘educated’) guess is that Trump’s Make America Great Again slogan, combined with his promises to ban/remove immigrants, among other hijinx, will be seen quite clearly by future generations as the acts of a modern White supremacist. Am I wrong? Maybe. We’ll have to wait and see.

          Trump isn’t proposing segregation, and that is good, but that’s a pretty low bar that, fortunately, past generations have helped to raise. If we want to continue to raise that bar we have to be willing to call out or representatives in real time, which means doing so before we understand the full context of their actions in history. If we wait for historians to tell us whether our leaders were bad, it’ll be too late.

          • The Nybbler says:

            History, despite common claims otherwise, does not have a set direction. Certainly if things keep moving in the social-justicey direction, future generations will see the Presidents (Reagan was the first) who used “Make America Great Again” as being white supremacists.

            On the other hand, it’s perfectly possible things move a different direction, and Trump is seen not as a white nationalist, but as a reformer who ensured the integrity of the United States in a world where the other developed countries are overrun by hostile immigrants.

            Both of these futures are rather dystopian to my mind.

            If we want to continue to raise that bar

            Yeah. That’s a big “if”. And begs the question over what is being done is really “raising” the bar.

          • Murphy says:

            I think The Nybbler isn’t accounting for how weird the future can look or how dry things in the distant past can look.

            Do we bother with terms like “racist” for Egyptian pharaoh’s slaughtering civilians in captured towns of foreign nations? So long enough in the future everyone will look so terrible that they won’t consider Trump very special.

            Nearer term it could go off in other weird directions. Human survivors might remember him for something weird like some off the cuff remark on nanotech that has an unusually large effect on history or american society as a whole might become dramatically more isolationist in which case his positions on border controls might be viewed by the common person on the street as overly weak and ineffectual.

        • ““Mexicans are great, but most of the Mexicans here in America are awful and need to leave””

          I don’t think Trump said that, or even implied it. His complaints were about illegal immigrants.

          The hispanic population of the U.S. is about 57 million. The current estimate for the number of illegal immigrants is about 11 million. Not all the illegal immigrants are Hispanic.

          I’m using Hispanic rather than Mexican because that’s what I’m seeing data on. My guess is that the point would be even stronger for Americans of Mexican ancestry vs Mexican illegal immigrants.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            This is belied by his reasoning for wanting Curiel removed from his case.

            Trump played the nativist demagogue from the jump. People should be willing to acknowledge that.

          • How does wanting a Mexican judge removed from a case in which you are the defendant because you think he is likely to be prejudiced against you imply that most Mexicans here are terrible and ought to leave?

            At the point when he made the argument, large parts of the media had been accusing him of being hostile to Hispanics and predicting that Hispanics would vote against him for that reason. So the belief that a Hispanic judge would be prejudiced against him was not unreasonable.

            Insofar as it implies any group prejudice, it’s against judges–the belief that they are likely to be swayed by prejudice.

            Is there something more specific in his reasoning that implies that he thinks most Mexicans in America are terrible?

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @David Friedman:
            Trump’s espoused logic was that the mere fact of Curial being of Mexican descent should be presumed to bias Curial against him.

            If we are to take his argument as valid, we must accept that Trump believes he has done something that should be presumed to bias all those of Mexican descent against him.

            Trump thinks he offended all those of Mexican descent.

          • Aapje says:

            Or he thinks that he was character assassinated as hating Mexicans by Democrats & suspected Curiel of being a Democrat due to him being nominated by Obama.

            It is a logical error to think that another person cannot have a belief that other people have a false belief.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Aapje:
            You have to disbelieve Trump’s own explaination if this is true.

            He thinks Curiel is biased against him. And he thinks it’s because he wants to build a wall between the US and Mexico and also because Curiel is proud of his Mexican heritage. He says that he is “pro-Mexico”.

            Trump is always happy to talk about how unfair the media is, but he doesn’t do so in this case.

          • Aapje says:

            @HBC

            His statement is perfectly compatible with my possible explanation, if one allows for the possibility that Trump didn’t describe each step in his thought process. IMO, a great many people reason from A -> B -> C -> D and then shorten that to A -> D when talking to people:

            A: I argued for the wall
            B: The media has convinced left-leaning people that I hate Mexicans for doing A
            C: Curiel seems a left-leaning person and/or he has shown he hates me already by not ruling in my favor

            D: Curiel hates me

            I also want to argue again that Trump has strong reasons to specifically dislike Curiel, who he feels should have dismissed the lawsuits. Many humans rationalize their grievances by assuming bad faith on the part of the person they feel has wronged them. We know from Trump’s campaigning that he is especially vindictive.

            So I believe that Trump’s statements can be explained without assuming racist beliefs about all Mexicans, but merely by assuming that Trump is rather vindictive, rather poor at expressing himself and not very politically correct. Do you believe that Trump has these 3 ‘features?’

        • Paul Brinkley says:

          The trouble I see with “Trump’s clearly not living up to 2016 standards” is that it sounds like the motte to the bailey’s “Trump thinks blacks and Mexicans are non-people”. As in: the latter argument doesn’t hold up, and sure, Trump’s not up to 2016… but then, neither is Clinton.

          And so we end up right back at (where I think is) the status quo – two bad candidates.

          This doesn’t mean HBC has no complaint against Scott’s posting choices, but it does mean that I’m having a hard time seeing it if it exists.

          • burninglights says:

            sure, Trump’s not up to 2016… but then, neither is Clinton.

            And so we end up right back at (where I think is) the status quo – two bad candidates.

            Agreed. Two bad candidates. So what? If I criticized Stalin, you wouldn’t say, “Well, Lennin was bad too. So here we are, back to the status quo.”

            It is responsible to dissect why each candidate was bad, because they were bad in different ways. Also, Trump won, so obviously he’s the one who deserves greater consideration.

  11. hellandahandbasket says:

    To this blog’s post author/owner: “You Are Still Crying Wolf” Posted on November 16, 2016 by Scott Alexander
    I would like to leave a comment – as you know, you left no avenue within the above referenced post – since I am unaware of no other place to politely respond to you, I have chosen this area.

    Throughout this current Presidential election cycle – credulously continuing as if we hadn’t noticed what was done for the past 18-months – the world & most importantly, the USofA, have witnessed 1st-hand, the mainstream-media’s unrelenting push of propaganda, pure hatred, unmitigated distortions and lies toward one man, in order to discredit him; thereby blatantly campaigning for, and attempting to throw an election “win” toward the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.

    The well-written post referenced above, gave the reading public concise information, backed with neatly-compiled evidence, of the unsubstantiated and outright lies cast upon (then candidate) President-Elect Donald J. Trump.

    However, the post’s author thought it more wise to withhold truthful information.

    I can come to no other conclusion for this suppression of evidence, than the post’s author experiencing nothing other than fear of what the Liberal/Feminist-Cult members (or his Mother), would think of him…?

    Not only is this “failure to post” of the same degenerative thinking we’ve witnessed via the mainstream media, this is of a much higher ranking of degeneracy; in that the author purposefully withheld accurately researched information which would have had a positive impact; helped to exonerate an opposing candidate’s barrage of hatred thrown at him, and if viewership was of any substance, may have helped others to see truth {gasp!} before deciding where to put the “X” on Nov08.

    I can only conclude, you are admitting (and admitting it full-frontal for that matter), your fear of retaliation, fear of labeling, fear of skullduggery from what I assume to be, the very party you support (your post admitted you were not a Trump supporter, you could very well be a Libertarian, but for the sake of argument, we’ll go with Democrat).

    We (speaking as a supporter of Mr. Trump’s) have withstood such heinous acts from the Liberal/Feminist-Cult, of which I never thought Americans would cast against each other, in the name of “Democracy” – all based on LIES and PROPAGANDA (waged courtesy of the Clinton War Machine), against one man AND egregiously, against ALL of his supporters, whose only crime has been to tell American Citizens his desire to “Make America Great Again”.

    We have endured riots, beatings, threats against life, personal property damage (Molotov cocktail thrown into a RNC location, supporter homes defaced etc), public shaming, ridicule, loss of employment, etcetera etcetera etcetera to the point of projectile-vomiting hatred and disdain for Mr. Trump and his supporters, from what these Cult-Followers have been told was “TRUTH”.
    Then, you found “TRUTH” and didn’t tell anyone {sigh}.

    It’s all been a lie, and you held secret, a tool which would help to thwart the lie.
    You had thoughtfully and painstakingly, put together a very useful tool to use against the lie, but did nothing …because you feared the very party you support. Again …you feared your own party.
    If you take-away nothing else from my comment, it would be in your best interest to think about that last statement for a little longer than normal. You feared the very party you support.

    Is party affiliation and disdain for “the other side” so strong, that we will knowingly avoid truth just to “WIN”? Is fairness in reporting ALL elements, off-the-table when it comes to electing someone into the highest position in America? Are we such a dead society, that we will do anything to win, even if it means the destruction of ourselves to get that win? Eating oneself alive is really not the way to go!

    Superman had it right: “To Fight for Truth, Justice, and the American Way”. A damn fictional character had more credibility than we’ve wrongly convinced ourselves of which a delusional portion of our nation must have – they do not. (Side note: the Liberal/Feminist-Cult has managed to twist that fictional character’s sentiment into a politically-correct version by omitting “American Way”. Oh the humanity to believe an American character should represent “America”.)

    We have lost our way, and if we follow blindly alongside this warped ideology festering in America because we fail to tell the damn truth – what is to become of us? Well, we can see what is to become of us …the self-righteous Liberal/Feminist-Cult members are rioting across the land right now –
    – isn’t Marxism great…?

    I hope you are able to find and read my comment, and will think it best to NOT remove it.
    Opinions are like a-holes yes (we all have one), and these free society American opinions are THE one and only important opposition in the fight against tyranny.

    We will not always agree politically, but when we STOP conversation, when we STOP truth telling, just so “our team can win”, we don’t bother to notice what’s at the doorstep waiting to waltz right in.

    When we fail to notice what’s waiting in the wings because we’ve stopped communicating in truth, we can do nothing to block that tyrannical entrance, but instead – I guarantee, we will swing the door wide open and guide tyranny into America
    then, there’s no turning back.

    Thank you for your time.

    • Deiseach says:

      This comment would have been vastly improved by using TRVTH instead of TRUTH everywhere the latter was used.

      Gentlepersons of all persuasions, I believe we have been graced with the Bizarro version of Moon, though lacking her tastefulness, restraint and good humour. And if this is how some of us sound to her, I apologise to the lunar-named one.

      • The original Mr. X says:

        This comment would have been vastly improved by using TRVTH instead of TRUTH everywhere the latter was used.

        I think it would have been improved by using V instead of U everywhere. If consonantal “v” was good enough for the Romans, it ought to be good enough for us. :p

      • carvenvisage says:

        @deiseach wow I guess you really are a liberal.

        The post seemed sincere enough. Certainly some work went into it. Why not give its author the benefit of the doubt?

        • Deiseach says:

          Why not give its author the benefit of the doubt?

          Side note: the Liberal/Feminist-Cult has managed to twist that fictional character’s sentiment into a politically-correct version by omitting “American Way”.

          carvenvisage, because the last person I interacted with who spoke of Liberal/Feminist Cults and Feminazis turned out to be an intactivist loon.

      • Moon says:

        Thanks, Deisach. So nice of you to insult me, on a thread in which I was not even a participant.

        No wonder almost all Left of Center people leave this board.

        • Deiseach says:

          Moon, I was not insulting you. I really did mean that if I and others came across to you as that post came across to me, no wonder you think we are all frothing at the mouth Falangists, and I sincerely did mean an apology.

          You tend to be a tiny bit thin-skinned at times, but this may merely be that you are more sensitive and empathetic than I am, so where I see nothing but unvarnished statement, you see inchoate implication.

          Proof that I am an unempathetic, cold-hearted bitch: scored 6 out of 80 on this. Go me! 🙂

    • psmith says:

      Reads like the right-wing version of John Sidles.

    • Urstoff says:

      lizardpeople, amirite

    • Dabbler says:

      Since a lot of people seem to be opposed to this post, speaking out in defense of it. We don’t know what Scott Alexander’s motives were, but in particular I would like to point out that fear is a reasonable possibility.

      • “but in particular I would like to point out that fear is a reasonable possibility.”

        Not given the things he has been unafraid to say over the past several years.

        • Dabbler says:

          I distinctly remember Scott Alexander trying to get rid of some of the more radical reactionaries citing fears of his blog being stigmatized.

          Scott Alexander has more courage to speak out than most, but he has limits.

        • Jiro says:

          Fear is a reasonable possibility, but on the other hand, I’m entitled to take him at his word. If he says that one of the reasons he didn’t post it before the election was that he didn’t want people to read truthful information and then vote for Trump, I believe him. If he had fear as a second reason, fine, but I still get to criticise the first one.

          And I made the same criticism before, and a lot more coherently than, hellandahandbasket.

    • “I can come to no other conclusion for this suppression of evidence, than the post’s author experiencing nothing other than fear of what the Liberal/Feminist-Cult members (or his Mother), would think of him…? ”

      You reject the obvious alternative–that he thought Trump would do a bad job as president, an opinion shared by about half the population?

      The only reason I can see for you to reject it is that you think it is so obvious that Trump will be better than Hillary that you cannot imagine an intelligent person disagreeing with that view, hence the only reason to say he disagrees with it is fear. That is rather like the attitude of the other side with candidates reversed, and in both cases implausible.

      It’s especially implausible in this case, given that Scott has quite often posted things likely to offend the left.

    • Nadja says:

      Unless I’ve missed something, in which case, please let me know, I don’t believe Scott had this article all researched and finished before the elections were over. The way, I imagine, that Scott works is that he has a 1000 ideas for a 1000 articles at any given time. All these potential articles would presumably contribute to furthering the truth in one area or another. I really can’t see how anyone can blame him for not writing this particular article earlier. That would have had to happen at the expense of other good things Scott has undoubtedly been up to. So, if he had to choose between writing a truth-furthering article that might result in something he thought would be bad versus writing a different truth-furthering article (or holding a different truth-furthering conversation within his social circle) that he didn’t think would result in anything bad, then how can we blame him for choosing the latter?

      Anyway, I have nothing but admiration and awe for Scott’s intellectual honesty here. Scott clearly despises Trump, but thinks that some of the mainstream accusations against Trump are either untrue or greatly exaggerated. So he comes out and says it. Imagine our political discourse in general were this honest.

    • John Schilling says:

      I can come to no other conclusion for this suppression of evidence, than the post’s author experiencing nothing other than fear of what the Liberal/Feminist-Cult members (or his Mother), would think of him…?

      Not being a regular here, you may have missed the part where our host argued explicitly and effectively that President Donald Trump would be substantially more likely to start a nuclear war than would President Hillary Clinton. I’m not sure I agree with that assessment, and did give him a bit of pushback, but it’s hardly a unique view and Scott seems to come by it sincerely.

      Given the competing hypotheses “Scott is afraid of what his mommy will say” and “Scott is afraid an incompetent thin-skinned ignorant boorish fraudulent omnihypocritical demagogue with no idea how to run a country might decide to play a game of Global Thermonuclear War”, it might be charitable to run with the second.

      And, for the record, anyone who thinks the poorly-timed publication of one of their essays might in even a small way increase the risk of a nuclear apocalypse, has my support and understanding if they decide to hold off for a week or two.

    • Murphy says:

      None of what Scott posted was secret info.

      Why didn’t you write it? You could have pulled together everything he did.

      If I see someone I don’t want to be president being verbally attacked for things I don’t believe are true but I have no special or secret information then I have no duty, moral or otherwise to defend him. I am not obliged to do work to support a candidate I think is shit even if i think some of the things they’re being attacked for are unfair. I am not and cannot be obliged to aid a candidate I oppose on their campaign trail.

      Scott is not your slave. Scott has no duty to support a candidate he thinks is shit.

      I’m sure there’s been some shit said about Hillary that was not supported by evidence if you search, was it your duty to track it down and refute it and publish that before the election even if you think Hillary would have been a shitty president?

  12. Matt M says:

    Thought: Post-election, many on the left are behaving somewhat shamefully – violently protesting, denouncing large swaths of the public at large, refusing to accept the results as legitimate, etc.

    The response by many who are either on the right, sympathetic to the right, or wish the left would at least adopt a different strategy seems to be something like: “Go ahead, keep behaving this way, see how that works out for you, you’ll lose even harder next time!”

    I don’t think this is true – or even a logical conclusion to hold given recent events. I don’t think elections are decided based on the behavior of partisan groups – or the behavior of high-level politicians within either party. Trump didn’t win because of anything organized Republicans did from 2008 – 2016. IMO, he won simply because, in a few large states, the economic recovery Obama promised never materialized, so they voted for the other party instead.

    Trump has also promised these people significant economic improvements. Based on his stated policies, I do not expect him to deliver improvement either. Therefore, I consider it extremely likely that in either 2020 or 2024, Democrats will regain the Presidency (and will probably regain the legislature even sooner), completely and totally regardless of how either side behaves.

    I’m not sure it’s helpful to make predictions like “go ahead and keep rioting that just guarantees you will lose” when there’s a good possibility they WON’T lose. Because then if they riot, and everyone told them rioting guarantees political losses, but they make political gains instead, the message that will be received is “rioting works! let’s do more of it!” (I think this is similar to how the left believes that openly pandering to racism was the official GOP strategy and is responsible for Trump’s victory and therefore likely to get worse)

    • FacelessCraven says:

      @Matt M – “I don’t think this is true – or even a logical conclusion to hold given recent events. I don’t think elections are decided based on the behavior of partisan groups – or the behavior of high-level politicians within either party.”

      People observe that Trump was a lot worse than previous Republican candidates, and has in fact done better than previous Republican candidates. There’s a number of conclusions one can draw from that. One of them is that Social Justice’s attempts to enforce their views via labeling and social pressure has led to labels and social pressure being devalued, possibly to the point of actually losing them votes they otherwise would have.

      I would agree that the connection is not obvious and may not exist at all. On the other hand, it’s my best guess as to what’s going on. I’d agree that it doesn’t guarantee victory, and it’s entirely possible that the left will win the next election despite or even because of their behavior. On the other hand, I don’t see what can be done about this. If they respond to losing by rioting, and they respond to winning by rioting, I think we’re probably going to just have to get used to dealing with rioting.

      • Matt M says:

        My general point is that it seems like a bad idea to strongly insist that rioting won’t help them achieve their desired ends when we don’t at all know that conclusively.

        If you think it’s reasonably likely that a Democrat will win in 2020 or even 2024, regardless of whether a bunch of hipsters burn Portland down or not, it seems very irresponsible to me to loudly declare “rioting will cause you to lose” because in the event they DON’T lose, they will turn right around and say “no, rioting caused us to win” which is probably a sub-optimal outcome.

        It’s fine to discourage rioting for practical or moral reasons, but tying it to a predicted outcome that is incredibly uncertain just seems like a very bad way to go about this…

    • carvenvisage says:

      You don’t think trump was a protest vote for a lot of people?

      (Or is that nor implied?)

      • Matt M says:

        Honestly – no, not really. Or at least, not in a significant enough way to matter.

        The narrative that Trump represents an overall cultural backlash against political correctness is nice, and I’d LIKE it to be true – because I’m sympathetic to that end. But I just don’t see it in the voting patterns.

        Political correctness is a problem that manifests itself mainly in blue-tribe environments. In California. In universities. At high level white collar employment environments. If Trump is supposed to be a counter to that – I would expect him to outperform in places and demographics like that. But he didn’t – he did even worse in those places.

        I’m not convinced the rural rust belt voters were making a statement against political correctness. In the spirit of Occam’s Razor, the simplest explanation is probably the right one – or to directly quote James Carville, “It’s the economy, stupid” The places that carried the victory for Trump are almost exclusively places that were hurting in 2008, abandoned Republicans to give the Democrats a chance, nothing got any better for them (despite things getting better in many other parts of the country), so now they’re abandoning the Democrats and giving the Republicans a chance. And either 4 or 8 years from now, when things STILL don’t get any better, it’s back to the Democrats they go, political correctness or no.

        • carvenvisage says:

          Do you listen to the radio or watch mainstream news?

          At my last job, (dishwashing btw), the mainstream and national-official radio stations we’d listen to spoke about feminism and progress like stereotypical christian missionaries speak about the good news. And listening to that radio was the only hard part of the job, but god was it hard.

          And I’m hardly a typical poor rural right winger, -atheist, and I have good prospects in the long term. If I was someone who’d been working in a factory for the last 40 years, allowing myself to slowly be closed in on for the last 10 years in the name of progress by people who clearly have no sympathy for what monotonous hard work year on year requires of and does to a person, just contempt that some such people would resort to crude humour, or, god forbid, outright actual crudeness, (-well, the white ones anyway), I would be pretty fucking enraged about now.

          -Having finally realised that this so called movement for progress is just one more grasping cult that wants to intimidate heretics and bask in the glow of its own self righteousness just for the self indulgence of it all.

          I mean, I really have only the slightest sample of an idea of how much that would piss me off in that scenario-

          I’m sympathetic to a lot of these hypersensitive left wing ideas, -microaggressions, trigger warnings, even reparations actually, and I’m young with good long term prospects. And, I have no children to make me beholden to the future and thus obligated to stand against dangerous cults in a way others aren’t.

          How is a died in the wool traditionalist/red father to feel when they realise they’ve been duped and their children/country are in danger (structural, long term, but that’s even worse, you won’t be there to protect them)? That the contempt and palpable superiority they’ve been ignoring for years is neither a fad nor anything like a genuinely more elevated alternative, just a bunch of recreational intellectual thugs trading on MLK and white guilt, (how fucking generous is -or rather was, white guilt? People sorry for things other people’s grandfathers did, ready to jump as soon as somebody said boo) -and beyond squandering them. -At institutions your limited tax dollars are directly funding.

          -That somehow the left have conspired to vindicate the most paranoid and malicious right wingers of the past? I’d just about lose my mind.

          And surely a lot of people have seen or heard about some of the mass contortions against people who made some minor doctrinal error or spoke against something vaguely left wing or didn’t want to bake someone a cake.

          -Things like Brendan eich’s ousting are not central cases of, but they are technically, and in fact, terrorism. -A movement is showing that they can hurt you for believing or having believed, the things that you, (or at least some decent people in your family), believe, and seemingly they are doing it just because they can, just because they won.

          You’re told that black lives matter, as if you’re 1. a fucking retard, and 2. your life is a paradise that clearly matters to policymakers employers etc. The universities you perhaps held in superstitious awe, or at least respect (if only for your kids sake, -then still), turn out not to be bastions of learning, but of (recreational) parasitic movement building.

          I don’t think it is the simplest explanation that something like a weak economy, or even losing your job, or even losing all prospect of a job, would push someone to vote for trump. It’s not just a switch to the other party, it’s much more than that, more like a switch to the most insulting candidate to the political establishment, and moreso to left wingers, and to a candidate who is on the face of it quite dangerous.

          -And ‘not being racist’ is a value take seriously, or used to, in america, at least nominally -and people will have heard of many of the things trump has been accused of, and has said with his own mouth, so I think a bigger effect is needed to explain people flocking to him.

           

          Actually just here is a link to a very highly rated ‘thedonald’ post on reddit: maybe not representative of the rural rust belt voters, but certainly of some trump supporters, and very much matches my perception that the gradual progressive boiling-lobster-pot ratchet has really, well, ratcheted up (and imo accelerated in doing so) a lot over the last ten years or so (highly recommended reading):

          https://web.archive.org/web/20161111071559/https://www.reddit.com/r/The_Donald/comments/5c5ctg/they_just_dont_fucking_get_it/

          Imo it’s a very strong argument in favour of trump. If you poke a bear with a stick long enough it’s liable to rip your head off.

          And it’s not a bad idea either. There’s no other good way to get an asshole with a stick to stop prodding. Maybe ripping the head off isn’t a good idea either, but what does it matter at this stage?

           

          Is the economy so much worse now than in past elections that it’s a good/sufficient explanation?

        • dndnrsn says:

          @Matt M:

          For people who disliked both leaders, they went for Trump more than they went for Clinton, 49 to 29 percent. People who said neither were qualified went for Trump 69 to 15 percent. Those who thought neither candidate had the right temperament went for Trump 71 to 12 percent.

          Those dissatisfied or angry about the federal government went for Trump 58 to 36 percent. Those who thought the economy is in poor condition versus good went for Trump 63 to 31 percent. Those who thought the country is headed in the wrong direction went for Trump 69 to 25 percent. Those who thought life for the next generation of Americans will be worse went for Trump 63 to 31 percent. (Source)

          Maybe he wasn’t a protest vote against political correctness, but he certainly was a protest vote of some sort to some people who voted for him. I think the most significant evidence for this is that people who disliked both and thought neither was qualified went for Trump over Clinton by a significant margin. Disliking someone and thinking they’re unqualified and still voting for them screams “protest vote”.

          • Moon says:

            “For people who disliked both leaders, they went for Trump more than they went for Clinton, 49 to 29 percent. People who said neither were qualified went for Trump 69 to 15 percent. Those who thought neither candidate had the right temperament went for Trump 71 to 12 percent.”

            I definitely see this as a protest vote, as you do.

            All of this is also a testament to the power of fake news. Anyone consuming real news could not have believed that Clinton was unqualified. She had qualifications out the wazoo, while DT had none. Those who thought Clinton’s temperament was as bad as Trump’s must also have been consuming fake news.

          • Aapje says:

            Being considered qualified can be a negative, if people think that your goals are opposed to theirs.

            If you think that one person has a policy that will cost you your job and is good at implementing their policy, while another person has a policy that keeps you your job, but he is poor at implementing his policy, who would you vote for?

          • dndnrsn says:

            @Moon:

            I don’t know if it’s about fake news. I think it’s more likely that people will say someone they don’t like is unqualified for the same reason they’ll say someone they don’t like is stupid. A lot of people find it hard to attribute any positives to someone they view negatively.

            @Aapje:

            Well, this is how I felt with regard to Clinton’s foreign policy. I still think that she would have been a considerably better choice than Trump, and were I an American voter I would have voted for Clinton. But “foreign policy experience” was, to me, a poor sell – as far as I’m concerned, American foreign policy 2009-2016 has been as bad as American foreign policy 2001-2008. Some major screwups have happened on her watch.

            Most people, though, are not going to say “she has experience and is clearly very intelligent and knows her stuff, but I think that her tenure as Secretary of State has been marked by some very bad decisions and a worrying combination of hawkishness and half-measures”, and that wasn’t an option on the CNN poll.

    • Matt M says:

      I feel like you’re all distracting from my greater point. Even if I concede Trump was a “protest vote” for many people the following still holds true:

      1. It’s very likely that the Democrats will win another election in one of the next two cycles

      2. It’s very likely that whether they do or not has VERY little to do with how ill-behaved far left students are

      People have advanced like 50 different plausible explanations for Trump’s success. “People voted for him because they’re upset at entitled liberal brats” is but one of many. I see no overwhelming evidence that it’s the primary reason, or that it will hold as a reason indefinitely into the future.

      Therefore, it’s a bad idea to promise the left that their bad behavior will lead to electoral failure – because if they continue to behave badly and achieve electoral success – you will lose all credibility and they will be incentivized to continue said bad behavior.

      • FacelessCraven says:

        I agree with everything you’ve written here. I see no reason to be highly confident that Republicans will win the 2020 election, regardless of how crazy the Blue Tribe partisans get.

        My question is, why do you think the right has any control over the left’s behavior at all?

        “Therefore, it’s a bad idea to promise the left that their bad behavior will lead to electoral failure – because if they continue to behave badly and achieve electoral success – you will lose all credibility and they will be incentivized to continue said bad behavior.”

        …What evidence do you have that the right has any credibility to lose? Even before Trump, did they have any credibility? Are you confident that the right is the side actually incentivising bad behavior in the first place? If not, why can’t whatever is incentivising this behavior just keep right on incentivising it indefinitely? You’re talking like there’s some sort of engagement here, some connection or shared understanding between the two. It is not obvious to me that such a connection actually exists.

        • Matt M says:

          This is a fair point.

          I guess the analogy I would make is to a literal spoiled child. Telling the child to behave properly because virtue is its own reward is unlikely to work well. The child doesn’t really care about your own opinions regarding virtue and will mostly just do whatever they want.

          But if you DO threaten the child with punishment, you better be able to deliver on that punishment. If the mother says, “Bad behavior means that your father is going to spank you when he gets home!” and then father comes home and no spanking – that almost certainly does, in fact, encourage more bad behavior. The parent is better off making no threat at all than threatening punishment that they cannot deliver.

          The left doesn’t “listen” to the right in the sense that they agree to do what they’re told – but they do listen in the sense that they are vaguely aware that the right is telling them that continued protests and denounciations of regular Trump voters will lead to electoral defeats. But we have little control over that outcome. So it would probably be better to make no threat at all. I’m not sure what the best way is to discourage protests and encourage civility, but it’s probably something like referring to people they respect (Obama, Hillary, Colbert, whoever) rather than saying “lol yeah keep it up you’ll just lose more” which is adversarial in nature and just makes them want to prove you wrong.

  13. Luke the CIA Stooge says:

    Related to “your still crying wolf”
    It seems to me the very act of calling someone or their ideas “racist” is fundamentally intellectually dishonest and should be avoided.

    Once you call someone or their ideas racist you have ruined the discourse just as surely as if you had start insulting them and arguing that you could kick their ass.

    This community and movement (the rationalist movement) was built around the quest for truth and honest discourse, but as soon as accusations of racism are thrown the question in discussion is no longer “is this idea true?” it becomes “is this idea racist?”. The accusation of racism does nothing to enlighten us about the truth value of a statement but instead is a device used to discredit ideas without concern for it truth value. the statement “jews have weak stomachs”, despite being “racist” is about as factually correct as a four word statement can be: their are numerous stomach ailments which are especially present in various Jewish groups, notably crohn’s disease.

    Additionally there are numerous Anti-racist “facts” which get privileged in such discussions despite their clear a pressing falsehood or unprovability because arguments against them get bogged down in discussions of whether or not the person or ideas questioning them are racist.

    I think at this point a strong case can be made that accusations of “racism” are used as cheat codes for discourse to avoid intellectual discussions, to avoid the need to charitably engage with ideas you disagree with, and to discredit ideas and people you don’t like.
    I can’t count the number of thoughtful reflective people i know who as soon as Trump or other alleged racists are brought up shut down there critical faculty, stop charitably analyzing ideas and just start engaging in ad-hominems.

    Even if trump actually was an Openly white supremicist candidate, that tells us nothing about the accuracy of his ideas. The accusations of racism from the media told Americans nothing about trumps policies, ideas, or their implications but told us everything about their hysterical need to discredit him and avoid seriously engaging with his ideas.

    If the anti-racism left was sent back to 1920s Germany, i doubt any part of history would change as according to them they are surrounded by racist argument today and are helpless to argue against them.

    • Urstoff says:

      It’s definitely overused, but if one actually is racist, that seems like a bad thing to me. My own definition of racism is considering those of other races as having lesser moral value, which often comes hand in hand with a willingness to believe the worst of other races regardless of evidence (and ignoring the basic concept of statistical distribution). Calling someone a racist, even if they are by this definition, is an ad hominem when it comes to particular arguments, but I would prefer that our political leaders consider all lives to be of equal moral worth.

      • Aapje says:

        My own definition of racism is considering those of other races as having lesser moral value

        Most accusations seem to use a much less strict definition, which often boils down to: what you said is outside of the Overton Window, so it is not allowed to be true.

  14. BBA says:

    November 19 is International Men’s Day, a “holiday” apparently created for the sole purpose of getting anti-feminists to stop whining about International Women’s Day.

    In what is almost certainly a complete coincidence, November 19 is also World Toilet Day.

    (Speaking honestly: these are both legitimate and are meant to address genuinely important issues, but I need to have something to harmlessly snark about.)

    • DrBeat says:

      Would you consider it “harmless snark” to talk about how International Women’s Day proves that caring about women is stupid and terrible? Or would that make you upset and demand concessions from someone who said that?

      • Fossegrimen says:

        The human race needs to be allowed to snark about something, and if white cisgender male Scandinavians is all there is left, then by all means go ahead.

        The problem is not the snarking about us, the problem is that more and more potential snarks is getting out of bounds.

        • DrBeat says:

          When it comes to men, “snarking” is often hand in hand with “absolute and comprehensive callousness to pain, contempt for the idea they could ever have problems in need of addressing, a limitless desire to punish them for the crime of being able to be punished, and constant commitment to reinforcing and empowering sexism because it causes harm to them.”

          If you are okay with snarking about Women’s Day, fine, there’s no problem. If you think it’s okay to snark Men’s Day but not Women’s Day because men don’t really have real problems and don’t really deserve consideration but women are imperiled and in constant need of defense even against symbolic harms, you are every single thing you claim to be fighting against, and you need to stop.

          Almost every single person I have ever met, or seen, or seen evidence of, that believes it is “harmless snark” when aimed at men also believes it is horrifying, perilous, bigoted, and harmful when aimed at women. Those people are sexist, and are why sexism will never get better, ever, and life will never be worth tolerating, ever.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @DrBeat – “Those people are sexist, and are why sexism will never get better, ever, and life will never be worth tolerating, ever.”

            The world is not that bad a place.

          • The Nybbler says:

            @FacelessCraven

            The world is that bad a place as long as those people are in power. And they are, at least in the parts of the world I know how to live in. I’m too old to retrain as a tradesperson.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @TheNybbler – How bad is it day-to-day for you?I’ve found operating in crypto-mode is somewhat stressful, but survivable. It helps that I have trusted friends to vent to, and having a clear understanding of how Social Justice works makes it relatively easy to avoid being stepped on, but for me it’s only been a relatively short-term deal, and appears to be mostly over at the moment.

          • The Nybbler says:

            @FacelessCraven

            I got stepped on, “bigly” as Trump would say. I can’t go into details publicly however.

          • As some evidence that even the academic world is not as oppressive as many seem to assume …

            For the past 21 years I have taught at a university with two ideologies–Catholicism (it’s a Jesuit school) and soft leftism. That I fit neither was obvious when they hired me, and has never been a problem since.

            A few years back, the school had a week devoted to sustainability and asked professors if they would like to give a talk on the subject. I emailed them back, asking if they had any objection to my giving a talk against sustainability. They didn’t. I gave it.

            If anyone is curious, it’s webbed.

          • neciampater says:

            To clear my bias, I frequent MRA sites and consider myself an advocate.

            Great comment. I think it can be summed up as “double standard”.

      • BBA says:

        Mostly I just think these International Days of Whatever are dumb.

        International Men’s Day stood out to me as being uncharacteristic of the typical politics of the organizations that set up these things – you would expect them not to care about men qua men, and yet they do, or are at least giving lip service to it so they can stop getting complaints and focus on IMPORTANT things.

        I don’t think men are necessarily terrible. But I know that I’m a man and I’m terrible, so I can see how that notion could arise.

        • Aapje says:

          The news is full of manufactured news, where organizations manipulate the media into giving coverage. (Fake) research that makes the media talk about things in a way that benefits an advocacy group or company, conflicts that were initiated by some trolling to get the media to cover the outrage, etc, etc.

          An International X Day is just another such tactic and one of the easiest, you don’t even necessarily have to do anything more than send out a press release.

          It does work very well for the Men’s Rights Movement, actually, because every year there are some feminists that are totally supportive of Men’s Rights, as long as the discussion is about women or just demonstrate their misandry or go with the old: every day of the year is International Men’s Day. The latter gives an opening to argue that certain topics are not discussed every day of the year.

          • BBA says:

            International Men’s Day has nothing to do with the MRAs, who are a movement of very recent vintage; it started in the ’90s and has been endorsed by UNESCO (!!!). It was meant as a counterpart to the longstanding International Women’s Day.

            (World Toilet Day, incidentally, is about the role of sanitation technology in preventing the spread of communicable disease, and the UN Water group apparently picked the same date as IMD by pure coincidence.)

          • Aapje says:

            I didn’t say that they created it, I said that they benefit from it (a little).

    • Wander says:

      As a lot of people have mentioned, indoor plumbing and sanitation technologies are one of the single most important health developments in history. People take them for granted and give them a lot of shit (har har), but a lot of our modern society is built upon the assumption that they’re always there doing their vital work. Maybe there’s a good association there.

  15. Anatoly says:

    It dawned on me why the crying wolf post makes me uneasy. It’s because it seems more widely applicable than (perhaps) it actually is. I agree 100% that presenting Trump as openly racist, Bannon as literally KKK etc. is terrible and stupid and counterproductive etc. But who’s doing that? Scott’s examples seem to come mostly/almost completely from left-wing and progressive media. Vox, Slate, the Nation, thinkprogress, laprogressive.com… But he’s *talking* about “the media”. “The media responded to all of this freely available data with articles like…” “The only thing the media has been able to do for the last five years…” (IMPORTANT: I do not think that Scott is doing any sort of deliberate deception and it’d be terrible to interpret my comment in this way).

    Is it true that “the media” has been presenting Trump as openly racist, white nationalist etc.? I mean the mainstream media, as much as that notion still makes sense, which to some degree it certainly does. I mean NYTimes, WP, WSJ, the Atlantic Monthly, LATimes, USA Today, Time, CNN, network news, etc. etc. If they’re driving the “Trump is an openly racist KKK sympathizer” narrative, I want to know, if they’re not, I want to know. In this article I think I’m mostly getting Vox and Slate and ThinkProgress defined as “the media”. I already know Vox is terrible. I don’t think it’s accurate or helpful to think of Vox as a central example of “the media” though. To me, a central example of “the media” is NYTimes. I went on NYTimes and searched for “openly racist” and found just a handful of examples over the last few years, almost all of them quoting someone else saying it in the story. There was one recent example with “openly racist” in the non-quoted text – and it was in a letter to the editor! And when I went back and checked the impressive list of “openly racist” links in Scott’s post, turned out the NYTimes one is that letter! I think it’s fair to say that NYTimes is not doing its utmost to push the “Trump is openly racist” narrative.

    This also explains why Scott Adams was ecstatic about this post and wants everyone to read it. People in the right-wing bubble often think that all media is like Vox and the Nation. (I don’t know if Scott Adams is actually in the right-wing bubble, or playacts at it. In my opinion, he’s become remarkably dishonest over the last few months of the campaign, and his post are now manipulative and lying by default to me). Scott’s post is remarkably effective, very convincing, and if you don’t check all the links you may end up convinced that “the media” in general has been pushing “openly racist” and “literally KKK”. But if you look at it more closely, all of Scott’s refutations actually come from “the media”, now meaning the actual media, not its progressive segment. “The media” – not right-wing sites, not NR, not Breitbat, but “the media” seems to be doing quite a lot to present Trump’s words and actions accurately.

    • keranih says:

      To me, a central example of “the media” is NYTimes. I went on NYTimes and searched for “openly racist” and found just a handful of examples over the last few years, almost all of them quoting someone else saying it in the story.

      To be clear, was this a search of “openly racist” + “Trump” or just “openly racist”?

      Because if it’s the second, and nothing came up, that’s probably a clue that the NYT doesn’t use that particular phrase against anyone, and so they are emphasizing negative racial bias in a different way.

      (The racial bias of NYT’s reporting is there – there is a reason why the old joke is “When the SMOD comes, the headline on the NYTs will be “WORLD ENDS – Women and Minorities Hardest Hit”.)

      The Old Grey Lady is old, and wealthy, and so acts like an old wealthy lady – moderate in tone in public. Openly calling someone racist is fighting words, which a lady tends to avoid.

      • Matt M says:

        I have no hard evidence to confirm this, but I would also suggest that a lot of NYT reporters probably use much harsher language in their public (but unofficial) communications such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.

        Paul Krugman I know uses a much harsher tone on Twitter than is typically published in his actual NYT columns. If he were to (and I’m not saying he has) call Trump openly racist on Twitter, does that count as “the media” or not?

      • Iain says:

        The second Google hit I get for “‘openly racist’ site:nytimes.com” is this one about a German politician.

    • The Nybbler says:

      Here’s a New York Times hit piece on Bannon

      http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/14/us/politics/reince-priebus-chief-of-staff-donald-trump.html?_r=0

      Here’s an editorial (not an op-ed)

      http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/15/opinion/turn-on-the-hate-steve-bannon-at-the-white-house.html?_r=0

      Here’s an editorial (again, not an op-ed) from last year calling him a racist.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/24/opinion/mr-trumps-applause-lies.html?_r=0

      Yeah, it’s the mainstream media, not just the explicitly left-wing media.

    • shakeddown says:

      This is true, but I think a lot of mainstream media has fallen into the well of considering this as a relevant question. So you’ll get NYT articles discussing the question of whether Trump is a racist and to what degree, that are written as part of the narrative set by the Voxlike places, but are responding to it by attempting to take a “both sides” response to it. So even if they aren’t pushing the Openly Racist narrative, they’re still discussing it.

      • Anatoly says:

        Yes, but this goes both ways. The mainstream media also spent incredible amounts of time and space discussing the narrative of the “treasonous Hillary server” and other “scandals”, even when they weren’t pushing those narratives.

  16. Deiseach says:

    Turning to something less contentious than the election – mad science!

    Okay, once I got over the What The Fudge? instinctual response to this, what I thought was that (a) this is a perfect chance to test out cryonics and the hopes for eventual “they can unfreeze and cure us in the future/they can upload brain readings” (as in the recent case of the 14 year old girl who wants to be a cryonic subject) because “the … operation … would see [the] head “frozen” to stop brain cells from dying and tubes connected to support key arteries and veins” (b) why does the guy have to look like a Bond supervillain mad scientist? (c) what the actual fudge, how can anyone think this will work on a real human being?

    Comments and opinions invited: genuine scientific opportunity or publicity stunt but it’ll never go ahead and isn’t planned to do so, it’s meant to drum up interest and support, and likelihood if it goes ahead, that the result will out-perform a snowball in Hell?

    Third possibility: this isn’t about head transplants, it’s Inventum Bioengineering Technologies being really sneaky and clever about publicising themselves and their VR system?

    This seems legit, but I don’t know?

    • The original Mr. X says:

      (b) why does the guy have to look like a Bond supervillain mad scientist?

      Because only a Bond supervillain mad scientist would try to do such a thing?

      • Deiseach says:

        Yes, but when trying for permission for such a unique operation, you really should look like “grandfatherly Louis Pasteur type”, not “will commence with ‘Ah, Mr Bond!’ when you’re strapped into this VR rig” 🙂

  17. IrishDude says:

    Is spanking a child ever appropriate?

    Before having children I told myself I’d never spank, as I see violence as wrong in most situations, and didn’t want to teach my child that it was acceptable to hit. I have a 2 1/2 year old boy now who I have probably spanked a handful of times in his life. My spanking technique is one medium strengthed slap on his bottom that doesn’t leave a mark. For a rough split of the proximate cause of the spankings:
    *Let’s say 4 were due to being slapped or punched, usually in my face.
    *2 were for disobedience, like repeatedly refusing to get in the car when told to, screaming at me when I go to lift him and put him in the car, and physically resisting.
    *1 was for running into the road when a car was coming and scaring me silly.

    My goal with the spanking is to deter behavior I think inappropriate, though frustration on my part is sometimes a contributing factor. I feel most justified spanking after I’ve been hit, as I feel hitting is justified for adults when you’ve been unjustly hit, and also a spanking clues my son into the types of reaction he might reasonably get if he hits another person. I feel less justified spanking for disobedience and have felt more guilty after those spankings. After all spankings, once the situation was under control, I have apologized to and hugged my son and told him I didn’t want to spank, but that his behavior had to improve.

    So, is spanking ever okay? I still have mixed feelings on it.

    Note: the vast, vast majority of his discipline is two-minute time outs, losing out on a treat, a stern talking to, or losing toy privileges.

    • Patrick Merchant says:

      If you only spank him when he’s managed to get you frustrated, then I think you’re on the wrong track. It’ll teach him that rule-breaking is only wrong when it inconveniences an authority figure. If the spankings are being applied as a consistent response to any kind of serious rule-breaking or bad behaviour, regardless of your emotional state at the time, then that will make him associate the punishment with his behaviour, not your mood.

      Basically just try to keep the punishments as consistent as possible, even if its tempting to be more forgiving on some days and harsher on others. I think the situations where you spanked him were appropriate, but again, be sure to apply the same punishment no matter who he hits/screams at. If you only do it when he attacks you, again, the lesson becomes “don’t screw with authority figures” instead of “don’t hit/scream at people.”

      • Mark V Anderson says:

        Yes. I believe there are two very important attributes of parenting that dwarf any other factors:
        1) You care about your child and genuinely try to do what is right for him.
        2) You are consistent.

        Parenting is worst when #1 isn’t present. But for the vast multitudes of parents, #2 is the biggest stumbling block. When you tell the kid a certain consequence will occur if he does something, that consequence should occur, or else your kid won’t believe what you say, and will spend his whole childhood begging you to change your mind. Of course the key to this is not to punish the kid in the draconian ways you promise, but to not promise those punishments in the first place that you aren’t going to do. I always told my kids that begging will NEVER work; once I say no that is it. But that doesn’t mean I won’t change my mind if they convince me by reason. I try to encourage reason but not whining.

        If you succeed at #1 and #2, spanking vs. non-spanking loses its significance. Many kids that were spanked grow up happy and adjusted; the same with those not spanked. But if you don’t care for your kid, you will raise an unhappy and uncaring kid. If you aren’t consistent, you will raise a spoiled unreasoning kid.

      • IrishDude says:

        Thanks for the feedback. I agree consistency is important, though due to the social stigma of spanking I’d find it more difficult to spank my son after he hit another child where other adults were present. Is the stigma as strong as I perceive it to be?

        • Mark V Anderson says:

          Yes I think the stigma is very real. At least amongst the Blue Tribe where I live, and I suspect increasingly amongst Red Tribe also. Although I was neutral on spanking in my previous comment, I do think that it is usually not necessary. There are other punishments that work, and are not subject to the stigma. I assume your kid is pre-school, since hitting other kids usually happens at that age? Time-outs are the usual punishment for that kind of thing (although I haven’t had pre-schoolers for 20 years, so maybe I am out of date). If it gets serious enough, I would think there are other things you can do to tell your kid how serious it is. I knew my kids well enough that I knew what mattered to them, so it wasn’t hard to find things to take away that they cared about. Of course not for frivolous reasons; the point is get your kid through a bad stage without causing too much unhappiness on their part. Back to #1 again.

    • keranih says:

      Kids are not rational creatures. The neekid apes that we are have reactions to violence hardwired in. We have to be taught rationality. And losing toy privileges, for example, might be too little, too far from the prompting event to force a connection between the offense and the punishment.

      (And you want to put some immediate visceral connections into the kid’s brain – like, oh, “If I’m running and Mom hollers stop, I stop.” V. useful when the kid is running towards traffic.)

      IMO, spanking – if done as a deliberate tool to reach a kid at the sub-rational stage, and not out of anger or frustration – can be very effective.

      But kids – like older adults – vary wildly in terms of how they respond to various incentives. Some adults need a long, profane rant to get their attention. Others wilt at a change in silent body language. You need to judge your kid’s reaction to inputs, and adjust accordingly.

    • Deiseach says:

      If spanking is only spanking (slaps with the hand on the clothed buttocks or across the legs), and not hitting and not some kind of ritualised performance that will only instill fear and dread into the kid (the whole solemn “wait till your father gets home”, the inquest, the belt or stick or whatever*, etc) then it’s fine.

      I might not spank for physically resisting, etc. because in those cases sometimes it’s better to let them scream themselves out or just physically pick them up and move them. Tantrums are frustrating for toddlers as much as for the parents and a slap or verbal rebuke isn’t much good to get their attention off their psychological meltdown because they don’t have the focus. Letting them lie on the floor kicking and screaming, even if in a public place and it draws tut-tutting**, works out better because they exhaust their energy, you’ve shown you can outlast them, and that having a meltdown doesn’t achieve their ends.

      I wouldn’t worry about spanking when they’ve scared the pants off you, as long as you explain “this was dangerous, don’t do it, that’s why the spank” and don’t just let them think “that was because I scared mommy or daddy” so they keep doing the dangerous things and try not to let you catch them doing them. Keep the “You scared me because you could have been hurt” separate from the “this is to reinforce that this is bad/dangerous behaviour”.

      But hey, you’re human, you’ll screw up at times. As long as you don’t spank out of pure anger and frustration (the classical example of “boss yells at dad who has to take it, dad comes home and yells at mom, mom yells at junior, and junior pulls the cat’s tail” relieving of emotion you can’t express elsewhere), then you and the kid will be okay.

      *Generations of Irish children were reared on “now you’ve done it, now you’re getting the wooden spoon

      **And you know, to hell with the tut-tutters. If they don’t have kids themselves, they have no idea. If they do have kids, they should know better than to tut-tut. Tut-tutting is only appropriate when kids are let run wild and be destructive and the parent doesn’t do anything or just hits but doesn’t tell the kid why “no, don’t do that”. Raising children is tough, to quote Chesterton’s experience of a day’s child-minding:

      Playing with children is a glorious thing; but the journalist in question has never understood why it was considered a soothing or idyllic one. It reminds him, not of watering little budding flowers, but of wrestling for hours with gigantic angels and devils. Moral problems of the most monstrous complexity besiege him incessantly. He has to decide before the awful eyes of innocence, whether, when a sister has knocked down a brother’s bricks, in revenge for the brother having taken two sweets out of his turn, it is endurable that the brother should retaliate by scribbling on the sister’s picture book, and whether such conduct does not justify the sister in blowing out the brother’s unlawfully lighted match.

      Just as he is solving this problem upon principles of the highest morality, it occurs to him suddenly that he has not written his Saturday article; and that there is only about an hour to do it in.

      …Then the journalist sends off his copy and turns his attention to the enigma of whether a brother should commandeer a sister’s necklace because the sister pinched him at Littlehampton.

      • IrishDude says:

        On Chestertons experience, I haven’t yet had to intervene in tit for tat sibling interactions, but as my three week old grows it’ll be interesting playing arbiter between him and his older brother.

      • Mark V Anderson says:

        I very much agree that the best approach to tantrums is to just let them burn themselves out if at all possible. I do remember once when my daughter was very small she threw a terrible tantrum at the mall. My wife and I sat down and waited for it to end. People stared but that was fine. When she was done we continued on as if nothing had occurred. I don’t think she had a tantrum after that, because it wasn’t effective. One time when I picked up my son at daycare, he cried and screamed that he didn’t want to leave. I picked him up and took him to the car, and buckled him in. Then I shut the door and waited outside the car until he was done. You can’t always ignore tantrums, but it is best when you can.

    • Deiseach says:

      Let’s say 4 were due to being slapped or punched, usually in my face

      Reminiscences of an Irish childhood 🙂

      When I was two or three, I went through the biting when angry stage. I once bit my mother so hard on the thigh I drew blood. She bit me back (no, she didn’t bite to the point of drawing blood or leaving a mark, I was more shocked than anything) but hey, I never bit anyone again. The fact that I still remember this and can picture it in my mind means the lesson stuck.

      So the kid hits or punches or kicks, a slap on the legs is appropriate response to teach “don’t do that, it hurts and is not nice, don’t hurt people”.

    • carvenvisage says:

      My 2c, YMMV.

      (Phrasing probably not very generous)

      Imo the answer is basically no: it’s either a calculated phisical overpowering/humiliation from someone bigger and stronger than you, or it’s the same thing, except turning against your child in a fit of emotion. -You’re either physically humiliating and hurting them to manipulate them, or because you allow yourself to see them as an enemy.

      The first is probably a lot better, but even then my instinct is that it’s unnecessarry, unnecessarilly adversarial, and, potentially innefective, -or indeed counterproductive. On the first point, parents already have complete financial and almost complete legal power over their children, so demonstrations of physical strength are probably unnecessary avenues of leverage. On the second point, as you say, what lessons does it teach them? Particularly, what independence can someone learn when their guardian uses conditioning by violence for the difficult scenarios, which independence is important because there isn’t always going to be someone to kick their ass for them. You have to equip them to understand why what they did was harmful or wrong. Maybe there’s a place for spanking early, but it’s not a long term solution.

       

      Seperately, If your son is old enough for the “I’m so sorry I didn’t mean it spiel” (MAJOR RED FLAG imo), then surely he’s old enough to be reasoned with, because that’s exactly what that is trying to be.

      -You think he’s irrational enough to need to be kept in line by violence, but rational enough to understand its necessity immediately in its aftermath? That’s self-contradictory and absurd.

       

      And I don’t want to be an asshole, but there’s no nice way to say this: going after someone’s consent/sanction, verbally, right after they’ve been softened up by violence is incredibly poor form. Mixed message, taking advantage of shock + fear + willingness to hurt on display, etc, -showing two faces back to back, looking like you view them like a thing to be conditioned rather than a person… It’s just bad all around.

      -So if you’re going to spank, preferably do so in a principled manner that you believe is right, and don’t have to apologise for, but MUCH more imporatntly don’t apologise right afterward when they’re softened up and least capable of rationally processing it, -as opposed to taking away the message that people overpowering them is okay and when it happens they have to aquiesce to that persons preferenes, help them out with any guilt which may be present, and generally sympathise with violence upon their person that they don’t undestand.

      -If you have anything to apologise for, it’s not for doing what you think is good for your son, it’s for trying to connect with them afterward as if you haven’t just done so.

       

      After all spankings, once the situation was under control, I have apologized to and hugged my son and told him I didn’t want to spank, but that his behavior had to improve.

      Also unless by ‘apologised’ you mean ‘expressed regret’, this quote should answer your question. As a rule You wouldn’t apologise for things that were truly necessarry. And if you do you’re ruining the (-costly-) effect.

       

      disclaimer: just my view etc

      More serious disclaimer: I was a sensitive and obedient child, so maybe things are different if someone is the opposite of both. -I don’t think so, I think it’s almost inherently unhelpful, but I could be wrong. Also, most of my arguments should still stand, but maybe they’re less important than I think, or maybe other things are more important.

      • IrishDude says:

        To clarify, my apology is not that I didn’t mean what I did but that I didn’t want to do it. I’ve punched one of my brothers and one of my good friends in the face before, thought they deserved it and told them so both times, but still apologized after. That may be contradictory to you, but it’s how I often feel after doing something I don’t like but think I must do.

        My son is 2 and a half, so I think there is only very basic reasoning going on with him. I still explain as best I can all of my decisions even when I think he doesn’t understand, as it’s good practice for me to explicate, good practice for my son to hear a reasoned process, and it’s also possible that his reasoning abilities are better than I suspect.

    • Paul Brinkley says:

      Existence proof: my father spanked me when I was a child. It was extremely controlled, rare, swift, and consistent. He was overtly not angry whenever he did it; I remember him doing it twice, for example, and asking, calmly: “wanna go for three?”. It felt like I imagine corporal punishment in boot camp feels like, which makes sense, given that he served in the Army during the Vietnam War. The mission is to deter a specific type of behavior, not to let the spanker take out their anger on the receiver.

      So I very much endorse Patrick Merchant’s comment: a parent can be unhappy, but control is absolutely essential.

      I do think there is room for different responses while still appearing consistent. The next time your kid does the same thing, you can probably get away with a stern admonition, particularly if it’s clear you could spank again. This is useful if you’re trying to avoid a spectacle, or even if you’re just tired (but be careful not to look tired).

      • Jiro says:

        There’s a reason why scientists dispassionately carrying out experiments on helpless people are considered horrific above and beyond the fact that people are being hurt.

  18. Moon says:

    Facebook fake-news writer: ‘I think Donald Trump is in the White House because of me’
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2016/11/17/facebook-fake-news-writer-i-think-donald-trump-is-in-the-white-house-because-of-me/

    Some Republicans will believe anything that is anti-Hillary or anti-Dem. They have helped Macedonian teenagers make 10K a month or more off of fake news.

    • Sandy says:

      I think this guy grossly overestimates his relevance and reach, and I think outfits like WaPo have a pretty good incentive to believe the real problem with the media is “fake news”.

      • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

        He reminds me of the story from A Scanner Darkly about the guy who posed as a great impostor.

    • The Nybbler says:

      Turns out, the story about Trump being in office due to fake news… is fake news.

    • Timothy says:

      I feel like there needs to be a deeper classification of news. Fake fake news, real fake news, fake real news. I don’t know if there’s any real real news.

      Fake real news – This is what the media’s current “fake news” narrative is calling “fake news.” It purports to be real news but it’s just trash non-factual clickbait like “Pope Francis Endorses Trump”.

      Fake fake news – The Daily Show, Colbert Report, etc., shtick. Purports to be fake news to gain more latitude to work with and freedom to be biased (it’s like “hey, we’re just a comedy show, not the actual news”), but is trying in practice to function the same as any other news.

      Real fake news – MSM, right wing media (Fox, Breitbart, etc.), left wing media (Gawker metastasis, Mother Jones, etc.) – Differentiated from the “fake real news” by higher production values and the tendency to use of nuggets of fact in a hill of bullshit, but with the occasional whopper like “A Rape On Campus” or Iraqi WMDs. Claiming to be real news, but so much is just artifice – like the “fake news” story, which would not be a story if Hillary had won, despite the same non-factual clickbait being around in the Hillary Timeline.

      Fake real fake news – The Onion types that parody the above.

  19. rlms says:

    I went to a talk by Maajid Nawaz yesterday, in which he echoed SSC-style thoughts on the role of left-wing identity politics and the tight grip the Baby Boomers have on the media/academia in the rise of the alt-right (he has also interestingly adopted the term ctrl-left for SJWs). There was a slightly jarring moment when he mentioned Jim in the context of the alt-right, leading me to think for a moment that Trump was appointing James MacDonald to some government role (he was actually talking about Jim Woolsey).

    The comparison between Islamism, the alt-right, socialism, and semi-classical liberalism raised some interesting questions in my opinion. How can liberalism/libertarianism outcompete more populist ideologies making wild promises of utopia, if all they have to offer is “a society more or less like this one, but maybe a bit more efficient and nice”? Or should they accept a permanent place on the sidelines acting as a moderating force?

    • Deiseach says:

      he has also interestingly adopted the term ctrl-left for SJWs

      Okay, that made me laugh.

    • dndnrsn says:

      This is something I have been thinking about. I can’t really talk about libertarianism, but liberalism strikes me as an ideology that has as its advantage and its disadvantage that it’s fairly lukewarm. Especially when times are hard, something that says “in exchange for struggle and sacrifice, you will get utopia” will often look more attractive than something that says “in exchange for keeping doing what you’re doing, you will get more of the same, but increasing at 2.5% per year!” Especially since, when things are bad, the latter might not even be true, and even when things are good, it’s not going to be true for everyone.

      • Aapje says:

        I think that liberalism suffers from severe flaws which decrease it’s attractiveness compared to liberalism from yesterday (which was different).

        For example, (neo)liberalism has mostly chosen supply side ‘fixes’ for the economy, which results in bubbles and poor growth that mostly benefits the elite, while also harming workers in many ways.

  20. Le Maistre Chat says:

    Lessons about politics from Transformers:

    Sneaking around disguised as vehicles is only deception when the other tribe does it.
    Values statements like “Freedom is the right of all sentient beings” are completely empty. Have you ever seen Optimus Prime free farm animals?

    • Skivverus says:

      True, but in the interests of not having two sets of armed-to-the-teeth mecha out to destroy and/or enslave humanity, might I suggest deriving a third political lesson of “not publicly pointing this out to the ones on our side”?
      At least, not until they’ve (we’ve?) won.

    • jaimeastorga2000 says:

      He is obviously using “sentient” in the colloquial sense. Which is just as well, since I don’t think most little boys know the word “sapient”.

  21. dndnrsn says:

    I’ve decided to get more towards the EA side of things when it comes to my charitable donations this year. By which I mean you will need an internet connection at all times to benefit from my charitable donations.

    Wait, no, what I mean is – GiveWell is 100% legit and anybody they link to for donating for non-Americans is legit, right? As a non-American, I have to be careful about what charities are and aren’t registered with the local tax authorities.

    I’m thinking of splitting my money between deworming and iodine – partly because I think environmental factors harming cognitive development are underappreciated as a cause of human suffering – and partly because I’m a hipster and it looks like malaria nets are so mainstream.

    Based on GiveWell’s site, it looks like Charity Science would be the best way to donate and still get that sweet sweet tax credit. Am I correct in thinking this? Additionally, if anybody wants to argue me into deciding malaria is the #1 priority by a big margin, you can try that too.

    • Douglas Knight says:
    • Mark V Anderson says:

      I give money to Doctors Without Borders. I have pretty much given up on the idea that development aid actually helps poor people in other countries, but I am pretty sure medical aid both helps them directly, and probably results in more economic development (sick people aren’t productive). But as far as what medical aid is the most useful — that I would prefer to delegate out to experts who know better than me. So I prefer to give to more generic medical aid than a particular kind.

      • keranih says:

        I am pretty sure medical aid both helps them directly, and probably results in more economic development (sick people aren’t productive)

        I’d advise looking a little more deeply into this, and consider pluses and minuses of various actions.

        MSF has several ‘arms’, but what they are best known for is being adrenaline jockey trauma surgeons. From their website:

        At its core, the purpose of humanitarian action is to save the lives and ease the suffering of people caught in acute crises, thereby restoring their ability to rebuild their lives and communities.

        This is not development. This is emergency care – stepping in during a crisis and providing “modern” “developed” medicine that the local government and doctors could not provide even on a best day in a non-emergency situation.

        It is awesome at saving lives there in that moment. It is fairly crap at developing infrastructure and skills in the local population so they can continue to care for the population after the crisis passes. It can – and often does – teach the local population that their community and national leaders are useless and/or stupid (or corrupt) and that the ideal method of bettering their lives is to leave their homeland and go elsewhere.

        At it’s best, medical intervention in an area is aimed at just above the existing local expertise, and provides training in skills at that level, plus funds to purchase local supplies so as to stimulate the market for domestic production of medical supplies (even if it’s just at the level of “promote the repair of trucks to ship in supplies from the capital”.)

        At its worst, it’s performing four-limb amputations in a modern surgical suite on Haitian victims of the earthquake and then trying to return those patients to a society without any infrastructure to take care of quadriplegics.

        Most interventions aren’t that bad. Most aren’t that good, either.

        People in poor countries who are chronically ill and so depressing the productivity of that area need long-term, dedicated, expensive, widespread changes in the environments in which they live – changing ventilation in housing, to reduce TB transmission; draining swamps to reduce the skeeter load, improving toilets to keep the pigs out of the human latrines and the cholera out of the water. They also need changes to their legal system, their building codes, their roads, their property titling system, and their banking systems. Some of these are much more important to the overall production of the society than the TB or HIV rate.

        And none of them are easy, or else the Top Men who have been throwing their lives at these problems for decades would have already fixed it all.

        (Sorry, bit of a rant. I think that money is better spent on MSF than on a second dress, or a second bottle of wine to be shared with friends, but there are better ways if one is intent to aid “development”.)

        • Matt M says:

          Do you have any suggestions of better ways, aside from the obvious ones that are routinely discussed here? Or are those the ones you think are better?

          • Aapje says:

            I like leprosy aid, because:
            – These people are often treated as lepers (unsurprisingly), so they don’t get normal aid even when it is available
            – It doesn’t replace aid for the general population, so doesn’t teach them to distrust local medicine
            – It provides immense quality of life improvements for these people, who go from being totally marginalized to being able to mostly participate in normal life
            – If we manage to completely eradicate infections like these, we will achieve a permanent ‘win’ for humanity. With the high rate of travel of modern times, infections are a great threat to the world community and can literally fly around the world in a day.

          • keranih says:

            I think that the Gates Foundation is about the best secular effort that can be presently found.

            My ideal/idea of a best solution would be something closer to:

            – Learn a valuable skill like general practitioner medicine or civil engineering (or one of the more staid trades like welding or plumbing) Spend 4-6 years learning the trade in the weeds in a developed nation.

            – Choose an underdeveloped nation with severe chronic failed nation status. Move to a non-central small city/large town in that country.

            – Practice one’s trade in partnership with a local professional. Marry a local. Spend one’s free time leading a local national saloon/pub-crew of rationalist/Enlightenment thought.

            – Raise up one’s children (of which there need to be multiple) and the children of one’s professional partner(s) and fellow travelers in Enlightenment and heavy emphasis on critical thinking (NOT in ‘critical theory’.) Emphasize math and reading widely.

            – Mold these children into becoming teachers or other local professionals, brought up familiar with the local culture but accepting rationalist thoughts and priorities, so that they can teach the next generation to use moderation, inclusiveness, inquisitiveness, and respect for the scientific method of observe, question, test, revise, repeat. Teach them to abhor intolerance and respect free expression and self-agency.

            Two – three generations down the road, you’d be long dead and burnt, but you’ll have changed that nation.

            Forty or a hundred people do this, and the world will be completely different.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @kerinah – You missed a step:

            – Watch as everything you built is burned down and the children you raised get chopped up with machetes, because doing so allowed someone somewhere far away to bank another couple million to their private account.

            The world is the way it is because people want it to be this way.

            [EDIT] – apologies for the pessimism. I thought your post was a very good one. The world just seems like a really awful place to me these days.

          • keranih says:

            @ Craven –

            I hear you, but I would yet counsel hope. We-as-humanity have survived far worse.

            I take exception to your comments re: machetes and bank accounts. If stopping murderous plagues were so easy as that, we’d all be living in Omelas, and dancing around the maypole with the little lost boy, laughing.

          • “The world is the way it is because people want it to be this way.”

            Unlikely. Each individual whose actions affect the world knows that his effect is tiny. There are situations where the combined effect of individual actions adds up to what those individuals want, but that’s very much a special case.

            Consider the simple example of a lot of producers, farmers say, competing with each other on the market. Very likely they would all be better off if all of them reduced their output and so drove up prices. But each of them is better off producing the quantity that maximizes his profit and ignoring the effect on the profit of the others.

            For one recent example, consider what has happened to oil prices. The producers as a group would be better off holding down output and up prices, but it’s very hard to get them to do so.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Keranih @ David Friedman – My observation is that destruction is easier than creation. It is much easier to destroy a million or a billion dollars worth of value than it is to create a million or a billion dollars worth of value. Further, I observe that destroying value can be highly profitable; overthrowing a stable country to put yourself on top of a new, unstable country for example. Absent overwhelming deterrence, it seems to me that looting in one form or another carry the day.

            I am not optimistic that the third world will get better any time soon. When they are not burning their own countries down, we burn their countries down for them.

        • Mark V Anderson says:

          @keranih. I find your information very interesting, but am skeptical. How do you know all this about MSF? I don’t know a whole lot about what is really happening in undeveloped countries, but that is largely because most people don’t know and it is very hard to know what is true and what isn’t. Why is your information better than what I’ve heard elsewhere? I would like to have more definitive information about these things, because I want my money to be effective, but I have seen too much mis-information to trust easily.

          If what MSF does is acute care in crisis situations, that would be a good thing. IT is solving the more chronic problems that most development aid has been so woeful at, and in fact I think there is a good case to be made that development aid has been a net negative. I am pretty cynical about your advocacy of long-term changes. It is my impression that this simply cannot be achieved by outsiders. But outsiders can provide acute medical care, which does immediate good, and may help a bit in productivity for the moment. IF you have some sources that will back up your statements and maybe even give evidence of a better charity, I’d love to see it.

          • keranih says:

            @ Mark V Anderson –

            Please, be skeptical. Question. Investigate. Don’t take the word of random people on the internet.

            How do you know all this about MSF?

            Well, for one, it’s all right there on their website. They’ve revised their fundraising over the last decade or so, as public interest has shifted away from crisis intervention and towards “sustainable” actions, but MSF has been a conflict-based acute care organization and that’s where it’s center of gravity is going to stay for the forseeable future.

            They are *very* good at it, and while I think that standing on the river bank to pull people out of the water (much less jetting about the lake in a fancy speedboat) is far less useful than fixing the crumbling bridge, it is more exciting than sitting through zoning meetings getting the new bridge approved. (Also, fewer environmentalists picket you.)

            And if I had fallen off the bridge, and was drowning? Heck yeah, I’d think the people who pulled me out were *awesome*.

            that is largely because most people don’t know and it is very hard to know what is true and what isn’t.

            Most people don’t know because they have neither been there nor talked to reliable sources who have. See what I said above, re: random people on the internet. I will not give you more satisfying credentials than that. (Sorry.)

            I will say that I believed Three Cups of Tea when it came out, because I wanted to think that kind of intervention was possible, despite knowing better.(*)

            I think there is a good case to be made that development aid has been a net negative.

            I think the degree of negative is very situational, and that I have seen strong differences of opinion in very dedicated, very smart people as to what is the best use of resources. However, even the most frivolous of aid – like Christmas care packages that don’t make it out to the village until March – aren’t *useless* – they do bring joy and a change of topic for gossip. It’s just that most people agree that more could have been done with the same amount of resources.

            But if all you’re ever going to do is wrap up a shoebox, then do that. It’s better than nothing.

            I am pretty cynical about your advocacy of long-term changes. It is my impression that this simply cannot be achieved by outsiders.

            Well, yes, which is why I wrote the post I did. It’s not you-the-outsider who is changing the nation, it’s the students of your children, who are not outsiders.

            And outside of our own family and village, we’re all outsiders. Should we then think that none of us can change anything?

            There is an issue with providing sources and citations for this which meet objective rationalist criteria – firstly, the time frame is huge (what is a long term, sustained change? 10 years? Twenty? Seventy?) and subject to so very many outside factors (culture, geography, which superpower the local dictator cozied up to, the price of oil, the price of steel, etc).

            Secondly, for many years, interventions were measured in inputs (so many doctors, so many pounds of supplies, so many dollars) or in activities (so many surgeries, so many vaccines given, so many houses built.) “So many lives saved” is a better measure…but difficult to do well. The global acceptation of “Quality years of life” is really pretty recent, and fantastic, and where Givewell applies this properly, they do pretty good.

            My preferred charities are not secular. If you’re still interested, I’ll list them.

            If you want to give to an organization with European/Western values of equality, charity, and professional excellence that has a long track record of “doing good” at what they do well, and doing so in miserable parts of the world, then you could do far, far worse than MSF. (WHO and FOA would be high on my list of money-wasters.)

            But MSF is a surgery to remove a non-healing ulcer. It’s not preventing the ulcer from occurring in the first place, and most of the time it doesn’t care, because there’s always another ulcer to treat.

            (*) The Central Asia Institute’s failing is, I think (but don’t know for sure) in the span/degree of success, rather than in actual success. From the outside, it was a miracle, too good to be true. And, as it turned out, same-same for the view from the inside.

          • “However, even the most frivolous of aid – like Christmas care packages that don’t make it out to the village until March – aren’t *useless* – they do bring joy and a change of topic for gossip. It’s just that most people agree that more could have been done with the same amount of resources.”

            Some aid is not merely useless, it is harmful. Any kind of “foreign aid” that results in increasing the resources available to a government simultaneously increases the incentive to gain control of that government and the resources available to keep that power. That might easily do harm that more than outweighs any benefit due to the direct effect of the aid.

          • keranih says:

            @ David Friedman –

            That’s a step or two beyond where I would start counting “harm” by aid distribution – first would be the effect on immigration/internal movement (concentrating people in places where generally they would not) and secondly for impact on local suppliers, who by virtue of capital and scale can not compete with the government (or the UN) and quickly go out of business, and thirdly due to the corruption it breeds in a logarithmic manner.

            Yes, I agree that there is aid which is toxic at nearly all levels, but at some point, people do get fed/get treated. But not all people agree that concentrating power in the hands of the government is a bad thing.

            (The young AA gal who worked for me in the summer of 2009, and who thought it would be ideal if “we just made President Obama king so he could get some shit *done*” certainly would disagree.)

            One might take the stance that this is the same sort of error where one buys $500 of flour, makes 600 loaves and sells them at $0.50 each for a profit of $300 (to use another development program lesson), and the person in question needs to be dissuaded of that line of thinking straight off. But other people would disagree that the math error, and the power concentration error, were of the same sort.

            *shrugs* Higher order primates are hard.

          • Mark V Anderson says:

            @keranih. By all means, tell us your preferred charities, and why you give to them. I would even give to religious charities if I thought they helped the poor more than others, despite that I am an atheist. Most advertising I’ve seen from religious charities seems to emphasize the do-gooderism of the donors instead of the effectiveness of the donee, so I haven’t been impressed. But it is likely that the more effective charities do less advertising.

            As far as your metaphor goes, I think that saving the drowning is probably more effective than fixing the bridge, because fixing the bridge will make it more likely that other bridges won’t be fixed, and that this bridge will not be fixed in the future. That is my point that long-term fixes can’t be done by outsiders.

            I just finished a book called “The Great Escape,” by Angus Deaton, whose final chapter discusses what can be done about very poor countries. (I think the book as a whole is so so because of shallow economic analysis in earlier chapters, but the final chapter is very good). Deaton’s thesis is that once foreign aid becomes significant, this has a profoundly negative effect on the government. Significant aid might be >10% of GDP, which he says is the case for most sub-Saharan African countries. At that point, these governments focus their energies on the aid instead of people in the country, to the detriment of people’s welfare. He compares this to resource rich countries, which are also known to have poor governments. Deaton is even more pessimistic about aid than I am, but I think he is mostly correct. That’s why I prefer more acute aid instead of chronic aid, which I hope will not have the same negative effects.

      • Douglas Knight says:

        Who are the experts? Givewell is attempting to be the experts in this precise question.

        It is quite plausible that the work MSF does preventing cholera epidemics in crises is the most valuable medical work in the world. But this is not the only work that MSF does. It is even possible that this is so valuable that MSF accomplishes more by the average dollar it spends than any other charity. But this is not the relevant question. The relevant question is the value of the marginal dollar given to MSF.

  22. Deiseach says:

    Stick a fork in me, I am done 🙁

    • Dahlen says:

      … I still don’t get what great reason you have to follow / take so much delight in this, as an Irishwoman.

      • Deiseach says:

        Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto

        Was going to do a Reply. But I think we’re all about all argued out by now.

        This is why I’ve somehow managed to end up bingewatching old unsubtitled Telugu-language mythological movies on Youtube where I have only the very vaguest idea what the heck is going on but the bling is fabulous. Great for washing the taste out of your mouth.

        • Dahlen says:

          Thanks for nothing. *is left scratching head*

          I mean, I too am a non-USian and I follow this because, depending on what President Camacho does, my country may or may not end up at war, since it’s already hanging by a geopolitical thread.

          But you mostly seem to be in it for the taste of liberal tears. And that’s what my question was about, why US liberal tears would mean anything to you.

          But alright, if that’s what you want to and my question bothered you so greatly, then by all means answer back with meaningless snark.

          • The original Mr. X says:

            America is so important and culturally influential that what goes on there is in fact quite relevant to other Anglosphere countries. If a lot of people are going to pick up their views from cultural osmosis via Hollywood, American TV shows, and the like, the cultural situation in America is actually pretty darn important, even for foreigners.

      • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

        At least as much reason as we here have to follow Brexit, I would think. Back in 2008, when Obama was campaigning in Europe for some reason, foreigners were expected to be pretty interested in our politics.

        • Matt M says:

          Not only that, but Americans were expected to take into account the preferences of foreigners when considering our own votes.

          • Deiseach says:

            But you mostly seem to be in it for the taste of liberal tears. And that’s what my question was about, why US liberal tears would mean anything to you.

            But alright, if that’s what you want to and my question bothered you so greatly, then by all means answer back with meaningless snark.

            That’s okay, Dahlen, I wasn’t bothered at all. And I don’t drink liberal tears, I bathe in them à la Countess Bathory!

            Now, for the people not clutching their Hillary plushies and wearing incontinence pads because they are wetting themselves over President Trump’s Death Camps (snarky enough for ya?) – also, when Americans are saying “Are we really going to let this guy have control of the nuclear arsenal?” and debating if he’s going to kick off The Big One, the rest of us inhabiting this globe have some interest in what happens next, you know 🙂

            Singin’ the song one more time (though I don’t expect the True Blues to take any notice): it’s not that I like Trump, his policies, think he’ll be great, am a Republican in the American sense, think the Republicans are great, hate Obama, think he’s anything other than what he is (a career politician in the mould of Hillary who went from an academic career, via community organising and getting plugged into the machine in Chicago, to political office and finally got the brass ring – not the Lightworker Messiah and not the Anti-Christ), or want to destroy all Democrats.

            I would fit into the mould, like so many of my emigrant countrymen, of “if I were voting for an American party, I would vote Democrat”. I’m the traditional blue-collar support. I would quite like the Democrats to have a decent candidate to run for president. I did not think Hillary was that candidate.

            On the other side, I wasn’t hugely impressed with any of the Republican candidates either, and loathed the idea of a Bush dynasty with Jeb slotting into the next place (I don’t like Irish dynastic politics either but we’re stuck with them). I considered Trump, as so many others did, a joke candidate and never thought he had any chance at all of pulling off getting the nomination, much less winning the election.

            But the response from the left (using the term very broadly to cover a coalition ranging from centrists to what passes for socialists in the USA to real socialists/communists to the swivel-eyed loon fringe) dismayed me. I’m used to the left painting the right as the devil out of hell and vice versa. I don’t like it, but it’s where politics is at.

            But being fiscally liberal (if socially conservative), I do expect the left to be somewhat responsible in its vision of what kind of alternative they can present, and more importantly, how they will live with and govern the other half of the nation whom they have been painting in the worst and blackest colours.

            And when you have people (either seriously, or perhaps not seriously but culpably and cynically riding the tide of panic for temporary kudos) stating in print (or pixels) that a member of the incoming administration is a literal Nazi who will literally kill literal Jews, and that this is an obedience test to make sure all the sheeple fall into line for the time the literal Jew-killing commences – then I go “Wait a minute”.

            Because some people believe this kind of tripe. And a lot of people (on both sides, let’s be fair) are regarding their fellow-citizens as enemies in a war, not the people they need to live in the same country as.

            I’m not saying “don’t criticise, don’t point out genuine concerns’. I’m saying “don’t lie, don’t warp reality, don’t make it so that the terms ‘racist’ and ‘fascist’ have lost all meaning past ‘i think you’re mean’, don’t set the little streets against one another when you should be setting them against the great”.

            So yes, I will respond with mockery and snark when I see such egregious overwrought, hysterical, panic-mongering, fear-mongering, Jingoism (and it is Jingoism, be it for party not country). If it is so brazenly shameless as to be impervious to reason (as in Scott’s attempt) then I’ll laugh at it even if that gains nothing. I will not bow to it, at the very least. So shove me into the basket with the other deplorables, but I do not accept your right on your naked word alone to judge between the sheep and the goats.

            We need Dean Swift and Diogenes the Cynic in our times, but I greatly fear that an encounter between Hillary and Diogenes would not go as with Alexander, but that she’d trample him underfoot on her way to kiss the hems of the robes of the real billionaires. (And no, I’m not picking on Hillary or liberals here and saying Trump et al would behave better; I’m saying Hillary tried to be all things to all men in a campaign that was insincere at its core because she showed by whom she complimented and whom she felt it safe to dismiss where her real inclinations lay. Hillary would never choose to be Diogenes).

            Why do I care what happens in American politics? For the reasons others have listed above, and for the broader reasons of: I am a human, and this is a very large slice of humanity losing its wits. For the sake of truth being trampled into propaganda and partisanship by those who plumed themselves on being part of the reality-based community (yes, I do have higher expectations of the Democrats, if they’re going to position themselves as the party of the dispossessed. Put your money where your mouth is). For the forlorn hope that we – humans – can exhibit the instincts of the bridge-builder and not the scorched-earth approach to our fellows with whom we disagree, because forget AI risk or anthropogenic climate change, that is what will save or damn us.

            We’re all very good at seeing the splinter in our brother’s eye but not the beam in our own. There’s been too much “look at all these huge splinters!” in the media lately, and it only makes things worse when for once you really are talking about an actual huge beam but people have been desensitized by the fifty times you said “that’s a beam!” and it turned out to be a splinter – or a dust speck.

          • Matt M says:

            “I don’t like Irish dynastic politics either but we’re stuck with them”

            So who is YOUR giant rich jerk that can help pull you out of them?

            For whatever else Trump does or has done, he deserves at least TWO giant statues somewhere in the US.

            One for eliminating the Bush family from political relevance for the foreseeable future.

            AND a second for eliminating the Clinton family from political relevance for the foreseeable future.

            About a year and a half ago, Bush/Clinton was seen as virtually inevitable and dreaded by almost anyone. I think if you would have taken a poll at the time of “What would you rather have? A guaranteed President Trump or a race between Hillary and Jeb?” then the “President Trump” option would have won with well over 65% of the vote.

            Trump single-handedly took out BOTH of our two most powerful political dynasties with virtually zero help. That’s, uh, not nothing!

          • Nancy Lebovitz says:

            Are you expecting less nepotism from Trump?

          • Matt M says:

            less from him personally? no

            less approval of it by the public at large? sure

            The progressive freakout about him asking for his children to be given security clearances strikes me as rich coming from a crowd who told us how “qualified” Hillary was when her political career literally started for reasons as credible as “happened to be married to the guy who was President” coupled with demands for Michelle Obama to run in 2020.

            I don’t expect his children to have successful legitimate political careers following his presidency, but I may be wrong.

          • Deiseach says:

            So who is YOUR giant rich jerk that can help pull you out of them?

            God alone knows. We have rich jerks, but if they want to meddle in politics, they tend either to the “Eh, I’ll just buy a politician” or use their media empire to dictate the course of policy.

            Well, until they lose their media empire to a bitter rival, which amused me to see the same set of journalists who had (at the bidding of their former master’s voice) been writing opinion pieces denouncing the evil rival and declaring they’d quit if he won the boardroom battle then sucking up with all their might to the guy when he won. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

            The rich jerks we do have, I like even less than the shower of politicians already in place, so there’s no hope for us! (The least objectionable are the ones who don’t meddle in politics but just stick to owning racehorses and making fortunes).

    • The Nybbler says:

      You’d have saved yourself a lot of trouble by stopping at “As seen on jezebel.com”. But I missed that too and wasted perhaps a minute of my life reading that.

      Incidentally, I have an emotional reaction to swastikas too. Boredom. As in “Oh, another edgy neo-Nazi who would probably run for his mama if Bernie Sanders caught him painting that”. At least until recently, now it’s more like “oh, another edgy progressive pretending to be an edgy neo-Nazi, and who would run screaming to xir safe space if Bernie Sanders caught xir painting it”.

      • BBA says:

        Have there been any documented cases of leftists false-flagging swastikas? I’m aware of other false-flag incidents but swastikas fall under “you don’t even joke about this”, at least in my circles. Maybe the more extreme commies might.

        But yes, when I see a spray-painted swastika, I don’t think Kristallnacht, I think edgy kids.

        • Matt M says:

          I don’t have the link handy, but a reason.com article about this found a guy in San Francisco who flew a Nazi flag over his house. When confronted, he revealed he was a progressive Hillary supporter who was trying to make a point about Trump’s America.

        • The original Mr. X says:

          Have there been any documented cases of leftists false-flagging swastikas? I’m aware of other false-flag incidents but swastikas fall under “you don’t even joke about this”, at least in my circles. Maybe the more extreme commies might.

          Well, there’s this case; maybe not strictly speaking a false-flag operation, because the guy in question doesn’t seem to have been trying to pose as a Trump voter, but nonetheless an example of a swastika being set up by a liberal.

        • FacelessCraven says:

          @ BBA – “Have there been any documented cases of leftists false-flagging swastikas?”
          Here ya go.

          More generally, yes. Tons.

          • Paul Brinkley says:

            I’ll push back on this one. You cite proof of one false flag. I followed that link, and the only hard evidence they have is video of someone who isn’t identified, let alone having any clear false-flag motive.

            Moreover, even if this one was a FFO, where are the “tons”? The most I’ve seen was an article in Reason, I think, citing a half dozen or so fabricated stories, including the “stolen hijab” incident. This is enough to be worth noticing, but I wouldn’t call it “tons”.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Paul Brinkley – Appologies. I’ve had a long week, and don’t really feel like digging through a bunch of annoying stories on google, so I just tossed out a terse low-effort reply and moved on. In retrospect, that was probably a bad idea.

            Having re-read the Philly story, I noticed that the police have stated the perp’s race is “unknown”. When I first watched the video, he sure as hell didn’t look white to me, but on further reflection it’s a low-quality shot and low-light cameras do weird things to contrast, so who knows.

            As for the tons, I used to follow those sorts of stories with a fair amount of interest, and both swastikas and nooses are employed in bids for sympathy with enough frequency that it’s now my default assumption when I hear about one of these. Ditto, for example, stuff like this. Or this, this or this. If you’d like more and can tolerate Red Tribe Assholery, there’s a reddit.

            [EDIT] – I’m expecting a major media story in the next month or so about the current wave of hoaxes, so I guess in a month or two we’ll see if I’m right. The thing is, swastikas, writing “fag” on a cake, mailing people nooses, those aren’t actually how right-wing people think, they’re how left-wing people think that right-wing people think.

          • Paul Brinkley says:

            Huh. I had no idea there was a site (if only a reddit) dedicated to that. Now I know, and now I have it bookmarked in case I ever have to deep-dive on something.

            I’m glad someone has following this as a personal hobby; no doubt it was easier for you to find these than it would have been for me.

          • Jiro says:

            I’m expecting a major media story in the next month or so about the current wave of hoaxes, so I guess in a month or two we’ll see if I’m right.

            I would be surprised to see such a story (except maybe on Fox News, and even then I’m not so sure). The media isn’t exactly known for publishing things that suggest that hate crimes have been exaggerated.

  23. eh6 says:

    Hey Scott, given your predictions, I’d be happy to bet:

    against #3 at 95%, if it’s Muslim population as a proportion of the total
    for #4 at 30% for a >=%30 minority cabinet
    against #5 at 99%, if “explicitly neo-Nazi” means any group advocating white nationalism (including subsets, e.g. ethnic Swedish or ethnic Greek) as part of its core platform, such that Generation Identity and Golden Dawn would be included

    Pools of either $10 or $100 per bet are nice and round, but suggest anything. Currency preferably USD. I’m happy to send you the money and let you handle judging, since your reputation is worth much more than the stakes and since $36 ($5+$30+$1 if 3x$100 pools) isn’t a huge sum to lose anyway.

    Feel free to delete this comment if you don’t want to take the bet or if you feel it’s inappropriate.

    EDIT: also, I’m using throwaway accounts for plausible deniability, so I won’t be watching the mailinator email.

    • Anonymous Bosch says:

      I believe he said on Twitter he was going to start a separate post for people who want to accept bets.

      Does this work on an odds-as-confidence basis? Like, if Scott is 95% confident about something, is the bet at 19:1? If so I’ll probably accept bets 1, 4 (the 20% threshold), and 5. I actually think a no-bet is the most likely outcome for bet 1, there will likely be some change in hate crime methodology under a Sessions DoJ. But winning is more likely than losing, at that confidence.

  24. Nancy Lebovitz says:

    A general point: One of the tenets of SJ is to take it seriously when marginalized people talk about prejudice/systematized oppression. This is somewhat reasonable– people are more likely to notice when they’re being hurt than when someone else is being hurt.

    The problem is that SJ says (in effect) to ignore it when marginalized people say say they are *not* being hurt.

    This produces a bad ratchetting effect.

    • The Nybbler says:

      SJ also says to either ignore it or revel in it when privileged people say they are being hurt.

    • Iain says:

      The problem is that SJ says (in effect) to ignore it when marginalized people say say they are *not* being hurt.

      Can you give an example of what you mean by this?

      There are, for example, social-justicy-y people who are pro-sex-work. See, for example, this discussion of Bedford v Canada, a court case which struck down some of Canada’s anti-prostitution laws. In particular:

      The women who brought the Bedford case to the courts and their supporters argued for the decriminalization of sex work. This means removing all laws that make activities related to prostitution criminal. This position argues that sex workers should be treated the same as other self-employed workers with equal rights, responsibilities and protections under the law. Many sex worker advocacy groups consider decriminalization the most desirable option because it signals that it is legitimate work between consenting adults.

      That seems like a counter-example: a group of marginalized people say that they are not being hurt by the act of prostitution, and social-justice groups work to change the laws on their behalf.

      More centrally to your claim: there obviously has to be a balance. If you have a hundred women, and only one of them claims to be the victim of systematic sexism, then it is reasonable to dismiss her. If fifty women make the same claim, then there is probably something there, even if the other fifty are lucky enough not to experience it. I don’t know where the exact line should go. I certainly don’t want to argue that every social-justice person on the internet does a good job of balancing. I also don’t think anti-social-justice people have a particularly good track record of crunching the numbers themselves. For example: the Crying Wolf post highlights a number of cases of Jews who support Trump. Why should we consider that to be a knock-down argument that Trump’s election should not be a concern for Jews, while dismissing Jews who claim that it should? (I am deliberately avoiding the use of the word ‘antisemitic’ in the previous statement, because I think it casts more heat than light.)

      At its best, the social-justice injunction to take it seriously when marginalized people talk about their oppression is a call for epistemic humility. It is easy to forget that your experience is not universal; it is therefore beneficial to make a deliberate effort to counter-balance that bias. Certainly it is possible to take the idea too far, or use it as a weapon. But that is not a refutation of the basic idea – no more than the existence of people being snarky in the comment section is a refutation of the value of “true, necessary, and kind: pick at least two”.

      • lvlln says:

        I think Nancy’s point is the very issue of balancing you mentioned. It’s not just that social justicey people aren’t good at finding the balance by looking at the evidence, in practice, they tend to show gross disregard for finding that balance by looking at the evidence. Not just disregard, but often disdain, actually. That the very idea of finding such a balance is offensive in the face of real hurt claimed by an individual.

        For a personal anecdotal example, I’ve seen the idea that asking Asian-Americans “Where are you from?” is offensive and hurtful thrown around in SJ circles. As an Asian-American, whenever that topic comes up, I’ve said it’s not only not hurtful, it’s actually very affectionate for it shows a genuine interest in learning about me and the culture from where I originate. This has never been responded with, “Oh, I should update my belief” or “But look at this poll of Asian-Americans who disagree!” Usually it’s, “But you’re just one person,” or, at best, “I’ve heard another Asian-American say the opposite.”

        • Nancy Lebovitz says:

          Here’s a minor example. I’m Jewish. I don’t think the casual use of “Nazi” to mean authoritarian is in any way a problem. In fact, I like to imagine neo-Nazis grinding their teeth in aggravation at the cultural appropriation of it all.

          I’ve been told in effect that my being Jewish doesn’t give me standing to have a contrary opinion on the matter.

          • Eltargrim says:

            While my personal (non-jewish) feelings agree with yours on the use of Nazi, I’m somewhat reconsidering it on the basis of the Crying Wolf post. If we accept Scott’s thesis that the dilution of the accusation of “racist” inoculates us against actual racists, would the same pattern not emerge if Nazi-as-descriptor is used liberally? Or is the association of “Nazis are bad” stronger than that of “racists are bad”?

          • rlms says:

            How many people have a principled dislike of use of “Nazi” in a general sense, rather than a specific dislike for the term “feminazi”?

          • Iain says:

            @lvlln:
            Sure. I could also claim, with the same level of accuracy: “It’s not just that anti-social-justice-y people aren’t good at finding the balance by looking at the evidence, in practice, they tend to show gross disregard for finding that balance by looking at the evidence. Not just disregard, but often disdain, actually. That the very idea that a person could be offended or hurt by something that seems innocuous to the speaker is laughable or pathetic.” There are asshats on both sides.

            Furthermore, balancing is a difficult problem. There’s no way to objectively analyze who is right in most of these cases, and everybody is naturally going to perceive their own side as having the best of it in contentious cases. All I’m saying is that, questions of people going overboard aside, you will get closer to the truth by accepting the “SJ” tenet in question than by rejecting it. (And, furthermore, that it is possible to keep it in mind without going overboard.)

            Regarding specific examples: I think a reasonable balance on “where are you from?” is that:
            a) The question itself is pretty innocuous.
            b) Following up an answer of “San Francisco” with “No, where are you really from?” starts to get more dubious.
            c) It is reasonable for individual Asian-Americans to find it aggravating to answer the question over and over again, especially if they frequently encounter instances of b).
            d) Therefore, it is good for Asian-Americans not to bite heads off for innocent questions, but it is also good for people asking questions about origin to keep the context in mind. In cases where one person asks an innocent question and the other person is fed up and lashes out, we should have sympathy for both sides.
            Do you disagree?

            As for the Nazi thing, Nancy, I think you have the right of it, and I would strongly defend your choice to call authoritarians Nazis whenever it pleased you. On the other hand, if a different Jew told me that she found it particularly unpleasant to hear “Nazi” tossed around casually, then I would not find it onerous or unreasonable to stop using it in that context while talking to her. That just seems polite.

          • Evan Þ says:

            @Eltargrim, I’ve agreed with that argument for a while just on the basis of precision in language. “Nazi” should, at least, mean something more than “Mayor Daley-like,” or even “Pinochet-like.”

          • Nancy Lebovitz says:

            As I recall, I didn’t call authoritarians Nazis. I was just more comfortable in a culture where other people did.

          • lhn says:

            I wonder how much is a factor of age. As came up here previously, there’s a cultural watershed somewhere in the 1970s or so where the default cultural image of “Nazi” started to go from “authoritarian” to “obscene genocidal monster”. Not all at once, but around that time is when I recall the friction between its invocation as a comparatively casual epithet (a martinet manager might be mocked with a stiff armed salute) and the term being Serious Business.

            In the 80s, IIRC, PJ O’Rourke could still talk about regulatory nannies as “Safety Nazis”. I don’t think you’d see something like that as a new term today unless the speaker wanted to actually suggest a connection to potentially murderous bigotry.

          • Matt M says:

            “I don’t think you’d see something like that as a new term today unless the speaker wanted to express mild displeasure at someone marginally more conservative than they are.”

            fixed

          • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

            What’s different about accusations of nazism is that they were never taken seriously in the first place, save among a small coterie who themselves aren’t taken seriously. Real racism, unlike real nazism, happens often enough for us to get sensible people raising justified alarms, so it becomes a problem if too many false alarms from foolish people get mixed in.

          • Nancy Lebovitz says:

            lhn, The Soup Nazi— a television episode about an authoritarian restaurant owner and his groveling customers– came out in 1995.

          • Chalid says:

            “Grammar Nazi” became common in the 2000s and is still common AFAIK.

          • lvlln says:

            Sure. I could also claim, with the same level of accuracy: “It’s not just that anti-social-justice-y people aren’t good at finding the balance by looking at the evidence, in practice, they tend to show gross disregard for finding that balance by looking at the evidence. Not just disregard, but often disdain, actually. That the very idea that a person could be offended or hurt by something that seems innocuous to the speaker is laughable or pathetic.” There are asshats on both sides.

            I disagree that you can say that with the same level of accuracy. Whereas a disdain for balance seems to be a central or nearly definitional trait among social justice-y folks, the same can’t be said for those that are anti-social justice-y folks.

            The reason you seem to believe something with which I disagree may be an issue with terminology, i.e. who exactly is Nancy talking about when she says “SJ?” I interpreted it, based on what she wrote, as being about SJWs, not just “people who are pro social justice.” I.e. the ones who are the loudest and most influential on the side of “social justice” at this moment.

            You might have interpreted it as just being “people who are pro social justice,” but I believe this isn’t what Nancy meant. By that definition, I am firmly a social-justice-y type, since my views on social justice issues are just about indistinguishable from most SJWs. And if Nancy were implying that people like me who were pro-SJ but anti-SJW behave in such a way, I think she’s wrong on that. I just don’t believe that’s what Nancy was saying.

            Unfortunately, the terminology surrounding these types of people seem to be ill defined and rarely agreed upon. I like to just stick with “SJW” to make clear that I’m talking about those who behave in a way that implies that they believe that they’re at war, but I know even that term has its issues.

            As for the “Where are you from?” question, I didn’t intend to start a whole discussion about it, but I agree with you 99% there (I’m not convinced that it starts getting dubious at B, but I’m open to it), and I believe that the general anti-social-justice-y person would also agree with you and the general social-justice-y person would disagree with you.

          • Randy M says:

            As for the “Where are you from?” question, I didn’t intend to start a whole discussion about it, but I agree with you 99% there (I’m not convinced that it starts getting dubious at B, but I’m open to it

            As someone with toddlers, I can’t help but empathize with hearing the same thing over and over. But as to the intent of the question, someone who looks different and has an accent probably traces their heritage back to a particular place that the questioner is not familiar with. They are trying to update their mental model of the world. There may be stereotyping going on, but human psychology loves pattern recognition, and, absent non-verbal cues otherwise, it’s counter-productive (and probably wrong) to assume any malice, or even micro-malice.

            If one doesn’t want inaccurate conclusions to be drawn, one could say “I grew up in Jersey but picked up my parents Australian accent. I don’t know much about their culture, though.”
            If you enjoy being offended, you could say “I’m from Jersey–in America. Do you think only people who speak a certain way deserve to be American, jerk?”

          • Nancy Lebovitz says:

            For what it’s worth, I use SJ as an adjective for grammatical reasons. I didn’t realize it could lead to confusion about who I meant.

            In some circles (maybe even here) I pass for an SJWish sort of person.

            About three months into RaceFail (2009), I concluded that anti-racism (as it was called then) was the pursuit of somewhat legitimate ends by emotionally abusive means. I still think I was right.

            Social justice is a name for a more civilized effort at inclusivness (I think) which was co-opted by SJWs. I don’t know enough about it to have strong opinions, but sometimes I distinguish between sj (the mild stuff) and SJ (the toxic stuff). This is no doubt completely unclear to anyone who’s reading what I write.

            I think part of the problem is people imprinting on emotionally traumatic experiences. Some of my reflexes date back to RaceFail, which was worse than contemporary SJW in at least one way. No, really.

            Back then, there was “Educate yourself!” In other word, anti-racists knew they were angry, but there wasn’t clear material about what they were angry about, and they were tired of answering questions. So they’d just attack anyone who didn’t know what they meant. That might be somewhat unfair, but it certainly seemed like being attacked for ignorance.

            After a while, it occurred to me that there are two kinds of people who might say “You figure out why I’m angry!”– abusers and abused people who’ve been up against someone who can’t or won’t hear it that they’ve been hurting someone.

            Anyway, lvlln, if you want to write about what you do and don’t agree with about SJW, I’m interested in reading it.

          • Iain says:

            @lvlln: This is precisely why I think the profligate use of “SJW” in this community is so damaging. You have a definition of SJW that means “people with whom I mostly agree on an object level, but whose tactics I find damaging”. Meanwhile, in a previous thread, somebody described the notion of nominating Keith Ellison, a populist Democrat from Minnesota, for head of the DNC as “SJW lunacy” because he is Muslim.

            Many of the claims made in these parts about the awfulness of social justice become much less impressive when you have to actually define your terms.

          • John Schilling says:

            lhn, The Soup Nazi— a television episode about an authoritarian restaurant owner and his groveling customers– came out in 1995.

            Roswell had it’s “Christmas Nazi” in 2001, for excessive and authoritarian zeal in arranging a perfect Norman-Rockwellish(*) Christmas for her family and friends. I’ve used “Safety Nazi” in the O’Rourkian sense fairly frequently, e.g. online in 2004, and never received any pushback.

            I’m pretty sure “[X] Nazi” is still safe and uncontroversial for any value of X that isn’t political by default.

            *Secular version, if it matters

          • The Nybbler says:

            @Nancy Lebovitz

            I’ve seen SJWs attack over a snow-clone of Soup Nazi (i.e. “Soup” was replaced with a different food item, and the SJW insisted it was insensitive to Jewish people to use the term. Whether the SJW in question knew of the Seinfeld episode I do not know)

            @Iain

            Nominating Keith Ellison might be “SJW lunacy” because one characteristic often attributed to SJWs is extreme virtue signalling; putting a Muslim in a high political position directly after the election of someone who has antipathy towards Muslims might appear to be such. I noticed that the SSC commentariat wasn’t convinced about this, however.

          • lvlln says:

            @Nancy
            I don’t want to start a whole new thing about the various issues covered under the SJ umbrella, but in generalities:

            Where I agree with SJWs:
            – I believe that the paradigm of privilege is generally a useful and accurate one by which to describe the world – society does grant unearned privilege to some people based merely by luck of what demographic they happen to fall into, whether that be race, gender, sexuality, etc.
            – I believe that, in most aspects – and the vast majority of the ones that matter – whites enjoy privilege over non-whites in US society, as well as males over non-males, heterosexuals over non-heterosexuals, cisgender folks over transgender folks.
            – I want a world in which such privilege no longer exists, and I even believe that I have an obligation to help to create that world, or at least not to perpetuate current injustices.

            Where I disagree with SJWs:
            – I believe that reasonable, unbiased, un-bigoted, un-evil, well-intentioned, highly virtuous people can disagree with me on all of the above and that disagreeing with me is no reason for them to suffer ANY social consequences whatsoever.
            – I believe that individual anecdotes are less than worthless for building an accurate model of society, because they feed our biases while adding negligible new information.
            – I believe that population proportion statistics is nowhere near enough evidence that there is any bias or oppression or anything unjust at all happening in the mechanism that produced those statistics.
            – I do not believe that there currently exists enough evidence that the model of media consumption where exposure to media that contains -ist behavior – even if it glorifies that behavior – causes individuals on the margins to do more of such -ist behavior is a true model.
            – I believe privilege needs to be analyzed in a highly context- and individual-dependent way for it to have any meaning at all. Whites may have privilege over non-whites in some (many) dimensions, while in some (few) dimensions, non-whites have privilege over whites. Furthermore, these dimensions only work when all other things are equal, and all other things are NEVER equal.

            Nowhere near exhaustive and fairly general. Again, I am pro-social justice, heavily anti-SJW. I identify as, among many things including feminist and leftist, anti-SJW. I know anti-SJW covers a wide, wide spectrum of political views, and my belief is that I probably lie somewhere on the far left side of that spectrum.

          • In the SCA, “authenticity Nazi” still gets used. Unfortunately.

          • Brad says:

            @Randy M

            As someone with toddlers, I can’t help but empathize with hearing the same thing over and over. But as to the intent of the question, someone who looks different and has an accent probably traces their heritage back to a particular place that the questioner is not familiar with. They are trying to update their mental model of the world. There may be stereotyping going on, but human psychology loves pattern recognition, and, absent non-verbal cues otherwise, it’s counter-productive (and probably wrong) to assume any malice, or even micro-malice.

            The internet famous video about this that was floating around had an Asian-American woman with no accent, or more accurately with a baseline American one.

            I’m not sure that asking someone her ethnicity is necessarily rude, though it might be in some contexts, but asking it in the form of “No, where are you really from” certainly is.

          • Randy M says:

            Accent was a stand in for obvious non-majority possessed trait.

            I’m not sure that asking someone her ethnicity is necessarily rude, though it might be in some contexts, but asking it in the form of “No, where are you really from” certainly is.

            Most people aren’t sophisticated enough to maneuver the minefields around discussing another person’s identity.
            “Rude” implies that they should know or be able to figure out the rules, though; I’m not sure that it is fair to expect Joe off the street to keep up with fresh out of academia inoffensiveness technology.

            I’ll grant that it’s uncouth to inarticulately inquire about someone’s heritage.

          • Iain says:

            The important distinction between accent and, say, epicanthic folds, is that one sends a fairly clear signal that the person you are talking to personally originated somewhere else, and the other just means that one of their ancestors did at some unspecified point in the past.

          • Brad says:

            I don’t think it takes a Phd in “academia inoffensiveness technology” to know that “No, where are you really from?” is rude. As far as I’m concerned it is right up there with asking a woman you just met how much she weighs.

            That said, while I’ve lived in a few different parts of the country, I haven’t experienced every subculture. Perhaps Mormons in northern Utah see nothing at all wrong with asking a woman how much she weighs. But if so, the onus is on them to learn the local norms when they travel or move, just as the onus would be on me to learn their norms if I went to northern Utah.

          • Randy M says:

            Iain, I could see “Where are you from?” asking either question, “Where did you grow up?” or “What people are you descended from?”

            Somewhat relevant video clip
            The Texas native’s are trying to get to know their neighbor, in an annoying and ignorant way. The new neighbor can take the opportunity to get offended, or not.

            “No, where are you really from?” is rude.

            I’d guess that the reason it is being phrased this way is that the person is curious about the race or ethnicity of the person they are asking, are afraid to say ‘race’ and the words ‘ethnicity’ and ‘culture’ aren’t ones they use frequently–more like known jargon than what pops to mind when trying to put their thoughts to words.

            As far as I’m concerned it is right up there with asking a woman you just met how much she weighs.

            Clearly you think so. If you like, you can explain why. If you do so convincingly, I might not think you are looking for ways to be offended should it come up in the future.

          • Brad says:

            Can’t say that’s a very enticing offer. You want to raise rude kids, that’s their problem.

        • “As an Asian-American, whenever that topic comes up, I’ve said it’s not only not hurtful, it’s actually very affectionate for it shows a genuine interest in learning about me and the culture from where I originate.”

          I live in an area with a lot of immigrants from a lot of places. I quite routinely ask people where they are from, sometimes get into a conversation with them about it—yesterday’s cab driver was Ethiopian, had lived in Germany and now in the U.S. Last year, when I spent some time in the Stanford medical center, I counted countries. I think the doctors and staff totaled ten, not counting the U.S.

          I don’t think I have ever gotten a hostile response, often gotten interesting conversations.

          • Polycarp says:

            I often ask people where they are from if they have an accent. I am interested in languages, and I always try to signal somehow that that is why I am asking. This has led to many interesting conversations about language and about much else. I am always a bit concerned that my question might offend, but as far as I can tell it has never had that effect.

          • carvenvisage says:

            purely for your information, it annoys me but I would never give a hostile response to it, as it’s a universal conversational topic.

            More fully: If I thought it would be better if cars were driven on the other side of the road, I wouldn’t be hostile to people who do so, because that’s not only a common norm for which people cannot be blamed, should there be anything morally objectionable about the current schelling point, it’s also a coordinating mechanism.

            Similarly, that question, being a commonly asked one, is a coordinating mechanism for conversation- people are used to answering it, to transitioning from that question into a broader conversation, to connecting with people.

            (there’s also no ethical element to my dispreference /aesthetic incompatibility)

            If someone asks, so what about that game last night? and I have no interest in the game, am just now learning there was a game of some sort on las night etc, then the person talking to me is still trying to make conversation, -in a traditionally approved fashion, so I’m not going to view this as an either an innovation or as an assertion that everyone ought to be interested in [insert sport]. (though on occasion it turns it be)

            (the football question is also arguably more forward, as it’s assuming an interest exists in the other party, rather than expressing an interest of one’s own)

    • keranih says:

      I’d go a step further and say that the problem is not encouraging people to speak up when – for a classic example – someone steps on their foot in the subway. (*)

      It’s the automatic assumption of malice on part of the specific stepper, plus all other people who walk, against people sitting down. This assumption of malice and of intent to harm is then spread against all people who walk.

      So instead of the harm being a marginal/accidental side effect of a purposeful behavior aimed at some benign/beneficial goal, the foot-stepping is made out to be what it is not – a deliberate hurtful action. And of course, the suggestion that maybe people sitting down pay attention to people moving around and draw their clodhoppers out of the general way is another oppression.

      (*) “Bearing the minor slings and arrows of life with cheer and fortitude” does seem a lost cause in the SJ world, though.

      And now I’m wondering if this example is so frustrating to me, because I’m from the South, where we don’t even really honk horns at people that much, and I’ve only ridden subways or trains when I am out among heathens. I get the impression that in the NE seaboard, everyone, of all social classes, might be okay with people yelling “get off my foot, you oaf” at each other.

      So the idea that yelling “you stepped on my foot, stop it” isn’t actually, you know, a personal attack, isn’t native to me.

      (And it’s odd, because I recognized quite a lot of the White Privilege Knapsack idea to be highly regional/culturally dependent when I first came across the concept, but never thought that much about the “stop stepping on my feet” complaint.)

      (Still not sure if I’m right.)

  25. JRM says:

    Re: Trump.

    The Curiel thing was racist, and severely so. The birtherism was kinda racist.

    That said: I have mad respect for our host, who I think has made an error in opposition to his general views. I also think the thrust of the post is right: It’s not the grabbing or other dumb things we ought to worry about, but rather the millions of people in the Baltic states who may die if we roll a two. If we roll a one, instadeath.

    No es bueno.

    • shakeddown says:

      Was the Curiel thing racist? I’m an immigrant, and I wouldn’t be offended if Trump said that I wouldn’t judge him fairly because of his anti-immigration rhetoric. It seems like a perfectly reasonable concern – I know judges are supposed to be objective, but so are police officers, and I don’t think it’s crazy or racist to imply that they can be racially biased.

      Re: birtherism. I’ve been here four years now, and I’m just starting to understand American racial politics enough to see why it’s considered racist. Trump is remarkably socially oblivious in a lot of ways – I can easily imagine him hearing a rumor spread by an explicit racist that a president he disliked was foreign-born, and pushing it really hard without understanding the context. He has a history of doing things like this, like when he said America should default on the debt like a casino.

      • Iain says:

        Trump pushed birtherism for years. At some point, you lose the benefit of the doubt. At the very least, we know that Trump loves reading about himself in the media.

        And again, I’m not sure why minorities should feel reassured by “Trump isn’t deliberately racist! He’s just stupid and clueless and keeps supporting racist ideas by accident!”

        • BBA says:

          Nobody should feel reassured. It’s just that for typical unwoke white people, there’s juuuust enough plausible deniability that “OMG HE’S A RACIST!!!” is a losing argument. Focus on some other way to attack him, god knows he’s got a bigger attack surface than an unpatched copy of Windows ME.

          • Urstoff says:

            Haha, that’s exactly it. Giving him every benefit of the doubt and steelmanning every last thing he says, he might not be racist but instead just be a bottomless well of terrible ideas. However, that’s just treating each statement or action in isolation. When you start piling them on (Curiel, Bannon, Birtherism, rapist Mexicans, build the wall, housing discrimination, black accountants, etc.), him not being racist starts to seem dubious.

            This is a separate issue from whether voting for Trump means you are racist. I don’t think racism is like cooties, so whether Trump is or is not racist (and he probably is), calling all Trump voters racists or even saying he was elected because of racism is not warranted.

          • Jiro says:

            However, that’s just treating each statement or action in isolation. When you start piling them on (Curiel, Bannon, Birtherism, rapist Mexicans, build the wall, housing discrimination, black accountants, etc.), him not being racist starts to seem dubious.

            I think you missed the point of Scott’s post. If someone is creating a theory by cobbling together lots of bits of poor evidence, refuting it is going to look like treating each statement in isolation.

          • BBA says:

            I think it’s quite possible that Trump is not guilty of racism under the M’Naghten rule – he is incapable of distinguishing right from wrong. Of course, this would be much more frightening than him being an actual out-and-proud racist.

          • Urstoff says:

            I think you missed the point of Scott’s post. If someone is creating a theory by cobbling together lots of bits of poor evidence, refuting it is going to look like treating each statement in isolation.

            It’s not poor evidence, it just weakly supports the proposition that he’s racist. We obviously can’t get inside his head, but when there are 10+ instances where either he’s racist (because it’s something a racist would do) or holds a particularly nuanced view (not something Trump is known for), the best explanation for the fact that there are so many instances of potential racism is that he’s racist. Taking each in turn and saying that there’s an interpretation of his action in which he’s not racist doesn’t address the fact that there are so many of these instances where he might be racist.

      • HeelBearCub says:

        What people are missing about the Curiel thing is that it is a de facto admission by Trump that he knows his proposals are offensive to Mexicans and anyone who has Mexican heritage.

        “I’m building a wall. He’s Mexican.” This is the entirety of his reasoning for wanting Curiel removed from his case.

        This is Trump announcing in big, bold letters that he is trying and succeeding in offending those who can trace their heritage to Mexico. Otherwise, why would Curiel need to be removed from the case?

        • Well... says:

          This is Trump announcing in big, bold letters that he is trying and succeeding in offending those who can trace their heritage to Mexico.

          I don’t think that’s a logical conclusion. What Trump announced in big bold letters was that he knew a lot of people of Mexican heritage were offended by his proposals. It doesn’t mean he made those proposals because he wanted to offend those people. Sometimes you make a proposal that you know is going to offend a group of people, but you make it anyway because you believe it’s a good proposal, or that there are benefits of making the proposal that outweigh offending that group of people.

          If Trump could have proposed to build a wall and deport illegals without offending a single Mexican-American, do you think he still would have made that proposal? I do.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            Trump posits that any judge of Mexican heritage would be unable to properly adjudicate his case.

            That is the complete opposite end of not offending a single “Mexican”. Trump believes that every person of Mexican heritage should automatically be assumed to harbor prejudice against him.

          • Deiseach says:

            Trump believes that every person of Mexican heritage should automatically be assumed to harbor prejudice against him.

            Wasn’t that part of the Clinton/her supporters campaign? If you’re a minority, how can you vote for Trump? Look at all the racist things he’s said, look how he’s said he’s going to build a wall, that’s going to directly affect you and your families, how can you possibly have any other opinion about him than that he’s a racist and a fascist and someone who will round you all up and deport you in the morning?

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Deiseach:
            Trump says many offensive, demeaning and dehumanizing things.
            Trump proves that he thinks those things are offensive.

            In what way does Hillary pointing out that those things are offensive change the truth that they are offensive?

            In addition, his argument was not “HRC has poisoned the well”. His argument was “I’m building a wall. He’s Mexican.”

            This is such bizarre bullshit. Everyone is trying to litigate whether Trump falls just on the other side of an arbitrary line as if somehow falling just short of it makes everything peachy.

          • Nancy Lebovitz says:

            Part of the reaction against Trump was that Curiel is an American with Mexican parents.

          • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

            HBC is changing the argument here from “Trump’s statement about Curiel was racist” to “Trump’s statements about building a wall were racist”.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Cerebral Paul Z:
            I have not used the word racist. And I have done that intentionally.

          • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

            I stand corrected: HBC is trying to change the subject entirely. Since Scott’s article was specifically about accusations of racism and stipulated to Trump’s other flaws (which most of us seem to agree on as well), I expect the attempt will fall flat.

          • Deiseach says:

            In what way does Hillary pointing out that those things are offensive change the truth that they are offensive?

            Because it was “Look! He’s said terrible things about your ethnicity and culture! Aren’t you outraged? If so, vote for me! If not, why are you not outraged?”

            Trump probably was trying to pull something to get a more favourable judge or some other legal trickery. It was crappy to do it based on “I can’t get a fair shake from this guy because….”, but it was the same reasoning as “Why aren’t you outraged at his insults?”

            The idea being that you would not sit down and examine the case for Trump on its merits, the idea being it was open-and-shut: he said nasty things about Mexicans, I’m Mexican, that’s it I hate him and all he stands for (so I won’t consider his policies/his case on their merits or lack of it, but based on my ethnic loyalties). Curiel-the-judge was supposed to be able to separate out the law case and the man in it, Curiel-the-voter is being appealed to on the basis of his ethnicity and his presumed loyalty to it and opposition to anyone who insults it.

            I agree you can campaign by appealing to voters on “My opponent thinks you’re all maroons” but it’s disingenuous to then turn around and say “But just because you know he thinks you’re a maroon, it won’t have any affect on you”.

            I do think the judge should be presumed to be able to rule according to the law and not bias, but then again, that would mean lawyers couldn’t challenge a jury based on “this potential juror is a fifty year old married white woman, she’s going to be prejudiced against my eighteen year old black male client”.

            tl, dr: Trump shouldn’t have said that about a judge, but he shouldn’t have said that about any judge, he should have let his shyster do all the quackery on his behalf. Minority-ethnicity appeals to voters can’t be assumed to have no effect unless we’re expecting everyone to compartmentalise every area of their lives, and the progressive call to action is based on “but you can’t compartmentalise, being black/latino/asian/trans/whatever affects every part of your life and it’s White Privilege to demand calm, ‘rational’ discourse and impartial logic from a person so affected”.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Cerebral Paul Z:
            I assume you are familiar with tabooing a term.

            @Deiseach:
            You are not addressing my point at all. Trump’s argument posits that the mere fact that he is building a wall should be enough to presume bias towards him on the part of anyone of Mexican heritage.

            Leaving aside any questions of voter strategy, or lawyer strategy, or who “should” have said what, we have this piece of evidence of Trump’s thought process spoken though his own lips, repeatedly. He was challenged on the statement multiple times in order that he be clearly understood.

            We can even disregard whether Trump actually thought Curiel would be unbiased. All that matters is that Trump thinks that the broad audience will agree that Curiel should be presumed to be biased.

            (As an aside, I am relatively confident that you cannot strike an individual juror for the reason you cited. A lawyer might strike someone for that reason, but they can’t make that argument. The challenge used will be peremptory).

          • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

            I know about tabooing words but I don’t think it answers the need here. What many of us are arguing is that the objectionable parts of Trump’s conduct in these incidents don’t appear to have anything to do with race at all. Again, the assumption that Hispanics have an animus against Trump is all but universal. Where Trump made a huge jerk of himself was assuming that this animus would be enough to make Curiel violate the most sacred obligation of his office. But there’s no evidence that that further assumption was based on any belief about Hispanics’ unusual grudge-holding ability or lack of judicial temperament; most likely he was projecting his own famous vindictiveness onto the judge.

            If we’re right about this, it’s not sufficient to taboo the word “racist”– we need to taboo the subject matter.

          • Matt M says:

            “most likely he was projecting his own famous vindictiveness onto the judge.”

            Honestly, it’s not even this.

            It was an obviously intentional strategy to cast doubt upon a judge that was presiding over his case. From a legal perspective, it seems like an obviously good idea – especially if your case is weak (as many insist his is). If you have ANY means to pre-emptively cast doubt on the eventual verdict why WOULDN’T you do that?

            Like, if you get pulled over and ticketed by a police officer who is a different race than you and your only options are “say nothing and pay your ticket” or “go to court and claim the officer was racially prejudiced against you” then why wouldn’t you bother at least giving it a try?

            Trump didn’t do this because he’s a huge jerk who hates Mexicans – he did it to help increase his odds of winning an appeal on his legal case.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Cerebral Paul Z:

            Again, the assumption that Hispanics have an animus against Trump is all but universal.

            Again, (why do I have to keep making this point) it is Trump’s own reasoning for the source of that animus that matters.

            He assumes that “building a wall” is inherently objectionable to anyone who is Mexican. His words and his reasoning. This is Trump trying to convince people of the correctness of his position. The fact that you want to disengage from this example should tell you something.

            Otherwise your position seems to be “I am losing this argument therefore I think it should be off limits”.

          • Matt M says:

            “He assumes that “building a wall” is inherently objectionable to anyone who is Mexican. ”

            You seem to be treating this as “Trump admits to being racist” and I’m not sure that’s fair.

            How about an analogy? Imagine you’re falsely accused of murder. One of the potential jurors witnessed their parents being murdered at age 10. Your lawyer asks for that juror to be removed under the premise that they may be biased against you.

            Is that unreasonable bigotry against people whose families were murdered? Are you admitting guilt by suggesting that someone who hates murderers might hate you?

            No – you’re entertaining the possibility that said person might have a personal reason to judge you differently than a regular person wholly uninvolved with murder. It’s a reasonable thing that every sane accused criminal and defense attorney would do and nobody would begrudge them of that.

            But when Trump does it, it’s either direct evidence of bigotry in and of itself, and/or an admission that his past behavior was totally bigoted (otherwise why would this guy be a problem?)

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Matt M:
            Taboo the word racist. I’m not interested in debating the definition of racist, and that is all that happens (especially here) when the word is used.

            Your analogy implies that Trump has done something to Curiel or Curiel’s parents. What do you think he has done to Curiel or his parents?

          • Matt M says:

            “Your analogy implies that Trump has done something to Curiel or Curiel’s parents.”

            No it doesn’t.

            The question of whether Trump’s prior statements were actually offensive to hispanics is up for debate – with Trump presumably suggesting that they are not. Some think they were, some think they weren’t.

            Trump is saying “my statements weren’t offensive, but it’s clear some hispanics took offense anyway, therefore I don’t want hispanics judging me” just like the accused murderer says “I didn’t kill anyone, but nonetheless, I’d rather not have a juror who may be predisposed to judge accused murderers harshly”

          • The original Mr. X says:

            He assumes that “building a wall” is inherently objectionable to anyone who is Mexican.

            Not necessarily. He might be assuming, for example, that building a wall isn’t inherently objectionable to Mexicans, but that the press have spent so much time and effort using it as proof of his alleged anti-Hispanic bigotry that a large proportion of Mexicans will (falsely) think that the wall thing proves that he’s a racist. Or, he might be assuming that building a wall isn’t inherently objectionable, but that lots of Hispanics are going to object to it anyway.

          • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

            He assumes that “building a wall” is inherently objectionable to anyone who is Mexican. His words and his reasoning. This is Trump trying to convince people of the correctness of his position.

            Wait, you’re claiming Trump has said he wants to build a wall for the purpose of offending Mexicans? That’s a good deal sillier than the argument I thought you were making.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Matt M:
            If Trump’s words weren’t actually offensive to hispanics, why would Trump think that Curiel could not be objective based on the mere fact of his ancestry?

            @The original Mr. X:
            Again, his own words were “I’m building a wall. He’s Mexican.”

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Cerebral:
            Are you being deliberately obtuse here? C’mon man.

          • Matt M says:

            “If Trump’s words weren’t actually offensive to hispanics”

            This is the matter in dispute – and Trump knows it.

            I assume Trump’s position is that his words are not (or at least should not be) offensive to Hispanics.

            But it’s clear that there exist some amount of hispanics (possibly even approaching a majority) who think that his words are offensive to them. The overwhelming majority of the media has also uncritically reported this to be the case.

            Trump’s position can very well be “I don’t think my words were offensive but it’s clear some hispanics do therefore I’d prefer not to have a hispanic judge” just like the accused murderer can say “I didn’t murder anyone yet I’d still rather not have a juror who is more likely to hate murderers than the average person”

          • The original Mr. X says:

            @The original Mr. X:
            Again, his own words were “I’m building a wall. He’s Mexican.”

            …So?

            Saying that a lot of Mexicans are offended by his wall-building proposal doesn’t amount to saying that they’re justified in feeling offended, still less that the wall-building proposal was put forward for the purpose of offending them.

        • Randy M says:

          No, it is Trump making clear he knows that there is a trade-off between the interests of his country and the interests of those who identify moreso with Mexico.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Randy M:

            No, it is Trump making clear he knows that there is a trade-off between the interests of his country and the interests of those who identify moreso with Mexico.

            He provided no evidence or reasoning that Curiel “identified moreso with Mexico” other than the fact that he had Mexican heritage.

            Curiel’s country is the United States of America. I don’t know why you would presume he has less of an interest in the success of America than Trump. I presume you didn’t intend to imply that Curiel was somehow less American than Trump, nonetheless the implication sits there.

          • Randy M says:

            This was what I was responding to (emphasis mine):

            “I’m building a wall. He’s Mexican.” This is the entirety of his reasoning for wanting Curiel removed from his case.

            This is Trump announcing in big, bold letters that he is trying and succeeding in offending those who can trace their heritage to Mexico.

            Trump’s wall isn’t trying to offend Mexicans, but that may be a side effect.

            Assuming Curiel would react negatively to this because he has mexican heritage may well be racist in the sense of stereotyping recent immigrants (or 2nd generation, etc.) as caring about their prior homeland, but in the same way as assuming that they will vote against Republicans because Republicans don’t want easy immigration from Mexico is stereotyping them and thus assuming they are less American, etc. as you said.

            (That’s one convoluted sentence, I know…)

          • Evan Þ says:

            Plus, as he or his supporters pointed out at the time, Curiel is a member of a Hispanic judges’ group – which says he at least identifies with people of Mexican heritage to some degree.

            (Yes, still a huge difference.)

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Matt M:

            Trump assumes that he will most likely have offended anyone who is of Mexican heritage. That is baked into his statement.

            When I said “trying to” offend, I meant it in the sense of not attempting to ameliorate the offense he believes he is giving. The offense that he believes is inevitable. If you object to that framing, that’s fine.

            He caused offense knowing full well he was doing so.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            Evan Þ:
            No one is questioning that Curiel is of Mexican heritage and embraces it.

            Again, why should that bias him against Trump? Why would Trump say it should be presumed to bias him? Why does Trump think the fact he is proposing a wall should be presumed to bias anyone proud of Mexican heritage against him?

          • Randy M says:

            … so?

            I disagree about allowing offense to be taken as some great character flaw. Not terrific diplomacy, perhaps. But feelings are not the end goal of policy.

            Also, knowing someone is going to take offense isn’t the same as believing that their feelings are legitimate.

          • Evan Þ says:

            @HeelBearCub, as Scott said, when the media’s been chanting “IDENTITY POLITICS” for years and someone on the right finally joins in, don’t you have a good guess where they got it from? Hasn’t the media been repeating the same syllogism about Trump, walls, and Hispanics? I’m not saying that Trump believes it to be the case, or that a majority of Hispanics do… but there’s a chance, and enough of a chance that I can see why Trump would’ve asked for a new judge.

            (Yes, I would’ve advised against it if I were Trump’s lawyer. Yes, Trump could’ve been clearer. What else is new?)

          • Matt M says:

            “Yes, I would’ve advised against it if I were Trump’s lawyer. ”

            May I ask why? What does he have to lose?

          • Evan Þ says:

            @Matt – biasing the judge against him even more, on the basis of personal attacks that were highly unlikely to actually get another judge assigned to the case.

            (Yes, Curiel will probably do his best to set aside his bias and give Trump a fair trial. But it’s still worth it to try to be nice to him.)

          • Matt M says:

            But I thought we were operating under the premise that the judge was a total professional and would be fair and free of all bias?

            I think a lot of it depends on the strength of the case. My guess is that Trump’s lawyers said “you are probably going to lose this” so he threw out a hail mary.

            How do you feel about coaches in sports “working the refs.” That’s basically what Trump was doing here.

          • Spookykou says:

            My understanding is that judges are not free of bias at all and Lawyers try very hard not to offend judges, even in clear situations where the judge has a conflict of interest, you want to present that opinion to the judge polity, because if they disagree, you now have to go through trial with a judge you might have pissed off. I think the whole ‘judges are holier than thou’ thing is not a belief held by lawyers and is mostly popular fiction.

            Anecdote, this is almost word for word what a Lawyer I know said about why it was a stupid thing to do regardless of motivation.

      • Earthly Knight says:

        I know judges are supposed to be objective, but so are police officers, and I don’t think it’s crazy or racist to imply that they can be racially biased.

        Note the important difference between saying of a class of people that they tend to be biased against members of other races and saying of an individual that he is biased because of his race.

        Compare:
        “White police officers tend to treat hispanic suspects more harshly than they treat white suspects.”
        “That cop treated me unfairly because he’s white and I’m hispanic.”

        Or:
        “Female judges tend to be biased against male defendants.”
        “That judge was biased against me because she’s a woman.”

        Or:
        “Jewish journalists hold Palestinians to a different standard than they hold Israelis.”
        “That journalist holds Palestinians to a different standard than he holds Israelis because he’s jewish.”

        (Both statements in the last pair strike me as offensive, but the latter clearly more so).

        • Well... says:

          I think if I were Curiel, Trump’s statements would offend me as a professional judge, not as a person of Mexican extraction. “I’m a professional judge! Putting my personal biases aside and attempting to decide a case fairly based on the relevant facts presented is the bread and butter of what I do for a living!” I might bellow. But I’d also understand if a lot of people find that hard to understand or believe.

        • Well... says:

          PS. Curious why the last two statements strike you as offensive. Do you think journalists have some special ability to be unbiased? Do Jewish journalists? Or is it because you feel like the statement is disregarding all the Jewish journalists who consistently take the Palestinians’ side?

          I ask because I’ve never noticed journalists–Jewish or otherwise–having any such ability. A journalist’s only peculiar talent, so far as I can tell, is for writing narratives in ways that most 3rd graders can understand, and doing so on tight deadlines.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            Well, the hope was that in reading each pair of sentences you would have the linguistic intuition that the second sentence was substantially more offensive than the first. I expect that people without acquired racism-blindness will indeed have the intuition that it’s offensive to say that an individual can’t properly carry out their professional duties because they’re a woman, or because they’re jewish, or because they’re white. This suggests that shakedown’s analogy between “white cops tend to treat black suspects unfairly” and Trump’s attack on Curiel fails, as the former refers to a statistical trend among a large group of people, while the latter accuses a specific person of being racially unfit.

          • Well... says:

            I understood what you were trying to say. I’m saying this:

            By default, I expect a judge to be able to put aside his personal biases.* If a judge is accused of not being able to do so, he should be offended as a professional judge, not as whatever identity is being tied to his alleged bias. Same goes for a cop.

            But with journalists I have no such default expectation of them being able to put aside their personal biases. Do you? And if so, why?

            *This doesn’t mean I expect a professional judge not to have any personal biases. Trump apparently didn’t either. You’re calling him racist for expecting a judge to have personal biases; I’m calling him uncharitable for expecting a judge to be unable to put aside his personal biases. (Though likely Trump figured there was some likelihood Curiel would be able to put aside his personal biases, but he wanted to maximize his odds by getting a different judge without that obvious potential source for bias.)

          • Earthly Knight says:

            No, I’m calling him racist because he said a judge was treating him unfairly because the judge was a mexican. This is, as the congressman said, the textbook definition of a racist comment.

          • Matt M says:

            “I’m calling him uncharitable for expecting a judge to be unable to put aside his personal biases. ”

            I’d just like to say that I agree with this 100%.

            I think Trump did in fact make a rather crude personal attack on Curiel that is a bit distasteful, but what he attacked was Curiel’s ability to properly do his job as a judge – not his identity as a hispanic man.

            This incident is a good piece of evidence that Trump is a boorish jerk, but a poor piece of evidence that he is “openly racist”

          • Aapje says:

            @Earthly Knigh

            Do you believe that no Mexicans have a bias towards Mexicans?

            Note that this is a choice between making an absurd statement vs proving yourself a hypocrite.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            Try asking the question at a level of generality that makes sense. Are you asking whether hispanic judges tend to show favoritism towards hispanic defendants or hispanic plaintiffs that appear before them? I don’t know for sure, but given what we know about white and black judges, probably not.

          • Aapje says:

            That is counter-intuitive, as I believe that it is the other way around for the non-judge population.

            If someone honestly believes that judges act like other people, which doesn’t seem like a weird assumption in the absence of evidence (I’m assuming that Trump isn’t aware of that study, like I wasn’t), then do you still consider it racist?

            If so, do you consider it more racist than believing that non-judges give preference to their own group?

          • Earthly Knight says:

            You seem to be ignoring the distinction I pointed out above between saying that a group of professionals tend to be biased against members of other races, and saying of an individual that he is biased because of his race. It’s okay (although apparently false) to assert that black judges tend to biased in favor of black defendants or white judges in favor of white defendants, but it’s racist to say that a particular judge is biased against you because he’s black.

          • Aapje says:

            @EK,

            I agree that it is stereotyping and not OK, but it is a very common error by humans to assume that statistical group characteristics hold for each individual within that group, also when the group is not defined by a born trait, but something else (like people who like games).

            In those cases we don’t disqualify these people by using a word that has such strong connotations of the person being inherently evil.

            So I prefer to limit the accusation of racism to people who believe that one group of people is better than another group of (differently colored) people.

    • Well... says:

      The Curiel thing was racist, and severely so. The birtherism was kinda racist.

      It’d be cool if you stated your reasoning here, because neither of those points are obvious to me.

      I totally get why people thought those things were racist. But that’s the same as how I totally get why a lot of people think Starbucks is really high quality coffee.

      So here’s why the Curiel thing wasn’t obviously racist to me:

      Trump of course knew that some of his campaign promises about immigration had offended lots of Hispanics. He knew that Curiel was likely to be one of those offended Hispanics (for more reasons than just that Curiel was himself of Mexican extraction). So Trump used it as a reason to say Curiel wouldn’t judge his case fairly.

      It’s in the same class of reasons why cases will change venue: to neutralize some of the likely bias about the defendant that’s swirling around in the courtroom. In this instance, it was a severely weak legal play by Trump, but it wasn’t a severely racist one. At least not in any obvious way, to me.

      Here’s why birtherism isn’t obviously racist to me:

      The birther argument was that Obama was actually born in Kenya as a non-US citizen, and therefore was ineligible to serve as president. Opinions about whether not being born a US citizen ought to disqualify one for the highest elected US office are irrelevant to the birther argument, which merely sought to use this law as a technicality to keep Obama out of office. Even if the desire to keep Obama out of office was based on racism, the birther argument itself doesn’t have anything to do with race: a 100% non-racist Obama opponent (if you can’t imagine a real one, then imagine a hypothetical one) could pick up the birther argument and use it to oppose Obama.

      • shakeddown says:

        I’m more ambiguous on the birther argument:
        For the first one, it seems like Obama was targeted with birtherism mostly due to looking/seeming foreign (Foreign name, non-white). I’m not usually inclined to believe things are motivated by racial coding, but there seems to be a reasonably strong case for this.
        Regarding the second part of your argument: Assume that a significant number of people were making the explicitly racist argument that Obama couldn’t be a good president because he was black. Would a non-racist republican who opposed Obama on policy alone join in on this?
        I can imagine he would, if he thought it was a good attack vector, but only if he was ambiguous on racism – I can’t imagine anyone who genuinely believes in fighting racism seizing on an overtly racist method of attack unless he felt he had no alternative (and there were republican criticisms of Obama that had nothing to do with birtherism, so that doesn’t apply).
        It seems like in this case, the racism is ambiguous enough that Trump’s generic social insensitivity and lack of ability to admit error give him plausible deniability on being motivated by racism (though I do think it’s evidence that he just doesn’t care about racial issues).

        • Well... says:

          It seems like in this case, the racism is ambiguous enough that Trump’s generic social insensitivity and lack of ability to admit error give him plausible deniability on being motivated by racism (though I do think it’s evidence that he just doesn’t care about racial issues).

          That’s pretty close to what I think as well.

          Trump got a lot of positive reinforcement throughout his campaign from saying edgy things. Birtherism has a distinctly edgy feel to it, so he picked it up and put it in his toolbox.

          • Iain says:

            This doesn’t make sense, because he was pushing birtherism in 2011. Here’s a list of Trump quotes supporting birtherism; only the last two are from after he announced his candidacy. (The link is to ThinkProgress; feel free to skip the preamble and scroll down to the quotes.) Note that all of these quotes are from after Obama had released both the short-form and long-form versions of his birth certificate.

          • Matt M says:

            Birtherism was plenty edgy during Obama’s presidency.

            It’s also worth noting that in Trump’s version of events – his involvement was the thing that finally got Obama to agree to release his actual birth certificate thus conclusively ending the issue.

            A significant achievement and a clear example of Trump solving problems, getting things done, and successfully conducting a negotiation that the GOP establishment failed at for years!

          • Well... says:

            @Iain:

            I rescind part, but not all, of my argument based on what you said.

            See my comment on our parallel conversation further upthread: https://slatestarcodex.com/2016/11/16/open-thread-62-75/#comment-435781

          • Deiseach says:

            I suppose the only test as to whether “Birtherism” is racist or not is to see if a white candidate in a similar situation was ever hit with cries of “show us your birth certificate to prove you’re eligible/an American citizen!”

            Has there ever been an American candidate for political office whose citizenship was ambiguous, who was white, and who wasn’t rebuked by their opponents for this? Any examples? No because there aren’t any such cases?

          • Iain says:

            John McCain was born on an army base in Panama, putting him in a similar spot vis-a-vis “natural-born” as Ted Cruz. Obama never brought it up against him, and Democrats in the Senate (especially Claire McCaskill) were involved in the effort to clear up the confusion. It was a non-binding resolution, because an actual fix would have required a constitutional amendment, but I think there is sufficient difference between “rebuking their opponents” and “sponsoring a resolution in defence of the presidential nominee of the other party” to prove my point.

    • ThirteenthLetter says:

      > The birtherism was kinda racist.

      Nah, and I’ll tell you why.

      There’s a certain strand of magical thinking on both sides of the aisle, where the attitude is “we just need this one legal thing to happen just right, and our evil opponent will be instantly disqualified and disappear, and we win!” Birtherism is pretty much the perfect example on the right: this Obama guy is popular and has the media backing him and our party is in the trash right now, but there’s this magic sword hidden in the records office in Honolulu, and if Frodo can get it he can beat Voldemort with one good swing! And a non-Obama example would be Republicans who thought that the FBI was going to indict Hillary Clinton. On the left, one might proffer all the people frantically advocating a revolt in the Electoral College right now, or the wild, insane theories about voting machines being hacked.

      When the voters incomprehensibly refuse to vote the right way, the temptation to find some instant way around them is very hard to resist. It’s worth resisting, though, as all it actually does is give you a seductive excuse to avoid doing the hard work. There is no way that years of flirting with Birtherism helped the GOP, and there is no way that wailing about voting machines or doxxing EC members is going to help the Democrats.

      • Earthly Knight says:

        There is no way that years of flirting with Birtherism helped the GOP,

        How can you say this with a straight face, when the republicans control both houses of congress and the most prominent birther of all is slated to become our next president? Obviously, spreading insane lies about your opponents is a winning strategy. The democrats should never have listened to the people who advised them to be calm, rational, or measured. The American people want paranoid delusions, give them paranoid delusions.

        • suntzuanime says:

          Obviously, spreading insane lies about your opponents is a winning strategy.

          How can you say this with a straight face, when the republicans control both houses of congress and the most prominent birther of all is slated to become our next president?

        • Deiseach says:

          The democrats should never have listened to the people who advised them to be calm, rational, or measured. The American people want paranoid delusions, give them paranoid delusions.

          The Democrats gave the American people “Pepe the Frog – Nazi!” warnings. How did that work out for them in the greater scheme of things?

          When your campaign is reduced to stoking fears about a cartoon frog, it begins to look less like “calm, rational and measured” and more like “Sky! Falling! Unless vote for us!”

          This is like the Clinton-supporting response to why all these white women voted for Trump explaining it as self-hatred and internalised misogyny and being influenced by their fathers and husbands. Because the poor little women can’t think for themselves, you see, their brains have been washed by society and the male influences in their lives. Also, the reason Hillary isn’t president is because SEXISM! because men think women can’t think for themselves, you see.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            The Democrats gave the American people “Pepe the Frog – Nazi!” warnings. How did that work out for them in the greater scheme of things?

            Okay, but is it actually false that pepe is commonly used by hate groups? I saw him all the time over at the Donald Trump subreddit, in between calls to exterminate various minorities and dire warnings that brown men are coming to rape all of the white women.

            This is like the Clinton-supporting response to why all these white women voted for Trump explaining it as self-hatred and internalised misogyny and being influenced by their fathers and husbands.

            From talking with some of the commenters here, it appears that a fair number of female Trump voters have had to convince themselves that the women accusing Trump of sexual assault might all be liars or part of some elaborate conspiracy in order to rationalize voting for him. That looks an awful lot like stockholm syndrome to me.

          • Deiseach says:

            Earthly Knight, we’ve had two women presidents in Ireland. Granted, the position is more ceremonial figurehead of state than the active political role it is in the USA.

            However, my point is this: I didn’t vote for one of them and I did vote for the other.

            I didn’t vote for one, even though she was going for FIRST FEMALE PRESIDENT, not out of sexism or Stockholm Syndrome but because I didn’t like her, didn’t like her politics, didn’t agree with the views she held on certain topics, and didn’t want her representing the country as president. Also, I got the same whiff of claw-out-your-eyeballs ambition from her as from Hillary, but that’s by the way.

            I did vote for the second one (even though again there were views I didn’t agree with on certain topics) because this time round I thought she was okay for the job.

            There are probably a lot of women in the USA who’d be happy to vote for the first female president. They just don’t want that to be Hillary.

            I’ve quoted this New York Times breast-beating before, but really now, come on:

            54% of all female voters voted for Hillary – perfectly normal result, nothing to comment on here

            53% of all male voters voted for Trump – SEXISM! Only explanation why they didn’t vote for a woman!

            Expecting all members of one gender to vote for a candidate based solely or primarily on shared gender is either sexism or it’s not sexism. It cannot be “sexism for thee but not for me”.

            Expecting all women to vote for Hillary and berating the “white women traitors to the sisterhood”/Stockholm Syndrome/”white women chose power over feminist solidarity with black women” is hypocrisy, to be blunt about it.

            Vote for X because she’s a woman is just as sexist an appeal as vote for Y because he’s a man.

          • bean says:

            Vote for X because she’s a woman is just as sexist an appeal as vote for Y because he’s a man.

            Well said. Of course, this is generalizable to any trait that isn’t directly related to policy. Yes, including race.

          • DrBeat says:

            Okay, but is it actually false that pepe is commonly used by hate groups?

            It is not false, but only in the sense that “hate groups regularly use adjectives and prepositions” is not false — it ascribes unique significance to one group’s usage of a thing that is ubiquitous. And rare Pepes are ubiquitous among people who identify with the culture of the Internet itself, in the same fashion as image macros, rage comics, and advice animals.

          • CatCube says:

            My favorite rebuttal to the notion that women are obligated to vote for Clinton because she’d be the first female president is that she’d “accomplish” being the first female president in the first second of her presidency, then be Hillary Clinton for the remaining 126,143,999 seconds.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            @ Dieseach

            I said that a lot of female Trump voters sound like they have stockholm syndrome because I’ve witnessed them going through ludicrous contortions to persuade themselves that Trump isn’t really a sexual predator despite the fairly overwhelming evidence that he is. I don’t know why you’re talking about Hillary, I don’t think women are obligated to vote for female politicians or whatever the hell tangent it is you went off on.

            @ Dr Beat

            It is not false, but only in the sense that “hate groups regularly use adjectives and prepositions” is not false — it ascribes unique significance to one group’s usage of a thing that is ubiquitous. And rare Pepes are ubiquitous among people who identify with the culture of the Internet itself, in the same fashion as image macros, rage comics, and advice animals.

            I’m guessing that the proportion of all pepes transmitted by hate groups is much higher than the proportion of all prepositions used by hate groups. I mean, the swastika is commonly used as a religious symbol in south asia, does that mean it’s be foolish to associate it with racism?

          • Deiseach says:

            I don’t think women are obligated to vote for female politicians or whatever the hell tangent it is you went off on.

            Earthly Knight, you’re wiggling. That ‘tangent’ was demonstrating the blindness on the pro-Hillary side that expected women en bloc to vote for her and saw nothing unusual in campaigning on “women, vote for a woman because she’s a woman!” but which then jumped onto the “men voted for Trump because of sexism” explanation, despite the fact that a slightly larger proportion (54% as against 53%) of one gender voted for a person of their own gender and that was not to be considered sexism.

            Either voting (or not voting) for someone based on gender is sexism or not; it’s not a “it’s sexism if you do it but not if I do it” thing.

            Explaining women voting for Trump as Stockholm Syndrome is as much sexism as saying men voted for Trump because of sexism.

            The women who voted for Trump all had their reasons, which can’t be conveniently boiled down to “sexism!” and “race gender traitors!”

            Lay not that flattering unction to your soul.

            (As for sexual predators on the Democrat side, do you really want to start throwing stones in that glasshouse?)

          • Earthly Knight says:

            Explaining women voting for Trump as Stockholm Syndrome is as much sexism as saying men voted for Trump because of sexism.

            Uh… For the third time, I’m saying that female Trump supporters still in denial about his long history of sexually assaulting women sound like they have stockholm syndrome. Please don’t go off on another weird tangent, I feel like I’m talking to one of my relatives with dementia.

          • John Schilling says:

            Trump supporters still in denial about his long history of sexually assaulting women sound like they have stockholm syndrome

            How do you distinguish between Trump supporters in denial about his sexual misbehavior, and Trump supporters who just don’t care? Is there some significant population of Trump-voting women explicitly denying that Trump ever groped anyone, or do you just assume that anyone who believed he did that sort of thing would necessarily vote against him no matter who the alternatives were?

            Because, if it’s the latter, I give you the Clinton dynasty’s second term.

          • DrBeat says:

            I’m guessing that the proportion of all pepes transmitted by hate groups is much higher than the proportion of all prepositions used by hate groups.

            Your guess is incorrect. Your guess is based on nothing, but you believe it because the media made this association. The media made this association based on hatred and contempt for nerds. There is no factual basis. There is no “there is smoke, there must be fire.” A baseless accusation being repeated by enough people — especially when all of those people are ideologically captured in the same way and serving the same goal and suffering under the same biases — does not make it real.

            You know when I said elsewhere that facts do not matter because people do not interact with them and see what they want to see? That is exactly what is happening, right here, right now. There is less evidence for Pepe being a hate symbol than for Obama not being born in the US. But you believe it and think it is common-sense and observable to everyone, because it is emotionally satisfying for you to repeat the accusation. Because it fits the narrative you want to believe.

            The next time you ask “How could someone believe that Obama was born outside the US without being a Bad Racist?”, stop, and ask yourself “How did I believe that Pepe was a hate symbol?” because it is exactly the same process, exactly, at every single stage.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            @ John Schilling

            Is there some significant population of Trump-voting women explicitly denying that Trump ever groped anyone,

            I can’t say for sure how significant the population is, but that’s what I’ve heard from two of the female Trump-supporters here.

            @ Dr Beat

            Your guess is incorrect.

            Really? You think that the ratio of (pepes posted by hate groups/all pepes) is no higher than the ratio of (prepositions spoken by hate groups/all prepositions)? Who are you kidding?

            Your guess is based on nothing, but you believe it because the media made this association.

            I believe it because I see pepes posted on the Donald Trump subreddit all the time, in between the slurs and the calls for genocide.

          • DrBeat says:

            I believe it because I see pepes posted on the Donald Trump subreddit all the time, in between the slurs and the calls for genocide.

            You also see prepositions posted there all the time. This is not proof. This is called “confirmation bias”.

            Someone who wants to believe that Obama was not born in the US can notice things that fit this narrative, and not notice the things that do not fit this narrative. They can point to things that, if they were the only bits of information, would hint-but-not-prove that Obama was not born in the US — but they aren’t the only bits of information. They, because it is a narrative they want to believe, are only capable of seeing the bits of information they want to see and that fit the narrative. Exactly the same way that you can only see bits of information that fit a narrative you want to believe, and think that — because it is something you want to believe — your confirmation bias is ironclad truth and other people are foolish for not seeing it. You are doing the same thing, in the same way, for the same reasons.

            “Pepe is a hate symbol” is not true. It is garbage. It is without value. It has no basis in fact. Nothing useful can be derived from it. But you will never stop believing it. Because it fits the narrative you want to believe. And the Narrative is invulnerable.

          • keranih says:

            >>Is there some significant population of Trump-voting women explicitly denying that Trump ever groped anyone,<<<

            I can’t say for sure how significant the population is, but that’s what I’ve heard from two of the female Trump-supporters here.

            Speaking as one of the female anti-Hillary voters here – my priors weigh strongly for assumptions of innocence before judgement (oddly enough, I was pretty sure this was a progressive stance, but I may have to re-examine that assumption) and just as strongly against believing 11th hour ‘October surprise’ antics which reek of planned political maneuvering.

            At this point, EK, even if you did manage to harangue me into shamefully changing my vote to Hillary –

            – and really, it’s not going to work, the way you’re going about it –

            – this election’s over. You’re putting way too much effort into burning bridges that could more fruitfully be spent trying to persuade people to see it your way for the next election.

            But – up to you. Go on telling women they’re deluded and brain damaged. If you’re still at it in six months, though, you might want to see if the GOP would add you to the team as a community supporter, rounding up votes for the Republicans.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            @ Dr Beat

            You also see prepositions posted there all the time. This is not proof.

            Yes, but prepositions are just as common on other subreddits. The overwhelming majority of pepes I’ve see in my lifetime, on the other hand, have come from The_Donald. Now, it’s still entirely possible that the number of pepes transmitted by hate groups represent a small fraction of the overall number of pepes. But the suggestion that hate groups have no special affection for the frog is not worth taking seriously.

            @ keranih:

            You’re putting way too much effort into burning bridges that could more fruitfully be spent trying to persuade people to see it your way for the next election.

            What makes you think that belittling Trump supporters isn’t the best way to change their minds? I mean, Trump won their votes by insulting pretty much every demographic in the country, women, mexicans, immigrants, veterans, muslims… And it’s not like Trump supporters are going to be responsive to evidence or reasons anyway, if they were, they would never have voted for Trump.

          • DrBeat says:

            But the suggestion that hate groups have no special affection for the frog is not worth taking seriously.

            You are now moving the goalposts. One specific subset of hate groups — the alt-right — likes Pepe. This has nothing whatsoever to do with Pepe actually being a symbol of hate, and everything to do with being a symbol of high-Internet-usage nerddom and memery. Certain types of hate groups also like My Little Pony and (certain) Disney Princesses. This does not make either of them symbols of hate. The accusations that they are symbols of hate has nothing to do with whether they are actually symbols of hate, and everything to do with whether they are liked by nerds who popular people enjoy hating and expressing contempt for.

            The Democrats, and the mainstream media, said that Pepe was a symbol of hate and was particular to hate groups. This was false. It was utterly, categorically, incontrovertibly false. We all talked about how it was false, and ridiculed it for how utterly false it was. You then said it was true, and persisted in saying it was true, despite this being exactly the same as the behavior of Birthers, working on the same logic, for the same reasons.

            Now you are claiming that your argument was about whether hate groups like Pepe, which it never was, and was never what you were arguing, and was never what other people were arguing against. I specifically argued that Pepe was not particular to them, and you specifically denied this, and now you claim the argument was always about something that does not contradict what I said at all.

            You will not even be able to notice this change even after it has been pointed out to you. Inside of you, The Narrative is invulnerable and omnipotent.

          • The Nybbler says:

            I dispute the characterization of r/the_donald as a hate group.

            But if you’re looking for symbols used by hate groups — and here I mean actual hate groups, no-kidding white supremacists — feel free to look to Taylor Swift. (or “Aryan Goddess Taylor Swift” as they put it). I’m sure Ms. Swift is not happy about this, but at least the ADL hasn’t put her on a list.

          • The original Mr. X says:

            What makes you think that belittling Trump supporters isn’t the best way to change their minds?

            Because the left spent pretty much the entire election belittling Trump supporters, and lost?

          • Aapje says:

            I would argue that Pepe became a self-fulfilling accusation. Pepe is a very old meme that became a temporary hype in various Internet communities and then died out. It just looks very ridiculous, which makes it very memeable. Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj posted images of Pepe at one point. The same simply happened with the alt-right, Pepe was having its 5 minutes of fame in that community, but then people from the outside made a huge stink about it.

            At that point, the alt-right and people who disliked the people who got upset noticed that this meme gave them big publicity value, which turned the temporary meme into a valuable propaganda tool.

            So the people that went overboard in portraying Pepe as a alt-right symbol, were actually the ones that turned Pepe into an alt-right symbol.

          • @Dr Beat:

            “You also see prepositions posted there all the time.”

            The claim you were attacking was:

            “I’m guessing that the proportion of all pepes transmitted by hate groups is much higher than the proportion of all prepositions used by hate groups.”

            If you look at a random web page, you will probably see prepositions. You probably will not see Pepe the frog images.

          • Moon says:

            “What makes you think that belittling Trump supporters isn’t the best way to change their minds? I mean, Trump won their votes by insulting pretty much every demographic in the country, women, mexicans, immigrants, veterans, muslims… And it’s not like Trump supporters are going to be responsive to evidence or reasons anyway, if they were, they would never have voted for Trump.”

            Trump supporters are like religious believers except angrier. They only trust Trump and other Trump supporters. There is likely nothing you can do to change their minds. Yes, Trump won their support, not by insulting his supporters– or so they believe– but by bullying everyone else on their behalf. They’re responding to his tough guy macho swagger. And voting a big Eff You to the establishment.

            On a Trump supporter board I went to, someone there called him the Man God. It’s quite religion like. They think that the rest of us are going to hell, or wanting to send the country to hell. And that DT is the Way, the Truth and the Light. And that they are feeling righteous anger at the rest of us. They are addicted to their own adrenalin. You probably can’t change that.

            Luckily, you don’t need to. We just need to work to get rid of electronic voting machines, and Voila! Problems solved. No more election fraud, no more people like DT winning elections. A lot of people are that immature, but not enough to elect a baby in a man’s body as president, without the use of election machine fraud.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Moon – “On a Trump supporter board I went to, someone there called him the Man God.”

            I am pretty sure you mean “God-Emperor”, or possibly the “God-Emperor of Mankind”. The GEoM is a character from the tabletop game Warhammer 40k, which the meme-inclined Trump supporters appropriated for complicated reasons that are actually pretty interesting. Claiming that Trump is the “God-Emperor” is a tribal in-joke, similar to jokes that Trump will “make anime real” or calling each other Centipedes.

            Trump support is not, in my experience, anything like a religion, at least not any more than support for a truly popular president is. Compare to the “Hope and Change” mantra from Obama’s first election.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            @ Dr Beat

            The Democrats, and the mainstream media, said that Pepe was a symbol of hate and was particular to hate groups.

            I’m not sure what you mean by “particular to hate groups,” but the SPLC’s article on Pepe makes clear that the meme was not intended as a symbol of hate and is not exclusively used by hate groups.

            I specifically argued that Pepe was not particular to them, and you specifically denied this,

            Again, I don’t know what you mean by “particular to them.” I made one claim about pepe, and I’ve been quite consistent about it: from what I’ve seen, he’s substantially more popular among hate groups than among internet-users who do not belong to hate groups.

            @ The Nybbler

            I dispute the characterization of r/the_donald as a hate group.

            Okay. Would you concede that it’s a hate group if I tracked down a dozen calls for genocide on the subreddit that have twenty or more upvotes?

          • “Okay. Would you concede that it’s a hate group if I tracked down a dozen calls for genocide on the subreddit that have twenty or more upvotes?”

            I don’t know if he would but I wouldn’t, at least unless I knew that the total membership of the group was under a hundred. I wouldn’t describe the Internet or the Web as a “hate group,” although the same evidence would apply to it.

          • Sandy says:

            I would consider characterization of r/the_donald as a hate group quite funny because the r/altright sub has turned against the former group with a vengeance, condemning them as spineless cucks who don’t have the stomach for ethnic cleansing and who believe in racial equality far too much.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @David Friedman:
            I’m assuming he means net upvotes.

          • The Nybbler says:

            @Earthly Knight

            r/the_donald has nearly 300,000 members and 11,000 online right now. (and you can add to that the people who use RES to vote without being members.) There are about 4 posts per minute happening right now, and it was much higher leading up to the election. So no, finding a dozen hate posts with 20 upvotes doesn’t make it a hate group. It means there are hateful people there.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            How about if I can find a dozen comments calling for a genocide with 100 net upvotes? That might take a little effort, but I think it could still be done. Would you concede that the_donald is a hate group then?

          • The Nybbler says:

            @EK

            I’m not really interested in a game of trying to numerically probe my beliefs.

          • Whatever Happened To Anonymous says:

            How about if I can find a dozen comments calling for a genocide with 100 net upvotes? That might take a little effort, but I think it could still be done. Would you concede that the_donald is a hate group then?

            If they are not denounced by posts with significantly more upvotes, and if at least some of them are recent-ish, I’d find this sufficient.

        • ThirteenthLetter says:

          The democrats should never have listened to the people who advised them to be calm, rational, or measured. The American people want paranoid delusions, give them paranoid delusions.

          Are these some other Democrats you’re referring to? Because here in the United States, our Democratic Party is the ones who insisted that Mitt Romney killed a woman with cancer, hadn’t paid taxes for ten years, and was going to ban tampons. Oh, and Bush knew about 9/11 in advance.

          • Moon says:

            Yes, if you take the most extreme examples you can find of anything any Democrat ever believed, you can have a Democrat straw man to criticize.

            But I don’t think all Americans want paranoid delusions. The voting machines were rigged. That was the biggest problem. And the fake news. Whether they wanted paranoid delusions or not, Right Wingers got them and believed them because they trusted their “news sources.”

            Still time for an election audit: Column
            http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/11/18/election-audit-paper-machines-column/93803752/

            Exit Polls Predicted Hillary Clinton to Win Four of Donald Trump’s Key Victories (Opinion)
            http://www.inquisitr.com/3719288/exit-polls-indicate-hillary-clinton-might-have-won/#pYVRsvZvgsBPtyZJ.99

            SNOWDEN”S ZACHARY QUINTO (He was in the movie Snowden) EXPLAINS VOTING MACHINE HACKING IN 2 MINUTES
            https://www.wired.com/2016/09/zachary-quinto-explains-voting-machine-hacking/

            Here’s how hackers might mess with electronic voting on Election Day
            http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/heres-how-hackers-could-mess-with-electronic-voting/

            Some states — including swing states — have flawed voting systems
            http://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2016/11/1/13486386/election-rigged-paper-trail-audit

            Could the 2016 Election Be Stolen with Help from Electronic Voting Machines?
            http://www.democracynow.org/2016/2/23/could_the_2016_election_be_stolen

            Note in the article linked below here from wikipedia, that in the list of presidential elections where winner lost popular vote, there were 2 of these in the past 16 years, both won by Republicans. Prior to the last 16 years, the next most recent one was in 1888. It’s almost as if, once electronic voting machines came into heavy use, the machines in Swing states were programmed to add just enough votes to make the favored Republican candidate win the electoral college. In this most recent election, e.g., it could be done by assigning 1 out of every 50 or 100 votes for Hillary, to Trump instead.

            This couldn’t be done in Obama’s 2008 case, because he won by so many votes, that too many votes would have to have been changed, and it would have been obvious that fraud was occurring. To get this to work, the nonfavored candidate can’t have a landslide vote. Hillary might have had a landslide if it hadn’t been for Comey’s and Assange’s help in casting her in a negative light.

            List of United States presidential elections where winner lost popular vote
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_presidential_elections_where_winner_lost_popular_vote

            BTW, in the 2012 Obama case, the hacker group Anonymous claimed that Rove had attempted to hack the machines, and that Anonymous had blocked him, so that the true winner of the most votes would actually be registered on the machines as the winner.

            Anonymous, Karl Rove and 2012 Election Fix?

            http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/12845-anonymous-karl-rove-and-2012-election-fix

            If this is the way it works, then all of our presidents from here on out will be whoever was the GOP nominee, no matter how crazy or incompetent or ignorant or demented that person may be. Unless the Democrat can win in a landslide, despite one sided leaks of all of the Democrats’ emails by WikiLeaks and Russia, and news media obsession with possible meanings of the contents of those emails.

            Now Assange is ready to collect his reward from Trump.

            Julian Assange lawyers to appeal to Donald Trump to end US probe

            http://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/julian-assange-lawyers-to-appeal-to-donald-trump-to-end-us-probe-a3396906.html

            FAKE NEWS

            This is how Facebook’s fake-news writers make money
            https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2016/11/18/this-is-how-the-internets-fake-news-writers-make-money/

          • Incurian says:

            I can’t tell if you’re trying to be ironic.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Moon – “But I don’t think all Americans want paranoid delusions. The voting machines were rigged. That was the biggest problem.”

            I used to believe this, back during the Bush administration. Ironically enough, Trump winning the election was the final proof to me that both the liberal narrative about hacked voting machines and the conservative narrative about election fraud were both equally bunk.

            Unfortunately, Trump’s election worked for me in this way because my specific priors allowed me to make predictions in the 2008 and 2012 elections which eroded my fear of electoral lock-down by malicious elites, and Trump was just the last straw. But that’s over a decade of living in fear of something that I’m now pretty sure never existed in the first place, and it’s only the random chance of events that let me come to what I know think are my senses.

            You are heading down a dark road. I say this because it is exactly the same road I went down from 2002 to 2012. I wish there was something I could say to dissuade you from going down it, but I don’t think there was much anyone could have said to me. If you are open to advice, the best I can give is to make firm predictions about what you think is going to happen, pay attention to the results, don’t let yourself explain away contrary evidence, and above all remember that a clear understanding of the political world is a means, not an end. If your understanding of the world doesn’t help you live a better life, it’s worthless.

            Good Luck.

          • ThirteenthLetter says:

            Yes, if you take the most extreme examples you can find of anything any Democrat ever believed, you can have a Democrat straw man to criticize.

            The Democrat who said Romney hadn’t paid taxes for ten years was Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader.

            The Democrats who said Bush knew about 9/11 were about 46% of the party, as per polling.

            Straw men.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            You’ll have to refresh my memory, did Harry Reid continue repeating the claim five years after it was disproven, and then become the democratic nominee for president?

          • ThirteenthLetter says:

            Are you serious? You can’t be serious.

            You know what, I give up, you win. Have fun with the conspiracy theories and accusations instead of actually trying to figure out where the party went wrong. Let us know how it works out in 2018, I bet the Senate’ll be blue again in no time at all.

          • Sandy says:

            You’ll have to refresh my memory, did Harry Reid continue repeating the claim five years after it was disproven, and then become the democratic nominee for president?

            No, but when Harry Reid was confronted with his obvious lie after the election, he replied “It worked, didn’t it?”, so clearly both parties have given blatant deceit the thumbs-up if it furthers their goals.

          • houseboatonstyxb says:

            @ ThirteenthLetter
            The Democrats who said Bush knew about 9/11 were about 46% of the party, as per polling.

            I saw a poll saying that, and another from the same source giving a similar proportion of Republicans believing something equally ridiculous. It appeared to be a respectable source; my thought was, “Where did they find all these idiots?”

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @ThirteenthLetter:
            70% of Republicans continued to doubt (at last in polling) whether Obama was born in the US.

            At least Bush actually did have foreknowledge of a planned attack (not specific enough to be actionable). But yeah, to the extent that Dems think 9/11 was Cheney trying to wag the dog, 46% isn’t good.

            Romney was breaking a norm that had existed for quite a while, for good reason, in not releasing his tax returns. Lo and behold with Trump we understand how important that norm is. Romney should have released his returns going back many years, as other candidates have.

            I really don’t

          • Deiseach says:

            Moon, you are going to quote Zachary Quinto as a reputable source? He’s an actor! I know of him from the TV series “Heroes” and from the reboot Star Trek (I think he’s a decent Spock considering the tripe that Abrams and Bad Robot gave him to do, haven’t seen the third movie yet but am heartened that Pegg wrote it and it’s been getting thumbs-up from other fans).

            He knows no more than you or me about voting machines and is going on second-hand knowledge. His qualifications, as you may see here, are a degree in drama not science or politics or ‘how to work a voting machine’. I don’t think he’s stupid but I also don’t take him as any kind of expert.

            Exit polls can be bad or good. It depends on the truthfulness of the respondents – and, given the opprobrium about voting for Trump, it’s equally as possible a lot of people when asked who they voted for said “Hillary” even if they voted Trump – the methodology used, the pollsters, etc.

            As for vote-rigging via meddling with the machines, one of the people publicising such a claim rowed back on it when interviewed: in the PR material for his book, he was claiming “Definitely happens!” but when asked directly, he stepped that back to “Could do, I’m only raising the possibility”:

            “Election fraud has been occurring via the targeting and manipulation of computerized voting equipment across America,” Simon says in the publicity materials for his book.

            But in an interview this week with the news site Raw Story, Simon was more restrained.

            “We’re stuck at a place where I pivoted to is looking at the risk involved in having a computerized, privatized, unobservable vote counting system and just taking on faith that that system is not being manipulated when there is such a obvious vulnerability (on which the experts strongly agree) of the system to malfeasance and manipulation,” Simon told the site. “That is where I’ve tended to go, is to look at that risk rather than screaming fraud from the rooftops and claiming proof.”

            Simon said that he’s reached the conclusion that due to the imprecise methodology of exit polls and the possibility of manipulation in computerized vote counts, neither system is trustworthy.

            So even a guy promoting a book about vote machine fraud says exit polls are untrustworthy!

            And even more interestingly, in the linked interview, he tells us about the methodologies used, which to me seems to permit bias – such as presuming Hillary should win here, so let’s weight the data that way:

            JS: Of course, we don’t get the raw data. The raw data would be… we have three definitions here. There’s raw data, which is the actual questionnaires and the simple numerical toning up of answers on the questionnaire. That is never publicly released. It’s if you want to characterize it as such, it’s what’s inside the sausage of exit polls, and we are not privileged to see that. I’ve had one opportunity in my life through an inside source to actually look at some of the raw data, but that’s a very rare thing. It’s not generally accessible to the public. Many of us have clamored for the public release of that raw data, certainly in the aftermath of the 2004 election and have been denied it.

            Then there is the weighted exit poll data and that’s what the exit pollsters put out as soon as the polls close. This has been demographically weighted to their best approximation of what the electorate looked like and it is very valuable information. That’s what I was able to download in 2004 and that’s what I was able to download in many of the elections since, and that’s what I was able to download this Tuesday.

            Then you have adjusted exit polls and what happens is they take the vote counts as they come in and they use the term as the art of “forcing,” they force the exit polls to [be] congruent with that vote count data so that by the end of the night or by the next morning when you have your final vote counts and final exit polls the exit polls and the vote counts will match, but that’s only because in essence they’ve been forced to match the vote counts.

            Could it happen? Sure, elections have been rigged all over in many ways. Did it happen? And enough to cheat Hillary of her win? Very doubtful. Given that everyone and his dog expected Hillary to win, and that Trump had not been the favoured candidate of the Republicans and had prominent Republicans speaking out against him, it unfortunately takes a very conspiracy-skewed mindset to think they hated Hillary so much, they’d rig the election for Trump to win (personally, were I a Republican big-wig, I’d bank on letting her win and that her term in office would be such a stinker, come 2020 the next Republican that we picked and groomed, rather than this buffoon, would stroll in).

          • Earthly Knight says:

            @ Sandy

            No, but when Harry Reid was confronted with his obvious lie after the election, he replied “It worked, didn’t it?”, so clearly both parties have given blatant deceit the thumbs-up if it furthers their goals.

            It’s not absolutely clear that Reid was lying– he claimed an anonymous source from Bain Capital told him that Romney had not paid taxes for ten years– but I agree that it’s entirely possible and that this was, in any case, an obvious subterfuge to prompt Romney to release his tax returns.

            But there’s not really any point of comparison between Reid having once played a dirty trick and 73% of republicans remaining unconvinced that Obama was born in this country after eight years of his birth certificate being widely circulated in the news media and on the internet. Three-quarters of republicans are apparently drooling lobotomy patients.

          • Aapje says:

            In my country we also have the populist candidate consistently outperforming the polls. We stopped using electronic machines and this didn’t change. These people are simply so anti-establishment that they don’t trust the pollers.

          • houseboatonstyxb says:

            @ Moon
            Still time for an election audit:

            Hi, nice to see you. Thanks for pointing out some interesting patterns.

            There’s one obvious factor that could be improved to foil what happened in 2000 and this year: stop rushing the count/concession.

            2000 was an obvious ‘run out the clock’ strategy; recount delayed is recount denied. Whether enough low-hanging votes could be found for Hillary this year, an unhurried, careful audit could reveal what (if any) cheating was done, and discourage its use in future.

          • Moon says:

            “There’s one obvious factor that could be improved to foil what happened in 2000 and this year: stop rushing the count/concession.”

            I definitely agree there.

            And use of electronic voting machines should be discontinued everywhere in the U.S. ASAP. Too easily manipulated. Recounts ought to be done. But fraud done by manipulating the machine software can be untraceable and undetectable, once the election is over.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Moon – “But fraud done by manipulating the machine software can be untraceable and undetectable, once the election is over.”

            Yup. If you lose faith in the people writing the software, there’s no real way to get it back. I’m pretty sure the software isn’t corrupt, but this is a reason I still prefer paper ballots; physical objects can have a meaningful chain of custody, have to be moved from place to place, etc. Given the deep splits we have in this country, maintaining faith in the people writing the software is probably impossible, which makes e-voting a bad idea.

          • houseboatonstyxb says:

            @ FC

            Cheaters gonna cheat. We’ll never get 100% safety.

            But here’s a system I’d like. Online banking has been well-tested; use that kind of approach. Log in, enter password, click on buttons. Confirmation screen comes up: “You have voted for George Washington? Are you sure?” … “Printer-friendly version”

            Any time during Election Week, you can log in to a Read-Only ledger that shows your ballot so you can report any errors.

            The ledger also shows how many votes have been cast in your area. If the numbers don’t add up, take your Printer-Friendly printout and a screen capture to the authorities — This, or some elaboration of it, would give some protection to the common cheat of a ballot box going missing.

            I don’t know how we could catch Moon’s fraud idea of adding a single vote to a large number of votes, where it would not be noticed.

          • Moon says:

            “I don’t know how we could catch Moon’s fraud idea of adding a single vote to a large number of votes, where it would not be noticed.”

            You can’t catch it. That’s why electronic voting machines have to be eliminated.

            I had hoped that Soros really owned some election machines, but it turned out to be one more Right Wing conspiracy theory. If he owned them, he would likely keep them free of fraud.

          • But here’s a system I’d like. Online banking has been well-tested; use that kind of approach. Log in, enter password, click on buttons. Confirmation screen comes up: “You have voted for George Washington? Are you sure?” … “Printer-friendly version”

            Any time during Election Week, you can log in to a Read-Only ledger that shows your ballot so you can report any errors.

            No, no, no. The banking system model is incompatible with the concept of the secret ballot.

            Moreover, the Internet is far too insecure, and probably always will be. See, e.g., http://www.dailydot.com/layer8/bruce-schneier-internet-of-things/

          • John Schilling says:

            I don’t know how we could catch Moon’s fraud idea of adding a single vote to a large number of votes, where it would not be noticed.

            Because that could never, ever happen with paper ballots?

            Sorry, but I don’t think this one can be solved with One Clever Trick involving the machinery of voting. You’re going to need to deal with the intractably messy human side of the equation. Fortunately, being messy, your imagined human enemies are never going to be able to hide a conspiracy to rig a national election.

          • Eltargrim says:

            @houseboatonstyxb: probably worth pointing out that there have been a number of major bank penetrations in the last few months; most bank security is surprisingly poor (e.g. my bank sets a maximum password length of 6 characters); and that the faith in online banking is largely due to the fact that what damage can be done is undoable.

            While I’m not convinced either way as to online voting, the online banking system is not one I would use to inspire faith in the system.

          • houseboatonstyxb says:

            @ Larry Kestenbaum
            The banking system model is incompatible with the concept of the secret ballot.

            How so?

            Anyway, I drive to the polls in a car with Hillary stickers all over the bumper. I walk toward the building wearing Hillary buttons all over, and a Hillary T-shirt.*

            Oh, and a pantsuit.

            So I should worry someone knows who I’m voting for?

            * And take it all off at the legal distance. Except the pantsuit.

          • Moon says:

            Houseboat, good for you. Proud to be a progressive.

            In some areas of the country it’s risky to be a member of the tribe that is in the minority in that geographic location. In others, no one bothers you much, as long as you are smart enough to never start political conversations with strangers.

          • @ houseboatonstyxb, quoting my statement about the incompatibility of voting with the online banking model, asks:

            How so?

            I will take this to the current open thread.

    • John Schilling says:

      The birtherism was kinda racist.

      Birtherism is straight-up nativist, and we don’t need any deep window into Trump’s soul to tack that label onto him.

      But really, if instead of “President Barack Hussein Obama” we had the lily-white “President Boris Dzhugashvili Orlov”, with a Soviet Russian father and raised in Castro’s Cuba, does anybody here actually believe the issue would have been put to rest by a piece of paper saying he had been born when his parents were studying at an American university?

      • Evan Þ says:

        Er… yes? As a legal argument, it would be put to rest, and then his opponents could get to work convincing the country that Mr. Orlov’s policies would be harmful to America.

        • bean says:

          Which is why we haven’t had any other political conspiracy theories persisting in the mainstream the country, even after the facts come out. Such as the amount Bush knew about Iraq’s chemical weapons program before the invasion. (Answer: Saddam’s scientists were lying to everyone, including him.) Oh, wait…

        • Matt M says:

          Keep in mind, Trump has also been smeared for linking Ted Cruz’s father (Cuban but treated as white) to the Kennedy assassination… was that also racially motivated?

        • John Schilling says:

          Er… yes? As a legal argument, it would be put to rest,

          As a legal argument, it would then hinge on whether the alleged birth certificate was genuine or an FSB forgery, just like the legal argument over Obama’s eligibility hinges on his alleged birth certificate being genuine or a DNC forgery.

          Refresh my memory, is “The Russian government meddles in American elections to ensure the election of pro-Russian candidates” a credible hypothesis or not?

  26. I’ve been thinking about this, and I don’t have a resolution, but does this mean anything in electoral politics? When a team loses at basketball by 1 you can say “look, if they just made the last shot that they missed they probably win the game, it was very close, any one turn in either direction could have changed the outcome”. In politics, especially on a large scale with an electoral college, this is tough to say. How much time and effort would it have taken for Hillary to win Wisconsin? Would putting that time in have prevented her from winning another state she needed to?

    The more visible the political race, the more the public is engaged, the less it matters what the candidates’ campaigns actually do. Presidential elections are the extreme example of this.

    When you’re running for a local office, and most people don’t know who to support, you might sway a lot of voters with a small effort. By putting up a billboard, or distributing campaign flyers, you might get thousands of votes.

    But when you have competition, loose votes become more scarce. You can put commercials on TV to try to convince people to support you rather than your opponent, but he’s doing the same thing. You can put up signs and talk to voters door to door, but again, so is your adversary.

    Once the race gets to be so visible that the media is discussing it, people are talking about it, the actions of a political campaign itself have less and less salience. You can introduce a new attack, or make a bold statement, but you can’t control how it will be received. Most of the information the voters have about you didn’t come from you.

    With each step toward an electorate saturated with information, the cost per marginal vote rises. If Trump puts up a billboard next to a busy expressway, how many votes is that worth? If Clinton’s campaign paid $10,000 to put a commercial on the air in Wisconsin, how many votes did she gain? Very few, if any.

    Just in general, advertising is far less powerful and motivating than most people imagine. And a political campaign is mostly advertising.

    Donald Trump won Michigan by the razor-thin margin of about 13,000 votes out of some five million cast. If someone was able to go back in time, to a couple weeks before the election, and whisper in Hillary’s ear, “You need 20,000 more votes in Michigan,” what could she have done to change the outcome? How much would it have cost?

    The answer is that there is nothing she could have done. A million dollars worth of ads would have been a drop in the bucket. A million dollars for voter turnout efforts could never have found another 20,000 voters. It’s not like get-out-the-vote efforts in swing states had been neglected.

    Ten million dollars? A billion? With only two weeks left, no presidential campaign could have effectively mobilized that much; it would look ridiculous and wasteful beyond belief. Probably no amount of money could have changed the minds of 10,000 Michigan voters from Trump to Clinton, or gotten 20,000 more people to the polls.

    • Deiseach says:

      If someone was able to go back in time, to a couple weeks before the election, and whisper in Hillary’s ear, “You need 20,000 more votes in Michigan,” what could she have done to change the outcome? How much would it have cost?

      She could have done what Bill did; she could have personally turned up and stumped for votes. Better still turn up with Bill to do the charm bit while she smiles and waves and delivers a rah-rah message written by her campaign about how she’s concerned about [insert local issue] and will address it in [unicorns and rainbows policy].

      That was part of the problem, Larry; here’s Bill, who has (whatever else you may say about him) superb political instincts, and he’s out there campaigning off his own bat and on his own while Hillary is listening to her analytics team about “don’t bother going there, go here to talk with the wheelchair-using Latinx trans polytheists group instead”. It sends a hell of a bad message when “the candidate themselves can’t bother their arse to turn up and talk to us”, and probably did cost her some of those 20,000 votes.

      Maybe it wouldn’t have pulled them all back, but she didn’t even try is the thing. I mean, look at this paragraph of the report:

      The national election spotlight shone brightly on Michigan Sunday as a state that could be pivotal with Lansing-area residents lined up for blocks for Bill Clinton’s 1 p.m. rally at the union hall of UAW Local 652, which was full to capacity with more than 600 supporters when the nation’s 42nd president took the stage. The union hall rally followed visits to two churches in Flint earlier Sunday, where enthusiastic congregants were on their feet applauding during most of his remarks.

      Now, how much more energised would Michigan voters have been had Hillary been there herself rather than very visibly in absentia?

      EDIT: Okay, she did turn up in Grand Rapids to do the vote-stumping thing, fair play to her. But again – too little, too late. Bill was able to read the political writing on the wall and was out working the boondocks while she and Obama turned up with last-minute Monday tour of one place each to try and pull the votes.

      No, I blame her for this: the lady presumed this would be a coronation as she took her rightful place on the throne, and going through the motions of an election campaign was a tedious necessity to let the little people think they had any meaningful say. She had no taste for the hard graft of going out and cajoling votes – probably because she’s bad at that and she knows it and sticks to what she can do, which is schmooze billionaires. It’s ironic that she drove herself to collapsing in a faint because she was too stubborn to admit she was sick and the pneumonia got worse, but she cooled off on the last stretch of the race from putting in the effort where it was needed. Maybe her health was poor enough that she physically wasn’t able to do it?

      • This is a very big country, and we here in Michigan got FAR more than our fair share of visits from Clinton and Trump and all their surrogates.

        Yes, the candidate showing up is always good. If you’re running for state senator, and you come to someone’s door and give your pitch in person, you’re more likely to get his vote. But even a state senate district has a lot of doors, maybe more than a candidate could visit in years of campaigning. And, again, your opposition is doing the same.

        Holding a campaign rally and giving a speech is exciting for the people who attend. But almost all of those are committed supporters who are voting for you anyway. Maybe it would give people in that town a warm feeling of “I didn’t go to the rally, but it’s good that she cares enough to come all the way out to East Podunk”. Balance that against all the people who were annoyed by Secret Service blocking off roads and creating traffic jams. Within a 50 mile radius, most voters won’t even notice that it happened.

        Nationwide, some will read about it, or maybe see an excerpt on television, and the physical location where it happened is just a detail.

        Again, if the Clinton campaign somehow knew, two weeks out, that she needed 20,000 votes in Michigan, giving a speech here, or a dozen speeches, is just not going to generate that many votes.

        And in the meantime, what about Pennsylvania? What about Wisconsin? Those states were crucial, too.

        For a presidential campaign, there is no simple mathematical relationship between effort expended and votes received. As I wrote earlier, most of what voters know about you (the candidate) does not come from you or your campaign. The candidates keep working (if they stopped, people might think they gave up), but the cost per marginal vote approaches infinity.

        That’s why Clinton outspending Trump two-to-one made no difference at all.

        In the end, Michigan voters were moved by the exact same factors that moved voters all over the country. The outcome here differed from Illinois, say, because the mix of voters is different here.

        • Deiseach says:

          It’s very hard to judge what’s the best thing, I agree. I think you’re right that, past a certain point, pumping money into a campaign gets you little or nothing.

          But that’s part of what I’m arguing: spending money on big ad campaigns isn’t going to get the same bang as Actual Candidate Pressing The Flesh. I know Hillary couldn’t be everywhere, but one of the flaws in her campaign does seem to have been the advice from her wonks (or Mooks) that “Never mind East Podunk, we probably won’t pick any votes up there anyway, or we can just run a billboard campaign, but where you need to go and be seen and make speeches is The Rich Fat Cats’ Big City Club”.

          Maybe the burghers of East Podunk don’t expect you to come in person to grace their small but thriving community. But seeing media coverage splashed all over of you making like a comedian to get laughs from the Rich Fat Cats in their Big City Club – that does curdle the milk for a lot of people. Oh so we’re not good enough for her? Well, guess she can just do without my small town backwards rube vote, then!

          You can apply what the late Gene Wilder in “Blazing Saddles” said about the common folk of the West to voters: voters are the public, and the public (all of us) can be petty-minded spiteful jerks 🙂

        • dndnrsn says:

          @Larry Kestenbaum:

          You’re making it sound almost … deterministic. You definitely know more than I do about this but … it just seems so unintuitive. While the truth is often unintuitive, I just find it very hard on a less-than-rational level to accept that what the candidates do doesn’t really matter.

          Additional thought: How much of a hassle is it for everyone in the area when the Secret Service is protecting a presidential candidate/president? Back when I was in university there was a visit to my college by the PM, and the RCMP security was very obvious (“plainclothes means all-black tactical gear, right, guys? That’s how the Youths of Today dress?”) but in no way obtrusive.

          • You’re making it sound almost … deterministic.

            I don’t think so. Of course things happen that affect how people will vote. In a presidential election, very few of those things are directly controlled and manipulated by the campaigns themselves.

            I just find it very hard on a less-than-rational level to accept that what the candidates do doesn’t really matter.

            If you’re a previously-unknown candidate for an office that isn’t interesting to the public or news media, then what you and your campaign do is ALL that matters. Your presentation of yourself is unchallenged; everything that voters know about you comes from you. You will systematically get more votes in the areas where you targeted your efforts.

            By contrast, in a presidential race, information about the candidates is coming from a million different places, practically drowning out what little a campaign organization can say. It seems everybody is expressing an opinion, and listening to them, you might be swayed by any of them.

            Yes, the candidates make speeches to voters, but their pronouncements are curated and analyzed and re-packaged and re-interpreted and spun by people with different agendas in mind. Most of political ads are created by political action committees which are not allowed to coordinate with the candidates.

            If a candidate makes a mistake or says something stupid, the consequences of that event are well outside of either campaign’s direct control. Is it a devastating gaffe or not even noticed? The aftermath could go either way, and the candidates don’t get to decide which way.

            Imagine that, a few days before the election, the entire SSC commentariat gathered in a room to spend an hour talking directly with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Or maybe an hour with each one. How many of us would be persuaded to change our votes as a result?

            That number is probably zero. In an environment rich with information about the candidates, among people who are interested and informed, there isn’t much they could say or do to change our opinion of them.

          • Additional thought: How much of a hassle is it for everyone in the area when the Secret Service is protecting a presidential candidate/president? Back when I was in university there was a visit to my college by the PM, and the RCMP security was very obvious (“plainclothes means all-black tactical gear, right, guys? That’s how the Youths of Today dress?”) but in no way obtrusive.

            Obviously it varies. I was in grad school at Cornell University when Dawda Jawara, the president of Gambia (the only veterinarian ever to lead a country), came to visit. Indeed, he was scheduled to speak in a classroom in “our” building. We got notes in our mailboxes telling us to cooperate with the Secret Service, but I never saw them.

            On the other hand, when the president or equivalent figure visits a place, the Secret Service will often close roads, take over buildings, restrict access to areas usually open, etc., as part of protecting the VIP. In my experience in Ann Arbor, there are almost always complaints about the extra traffic congestion, detours, and delays.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @Larry Kestenbaum:

            Imagine that, a few days before the election, the entire SSC commentariat gathered in a room to spend an hour talking directly with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Or maybe an hour with each one. How many of us would be persuaded to change our votes as a result?

            That number is probably zero. In an environment rich with information about the candidates, among people who are interested and informed, there isn’t much they could say or do to change our opinion of them.

            It’s highly likely that the US voters here are more interested and informed than the US average, though.

            Do you think most voters don’t interpret a candidate paying attention to them as proof the candidate is on their side?

          • Do you think most voters don’t interpret a candidate paying attention to them as proof the candidate is on their side?

            Yes, based on my experience, I think most voters do not interpret a candidate paying attention to them as proof the candidate is on their side.

          • Matt M says:

            Agree with Larry.

            Trump spent a non-trivial amount of time (probably a similar amount of time as Hillary did) deliberately appealing specifically to African American voters and they still voted overwhelmingly for Hillary.

          • Chevalier Mal Fet says:

            Additional thought: How much of a hassle is it for everyone in the area when the Secret Service is protecting a presidential candidate/president? Back when I was in university there was a visit to my college by the PM, and the RCMP security was very obvious (“plainclothes means all-black tactical gear, right, guys? That’s how the Youths of Today dress?”) but in no way obtrusive.

            The second presidential debate was held at Washington University, across the street from my workplace. We were notified to be out of the building by a certain time on Friday, and there were a large number of road/building closures in the immediate area around campus, but as the debate was on a Saturday that was no great inconvenience. Most everyone who didn’t have a reason to be there kept clear, to avoid the hassle.

      • baconbacon says:

        Now, how much more energised would Michigan voters have been had Hillary been there herself rather than very visibly in absentia?

        This is the type of assumption I am questioning. Why should we assume that Hillary could have won if she did X, Y or Z? It is possible that Bill alone gets 90% of the effect of Bill and Hillary. Heck its possible that Bill alone > than Bill + Hillary at a rally (and it is even possible that Hillary’s campaign knew this).

        No, I blame her for this: the lady presumed this would be a coronation as she took her rightful place on the throne, and going through the motions of an election campaign was a tedious necessity to let the little people think they had any meaningful say

        I think this is an odd image to have of a person who has aggressively built her own brand for 20+ years in an attempt to land the highest political office that she could. While she may have assumed that she would win it doesn’t appear that she sat back, she went for the biggest win she though she could get.

        Bill was able to read the political writing on the wall and was out working the boondocks while she and Obama turned up with last-minute Monday tour of one place each to try and pull the votes.

        I think Bill likes running for president at least as much as being president.

  27. Sfoil says:

    lvlln (or other Korean speakers): I picked up some very basic Korean on my last visit to the country. I’d like to improve a bit before I go back and I’m also curious what’s out there, so I’ll ask: is there any good source on the Internet for Korean-language science fiction? I’ve searched and haven’t turned up anything but a few comment-less review blogs.

    • lvlln says:

      I don’t really read stuff in Korean these days, and I don’t know any resources to help you. Maybe scifi books translated into Korean from other languages might be one resource? Living in the US, I’ve successfully purchased Korean books from bandibooks in the past.

      Otherwise, you could always read news on sites like Naver, I guess. What’s going on with the prez right now doesn’t seem entirely dissimilar to a story set in some dystopian future setting.

  28. Mark says:

    What does the Slate Star Codex comment section think about ‘member berries?

    I don’t get it. Seems like a failed satire to me? I don’t think you can really link Star Wars Episode 7 to the Trump Presidency.

    I really liked the thing they did last year though, with PC AI, so maybe there is some incredible twist coming.

    • Well... says:

      Member berries are a clever way to visually represent people’s tendency to indulge in nostalgia. This can be nostalgia for an “earlier, simpler time,” or for the stuff they miss from when they were kids (to the extent those aren’t already the same thing). The South Park writers are implying that nostalgia is both the reason we keep making reboots of old movies, and why Trump’s message of making America great again resonated so widely.

      I find the member berries an effective metaphor because now whenever I see any rehashing of something from my youth or earlier, I turn to my wife and in a high nasally voice say “‘Member?” It’s fun.

      • Well... says:

        Update: I’ve now seen this weeks episode and I feel like they jumped the shark with the member berries. They lost a lot of incisiveness and thematic clarity (not to mention comedic value) when they stopped being passive objects that people consumed.

    • FullMeta_Rationalist says:

      I watched a few YouTube clips of Member Berries. Regarding the connection between Star Wars VII and Trump, the common thread is nostalgia.

      There’s a theory that each decade of U.S. Pop Culture reflects the maturity of the Baby Boomers, which is a disproportionately-large demographic. E.g. Radical 60’s = angsty teens; Disco 70’s = young adults; Reagan 80’s = settling down; etc. This is true of someone born around 1950. Wikipedia loosely defines a Baby Boomer as anyone born between 1946 – 1964. (Unfortunately, I can’t find the source of this theory. The 90’s and 00’s had their own explanations, but I don’t remember them.)

      If we extrapolate to 2016, the “archetypal 1950 Boomer” is 66 years old. Which is about retirement age. Retirees like to reminisce about the good ol’ days. Consider that Trump’s campaign slogan was “Make America great again”. This implies that the target-demographic: A) believes everything sucks; or B) is old enough to remember Pax Americana. And lo, the Boomers satisfy both these conditions.

      Maybe this doesn’t reflect reality. But it’s probably the narrative that South Park was aiming for.

      • Well... says:

        I thought maybe you were talking about the theory that says generations recur cyclically: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strauss%E2%80%93Howe_generational_theory

        • lhn says:

          I’ve gone back and forth for years re the extent to which Strauss and Howe hit on a legitimate insight re American history, and how much is that their generational descriptions are general enough that it’s possible to fit anything to them (a la horoscope signs). But I have to admit that their 1991 prediction that as of now we’d be in a crisis era (expected to culminate in something big circa 2020) doesn’t look implausible, nor does their description of what the present generational constellation would look like.

  29. I see that my one political point in this thread sank without a ripple, so maybe I should talk about something more random.

    Which USA county has the longest single-word name? Without a reference right at hand, I thought of relatively exotic names like Koochiching (eleven letters) or Androscoggin (twelve letters) or Chattahoochee (thirteen letters).

    But it turns out the two counties that share the title, in Virginia and Pennsylvania, are both named Northumberland. That’s in tribute to the most sparsely populated county in England, right below Scotland, obviously one of the places where Borderers originated.

    If you broaden the scope of the question to include multiple-word county names, the clear winner is a Louisiana parish called St. John the Baptist. “Parish” is the Louisiana equivalent of “county”, which must be very confusing to Catholics and others who use the same word in ecclesiastical administration.

    When it comes to USA city and town names, which are of course enormously more numerous and varied than counties, I was surprised to discover (in an incomplete but very extensive list of US cities) more than a dozen single-word-name places with 14 letters, and none at all with more. The ones with 14 were all of exactly the same form: a 10-letter word followed by “-ville”. So, Washingtonville, Livingstonville, Charlottesville, Carpentersville, etc.

    Of course, Penetanguishene, with 15 letters, beats them all, but it’s in Canada.

    Some kind of ringing conclusion about the way Americans assign names to their geographical units would be appropriate here, but I don’t know what that would be.

  30. antilles says:

    Since comments are closed on the Trump thread I’ll leave a comment here:

    Scott, you are being a bad Bayesian. Your basic method is to take the thousands of things Trump said that are banal and boring and compare them with a couple of the norm-violating and frightening things he said and the wacky and inexplicable but not frightening things he says and conclude, well, Trump is just wacky and inexplicable compared to the average politician, not racist and frightening, and anyone who says enough wacky and inexplicable things will also say wacky and inexplicable and offensive things. But those two are not equivalent.

    Pretend that uttering a sentence is an event drawn from the probability space of possible sentences. Even if norms aren’t ethically valid or justified or whatever, social norms exist and drive down the prior probability that someone will say something frightening and norm-violating. Saying something banal and boring has a high prior probability, saying something weird and inexplicable has a low prior probability, but saying something weird and inexplicable and norm-violating has a joint probability that’s even lower.

    When we are updating our mental model of what Trump’s personality looks like based on his statements, we weight the outliers more *because* they are improbable. And norm-violating statements are double outliers crying out for explanation. If someone says a million times they are not racist (what we’d expect) it can be less impactful on our view of that person than the couple extreme outliers of the terrifying racist things they said because the prior probability is so low.

    • Dabbler says:

      What about the theory that Donald Trump, whilst not personally racist, decided to embrace a quasi-racist policy (which is far closer to racism but not technically open racism because that requires outright claiming to believe another race is inferior) in order to get elected?

      Or the theory, reinforced by, for instance, Donald Trump’s losing his twitter feed, that Donald Trump is an idiot only partially controlled by behind the scenes masterminds and made racist statements partially out of stupidity?

      (EDIT: “stupidity” defined here as a sheer lack of ability to think about political self interest. In this theory, Donald Trump would not give a crap about the morals of it one way or the other)

    • Mark says:

      If someone says a million times they are not racist (what we’d expect) it can be less impactful on our view of that person than the couple extreme outliers of the terrifying racist things they said because the prior probability is so low.

      You’re making the same adjustment twice – (1) This statement is terrifying and racist (not because of the content of the statement (per se) but because it is unusual) (2) terrifying and racist statements have a higher weight because they are unusual.

      Double counting of unusualness.

  31. Ryan says:

    I hope this isn’t a violation of the rules. You disabled comments on “You Are Still Crying Wolf,” and if you didn’t want any comments on the open threads as well please delete this comment and accept my apology.

    There is good, too good, and then light years past them is what you just wrote.

    I can see why you held that until after the election. If you ever switch sides, the Blue tribe would be annihilated.

    • keranih says:

      Hey Ryan –

      Welcome in. A few thoughts:

      Ideally, we tend to try to not talk so much of annihilation as of conversion, and less of conversion as of conversation, no matter what side we are on. Passions flare, and people get testy, but this is a multi-pov area.

      If you look up through the thread, you’ll see that this (the merits of Donald Trump, or lack thereof) is a multi-month ongoing conversation. Open threads is where we talk about anything not specifically prohibited for that thread.

      Finally – Scott works in a fairly large fixed facility with doors of a limited size. He already thinks he’s a pretty cool cat. Keep buttering him up, and his head will swell even further to the point he’ll cause structural damage when he goes into the conference room. Nobody wants that.

      • Dabbler says:

        Query. I’m trying to branch out a bit here. What are some good blogs for the precise task of covering things Scott Alexander is likely to be blind to, in your view?

  32. bean says:

    Way, way upthread there’s been some discussion on doing an RPG of some sort from the membership here. My thoughts on the subject:
    1. Plan for a short game. That will make scheduling easier, and opens the possibility of doing it again with different people and settings.
    2. Online play, probably via Roll20. I have a premium account (macros make GURPS so much easier), and would be willing to serve as campaign creator, which gives access to all of that stuff.
    3. I’d suggest Pathfinder for the system, on the grounds of accessibility.
    Anyone interested? (Schedule permitting, obviously.)
    Edit:
    1 should be interpreted as this basically being a one-shot. Figure 2-4 sessions.

    Edit 2:
    I’ll set up a Roll20 group for this when I get home. My guess for schedule (at least for my involvement) is weekday evenings US time. This is obviously subject to change, and I have nothing against other groups being set up.

    • rlms says:

      Yes, interested (approximately no experience though).

    • dndnrsn says:

      Tentative yes, based on schedule.

      1. How about a one-shot? Plan for a maximum of 2 or 3 sessions.

      2. Never used Roll20 so I’ll defer to people who have.

      3. I’m not huge on D&D and so forth – is low-power/low-magic Pathfinder OK? My issue is that I can never remember what magic powers I have.

      • bean says:

        1. That was basically what I meant.

        3. I’m not wild about D&D/Pathfinder either, but it has the advantage of being the closest thing available to a universal system. And while it’s up to whoever runs the game, my guess is that we won’t start at high level.

    • Randy M says:

      I would like to try. Do you want an e-mail?

    • Skivverus says:

      Similar to dndnrsn, tentative yes based on schedule. East coast US and office job means evenings and weekends preferred, but two other campaigns mean a good chunk of those weekends are already filled (Fridays in particular are out). Pathfinder is fine, haven’t yet investigated Roll20.

      As for contacting me, I am, so far as I’m aware, the only Skivverus on the ‘net.

    • Wrong Species says:

      Another vote for tentatively interested.

    • Eltargrim says:

      Not able to commit, but just wanted to say thanks for being willing to DM for a group of (effectively) random people. DMing is a big job at the best of times.

    • Evan Þ says:

      Tentatively interested. The sum total of my experience is a single one-shot campaign, and reading comics like Darths and Droids.

      I’d suggest a short campaign to start with – start after Thanksgiving; finish before Christmas. Also, Monday evenings are out for me.

    • BBA says:

      Tentatively in. Total n00b to tabletop RPGs here (I’ve played other tabletop games, and computer/video game RPGs). And I’ve got a foreign trip coming up, so I may not be able to make it for much, but let me know how the schedule works.

    • Anonymous says:

      Interested, but unlikely to make the schedule.

    • birdboy2000 says:

      I’m interested and have too much time on my hands. But I’m not in the IRC or anything, so how should I keep up with knowing when we play?

    • bean says:

      I’ve set up a game in Roll20. Join it here. You’ll have to sign up for a Roll20 account. When you get in, exit the game. There’s a journal post outside the game itself for scheduling discussions.
      Caveats:
      1. I’m sort of assumed to be running this game, which I’m OK with, but not dead set on. I don’t have any great ideas at the moment. If someone does have one and wants to run (and is capable of doing so, obviously), I’m perfectly OK yielding to them. I can make people GM of the game in question, and they get to keep the nifty premium features.
      2. Clicking on that link does not obligate you to play in any way, shape, or form. In fact, I may just keep it as a catchment for our RPG discussions, and set up other games for actual play to keep player numbers in the game in check. (I know I labeled it Pathfinder, but so what.)
      3. If we get too many people, I plan to select in rough order of posts in this thread/the schedule thread.

  33. Cathedra says:

    What if the paper-clip maximizer is here now, just in the form of an anti-racism memeplex? Much as paper clips are a good thing to produce when they are needed, but you don’t want them to consume all matter in their light cone, anti-racism is a good thing to have (to combat racism), but it’s pretty bad to overproduce it to the point where all rational discourse is destroyed. Somehow Western civilization failed at this (admittedly much less scary) alignment problem and so anti-racist memes propagated out of control. For this (crappy) analogy to hold, maybe this is actually a multipolar scenario where the other tribe was simultaneously being subsumed by an anti-anti-racism meme maximizer. Not racism per se, just the belief that the anti-racist memeplex was out of control. Multipolar, but only quasi-stable.

    • Mark says:

      I think you’re onto something.

      All reasonably intelligent people will have increasing amounts of their mental space occupied by hyper-powerful anti-racism/anti-anti-racism memes.

      The only solution is to develop an anti-meme meme.

      We need to weaponise this:

      The poet only desires exaltation and expansion, a world to stretch himself in. The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits….
      The last thing that can be said of a lunatic is that his actions are causeless. If any human acts may loosely be called causeless, they are the minor acts of a healthy man; whistling as he walks; slashing the grass with a stick; kicking his heels or rubbing his hands…

    • Tekhno says:

      I think in this sense, all ideologies that try to push a single overriding principle are the equivalent of paper-clip maximizers, so that means that any ideology that tries to measure everything based on a single criteria (race, class, freedom, equality, etc) will tend to lead to runaway purity spirals. Other ideologies that try to cross multiple principles against each other will fare better.

      Extreme modes of thought like communism, anarchism, national socialism, anarcho-capitalism and primitivism are all the ideological equivalent of paper clip maximizers.

      Examples:
      -Communism attempts to resolve everything on the basis of a classless society
      -Classic Anarchism is basically the same just with different theories of why and how
      -National Socialism on the basis of race
      -Anarcho-Capitalism on the basis of property
      -Primitivism on the basis of anti-civilization
      -Landian TechCom on the basis of intelligence (thus making the paper clip maximizer analogy literal)

      The reason none of these ideologies have killed us all by converting the planet into [insert ideology] is not because they haven’t attempted to, but because they have never had the power to do so (though the more effective ones have caused industrial scale genocides). This means that if Friendly AI turns out to mean AI That Agrees With The Ideology Of The Humans Who Programmed It, then we really want to avoid these kind of values being inputted, since then we will have avoided paper clip maximizing only to maximize Nazism or something else.

      Mainstream ideologies don’t have as much risk of this since they involve large coalitions and can’t resolve everything down to a single principle.

      Examples:
      -Left-Liberalism attempts to balance negative rights with positive rights, freedom with equality
      -Liberal Conservatism attempts to achieve a path towards individual freedom balanced against established traditions

    • Incurian says:

      SJWs, unions, standing armies.

    • Well... says:

      I’ve made the metaphor that anti-racism is an allergy in the cultural immune system. Or maybe even something like lupus–the cultural immune system turning upon the culture.

    • jaimeastorga2000 says:

      To a first approximation, humans are status maximizers. The Blue Tribe controls America (and, through it, the rest of “the international community”), and it accords status for signalling anti-racism, so there is a lot of optimizing for signalling anti-racism going on in the West. But focusing on anti-racism is a mistake; other societies have had holiness spirals revolving around different memeplexes, with no less disastrous results. See “Leftism Is Just an Easy Excuse”.

      • HeelBearCub says:

        What’s your definition of “control”?

        • jaimeastorga2000 says:

          The Blue Tribe dominates education, academia, journalism, television, and movies, which gives it control over the opinion-forming organs of society. It also dominates the judiciary and the bureaucracy, which gives it more control over domestic policy than elected politicians have.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            The Internet is quickly making most of those obsolete.

            On the other hand, the Blue Tribe dominates most of the concentrations of power on the net as well. It’s pretty obvious why we’re talking about “Fake News” at this precise moment in history.

          • John Schilling says:

            The Internet is quickly making most of those obsolete.

            The internet is largely dependent on those for the content it repackages.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @John Schilling – I think this is heavily dependent on the person using the internet, and to the extent that it’s true generally, I think it’s getting a lot less true over time. I’ve been watching a lot of video lately; very little of it was sourced in any way from mainstream TV or Hollywood. I read a lot of political content, but very little from primary or even tertiary sources. How about you?

            If you want a vision of the future, imagine PewdiePie screeching in your ear forever.

          • Well... says:

            The Blue Tribe dominates education, academia, journalism, television, and movies

            You forgot sports administration (or is that just a subset of television?) and the upper ranks of most of the large Western religious hierarchies. And what about big business? Ever hear of a right-wing HR department at a Forbes 400 company?

            And don’t leave this one out: software.

            Now, let me clarify: in many of these categories at least, dominates is not the same thing as controls.

      • Tekhno says:

        The Blue Tribe controls America

        Well, that’s pretty much ended now that America’s blue tribe has been completely stone walled and locked out of power for 2 years and out of the Presidency for 4. The red tribe is going to be pretty brutal in reversing things and disenfranchising blues. We may yet get a race purity spiral in the other direction, even if it takes a few cycles, and a purity spiral in the direction of racism has been historically far far far worse than purity spirals in the direction of anti-racism.

        Soon will come the time when the right are the establishment – Brexit and Trump I think are the start of a new trend – and so soon they won’t be able to use the same kind of excuses that underdogs use.

        • Sandy says:

          Depends on your definition of “control” — last I checked, the blue tribe is still the dominant cultural force and as far as I can tell, virtually unchallenged in that regard.

          The red tribe is fundamentally uncool, whether interstate truckers or Wehraboo frogposters. Uncool people don’t get to dictate society’s norms. I doubt President Grab-‘Em-By-The-Pussy is going to change that. As many have noted in the last week, he’s great fodder for 4 years of late night comedy.

          • Mark says:

            I’ll see your 4-chan trollster and raise you a stereotypical SJW. Not exactly the epitome of cool.

            Anyway, I think that “cool” probably means what “respectable” used to mean. There isn’t any reason why it can’t, in turn, be replaced by something else.

            To be honest some this stuff – like cannabis use – is becoming a bit too conventional to even be cool anymore.
            It’s hip to be square.

          • Sandy says:

            Trigglypuff may be embarrassing, but she’s really bottom of the barrel. And that’s more about how she behaves than what she believes, because her views are the views of the popular crowd on campuses.

            So you can repackage Trigglypuff’s views with a cleaner, smarter container and it will find vogue among the blue tribe, and thus cultural force. What Trigglypuff says about mansplaining, hate speech and misogyny sounds cringeworthy, and the blue tribe would never try to popularize it. But that’s not because of the message — it’s because Trigglypuff is fat and unattractive and everything about her screams “low social status”, and thus she makes for a bad messenger. If, on the other hand, Samantha Bee echoed Trigglypuff’s views down to the last word, it would be shared and retweeted and circulated everywhere with taglines like “Samantha Bee SLAMS/DESTROYS/EVISCERATES the red tribe!”.

            This debate is highly illustrative of what I’m talking about. I don’t know if Bill O’Reilly can properly be called a representative of the Red Tribe, but he probably can. He certainly talks about Jesus and the War on Christmas a lot. Jon Stewart, on the other hand, is the representative of the Blue Tribe. Just watch that debate and see that it doesn’t really matter what they’re saying or how they’re saying it — Stewart is winning because he’s much cooler than O’Reilly and everyone knows it. Nobody in the audience is going to go away from that debate thinking “Man, Bill O’Reilly had a couple of decent points when you think about it”; they’re going to be thinking “Haha, Jon Stewart is so effortlessly cool, that was just embarrassing for Bill O’Reilly”, and why shouldn’t they?

            There’s no equivalent carrier for red tribe views that can make them seem cool the way Samantha Bee can make Trigglypuff’s views seem cool. The most high-profile red tribe celebrity is probably Clint Eastwood; critics already make sneering references to his political views in their reviews, and Eastwood is 86 years old. Not exactly in the limelight a lot, not exactly the center of American culture anymore, and talking to an empty chair just made him look senile.

            To some lesser extent, the importance of coolness is clearly at work in Hillary Clinton’s defeat. People liked to turn out for Obama because Obama is cool, and especially because he is cool in a way that has a substantial bit of cross-tribal influence. Hillary is not cool and never has been. Some feminists try to make her cool with their SLAY QUEEN SLAY memes, but these are forced — no one’s buying it. Donald Trump is cool but only in a way that appeals to the internet-based red tribe and mental deviants like Kanye West. The blue tribe finds him abhorrent, and so the odds of him increasing his perception of coolness among the public are very low.

          • Mark says:

            Sorry – yes – my comment above originally said “Trigglypuff” instead of “stereotypical SJW”.
            —————————————
            I was watching Bill Maher the other day, and I just thought, “my God, are they still showing this stuff?”
            It’s all very 90’s.

            Um… yeah… I guess if the blue tribe exists as a kind of permanent corps de culture, then the sign that they are weakened won’t be that bin men are hosting the nightly news, it’ll be that no-one listens to what the news is saying.
            I’m definitely reaching the stage where I’d rather listen to a bin man than a full-on “blue tribe” lefty.

            Though, if the political views and presentation of the blue-tribe shift, I may change my mind.

          • carvenvisage says:

            Anyway, I think that “cool” probably means what “respectable” used to mean. There isn’t any reason why it can’t, in turn, be replaced by something else.

            Great point. (imo)

  34. Cathedra says:

    Suppose that all policy was made according to some [insert your ethical system here] set of rules. Then imagine over time that large parts of policy space, and even discussion of adjacent policies, was gradually banned by social pressure, and so the policies we were left with were only those that could still be openly discussed by well-meaning people. Then give every citizen a score equal to something like “how much they are annoyed by not being able to achieve or discuss optimal policy anymore” minus “how good and important the original goal of forbidding those discussions was”. Naturally all the people who thought the original ban was really important to achieve some social goal would mostly have negative scores, whereas all the people who really care about good policy (even if they thought the ban had some merits) would mostly have positive scores. People who actively despised the original ban would also have positive scores (a negative minus a negative) even if they didn’t care about policy at all.

    If people more or less spoke and acted and affiliated on the basis of their score, it might be hard to tell apart the people who had a positive score because they hated the ban, and the people who had a positive score because they wanted good policy discussion/options and weren’t enthusiastic about the ban. We might think that people who were indifferent to the ban actually hated it, and really just wanted to flout the ban. This is more or less how I think about the challenges in characterizing Trump voters and possibly Trump himself. Probably most just don’t really care about the ban, because it never really served any purpose in their lives, or doesn’t anymore. The ban just seems to be in the way to them. But it is easy to mistake this for wanting them to flout the ban just to be hateful. This seems to be some sort of fundamental attribution error.

  35. Wrong Species says:

    This whole Trump discussion is focused on the technicality of what “openly” racist means. Everyone of course has their own definitions and disagrees vigorously with those who don’t feel the same. None of this matters right now though. Donald Trump is going to be President. We’ll see soon enough whether his policies are racist then. I know it’s too much to ask but could we at least shut up until January 20?

    • Jordan D. says:

      I think the answer is “no” and for a relatively good reason.

      Donald Trump won the election, but- and I know there’s a lot of danger in assuming anything about him because he’s kind of bonkers- the signs point to him being not particularly interested in most of what his administration does. That’s why there’s so much interest in Trump’s Cabinet picks as opposed to the median President; the opinions and strategies of Trump’s EPA chief, for example, could be a lot more important than whatever Trump himself thinks about environmental issues.

      Now, I think it’s very likely that the focus on Trump’s cabinet selections won’t sway Trump in the least, but a lot of them require confirmation. It could very well be a productive strategy for blue tribe members to sway key Senate Republicans to keep certain people out of office entirely.

    • Mark V Anderson says:

      @ WS. Yeah you are probably right. Although it should more like April before we know anything substantial.

  36. TSHadley says:

    So much of the enigma of Donald Trump seems explained to me by the pathology of narcissistic personality disorder. But Scott is in the mental health field and has not (to my knowledge) raised this possibility, so I’m wondering what I’m missing.

    I never thought Trump was sincerely racist or sexist because he doesn’t seem to self-identify particularly with whites or men, he “identifies” with the grandiose image of being Donald Trump. He seems to be an equal opportunity exploiter, seems willing to work with anyone of any race, sex, or creed as long as they are appropriately loyal and sycophantic, he shows no empathy and gives nothing to those in need. Exactly what you’d expect from someone consumed and preoccupied daily with thoughts of power, success, admiration.

    I don’t think people appreciate how weird this guy is. His weird way of speaking. His catchphrases like “haters and losers!” or “Sad!”. His tendency to avoid perfectly reasonable questions in favor of meandering tangents about Mar-a-Lago. The ability to bait him into saying basically anything just by telling him people who don’t like him think he shouldn’t.

    The hypersensitivity to criticism, the short-attention span, the resistance to any work or sophisticated thought that doesn’t have an immediate glorious payoff. Isn’t this NPD?

    Trump is just randomly and bizarrely terrible. Sometimes his random and bizarre terribleness is about white people, and then we laugh it off. Sometimes it’s about minorities, and then we interpret it as racism.

    His bizarre patterns seem to fit one non-bizarre pattern: Trump will do and say whatever he thinks is the quickest shortcut to adulation and power. He seems to have an ability to morph himself into the leader that people want, saying whatever they want to hear to get that all important praise and loyalty. But ultimately, there seems to be no core principle inside him, no guiding vision at all except: fill the void.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      You’re missing the Goldwater Rule, which I take very seriously.

      • Moon says:

        Good you are aware of this, Scott. Others are free to state the obvious about Trump, but psychiatrists are legally prohibited from doing so. Fortunately, there are plenty of non-psychiatrists on the board who are not legally bound to silence themselves.

      • Winter Shaker says:

        I think that’s a bit uncharitable. Psychiatrists are ethically bound to avoid speculating in a fairly narrowly defined way about Trump, but are otherwise as free to state the obvious as anyone else, and I think our host has availed himself of the freedom to state the obvious about Trump outside of those narrow restrictions enough to allow us to be confident that he is not engaging in undue self-censorship.

        • shakeddown says:

          I feel like if Scott said “Donald Trump seems explained to me by the pathology of narcissistic personality disorder”, people would be inclined to take it as a professional psychiatric opinion, which would conflict with the Goldwater rule.

          • Winter Shaker says:

            Sorry, my comment was meant in reply to Moon, but I seem to have accidentally clicked one place upthread. I have no disagreement with Scott or you on this one.

      • Jake says:

        Does this apply to the dead, as well? Is there a time limit? Would you be forbidden, for example, from opining on whether Isaac Newton was autistic?

      • TSHadley says:

        Thanks for that!

        Your article is excellent, by the way, race and identity worries (regarding Trump presidential policy) are a dangerous red herring now, you’ve convinced me. It seems to me like the part of the country that is most afraid of obsolescence has voted in a man who they think will roll back a decade of economic/technological/social change just for them, but I’ll bet he’s going to be more interested in rolling around the country in the presidential motorcade playing “King”.

    • nyccine says:

      I’m wondering what I’m missing?

      Literally everything. Nothing you mentioned rises to the level of Narcissism as a psychological disorder; they aren’t even close to being symptoms of it. Narcissism isn’t “guy who thinks his shit doesn’t stink”, it’s a person who inverts the “identity-behavior” dynamic.

      A normal person has an identity, and molds their behavior to match the identity; if confronted with evidence that their behavior doesn’t match the identity, then they change one or the other. The narcissist cannot do this; for one, all his energy is devoted to convincing others (and himself) that he is his ego-identity, that he has none left over to actually work on becoming the identity, and two, when confronted with evidence that there is a discrepancy between his identity and his behavior, his reaction is to deny and attack – he’s suffered a “narcissistic injury” and responds with “narcissistic rage.”

      If you’re looking for narcissism in the aftermath of the election, you need to redirect your vision 180°.It’s the protesters who are the narcissists

      here is a difference between a narcissistic injury and an ordinary shock to the ego.
      The latter involves damage to one of the egos objects. In this case that would be simply when some self esteem is lost by having your side lose.
      A narcissistic injury is one which exposes the gap between an ego-ideal (grandiose self) and a realistic sense of one self. In this case the ego-ideal of the left seems to be moral righteousness or perfectionism. The blow from the right has been not only discounting that ego-ideal, but also invalidating the response. Those who are labeled “cucks” still play into the notion of a morally perfect ego ideal and therefore don’t invalidate it. They just argue about who is morally perfect, which becomes a kind of game. Most of the alt right does not care if their opponents think they are bad, which is the appropriate response when someone is playing a game of “who’s perfect, you or me?” “Fuck – you. Nobody’s perfect, but especially you.”
      The solution to an ordinary “blow to the ego” is to repair the damaged object (find a way to live with the loss and focus on the positive) or find a new object of attachment (change). Their is no solution to a narcissistic injury other than “undoing” or destroying the offender – or endless repetition of the same. Doubling down.
      If you ever want to send a narcissist through the roof tell them the way you’re handling this makes you look really bad right now.

  37. Nancy Lebovitz says:

    Would anyone care to take a crack at my highest-assigned-probability worry about Trump? It’s that he (and presumably his cronies) will steal a tremendous amount of money, possibly enough to affect the economy. Plausible?

    If so, is there anything to be done about it?

    • Mark says:

      All of the money has already been taken. Shifting rankings within the elite isn’t going to make much economic difference.

    • shakeddown says:

      I’m estimating it as plausible, but within an upper bound. They can’t steal enough money to cause large-scale damage to the economy without congress finding an excuse to impeach them. I’m pretty sure they will find ways to get moderate amounts of money (probably measured in the tens of billions): Enough to just barely noticeably damage the economy.

      • Moon says:

        They will probably actually start to do this, well beyond the upper bounds. Then Congress will impeach, and then Pence will be president.

    • lhn says:

      While I’m not happy about the prospect (which I agree is likely) of that sort of graft at the national level, as a Chicagoan I recognize that it’s a parasitic drain (if potentially a serious and injurious one) rather than an intolerable threat. I hope he doesn’t do it, and I hope that if he does that he faces appropriate legal consequences for it.

      But if he does it and gets away with it, he won’t be the first high politician to benefit from naked graft (as the Caro biography of Lyndon Johnson I just started already makes eminently clear), and his merely stealing a bundle is among the better cases I can imagine for his presidency.

    • baconbacon says:

      How much money do you think needs to be stolen to effect the economy? 1% of GDP is in the low hundreds of billions. Stealing that much money for himself would make him the richest person in the world by 3x the 2nd place guy.

    • Matt M says:

      Given what the government typically spends most of its money on (foreign interventionism, the surveillance state, increasingly burdensome economic regulation), I’d rather it be in Trump’s bank account than theirs. Trump personally is less likely to kill or harm me than the state in general is.

    • Chalid says:

      The various comments saying that you can’t steal enough money to make a difference to the economy are off-base. Corruption is negative-sum.

      Imagine something like Trump changing the regulatory structure affecting companies he owns in order to give them advantages over their rivals, or having prosecutors go on fishing expeditions to find excuses to lock business rivals up. This sort of thing potentially makes an entire sector of the economy uncompetitive while enriching him only slightly compared to the size of the economy. (Not saying that these specifically are plausible, I haven’t done any homework on what exactly could be done.)

    • John Schilling says:

      I’m reminded of the South Korean reaction to their recent presidential scandal. Which basically came down to, “We expect our presidents to steal ten billion dollars or so and hand it out to their family; that’s only natural, and we can handle it. Tens of millions stolen and handed over to some creepy religious cult, that frightens and confuses us because we can’t even guess at what else is going on and what will happen next”.

      We can handle a president stealing ten billion dollars. We could handle a president stealing a hundred billion dollars. I’d rather have a do-over on the last eight years with a competent benevolent dictator whose only vice was stealing a hundred billion dollars. A trillion dollars would hurt, and hurt enough to overshadow anything else an administration could do, but it probably wouldn’t actually crash the economy if it were siphoned off slowly and skillfully over eight years. Ten trillion, and we’re done for.

      I am fairly confident that the limit on what a POTUS can steal without being caught, sufficiently red-handed for an impeachment even with a Republican majority, is no more than ten billion or so.

      • baconbacon says:

        The primary danger is in how it is stolen. The amount of money that Haliburton got in terms of profit form the Iraq was is negligible for the economy, but if you think that the Iraq war was started expressly to enrich the owners of Haliburton then it has a large impact. To make a $100 billion from outright theft will have less on an impact than making $100 billion by skimming a few percent off trillions in transactions set up purposely to skim from.

    • suntzuanime says:

      I’m reminded of Scott’s bit in Reactionary Politics in a Planet-Sized Nutshell where the King of America builds himself a massive palace plated with gold (does that sound like anyone you know?) and it turns out to be way cheaper than the ordinary democratic sloshing around of corporate welfare. I think it would be possible to loot the country badly enough to meaningfully harm it, but not easy, especially without prompting a coup. Personal direct theft is just so low-leverage compared to making bad governmental decisions in terms of harming the country.

    • The Nybbler says:

      Steal personally? Seems unlikely. The US economy is really big, and while C.S. Lewis was probably somewhat optimistic about a robber baron’s cupidity being satiated, the US economy probably contains more than enough to do it without hurting the country too much.

      A much bigger danger is he’ll waste huge amounts of money on useless and counterproductive programs. Possibly including a very tall border wall with his picture included every 10 feet, but more likely terrorism or health care related. But that’s a danger with all politicians.

    • Reasoner says:

      A few reasons I’m not super worried about this:

      * Trump is very rich already. Diminishing marginal utility for money and all that. If Trump’s primary concern was living a life of luxury, I don’t think he would have run. Diminishing marginal utility also suggests that graft will not be sizeable enough in scope to ruin the economy.

      * Trump made ending corruption a big plank of his platform: he accused Hillary of accepting foreign donations, talked about draining the swamp, talked about the evils of campaign donors, etc. A lot of his base thinks this is what he stands for.

      * The media will be extremely willing to call Trump out if he pulls something like this.

      • Moon says:

        I hope you are right and I am wrong. But the way I see it:

        Money is not something to buy stuff with. It’s status. People who already have more of it than they or their families could ever spend, are more likely to want to make more of it than your average middle class person wants it. It’s a matter of focus. Spend your life focused on gaining more money to gain more status, and you won’t remember how to focus on anything else.

        Trump seems unlikely to me to follow through on promises he made in his platform, because he’s too dumb about government and how it works to actually govern. The people whom he surrounds himself with, will make almost all decisions, because of his lack of interest in anything except having the title of POTUS. If they don’t like his platform, they won’t do any of it.

        Trump is already threatening lawsuits against the media. They’ll bow down and suck up to him, in order to get access to the White House, just like they did with W. He won’t even need to carry out the lawsuit threats. All the media care about is making money themselves. There is no news media any more. It died and became infotainment media years ago.

      • John Schilling says:

        Trump is very rich already.

        This is unclear, and depends on your definition of “very rich”. More to the point, it depends on Trump’s definition of “very rich”, because that’s what will decide whether he tries to loot the treasury (figuratively speaking) to get more.

        Trump claims a net worth of ten billion dollars, but independent assessments typically credit him with three billion or so. It seems quite plausible that he doesn’t meet his own standards for “rich enough; time to worry about other things”. Also, that $3E9 figure has rather large error bars, particularly on the debt side of the equation. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that Trump is close to bankruptcy, in which case he has found himself an interesting way to hide from his creditors while he replenishes his accounts.

        Also possible that actually winning the presidency has so radically altered his priorities that the things that were important to him before (gold-plating everything, big ‘Trump’ logos everywhere’) are fading in significance. If that hasn’t happened yet, I’m guessing it will some time next February.

      • shakeddown says:

        I don’t see these as likely to stop him:

        * Trump isn’t really the type to say “oh well, I’m rich enough already, guess I shouldn’t take any more risks.”, based on past behavior.

        * Trump also made being an outsider a big part of his platform, but is now surrounding himself with the likes of Gingrich and Romney. And he has a history of dishonest business dealings, so I wouldn’t trust him on this.

        * Trump doesn’t really seem to care about the media calling him out.

    • keranih says:

      It’s that he (and presumably his cronies) will steal a tremendous amount of money, possibly enough to affect the economy. Plausible?

      If plausible, it’s a problem we need to address whether or not Trump is likely to do so.

      Making rules and running the government as though we are all honorable men is…well, again, the Founding Fathers did recognize the folly of this.

  38. HeelBearCub says:

    Why am I harping on this?

    I work in mental health. So far I have had two patients express Trump-related suicidal ideation. One of them ended up in the emergency room, although luckily both of them are now safe and well. I have heard secondhand of several more.

    Scott,

    This article doesn’t help. In fact, it hurts.

    By systematically either ignoring or apologizing for all of the ways in which Trump’s rhetoric is, in fact, a dismissal of those who are “the other” you convince those who are in fear that you don’t care about that rhetoric. You confirm that you will happily ignore all of their legitimate fears.

    And you legitimize that rhetoric by Trump and the team he is assembling. The legitimization is what is sparking the fear, and you are contributing to it.

    • drethelin says:

      the fears are not legitimate. they are exaggerated to the point of insanity. The most insane part: Any rational argument that the fears are not justified is taken as proof that the fears are justified. Did you even READ the article? Trump’s rhetoric is consistently inclusive and NOT about “the other”. The rhetoric that is terrifying people is almost entirely on the anti-trump side.

      • Anonymous Bosch says:

        Trump’s rhetoric is consistently inclusive and NOT about “the other”.

        Trump’s rhetoric is not “consistently” anything. For every inclusive cherry Scott picks in his essay you can find one that’s divisive. And usually the latter are found in interviews or rallies, which I find more telling than something written for him in a prepared speech or official campaign press release.

        • Matt M says:

          “Trump’s rhetoric is not “consistently” anything. For every inclusive cherry Scott picks in his essay you can find one that’s divisive. ”

          No you can’t. It’s more like for every divisive thing Trump has said you can find 99 inclusive things he has said. Which suggests there’s nothing to worry about. Which is exactly and entirely the point.

          • Moon says:

            Yes, this is a Right Wing board, so 99% of the cherry picking here will be done by Right Wingers, in ways that will defend the Republican president-elect, not make him look less than pure as the driven snow.

            Reality, of course, does not agree. As the great Stephen Colbert has said “It is a well known fact that reality has liberal bias.”

          • Wrong Species says:

            @Moon

            You aren’t being cool and edgy by complaining about this being a “right wing board”. You’re just being irritating. You can make a point without doing that every single time you comment.

          • Moon says:

            I could. But 99% of the time when people respond to my posts, they either assert Right Wing views, or else criiticize me for saying that this is happening.

            You are really in a fantasy world, if you think that I think I am being cool and edgy. All I am doing is saying the truth about what I am experiencing. If that is too much for you to handle, feel free to go to your safe space.

            Oh, I forgot, you expect this board to be your safe space. And most of the time it is. I am the only one interrupting the rule that everyone must be Right of Center, or else be put down for not being so. Even the few other Left of Center people here, usually keep asking me to act as a one of the liberal door mats here. Oh, the joy.

          • Randy M says:

            You are really in a fantasy world, if you think that I think I am being cool and edgy.

            I am the only one interrupting the rule

            edgy
            adjective \ˈe-jē\
            new and unusual in a way that is likely to make some people uncomfortable

          • Mark says:

            This board is very right wing, but I find it kind of invigorating.

          • Dahlen says:

            You know, Jill, I stopped complaining about the commentariat’s right-wing bias around the time you showed up, because I suspected that such comments would have been evaluated to the lowest common denominator. So that would mean I don’t think you were necessarily wrong. But in the meantime, the situation around here improved, while you didn’t.

            I still wonder whether the person behind the Jill account isn’t some very dedicated individual play-acting as the Democrat straw-(wo)man testing our patience to the limits For Science, because I’m getting some whiffs of a failed Ideological Turing Test here. Alternate hypothesis: Jill/Moon is really old.

          • Anonymous Bosch says:

            I still wonder whether the person behind the Jill account isn’t some very dedicated individual play-acting as the Democrat straw-(wo)man testing our patience to the limits For Science, because I’m getting some whiffs of a failed Ideological Turing Test here.

            Ya think?

            As the great Stephen Colbert has said “It is a well known fact that reality has liberal bias.”

            ◔_◔

          • Dahlen says:

            I don’t know, I’ve been disappointed before.

          • Whatever Happened To Anonymous says:

            The working theory is that they’re too commited for it to be just a ruse.

          • baconbacon says:

            I still wonder whether the person behind the Jill account isn’t some very dedicated individual play-acting as the Democrat straw-(wo)man testing our patience to the limits For Science, because I’m getting some whiffs of a failed Ideological Turing Test here.

            Not getting whiffs would be better evidence, your typical person (even as a poster here) won’t have researched every possible position and have rational defenses on every position. They will have a mixture, some of which will be at odds with the average.

          • Wrong Species says:

            This isn’t directed to Moon but other progressives:

            Is it really so bad that I enjoy discussing things on one of the few places on the internet that isn’t steeped in progressive ideology? What alternatives are there anyways? Most of the Internet is toxic and it’s nice to go to place that I can have interesting discussions without having to be defensive. This isn’t to say that I think people who disagree with me should go away. No one is “triggering” me. I just don’t think SSC should be under any obligation to be “politically diverse”, especially when people on the left have the rest of the Internet to do what they want. No internet board is going to be fully representative of the internet population. There is nothing wrong with that.

          • Anonymous Bosch says:

            Is it really so bad that I enjoy discussing things on one of the few places on the internet that isn’t steeped in progressive ideology? What alternatives are there anyways?

            The comments section of pretty much any right-wing news source? The political forum of any given message board about sports, or guns? A metric fuckload of Facebook groups?

            I don’t really believe in safe spaces or artificial balance either but sheesh, you aren’t looking very hard if you think this is the final bastion of non-progressivism.

          • Dahlen says:

            @Wrong Species:

            If that’s what you’re looking for, then I don’t see what could possibly single out SSC as the ideal space for that, at least as far as Scott’s “master” posts are concerned (rather than us petty peons). He blogs a lot about “inter-faith” mutual understanding and charity. He doesn’t blog a lot in a style that could be unambiguously identified as right-wing bias.

            So, why here rather than some other right-wing-friendly space? Off you go to 8chan or Breitbart (or if that’s too alt-ish, I’m sure there are a lot of mainstream conservative spaces). They’ll share your assumptions alright, and your time spent there won’t have to feel like a swim upstream. In theory, yeah, okay, we could democratically do away with a commitment to diversity, but before that majority turns into a unanimity (considering the current status quo), there will be some people who need to be “evacuated”, and perhaps they too feel at home around here and have good reasons to oppose “evacuation”.

            The point being, the way from “interesting discussions” to “echo-chamber” passes through a lack of norms encouraging political diversity, and this is the mechanism by which you may find yourself driving off people disagreeing with you, which you half-heartedly claim not to seek. Well, it’s not enough not to actively seek it. The equilibrium leans that way anyhow.

          • Randy M says:

            He doesn’t blog a lot in a style that could be unambiguously identified as right-wing bias.

            Be fair, WS didn’t say he wanted a place that was safely right wing, he said:

            I enjoy discussing things on one of the few places on the internet that isn’t steeped in progressive ideology?

            I think Scott is committed to truth, honesty, and fairness and I think him seeking to court a specific balance is detrimental to any extent that it changes that.

            (of course, you are right that there are plenty of places to the right of Scott without progressive tilt, so WS’s comment was at least incomplete if this is his favorite hang-out).

          • Wrong Species says:

            Quite frankly, there aren’t many places on the internet that have intelligent conversations and are also right leaning. And whatever groupthink people believe we have here doesn’t hold a candle to a place like Breitbart. The right is not some monolithic group. There are libertarians, traditionalists, vaguely pro Trump supporters and even conservatives who despise everything Trump stands for. Not only that but there are active commenters who do bring a left-wing perspective. They aren’t exactly marginalized.

            I’m not denying that an echo chamber can be a problem and maybe is to some extent. But it’s not always a good thing either to have equal representation either because you can find yourself repeating the same 20 arguments over and over again drowning out everything else.

            Again, I want to make this clear. I don’t think this should necessarily be a right wing site, especially not an explicit one. If every progressive decided they didn’t want to be here anymore I would consider that a great loss. And if the site started leaning left I wouldn’t abandon ship. I just don’t think we should go out of our way to accommodate every group of people who feels like their views need to be thoroughly represented.

          • Dahlen says:

            @Randy M:

            I don’t know, it looks to me as if those who argue against the necessity of political diversity (not necessarily tailored to the proportions found in the general population), in the event that they don’t see bias of their specific colour as an extra strong dose of reality, ignore the tendency of bias to fester. It’s a problem that gets worse by itself unless you actively do something about it. Even if you start out as fair-minded.

            Then again, I’m not sure that maximal viewpoint diversity is exactly excellent either. We’ve had lots of discussions around here where the participants had values too different to agree that one party of the discussion shouldn’t be murdered as a consequence of their views, in a real life context, under ideal conditions for the other party. That’s about as much divergence as a social group can imaginably tolerate.

            @ Wrong Species:

            Okay, when you put it like that, I agree. See my italicised point above; I don’t believe either in proportional representation relative to some external societal standard, much less would I agree to local “affirmative action” for leftists.

          • Tekhno says:

            @Moon

            The prevailing position here doesn’t seem to be “Trump is awesome and not a racist!”. The prevailing position seems to be “Trump is terrible, but not at all a racist and harping on about that aspect when there are so many other legitimate ways in which he is terrible is harmful.” If the latter is somehow a right wing position, then that’s a low bar, or maybe defending Trump from any inaccuracy at all is just a super-secret version of “Trump is awesome”?

            I’m not sure where this idea that we want to make Trump look pure as snow is coming from.

          • Randy M says:

            Dahlen, note I framed my objection in terms of a trade-off. If you get more diversity of opinion without Scott consciously tailoring his posts to do so, all well and good. I just don’t want him nagged into it watering himself down or backing away from any conclusion.

          • Dahlen says:

            @ Randy M:

            I just don’t want him nagged into it watering himself down or backing away from any conclusion.

            That’s as unfeasible as it is undesirable, Scott scores top marks at integrity from what we’ve seen so far.

            Anyway, if I were the kind who wanted the message shoe-horned for nefarious purposes tailored to an ideal audience, I’d go bitch about e.g. his second-latest post, but notice how I don’t do that.

          • Randy M says:

            Sorry, perhaps you didn’t notice, but people have complained about the make-up of the comments section in the past. I was pointing out gently why I would by wary of such claims.

            I wasn’t imputing such motives to you, just ranking for the record as an aside where commenter-viewpoint-diversity comes for me–well below blog post quality.

      • lvlln says:

        I’m not convinced that Trump’s rhetoric is consistently inclusive, but that wasn’t Scott Alexander’s point with his post anyway. His point was that there the evidence that Trump is “openly” racist or white supremacist is extremely shoddy, and by calling him that, we are hurting our credibility in calling anyone “openly” racist or white supremacist, which will end up handcuffing us if and when we have to fight against someone who literally is a cloak wearing white supremacist.

        That this gets rolled up as being a denial of or apologizing for Trump’s rhetoric of dismissing the “other” makes me sad. It’s evident to me that Scott Alexander hates Trump and his rhetoric just as much as the most ardent Hillary supporter. What he doesn’t do is to make unjustified exaggerations of Trump’s rhetoric. And it is precisely those unjustified exaggerations he’s fighting against, because he sees those unjustified exaggerations as doing lots of harm.

        If someone is having major issues with their life because they can’t go outside for fear that the CIA will conspire to kill them when in public, the right move seems to be to figure out whether that fear is reasonable based on who they are and who the CIA is interested in, and if not, convince them that they aren’t in such danger. And doing so can’t reasonably be interpreted as excusing or apologizing for the fact that the CIA really is a part of a harmful surveillance state.

        My pet theory wrt the “openly” racist/white supremacist phenomenon is that a sort of a treadmill effect is going on. In the past, “racist” used to mean “views members of other races as inferior or different in some meaningful way,” and “openly racist” meant “is open in public about holding those views.”

        Recently, “racist” has been expanded to include that but also “is white and does not acknowledge or attempt to make up for the systemic privilege they gain by nature of being white in US society” (in some circles, we could just stop at “is white” but I think that still isn’t super common – however, I may be wrong about that). So “openly racist” followed along and became “is open in public about holding those views.” I’m not aware if Trump has come out and outright denied his white privilege, but his behavior in public seems far more consistent with someone who doesn’t buy into the whole white privilege paradigm and doesn’t care about hiding it than someone who does buy into it and wants to find a way to correct for it.

        So when some people call Trump an open racist, they’re, in their minds, making, at most, an entirely reasonable inference based on his behavior. Not calling him a literal Nazi or white cloak wearer. The idea that most people in the US might interpret those words that way seems either false to them, irrelevant to them, or convenient to them.

        But that’s just my pet theory and is probably wrong or missing some critical components.

        • Anonymousse says:

          Scott’s article seems to go a bit further than necessary to excuse what could perhaps be characterized as “subtle racism” (if we want to introduce a third option on this apparently binary racism scale). Trump doesn’t seem to recognize that other interpretations of his words are inevitable and valid, and he needs to respect this.

          In the section defending Trump’s comments on illegal immigrants from Mexico, Scott cites it as a “balanced assessment of Latinos, both good and bad.” I don’t believe that perpetuating criminals, drug mules, and rapists as the default and putting the existence of some “supposed” good people in doubt (and I think this is the intended reading of his statements) is in any way fair or balanced.

          Through this implication, and by saying that Mexico is “sending” criminals to the US, Trump is implicating Mexicans, and painting all illegal immigrants in a negative light. Contrast this with the Clinton quote, which focuses on illegal activities committed by illegal immigrants, without implicating Mexico directly or doubting that sometimes people cross the border for very sympathetic reasons and then cause little to no harm.

          I don’t believe I’m splitting hairs here. It is an important distinction, and Trump doesn’t need to say “I will ban Mexicans” to be spreading a subtle message that can be easily interpreted as “all Mexicans are part of the problem, and that people should be wary.”

          This is the dangerous element, and it falls in the wide chasm between open racism and a message of inclusiveness. And I don’t think weirdness excuses it.

          Notes: I admit that Trump’s delivery plays into my uncharitable reading of his message, and that there are ultimately bigger fish to fry.

      • HeelBearCub says:

        Trump’s rhetoric is not consistently inclusive. The most consistent aspect of his rhetoric is to assert that there are “others” who are screwing America or Americans. Mexicans, Muslims, Chinese. He frequently asserts that these foreign others are inside America now and need to be removed.

        Trump, in fact, admitted that his rhetoric was anti-Mexican and should cause bias towards him on the part of those of Mexican heritage. “I’m building a wall. He’s Mexican.” Trumps own thoughts reveal that he believes his rhetoric is insulting to Mexicans.

        He came to political prominence by literally (and that is literally, literally) questioning whether Obama was, in fact, American. How much more blatant does it have to get?

        When he is called on it he does the standard “I don’t mean anything by it” dodge.

        What I am saying is that arguing against “openly” racist is a fig leaf to hide behind when you don’t want to look at the legitimate concern that has been voiced by people across the political spectrum, left and right.

        A law professor recently tried to calm the foreign law students in his class saying that Trump had never expressed any desire to take away student visas and they were in no danger of deportation. There was nothing to fear.

        Several students then mentioned how they had been planning to travel back to their (majority Muslim) home country over the winter break, at which point the professor said, “Perhaps you should plan to be back in the States before January 20th.”

    • SUT says:

      Much Trump hysteria comes down to one phenomenon: Projection.

      Communists like yourself HBC, ultimately condones political purges and gulags to consolidate victories. They condone stirring up racial and religious riots, see Crown Heights Riot. Seriously, go read through the account again to remind yourself: Al Sharpton is on the scene and within 24 hours, someone shouts “Let’s go to Kingston Avenue and get a Jew!” [and ultimately they do get said jew and beat him to death, oh and nobody ever gets convicted of a crime for it]

      I understand when you play by these rules how scary it must be to lose the game. But seriously, be assured the American Right will never stoop to this level. You have nothing to fear and deep down you know this, you know you’d never wear a Trump hat, or put a Trump bumper sticker on your car and go through one of Hillary’s 90% strongholds.

      But by all means, keep burning flags, smashing windows. The next generation is getting their education of the left’s M.O.

    • herbert herberson says:

      I think the problem is conflation and trying to map 20th Century style politics on a very 21st Century style politician. Trump’s analogs aren’t David Duke and the KKK. Instead, he’s the American equivalent of Marie le Penn and Gert Wilders (or, at least his core base is). So is he especially anti-Black? Not really, and certainly not openly, despite the documented historical pattern of prejudice. Is he especially anti-gay? Not at all! If anything, he’s pro-gay, because he’s defending liberal, even libertine values against a perceived threat. It’s that perceived threat where he deserves “openly” as an adjective–immigrants and, especially, Muslims.

      • Matt M says:

        The justification I most often see for him being anti-gay is that he picked Pence as VP, who we’re all supposed to accept as a given is incredibly anti-gay based on the fact that he supported a bill allowing business owners freedom of association for a couple weeks before backing away from it when various corporations in his state pitched a fit.

        • Anonymous Bosch says:

          The justification I most often see for him being anti-gay is that he picked Pence as VP, who we’re all supposed to accept as a given is incredibly anti-gay based on the fact that he supported a bill allowing business owners freedom of association for a couple weeks before backing away from it when various corporations in his state pitched a fit.

          Pence supported the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and also opposed civil unions. He signed a state-level law making it a felony for gays to apply for a marriage license. As a Congressman, he demanded federal funding for conversion therapy.

          • Evan Þ says:

            Has Pence done anything about conversion therapy more recently than 2002?

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Evan Þ:

            He signed a putative religious freedom bill in 2015 that caused the NCAA to contemplate leaving the state, as it would have allowed public accommodations to refuse service to gay people on religious grounds (among other things).

            He subsequently had to sign a revised law.

          • Evan Þ says:

            @HeelBearCub, yes, I clearly remember that – and the frenzied condemnations from the Red Tribe for his lack of a backbone when he backed down. I was asking more specifically about whether he’d supported conversion therapy.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Evan Þ:

            Sorry. I misread what you wrote

        • herbert herberson says:

          There’s a little more it than that. He’s given more than one indication that he would appoint anti-Obergefell SCOTUS justices (views dissent-author Scalia as an exemplar, said that he would “strongly consider that, yes” in reply to the question “you might try to appoint justices to overrule the decision on same-sex marriage?”).

          But, yeah, mostly it hangs on Pence. On the one hand, I’m not sure I agree that Pence is nothing more than a defender of wedding bakers and pizza parlors. On the other hand, though, Pence is not a Trump guy. He is a synecdoche for the wing of the establishment GOP that was willing to form a coalition with Trump. So, while I think it’s fair to say Trump is allied to anti-gay forces, I really don’t see any reason to think his heart is in it, nor does he strike me as a person who is willing to put much energy into things he doesn’t care about just because some begrudging allies do.

          As far as I can tell, gays are not under any particular threat, and are probably in a better position than they would be under a regular Republican president with a unified Congress–and that’s speaking as someone who loathes Trump and thinks he poses a non-zero danger to the republic.

          • Anonymousse says:

            So, while I think it’s fair to say Trump is allied to anti-gay forces, I really don’t see any reason to think his heart is in it, nor does he strike me as a person who is willing to put much energy into things he doesn’t care about just because some begrudging allies do.

            But will he be willing to put energy into preventing Pence et. al. from advancing their agendas? My guess is no, and as such one may be reasonably worried.

            Larger issue, I still can’t figure out why he wants to be President other than brand recognition and, on the condition of a win, furthering his business ventures.

          • herbert herberson says:

            Definitely agree that it’s reasonable to worry, particularly about SCOTUS–but, at the same time, I think it’s worth noting and repeating that we’re pretty much just talking about the same old GOP here. Gays can expect the Trump administration to be (at worst) comparable to previous GOP presidents. I don’t think immigrants and Muslims are as lucky.

            As far as Trump’s motivations are concerned, I don’t think it’s any more complicated than it being fun and cool to have an arenaload of people cheering your name.

          • suntzuanime says:

            My guess is that he wants to make America great again.

            EDIT: He has many hotels in America, after all.

          • Anonymousse says:

            That’s a reason for running, but not for winning. Or was that last bit an accident?

            Reasonably curious what the most convincing argument is, despite my snark.

          • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

            Once we’ve settled the vexing question of why Trump wants to be President, we can have a go at the even more puzzling question of why he ever wanted to be rich.

          • “Larger issue, I still can’t figure out why he wants to be President”

            Most humans value status. My assumption is that Trump is simply an extreme case of that.

  39. Cliff says:

    Thank you Scott for your most recent post. Brave, and very well said. In my opinion this rhetoric is what allowed Trump to win in the first place, and doubling down is only going to make his reelection more likely. I’ve been sort of making this argument but it’s wonderful to have it laid out so thoroughly.

  40. Thursday says:

    In response to the Crying Wolf post:

    When “honorable and decent men” like McCain and Romney “are reflexively dubbed racists simply for opposing Democratic policies, the result is a G.O.P. electorate that doesn’t listen to admonitions when the genuine article is in their midst”.

    This is one of my main problems with the anti-Trumpers. The most powerful argument against Trump is that he is more likely to cause conflict and instability around the world, but McCain was far crazier than Trump in this regard and I never heard the same kind of hate directed at McCain. In fact, a lot of people in the mainstream media looked on him as a lovable “maverick.” This tells me that foreign policy risk isn’t really what is driving anti-Trump sentiment.

    • birdboy2000 says:

      I know saying “this” is bad form, but I’ve argued in the past that Obama deserved the Noble Peace Prize for keeping McCain out of the white house, so. This.

      Romney’s economic policy would also have caused a lot of people to suffer, but the suffering wouldn’t have been on idpol lines and the kind of rich liberals who make up Hillary’s base don’t care any more about poverty than Romney did.

    • Matt M says:

      “but McCain was far crazier than Trump in this regard and I never heard the same kind of hate directed at McCain”

      Maybe not QUITE at the same level, but I think recent events have caused us to forget just how nasty some anti-McCain rhetoric was. I distinctly remember one of the hosts of the view (probably Joy Behar at the time but don’t quote me on that) suggesting that he probably suffered PTSD as a result of his experience as a prisoner of war and that he might nuke North Vietnam in order to get revenge.

      That’s the most extreme thing I can think of but the notion that McCain would plunge us into WW3 for no reason because that’s what republicans do was not exactly some ultra-rare, out of bounds idea…

      • Thursday says:

        Sorry, but Anti-McCain rhetoric was not even close to anti-Trump rhetoric.

        • Matt M says:

          I agree. But let’s not pretend that the left was calling McCain “honorable and decent” in 2008. He only gets to be honorable and decent when being compared to Trump. When being compared to Obama he is still a warmongering racist sexist homophobe who hates the poor.

  41. TheBearsHaveArrived says:

    http://www.ets.org/s/gre/pdf/gre_guide_table1a.pdf

    https://secure-media.collegeboard.org/digitalServices/pdf/sat/sat-percentile-ranks-subject-tests-2015.pdf

    Almost every national test math or spatial skill heavy, besides math-contest specific tests, don’t scale to the 99+ percentile. Physics, engineering, it does not matter. The SAT 2 test perfect score is about the..81’th percentile.

    Calculus BC has the highest rate of 5’s on the test as any AP test.

    It keeps happening I noticed. I am pretty sure the answer ends up as political correctness weakening the nations ability to track top scientific talent.

    This makes me believe the reason there is no engineering specific exam (with mechanical and electrical as the topics) is due to spatial reasoning gender gaps, since even if the ceiling of the test was the 80th percentile its gaps would be noticeable with protests in lots of the education fields.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spatial_visualization_ability#Gender_differences

    http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2011/06/human-capital-mongering-m-v-s-profiles.html

    • StellaAthena says:

      Is this “hypothesis: American standardized tests are deliberated dumbes down to please the PC crowd”? In that case, I look forward to reading your analysis of the increase in the average grade and the decrease in the percentile of a perfect score over the past 30 years as such ideas have become more popular.

      • TheBearsHaveArrived says:

        From an old university I went to, the levels of grade inflation varied a great deal depending on discipline, with engineering having the least, the sciences next(a normal 3.0 average), and some liberal arts fields have horrid grade inflation to the point where it seems like the department existed solely to put people in high ranking law and medical schools(its not like those courses had any objective way to grade papers and projects anyways,besides misspellings and dull grammatical errors. Which is great if the school needs fake courses for political purposes). Though, even in engineering, the senior classes had higher GPA averages then the freshman *weeder* classes.

        The issues for grades and test scores are very different. But a profit maximizing high school/college may try pulling some tricks with GPA and giving out honors if it thinks it can get away with it. The reason for my analysis is noticing that verbal tests, with minimal gender differences, are allowed to go to the 99.5th percentile, while mathy/spatial tests(with significant to very large differences) often top out at the 90th or less.